Abstract

The author reinterprets the phenomenon of qingyi (represented by members of the Qingliu and Emperor's party) as passing through five phases from 1875 to 1898, in the course of which it enlarged its scope of demands by lower- and middle-grade metropolitan officials for a broader distribution of political power and contributed to the formation of public opinion. This evolution was attended by the rise of analogous demands for political restructuring by men in two other environments: extrabureaucratic managerial and scholarly circles and the treaty ports. Militant patriotism mobilized and eventually united different groups, stimulating nationally conscious opinion that was alienated from the political leadership. The failure of government leaders to accommodate new political initiatives redirected qingyi into provincial movements and set the stage for the competition between centralizing bureaucratic and societally based programs for change that led to the 1911 revolution.

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