Shanghai Incident

Warlords and Revolutionaries

East Asia 1925.053

Shanghai Incident

The Xinhai Revolution, World War I in Asia, the Warlord Era in China, the Russian Revolution and the Siberian Intervention (30 May 1925)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

Feng Yuxiang's Guominjun and his Fengtian allies divided northern China between them, setting up former leader Duan Qirui as their puppet president of China. To the anger of the Chinese people, the foreign powers recognized this new regime over Sun Yatsen's populist Kuomintang in the south. Public resentment only increased with Sun Yatsen's death just a few months later. Matters came to a head when the foreign-run municipal police opened fire on protesters in Shanghai, sparking anti-foreign riots across China.


Treaty Ports

Treaty ports were towns opened to foreign trade by unequal treaties in China. Foreigners operating within treaty ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, being subject to their home country's laws. Unlike concessions such as Hong Kong, these territories were not directly leased by the foreign powers and did not have sizable foreign garrisons.

Treaty ports are not shown in the maps after the 1911 Chinese Revolution in order to give a clearer picture of the chaos in China itself and as by that point their numbers had stabilized. After the revolution, some of the smaller ports were phased out while the others became less important as the situation in China meant that only the concessions could provide foreigners with security. Most, however, still continued on into the 1940s when the Japanese entry into World War II and foreign agreements with China brought them to an end.

See this map for treaty ports in 1907, when the system was at its peak.

Yangtze River

By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858), foreign vessels including warships had the right to free navigation on the Yangtze River. In practical terms, this right extended only as far as Yichang until 1900, when advances in steam navigation allowed access as far inland as Chongqing.

Warlord China

From the Zhili-Anhui War (1920) to the Nationalist recapture of Beijing (1928), control over China fluctuated as various warlords fought for power. The foreign powers handled this situation by regarding whichever warlords controlled Beijing as the legitimate government of China, even though these warlords often had no influence outside the city.

To depict this situation, this atlas shows the recognized government of China as warlord-controlled rather than as an independent entity, with its size changing depending on how much authority the government had outside of Beijing. However the actual recognized borders of China itself did not change during this period.

Main Events

Duan Qirui appointed Chief Executive of Republic of China

Soviet-Japanese Peace Treaty

Anglo-French Treaties with Siam

Britain and France agreed to the restoration of full sovereignty to Siam.

Sun Yatsen dies.

May Thirtieth Movement

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