Aiming at Li Hongzhang's extreme views, Hunan Governor Wang Wenshao, Shandong Governor Ding Zhen, and Shaanxi and Gansu Governor Zuo Zongtang clashed with each other. In fact, Serbian Defense Faction did not advocate abandonment of coastal defense, but advocated that neither Serbian defense nor coastal defense should be abandoned, and that specific policies should be pursued according to priorities of issue. They believe that current threat from Russia is most acute, and problem of Xinjiang should be resolved first.
Zuo Zongtang, a representative of defense faction, wrote a memorial to Empress Dowager Cixi in 1875, in which he mentioned three points: their Xinjiang, Qianlong's insight cannot be denied; second, Xinjiang is a barrier to mainland China, if Xinjiang is lost, Mongolia, Gansu and Qinghai will be unstable, and then threaten Central Plains and even Beijing; All military spending in southeast did not increase much.
When Li Hongzhang saw Zuo Zongtang's letter, he personally attacked Zuo Zongtang, claiming that Zuo Zongtang emphasized fortifications simply because he wanted to support his troops and become a warlord. It must be said that Li Hongzhang's heart is really poisonous. Zuo Zongtang gave an exhaustive and positive answer, saying that he was already 65 years old, so why wish for merit. After half a year of debate, most people in Qing court supported Zuo Zongtang's opinion, and even Empress Dowager Cixi also believed that Zuo Zongtang had been acquitted.
The debate between Haiphong faction and Serbian defense faction lasted half a year. In end, Wen Xiang, minister of military aviation, accepted Zuo Zongtang's opinion and believed that "rebuilding Xinjiang, managing Hui Ministry in south, and managing Mongolia in north to prepare for Britain and Russia" was right strategy. As a "long-term plan", since ministers of entire Military Aviation Administration supported Zuo Zongtang's opinion, Qing court decided to support Zuo Zongtang's restoration of Xinjiang.
Zuo Zongtang's rebuilding of Xinjiang is a testament to Serbian defensive forces and a test. Rebuilding Xinjiang requires 10 million taels of silver, but Ministry of Household Affairs can only allocate 2 million taels, and rest will be paid by local governments. However, local financial deficit is serious and cannot be filled. So Zuo Zongtang found Shen Baozhen and Hu Xueyan again and they borrowed 5 million taels from Germany and 3 million taels from Britain, and only then did they solve funding problem.
History has proven that Zuo Zongtang rebuilt Xinjiang very successfully. It took him only six months to practically restore all of Xinjiang. Later, Russian occupation of Ili was successfully restored with cooperation of Zuo Zongtang and Zeng Jize. During border crisis of 1970s and 1980s, Serbian defensive group performed almost perfectly and successfully held Xinjiang. Since then, there have been no large-scale land losses on inner borders of Qing Dynasty.
Although Qing Dynasty supported "Minister's Protection Faction", it did not give up Haiphong because Fortress faction actually supported Haiphong. According to statistics, from 1875 to 1884, Qing Dynasty spent 80 million taels on defense of fortress, which is one tenth of financial expenses of Qing Dynasty, and in 20 years from 1875 to 1894, almost 8,000 taels of military expenses were used. for coastal defense. Among them, Sino-French War cost 30 million taels, Beiyang Navy used 35 million taels, and Empress Dowager Cixi spent 10 million taels.
In 1980s and 1990s, Qing Dynasty established four modern navies: Beiyang, Nanyang, Fujian, and Guangdong. Their scale ranks first in Asia and eighth in world. However, actions of coastal defense group in war were amazing. The Sino-French War was first appearance of Haiphong faction. As Li Hongzhang waited for death, navy was not allowed to take initiative in battle. As a result, Fujian fleet was confused and destroyed, and Nanyang fleet was also badly damaged. Thanks to insistence of Feng Zicai, Liu Yongfu and other main fighters, Qing army finally won a victory on land, but Li Hongzhang quickly ordered army to retreat and signed an unequal treaty with France.
When front-line soldiers heard name of withdrawal, they all gritted their teeth and wanted to smash Li Hongzhang into a thousand pieces. Feng Zicai bluntly wrote a letter saying that "those who discuss peace", Zuo Zongtang scolded Li Hongzhang: "For Qing Dynasty, ten French generals are not as good as one Li Hongzhang for bad deeds", "Li Hongzhang offended general people, and will forever remain infamous,” even Zhang Zhi Dong also opposed peace negotiations and advocated taking advantage of victory to stop him.
The second performance of Haiphong faction was Sino-Japanese War of Sino-Japanese War. Half of coastal defense assets under Qing Dynasty were transferred to Beiyang fleet, but it became Li Hongzhang's private military capital. After Sino-Japanese War broke out, Li Hongzhang was worried that his fleet would be hit, so he ordered to avoid battle in order to save ship and blindly avoided battle. The end result was that Beiyang fleet lost initiative to start war and was eventually destroyed by Japan.
The third performance of Hai Phong faction was signing of "Sino-Russian Secret Treaty". In 1896, Russia took advantage of defeat of China and, under pretext of jointly defending Japan, forced Qing dynasty to send Li Hongzhang to sign Sino-Russian Secret Treaty with her. The Northeast was given to Russia, and Northeast became a Russian sphere of influence. During negotiation process, Li Hongzhang received a bribe of 3 million rubles from Russia.
Eastern Bismarck, who took bribes from Russia?
The Serbian Defense Faction recaptured Xinjiang, but Haiphong Faction was unable to hold Taiwan, North Korea, and Vietnam, and even lost Northeast. However, Coastal Defense Faction finally thwarted Cork Defense Faction. Li Hongzhang and others colluded with comprador groups such as Sheng Xuanhuai and defeated Chinese patriotic businessman Hu Xueyan through economic warfare, which led to China's finances being controlled by compradors and foreign powers.
By combining these clues, we find that so-called "block defense faction" is not just for "block defense", but for both. Their real name should be "major fighting faction". The Defense Faction is only developing its own private military in the name of Coastal Defense. They are weak in negotiations with foreign countries and blindly seek peace, which is why their real name is "Peace Seeking Faction".