Hsu Shih-chang, President of China
Hsu shih-chang, is one of the several Living statesmen
who held high official positions During the Manchu
Dynasty (and who was elected to the presidency
in September 1918.)
Mr. Hsu is a fellow provincial of the late
President Yuan Shih-kai. He was a poor scholar in
his youth. After having successfully passed the
metropolitan literary examination s, Mr. Hsu was
given official positions of various ranks, which he held
until 1905, when he was appointed Probationary
Grand Councillor. Shortly afterwards, he was made
Minister of the Government Council. In February
of 1906 he was promoted to be Grand Councillor. In
November he was removed from the Grand Council in
consequence of certain reform measures which he
recommended to the Throne and which offended the
Court. But one month later he was appointed to
Head of the Special Mission to Manchuria. Upon his
return to the Capital, he was asked to· be the
President of the Board of the Interior. April of 1907
saw him appointed Viceroy of Manchuria, where he
stayed until February of l909, when he was recalled
and appointed President of the Board of Communication.
Five months afterwards, he became Director General
of the Tieutsin Pukow Railway.
At the beginning of 1910, Mr. Hsu was made
Grand Secretary, and Grand Coullcillor in August.
In Prince Ching's Cabinet, which was organized in
May, 1911, he was given the position of Associate
Prime Minister. This position he resigned shortly
afterwards in order to accept the office of the Vice-President
of the Privy Council on November 1, 1911.
Although he is a literary man, Mr. Hsu was
appointed Chief of the General Staff in the same
month. The next month he was authorized by an edict
to be High Commissioner for Training the Imperial
Guard, and Grand Guardian to the Emperor, the
most honorable position he could ever desire under
the Manchu Dynasty. In February 1912, he was
relieved of the office of Chief of the General Staff.
On the resignation of the Prince Regent, Hsu Shih
chang was again appointed, together with Shih Hsu,
Grand Guardian of the Emperor.
After the first revolution Mr. Hsu did not participate
in the government of the country until 1915, when
]le was appointed Secretary of State of the Republican
Government. He served the Republic in that capacity
for ten months, and then resigned, He was a "sworn
brother" of the late President Yuan Shih-kai. 'With
Chao Erh-hsun, Li Ching-hsi and Chang Chien he
received the title of "The Four Friends of Sungchan"
at the time when the late President Yuan Shih-kai
overthrew the Republic and established a dynasty of
his own, which was however short-lived. Since then,
he has lived a retired life. But he exercises considerable
influence upon some of the old military officers
who used to serve under him.