The Beiyang warlords were one of the extremely influential military and political powers in modern Chinese history which began in 1895 with Yuan Shikai training soldiers in Xiaozhan, Tianjin. While he expanded his influence through military build-up, he placed his trusted aides in the central and local governments. Over time, the Beiyang warlords headed by Yuan Shikai, powerful enough to influence the politics of the late Qing and early Republican periods, was formed. Following Yuan's death from illness in 1916, no one with the same strength and imposing reputation could take his place as leader. As a result, the Beiyang warlords split into the Anhui, Zhili and Fengtian cliques. Each clique took turns to rule the north. The Beiyang warlords ceased to exist as a viable political force when the Northern Expedition of the Nationalist Party succeeded in 1928. The rise and development of the Beiyang warlords, meanwhile, shed light on the complex political situation of modern China.
Tianjin Museum has generously supported this exhibition with the loan of 70 invaluable relics. These, along with items from the collections of the Hong Kong Museum of History, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals and collectors, illustrate the rise and development of the Beiyang warlords. Our members and guests can gain a better understanding of this tumultuous period of political instability and conflicts among warlords, as well as China's political development in the late Qing and early Republican periods.
We are fortunate that the docent for this exhibition is Dr C M Kwong, Museum Advisor, who is also a Member of our RASHK Journal Editorial Board.
Dr Kwong Chi Man, Ph.D. (2012), University of Cambridge, is Assistant Professor of History Department at Hong Kong Baptist University. He has published books and articles on the military history of modern East Asia, including Eastern Fortress: A Military History of Hong Kong (Hong Kong University Press, co-authored).
Admission: Free of charge
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