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Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sun Yat Sen and the Kuomintang

We will preface each of the following sections with a link to the Wikipedia timeline for Modern China. The intricacies and power struggles that surround the building of a unified China under a single governing body have been continuous since the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and understanding that complexity is not something that this blog is intent upon. What we do hope to provide is brief glance at the various power bases (foreign and domestic), ideologies, and governance techniques utilized during the past century.

Sun Yat Sen

Best known for the founding of the Kuomintang nationalist movement, and as the leader of the Xinhai Revolution, Sun Yat Sen was dedicated to bring forth his vision of the new China. Though not single handedly responsible for the orchestration of the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and Imperial rule, Sun Yat Sen is regarded as the figurehead for Chinese Nationalism, and the establishment of the Republic of China.

Sun Yat Sen and with the help of many foreign and domestic Chinese, and foreign citizens (mainly Japanese), began orchestrating uprisings across Southern China as early as 1895. Armed revolution against the Qing and its army, was difficult, and these forces were defeated often. However, even from exile the persistent Sun Yat Sen continued to train and dispatch leaders to communities in mainland China, gather support from foreign sources, and bring Chinese nationals in Malay and Singapore into the nationalist fold.

After many failed attempts, the Wuchang of 1911 was uprising was successful, and within 48 hours from its initiation, the 3 major cities of Wuhan province were under the control of a new political power, and hailing to a new entity -- "The Republic of China." As the South of China slowly began to declare a new form of government, the Qing Dynasty in the North began their campaign to retain what power they could.

Electing their top general, Yuan Shikai, as the Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet, the Qing attempted to solidify their military power, and recoup their losses to the revolutionaries. Shikai had different plans and began secretly negotiating with forces in the South and outside of China to arrange for the peaceful abdication of the Empire.
The Abdication of the Qing Empire was formally carried out in 1912, leaving Yuan Shikai as provisional president over the north of China, Sun Yat Sen remained president of the Southern provincial government until April of that year when he resigned his presidency to Yaun Shikai and established the Republic of China as a unified nation.
The celebrations were short lived, due mainly to Yuan Shikai’s power lust, and the instability that often follows violent revolutions. By 1916 the
“Republic of China” was merely a title as power struggles across the land plunged the nation into turmoil. Governors and their provincial armies began vying for power once Shikai’s dictatorial methods and bid for a new monarchy became clear.
This widespread violence and instability would not end for another 35 years, including the second Sino-Japanese War.

Wikipedia - Early Modern China :
Sun Yat Sen
XinHai Revolution

Richard Hooker’s Work

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