Xu Shichang

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Xu Shichang
Xu shichang Colour.jpg
President of the Republic of China
In office
10 October 1918 – 2 June 1922
Preceded by Feng Guozhang
Succeeded by Zhou Ziqi
Premier of the Republic of China
In office
1 May 1914 – 22 December 1915
Preceded by Sun Baoqi
Succeeded by Lou Tseng-Tsiang
In office
22 March 1916 – 23 April 1916
Preceded by Lou Tseng-Tsiang
Succeeded by Duan Qirui
Personal details
Born (1855-10-20)20 October 1855
Weihui, Henan, Qing Dynasty
Died 5 June 1939(1939-06-05) (aged 83)
Republic of China
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Xu (Hsu).

Xu Shichang (Hsu Shih-chang; Chinese: 徐世昌; pinyin: Xú Shìchāng; Wade–Giles: Hsü2 Shih4-ch'ang1; courtesy name: Juren (Chu-jen; 菊人); October 20, 1855 – June 5, 1939) was President of the Republic of China (Beijing government) from October 10, 1918 to June 2, 1922.

Biography[edit]

Xu's ancestral hometown was Yinxian County (current Yinzhou District), Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. Born in Weihui, Henan, he was Yuan Shikai's closest friend. He was at one time the Viceroy of Manchuria and at the end of the Qing dynasty he was made chief of the general staff despite being a civilian. He resigned as secretary of state (premier) in protest to Yuan's imperial ambition in late 1915. He resumed his post after Yuan abandoned monarchism.

His election as president was largely engineered by Duan Qirui and his Anhui clique. He was chosen because he was a civilian yet had close ties to the Beiyang Army and was neutral to both its Zhili and Anhui cliques. Lacking any military power of his own, he had to play Duan, Zhili leader Cao Kun, and Fengtian leader Zhang Zuolin against each other to stay in power.

He held a massive celebration in Beijing for China's victory in World War I on 18 November 1918, however he brought troops into the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. A ceasefire with Sun Yatsen's rival Constitutional Protection government was declared and intellectuals were given greater freedom. This lasted until news from France showed how Duan Qirui promised German territory in Shandong to Japan. Large student protests (May Fourth Movement) led to Xu cracking down with mass arrests. The delegation was ordered home and China refused to sign or ratify the Versailles treaty. Consequently, the shaky alliance between the Zhili and Anhui cliques collapsed with Duan decisively defeated. This led to the era of high warlordism. Conflict with the south flared again in 1920 and he also failed to retake Mongolia. Cao Kun, who never liked Xu, pressured him out of office and restored Li Yuanhong.

His presidency lasted the longest during the warlord era. He was also the only non-acting president of the Beiyang government to be a civilian.

Hsu shih chang.jpg
Political offices
Preceded by
Sun Baoqi
Premier of the Republic of China (Secretary of State)
1914–1915
Succeeded by
Lu Zhengxiang
Preceded by
Lu Zhengxiang
Premier of the Republic of China (Secretary of State)
1916
Succeeded by
Duan Qirui
Preceded by
Feng Guozhang
President of the Republic of China
1918–1922
Succeeded by
Zhou Ziqi