Concessions in Tianjin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Map of the concessions

The Concessions in Tianjin were concession territories ceded by the Chinese government to some European countries and Japan within the city of Tianjin. At that time, Tianjin was also known as Tientsin (sometimes spelled Tien-Tsin).

General context[edit]

Prior to the 19th century, the Chinese were concerned that European trade and missionary activity would upset the order of the empire. Strictly controlled and subject to import tariffs, European traders were limited to operating in Canton and Macao. Following a series of military defeats against Britain and France, the Qing were slowly forced to permit extraterritoriality for foreign nationals and even cessions of Chinese sovereignty over certain ports and mineral rights.

Western ships anchored alongside the European concessions in 1874
Troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance, Tianjin 1900

Tianjin's position at the intersection of the Grand Canal and the Peiho River connecting Beijing to the Bohai Bay made it one of the premier ports of northern China. Foreign trade was approved there for the British and French by the 1860 Peking Convention. Its importance increased even further when it was connected to the Tangshan coal fields by the Kaiping Tramway, the railroad that eventually connected all of northern China and Manchuria. Between 1895 and 1900, the two original powers were joined by Japan, Germany, Russia, and by Austria-Hungary, Italy and Belgium – countries without concessions elsewhere in China – in establishing self-contained concessions each with their own prisons, schools, barracks and hospitals. The European settlements covered 5 square miles (13 km2) in all, the riverfront being governed by foreign powers.

With the collapse of the Chinese Empire, the Kuomintang managed a restructuring of Chinese domestic and foreign relations, allowing it to recognize European states as equals. In turn, the concessions in Tianjin were dismantled in the early to mid-20th century with successful recognition of the European states by the Kuomintang, which gave European property owners equality before Chinese officials. However, World War II disrupted this nascent development: the Japanese seized the concessions of powers allied against it during its occupation of the country. Soon after the war, all the powers relinquished their concessions in China, including in Tianjin.

Austro-Hungarian concession (1901–1917)[edit]

Austro-Hungarian naval corps in Tianjin c. 1903-04.

During the Boxer rebellion and its aftermath 1899-1901, Austria-Hungary participated in the Eight-Nation Alliance and helped in suppressing the rising. However, Austria-Hungary together with Italy sent the smallest force of any of the combatant nations. Four cruisers and 296 Hungarian enlisted soldiers were dispatched.[1]

Even so on September 7, 1901, Austria-Hungary gained a concession zone in Tianjin as part of the reward for its contribution to the allies. The Austro-Hungarian concession zone was 150 acres (0.61 km2) in area, situated next to the Pei-Ho river and outlined by the Imperial channel and the Tianjin-Peking railway track. Contrary to the other nations the Hungarians possessed the territory and all of its inhabitants gained Austro-Hungarian citizenship. Its population was around 30.000 people. The order was maintained by 40 marines and 70 Chinese militia (Shimbo).

The self-contained concession had its own thermae, theatre, pawnshop, school, barracks, prison, cemetery and hospital. It also contained the Austro-Hungarian consulate and its citizens were under Austro-Hungarian, not Chinese rule. However despite its relatively short life-span (only 16 years in all), the Austrians have left their mark on that area of the city, as can be seen in the wealth of Austrian architecture, that stands in the city to this day.

The administration was held by a town council composed of local high-class noblemen and headed by the Austro-Hungarian consul and the military commander, whereas the two of them had a majority vote. In the focus of juridical system there were smaller crimes and they were based on the Austro-Hungarian laws. If a Chinese person committed a crime on Chinese soil he could be tried in their own courts.[2]

View of the Peiho River and the bridge of the Austro-Hungarian Concession.

Though provided with a small garrison, Austria-Hungary proved unable, due to World War I to maintain control of its concession. The concession zone was swiftly occupied by China at the Chinese declaration of war on the Central powers and on 14 August 1917 the lease was terminated, along with that of the larger German concession in the same city.[3] Austria finally abandoned all claim to it on September 10, 1919 (Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye), Hungary made a similar recognition in 1920 (Treaty of Trianon).The former Austro-Hungarian concession, renamed the 'Second Special District", was placed under the permanent administration of the Chinese government.[4]In 1919 Italy requested the Austrian concession after WWI: it was denied, but was temporarily obtained only in June 1928 and soon returned to Chinese authorities,[5] when the Second Special Area (the one of former Austrian concession) was in danger of war and occupation during the Chinese Warlord Era.

List of consuls[edit]

Belgian concession (1902–1931)[edit]

The former Belgian Concession was established in 1902. Located on the eastern bank of the Hai River (Hai He), the Belgian government and business community did not invest in concession development. The concession was nominal and of little value, so in 1929 Belgium gave it back to China.[6]

Much more important were contracts involving railways, electric power systems and tramways built and partly operated by Belgian private companies. In 1904, China and Belgium signed a contract with Compagnie de Tramways et d'Éclairage de Tientsin, which stated that "this company has the exclusive right to produce and maintain the electric light and trolley systems for a term of 50 years." In 1906, with the opening of the first route of the trolley system, Tianjin became the first city in China with a modern public transportation system (Shanghai had to wait till 1908 to get electric tramways). The supply of electricity and lighting and the trolley business were profitable ventures. All the rolling stock was supplied by Belgian industries, with a small exception: the original electrical equipment came from Germany. By 1914, the network was covering the Chinese city and the Austrian, French, Italian, Japanese and Russian concessions.

The Compagnie de Tramways et d'Éclairage de Tientsin was taken over by the Japanese army in 1943 and the members of the Belgian staff, often with their families, were sent to camps. Following the end of World War II, the Chinese authorities took over the network. The Brussels-based company tried to get compensation, but the success of the revolution in 1949 left them without any indemnity. Two more lines were built under Chinese administration, but the network was finally closed around 1972.

List of consul-generals[edit]

  • Henri Ketels (1902-1906)
  • Albert Disière (1906-1914)
  • Auguste Dauge (1914-1919)
  • Ernest Franck (1919-1923)
  • Alphonse van Cutsem (1923-1929)
  • Tony Snyers (1929-1931)

British concession (1860–1943)[edit]

Gordon Hall, 1907
British Indian troops on parade in Tianjin in the 1920s­.

The British concession, in which the trade centres, was situated on the right bank of the river Haihe below the native city, occupying some 200 acres (0.81 km2). It was held on a lease in perpetuity granted by the Chinese government to the British Crown, which sublet plots to private owners in the same way as was done at Hankou.

The British concession was blockaded by the Japanese during the Tientsin Incident in June 1939, causing a major diplomatic crisis.

The local management was entrusted to a municipal council organized on lines similar to those in Shanghai. The seat of government was the stately Gordon Hall, situated on Victoria Road (now Jiefang Lu).

The Japanese occupied the British concession upon their declaration of war against Britain on 7 December 1941 until the end of the war.

The British concession in Tianjin was formally returned to China with the Sino-British Treaty for the Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China, ratified on 20 May 1943, although the Chinese could not take possession until the end of the war ended the Japanese occupation.

List of consul-generals[edit]

  • James Mongan (1860-1877)
  • William Hyde Lay (1870, acting)
  • Sir Chaloner Grenville Alabaster (1877-1885)
  • Byron Brenan (1885-1893)
  • Henry Barnes Bristow (1893-1897)
  • Benjamin Charles George Scott (1897-1899)
  • William Richard Carles (1899-1901)
  • Lionel Charles Hopkins (1901-1908)
  • Sir Alexander Hosie (1908-1912)
  • Sir Henry English Fulford (1912-1917)
  • William Pollock Ker (1917-1926)
  • James William Jamieson (1926-1930)
  • Lancelot Giles (1928-1934)
  • John Barr Affleck (1935-1938)
  • Edgar George Jamieson (1938-1939)
  • Oswald White (1939-1941)
  • Sir Alwyne George Neville Ogden (1941, acting)

French concession (1860–1946)[edit]

Bastille Day in 1911
Rue de France, French concession

The former French concession was established in 1860. After more than 100 years, almost every prominent building in the original concession is still extant, including the French Consulate, the Municipal Council, the French Club, the Catholic Cathedral, the French Garden and many others. Many of the bank buildings along the financial street (currently Jiefang Lu, formerly the Rue de France) are still in existence today.

French armoured car in Tianjin during the 1928 troubles

The villas around the Garden Road are beautiful and diverse. The dome of the French Cathedral was the subject of unwanted attention during the Cultural Revolution: some young Red Guards climbed to the top of the dome to destroy the cross, though later the Tianjin government not only repaired the cross, but also renovated the entire church. Many French celebrities lived in Tianjin. Among them, Paul Claudel (consul from 1906 till 1909), and the natural scientist Father Emile Licent who conducted research in Tianjin from 1914 to 1939. He founded the Musee Hong Ho Bai Ho and left 20,000 specimens of animals, plants and fossils, as well as 15,000 books. In 1998, Tianjin government invested and rebuilt the Tianjin Nature Museum.

List of consuls[edit]

  • Louis Charles Nicolas Maximilien de Montigny (1863-1868)
  • Henri Victor Fontanier (1869-1870)
  • Charles Dillon (1870-1883)
  • Ernest François Fournier (1883-1884)
  • Paul Ristelhueber (1884-1891)
  • Marie Jacques Achille Raffray (1891-1894)
  • Jean Marie Guy Georges du Chaylard (1894-1897)
  • Arnold Jacques Antoine Vissière (1897-1898)
  • Jean Marie Guy Georges du Chaylard (1898-1902)
  • Marie-Henri Leduc (1902-1903)
  • Émile Rocher (1903-1906)
  • Henri Séraphin Bourgeois (1906)
  • Paul Claudel (1906-1909)
  • Camille Gaston Kahn (1909-1912)
  • Henri Séraphin Bourgeois (1913-1918)
  • Jean Émile Saussine (1918-1923)
  • Jacques Meyrier (1929-1931)
  • Charles Jean Lépissier (1931-1935)
  • Pierre Jean Crépin (1935-1937)
  • Louis Charles (1937-1938)
  • Charles Jean Lépissier (1938-1943)
  • Georges Cattand (1943-1946)


German concession (1899–1917)[edit]

Germany by the late 1870s was on a course of extensive economic involvement in several Chinese provinces, among them the Tianjin area. The German enclave south of the Hai River was situated between the British and one of the Japanese concessions. In July 1877 xenophobic groups threatened the life and property of German merchants in Tianjin. Local unrest intensified, mainly due to poor harvests and resulting famine, and Tianjin business interests requested armed protection. The German admiralty then dispatched the corvette SMS Luise to China. This initial show of support eventually evolved into a permanent presence in Chinese waters by initially modest German naval forces.

Street of the German concession on the eve of WWI.

After Germany acquired the Kiautschou Bay region in 1898 with a 99-year lease, a further concession was negotiated for the Tianjin enclave and economic growth escalated with infrastructure improvements. Major trading houses and diverse enterprises established themselves, including a branch of the Deutsch-Asiatische Bank. The Boxer rebellion of 1900 initially laid siege to the foreign concessions in Tianjin, but the city was secured and used as a staging area for the eventual march on Peking by the eight-nation international relief forces.

China swiftly occupied the German concession after it declared war on the Central Powers in August 1917. In 1919, the former concession, renamed the "First Special District", was placed under the permanent administration of the Chinese government. The United States 15th Infantry was billeted in the former German barracks from 1917 until 1938, departing only after the Japanese Army entered Tianjin.

List of consuls[edit]

  • Albert Evan Edwin Reinhold Freiherr von Seckendorff (1889-1896)
  • Dr. Rudolf Eiswaldt (1896-1900)
  • Arthur Zimmermann (1900-1902)
  • Paul Max von Eckardt (1902-1905)
  • Hubert von Knipping (1906-1913)
  • Fritz Wendschuch (1913-1917)

Italian concession (1901–1947)[edit]

Map of the Italian concession

On September 7, 1901, Italy was granted a concession in Tianjin from the Chinese government. On June 7, 1902, the Italians took control of the concession, which was to be administered by an Italian consul. It became the headquarters[7] of the Italian Legione Redenta (an "Italian legio" made of irredentist troops in the defeated Austro-Hungarian empire), that fought in 1919 against Lenin's Soviet troops in Siberia and Manchuria.

In 1919, the Italian government tried to obtain from the Paris Peace Conference that the former Austro-Hungarian concession -that bordered its own concession- be ceded to Italy as a leased territory and be part of the Italian concessions and forts in China. But the request was refused and the former concession was placed under the administration of the Chinese government. However Italy temporarily obtained it in June 1928 (during a China civil war) and soon returned to Chinese authorities.

British and Italian units marching in Tianjin

In 1935, the Italian Concession of Tianjin had a population of about 6,261, including about 536 foreigners. The Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) stationed some vessels in Tianjin. During World War II, the Italian concession in Tianjin had a garrison of approximately 600 Italian troops on the side of the Axis powers. On September 10, 1943, when Italy signed an armistice with the Allies, the concession was occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army. Later in 1943, the Italian Social Republic (RSI) formally relinquished the concession to Wang Jingwei's Japanese-sponsored Chinese puppet state, the Reorganized National Government of China which, like the RSI in Axis-held northern Italy, was not recognized by the Kingdom of Italy, the Republic of China, or most other nations. The Wang Jingwei government fell when the Empire of Japan was defeated.

On June 2, 1946, the Kingdom of Italy became the Italian Republic and on February 10, 1947, by virtue of the peace treaty with Italy, the Italian concession was formally ceded by Italy to Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China.

The Italian WWI monument and the Piazza Regina Elena.

List of governors/podesta/consuls[edit]

  • Cesare Poma (1901-1903)
  • Giuseppe Chiostri (1904-1906)
  • Oreste Da Vella (1906-1911)
  • Vincenzo Fileti (1912-1920)
  • cav. Marcello Roddolo (1920-1921)
  • Luigi Gabrielli di Quercita (1921-1924)
  • Guido Segre (1925-1927)
  • Luigi Neyrone (1927-1932)
  • Filippo Zappi (1932-1938)
  • Ferruccio Stefenelli (1938-1943)

Japanese concession (1898–1945)[edit]

Zhang Garden (张园), where the former emperor Puyi lived from 1925 to 1927.
Jing Garden (静园) aka. Garden of Serenity, where the former emperor Puyi lived from 1927 to 1931.[8][9]

The former Japanese concession was initially established in 1898 in the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War and additional areas were added in 1900-1902 after the Boxer Rebellion. In 1937, the Japanese army occupied the entire city of Tianjin minus the foreign concessions. These were occupied in 1941 and in 1943. The Japanese concession ceased to exist with the capitulation of Japan in 1945.

Two preserved buildings attract visitors' attention: the Zhang Garden and the Jing Garden of the abdicated emperor Puyi.

In 1924, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, Puyi, was forced to leave the Forbidden City in Beijing and lived in Tianjin until 1931 when he was forcibly taken by the Japanese army to Dalian. The imperial concubine Wenxiu divorced Puyi in Tianjin, which was the first time in Chinese dynastic history that an imperial concubine divorced an emperor.

List of consul-generals[edit]

  • Minoji Arakawa (1895-1896)
  • Tei Nagamasa (1896-1902)
  • Hikokichi Ijuin (1902-1907)
  • Kato Motoshiro (1907, acting)
  • Obata Yukichi (1907-1913)
  • Kubota Bunzo (1913-1914)
  • Matsudaira Tsuneo (1914-1919)
  • Ishii Itaro (1918, acting)
  • Tatsuichiro Funatsu (1919-1921)
  • Yagi Motohachi (1921-1922)
  • Shigeru Yoshida (1922-1925)
  • Hachiro Arita (1925-1927)
  • Kato Sotomatsu (1927-1929)
  • Okamoto Takezo (1929-1930)
  • Tajiri Akiyoshi (1930-1931)
  • Kuwashima Kazue (1931-1933)
  • Kurihara Tadashi (1933-1934)
  • Kawagoe Shigeru (1934-1936)
  • Horiuchi Tateki (1936-1938)
  • Tashiro Shigenori (1938-1939)
  • Kato Shigeshi (1942-1943)
  • Shinichi Takase (1943-1945)

Russian concession (1903–1920)[edit]

Former Russian consulate in Tianjin, circa 1912.

The former Russian concession was established in 1903. The former Russian concession in Tianjin (1903–1920), originally an area of more than 398 hectares, was never completed. Located on the eastern bank of Hai He River along a bend in the river, it was originally divided into two districts (east and west). In 1920 the Beiyang government of the Republic of China retook the land and concession from the Russian SFSR. In 1924, the Soviet Union renounced its claim on the concession.

List of consul-generals[edit]

  • Nikolai Vasilievich Laptev (1903-1907)
  • Nikolai Maksimovich Poppe (1907-1909)
  • Nikolai Sergeievich Muliukin (1909-1910, acting)
  • Khristophor Petrovic Kristi (1910-1913)
  • Konstantin Viktorovich Uspensky (1913-1914, acting)
  • Pyotr Genrikhovich Tiedemann (1914-1920)

American concession[edit]

The United States never requested or received extraterritorial rights in Tianjin, but a de facto concession was administered from 1869 until 1880, principally under the aegis of the British mission. In 1902 this informal American territory became part of the British concession. The United States maintained a permanent garrison at Tianjin, provided from January 1912 until 1938 by the 15th Infantry, US Army, and then by the US Marine Corps until December 8, 1941, the day the United States entered the Second World War and all territories of the US and the British Empire in Asia and the Pacific faced the threat of attack by the Empire of Japan.

Tianjin. The 15th Infantry on parade, 1931.

Lloyd Horne recalls of his time there in the 1930s "I was detailed with the 15th Infantry to rescue missionaries that were being trapped there. It was like they were prisoners — they couldn't even come out of their billets without getting fired on or having rocks thrown at them."[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Magyar Királyi Központi Statisztikai Hivatal (1907) [Composed 1901]. "A magyar korona területén kivül tartózkodott magyar honos katonák a cs. és kir. közös hadügyminiszter által megküldött számlálólapok alapján, összeirási (tartózkodási) helyük szerint" [The number of Hungarian nationality soldiers dispatched abroad according to the re-enlisting papers emitted by the Royal and Imperial joint Minister of Military affairs sorted by their place of enlisting (dispatchment)]. A magyar szent korona országainak 1901. évi népszámlálása : Harmadik rész. A népesség részletes leirása [Census of 1901 in the countries of the Holy Crown : Volume III. The detailed description of the population.] (scan) (census). Magyar statisztikai közlemények (in Hungarian) 5 (new ed.). Budapest: Pesti Könyvnyomda-Részvénytársaság. p. 31. Retrieved January 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Géza Szuk (1904). "A mi Kis Khinánk" [Our Little China] (PDF). Vasárnapi Ujság 18 (51): 292–294. Retrieved 2011-01-19. 
  3. ^ a b Jens Budischowsky (May 28, 2010). "Die family der wirtschaftswissenschafters Joseph Alois Schumpeter im 19. und 20. jahrhundert" [The family of economic scientists, Joseph Alois Schumpeter in the 19th and 20th century] (PDF) (in German). www.schumpeter.info. Retrieved January 20, 2011. 
  4. ^ The former German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian concessions, respectively renamed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Special Districts, survived as distinct administrative entities administered by the Chinese government under a regime similar to that of the remaining foreign concessions.
  5. ^ "Italian occupation of former Austrian Concession". Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Anne-Marie Brady; Douglas Brown (2012). Foreigners and Foreign Institutions in Republican China. Routledge. p. 27. 
  7. ^ Headquarter building of Italy in Tientsin
  8. ^ "Quietness Garden". Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "Between Development and Heritage". Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  10. ^ Eileen Wilson (30 May 2011). "World War II vet recalls battle on two fronts". granitbaypt.com. 

Sources and references[edit]