Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - Tan Xueheng’s (1871-1919) Unfinished Conservancy Project to Control the Water System of the Pearl River Delta in Early Republican China

Saturday, July 7
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

The outbreak of the extraordinarily serious flood in 1915 during the typhoon season, which soaked the great city of Canton in water for a whole week, even killed over a hundred thousand Cantonese population. This unprecedented disaster alerted the Cantonese elites to raise requests to the central Chinese government in Beijing for a national-level water conservancy plan to control the water system of the Pearl River Delta. The answer of the newly established Republican Government was sending the retired naval minister Tan Xueheng (1871-1919) back to his native province to handle this problem. The ex-minister had conducted numerous field trips to the water courses of the Pearl River Delta. On this firm empirical basis he eventually composed a very detailed proposal of water conservancy, the Xijiang fangliu tiaochen, which was highly regarded by all but was never fully implemented. This paper will first explore the reasons for his appointment to this water work project, then the details of his conservancy project will be thoroughly gathered and discussed, and finally the real factors behind the abort of his massive construction plan will be revisited. It is expected that by the study of an abandoned water management project, we shall further understand the authentic situation of the Pearl River Delta region, the relationship between the Cantonese local elites and the central government in Republican China, as well as the nature and fate of those highly aimed plans to improve the livelihood of Chinese people during the early 20th century.

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3 - Tan Xueheng’s (1871-1919) Unfinished Conservancy Project to Control the Water System of the Pearl River Delta in Early Republican China



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Send Email for Tan Xueheng’s (1871-1919) Unfinished Conservancy Project to Control the Water System of the Pearl River Delta in Early Republican China