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An "Unequal Treaty": Lease Agreement between China and the German Empire (March 6, 1898)

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Chinese military and merchant vessels shall be granted the same privileges in Kiaochow Bay as those conferred on ships of other nations that are on friendly terms with Germany. The entry, departure and mooring of Chinese ships in the bay shall be subject to no restrictions other than those that the Imperial German Government shall deem necessary to impose at any time on the ships of other nations by virtue of the sovereign rights transferred
to it.

Article IV
Germany agrees to place the necessary navigation marks both on the islands and in the shallows in front of the entrance to the bay.

No duties shall be levied on Chinese military and merchant vessels in Kiaochow Bay, with the exception of those to which other vessels are subject for the purpose of maintaining the necessary port and quay facilities.

Article V
If Germany at a subsequent date expresses the desire to return Kiaochow Bay to China before the expiration of the period of the lease, China shall compensate Germany for its outlays and provide Germany with a more suitable location.

Germany agrees never to sublease to another power the area it has leased from China.

As long as the Chinese living in the leased area abide by the law and local regulations, they shall at all times enjoy the protection of the German government. The Chinese residents may remain in the leased area provided their land is not claimed for other purposes. If property owned by Chinese residents is used for other purposes, the owners are entitled to compensation. Concerning the reinstatement of the Chinese customs stations once located outside the area leased to Germany but within the agreed-upon fifty-kilometer zone, the Imperial German Government intends to reach an agreement with the Chinese Government on ways to regulate both the customs border and customs revenue in a manner that protects all China’s interests; it also reserves the right to enter into additional negotiations on this matter.

After the conclusion of the treaty on March 6, 1898, the following Supreme Decree was issued declaring Kiaochow a protectorate. April 27, 1898. (RGBL, p. 171)

The agreement of March 6, 1898, between our government and the Imperial Chinese Government in Peking transferred possession of the area off Kiaochow Bay (defined more precisely in this agreement) to Germany, and we hereby place this area under imperial protection on behalf of the Empire.

Source: (No. 2466) „Allerhöchster Erlaß, betreffend die Erklärung Kiautschous zum Schutzgebiete. Vom 27. April 1898“ [“Imperial Decree Regarding the Declaration of Kiaochow as a Protectorate. From April 27, 1898”] Reichs-Gesetzblatt [Reich Law Gazette], p. 171.

Translation: Adam Blauhut

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