Fall of Qing Dynasty

We are about to look back to the 1910s.
Previously, we have seen China humilated by the Western countries. Who was responsible for this? Qing Dynasty and its conservative leader Cixi. The Chinese are angry. The Qing Dynasty had ruled China for almost about 300 years.

Before we begin, the Qing Dynasty's rulers are not Chinese. Did you know that? They are Manchurian, they were what the Chinese considered "barbarians." On top of this, the Chinese blamed the Qing Dynasty for keeping China undeveloped and week. Now the Chinese were ready to modernize and gain their autonomy.

Nationalists Rebel Against Chinese Monarchy

Conflicts arise establishing the New RepublicThe Chinese people were ready to over throw the Qing Dynasty and take a step towards modernization.
The Qing dynasty, under a powerless two year old emperor Puyi, the successor to the conservative leader Cixi was a major factor in even more growth of mass civil disorder in China. In the latter years of the dynasty, with the Western powers effectively in place to exercise their imperialistic forces on Qing, the days were riddled with rebellions and attempts of reformation. However, those feeble attempts were nothing but massive failures and only pointed to more violence and dilemmas.

But in 1912, a final push for change in China was made, and was successful.external image sys02.jpg
Sun Yat-Sen, a Chinese man who was educated in the U.S, led the Kuomintang or the Nationalist Party and overthrew the Qing Dynasty. This effectively ended the Qing rule since 1644, and in addition to this, China's proud "4000" year old monarchical history and its dynasties... Sun became the president of the Republic of China.

source (Right) a portrait of Sun Yet Sen (孫逸仙)
He was called the "Father of Modern China"

Sun Yi Xian was physician who spent many years of his life in America was a forerunner of KMT (Kuomintang). He strongly believed in nationalism. Therefore, he endlessly attempted to bring down Qing dynasty. When Qing dynasty ended in 1911, he became the president of of the new Republic of China in 1912.

The following is a video from a Chinese drama. It explains how the Chinese people during the time felt and approached the new idea of democracy and having a president, as opposed to their previous "emperor" from the Qing Dynasty.

The "Three Principles of the People" was the Constitution proposed by Sun.
The following are the Three Principles [borrowed from the Modern World History Text]
1. Nationalism- an end to foreign control.
2. People's Rights- democracy
3. People's Livelihood- economic security for all Chinese citizens.
Notice how similiar the Chinese Constitution is to the U.S. Constitution.

After he came in power, he also tried to make China a nationalist country. He disliked how the Chinese people did not have a sense of nationalism at all. He remarked:

"The Chinese people...do not have national spirit...they are just a heap of loose sand..."

However, Sun was was too weak in terms of authority and control to improve the situations in China. Also, because he lacked military, he could not unify the Chinese people and their spirits as he had wished. However, many Chinese people still consider him a hero, calling hiim the 'Father of Modern China'.

In 1913, Yuan Shikai became Sun's successor. However, he quickly betrayed democracy, and ended up being a military dictator. Rebellions formed everywhere, but Yuan's generals did not want to fight the rebels. Yuan ended his life in 1916, and Sun came back in power. When Sun was in power, he fought to reorganize KMT and bring back democracy.

However, the situation was already too bad to recover. Parts of China were divided by the warlords, who conquered as much land as possible, and claimed it their land. Their competition ruined the land. Bridges and roads were destroyed, and the crops were very badly damaged. This caused a huge famin among the Chinese peasants, and a few million of them died.

WW1 creates more problems

China declared war on Germany in 1917, because some leaders believed that it would get its confiscated land back from Japan, if they helped out the Ally's side. However, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) allowed Japan to gain privilages and territories that Germany owned before they lost the war. China's hopes of gaining back its lost land was shattered into pieces by this treaty.

The Treaty of Versailles favored Japan, because Japan provided a lot of support for the allies, which led them to win World War One. After this event, Japan becomes even stronger, and invades Manchuria not long after.

The May Fourth Movementexternal image May_Fourth_blackandwhite.jpg

The news of the Treaty of Versailles outraged China, and on May 4th, 1919, over 3,000 angry students, including Mao Zedong, who will later become a great revolutionary leader, boycotted in the center of Beijing. This demonstration spread all over the country and became a national movement called the May Fourth Movement. The May Fourth Movement showed the Chinese determination to establish a strong, modern nation. Many young Chinese intellectuals abandoned Sun Yixian's beliefs in Western democracy for Lenin's brand of Soviet communism.

(right) This is a picture of the May Fourth Movement.

The start of communism in China can be seen as a whole new era of Chinese history....
external image Mao%28250x264%29.GIF
In 1920, Beijing and Shanghai University hosted a small group of intellectuals to discuss Marx and his theory... A year later, a group went on to organize a Chinese Communist party in Shanghai... Among them were Mao Zedong...

In conjunction to the formation of the Communist Party forming in China, Sun Yat-Sen and his Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) created a government in Southern China. Sun had trust for the Soviets and allied with them. After all, Sun had used Lenin's blueprint for organizing his party to that of the Soviet's Bolshevik.

To the right is a photo of young Mao. source

The Growth of the Communist Party of China

Lenin Aids China

Formation of Mao Zedong's Communist Party- Shanghai and Beijing University students discussing Marx's revolutionary beliefs and viewed the Soviet Union as a model for political and economic change Sun's Nationalist Party set up a government in south China. However, when the Western democracies refused to support his struggling government, he accepts an offer from the Lenin's Sovets, who preached worldwide revolution. Lenin helped the China's Nationalist government in return for allowing the Chinese Communists to join the Kuomintang.

Conflicts between the Communists and Nationalists

After Sun Yisian's death in 1925, Jiang Jieshi become the head of the Kuomingtang. Many of the Jiang's followers, who were usually middle class bankers and business people, feared the Communist's goal of creating a socialist economy after the Soviet Union's. At first Jiang worked together with his Nationalist forces and Communist forces to fight the warlords, but soon turned against the Communists. In April 1927, the Nationalists moved into Shanghai and nearly wiped out the Chinese Communist Party, and in 1928 Jiang became the president of the Nationalist Republic of China that both Britan and U.S. recognized. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union remained quiet because of the Shanghai massacre, and the Communists were seated with rage.

Peasants for Mao's Communist Party

When Jiang's government became corrupt and failed to grant the promised democracy and political rights to all Chinese, the ignored peasants turned to the Chinese Communist Party. Communist leader Mao Ze Dong, who survived the Shanghai Massacre by fleeing to the countryside, distributed the Communist land to the local farmers to keep their support for the Communist. Mao developed his own set of communism, believing that he could bring revolution to a rural country with the peasants as the revolutionaries.

external image culturalrevlution.jpgexternal image homepage.jpg

Civil War Starts in China

By 1930, Nationalists and Communists were fighting a civil war. Mao and the Communist leaders established themselves in the hills of south-central China and gathered the pesants to make up his Red Army. Because all the battles took in the countryside, Nationalists repeatedly failed to drive the Communists.

Mao's Long March

In 1933, Communists Part was outnumbered nearly six to one by Jiang's army of at least 700,000 men, and in 1934 the Communists fled, beginning a 6,000 mile long journey called the Long March. Mao's Red Army crossed many dangerous areas away from Jiang's chase which lasted more than a year. Despite the discouraging defeats, 10,000 to 30,000 men of Mao reached safely in northwestern China, beyond the reach of Jiang's forces and quickly gained new followers.

Japan's Invasion Stops Civil War for the Moment

In 1931, during the civil war in China between the Nationalists and Communists, Japan took advantage of China's weakening situation due to the wars and invaded Manchuria. This became the powder keg of WW II in Asia. In 1937, Japan start an all-out invasion of China and by 1938, Japan held control of a large part of China. The Nationalists and the Communists temporaily united to fight the bigger enemy, Japanese, just as they did to fight the warlords. Jiang further agreed to promote changes outlined in Sun Yixian's "Three Prinsiples of the People"- nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood.

Why do we even care?

So after going through all these steps, we can ask ourselves the REAL questions...

WHY do we even care?? WHY in the world do we even want to know about this stuff anyway???
It matters because such events in history, such events that happened in the past we learn from and reflect on....

The Qing dynasty's downfall could be mostly blamed on ill leadership, but the factor that actually caused it was late modernization. Taking those crucial and necessary steps towards modernization was late, and effectively put China behind the other nations around the world. With this China painfully realises the importance of technology and national unity. (and with China's struggle, it shows the world its importance too)

A China at this time, was a Broken World not just between nations, conflicting over their differences through violence, but also within such nations division was clearly visible. Such division within a nation caused social and economic unrest... For China, national unity was only a distant dream...

The rise of Communism in China leads to numerous events still affecting us today. The situation between present day China and Taiwan is a clear example of this. People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

We look at our world... whether we see a world full of prosperity or a world full of despair, it will be different for all of us. Then from there we look at our past... We see the things that were done correctly... We see the things that weren't... Through this process we learn... we reflect... But to make full circle, we have to end by looking at the world we live in again... We need to be able to relate the present with the past, and even the future.

This is why we care.
A pd. Sarah and Jiyeon Part I

E pd. Patrick and Joon