Yuan Shikai and His Cement Corporation: The Flight of State Power
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This chapter opens with a historical observation: Even though the future President of the new Republic Yuan Shikai was ousted from political power in 1909 after the death of Empress Dowager Cixi in 1908, he returned to dismantle the Qing Empire in 1911. How did he sustain his political influence during banishment? This chapter answers the above question by providing a detailed account of the recovery by Yuan Shikai of the old unincorporated Tangshan Cement Works from the British. With this, he found the protected economic engine that would help propel him past all his political opponents. From this time onwards, the cement industry would develop into a major industry in China and play a crucial part in the national modernisation of the new Republic.