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From Reform Movement to New Deal in Late Qing Dynasty


By Wei Jianing Jiang Xiaocheng& Liang Qi , Research Team on “Methodology of Reform”, Research Department of Macro-Economy of DRC

Research Report [Special Issue No.50 (Total 1453), 2015] 2015-12-25

Abstract: In late Qing Dynasty, China was facing domestic unrest and foreign aggression. The failed reforms including the Reform Movement (also known as Hundred Days’ Reform) and the New Deal during late Qing Dynasty could not save the Qing government from the fate of extinction. In terms of methodology, the failure of the Reform Movement was due to the following aspects: the reform entity lacked prestige to lead the movement and improper reform-led media aroused strong opposition; blind copy of Japan’s model only resulted in form but not in spirit; a mere top-down reform lacked comprehensive overarching designing; radical reform measures made too many enemies; and reformers were overanxious for quick results without focusing on major issues. The reasons for the failed New Deal in late Qing Dynasty included: the reform was severely delayed and missed the best opportunity; the plan was issued in a rush and lacked scientific design; and the motivation of the New Deal reform was limited to the goal of “safeguarding the rights and interests of Manchu ethnic group and reducing the rights and interests of the Han ethnic group”. The reform movements in late Qing Dynasty could offer us the following enlightenments in terms of methodology: reform and crisis stand side by side and opportunity could be blundered away if it is not properly grasped; reformers should take into account interests of various parties and build up consensus; and decision makers should know when to make comprise while going with the trend of times.

Key words: Reform Movement (Hundred Days’ Reform), New Deal in late Qing Dynasty, methodology