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Yuan Chang 袁昶 (T. 重黎 H. 爽秋 original ming 振蟾, T. 磢秋, 稚符, 稚巖), Sept. 27, 1846-1900, July 28, martyr in the Boxer Uprising of 1900, was a native of Tonglu, Zhejiang. He came from a well-to-do family and among his ancestors were a. number of scholars. His father, Yuan Shiji 袁世紀 (T. 用疇 H. 礦巖 helped in fighting the Taiping rebels and was posthumously given the hereditary rank of a Yunqiyu. Most of the writings of Yuan Chang's ancestors were destroyed in 1861 when the Taiping forces took Tonglu; and in the course of that conflict two of his uncles and eight of his brothers lost their lives. In 1866 he attended the Academy, Gujing jingshe (see under Ruan Yuan), in Hangzhou; and there, a year later, he became a juren. In 1874 he purchased the rank of a secretary in the Grand Secretariat. Two years later he became a jinshi and was appointed a secretary in the Board of Revenue, but he had to wait many years before there was a vacancy. Late in 1876 he left Beijing and went to Nanjing where he stayed in the Hsi-yin 惜陰 Academy, probably as an assistant to the principal, Hsüeh Shih-yü 薛時雨 (T. 慰農, 澍生 H. 桑根老人, 1818-1885), who was an uncle of Yuan's wife. Yuan Chang returned to Beijing in 1878 and five years later was admitted by examination to the Zongli yamen, or Foreign Office (see under Yixin), as a Chinese secretary. F'or a number of years he had been interested in foreign affairs, and took this opportunity to advance his know ledge of China's international relations. He soon became an important member on the staff of the Zongli yamen, as evidenced by his being selected in 1885 to serve as a secretary to the mission which negotiated at Tianjin the treaty of peace with France over the Annam question (see under Feng Zicai). During his eleven years (1883-94) in the Zongli yamen he served concurrently as an assistant department director of the Board of Revenue (1888-94), as one of the eighteen assistant examiners in the metropolitan examination of 1892, and in other capacities.
In 1894 he was appointed intendant of the Circuit of Southern Anhui (Hui-Ning-Chi Tai-Guang Dao 徽寧池太廣道) with headquarters at Wuhu, a treaty port on the Yangtze River. The pest was important because the incumbent had to regulate foreign trade, collect customs' duty and maintain cordial relations with foreigners. It was also a lucrative post, given usually to a secretary of the Zongli yamen who had made a good record. During his five years as intendent he effected the following reforms in his Circuit: (1) He encouraged education by enlarging the physical plant of the local Academy, Zhongjiang shuyuan 中江書院, which, owing to a contribution by him, of over 4,000 taels was enabled to engage a learned principal and later to build up a library. Instruction was given not only in the Confucian classics, history, philosophy and belles lettres, but also in current events and science. (2) By himself setting a good example he promoted honesty and clean living among his subordinates. (3) During the critical period of the Sino-Japanese war he promoted good relations with Europeans by training a militia to keep his part of the Yangtze area tranquil and to protect Christian churches and other foreign property. (4) He encouraged commerce and trade. (5) By reforms in the tax system he increased the government's revenue. In 1894 he remitted 8,000 taels to Beijing for the war chest against Japan; and in the following year his tax reforms resulted in a surplus of 18,000 taels, all of which he sent to Beijing. (6) He encouraged agriculture by teaching the farmers better methods; and conserved their land by erecting a dike, fourteen li in length, along the Yangtze. To this enterprise, which employed some 67,500 workmen, he personally contributed more than 5,000 taels.
In May 1898 Yuan Chang was promoted to be provincial judge of Shaanxi, and a month later lieutenant-governor of Jiangsu, but he declined both posts. The year 1898 was a critical one for China, being marked by forced territorial concessions to various Western powers. In this crisis the Emperor ordered the governors of provinces to submit their plans--or those of their subordinates--to increase the country's revenue for national defense and for training a modern army. Yuan Chang submitted, through the governor of Anhui, a memorial of some twenty thousand words. In it he stressed the danger from foreign aggression, and from internal deterioration, as evidenced by a corrupt officialdom, by luxurious living, and by empty formalism-the internal dangers being regarded by him as the more serious. He analyzed the intentions of the various foreign governments toward China and concluded that Germany and France were not an immediate menace. England, being interested chiefly in commerce, had, in his opinion, no territorial designs. China would do well to enter into an alliance with her and negotiate a loan. Since Japan and China are near neighbors and use the same written characters, he thought it prudent to deal with Japan on the plane of dignity and good faith,  pointing out, however, that "she speaks sweet words but is not faithful" 日言甘而寡信.
Though he regarded the United States as friendly and willing to help, he pointed out that she had few soldiers, is far off, and therefore could not be depended on. In a lengthy argument, supported with numerous historical facts, he concluded that Russia was China's greatest immediate menace, as shown by her aggression in Mongolia, Xinjiang and Manchuria. In conclusion, he submitted various proposals having, among others, such objectives as reform in the civil service, selection of talented and moral men for the highest posts, economies in public expenditure, and increase of governmental revenue through state-controlled enterprise. The Grand Council and the Zongli yamen reported favorably on the memorial. Several of the reforms suggested-particularly those relating to the encouragement of Bannermen to earn their own livelihood; improvement in the diplomatic service; extension of the land settlement program for soldiers, enforcement of the tax laws, and restrictions on the export of gold, silver and currency-were sent by imperial decree to the provincial governors for adoption.
In September 1898 Yuan Chang was appointed lieutenant-governor of Zhili province. Pending the assumption of this post, he was given the rank of a third-grade official to serve as one of the ministers in the Zongli yamen. In January 1899 he was made concurrently director of the Banqueting Court and, in the following July, director of the Court of Sacrificial Worship, continuing, however, to serve in the Zongli yamen. High officials having been instructed in May 1899 to devise plans for raising revenue for national defense, Yuan seized the opportunity to submit a memorial on the improvement of the likin system (see under Guo Songdao). In it he stressed the fact that the Win, having been instituted as a temporary measure at the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion, was really harmful to the people; but since it was still in operation he suggested improvements which may be summarized as follows: (1) Eliminate long-standing corruption by the appointment of honest collectors; (2) install a system of rewards and punisrments to promote efficient service; (3) readjust the likin from time to time to conform to the production and distribution of the commodities assessed; (4) report in detail to the Central Government any local expenditure of liktin revenue; (5) revive the old system of taxing (at place of production) native goods intended for foreign markets, with a view to off-setting the loss of revenue which resulted from the foreign demand that such goods be exempted from likin in lieu of an over-all tax of 21, percent; (6) establish a rigorous system of punishment to curb corrupt inspectors and constables.
When the Boxer Uprising overtook North China in the spring and summer of 1900 (see under Ronglu and Xiaoqin), Yuan Chang was one of the few enlightened ministers who courageously raised their voices against the Boxers and their misguided supporters at Court. At three different audiences (June 17, 19 and 20) he declared to the throne that he regarded the Boxers as wholly undependable, and that he viewed any attack on the Legations as a grave breach of international law. Other ministers who expressed similar views were Xu Jingcheng [q.v.], Lianyuan (see under Baoding), Li Shan 立山 (T. 豫甫 , d. 1900, posthumous name 忠貞, president of the Board of Revenue, and Xu Yongyi 徐用儀 (T. 吉甫, 小雲, d. 1900, posthumous name 忠愍, president of the Board of War. By their fearless utterances they incurred the enmity of the pro-Boxer group, led by Prince Duan (i.e., Zaiyi, see under Yizong), who denounced them as pro-foreign traitors. Their words and acts so angered the Boxer supporters that they lodged false charges against Yuan and against his clcse friend, Xu Jingcheng. Both were arrested on July 26 and two days later, at one o'clock in the afternoon, they were beheaded on the public execution ground in Beijing. The decree ordering their execution asserted that their reputations had been bad, that they had frequently managed foreign affairs to serve their own interests, that in their audiences they had made false statements designed to mislead the Court, and that by their utterances they had attempted to alienate the Emperor from his foster mother, the Empress Dowager. After their decease their families did not dare even to claim their bodies, and it was left to their friend and colleague in the Zongli yamen, Xu Yongyi, to look after the burial. On August 11, only three days before the Allied Expeditionary Forces entered Beijing, Xu Yongyi, Lianyuan and Li Shan were also executed on the false charge of pro-foreign activities. [A year or so later there circulated three memorials alleged to have been submitted to the throne by Yuan Chang and Xu Jingcheng in June and August 1900, denouncing the Boxer leaders. Though these documents were taken by many writers to be genuine, they are now known to be  forgeries, written, as in the case of Jingshan's diary (see under Ronglu), to gloss over the part that important personages played in covertly sponsoring the Boxers].
The execution of these men was regarded throughout the Empire as an act of signal injustice; and at the peace negotiations in Beijing, early in 1901, the foreign envoys demanded that some restitution be made. Following this pressure the Court, then at Sian, issued a decree, dated February 13, 1901, restoring posthumously to all five men their former ranks. A year later Yuan Chang's eldest son, Yuan Yunsu 袁允橚, was given the rank of an assistant department director of a Board. In the spring of 1902 Yuan Chang's body was taken by his sons to Hangzhou where interment was made at a beautiful site near West Lake. In 1909 Yuan was further honored by being given the posthumous name, Zhongjie 忠節 and on the petition of the gentry of Zhejiang a shrine was erected in Hangzhou to perpetuate his memory, together with that of Xu Yongyi and Xu Jingcheng--all natives of Zhejiang. The following year another shrine was erected to Yuan's memory in Wuhu where he had rendered distinguished service.
Yuan Chang was not only a great patriot and a brilliant statesman, but also a poet and a writer of elegant prose. Most of his writings are incorporated in a collectanea, entitled 漸西村舍叢刻 Jianxi cunshe congke, which contains more than fifty items printed between the years 1890-98-thirteen being his own compositions, the remainder having been edited by him. In the compendium are three collections of his poems with the following titles: Jianxicunren chuji (人初集) , 13 juan; 安般簃詩集 Anbanyi shiji, 10 juan; and 于湖小集 Yunhu xiaoji, 6 juan. There exist two more collections of his poems, entitled 水昍樓集 Shuixuanlou ji, 2 juan, and 朝隱卮言 Chaoyin zhiyan, 2 juan, printed in 1909 under the collective title Yuan Zhongjie gong yishi buke 公遺詩補刻). His poems were highly praised by his senior contemporary, Li Ciming [q.v.]. His memorials and other official papers are scattered in various collections, and apparently have not yet been assembled. A partial collection of his letters to famous contemporaries, such as Zhang Zhidong [q.v.], was published in 1940 in facsimile (photolithographically) by his third son, Yuan Rongsou 遠營叟 (T. 道沖), under the title Yuan Zhongjie gong shouzha (手札). His pen names were numerous-the most well-known being Jianxi cunren and Fangguo dunsou 芳郭鈍叟. His residence in his native place he designated Jianxi cunshe; and the one in Beijing he called, among other names, Anbanyi both designations appearing in the titles of his collected verse.
Not a few descendants of Yuan Chang have achieved distinction in educational and industrial pursuits. The above-mentioned Yuan Rongsou served as a member of the first Republican Parliament, and as a Counselor in the Ministry of Education. One of his granddaughters is the wife of the present director of the National Library of Peiping, Yuan Tongli 袁同禮.
[ 1/24/14a; 1/472/2a; 2/63/28b; 5/17/22a; Xu Jingcheng, Xu Wensu gong wai ji; Zhongguo jin sanbai nian shi ziliao, first series (see under Li Xiucheng), p. 558-65; Jinshi renwu zhi (see under Weng Tonghe); Li Ciming, Yueman tang riji, passim; Duyvendak, J. J. L., "Ching-shan's Diary, a Mystification", in T'oung Pao, vol. 33 (1937), pp. 268-94; Wernxian congbian (see bibl. under Dorgon), no. 5, (telegrams of 1900-01, p. 6); Gengzi xinhai zhonglie xiang zan (see bibl, under Chongqi); Qingji waijiao shiliao (see under Yixin), juan 143; Huishi tongnian chilu (see bibl. under Peng Yunzhang) of 1876; U. S. Foreign Relations for 1901, appendix, pp. 75-82].
A. K. CH'IU