[Illustration: Modern Peking: A Run on a Bank.]
[Illustration: The Re-opening of Parliament on August 1st, 1916, after three years of dictatorial rule.]
Moreover Yuan Shih-kai had also shown in his selection and use of foreign Advisers, that he was determined to proceed in such a manner as to advertise his suspicion and enmity of Japan. After the Coup d’etat of the 4th November, 1913, and the scattering of Parliament, it was an American Adviser who was set to work on the new “Constitution”; and although a Japanese, Dr. Ariga, who was in receipt of a princely salary, aided and abetted this work, his endorsement of the dictatorial rule was looked upon as traitorous by the bulk of his countrymen. Similarly, it was perfectly well-known that Yuan Shih-kai was spending large sums of money in Tokio in bribing certain organs of the Japanese Press and in attempting to win adherents among Japanese members of Parliament. Remarkable stories are current which compromise very highly-placed Japanese but which the writer hesitates to set down in black and white as documentary proof is not available. In any case, be this as it may, it was felt in Tokio that the time had arrived to give a proper definition to the relations between the two states,—the more so as Yuan Shih-kai, by publicly proclaiming a small war-zone in Shantung within the limits of which the Japanese were alone permitted to wage war against the Germans, had shown himself indifferent to the majesty of Japan. The Japanese having captured Kiaochow by assault before the end of 1914 decided to accept the view that a de facto Dictatorship existed in China. Therefore on the 18th of January, 1915, the Japanese Minister, Dr. Hioki, personally served on Yuan Shih-kai the now famous Twenty-one Demands, a list designed to satisfy every present and future need of Japanese policy and to reduce China to a state of vassalage.
THE TWENTY-ONE DEMANDS
Although the press of the world gave a certain prominence at the time to the astounding demarche with which we now have to deal, there was such persistent mystery about the matter and so many official dementis accompanied every publication of the facts that even to this day the nature of the assault which Japan delivered on China is not adequately realized, nor is the narrow escape assigned its proper place in estimates of the future. Briefly, had there not been publication of the facts and had not British diplomacy been aroused to action there is little doubt that Japan would have forced matters so far that Chinese independence would now be virtually a thing of the past. Fortunately, however, China in her hour of need found many who were willing to succour her; with the result that although she lost something in these negotiations, Japan nevertheless failed in a very signal fashion to attain her main objective.