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(born Sept. 16, 1859, Xiangcheng, Henan province, Chinadied June 6, 1916, Beijing) Chinese army leader and president of the Republic of China (1912–16). He began his military career serving in Korea in the 1880s. In 1885 he was made Chinese commissioner at Seoul; his promotion of China's interests contributed to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1894–95). The war destroyed China's navy and army, and the task of training a new army fell to Yuan. When his division was the only one to survive the Boxer Rebellion (1900), his political stature increased. He played a decisive part in China's modernization and defense programs and enjoyed the support of the empress dowager Cixi. On her death he was dismissed, only to be called back following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911–12, when he became the first president of the new republic; Sun Yat-sen had previously served as the provisional president. Impatient with the new National Assembly, he ordered the assassination of Song Jiaoren, leader of the Nationalist Party in 1913. He quelled a subsequent revolt, but his efforts to found his own dynasty (1915–16) failed.
Variants of YUAN SHIKAI
Yuan Shikai or Yüan Shih-kai
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