Towards the close of the nineteenth century the European powers decided to adopt more aggressive policy towards China and prepared plans for its partition. The Western Powers adopted this policy because by this time Japan had emerged as a great power and embarked on imperialistic adventures.
In 1894, Japan waged a war against China and won a sweeping victory with the help of her modernized army. As a result of this victory Japan claimed Liaotung Peninsula (in Manchuria) along with the harbour of Port Arthur; Formosa, Pescadores Islands etc. Japan also secured independence for Korea. The victory of Japan against China convinced the Western powers of the defencelessness of China against the modern military organization and, therefore, they embarked upon a policy of scramble for concessions.
After the defeat of China at the hands of Japan, the Japanese powers intervened and forced Japan to return the strategic Liaotung Peninsula to China. However, soon thereafter the Western Powers made their demands on the Monchu.
Germany demanded Kiaochow Bay on 99 years lease and exclusive mining and railroad rights throughout Shantung province. Russia demanded and secured Dairen and Port Arthur on twenty- five years lease. She also acquired the right to build a railroad across Manchuria. Britain secured lease of Weihaiwei, a naval base.
France secured Kwangchowan in extreme South. Italy also demanded ‘compensations’ but the same was refused by China. In addition to these territorial concessions China permitted the Western Powers to build railways in China. Thus almost all the Western Powers like Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan, France obtained bases on lease from China and carved out their spheres of influence.