Zhou Ziqi

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Zhou Ziqi
Zhou Ziqi.jpg
President of the Republic of China
In office
2 June 1922 – 11 June 1922
Preceded by Xu Shichang
Succeeded by Li Yuanhong
Personal details
Born (1869-11-17)November 17, 1869
Guangdong, Qing Dynasty
Died October 21, 1923(1923-10-21) (aged 53)
Nationality China
Political party Non-partisan
Other political
Progressive Party

Zhou Ziqi (Chinese: 周自齊; pinyin: Zhōu Zìqí; Wade–Giles: Chow Tzu-ch'i; 17 November 1869 – 21 October 1923) was a Chinese politician in the late Qing dynasty and early republican period. He was a member of the Communications Clique.


He was born in Guangdong and spoke both Cantonese and Mandarin but he later moved back to his ancestral province of Shandong. He received higher education in the United States at Columbia University. Upon returning to China, he founded Tsinghua University for the purpose of preparing students (in English and science and math) to study in America, while he was in charge of sending students to study in America. He also served as president of the university in 1911.

As the governor of Shandong Province, he supported Yuan Shikai to reverse China from a (people-governing) republic to an empire (monarch) because he believed that the Chinese people, with 98% illiteracy, were not ready to govern themselves. They could only be manipulated by politicians and bring instability and chaos to the country. He later held the following positions: President of Bank of China, Minister of Communication, Minister of Military, Minister of Finance, Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Inspector General of Salt.

He helped leak information about Twenty-One Demands of the Empire of Japan to the media. Zhou may have invited Columbia University political scientist Frank Johnson Goodnow to justify monarchism for China.

During Yuan's monarchic attempt, he was sent to Japan as a special envoy. The Japanese government under Okuma Shigenobu rejected him and he returned to tell Yuan that his government lost foreign support. In 1916, Zhou fled to Japan after President Li Yuanhong ordered the arrest of Yuan's eight top monarchists. He returned to China after the charges were dropped in February 1918.

1915 He initiated a National Day for Planting Trees, which is carried on until this day in Taiwan (they only changed the day he designated from Qingming to the date of death of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, March 12); 1916 He was wanted as the "traitor of the Republic" for supporting Yuan Shikai's monarchy and took asylum in Japan; 1918 He was pardoned by President Feng Guozhang 1920 He was appointed as the Minister of Finance

As Xu Shichang's finance minister, he lost in a power struggle against Premier Jin Yunpeng in 1921 and was compelled to resign. Seeking revenge, he convinced Zhang Zuolin to replace Jin with Liang Shiyi, the head of the civilian Communications Clique. He later served as acting premier and acting president briefly in 1922 after Xu resigned. His presidency, the shortest in Chinese history, was interim as the Zhili clique tried to woo Li Yuanhong back into office. Complaining of Zhili interference, he left for the US to study film-making and returned to China to start a studio. He died the following year.

Political offices
Preceded by
Xu Shichang
President of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Li Yuanhong
Preceded by
Yan Huiqing
Premier of the Republic of China
Succeeded by
Yan Huiqing