The National Day of the Republic of China, also referred to as Double Ten Day or Double Tenth Day, is the national day of the Republic of China. It commemorates the start of the Wuchang Uprising of October 10, 1911, which led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty in China and establishment of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912.
The Xinhai Revolution against the Qing Dynasty consisted of many revolts and uprisings. The revolution was named Xinhai (Hsin-hai) because it occurred in 1911, the year of the Xinhai stem-branch in the sexagenary cycle of the Chinese calendar.
This revolution arose mainly in response to the decline of the Qing state, which had become ineffective in its efforts to modernize China and confront foreign aggression, and was exacerbated by ethnic resentment against the ruling Manchu minority.
Many underground anti-Qing groups, with the support of Chinese revolutionaries in exile, vowed to overthrow the Qing.
Then in May of 1911 the Qing government ordered the nationalization of railway lines, previously paid for by local private investors, in order to pay for the indemnities imposed by the Boxer Protocol. The announcement to nationalize the railways and pay back debts to the antagonistic victors of the Boxer Rebellion—mainly Great Britain, Germany, France and the US — was met with much opposition. Protests were held in Changsha and people in Guangdong boycotted government banknotes.
By July the Qing government compensated the investors, but the amount offered to Sichuan was much lower than all other provinces.
The Wuchang Uprising itself broke out by accident on October 10, 1911. At the time there were two local revolutionary groups in Wuhan, the Literary Society and the Progressive Association.
The two groups worked together, led by Jiang Yiwu and Sun Wu.
In September of 1911 they began collaborating with the Tongmenghui.
The original uprising date was set for October 6 on Mid-Autumn festival.
However, some people were not ready on that date, and so it was postponed.
Then on October 9, 1911, Sun Wu was at the Russian concession of Hankou where bombs were being built. A bomb accidentally exploded, causing Sun Wu serious injuries. When he was sent to the hospital, the staff discovered the group were revolutionaries and alerted the Qing government.
Squad leader Xiong Bingkun and others decided not to delay the uprising any longer and launched the revolt on October 10, 1911, at 7 pm. The revolt was a success; the entire city of Wuchang was captured by the revolutionaries on the morning of October 11. That evening, they established a tactical headquarters and announced the establishment of the “Military Government of Hubei of Republic of China”. The conference chose Li Yuanhong as the governor of the temporary government.
The brief civil war that ensued lead to the demise of 2,000 years of imperial rule through a political compromise between Yuan Shikai, the late Qing military strongman, and Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Tongmenghui (United League).
After the Qing court transferred power to the newly founded Republic of China on February 12, 1912, a provisional coalition government was created along with the National Assembly. However, political power of the new national government in Beijing was soon thereafter monopolized by Yuan and led to decades of political division and warlordism, including several attempts at imperial restoration.
Today, both the Republic of China in Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China on the mainland consider themselves to be successors to the Xinhai Revolution and continue to pay homage to the ideals of the revolution including nationalism, republicanism, modernization of China and national unity.
In mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, October 10th is usually celebrated as the Anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution.
Many expatriate Chinese also celebrate the anniversary in Chinatowns across the world.
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