Shandong Problem
The Shantung Problem refers to the dispute over Article 156 of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 in 1919, which dealt with the concession of the Shandong
' is a Province located on the eastern coast of the People's Republic of China. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history from the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River and served as a pivotal cultural and religious site for Taoism, Chinese...


During the First World War, China supported the Allies on condition that Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

's concessions
Concession (territory)
In international law, a concession is a territory within a country that is administered by an entity other than the state which holds sovereignty over it. This is usually a colonizing power, or at least mandated by one, as in the case of colonial chartered companies.Usually, it is conceded, that...

 on the Shandong peninsula would be returned to China. In spite of this agreement, the Article transferred the concessions in Shandong to Japan rather than returning sovereign authority to China. Japan was allowed possession of the province because of secret agreements signed with European powers. One of the excuses the Japanese used was that Duan Qirui
Duan Qirui
Duan Qirui was a Chinese warlord and politician, commander in the Beiyang Army, and the Provisional Chief Executive of Republic of China from November 24, 1924 to April 20, 1926. He was arguably the most powerful man in China from 1916 to 1920.- Early life :Born in Hefei as Duan Qirui , his...

 had borrowed money from Japan to strengthen his army, this now being repaid with the concession of the Shandong penisula.
The Chinese ambassador to Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Wellington Koo
Wellington Koo
Koo Vi Kyuin or Ku Wei-chün , often known by the Western name V.K. Wellington Koo, was a prominent diplomat under the Republic of China, representative to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, Ambassador to France, Great Britain, and the United States; participant in founding the League of Nations...

, stated that the Chinese could not concede Shandong, which was the birthplace of Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, a highly important Chinese philosopher, as much as Christians could not concede Jerusalem, and demanded the returning of sovereignty over Shandong, to no avail. Chinese outrage over this provision led to demonstrations and a cultural movement known as the May Fourth Movement
May Fourth Movement
The May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement growing out of student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the Chinese government's weak response to the Treaty of Versailles, especially the Shandong Problem...

 and influenced Wellington Koo not to sign the treaty.

China declared the end of its war against Germany in September 1919 and signed a separate treaty with Germany in 1921. The dispute was mediated by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1922 during the Washington Naval Conference
Washington Naval Conference
The Washington Naval Conference also called the Washington Arms Conference, was a military conference called by President Warren G. Harding and held in Washington from 12 November 1921 to 6 February 1922. Conducted outside the auspices of the League of Nations, it was attended by nine nations...

, and the sovereignty of Shandong was agreed to be returned to China on February 4 of that year, while Japanese residents in Shandong were given special rights.
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