Convention for the Lease of the Liaotung Peninsula

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Convention for the Lease of the Liaotung Peninsula
March 27, 1898
Original in Russian Language




(March 27, 1898)


His Majesty the Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias, and His Majesty the Emperor of China, being desirous of still further strengthening the friendly relations existing between the two Empires and mutually wishing to insure the means whereby to show reciprocal support, have appointed as their Plenipotentiaries, for the purpose of arriving at an agreement on this matter:

His Majesty the Emperor of Russia — M. Alexander Pavlow, Gentleman of the Court, and His Majesty’s Chargé d’Affaires accredited to the Government of H. M. the Emperor of China;

His Majesty the Emperor of China — Count Li, Chancellor, Member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Senior Preceptor of the Heir to the Throne, and Chang, Assistant Minister of Finance, and Member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with Ministerial rank.

The above-named Plenipotentiaries, furnished with due powers, have decided upon the following stipulations:


For the purpose of ensuring that the Russian naval forces shall possess an entirely secure base on the littoral of northern China, H. M. the Emperor of China agrees to place at the disposal of the Russian Government, on lease, the Ports Arthur (Liou-choun-kow) and Ta-lien-wan, together with the water areas contiguous to these ports. This act of lease, however, in no way violates the sovereign rights of H. M. the Emperor of China to the above-mentioned territory.


The frontier of the territory leased on the above-specified basis, will extend northwards from the Bay of Ta-lien-wan for such distance as is necessary to secure the proper defence of this area on the land side. The precise line of demarcation and other details respecting the stipulations of the present Convention will be determined by a separate Protocol which shall be concluded at St. Petersburg with the dignitary Siou-tzinch’eng immediately after the signature of the present Convention. Upon the determination of this line of demarcation, the Russian Government will enter into complete and exclusive enjoyment of the whole area of the leased territory together with the water areas contiguous to it.


The term of the lease shall be twenty-five years from the date of the signature of the present agreement and may be prolonged subsequently by mutual consent of both governments.


During the above-specified period, on the territory leased by the Russian Government and its adjacent water area, the entire military command of the land and naval forces and equally the supreme civil administration will be entirely given over to the Russian authorities and will be concentrated in the hands of one person who however shall not have the title of Governor or Governor-General. No Chinese military land forces whatsoever will be allowed on the territory specified. Chinese inhabitants retain the right, as they may desire, either to remove beyond the limits of the territory leased by Russia or to remain within such limits without restriction on the part of the Russian authorities. In the event of a Chinese subject committing any crime within the limits of the leased territory, the offender will be handed over to the nearest Chinese authorities for trial and punishment in accordance with Chinese laws, as laid down in Article VIII of the Treaty of Peking of 1860.


A neutral zone shall be established north of the above-specified frontier of the leased territory. The frontiers of this zone will be fixed by the dignitary Siou-tzin-ch’eng and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Petersburg. Within this specified neutral zone the civil administration will be entirely in the hands of the Chinese authorities; Chinese troops will be admitted within this zone only with the consent of the Russian authorities.


Both the Governments agree that Port Arthur, as an exclusively military (naval) port, shall be used solely by Russian and Chinese vessels and shall be considered as a closed port to war-ships and merchant vessels of other States. As regards Ta-lien-wan, this port, with the exception of one of the inner bays which, like Port Arthur, shall be set apart exclusively for the use of the Russian and Chinese fleets, shall be considered open to foreign commerce and free entry to it will be granted to the merchant vessels of all nations.


The Russian Government takes upon itself at its own expense and with its own resources to erect all buildings necessary for its fleet and land forces on the area leased to it and especially in the ports Arthur and Ta-lien-wan, to erect fortifications, maintain garrisons in them and generally to take all necessary steps for the proper defence of the specified locality from hostile attack.

Similarly the Russian Government binds itself at its own expense to erect and maintain light-houses and other precautionary signs requisite for the security of navigation.


The Chinese Government agrees that the concessions granted by it in 1896 to the Chinese Eastern Railway Company, from the date of the signature of the present agreement shall be extended to the connecting branch which is to be built from one of the stations of the main line to Ta-lien-wan, and also, if deemed necessary, from the same main line to another more convenient point on the littoral of the Liaotung Peninsula between the town of In-tzü and the estuary of the River Yalu. All the stipulations of the contract concluded by the Chinese Government with the Russo-Chinese Bank on August 27 (September 8), 1896, shall apply scrupulously to these supplementary branches. The direction and points through which the above-mentioned lines shall pass will be determined upon by the dignitary Sioutzin- ch’eng and the administration of the Chinese Eastern Railway. Consent to the construction of the railway on the basis indicated shall never under any form serve as a pretext for the seizure of Chinese territory or for an encroachment on the sovereign rights of China.


The present Convention shall come into force from the date of exchange of copies thereof by the Plenipotentiaries of the two States.

The exchange of ratifications will take place in St. Petersburg with the least possible delay.

In virtue of which the respective Plenipotentiaries of the two parties have signed and affixed their seals to two copies of the present Convention in the Russian and Chinese languages. Of the two texts which, upon comparison, have been found to be in agreement, the Russian text shall be that used for the interpretation of the Convention.

Done in duplicate at Peking, this 15th day of March (March 27), 1898, and by the Chinese calendar the 6th day of the 3rd moon of the 24th year of the reign of Kuang-Hsü.


(Seal) (Signed) A. PAVLOW

(Seal ) (Signed) LI-CHANG

(Seal of the Tsung-li Yamen)