Manchuria (Manchu: ᠮᡝᠨᠵᡠ Manju; Chinese: 満洲 Mǎnzhōu; Japanese: マンシュウ Manshū), officially the State of Greater Manchuria (Manchu: ᠮᡝᠨᠵᡠ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ Manju Gurun; Chinese: 大満洲国 Dà Mǎnzhōuguó; Japanese: ダイマンシュウコク Dai Manshū-koku) is a sovereign state in East Asia. Manchuria is neighbored with Soviet Union to the north, with Mongolia to the northwest, with China to the west, with Korea to the east, and with the East China Sea to the south. The capital and the largest city is Harbin with a population of 14,719,628 inhabitants.
The climate of Manchuria has extreme seasonal contrasts, ranging from humid, almost tropical heat in the summer to windy, dry, Arctic cold in the winter. This pattern occurs because the position of Manchuria on the boundary between the great Eurasian continental landmass and the huge Pacific Ocean causes complete monsoonal wind reversal.
In the summer, when the land heats faster than the ocean, low pressure forms over Asia and warm, moist south to southeasterly winds bring heavy, thundery rain, yielding annual rainfall ranging from 400 mm (16 in.), or less in the west, to over 1150 mm (45 in.) in the Changbai Mountains. Temperatures in the summer are very warm to hot, with July average maxima ranging from 31 °C (88 °F) in the south to 24 °C (75 °F) in the extreme north. Except in the far north near the Amur River, high humidity causes major discomfort at this time of year.
In the winter, however, the vast Siberian High causes very cold, north to northwesterly winds that bring temperatures as low as −5 °C (23 °F) in the extreme south and −30 °C (−22 °F) in the north where the zone of discontinuous permafrost reaches northern Heilongjiang. However, because the winds from Siberia are exceedingly dry, snow falls only on a few days every winter, and it is never heavy. This explains why corresponding latitudes of North America were fully glaciated during glacial periods of the Quaternary while Manchuria, though even colder, always remained too dry to form glaciers – a state of affairs enhanced by stronger westerly winds from the surface of the ice sheet in Europe
According to the 1949 Constitution of the State of Manchuria, Manchuria is a sovereign and independent republic based on the principle of National Democracy. The current structure of Manchurian government is derived from the structure of State of Manchuria that described for the first time in the 1933 Organic Law of the State of Manchuria.The National Congress of Manchuria (国民代表大会 Guómín Dàibiǎo Dàhuì) serves as the highest state body of Manchuria. All members of National Congress elected every four years by the direct election. The election, however, only participated by the parties that recognized as legal under Manchurian law.
To exercise daily legislative functions, the National Congress electing the members of Legislative Council (立法院 Lìfǎ Yuàn) from among its members every two years. The Legislative Council is described by the constitution as the main law-making body of the State.
The President of Manchuria (総裁 Zǒngcái) elected by the National Congress every four years. The President is the head of state and government of Manchuria and the nominal commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The State Council of Manchuria (国務院 Guówù Yuàn), headed by the Prime Minister of Manchuria (総理 Zǒnglǐ) that appointed by the President and responsible for day-to-day administration affairs.
The National Court of Manchuria (国民裁判所 Guómín Cáipànsuǒ) appointed by the President by the concern of National Congress in charge of judicial matters and supervision and administration of lower courts. Every Manchurian citizens are the subjects of Manchurian law and under the authority of National Court of Manchuria.
Qing Dynasty (1636–1911)Starting in the 1580s, a Jianzhou Jurchen chieftain, Nurhaci (1558–1626), started to unify Jurchen tribes of the region. Over the next several decades, the Jurchens took control over most of Manchuria. In 1616, Nurhaci declared himself a khan and founded the Later Jin Dynasty. Nurhaci's son, Hong Taiji or Emperor Taizong, followed his late father's step by energetically expanded Jin rule into Outer Manchuria. Under Hong Taiji, the name "Manchu" was invented and given to the Jurchen people in 1635 as a new name for their ethnic group. A year later, Hong Taiji renamed his dynasty as the Qing Dynasty.
In 1644, the Manchus took Beijing, overthrowing the Ming Dynasty and soon established the Qing Dynasty rule (1644–1912) over all of China. The Manchus ruled all of China, but they treated their homeland of Manchuria to a special status and ruled it separately. The Han civilians were prevented to immigrate to Manchuria. Only Bannermen, including Chinese bannermen were allowed to settle in Jilin and Heilongjiang. This effort, however, failed and the southern parts developed agricultural and social patterns similar to those of north China by the Han Chinese farmers.
While the Manchu ruling elite at the Qing imperial court in Beijing and posts of authority throughout China increasingly adopted Han culture, the Qing imperial government viewed the Manchu communities in Manchuria as a place where traditional Manchu virtues could be preserved, and as a vital reservoir of military manpower fully dedicated to the regime. However, this policy could not last forever. In the 1850s, large numbers of Manchu bannermen were sent to central China to fight the Taiping rebels. Those few who returned were demoralized and often exposed to opium addiction.
In 1858, a weakening Qing Empire was forced to cede Manchuria north of the Amur to Russian Empire under the Treaty of Aigun. In 1860, at the Treaty of Peking, the Russians managed to obtain a further large slice of Manchuria, east of the Ussuri River. As a result, Greater Manchuria was divided into a Russian half known as "Outer Manchuria", and a remaining Chinese half known as "Inner Manchuria". With the lost of Outer Manchuria, Qing Dynasty lost its access to the Sea of Japan. In the aftermath of the loss of Outer Manchuria, and with the imperial and provincial governments in deep financial trouble, parts of Manchuria became officially open to Chinese settlement. Within a few decades, the Manchus became a minority in their own homeland.Despite already lost Outer Manchuria to the Russians, Inner Manchuria was also encroached under stronger Russian influence by the end of 19th century with the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway through Harbin to Vladivostok. Many people from outside of Inner Manchuria like the Koreans, Han Chinese, and Russians began to reside in Manchuria during those period for its arable land. By 1921, Harbin, northern Manchuria's largest city, had a population of 300,000, including 100,000 Russians.
Republic of China (1911–1932)
By the early 20th century, mass civil disorder had begun in China, and it was growing continuously. Disillusioned by the failure of the Qing Dynasty’s attempt to reform and modernize the country, the Chinese revolutionary movement against the ruling dynasty emerged by the late 19th century. The Wuchang Uprising of October 10, 1911, led to the collapse of Manchu rule in China and the creation of a new central government, the Republic of China, in Nanjing with Sun Yat-sen as its provisional head.
Manchuria, along with Outer Mongolia and Tibet, was claimed by the newly-established Republic of China that viewed itself as the continuation of Qing Dynasty as a part of its territory. Within the Republic of China, Manchuria was referred as the "Three Northeastern Provinces" or simply "the Northeast" in official documents and divided into three provinces (Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning). However, China's rule of Manchuria was only nominal since the Russian influences still remained and the northeastern provinces were ruled independently away from Beijing by the local warlords.Around the time of World War I, Chang Tso-lin established himself as a powerful warlord with influence over most of Manchuria. Following the death of China's first president, Yuan Shih-kai, Chang became the military governor of Fengtian in 1916, and in 1918 he was appointed inspector general of the Three Eastern Provinces. In 1920, the Central Government acknowledged Chang's rule in Manchuria by appointing him to be Governor-General of the Three Eastern Provinces. From then on he controlled Manchuria as a virtually autonomous state within the Republic of China, isolated from the rest of country by its geography and protected by Chang's personal troops, the Fengtian Army.
In 1917, Chang appointed Wang Yongjiang as the Director of the Bureau of Finance for the task of solving Fengtian Province's financial problems. Under Wang's supervision, the Manchurian economy grew tremendously, backed by immigration of Chinese from China. In 1924, Wang amalgamated three regional banks into the Official Bank of the Three Eastern Provinces, and became its General Director. By this he tried to create a development bank and at the same time to keep accurate records of military spending. With Wang's financial administration, Chang was inclined to keep his army under his control and to keep Manchuria free of foreign influence.
In June 1926, the Fengtian Army had managed to capture Beijing and Chang proclaimed himself as Grand Marshal of the Republic of China on June 18, 1927, thus led China's internationally recognized government. However, Yan Xishan's Shanxi Army successfully occupied Beijing in June 1928 and forced Chang to evacuate his government to Fengtian before finally accepted the jurisdiction of the Nationalist Government in December 1928. In return, Chang was appointed as the commander of the Northeast Army and recognized as the "vice-leader" of Central Government. By then on, Chang's ambition to expand his rule ceased and instead tried to focus his rule on Manchuria only.In 1930, Japan launched a military campaign to remove the Fengtian Army's influence over the Korean Peninsula. The Fengtian Army was successfully ousted from Korea in July 1930. However, the Japanese Army then continued its move into Manchuria. Alarmed by the Japanese military moves, Chang as the vice-chairman of China, successfully convinced the Central Government in Nanjing to declare war with Japan. The declaration thus led to the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931–1932). However, almost bankrupted after the Central Plains War, China had no choice other than completely retreated its forces from Manchuria in 1932. Chang and his clique was ousted from Manchuria and retreated to retire in Nanjing.
Manchuria under Japanese rule (1932–1949)
In January 1932, the Japanese military government created the Interim Legislature of the Northeast (東北過渡議院 Dōngběi Guòdù Yìyuàn) with Yu Chonghan as its first speaker. At first, the occupation was only intended to realize the self-government in Manchuria within the Republic of China. However, the ethnic Japanese in Manchuria represented by the Manchurian Youth League sought the independence of Manchuria based on the ethnic harmony. Although been anti-Chang and anti-China, the settlers were also less pro-Japan as most of them had moved en masse to Manchuria during the civil war period and had severed their ties with the homeland
The League found their supporters through the Manchuria lobby within the Japanese Nationalist Party led by Kasagi Yoshiaki, Tachibana Shiraki and Ogami Suehiro. Vice President Kita Ikki supported the lobby, while Prime Minister Nakano Seigo and Foreign Minister Hayashi Kiroku opposed it for they believed any attempt to form a separatist Manchuria would harming the Sino-Japanese relations. To avoid the factional struggle, President Nagayama Yoshida decided to reorganize the cabinet on June 9, 1933 and appoint moderate left Suzuki Bunji as new Prime Minister; the lobby eventually won the struggle.
On July 4, 1933, the Interim Legislature was dissolved and replaced by the Preparatory Committee for Manchurian Independence (建国準備委員会 Jiànguó Zhǔnbèi Wěiyuánhuì), led by Ruan Zhendou and Takasaki Tatsunosuke as the chair and the vice-chair, respectively. The First Organic Law of the State of Manchuria was adopted on September 4. On September 24, 1933, the Solidarity Party (団結党 Tuánjiédǎng) was formed by merging the Manchurian Youth League with other local separatist groups; Ruan Zhendou became its first leader. The Preparatory Committee declared the foundation of the State of Manchuria on October 1, 1933; Zhang Shiyi was elected the first State President.