2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Appealing to Legal Principle: China’s Endeavour to Abolish the Twenty-one Demands
in 1923

Lin-chun Wu

Department of Local Studies, National Dong-Hwa University

The “Sino-Japanese Treaties and Notes of May 25, 1915,” also known as the Twenty-one Demands, was condemned by the Chinese people on the grounds it was agreed to only under the pressure of a Japanese ultimatum. In 1923, Peking parliamentarians proposed that the treaty was without effect since it had never been approved by the parliament.  Although they continued to argue that the treaty had been pushed on China by force, they also provoked a new discussion in terms of domestic and international law. This article focuses on three dimension of this issue: (1) The power to sign treaties according to the early Republican constitutions and the precise capacities to revoke treaties.  (2) The legal grounds for the parliament’s view that the treaty was without effect.  (3) The opinion of the Peking government’s Foreign Counselor that the treaty was indeed valid in international Law.


Keywords: Twenty-one Demands, Sino-Japanese Treaties and Notes of 1915, international law, domestic law