The Xinhai Revolution in China began in October 1911. Local Chinese businessmen who had invested in promoting railways were determined not to let central government officials profit from this new venture which the Qing royal family through the Prince Regent, father of the boy Emperor, arranged to be financed by foreign loans. Qing military efforts at suppression backfired and in October 1911, a revolt at Wuchang took place after a bomb exploded accidentally that implicated Imperial Army officers in Wuchang, China. Rather than wait to be arrested, the officers started a rebellion that spiraled out of control and resulted in the downfall of the Manchus that had ruled China for 300 years. But the railroads still were to be built and money was scarce in a fractured newly formed Republic of China.
On January 1, 1913 the “six powers” – Britain, the US, Germany, France, Russia and Japan – agreed to loan China $125 million to build it’s railways. The loan was part of the attempt by the major powers to maintain their grip over post-revolution China and control the economy by demanding direct oversight in revenue collection in certain Chinese industries.