|On September 17, 1894, the battle breaks out between the Beiyang Fleet and the Japanese Navy in the Yellow Sea. The Chinese warship "Zhiyuan" was destroyed. The commander Deng Shichang and its 250-man crew were killed. (Photo/Xinhua)|
This year marks the 120th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894. The First Sino-Japanese War was a war between the Japanese Empire and the Qing Dynasty China. The war is commonly known in China as the War of Jiawu, as it began in the year of the wood horse, or Jiawu, according to China's traditional calendar. The calendar follows a sixty-year cycle and sixtieth anniversaries are considered very important. Both 1894 and 2014 are Jiawu years.
On July 25, 1894, a Japanese fleet attacked two Chinese vessels off the Korean port of Asan. At the time, Korea was a vassal of the Qing Empire (1644-1911). By March 1895, the Chinese army and navy were routed, the first time China had lost to Japan in a military conflict.
With modern equipment, the well-trained Japanese army defeated the Chinese in several engagements. The then largest fleet in Asia, called the Beiyang Fleet was completely destroyed. After a series of defeats, the Qing Empire signed on April 17, 1895 the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ceded the Liaodong Peninsula in northeast China, Taiwan and its annex the nearby Penghu Islands to Japan. China also paid Japan 200 million silver taels (about 5.2 billion U.S. dollars today).