The Old and the New Debts: Refinancing Mongol Domains’ Debts in Manchuria, 1900-1912.

Aiqi Liu, University of Alabama at Birmingham

This paper studies the Qing government’s refinancing of Mongol domains’ debts in Manchuria during the early 20th century. It focuses on the loans lent by the Government Bank of the Three Eastern Provinces (GBTEP), the newly established major government bank, to the Tosiyato Wang Banner and the Defender Duke of Gorlos Tribe, two of the most important Manchurian Mongol domains. The paper demonstrates that advancing government loans to the Mongol domains was an important part of China’s modern state-building process. First, it increased the government’s control over the Mongol domains by helping them restructure their debts in which Mongol domains collateralized the rights of their land and future revenues; second, it established Qing’s sovereignty over the region by ending Mongol princes’ financial reliance on private merchants and foreign banks; third, the government loans facilitated the privatization of Mongol domains’ lands upon which most of the new county administrations in Manchuria would be established; fourth, it promulgated the banknotes issued by government banks and expand government’s control over market activities; finally, the loans stabilized the volatile political situations in the region by preventing the Mongol domains from financial ruins while it maintained the relations between the Chinese government and the Manchurian Mongol elites after Qing Dynasty’s collapse in 1912. This paper is part of the financial history of modern China and the study of China’s state-building via financial instruments: the promulgation of fiat money and government loans in the early 20th century. It argues that creating the new debt relations between the government banks and the Mongol domain was crucial in understanding China’s transition from an empire to a nation-state and its relations with ethnic minorities. It also sheds light on one of the often-ignored aspects of China’s modern statecraft where the government expanded its control over currency and market activities.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 216. Governing through Finance