Yuan Shi-kai

Yuan Shi-kai, after defeating the Japanese in Korea and restoring the China-friendly ruler in 1884, became the head of new, modernized army. He was approached by Tan Si-tong for Guang-xu to kill Ronglu in a conspiracy against Ci-xi, but Yuan Shi-kai betrayed them. Ci-xi placed Guang-xu under house arrest, ending all possibility of dynastic revolution.
He was later sent to suppress the Yi he quan Boxers in 1899.
A key figure in military reforms, he headed the modernized army, but generals owed loyalty to him, not to the Manchu government. He was sent away to Japan but recalled to deal with rebellions in south China.
His allegiances with both sides allowing Yuan to become President of the Chinese Republic in 1911 when revolutionaries took over militarily what he didn’t take politically.
He assassinated Song Jiao-ren in 1913 and took over the Guomindang, then disbanded the party and made himself military dictator. When he ascended the Dragon Throne 1916 with constitutional monarchy, many areas revolted and he died a few months later. After his death his generals became regional warlords.