Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet

The Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet was a position created on 8 May 1911 during the late Qing dynasty, as part of the imperial government's unsuccessful attempts at creating a constitutional monarchy in China.

Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet
Flag of China (1889–1912).svg
Zhang Xun
Prime Minister
1 July 1917 – 12 July 1917
AppointerEmperor of China
Inaugural holderPrince Qing
  • 8 May 1911; 110 years ago (1911-05-08)
  • 1 July 1917; 104 years ago (1917-07-01) (Manchu Restoration)
Final holder
  • 10 March 1912; 109 years ago (1912-03-10)
  • 12 July 1917; 104 years ago (1917-07-12) (Manchu Restoration)
Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet
Traditional Chinese內閣總理大臣
Simplified Chinese内阁总理大臣


In the early 1900s, the Qing government began implementing constitutional reform in China in order to prevent a revolution. The reforms included the Outline of the Imperial Constitution passed in 1908, which ordered that elections for provincial assemblies must be held within a year. In May 1911, the government replaced the Grand Council with a thirteen-member cabinet, led by Prince Qing, who was appointed Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet. However, the cabinet included nine Manchus, seven of whom were members of the imperial clan. This "Princes' Cabinet" was unpopular among the people and was viewed as a reactionary measure, being described at one point as "the old Grand Council under the name of a cabinet, autocracy under the name of constitutionalism."[1]

When the Wuchang Uprising broke out in November 1911, the imperial court summoned the general Yuan Shikai to command the Beiyang Army and put down the revolution. He was named Prime Minister on 2 November 1911, shortly after Prince Qing stepped down. He remained in that office until March 1912, when he negotiated with Empress Dowager Longyu the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor.[1]

The post was briefly revived in July 1917 during Zhang Xun's attempt to restore the Qing monarchy, but he only held it for several days before Beijing was retaken by Republican forces.

List of prime ministersEdit

  •   Independent
  •   Beiyang clique
Portrait Name
Term of Office Days Political party Emperor
1   Yikuang (Prince Qing)
8 May 1911 1 November 1911 177 Non-partisan
(Qing dynasty)
(The Imperial Family)
Xuantong (Puyi)
2   Yuan Shikai
Yuán Shìkǎi
2 November 1911 10 March 1912 129 Beiyang clique Xuantong (Puyi)
3   Zhang Xun
Zhāng Xūn
1 July 1917 12 July 1917 11 Non-partisan
(restoration attempt)
Xuantong (Puyi)

See alsoEdit


Further readingEdit

  • Esherick, Joseph (2013). China: How the Empire Fell. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415831017.