New Policies

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The New Policies (Chinese: 新政; pinyin: Xīnzhèng), or New Administration of the late Qing dynasty (1644-1912), also known as the Late Qing Reform, were a series of political, economical, military, cultural and educational reforms that were implemented in the last decade of the Qing dynasty to keep the dynasty in power after the humiliating defeat in the Boxer Rebellion. The reforms started in 1901 and since they were implemented with the backing of the Empress Dowager Cixi, they are also called Cixi's New Policies.

The policies included reforms in almost every aspect of governmental affairs: In education, traditional academies were converted into western-style schools, abolishing the imperial examinations, and military academies were created in each province. In law, there was a new code and judicial system. The system of fiscal control and tax collection was expanded and regularized, an especially important task since the Boxer Indemnity required payments to foreign powers which exceeded the annual income of the national government. Local and regional police forces were organized, and model prisons were opened.[1]

The impact of these reforms varied from place to place. Many regions were virtually unchanged, while the provinces in the lower Yangzi valley had already taken the lead. The province of Zhili (roughly present day Hebei) was a model. With the strong support of the Empress Dowager, Yuan Shikai set up a strong bureaucracy to administer tax collection, local schools and police. [2]

In 1908 the government issued the Principles of the Constitution (Qinding Xianfa Dagang), modeled on the Japanese Meiji Constitution, which provided for gradual introduction of an electoral system beginning with local elections in 1908, followed in two years by elections for provincial legislatures, then two years later, elections for a national assembly. The New Policies also resulted in drastic change of the Manchu policy toward Mongolia from a relatively conservative-protective one to an aggressive-colonial one.[3]

The New Policies are judged now to have been a substantive beginning for China's reorganization which was destroyed after the death of the Dowager Empress in 1908 by the intransigent stand of conservative Manchus in the Qing court.

See also

References and further reading

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  1. Reynolds (1993).
  2. MacKinnon (1980).
  3. Mongolia in the Twentieth Century: Landlocked Cosmopolitan, pp. 39-41