After her disastrous defeat by Japan in the war 1894–95, China turned tardily to introduce such economic reforms as would facilitate her defense. She was pressed by concession hunters of many nationalities, who desired economic and political advantages which she was nearly helpless to withhold. Obliged to look abroad for capital to finance needed railway construction, Chinese leaders at the same time saw their empire's dominions threatened by their potential creditors: by Russia in Manchuria, by France in the South, by Germany in Shantung, by Japan in Fukien, and by England in the Yangtze Valley. That Americans claimed no political accommodations in return for monetary advances was an inducement to the Chinese to seek money in the United States. Furthermore, in the railway field, Americans had gained valuable experience through the construction of their own great transcontinental lines.

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