Libmonster ID: SE-430

"Birds don't sing and flowers don't smell sweet on the island of Taiwan. Men and women do not follow moral duty, and are also insensitive. It will be acceptable to cede the island, " Chinese dignitary Li Hongzhang wrote in a report to Empress Cixi.

More than a hundred years of history of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. (the Jia Wu War-according to cyclical signs) and the signing of the Shimonoseki Peace remains a topic of scientific research. In Russia, it also attracts the attention of scholars who still argue about the significance and connection of the Jia Wu War, as well as Russian interference in peace negotiations, with the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 (Zabrovskaya, 1993; Narochnitsky, 1956; Tabohashi, 1956). But the topic of China's diplomatic struggle against the cession of Taiwan and the role of foreign powers in deciding the fate of the island occupies a secondary place in these works, although it certainly deserves special coverage.

The Jia Wu war dramatically worsened China's domestic and international situation, and Taiwan went "out of the fire and into the flames." China began to prepare for peace negotiations three months after the outbreak of the war, due to the imminent defeat of the United States. In early November 1894, with the mediation of the United States, the Qing offered Japan peace on the terms of recognizing Korean sovereignty and paying an indemnity. But Japan no longer wanted to end the war on these terms, having decided on the direct annexation of Chinese lands. Japan's territorial claims included the Liaodong Peninsula, Taiwan, the Penghu Islands (Pescadores), and even the coastal provinces of Fujian and Macau. Taiwan played a special role in the strategic plans of the Japanese, as a base for protecting the Japanese islands from the south, penetrating China through Fujian, as well as a" springboard " for further expansion to the south and control of sea routes in the Pacific Ocean (Narochnitsky, 1956, p.579). Taiwan was a worthy trophy for ending the war, and the decision to annex it was made by Japan at the end of October 1894 [Tabohashi, 1956, p. 446, 452-453].

In January 1895, China sent two major dignitaries to Hiroshima - Zhang Yinhuan and the former Governor of Taiwan, Shao Youlian. But the Japanese rejected their candidacies under the pretext of "lack of authority" to fulfill the "great mission". As a result, the Qing sent Li Hongzhang, the governor of the capital province of Zhili, a peace advocate and the most experienced of Cixi's favorites in resolving political crises, to negotiate. On February 17, Japan conveyed through the Americans that, in addition to questions about the fate of Korea and the contribution, the Chinese ambassador should have full powers.-

1 In addition to the military defeats, this was due to the fact that Empress Dowager Cixi was very eager to make peace before her 60th birthday.

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the right to territorial concessions. This demand completely revealed the true plans of Japan and the essence of the" great mission " assigned by them to Li Hongzhang.

On February 22, the Guangxu Emperor held a peace conference, at which Li Hongzhang, leaving room for maneuver, said: "I dare not make any promises about the negotiations on ceding territory." Empress Cixi was initially opposed to the concessions, but later agreed to grant Li the rights to cede land [Li Zefen, 1970, p. 388; Tabohashi, 1956, p. 467].

The Chinese clearly understood that the Japanese would demand a cession of Taiwan. To prevent this, on February 28, the governor of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, Zhang Zhitong, suggested that Beijing introduce an English protectorate over Taiwan, laying the island for 10 to 20 years to an English syndicate, with the transfer of rights to develop mineral resources, build railways and provide other commercial benefits. Use the money from the loan to pay the indemnity. The Qing court considered the idea suitable and held consultations with the British [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 220]. But they showed hesitation caused by their own diplomatic calculations.

It was not until the end of February 1895 that Foreign Secretary Kimberley acknowledged that the British were "really confident that the Japanese would demand the secession of Formosa", twice requesting an opinion from the Admiralty War Office on the strategic value of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. The British military reported that the islands are devoid of equipped "good ports". British Ambassador to Beijing O'Connor concluded that the Japanese demand Taiwan only because "they want to grow cotton and sugar cane in order to stop exporting through Europe" (Guo Huanjia, 1983, p.157). Before that, most of Taiwan's sugar was imported to Japan via Hong Kong. British diplomats in Tokyo also ruled out the possibility of a French invasion of Taiwan. As a result, Kimberly concluded that ceding the island to Japan would not do much harm, and that England should not risk its interests for a small gain in this matter, so long as Taiwan did not fall into the hands of France or Germany. On March 3, Kimberly refused to negotiate with Beijing about "using Taiwan as collateral for a loan", explaining that the idea "cannot be supported by the British government" (Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 220; Guo Huanjia, 1983, p. 157-158).

On March 2, at a regular meeting in the presence of the Emperor, Li Hongzhang received the authority to make territorial concessions. This decision was the result of complete hopelessness. On the same day, Lee presented a report with examples from the history of forced territorial concessions made by other countries to resolve the crisis [Tabohashi, 1956, p. 467-69]. But the report did not indicate what land to cede, nor the size of the concessions. At the meeting, Taiwan's fateful words were heard about "the importance of preserving the ancestral land (Liaodong) and the ease of ceding marginal territories."

On March 8, convinced of the failure of Beijing's diplomatic efforts, Zhang Zhongtong took the initiative and personally contacted the Chinese Ambassador in St. Petersburg, Xu Jingcheng, to make a similar offer to the Russian Foreign Ministry about the Taiwan mortgage [Toder, 1978, p. 195]. But this maneuver was also futile.

Li Hongzhang's negotiations with Japanese Prime Minister Ito Hirobumi began in Shimonoseki on March 20, 1895. On the same day, the Japanese moved their fleet to Penghu Island, and Li handed Ito a letter asking for an armistice. To make it easier to claim Taiwan and other territories, Ito deliberately put forward conditions that were obviously unacceptable for China, giving it three days to respond [Li Zefen, 1970, p. 389].

The issue of Taiwan was first raised only on March 24, at the third meeting, when Ito announced that Japanese troops had already been sent to the island's shores. Lee immediately said that Japan does not want a truce just because it wants to seize Taiwan. At the same time, he called on the Ito to announce the terms of peace, expressing in advance the wish that these terms would not infringe on the rights of third countries. Hoping to attract for protection

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Lee stated that "Britain does not wish Taiwan to be occupied by third parties", and mentioned that "Taiwan has already been established as a full province [of China], [therefore] cannot be gifted to other countries". But Ito ignored all these arguments, knowing full well both England's true position and Li Hongzhang's difficulties.

At the end of the meeting, Lee was shot in the street by a Japanese fanatic. Fearing that the incident could disrupt negotiations and provoke protests from Western powers, the Japanese made concessions and declared an "unconditional truce" for 21 days on March 30. But the truce extended only to Fengtian (Manchuria), Zhili and Shandong, but not to the island possessions of China. The Penghu Islands were occupied by the Japanese by March 26, after which they began to prepare for the capture of Taiwan [Li Zefen, 1970, p. 391; Narochnitsky, 1956, p. 786; Tabohashi, 1956, p. 485-486, 489-493].

If Li Hongzhang's adopted son, Li Jingfang, had demanded that Taiwan and Penghu be included in the armistice zone at that time, perhaps Japan would have made this concession, and the fate of the southern islands would have been different. But this chance was irrevocably lost. On April 1, the Japanese put forward 11-point peace conditions, giving four days to respond. Item 2 dealt with the cession of territories, including Liaodong with the city of Liaoyang, Taiwan with adjacent islands, and the Penghu Archipelago (Tabohashi, 1956, p. 506). On April 5, Li Hongzhang offered an asymmetric 4-point response, where he pointed out that at the beginning of the war, Japan did not encroach on Chinese lands, and warned: "The land received today... they can be either large or small. All this is unimportant in comparison with whether in the future the peoples of China and Japan will become eternal friends or eternal enemies..." [Li Zefen, 1970, p.392; Tabohashi, 1956, p. 513].

On April 6, Li telegraphed to Beijing that in order to promote peace, it is necessary to agree to at least 100 million liang indemnity and cession of Taiwan and the Penghu Islands. This telegram was reported to Cixi, who ordered that neither Liaodong, Taiwan, nor the Penghu Islands should be ceded (Tabohashi, 1956, pp. 515-516). On April 8, the court in Beijing again discussed the cession of land, but did not make a decision. At the same time, the emperor stated:: "If we give up Taiwan, we may lose the hearts of all our subjects! How will We manage the Celestial Empire?!". On the 9th, Beijing sent a new decree to Li: "The North and the South are two territories that the court considers equally important. Is it easy to talk about ceding land? We must not give in and [at least] limit ourselves to one area." In effect, the Qing were making concessions in the south. But Ito had already moved on to direct threats: "The requirements for ceding territories are not subject to any changes. You must remember that Japan is the winner of the war, and China is the loser."

On April 9, Li Hongzhang gave Ito a version of the answer that limited the concessions in the south to the Penghu Islands only. On April 10, at the fourth meeting, the Japanese agreed to reduce the contribution by 100 million liang and refused to annex the city of Liaoyang, but still demanded cession of Taiwan and Penghu (Tabohashi, 1956, pp. 523-525). Then Lee said: "[If] the island of Taiwan is not yet completely occupied by Japanese troops, then what is the reason to force [it] to cede?". To this Ito objected: "Why did [you] cede the Jilin and Heilongjiang regions to Russia?" Li retorted that Jilin and Heilongjiang were empty and cold regions, while Taiwan was a densely populated province, and these areas were incomparable. Then Ito threatened that he would send troops to capture the island. But Lee said the waves in the Taiwan Strait are high and the people are tough. It will be difficult to capture them, as the defeat of France showed. He also said, " The land of Taiwan is very dangerous for malaria, so Taiwanese people smoke a lot of opium to avoid getting malaria." Ito responded that Japanese troops "always get what they want, regardless of any difficulties."-

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and promised to ban opium "the day after the conquest of Taiwan" (this promise turned out to be a hoax).

On the same day, Li received a telegram from Beijing with permission to cede the bowels of Taiwan as a last resort, and leave the lands and subjects still in the power of China. Lee replied that Tokyo would probably not agree to the proposal. On April 11, Ito announced that all the points of the treaty were "the last and unchangeable option", and Li again requested instructions, waiting for Beijing to agree to cede all of Taiwan. On April 12, Beijing announced that "it is permissible to cede half of Taiwan, give the southern Taiwan closest to Penghu", and leave the north of Taiwan to China as before. This telegram was received on the morning of April 13, when Ito had already rejected Lee's pleas for easing conditions and a new round of negotiations. In an urgent response to Beijing, Li wrote: "The cession of half of Taiwan will surely meet with rejection. Separate governance on the island of the two countries will cause a lot of discord, and the subsequent troubles will be great." He reported that the situation had become extremely dangerous, since Ito had already threatened that changing the terms of peace would be considered a breakdown in negotiations, and Japanese ships with troops were already on their way [Tabohashi, 1956, pp. 532-534].

On April 14, Beijing allowed Li Hongzhang to sign peace terms. On April 15, Lee and Ito held their fifth meeting, discussing the transfer of Taiwan and the departure of the population to the mainland. On April 17, the 11-point Shimonoseki Treaty was signed, paragraph 2 of which defined Taiwan and Penghu as lands ceded to Japan forever. Paragraph 5 read: "After approval and exchange of this agreement, within two years, Japan will allow local residents who want to change their place of residence, give up their land to newcomers, sell their property and go abroad. But in two years, all those who have not left must become Japanese citizens." In addition, after the ratification and exchange of the peace treaty, both countries should immediately send high-ranking officials to Taiwan and exchange documents on the final transfer of Taiwan to Japan within two months [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 215; Tabohashi, 1956, p. 536-537].

Although Ito rejected the request to postpone the transfer of Taiwan for six months, Li Hongzhang still obtained a two-month delay with the last argument: "It is better to remove the Taiwan clause from the treaty altogether! Let Japan take it on its own" [Toder, 1978, p. 197]. These two months could be useful for strengthening the island's defenses.

Violent protests in Taiwan and across China, as well as the demand of the three powers (Russia, France and Germany) to return the Liaodong Peninsula to Japan, prompted Beijing to make last-ditch efforts to save the island. On April 29, the court again called on Li Hongzhang: "Once again, it is mature to assess the situation-whether it is possible to prevent this [concession] with the help of the three powers, notifying Ito by letter. As for the exchange of ratified treaties, the approval of a peace treaty should be postponed for the time being." Lee told the court that a change of terms might derail peace, and that Ito would never allow the exchange of treaties to be delayed. On May 3, Lee telegraphed Ito that the exchange of treaties would take place on time, but "the Taiwan case needs to be thought through again, and negotiations need to be held again." It wasn't just Japan that refused. Having received a promise to return Liaodong, Russia and Germany also advised the Qing not to stall for time and make a timely exchange of contracts [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 216; Tabohashi, 1956, p. 551, 553].

* * *

The exchange of ratified copies of the peace treaty took place in Shimonoseki on May 8. This was followed by the finale of the drama-the transfer of territories. On May 13, Ito telegraphed Li Hongzhang that Japan had already sent its Governor-General to Taiwan-

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tora also asks to urgently send a major Chinese dignitary to transfer the island. At the same time, Lee once again received a supreme decree calling for funds to be found to save Taiwan. Li Hongzhang had no choice but to telegraph Ito again, asking him to link the transfer of Taiwan with the deadline for the return of Liaodong, and expressing hopes that the new Governor-general's departure would be delayed. But Ito responded with a written refusal, and Russia again declared its non-involvement in this issue.

Meanwhile, on May 16, a group of gentry from central Taiwan, led by Jinshi2 Qiu Fengjia, went to Governor Tang Jingsun and demanded that the island be declared an independent state. Against Tang's wishes, a brief telegram was sent to Peking: "The learned people and people of Taiwan are determined to prevent the surrender of Japan. They will declare Taiwan an independent republic under the auspices of the sacred Qing Dynasty." A telegram of similar content, but written in stronger tones, was sent to Zhang Zhitong. It reported that Tang Jinsung remains to temporarily oversee affairs in Taiwan, while General Liu Yongfu remains to defend the southern part of the island. In response to these messages, Li Hongzhang warned that a spontaneous adventure in Taiwan could give Japan an excuse to refuse to return Liaodong. The Qing court heard this call and reacted unusually quickly. On May 18, Li Jingfang received orders to leave for the transfer of the island. On May 20, the court ordered all officials to leave Taiwan and immediately return to China (Yautihara, 1934, p. 171). To demonstrate his loyalty, Tang Jinsung announced his resignation as Taiwan's governor and ordered all military and civilian officials to leave for the mainland immediately. And Li Hongzhang informed the Japanese that Taiwan is already in self-government, so China can only transfer it formally, without being responsible for the consequences.
Around the same time, a report was submitted to the emperor, the author of which wrote that the cession of Taiwan from beginning to end was a secret plan of Li Hongzhang and his son Li Jingfang. And so you should send the father and son to "complete their mission". Despite the irony of the message, the Qing court did take advantage of the advice offered.

At first, the exchange of documents on the transfer of Taiwan was planned in the port of Danynui. But due to the turmoil on the island and the threat of shelling of coastal batteries, this action was moved to the port of Keelung. On June 2, Li Jingfang met with the first Japanese Governor-General of Taiwan, Kobayama Sukenori, and signed the deed of transfer of the island aboard the Yokohama Maru. This is how the final formalities for the transfer of Taiwan were completed.

After the Peace of Shimonoseki, it became clear that saving Taiwan was up to the Taiwanese themselves. Realizing the weakness of their forces, the islanders tried to get external help from Western countries. But the positions of these countries were contradictory and generally unfavorable for Taiwan. So, trying to play the Japanese card against Russia, London was the first to cancel unequal treaties with China before the war began and secretly supported Tokyo in disputes with Beijing over control of Korea. Unaware of this, on April 20, Taipei residents handed the British Consul a petition asking him to tell the Ambassador in Beijing that all of Taiwan wants to come under British protection. They asked for an urgent dispatch of ships and troops to Taiwan in exchange for ceding revenue from duties on coal, gold, and tea production, with land and political rule remaining with China. Tang Jingsun also sent a request to Beijing to speed up negotiations with the British, and Zhang Zhitong sent proposals for new concessions to London. But the British again refused to interfere and made it clear,

Jinshi is the highest academic degree awarded at the metropolitan examinations and opened the way to the highest posts in the state.

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that although England does not like Japan's demands, London cannot help China and refuses to interfere (Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 220).

In fact, as early as May 11, 1895, the first secretary of the British Embassy in Tokyo secretly informed the Japanese Foreign Minister: "The British side does not object to the occupation of Formosa, all reports about it in the newspapers are erroneous" [Guo Huanjia, 1983, pp. 162-163]. On March 6 and early April, Lord Kimberley twice informed the Russian ambassador in London that Britain would not interfere with the transfer of Taiwan and Penghu to Japan, although it considered Japan's claims to be embarrassing [Narochnitsky, 1956, p. 737; Toder, 1978, p. 198]. And on April 1, he cynically told the French Ambassador in London: "Britain can only advise the Chinese: if they decide that the situation has reached the point where it is impossible not to cede territories, then they should agree to cede territories "[Guo Huanjia, 1983, pp. 158-159].

At the same time as trying to get British help, the Chinese were trying to get collective external support. After the demarche of the three powers over Liaodong, new hope dawned for Taiwan. On April 23, Tang suggested that Beijing hold a consultative forum of "different countries" to establish Taiwan's neutrality, similar to that of Korea and the Zhoushan Islands. On April 27, he proposed to " divide and lease the territory of the whole of Taiwan to different countries, with the right of each to develop the subsoil, our collection of duties, on the terms of mutual benefit, which will lead to the flourishing of the whole of Taiwan. And since each country will lease a demarcated territory, the intersection of their commercial interests will lead to mutual non-interference." In fact, it was a prototype of the future division of all of China into spheres of influence of great powers. On April 28, Tang again proposed to convene an international conference and send international troops to Taiwan, based on international law, according to which the cession of sovereign territories requires the consent of the local population, determined through a consultative referendum [Guo Tingyi, 1954, pp. 220-221].

At the same time, Tan invited representatives of foreign consulates to a meeting in Taipei, including US Consul Hopkins and German Consul Merz, to whom he said that he could not guarantee the protection of the lives and property of foreign merchants if the peace treaty was ratified. At the same time, he called on Western countries to send troops and ships to protect their citizens and investments, promising to cede leadership of the fight against Japan to one of them [Hung Chien-chao, 2000, p. 170].

Meanwhile, Beijing ordered Li Hongzhang to investigate the possibility of allied intercession and concessions from the Japanese. But Lee said that this option is difficult to implement. The position of England is known and is not subject to repeated debate. And the position of the three powers-Russia, Germany and France-is based on the position of Russia, which is not interested in Taiwan. Unlike Li, Zhang Zhongtong believed that France did not want Taiwan to pass into third hands and was interested in acquiring a military harbor on Penghu. If France intervenes in the fate of Taiwan and Penghu, then Russia and Germany can support it (Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 221).

French warships appeared off the coast of Penghu on March 21. On May 1, Chinese diplomat Wang Zhichun3 and the French Foreign Ministry held talks on Taiwan's defense in Paris. Qing authorities have offered France special rights in Taiwan and the Penghu Islands if Paris helps thwart Tokyo's claims. At the same time, the Chinese ambassador in St. Petersburg informed Foreign Minister Lobanov that the island's population wanted to become a protectorate of Russia, France, and Germany (Narochnitsky, 1956, p.795).

3 Wang Zhichun was a trusted confidant of Zhang Zhitong. Wang had recently traveled to Russia, where he represented China at the funeral of Alexander III and the coronation of Nicholas II.

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On May 2, Wang informed Zhang Zhongtong that French Foreign Minister Ganoto had reacted very positively, sent military vessels to Keelung and Huwei the same day, and also talked about possible assistance from Spain. He also sent a restraining telegram to Japan... [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 222]. Ganoto had previously discussed the fate of Taiwan with Gong Zhaoyuan, China's ambassador to Britain and France. On May 1, along with the news of London's refusal to defend Taiwan, Gong informed Tang Tsingsun that " France wants to protect Taiwan and Penghu, not give them up to the dwarfs (Japanese - V. G.)... It is only necessary that China first sign a treaty with France stipulating the transfer of Taiwan and Penghu, in order to give France grounds for protection purposes. I beg... a talented military leader (Zhang Zhongtong-V. G.) to report to the government and secretly discuss [these plans] with the French ambassador in Beijing. Today, France sends military vessels to protect [its] merchants." In another telegram, Gong warned: "Due to the tense situation in Taiwan, France has sent ships to protect merchants. Now he's sending people to Taiwan to negotiate commercial opportunities. If military forces land on the shore, I ask you to notify the local authorities so that there will be no surprise or doubt" [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 222]. According to some sources, during the negotiations, France offered China to" temporarily "transfer Formosa and the Pescadores Islands to it," since China is still unable to defend them, and a clash with the Japanese is inevitable " [Yautihara, 1934, p. 5]. At the end of the war, France promised to return the islands to China.

Curiously, it was the French attempt to seize Taiwan in 1885 that helped China realize the island's value. Now Beijing itself was offering Taiwan to Paris.

On May 4, Beijing issued another decree on holding new negotiations with France. But right at that moment, the situation changed dramatically. The Japanese abandoned Liaodong, and plans to bring in Western powers to defend Taiwan again collapsed.

On May 5, Anoto canceled his meeting with Gong Zhaoyuan. By May 11, the French ships had not arrived in Taiwan. On May 12, the French naval emissary held talks with Tang Jinsong, but did not dare to take the initiative. On May 9 and 11, French Ambassador Gerard bluntly told Chinese diplomats in Beijing that since Japan had agreed to take back Liaodong, France no longer " finds it convenient to speak out and interfere. At the moment, it is possible to stop discussing this case (on the cession of Taiwan-V. G.). "On May 16, when Beijing again asked about the possibility of resuming negotiations on the protection of Taiwan, France replied that the change in the situation" makes it difficult to resume previous negotiations " [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p.222].

According to Yautihara Tadao in his book, the government in Beijing itself "categorically" rejected the transfer of Taiwan and Penghu to the French under pressure from General Liu Yongfu, who defended southern Taiwan and hated France after the Annam "incident" (Yautihara, 1934, p. 5). However, this statement seems doubtful both in terms of Liu Yongfu's ability to put pressure on Beijing, and in terms of the tactics of Beijing, which is directly interested in helping France under the current conditions.

In fact, when the three powers first decided on a joint demarche, they feared that Japan would reject their "advice". Therefore, France began negotiations to protect Taiwan and even sent military vessels. But as soon as Japan succumbed to the pressure of the three powers, negotiations on the fate of Taiwan were immediately stopped. On the question of annexations, France followed in the wake of Russia. And since Russia did not raise the issue of Taiwan, France also curtailed all actions in this regard [Guo Tingyi, 1954, pp. 224-225].

Sensing the collapse of hopes for French aid, China once again turned to Germany. Even on the eve of the war, Emperor Wilhelm II showed great interest in the possible seizure of Taiwan and Penghu as the first German colonial bases in the region. But

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The German Foreign Ministry considered this idea impractical due to the complex international situation of Formosa, "bad harbors" and "unsuitable for colonization of the savagery of the inhabitants" of the island, limiting its claims to the capture of Jiaozhou [Yautihara, 1934, p. 6]. In addition, Germany also had to act with an eye to the Allies. As a result, when Beijing asked the German Foreign Ministry to prevent the annexation of Taiwan, Germany, following France, refused.

On the Russian side, on May 15, Foreign Minister Lobanov told Chinese Ambassador to Russia and Germany Xu Jingcheng in St. Petersburg.: "Russia will not take Taiwan into account and cannot have new discussions with Japan." He also said that "Germany has already notified the residents of Taiwan through the consulate about the impossibility of protecting them, and has no other plans." In response to Li Hongzhang's request for assistance sent through Detring 4, the former German ambassador to China, von Brandt, warned that an attempt to stir up a local revolt against the Japanese in Taiwan could be considered a violation of the peace treaty. And the German Foreign Ministry directly warned: "If war breaks out again between China and Japan, then China will be a violator of the treaty, the responsibility for this will increase, and not only Taiwan's lands will be lost..." [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p.223].

As for Russia, it sought to consolidate its influence in northeastern China, prevent Japan's seizure of mainland China and blockade the sea straits. At the same time, Russia did not object at all to Japanese expansion to the south, which could quarrel the Japanese with England and distract Japan's forces and attention from the north of China for a long time.

The assumption of the cession of Formosa as one of the peace conditions of Japan was already mentioned in a dispatch dated November 18, 1894, by the Russian envoy in Beijing, Count A. P. Cassini. This news was calmly received by the Russian Foreign Ministry [AVPRI, Chinese Table, op. 491, d. 112, l. 244]. In a dispatch dated December 22, 1894. The Russian envoy to Tokyo, Mikhail Khitrovo, claimed that Russia "does not object at all to the Japanese occupation of Taiwan." In a dispatch dated February 14, 1895, he repeated that Russia "does not object to the position on the occupation of Taiwan by Japan" [Chen Bisheng, 1982, p. 183]. In a "private, highly secret letter" sent on February 24 to Acting Foreign Minister Shishkin, Khitrovo wrote:: "I doubt that Japan, at the conclusion of peace, demanded any other concession on the mainland besides Formosa... Japan is willing... conclude a profitable peace, a significant military contribution and a territorial concession in the form of fr. Khitrovo considered the possible capture of Formosa to be an event that would draw Japanese forces from the north to the south for a long time and cause discontent in England [Narochnitsky, 1956, pp. 679-680]. The extent to which the Japanese themselves were convinced of Russia's indifference to Formosa is shown by the fact that as early as December 1894, Foreign Minister Mutsu personally hinted to Khitrovo that Japan would demand the cession of Taiwan for peace [AVPRI, Japanese Table, op. 493, d. 2043, l. 50] [Narochnitsky, 1956, pp. 665-666].

On the eve of the collective demarche, trying to attract England to it, Lobanov told the British ambassador in St. Petersburg that France intends to seize the Penghu Islands. At the same time, he hinted that Russia would not object if, as a reward for participating in the demarche, England took over an island in southern China, obviously meaning Taiwan [Guo Huanjia, 1983, p.155].

In April 1895, immediately after Japan's renunciation of Liaodong, Russia repeatedly made it clear that it would not take Taiwan into account. On May 2, in a report to Nicholas II, Foreign Minister Lobanov reported that the population of Formosa was ready to come under the rule of the three allied powers (Tabohasi, 1956, pp. 202-204). But the island was out

4 Detring served as the head of the Chinese Customs Administration in Tianjin.

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direct interests of the tsarist government. Russia's position on Taiwan is clearly summarized in Cassini's report of May 18 (30), 1895, where he wrote: "Along with the question of the conditions for the return of the Liaodong Peninsula to China and the question of Korea, a new question now arises - the Formosa question, which, if it does not concern us, like the other two directly, Nevertheless, it is important because of the influence that it can have on the solution of both first questions" (Narochnitsky, 1956, p. 796).

It is curious that, having refused to openly interfere in the fate of the island, Russia, apparently, still took some steps to indirectly counteract the Japanese. In Taiwan, there are still legends that after the creation of the Taiwan Republic, Russia sent a batch of machine guns to the island's defenders along with a team of serving military technicians. Then the Russians left the island, but left the machine guns to the rebels, who used them for several more years [Jian Yongguang, 2000, p. 31].

The fact of the secret delivery of machine guns from Russia to Taiwan for testing in real combat conditions looks theoretically possible.5 The presence of "multi-shot guns" in the Republic of Taiwan is mentioned in his book by James W. Davidson (1903). However, the Japanese police's colonial archives report that the rebels had only seven-and nine-cartridge Lian fa Qiang multi-shot rifles (probably 44-mm Winchester carbines), and do not confirm their Russian origin.

In any case, Russia's official position was strictly neutral. In fact, worrying only about the possible complication of the situation after the return of Liaodong, Russia and Germany only outwardly supported Paris, which demanded that the Japanese declare Penghu a neutral zone, not build military fortifications there, preserve freedom of navigation in the Taiwan Strait, and, finally, not transfer Penghu and Taiwan to third countries [Chen Bisheng, 1982, p. 5-6]. After Tokyo promised to accept these demands, Nicholas II expressed satisfaction in a note from the Russian envoy to the Japanese Foreign Ministry dated October 6 (18), 1895 [Toder, 1978, p. 204]. As for the French takeover of Taiwan, they themselves had no serious plans in this regard, clearly realizing that this would not suit Germany and would directly pit them not only with Japan, but also with England, which by then monopolized almost all trade with Taiwan and was the only country with a consulate in Taipei [Guo Huanjia, 1983, p. 153, 160-161].

At some point, the Taiwanese even hoped for the help of Spain and Holland [Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 222; Hung Chien-chao, 2000, p.170]. And when all hopes for Europeans were dashed, Zhang Zhitong and Tang Jinsung decided to attract America. But American "neutrality" was not designed to counteract Japanese plans to seize the island. On the contrary, the United States hoped to oust England from there.

After Japan demanded an increase of 100 million liang for the return of Liaodong, in a telegram dated May 22, Tang Jinsung suggested that Beijing help pay the indemnity by selling Taiwan: "Ask different countries for an acceptable price, and then you can assign Taiwan as a mortgage to other states." Zhang Zhongtong said that the United States estimates the collateral value of Taiwan at $ 1 billion. liang, but in reality it can be mortgaged for several hundred million. If China mortgages or sells Taiwan, it will be able to pay all the indemnities on its own (Guo Tingyi, 1954, p. 225).

5 Perhaps we are talking about the 45-mm machine gun Maxim, invented in the 80s of the XIX century by the American Hyr Stevens Maxim. The first sample of this machine gun was brought to Russia and tested on a shooting range in 1887. According to some sources, Tsar Alexander III personally conducted test firing on March 8, 1887, just 8 years before the events described.

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But even before the response to Tang Jinsung's dispatch arrived from Beijing, on May 25, the island announced the creation of the "Taiwan people's government state". Describing the situation on the island in those days, the British Consul reported:: "It seems very surprising, but if at that time the British government only wanted to get Taiwan and take it under its protection, it is quite possible that we would have had no difficulty getting Formosa into British power." But the British ambassador in Beijing, O'Connor, took no action. He reasonably believed that the Taiwan Republic was not "real", but mistakenly attributed its appearance to the machinations of France. Even a few days later, when O'Connor believed that the Taiwanese wanted to become British citizens and did not want to submit to Japan, his answer was: "Whatever you say, the time is simply lost!" [Guo Huanjia, 1983, p. 163].

* * *

Thus, China's struggle against ceding Taiwan took place in two stages: before and during peace negotiations, and after the conclusion of peace. If at the first stage the center of diplomatic activity was in Beijing and Shimonoseki, then at the second stage it shifted to the island. Although a number of experts noted the passivity of the Chinese delegation to Shimonoseki and at the same time the dexterity of officials in the backroom struggle against the transfer of the island to Japanese control [Zabrovskaya, 1993, p. 4], in fact, the line and tactics of Li Hongzhang's negotiations on Taiwan were quite active, flexible and pragmatic, although almost not supported by non-diplomatic (for example, military) by other means. Despite the isolation in Shimonoseki and the contradictory directives received from Beijing, the Chinese delegation did, if not everything, then almost everything in its power to prevent the annexation of Taiwan, provided that a new outbreak of the already lost war was prevented. But these efforts were doomed to failure due to the erroneous bet on purely diplomatic intrigues and playing on contradictions between powers. The result of this tactic was that by the end of the war, Taiwan was a bargaining chip in a diplomatic struggle that had nothing to do with the interests of the island itself and all of China. Each of the foreign powers tried to use Taiwan to their advantage. Britain and the United States encouraged Japanese aggression in Taiwan, dreaming of setting Japan against Russia and expanding their penetration into China. Russia, Germany and France have used Taiwan to negotiate concessions from Japan on the mainland and also strengthen their positions in China.

The Qing authorities sacrificed the island for the sake of ending the war, preserving the borders on the mainland and protecting the ruling regime. The struggle for the island was not a matter of principle for the Qing, limited by purely diplomatic means, not coordinated and not supported by comprehensive measures, finances and military resources. For example, only two weak vessels of the southern flotilla were sent to the coast of Taiwan in July 1894 [Toder, 1978, p. 191]. And during the entire subsequent military campaign, the Qing did not send a single ship to protect the island from the sea.

Japan, having succumbed to the pressure of the three powers, rejected China's requests, doing everything possible to turn Taiwan into a key outpost in the Pacific and a powerful resource for strengthening the Japanese empire. Even its rejection of Liaodong was successfully used for diplomatic bargaining with China and the West. The loss of Taiwan to China was a kind of compensation, a group curtsey to Tokyo from Western diplomats who clearly underestimated the island's strategic role and the aggressive potential of the Japanese empire. The fruits of their shortsightedness were the subsequent defeat of Russia 10 years later, the weakening of the influence of England and France in the Far East, as well as Pearl Harbor and Japanese aggression in China and East Asia during World War II.

page 29
The takeover of Taiwan, Japan's first colony, made it the only non-European colonial power in Asia, significantly accelerating the growth of Tokyo's imperial ambitions, militarism, and colonial ambitions. As a Japanese author of the time wrote: "Now that Taiwan has fallen into our hands, great Japan has found an opportunity to expand its territory. If the government can get the colonization thing right from the start, this land will be the base for our future grand plans. In the south, the Philippines is not far away. The islands of the South Seas are built in a row, forming a natural bridge. Near Annam, Hong Kong, Singapore. All this must fall under the rule of the Japanese Empire. But all these are matters of the future, and Taiwan is its pledge " [Yautihara, 1934, p. 7].

For the Taiwanese themselves, the cession of the island was a turning point in their fate. Colonization led to half a century of physical and spiritual isolation of the Islanders from mainland China, made Japanization and the complex ethno-cultural diffusion of Taiwanese society inevitable, followed by a transformation of the ethnic identity of Taiwanese and the birth of the island's independence movement.

list of literature

AVPRI (Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire).

Guo Tingyi. Essays on the History of Taiwan Taipei, 1954.

Guo Huanjia. English diplomacy and the Concession of Taiwan (1894-1895). / / The Future of Taiwan. Collection of materials of the scientific conference. Beijing, Druzhba Publishing House, 1983.

Zabrovskaya L. V. Historiographical problems of the Japanese-Chinese War of 1894-1895. Vladivostok, 1993.

Li Zefen. History of Sino-Japanese Relations Taipei, 1970.

Narochnitsky A. L. Colonial policy of capitalist Powers in the Far East. 1860-1895. M, 1956.

Tabohashi Kiyoshi. Diplomatic history of the Japanese-Chinese War (1894-1895). Moscow, 1956.

Toder F. A. Taiwan and its history (XIX century). Moscow, 1978.

Jian Yongguang. A hermit crab from the sea waters of Taipei, 2000.

Chen Bisheng. Local History of Taiwan Beijing, 1982.

Yautihara Tadao. Formosa under the Rule of Japanese Imperialism, Moscow, 1934.
Davidson J. W. The Island of Formosa. Historical View from 1430 to 1900. N.Y. -L., 1903.

Hung Chien-chao. A History of Taiwan. Taipei, 2000.


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