The Aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War: The Lease of the New Territories and Weihaiwei
The First Sino-Japanese War that broke out between 1894 and 1895 was a turning point in the modern history of China: it marked the failure of the
Self-Strengthening Movement, the three decades of modernising efforts undertaken by the Qing government to introduce advanced Western military technology to China; the international political order in East Asia was turned upside down by the Japanese defeat of the Qing empire, which had long considered itself ‘the central kingdom', while in its aftermath it triggered a scramble among the major powers to carve out concessions for themselves; and Japan's militarism received an enormous boost. At the same time, the voices calling for China to be saved grew ever more strident at home, with feelings of nationalism reaching unprecedented levels and spurring revolutionary efforts towards their inevitable climax: within less than twenty years of the war, the Qing dynasty had been toppled in the revolutionary campaign led by Dr Sun Yat-sen.
To mark the 120th anniversary of the First
Sino-Japanese War in 2014, the Hong Kong Museum of History is hosting this exhibition to explore the context in which the New Territories and also Weihaiwei in Shandong were leased to Britain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Based on extensive material drawn from the Collection of Sir James Stewart Lockhart held by the National Library of Scotland, it provides an insight into how Britain implemented its governing policies in the leased lands as a means to strengthen its political and business interests in China. Viewers will also learn about the unique social settings of the New Territories and Weihaiwei in this era at the turn of the last century and gain a perspective on how the two locations, despite being thousands of miles apart, were connected through the British official known simply as Stewart Lockhart.
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Map sent by Hong Kong Colonial Secretary Sir Wilfrid Thomas Southorn to Lockhart in 1929, informing him that a road on the new Praya East Reclamation had been named after him.
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Letter of gratitude sent by the Sanitary Bureau, Department of Home Affairs, Japan, to Lockhart in 1894, thanking the latter in helping the Japanese microbiologist Kitasato Shibasaburo in investigating the plague in Hong Kong.
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Letter from Kang Yu-wei to Colonial Secretary Lockhart during his refuge in 1898, thanking the latter in offering him protection in Hong Kong.
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The Situation in the Far East, a cartoon by Tse Tsan-tai from Hong Kong in 1899, vividly depicting the spheres of influence of the major powers that prevailed in China.
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Complimentary address written by Kong Lingyi (Kung Ling-i), Duke of Yansheng and the 76th-generation heir of Confucius, to Lockhart in 1903, thanking the latter in paying visit to the Temple of Confucius.
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Complimentary tablet with the words ‘ke yi liao ji' (curing people of hunger) presented by Lockhart to Tung Wah Hospital in Hong Kong in 1920, thanking the relief support of the latter towards the famine victims in Weihaiwei.
9/4 – 9/6/2014
1/F Lobby, Hong Kong Museum of History
Presented by Leisure and Cultural Services Department
In collaboration with National Library of Scotland
Organised by Hong Kong Museum of History