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Title: Government in Republican China
Author: Linebarger, Paul Myron Anthony, 1913-1966
Language: English
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  _The Department of Political Science_
  _Duke University_





  Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

    Linebarger, Paul Myron Anthony, 1913-1966.
      Government in republican China.

      Reprint of the 1st ed. published by McGraw-Hill,
    New York, in series: McGraw-Hill studies in political science.
      Includes bibliographical references.
      1. China--Politics and government--1912-1949.
    I. Title.
    DS775.L48 1973      320.9'51'04      73-888
    ISBN 0-88355-081-4

  Published in 1938
  by The McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York
  Copyright 1938 by The McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.

  First Hyperion reprint edition 1973

  Library of Congress Catalogue Number 73-888

  ISBN 0-88355-081-4

  Printed in the United States of America

  _Dedicated with filial affection_


  United States Judge in the Philippines,
  Counselor to and Biographer of President
  Sun Yat-sen, Formerly Legal Adviser to
  the National Government of China


To the cynic, two nations clasped in murderous embrace yet nominally
living in peace with each other might well be one of the miracles of our
century. No less miraculous has been for many the tenacity of Chinese
resistance to Japan's invasion ever since the first bullets whizzed
through the night near the Marco Polo Bridge southwest of Peking early
in July, 1937. The undeclared war has spread disaster through an area
larger than that immediately affected in Europe's battles from 1914 to
1918; hundreds of thousands have died in action; for months China's
capital has been in the hands of the enemy. But China is not on her

The explanation is simple. For the first time in her history, China
fights as a nation. More is involved than can be attributed to
Generalissimo Chiang K'ai-shek's personal leadership or the strategic
and organizational services rendered, until his recent recall to
Germany, by Alexander von Falkenhausen, chief of staff of the Turkish
armies during the World War. A people without allegiance to its
government and without faith in itself would have been incapable of
braving the ordeal of retreat, massacre, and occupation as successfully
as have the Chinese. That China fights today as a nation is no small
tribute to the National Government of the Kuomintang established at
Nanking in 1927. How long she will be able to fight as a nation is a
question to be answered only by reference to the national mentality and
political institutions which have emerged since the collapse of the
Manchu Empire in 1911-1912. It is the purpose of this volume to appraise
the record of China's republican era.

The author was compelled to beat his own path. Only a few books on
modern government in China are available in English, and these, written
by Chinese, are modeled in their presentation on Western prototypes to
an extent of obscuring, though unintentionally, the very substance of
Chinese politics. In Dr. Linebarger's pioneer venture the dynamics of
internal instability, typical of the earlier phases of the Republic, and
the gradual consolidation under the Nanking regime are analyzed with
extraordinary penetration. Instead of being confronted with meaningless
form and empty legality, the reader is placed in a position to view step
by step the evolution of conflicting and merging forces: political
movements and their contest for the loyalty of the masses, the rough and
ready rule of military might, and the official hierarchies representing
organized governments. Throughout this work, as in Dr. Linebarger's
earlier _Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen_, the broad stream of
Confucian thought fertilizing age after age of China's social existence
and Sun's purposeful ideological adaptations combined in his _San Min
Chu I_ are shown in fundamental harmony. One distinction, however,
stands out clearly. The Confucian tradition applied itself to a vaguely
conceived but essentially unified world order. In the _San Min Chu
I_ we encounter the elements of a national credo, self-assertive and

The role of ideology in modern government has suffered curious neglect
among students of politics for a considerable time. In periods of
relative ideational saturation or stagnation, the mechanics of
constitutional law or the give and take of legislative barter may
distract from the basic framework of values and objectives giving shape
to the political order. The rise of totalitarian systems relying heavily
on ideological appeal and propaganda techniques has laid new stress upon
those factors which predetermine political behavior. In China's vast
experience we have the supreme example of ideological guidance so firmly
established as to reduce to a minimum direct governmental intervention
in the affairs of the individual. It is perhaps Sun Yat-sen's tragedy
that for years he placed his faith in the magic of democratic verbiage
imported from the West; a new orientation came to prevail after 1923,
when at Sun's instance tested practitioners of mass organization from
the Soviet Union began to overhaul and streamline the Kuomintang

Government in China has become migratory as a result of Japan's advance.
A mere description of its previous structure and functions would today
have little relevance. But Dr. Linebarger has probed deeply enough into
the foundations of Chinese political life to distinguish with uncommon
discernment between the ephemeral and the durable. His long-range
exposition transcends the exigencies of the hour and delineates the
issues of China's future.

                                                FRITZ MORSTEIN MARX.


I am deeply indebted to the five gentlemen who have read the entire
manuscript in some one of its stages. My father, Judge Paul Myron
Wentworth Linebarger, has given me tireless help in this as in all my
projects, for which I shall never be able to tender sufficient thanks.
My teacher, Professor Harley Farnsworth MacNair of the University of
Chicago, supplied numerous addenda and corrigenda of great value from
his knowledge of modern Chinese history. Professor Arthur N. Holcombe of
Harvard University suggested changes which have made the work more
realistic. Assistance offered me by the Sinologue and philosopher,
Professor H. H. Dubs of Duke University, was of the utmost value.
Professor Paul H. Clyde, Duke University, provided many useful and
significant hints, especially in the field of Sino-foreign relations.

I am also under obligation to Mr. J. C. Yang, Library of Congress, and
Professor James R. Ware, Harvard University, for further suggestions; to
Professor Charles Sidney Gardner and Dr. John Fairbank, Harvard
University, and Professor George Kennedy, Yale University, for aid in
the general course of my Chinese studies; to Professor Maria Magdalena
Schoch, until recently of the University of Hamburg, Germany, for a
critical reading of the revised manuscript; and to Miss Hazel Foster and
Mr. M. F. Nelson for similar assistance. Mrs. W. M. Gibson, Miss Whitty
Daniel, and my wife have helped in the preparation of the manuscript.

                                                         P. M. A. L.
  DURHAM, N. C.,
    _August_, 1938.



  FOREWORD BY FRITZ MORSTEIN MARX                               vii

  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                                xi

  INTRODUCTION                                                    1
    Duality or Confluence?                                        1
    The Peculiarities of Old China                                2
    The Peculiarities of Modern China                             6
    The World Significance of Chinese Government                  7
    The Main Factors in Modern Chinese Government                 9
    The Approach                                                 11


  CONFUCIANISM                                                   13
    The Ages before Confucius                                    13
    The Ideology Called Confucian                                15
    Government in the Confucian Ideology                         18
    The Replacement of the Confucian Ideology                    22
    The Chief Movements in the Rebuilding of China               24
    Confucianism in the Republic                                 26

  THE RISE OF NATIONALISM                                        31
    Nationalism: Patriotic Anti-Manchu Phase                     31
    Nationalism: Revolutionary Modernist Phase                   34
    Nationalism: Republican Phase                                36
    Nationalism: Constitutionalist Phase                         38
    The Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen                       41
    Opportunist Movements and Their Anticonstitutional Effects   44
    Christianity as a Political Force                            48
    Nationalism: Social Revolutionary Phase                      50

  BATTLING CREEDS                                                57
    Nationalism: Governing Phase                                 57
    Independent Marxism in China                                 63
    Japanese Efforts to Participate in Creating a New China      69
    Patriotism: The United Front                                 72


  WARRIORS                                                       76
    Military Rule and Political Economy                          76
    The Downfall of the Charioteers                              79
    Military Elements in Chinese Imperial History                83
    The Military Organization of the Manchu Dynasty              86
    The Army and the Republican Revolution                       97

  CAUSES                                                        102
    The Age of the War Lords                                    102
    The Age of Air Conquest                                     108
    Governmental and Political Role of the Armies               113
    War and the Agrarian Economy                                115
    Imperialism and Chinese Wars                                119


  THE EMPIRE                                                    126
    Government to the End of the Warring States                 126
    The Chinese Imperial Government                             129
    Family, Village, and _Hui_                                  136
    Governmental Changes Foreshadowing the Republic             139

  THE REVOLUTION                                                145
    The Presidency of Sun Yat-sen and the Republican Revolution 145
    The Parliamentary Republic                                  149
    The Presidential Dictatorship of Yüan Shih-k'ai             152
    The Phantom Republic in Peking                              155
    The Governments of Sun Yat-sen in Canton                    160
    The Nationalist Government, Soviet in Form                  162

  RECONSTRUCTION                                                167
    The National Government of China                            167
    The Chinese Soviet Republic                                 182
    Other Governments in China                                  184
    The Growth of Government in China                           186

  CONCLUSION                                                    191
    The Collapse of the Imperial Society                        191
    The Nature of the Transformation                            192
    The Problems of Government in China                         193
    The Question of Chinese Political Survival                  195

  CHRONOLOGY OF DYNASTIES                                       197

  INDEX                                                         199


The origins of Chinese society may reach half a million years into the
past. Anthropologists have suggested that Sinanthropus Pekinensis, among
the earliest forms of man, resembles the modern Chinese more closely
than he does any other modern race. In what specific period the earliest
ancestors of the Chinese came to China is not known. It is certain,
however, that about 1500 B. C. there existed a well-developed
civilized society in the Yellow River valley, and that this same society
has lived on--modified by the centuries, but in unbroken
continuity--down into the present. China has outlasted Crete, Tyre,
Greece, and Rome. The Aztec empire, which arose in Mexico when China was
already ancient, has become only a memory, while China is still vital.
How is it that China's institutions survive, while those of other
nations did not? How real are Chinese institutions today? What,
precisely, is the Republic of China?

_Duality or Confluence?_

The phrase _Republican China_ indicates an era rather than a system. The
preceding ages of China have been known by the names of great dynasties.
T'ang China (620-906 A. D.) overawed and instructed all eastern Asia.
Sung China (A. D. 960-1279) flourished, civilian and tolerant, in a
world marked by bigotry and arms. Well into the past century the West
remained distant and vague. Republican China struggles in the presence
of the modern world and subject to its superior force; her very name is
a capitulation to the twentieth century. The problems of the Republican
era are not merely the problems of republican government; they involve
the broad question of the meeting and interpenetration of civilizations.
How are the Chinese, schooled for thousands of years in the effective
operation of their own political system, to adapt themselves fast enough
to the Western scheme? What happens when they must and yet cannot
effectuate such adaptation? These are not queries to be answered simply
in the routine terms of Western politics.

For the past three thousand years and more the eastern end of the
European-Asiatic land mass has formed a world to itself. Most of this
time it was larger, richer, and more civilized than the European world.
Down to the nineteenth century of the Christian era the Chinese had no
reason to suppose that theirs was not the most advanced and powerful of
civilized societies. They looked upon the Far East as the all-inclusive
universe of civilization; to them, their way of life was the
common-sense way. The Europeans did likewise, with reference to their
own sphere. When the European realm expanded so as to include the whole
planet, when Western civilization began to dominate the earth, and the
Christian family of nations became the world-wide international system,
the Chinese were forced to concede that the Far East could not be kept
to itself. They have found it indispensable to respond, as individuals
and as a people, to the new environment closing in on them. Doing so has
necessitated the reexamination and restatement of nearly all basic
values of Chinese life.

Since the nineteenth century the Chinese have been faced with the
alternative of adhering to their own traditions or accepting those of
the West. Institutions and practices which are so well established that
they seem to rest on sheer common sense in each of the competing
civilizations have been placed in juxtaposition. As a result, the
Chinese now know two kinds of common sense to justify a course of
action. The ensuing difficulty at times goes deeper; for they may be
said to have even two kinds of sanity. In old China a man who wanted no
sons seemed a patent lunatic; in the Western world he might be perfectly
sane. A modern Chinese faces thousands of such choices.

_The Peculiarities of Old China_

Obviously, government in Republican China cannot be understood without
analysis of the foundations upon which it is built. Such an analysis
requires an inquiry, however cursory, into the peculiarities of old
China and those of contemporary China. Some of the difficulties of
modern China arise from the very adequacy of the old system. Had the
Chinese of the past been less satisfied with their society, they might
have become more accustomed to change and transience.

China from the first millennium B. C. occupied the central position in
the Far East. No other country in that part of the earth was so powerful
or so civilized. India, despite important contributions to Chinese
religious thought, was too far away to impinge greatly upon the Chinese.
Japan was heavily indebted to the Chinese, and encouraged the Chinese in
viewing themselves as the most civilized of peoples. This had important
consequences. As China was unified most of the time, and as there was no
other polity to compare with the Chinese, their political system took on
the appearance of a universal empire. The neighboring states paid formal
tribute, and the Chinese were unprepared to meet another people who
might claim political equality as an organized state. Even today, in the
attitudes of the Chinese and Japanese toward one another, there are
strong traces of this traditional point of view and indications that the
Japanese would like to restore a closed Far Eastern order with
themselves in supremacy.

Since old China was rarely confronted with international problems, the
Chinese were not aware of their realm as a nation-state. There was no
sharp territorial limit to the Chinese polity, and no requirement that
within certain boundaries one authority be defined as supreme. The
Chinese were able to make their adjustments in the interplay of social
and political controls with less frequent resort to theory than the
Westerners. Nor was the Chinese ruler ever so firmly entrenched as to
eliminate the chance of being overthrown or to preclude the existence of
other--pluralistic--independent social controls. The power of government
was indeed limited. It maintained the peace of the Chinese world,
directed education, supported the social proprieties, and was ornamental
rather than efficient for the greater part of its activities.

The Chinese lived primarily under the dominance of nonpolitical
agencies. These were the family (comparable to the Western clan), the
village and district, and the _hui_ (association, guild, society--in the
narrowest sense of the term). The family was intimately bound up with
the Chinese religious system, which stressed the continuity of each
individual in the flesh. A personal immortality was to be secured with
greatest certainty through the survival of one's own blood. The village
was the main economic unit, and the union of villages into districts
(_hsien_) provided an administrative division of importance: below the
_hsien_ level, common interests were fostered by community home rule;
above it, by the government. This meant that elders, clans in council,
village bosses, and other nongovernmental agencies carried on police
work, all local public construction, and most of the activities which
are regarded in the modern West as falling under the jurisdiction of the
state. The _hui_ was able to supplement the family and the village; in
guild form, it provided the chief framework of commercial and industrial

If the government was weak and limited, and social control ensured
primarily by nongovernmental agencies, how did the Chinese achieve so
great a political stability? Why did their polity not break up into a
wilderness of tiny social groups, each jealous and particularistic, like
medieval Europe? The answer is to be found in the psychological controls
which the Chinese established. They devised a system of indoctrination
unequaled by that of any other people.

The Chinese sought to guide men through the guidance of their ideas:
government by education, or government by propaganda. For this purpose
scholarship and administration were closely allied. The government was
made up of scholars, who thereby occupied the position of greatest
prestige in the society; the scholars were trained to serve as
government officials. Few officials were not scholars; few scholars
pursued a nonpolitical course. This led to a profound uniformity of
thought, and was in accord with the dictates of the Confucian

From the earliest times Chinese thought was social and political in
emphasis, rather than metaphysical and scientific. For thousands of
years scholars studied problems of society, government, and ethics. They
appealed to tradition, and interpreted it. They organized the primitive
religion of the Chinese into a sophisticated social philosophy, and over
the centuries their work took effect. Chinese of different racial
backgrounds, using different spoken languages and unable to communicate
with one another by writing, living under different climatic and
economic conditions, came to show a startling uniformity of behavior.
Custom and common sense were woven into a solid pattern by the scholars
and accepted by the masses. Everything in human life bore some relation
to everything else, and the life of man was related to the world of
nature. There was no sharp distinction between natural science and
social philosophy.

The educational integration of government, mores, and physical existence
created a system of control which has exceeded all others in lasting
power. The group in command was the scholastic bureaucracy, but
membership in it was not hereditary. Scholar-officials were recruited by
civil service examinations, and to this degree the society was a
democratic one. Every child in the society had the theoretical
opportunity of becoming prime minister. Furthermore, the power exercised
by the scholar-officials was different in its nature from that of legal
rulers in the West. Government was preventive rather than remedial.
Constitutionality was not confined to legal matters; in a broader sense
it extended to all subjects. The scholars were as much subject to
established tradition as the humblest Chinese, and everyone knew the
tradition. The scholars excelled only in knowing it more thoroughly.

It may be stated as a truism that under any government the actual scope
of its intervention is confined to a certain category of affairs,
bounded on the one hand by matters which are so trivial or so unexplored
that they are left to the citizen's free choice and on the other by
subjects in which there is such general agreement as to make political
action unnecessary. This latter sphere might be called ideological
compliance--control of men brought about by the inculcation of broad
uniform patterns of belief and behavior. If men are induced to agree
upon a traditionally fixed mode of behavior, they will unite in
persecuting dissenters and will not be conscious of the tyranny of
ideological doctrine. But if they think in many different ways, they
will be able to gain security only by promises of mutual
noninterference. Liberty--as absence of governmental restraint--may thus
result either from a complete concord, in which every man is free to do
as he wishes since all men wish to do basically the same, or from a
specific guarantee of each individual's freedom to follow his own
interest or caprice within a defined limit. The old system of China was
a free society in so far as dissent calling for government interference
was relatively negligible, and at the same time a society rigidly
controlled with respect to the uniformity of individual behavior.

This tradition was pragmatic and realistic. The Chinese ideological
controls operated successfully because they corresponded reasonably well
with the actualities of social and economic existence. With the coming
of the West, the old Chinese system was affected in two ways: First, the
amorphous Chinese society was threatened by the strong, effectively
organized states of the West. Secondly, the competitive accomplishments
of Western civilization destroyed, in large part, the assumption of
universality upon which much Chinese tradition depended, and thereby
impaired the power of the scholar-officials. The twentieth century
brought China a new freedom, unaccustomed and unsought. The old system
was threatened with ruin, and modern China faced the problem:
replacement or reconstitution? Or, more dangerously: chaos or political

_The Peculiarities of Modern China_

The lifetime of one man can span the gap between old China and new.
There are men living in Peking today who can remember when the Forbidden
City (the palace-city of the emperors) was sacred and inviolate, and
when the mandarinate ruled in accordance with immemorial usage. These
may regard all Western science as a confusion, a wild torrent of exotic
words, which answers no problems, gives human life no aim and no
dignity, and is bound to return to the alien dust whence it came.
Opposing them are younger Chinese who hate the dead hand of the past and
look forward to a Westernized, scientific, industrial China which will
differ from Europe and America only in being even more modern than they.

Most Chinese fall into neither of these groups. Many of them, however,
have a definite conception of the West and of the benefits which Western
civilization has to bestow. They also realize the threat which it
contains for those who do not master it. Yet they have been nurtured in
the serene humanity of ancient custom and hold to it with the
effortlessness of habit long transmitted. Out of this dual standard
there spring daily problems of ethics and conduct, of private life and
public policy. Administrative organization versus family loyalty and
nepotism, promptness versus leisureliness, discipline versus courtesy:
these and many others are omnipresent antitheses.

Anachronism is China's second self. There is no set scheme of things.
Modern Western civilization has not been adopted so fully as to make the
traditional habits seem outmoded, nor has the past survived to an extent
as to make everything modern appear ridiculous. The notion of world
government, for example, is gone from China, and the notion of
multi-national government not yet clear. The relation of the individual
to society and of the parts of society to the whole are not yet
reformulated; this affects such matters as criminal law, political
organization, and economic development. Virtually every adaptation in
China must be thought through from the beginning by the Chinese; and
even in thinking there are varying styles. Are the Chinese to think
after the fashion of the West--scientifically and logically--or are they
to think in their accustomed traditional and empirical manner?

It is thus patent that the new Chinese world which is appearing must
grow out of the background of the past and the necessities of the
present. It cannot readily be planned because there are not enough
formulas common to the old Far Eastern and the new Western worlds. New
China must be a blending, from use, from habit, from new skills imposed
upon old. Out of the dangers and misfortunes of the years since 1912 the
Chinese have developed a small body of political methods which is
temporarily workable. But the greater part of their social and
governmental thought and custom has yet to go through the process of
reevaluation by practice. Chinese political development has perforce to
be emergent and not planned.

According to either time scheme, that of her long past or of the modern
world, modern China is anachronistic. The transformation of the Chinese
world of the past to the China of the future involves the creation of a
whole set of transitional institutions designed to lead from one to the
other. Contemporary Chinese institutions are neither those of the past
nor those of the future; they are a peculiar scheme of more recent
origin and bound to be replaced. Old China is gone. Modern China is
novel and unstable; in time it too will yield to a China of which
prophecy affords but few glimpses.

_The World Significance of Chinese Government_

If government in Republican China is an extemporized and doomed system,
rooted in no past, committed to no future, why should it be scrutinized
at all? A number of reasons for examining Chinese government suggest
themselves. Some of these are of sufficient significance to merit
statement, so as to suggest facts and issues worthy of special notice.
If certain points of key importance are kept in mind, they may serve as
references whereby the relative ranking of any specific topic may be

First, the mere geographic extent of China is such as to make her
government necessary to a picture of contemporary governments. At least
every fifth human being now living is a Chinese.

Second, in international relations China has been of great passive
importance. The wars between Western and Far Eastern nations have all
been fought over the so-called Chinese question. The partition of China
and the open door in China have been issues of international concern.
Since 1931 the Chinese have been active participants in the struggle for
the control of China, and the nature of their government determines in
large part the effectiveness of their resistance. China is a vast
market, and an even vaster reserve of man power--for troops or for
industrial labor.

Third, the pathology of government deserves attention. Chronic social
disorder may provide a great variety of political facts wherewith to
gauge the nature of political power. Well-governed societies do not
supply similar material because they rarely need to probe political

Fourth, old China offers a challenging demonstration of secular,
civilian, pacific world government. The Chinese commonwealth of the past
was supernational; it seemed to the Chinese like unified civilized
humanity. Among the conflicting currents of present world politics,
there are some which drift toward world unity; old China may present
significant analogies to the international institutions of today.

Fifth, the universal features of government may be more fruitfully
scrutinized in a novel cultural and social setting. China presents a
background radically different from the Western one, and affords a
unique test whereby Western political patterns and those of world-wide
significance may be distinguished from one another.

Sixth, the question of method in political science may meet
qualifications after being applied to Chinese political thought. The
Chinese did not seek that illusory precision which has been one of the
chief goals of Western thought ever since logical procedure was
established by the Greeks. The Western man in the street, however,
depends very little on mathematics or logic in his everyday thinking.
Indirectly, the effect of inductive and deductive method has been
revolutionary, but their importance in routine operation or
unspecialized thought is open to question--especially in view of the
findings of modern psychology. It may well be that Chinese thought can
assist in the interpretation of everyday experience in the West,
precisely because it is not too specialized or scientific.

Seventh, the Chinese may contribute in a practical way to political
knowledge and leadership throughout the world. These contributions may
be anticipated by a consideration of past and present Chinese

Eighth, the Chinese have lived in a peculiar historical environment,
consideration of which may broaden our outlook. Most Western "world
histories"--with few exceptions such as H. G. Wells's brilliant
_Outline_--are histories of the West Asiatic and European worlds, with
only perfunctory references to China.

The relative novelty of Chinese materials to Western research explains
in great part the neglect accorded them in the Western social sciences.
With the narrowing of the world by modern means of transport and
communication the situation is changing. The science of Sinology
(systematic study of China through Chinese texts) has won its place
among the archaeological disciplines. Sinologists have made available to
Westerners a great deal of material, but its value depends in large part
upon the degree to which it is incorporated into the generally
accessible and usable body of knowledge.

_The Main Factors in Modern Chinese Government_

In the consideration of modern Chinese government a somewhat novel
approach to government is called for: one which distinguishes different
elements and levels of control and makes plain their interrelation. The
narrow consideration of the formal structure would be puzzling and
discouraging, since the various governments of modern China have been
the ornaments rather than the engines of political power. An attempt to
explain modern China in terms of constitutional legal development alone
would lead to exasperation or frustration; the ideological and
institutional context which might convey meaning would be lost.

How can government be studied when politics are antecedent to
government? If the rulers make and unmake the form of government almost
at will, where is the real source of their power? If armies can dissolve
overnight and be reassembled under different banners on the morrow,
military power may seem tenuous and dependent on other factors. What are
these? If property is insecure and the standards of wealth subject to
variation, how can economic power be treated as an ultimate determinant?
How do men wield authority of any sort, while they create or destroy the
machinery of authority?

For centuries China had been held together by a close-knit system
dependent upon tradition. This tradition, the ideology called
_Confucian_, was the device whereby the scholar-officials of the old
imperial bureaucracy controlled society. Government itself was
subordinate to the moral and social leadership of the intellectuals, who
relegated the economic and military professions to the less honored
categories of society. The whole fabric of Chinese life was made up of
interlocking patterns; the West, by destroying a part, tore the whole
asunder. Modern China faces more than political problems; a totalitarian
revolution has engulfed it. China has been proceeding not from partial
control to complete control, as are Italy,[2] Germany,[3] and the
Soviets,[4] but from complete control to something not far from
universal license--freedom all-pervading, unwanted, and terrifying. The
problem of modern Chinese government is the problem of re-creating
government out of its raw materials: land, people, doctrine, force, and

In this problem certain factors stand forth as preeminent: ideological
movements, military and economic factors, governments.

First, the movements. These supplant the ancient tradition and the old
hierarchy of scholars. In the place of one settled authority over all
subjects, there suddenly appeared thousands of little authorities.
Anarchism, dress reform, Christianity, feminism, nationalism,
pro-Japanism, communism, atheism, capitalism--discordant and partially
contradictory, these all compete for the authority or a part of the
authority once held by the old system. China undergoes intellectual,
moral, educational, political, economic, military, scientific, and
industrial revolutions all at once, and all for the same reason--the
passing of the old unified order. Imagine the Renaissance, the
Reformation, the French Revolution, the industrial revolution, the Gold
Rush of '49, the World War, and the Russian Revolution all happening in
the same country in the same generation! This is a common-place
comparison, frequently made. Movements determined the loyalty of troops,
the title to property, the form of government. Power inhered in them,
since they determined the conditions under which men would seek and
wield power. A great part of the control of China has been exerted
directly, by means of the movements themselves.

Second, the armies took the power which goes with military force, simply
because theirs was military force. They did not have to seek power. It
accrued to them, out of the disorder of society. Along with military
power went economic power as the most tangible and negotiable. Guns and
property seem very realistic indices of power, as long as the troops are
loyal and the property safe from confiscation or devaluation.

Third, the governments. Between ideological movements, which sought to
rebuild the ideas and habits of men, and armies wielding a brief but
nearly unrestricted authority, government played its tertiary role. It
was at times of ludicrous unimportance, and on some occasions possessed
power in its own right. It leaped to a sharply improved position after
1928, but never possessed the generality of assent or the monopoly of
force to the degree common in the West.

_The Approach_

Government may mean the control (or attempted control) of society by men
professing to act in the name of all society. In this sense it includes
propagandists and educators who seek to reconstitute society, leaders of
movements, soldiers, economic leaders of all classes, and government
leaders (so far as they use government establishments as an actual means
of control). Viewed thus, the political processes of modern China are
manifold and significant. Here is power stripped naked, power without
ornament, power resting squarely upon the brains or guns of men. Men
rise and fall in the contest for power; they rise and fall absolutely,
not in a fictitious scheme which establishes a fictitious order of
constitutional offices sometimes providing asylum for popular leaders in

Government may also mean the structure and function of that formally
organized group in society which claims to act upon the mandate of legal
sovereignty. When the concept of sovereignty itself is vague, confused,
or absent, government by title may be merely one among several factors
of power. Government in China is broader than the governments of China;
the two should be distinguished from one another.

In outlining government in Republican China, the present analysis
follows the broader construction of the word _government_. The
governments proper are accordingly discussed in the last part, the first
two being devoted to the ideological movements and to the military and
economic factors. For the purpose of defining the three sets of controls
as clearly as possible, each is treated separately. This has
necessitated a corresponding arrangement of the historical data, though
in each part presented from a different point of view. But it is highly
desirable that the long-range Chinese chronology be kept in mind. To
this end a table of Chinese dynasties has been provided.[5] As a result
of separate analysis the movements, the armies, and the governments may
appear in bolder relief than would otherwise be possible, and the role
of government in the broadest sense may be made clearer, not only for
China but for the West as well.


[1] For a description of this system see below, pp. 18 ff.

[2] _Cf._ H. Arthur Sterner, _Government in Fascist Italy_, New York and
London, 1938.

[3] _Cf._ Fritz Morstein Marx, _Government in the Third Reich_, 2d ed.,
New York and London, 1937.

[4] _Cf._ Sidney and Beatrice Webb, _Soviet Communism_, 2d ed., New
York, 1937.

[5] See below, p. 197.



_Chapter_ I


The continuity of Chinese civilization depends not alone upon its
political virtues, but upon its working effectiveness in all relevant
spheres of human activity. In emphasizing certain aspects of old China,
it is impossible to trace the entire broad evolution.[1] In fact, the
emergence of those devices which, along with government in the narrow
sense, guided China in her long past dates back to prehistory.
Throughout the ages, however, Chinese life has preserved its identity.

  Chinese culture is unique in its continuity. Its most striking
  characteristic is a capacity for change without disruption. It would
  appear that that characteristic goes back even to [those] cultures
  which preceded the Shang in northeast China. Shang culture, like all
  great cultures, was eclectic, fertilized by influences from many
  quarters. But these influences and techniques, when they were
  accepted, met the same fate which has overtaken every people, every
  religion, every philosophy which has invaded China. They were taken
  up, developed to accord with Chinese conditions, and transmuted into
  organic parts of a culture which remained fundamentally and
  characteristically Chinese.[2]

This is the comment of H. G. Creel, an American Sinologue who has helped
to explain the archaeological sites of a Chinese civilization
considerably older than any other. Even in its historical beginnings the
civilization of man in China displayed features corresponding to that of
the modern Chinese.

_The Ages before Confucius_

The earliest Chinese state known is the Hsia, which is traditionally
termed a dynasty in the Chinese chronicles and given the dates 2205-1765
B. C. More critical examination of the materials of Chinese tradition,
the excavation of the engraved bones and bronzes from succeeding
periods, and an interpretation of Chinese history with the technique of
modern archaeology have upset the credibility of the records of the
earliest periods. All that is established is the fact that the Hsia was
a state before the Shang. It is unlikely that Hsia exercised any
imperial hegemony over other peoples, since the empire system did not
rise till Chou times.

Of the Shang dynasty (traditionally 1765-1123 B. C.) much more is
known. Thirty years ago most Western scholars thought the Shang
chronicles to be myth, but excavations in northeast China have located a
Shang capital and have unearthed a large body of inscriptions on
bone.[3] The Shang culture must have been highly developed, possessing
an urban life, writing, and a definite system of monarchical government.
The germs of scholastic leadership were present. Power was in the hands
of a single ruler (_wang_, or king), who claimed hegemony for an
undetermined distance beyond the walls of the capital.

In the twelfth century B. C. the Shang dynasty was overthrown by
conquerors from the west, the Chou. The Chou dynasty bridges the gap
between the semihistoric and the definitely historic period of Chinese
antiquity. Under the Chou the chief features of Chinese social and
intellectual existence took on clear form. From the Chou conquest and
their attempts to establish stable government China derived striking
social and political characteristics. One of the astonishing facts about
early Chinese history is the manner in which the Chou rulers utilized
propaganda to make their conquest secure, and in which their propaganda
furnished dynamic concepts of Chinese social thought and development.

The most important of these widely propagandized concepts was that of
the Chinese Empire. The city of Shang had been the center of a dominion
which could not possibly have included more than a fraction of what is
known today as China. The civilized areas along the Yellow River were
probably no larger than Palestine. Most of what is now China was
conquered in succeeding centuries. Even in this small area, it is not
known what relationship existed between the ruler of Shang and other
rulers. The Chou monarchs built up the legend that the Shang rulers had
occupied a position of primacy among the rulers of the civilized world,
and then claimed the position themselves by right of succession through
conquest. There was thus fostered the notion of one ruler, central and

Secondly, the Chou themselves taught the doctrine of the right of
revolution. They identified their god with the Shang god instead of
declaring that their god had overwhelmed the other. They asserted that
this one god had been displeased by the profligacy and wickedness of the
Shang and had called upon the Chou to overthrow the Shang rulers. Both
these theories, refined and amplified, became fundamentals of Chinese
political thought in later ages.[4]

The Chou established a system of government which left an imprint on
Chinese politics for three thousand years. In relating their
metropolitan administration to their occupation of the lands of North
and Central China they were less successful. Lacking any other device of
government, they turned to feudalism, and on the quasi-feudal
foundations of the Shang they imposed a fief system. This led first to
the division of China into many small feudal units and later to the
appearance of powerful territorial states. The first of these
periods--that in which feudalism predominated--was known as the Ch'un
Ch'iu, or Spring and Autumn epoch (770-473 B. C.). The second--in
which the states developed--was known as the Chan Kuo, or Warring States
epoch (473-221 B. C.).

The rise of the Chou provided China with her first government on an
imperial scale and with the beginnings of a theory concerning the nature
of imperial government. The increasing disorganization during the Ch'un
Ch'iu and Chan Kuo periods led to the development of the Confucian and
other philosophies, wherein the Chinese, conscious of political
shortcomings, sought the good society.

_The Ideology Called Confucian_

551 B. C. is most commonly given as the year of Confucius' birth.
Confucius (K'ung Ch'iu; also Master K'ung--K'ung Fu-tz[)u], from which
Confucius is derived) was a wandering scholar and would-be official
whose life was spent in the advocacy of political and social reform. He
was important because of his part in establishing the profession of
teaching and for his doctrines upholding good government. Discontented
with the present, he turned to the past--becoming conservative and
aristocratic in outlook. His position in the history of political
thought he owes to the bent which he gave aristocratic conservatism. He
sought the leadership of the _chün-tz[)u]_ (the upright, superior, or
aristocratic man) rather than the domination of laws. He developed an
ethical system secular and practical in its orientation and humane in
its tenets. He emphasized the necessity of the individual's appropriate
self-consciousness in the society, and the need for following _li_
(propriety), the established values. He stressed family loyalty above
all others, and insisted on respect for tradition. After his death in
479 B. C. his ideas were elaborated, clarified, and revised into what
is known as the _Confucian system_.[5]

This system underwent many changes. The Confucian influences came to
prevail in the Han dynasty, in the second and first centuries B. C.,
but lost its official preeminence with the fall of the Han in the third
century. It nevertheless retained a great share of intellectual
leadership. In the Sung period (960-1279) the philosopher Chu Hsi
developed Confucianism into its most recent accepted form. Others joined
him in sharpening and refining Confucianism.

The Sung philosophers evolved a Confucianism which showed the influence
of the Taoist and Buddhist philosophies. They reinterpreted the classics
by emphasizing works other than those hitherto regarded as preeminent.
With reference to the concept _li_, they developed the notion of a truly
complete order running through both spirit and matter. Metaphysics,
alien to the mind of Confucius himself, became an operative part of
Confucian thought. Through their ethical and psychological studies the
Sung Confucians translated the Confucian rationale into an effective
ideological technique for domination. It is not inconsistent to find
them opposing any action definitely governmental. Furthermore, they
showed themselves to be conservatives in politics, and through their
commentaries on the classics--which were studied in succeeding centuries
along with the texts themselves--imprinted their conservatism upon the
Chinese mind.

The ideology called _Confucian_ is not identical with Confucianism as
the philosophic system proper. In the first place, it is not known how
much of the social doctrines taught by Confucius and his successors was
original and how much mere transmission of preexisting beliefs.
Confucius himself regarded his work as that of a transmitter and not a
creator. Secondly, the whole Chinese culture contributed elements of
strength to the ideology to which the name of Confucius became attached
by Westerners. Thirdly, the system developed in practice to an extent
which Confucius could not have anticipated. The Confucian ideology and
society bear the relation to Confucius which Christendom bears to Jesus
Christ; both founders would scarcely recognize the derivations to which
their teachings have led.

The Confucian ideology came to prevail in China just before the day of
Christ. At the time of Christ, Wang Mang, a usurper and a zealous
Confucian, shook the Han Empire with his experiments. A period of
reaction against Confucianism set in. Taoism and Buddhism provided rival
cults. After the twelfth century, Confucianism rose slowly to power over
men's minds again--although it had never been wholly superseded by other
doctrines, it had long lacked its all-compelling primacy. Not until the
Ming dynasty (1368-1643) did it become the state philosophy of China,
the ideology whereby China lived politically and whereby she was

Descriptions of Confucian China apply, therefore, with particular
cogency to the past five hundred years, if account is taken of the role
of Confucianism as a state philosophy. But if those elements of Chinese
culture which are subsumed under the name of Confucianism are considered
apart from Confucian philosophy, the time may be extended indefinitely.
Confucian doctrine is one aspect of Chinese culture which has in various
centuries risen to the forefront. Underneath this doctrine there are
tenets, near the level of unconscious habit, which apply to almost all
ages of China. It is difficult to separate the two phenomena and to
distinguish between Chinese culture and its most representative
philosophy. An analogy, remote but suggestive, is the influence of
Aristotle in the West. Periods of Aristotelian predominance can be
distinguished from the general history of Western thought, in which
Aristotle plays a consistent but lesser role. As Aristotle was
interpreted by Aquinas, so was Confucianism by the Sung philosophers.
Aristotelian politics are far removed from the specific problems of
representative or modern authoritarian government; nevertheless they
possess great value and exercise an indeterminable influence upon the
entire West. The analogy holds for China if left in its loosest terms.
Confucianism is far from oblivion. The China which met the Western
impact--"old China" in the eyes of the twentieth century--was in fact
more Confucian than was the West Aristotelian. She was permeated by an
ideology in which Confucius' teachings were the key pattern, though not
one which he had made up in its entirety.

_Government in the Confucian Ideology_

In Confucian China, government was reduced to a minimum. There existed a
set of institutions which in many respects afforded a remarkable
although misleading parallel to the governments of the West. In fact,
the earliest Western visitors to China found no difficulty in applying
their own political language to China. The supreme Chinese leader they
called the _emperor_, despite the inevitable Caesarian connotations of
the term and the fact that it erased the peculiar significance of the
Chinese title. Subordinate areas were called _provinces_. All the way
through, the use of European concepts compelled whole series of
unwarranted parallels. The term _mandarin_ forced its way into Western
tongues, however, since there was no existing term to describe the
members of the curious hierarchy of scholar-bureaucrats occupying a
position of hegemony among the institutions of Chinese society.
Unfortunately for Chinese as well as Westerners, both were so poorly
informed in the beginnings of intercourse that the Chinese could not
secure an adequate picture of Europe, while the Europeans assumed that
the Chinese were more, rather than less, like themselves. The Chinese
society, with a single supreme ritual leader, was termed an _empire_,
and the predominant hierarchy of that society a _government_.

Actually, modern political scientists would have to hesitate before
applying the term _government_ to the hierarchy of old China. In many
respects that hierarchy was more like Europe's medieval universities and
our fraternal societies than the governments of the West. The prestige
accruing to positions in the system was not derived so much from
political power as from the status which the system offered to its
members. An official, although he might value his power, was regarded in
the society at large almost as much for what he was as for the dignity
with which the office invested him. This arose from his peculiar role,
in which his function was to provide a model of propriety in his private
and public life rather than to interfere in the lives of others.
Interference, to be sure, occurred--sharply, Draconically, directed more
against the social group of the offender than against the offender
himself, on the theory that it was the function of the group to keep its
members in line with the common-sense traditions. In such rare cases the
officialdom became a government--government as the institution of men
who seek to control society in the name of all society. Normally the
officialdom was not a government in this sense, as it claimed leadership
rather than control, preached rather than punished, shamed rather than
intimidated the people.

Confucius said, "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to
be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but
have no sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought
to be given them by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of
shame, and moreover will become good."[6] In a governmental system which
was avowedly Confucian, the officials were discouraged from trying to
formulate rules, for such rules, if specific, could only duplicate the
enactments of custom and, if general, might entangle the official in a
web of words. If the officials were personally and individually
worthless, there would be no hope for good government and the only
remedy would consist in selecting good officials and placing them in
high positions. If the officials were good, their integrity and common
sense would show them the solutions to problems and they would have no
need to solicit advice from some manual of commands. No lifeless paper
and ink could guide a people unless there were upright officials to
study the classics and put the judicious rules found in them into
effect. The only safeguard against bad government was good government by
good men; the only remedy for bad government was the effort of good men.
The Chinese never set up an imaginary machinery and turned themselves
into its cogs. To the simple, common-sense humanity of the Confucians, a
government made up of rigid laws--a system having no reference to the
personality or value of individuals, but embedded in a vast mechanism of
numbers--would have seemed anathema and lunacy.

Government in China was an auxiliary activity, the reserve power of a
hierarchy given to the pursuit of different ends. The officials were
teachers first and magistrates afterward; the emperor was a supreme
model first and a ruler afterward; the people were shamed, and punished
only when they were shameless. Such was the ideal theory upon which the
Chinese built their world society. The facts were rarely as bright as
they might have hoped; the reserve power never disappeared.

The necessity for government did not always proceed from the frailties
of the governed. The Confucian system, although worthy of its great
esteem, was marked by the difficulties which attend all human
organization. Corruption and tyranny appeared, and were not by any means
negligible. In many cases it may be supposed that a system of laws would
have provided redress for individuals treated arbitrarily or unjustly;
but, if one is to judge by experience in the West, even law brings with
it other types of injustice peculiar to itself. In China some of the
most benevolent and effective emperors advocated at times a government
of rules and not of men, in order to check the caprice and the
oppression of officials; yet the role of law in China, in contrast to
the part it has played in the West, remained slight. The West affords
instances of effective political work outside legal systems, while the
Chinese have produced law codes of considerable breadth and
significance. Nevertheless, the power of Chinese government aside from
law is just as clear as the Western development of government within

The old Chinese system was based upon control through ideas, control
exercised through the maintenance of clear notions of right and wrong,
as founded in certain well-established common-sense traditions. The
world of fact and the world of right and wrong were bound together, and
the whole ideology was one of general and all-pervasive order. While the
Western impact was felt cumulatively through the nineteenth century, the
Chinese world of fact went down into the limbo of myth in a few
disestablished generations, and with it went the compulsion which
Confucian common sense had exerted.[7] The consequent development of new
ways of acting, which had nothing to do with traditional control, upset
the entire scheme. When the system of ideological guidance began
breaking down, there was a stampede to get away from it. Men no longer
trusted it, no longer trusted the tameness of their neighbors. A new
wildness, a savagery armed with science, had come with the aliens from
beyond the seas. It was the old hierarchy to which men turned, calling
it _the state_.

As a state, as an all-embracing control institution, the old Chinese
hierarchy was a pseudomorph--it looked like a state but was not really
one. Now it had to develop those characteristics of regularity,
impersonality, and machine effectiveness demanded of a state in the
modern world. It had to restore the virtue of men by telling them how it
was possible to be virtuous in a world in which all things turned and
changed with the days and not with the centuries. It had to gather
together the members of the old Chinese world-community, reorient them
with respect to the new, divided world around them, and fight off the
inroads of outsiders. Above everything else, it had to grow strong, so
that it might institute order, so that it might someday grow weak again.
On the other hand, if a governmental system were set up which tried to
maintain the precarious supremacy that Western states have enjoyed, and
which was subject to uncontrolled fluctuations in the thought of the
people upon whom it rested, the Chinese might lose their character as
Chinese. They might be absorbed into the Western world and become a
group of yellow-skinned traditionless men, living according to the
heritage of white men's laws and doomed to a perpetual inferiority
because these laws were not their own. They might be aliens upon the
earth, with no group to call their own. Such a nightmarish vision may
have come to Sun Yat-sen when he pleaded with all his heart for the
unification and defense of a China still Chinese.

The old system broke and collapsed in 1911-1912. This collapse was
hastened by the fact that the imperial family was incapable of
leadership. A succession of degenerates and children occupied the
throne--the one intelligent emperor was imprisoned by a clique--and a
fanatical old woman held enough power to keep anyone else from using it,
but not enough to lead or to want to lead a revolution from above. When
the old structure caved in, over four hundred million people were
without effective government, and no one really knew how to create it.

_The Replacement of the Confucian Ideology_

Only some of the movements which have occurred in China have had
political significance. With the collapse of the old stable order, the
Chinese fell into great confusion, devoting themselves to a variety of
doctrines and crusades. Some of these movements may be regarded as
subordinate to the day-to-day struggle for military or governmental
power; others, though within the sphere of politics as far as their
interests were concerned, never acquired sufficient importance to
impress themselves upon the general political scene.

The only movements which need be here considered are constituent ones.
It has been noted that the real basis for the stability and operation of
the old Chinese society lay not in the power of an organized body of
law-makers, law-enforcers, and law-interpreters but in the
constitutionalism of common sense, in the deep harmony of agreement
which the Confucian outlook on fact and value had created. Men were
raised tame, and what tamed them was an ideology--a unified, coherent
body of ideas--which related the knowledge of the world to the sphere of
morals, which was applied by the intellectually dominant classes as a
means of control, and which secured for the controlling classes hegemony
over all groups in society.

The moment the old order weakened, it was inevitable that men would try
to find substitutes which met four criteria: (1) a plausibly
satisfactory explanation for the world of fact; (2) a persuasively
related scheme of values (right, wrong; good, bad); (3) use of this
explanation and the value scheme (both together forming an ideology) to
control behavior; (4) authoritative status of the individuals promoting
the ideology, whether or not organized as a group.

It will be recognized that these criteria fit the great religious
movements of mankind; it is equally apparent that they lend themselves
to the promotion of governance. Governing under conditions of
ideological anarchy is at best a precarious effort--a makeshift, a
pitiable building upon sand. The Western world faces today the same
problem that the Chinese face: How are men to agree widely enough to
live together in peace? But the Chinese approached this problem from an
experience of deliberately fostered agreement. Confucianism had the
effectiveness of the great religions and a sophistication and
malleability superior, perhaps, to any of them. As a consequence, the
modern Chinese were keenly aware of the necessity of the last two
criteria. The problem of ideological guidance is only half solved with
the presentation of a new scheme of facts and a new scheme of morals;
propaganda and institutionalization remain.

Complaints are current in the West to the effect that art, science, and
letters are becoming propaganda--that is, that they are being used to
control men, or as attempts to control men. The Chinese of 1912 and
after never had similar scruples. All human effort was propaganda, and
whatever was not, was of only passing interest. There was no alternative
while the Chinese tried to found a new common sense in the discredited
ruins of their old world order. Their natural science had been impeached
by the demonstrable superiority of Western science. Their code of
ethics, whatever its aesthetic appeal, was ineffectual as a way of
conduct among people who had different, more violent notions of right
and wrong. Even the code of personal behavior--the elaborate courtesies,
the leisureliness, the grace of life in old China--was worthless in an
environment which put a high premium upon speed, impersonality,
efficiency. As the Chinese turned to a revision of all aspects of their
mode of life at once, different groups, trying to find some one key
reform which would solve all difficulties, fell into discord. Economic
advance, political reorganization, "realism" in outlook, educational
reform--all these had their adherents. None was allowed, by either
adherents or opponents, to stand simply as a group of separate reform
measures to be considered on their own merits; the drive for a new
ideology made all proposals important for their bent rather than their
content. A simple thing like the desirability of using Latin letters in
mass education immediately took on a vast significance when related to
the _Kulturpolitik_ of the time. The left-wingers once attacked the
missionaries who had first tried to introduce it, on the ground that the
missionaries were seeking to prostitute the Chinese mind and to make the
Chinese betray the past. Later the Communists enthusiastically pushed
the same scheme, stating that the Chinese ideographs were a stronghold
of reactionary thought. The torments of the struggle inevitably caused
the terms of conflict to resolve; gradually several more or less
determinant movements emerged, around which all other reforms tended to
cluster, because of sympathy or logical relationship.

_The Chief Movements in the Rebuilding of China_

Among the movements, Confucianism stands first. Even with its limpness
and decadence, it still represents the greatest single intellectual
force in the country. To the Chinese, this force may not even be
apparent, and they take it as much for granted as the air they breathe.
Nevertheless, the outside observer can see that even though Confucianism
is inert as a movement, its inertia is more important than the pressures
of other causes. Unconsciously, the Chinese accept whole tracts of
Confucian thought. They accept, in other words, the guidance of
Confucian ideology in much the same way that Americans who are not
churchgoers still accept the major premises of Christianity, simply
because their whole environment is charged with it. Just as in the West
a universal and potent Christian revival in politics is not likely but
is nevertheless conceivable, so in China it is not very probable but
quite possible that there will be a successful resurrection of the
orthodox Confucian philosophy. Whether a strict Confucianism could
return without monarchy is doubtful; and Sun Yat-sen's blend of
republicanism and Confucianism is so well established that it may
prevent the successful promotion of uninterpreted Confucianism.

The Taoists and Buddhists are similarly inactive in politics. More
strictly concerned with the supernatural than is Confucianism, they
represent significant tangential forces upon the flow of political
development, but do not express themselves in overt intervention. Among
the leaders of all groups except the Communists there are important
members of both sects. It is not uncommon for any of them, defeated in
war or temporarily eliminated from politics, to turn to a monastery and
study ancient texts, much in the way that an idle American politician
goes to a farm, cultivating his health and his reputation.

Islam is a minor but living force in China. It has long prevailed in the
border territories of the Northwest, and for generations has presented
vital and effective opposition to the Chinese influence. The territory
of the Mohammedans was consequently a hotbed of rebellion and
separatism, until the ghastly religious wars of the past century drowned
autonomous tendencies in an ocean of blood. At the present time the
Islamic movement faces another equal to itself in ferocity and
persuasiveness--Marxism--in Outer Mongolia, across the border in the U.
S. S. R., and in the northwest controlled by the Chinese Red Army. Thus
far Islam has given no promise of power.

Nationalism--the movement launched by Sun Yat-sen, which follows his
doctrines of the _San Min Chu I_[8]--is the official movement of the
National Government of China and of the Nationalist armies under Chiang
K'ai-shek. It is consequently the chief power of positive action in the
whole country. At various times, Sun's followers have been known as
Progressives, Revolutionists, Republicans, and Nationalists--according
to the phase of their program then uppermost.

Opportunism, rationalized by one or another ornamental philosophy, has
been very common in modern China. It has accepted ideological materials
the way they are used in superficial struggles of the West--making
ideals fit the facts and using them for the sake of the facts.
Opportunism has been characterized by the avid acceptance of wholly
implausible doctrines, or by a disingenuous "realism." Proalien and
defeatist movements have been opportunist in practical matters; "strong
man" philosophies have served the causes of individual ambitions.
Ideologically these currents were noteworthy only because they stirred
up the mud, making genuine intellectual clarification all the more

Finally, three important movements have come from outside. These are
Christianity, Marxism, and pro-Japanism.

Each sociopolitical movement in China has had economic connections. Some
movements are avowedly bourgeois and capitalist and find their roots in
Western tradition. Others are inspired by the challenge of the land
problem, which is very acute. World production has upset Chinese farm
prices; international trade has ruined many peasant craft industries;
modern armies have imposed unprecedented tax burdens; opium and erosion
ruin large portions of the people and the land. In some cases the chaos
in the countryside can only be stilled by massacre. Despite the presence
of capitalist, proletarian, and agrarian economic movements, it seems
likely that economic questions will be settled by groups which do not
concentrate upon them to the exclusion of all others. Meanwhile, each of
the movements seeking to create a new China will have to provide for
reform or replacement of the economic system, which is decrepit because
of its internal decline and the appearance of economic devices from the
West vastly more effective, but inconsistent with Chinese modes of

_Confucianism in the Republic_

Confucianism as an official movement has been used to support other
tendencies, to further the opportunist activities of particular cliques,
and to bolster--by disguising--the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. It
is incorrect, however, to limit the role of Confucianism in modern China
to these facts. In serving as a foundation for other movements it
possesses unmeasured potentialities.

Confucianism supposes that the truth and the socially desirable are
identical; that both are identical with the Confucian tradition; and
that an elite of scholars is required to propagate truth, clothing it
with the language of tradition and morality. Confucianism is hostile to
the very notion of sovereignty, leaves no room for a system of
permanently separate nations, and is unable to accommodate the Western
idea of an accidental growth in knowledge, dependent upon sporadic
individual initiative. Confucianism is strong in so far as it promotes a
society based upon knowledge, in which individuals can ascend or descend
according to their personal virtue and competence. Such an ideal has a
definite end in the physical universe by working toward a human
immortality of the flesh and the spirit--flesh through the perpetuation
of the family name in the male line, spirit through the transmission of
records and knowledge. Its present-day defects are obvious. The world of
fact in the Confucian ideology does not correspond with the beliefs
accepted as fact by the dominant West. The intellectual insulation
against the outside necessary to ideological control could not be
achieved by any single modern nation without the use of tyranny.
Moreover, Confucian ethics and politics, more than twenty-four centuries
old, can scarcely be expected to conform to the changed minutiae of
human life, dominated by technology. Nevertheless, while the Chinese may
not turn again to the classics for guidance in concrete situations, or
consult ancient authorities for solutions to simple practical problems,
the moral and social doctrines of Confucianism, redefined or modified,
could well play a definite role in the modern world. In China the chief
rivals to Confucianism will be the new heterodox schools of
reinterpreted Confucianism--such as the versions posed by Sun Yat-sen
and Chiang K'ai-shek, or the watery Confucianism of Manchoukuo.

The nonformal unorganized power of Confucianism weighs more heavily. If
Confucianism were to be considered alone on the strength of the
movements featuring the password "Back to Confucius!" it would be so
negligible as to merit no attention. Not the strength of its partisans
but the concessions of its opponents and rivals make Confucianism
important. Confucius can no more be eradicated from modern China than
Plato, Aristotle, and Christ from the background of Western society.
Every Chinese movement, starting with Confucianism as the status quo,
will have to incorporate a large part of the traditional doctrines. It
may well be that in the new breeds of thought the Confucian strain will
prove dominant and most lasting.

Until the breakdown of the Empire, Confucian texts were studied
appreciatively rather than critically. One does not criticize common
sense unless one is anxious for the reputation of a crank. With the
blinding dawn of Western knowledge, Confucianism went into the
wastebasket. Two years in New York were worth a generation of study over
the ancient authorities. From time to time, under the Republic, the
various governments discussed plans for educational reform, or
haphazardly encouraged the dying traditionalist schools; but nothing
could restore the prestige of classicism. Strangely, the greatest
impetus toward classical learning was provided by the challengers of the
classics. Modern Chinese scholarship, using Western methods of critical
study, and armed with new specializations undreamed of by the archaists,
found that the traditional authorities were valuable not only for what
they pretended to be--plain, direct, factual records--but also as source
material for penetrating interpretations.

The Chinese have turned to this task since the opening of the various
scientific agencies of the National Government at Nanking and have
already produced works of importance on their own past. They have pushed
back their scientifically ascertainable history almost a thousand years.
The modern Chinese students, who hated the classics when they were
mouthed by sedate old scholars ignorant of the modern world, now devote
themselves to the classics to criticize them; criticizing them, they
study them; studying them, they love them. The "science of the country"
(Sinology) has recently been added to the curriculum of the modern
schools; it is causing a veritable renaissance. In fact, the Chinese are
constantly becoming more anxious to find precedent for political growth
and development in their own past rather than in the past of the West,
which they could never appreciate as much as do Westerners.

The actual Confucian movements do not warrant attention. Militarists
have sponsored little Confucian coteries, or have paid for the
publication of sumptuous editions of the Confucian classics, with the
expectation of acquiring a reputation for benevolence and intelligence.
Wu P'ei-fu, the most accomplished scholar among the military leaders of
his period, who owed part of his prestige to his scholarship, was
diligent in promoting Confucianism. With his decline (1926) his example
was no longer felt to be worth following; Confucianism as a practical
political expedient passed from the scene. It gave too little sanction
to the raising of local conscript armies, inflation of the currency, and
the doubling of taxes. Its complete silence on such necessities could
not be taken for consent.

In the Japanese-occupied territory in Manchuria, however, an interesting
experiment in Confucianism has been made. The customs and organization
of the last Chinese dynasty have been resurrected, touched up by a few
classical scholars, given a somewhat more orthodox and unrealistic air,
and proclaimed as the constitution of the Great Empire of Manchou
(Manchoukuo). Since the effective government of the country is under
strong Japanese influence, the venture is significant only as a
political narcotic. The laws proclaimed are in Chinese; the officials'
names are Chinese; the miranda of government, whatever the fact, are
consistent with the grand traditions of Chinese history. The Japanese
might have placed a handful of dreaming reactionaries in actual power
and helped the growth of an anachronistic Chinese Empire in the
northeast, but they seem to have spoiled their opportunity of creating a
friendly and subservient state by acting too arbitrarily and making it
impossible for the Confucian experiment to work.

Confucianism in modern China owes its position not so much to its
prospects as to the fact that it has provided a frame of reference,
however obsolescent, for the political struggle. Hence, through the
tumultuous modern period, the Chinese have been strengthened by a
philosophy which emphasized the separateness and stability of each
institution in society, and which did not make them lose all with the
fortunes of a single supreme organization. As a positive political
force, Confucianism has done two things: It has kept the Chinese from
depending too much on political control, and it has provided a rationale
in the contest for power. It accomplished the first by making police a
function of society as a whole, by stressing the appropriateness of
behavior rather than its legality; and it has given the Chinese ethical
values despite their sorry political condition. Confucianism has
rationalized struggle by supplying each individual participant with a
code to apply if he came to power, and by giving him a good pretense for
seeking power. Confucius himself lived in a time when Chinese political
organization was chaotic. He noted the need for righteous men in high
places and pointed out the good which could be done, apart from general
reform, by the furtherance of virtue through scattered efforts.
Confucius supplied the ambitious men of his own time with a reason for
aspiring to power--by making political responsibility a duty for the man
of intelligence. The Confucian scholar was no saint contemplating
eternity; he was a proud, correct, self-righteous, patient individual,
obliged by his training to take public office wherein his talent could
gain wide influence.

In modern China, the seekers of political office have been able to avoid
the appearance of abject venality by professing respectability. Even
though they may have been just as corrupt as the politicians of other
nations, and more efficiently so, they nevertheless had the saving grace
to eschew hard realism and cloak their ambition with a pleasantly
virtuous tradition. A military leader could surround himself with a few
scholars and give his efforts to reach power the air of a mild and
well-mannered crusade. Whenever political strife in China has had no
meaning but vanity and greed it has at least worn the decent cloak of
the Confucian tradition.


[1] For a good general introduction to Far Eastern history and politics
see G. Nye Steiger, _A History of the Far East_, Boston, 1936, the most
complete of one-volume works; Harold M. Vinacke, _A History of the Far
East in Modern Times_, New York, 1937, especially good for social,
economic, and governmental developments; René Grousset, _Histoire de
l'Extrême Orient_, Paris, 1929; and Richard Wilhelm, _Ostasien_, Potsdam
and Zurich, 1928, a brilliant short outline. Diplomatic history is dealt
with by H. B. Morse and H. F. MacNair, _Far Eastern International
Relations_, Boston, 1931, the most detailed one-volume work; Paul H.
Clyde, A _History of the Modern and Contemporary Far East_, New York,
1937, the most recent; and Payson J. Treat, _The Far East_, New York,
1935. The most useful one-volume history of China is Kenneth Scott
Latourette, _The Chinese: Their History and Culture_, New York, 1934.
All these works carry bibliographies; those of Steiger and Latourette
are particularly informing.

[2] Herrlee Glessner Creel, _Studies in Early Chinese Culture, First
Series_, p. 254, Baltimore, 1937. Quoted by permission of the author.

[3] H. G. Creel, _The Birth of China_, London, 1936, provides a
brilliant popular account of the earliest known Chinese culture.

[4] Creel, _Studies_, pp. 50 ff. For relevant information the writer is
indebted to Professor H. H. Dubs, Duke University.

[5] On Confucianism and its immediate background see Marcel Granet,
_Chinese Civilization_, New York, 1930; Fung Yu-lan (Derk Bodde,
translator), _A History of Chinese Philosophy: The Period of the
Philosophers_, Peiping, 1937, an authoritative work; Liang Chi-chao, _A
History of Chinese Political Thought_, New York, 1930; and Leonard
Shihlien Hsü, _The Political Philosophy of Confucianism_, New York,
1932, brilliant but open to criticism. For a popular portrait of
Confucius see Carl Crow, _Master Kung_, New York, 1938.

[6] _Confucian Analects_, Book II, Chapter III.

[7] For its loss of political support see below, pp. 34 ff.

[8] See below, pp. 41 ff.

_Chapter_ II


Of the constituent movements of modern China, the most important has
focused on the personality, principles, and following of Sun Yat-sen
(1867-1925). Now known primarily as the Nationalist movement, it has at
various times emphasized different aspects of its program. In its
simplest and most fundamental points, the movement has fallen heir to
early patriotism. It has assumed different names: the Society for the
Regeneration of China (1894-1905), or _Hsing Chung Hui_; the League of
Common Alliance (1905-1912), or _T'ung Mêng Hui_; the Nationalist
Democratic Party or National People's Party (1912-1914), or Kuomintang;
the Chung Hua Kê Ming Tang (1914-1920), or Chinese Revolutionary Party;
and since 1920, again the _Kuomintang_. Kuomintang is the combination of
three Chinese words meaning "country" or "realm," "people," and "party."
The name of the party can be translated in innumerable ways: nationalist
democratic, nationalist popular, national people's party, etc. The
commonest rendering is "Nationalist," but it is to be remembered that
the word "people" figures in the name. Furthermore, the Chinese version
of patriotism has more cosmopolitan and fewer restrictive connotations
than patriotism ever had in the West.

_Nationalism: Patriotic Anti-Manchu Phase_

Even in a world society that knew neither state nor nation the Chinese
felt attached to their homes and their native land, which led them to
repel invaders. They never personified this loyalty or tried to express
it in specific institutions; nor did they admit outsiders to equality
and concede that there was more of the civilized world outside, thus
admitting the existence of nations. Their attitude rested on sentiment
rather than theory. There was no elaborate bolstering of Chinese racial
superiority, for--by and large--all the peoples in China, conquerors or
conquered, seemed racially alike, fused under the pressure of great
social homogeneity.

At the time of the Manchu conquest (about 1644) the Chinese developed a
passionate hatred for the invaders from the northeast. In entrenching
themselves the Manchus committed a fateful blunder which was to bring
momentary strength but ultimate ruin: they enforced racial segregation
in the political, social, and economic sphere. Legend has it that a
Chinese statesman, forced into Manchu service, suggested this plan and
thus laid the cornerstone for the eventual Chinese liberation. The
Manchus prohibited miscegenation; they established Manchu garrisons
throughout the Empire, keeping their troops from work (which might have
led to intermingling with the Chinese) and thus ruining them by sloth. A
fixed quota of Manchus was introduced into the government service,
irrespective of the operation of the examination system. In time the
Chinese scholars submitted willingly enough to the alien rule; two of
the Manchu emperors were the most enlightened patrons which Chinese
letters and arts had had in centuries, and the intellectual opposition
dwindled away to a minimum.

Among the populace there was no such general reconciliation. Deprived
for the first time of scholarly leadership, the common people, peasants
and artisans, organized numerous secret societies. The societies
flourished, coming to supersede the government in whole areas and
marking many decades with insurrection and riot. Scholars fought the
secret societies because of their uncouth rituals, their heterodoxy of
ideas, their opposition to the existing system. The societies answered
by building up political agencies which were able to act on the lower
and more generally understood levels of ideology.

These groups kept patriotism afire. The greatest of their uprisings, the
T'ai-p'ing rebellion of 1849-1865, was put down with the assistance of
the Western Christian states, but it left a permanent mark on Chinese
society. The rebels had shown that it was possible to wrest the greater
part of China from Manchu rule. They were the first to welcome the
invasion of Christianity, adopting a fantastically modified Christian
faith. They awakened the Chinese to the immediate possibility of a war
of liberation against the outsiders who held the throne of the Chinese

The T'ai-p'ing rebellion showed its strength as a patriotic movement. It
was successful in shaking the established ideology with a rival
compounded of the more vulgar parts of the old, combined with
Christianity. And it indicated the weakest point of the
dynasty--governmental inadequacy in dealing with the agrarian problem.
The years of formal stability gave China a much increased population;
the same years were years of political decline which raised the cost of
government. A house-cleaning was in order. The T'ai-p'ing demonstrated
the need for it; the Manchu dynasty refused to yield to the demand.

Sun Yat-sen was born in 1866 or 1867. An uncle of his had been one of
the rebels. At Sun's parental home the countryside had known of the
T'ai-p'ing rebellion; many in his native village had participated in it.
He was as patriotic as any Chinese could be in the far south, where the
Manchu conquest had penetrated least deeply, but his patriotism did not
differ from the patriotism of his neighbors until he came to know life
outside China. From the patriotism of the old Chinese realm to the
nationalism required of China in the new Westernized world--this was a
step to be traversed only by rich personal experience.

Sun took this step as a boy, when he went to Honolulu. He soon was
converted to Christianity, learned English, and became acquainted with
Western life. He was able to see the world in terms of nations, and he
saw that from the Western point of view China was a large but weak
nation. Already committed from childhood to the revolutionary cause, he
was led by his knowledge of the West to change patriotism into
nationalism. When he returned to China, after studying medicine in
Hongkong, he arrived with the notion of transforming the old world
community into an effective modern nation-state.

He did not seem at first to realize how necessary it was to dispose of
the monarchy. For a while he petitioned the authorities, trusting that
immediate reforms might be effected within the existing framework,
pending an ultimate revolution of patriots. His success must be measured
in terms of what he and his few fellow workers learned, rather than of
what they accomplished. His technique of revolution was based upon the
established traditions of Chinese history--the formation of a small
nucleus, the gathering of affiliated groups, the permeation of a
regional bureaucracy when possible, and the launching of terroristic
attacks to shake the apparent stability of the government.

At the beginning of his work he came into contact with the secret
groups. When he started organizing in earnest, the first major
development was the admittance en bloc of a small secret society. In an
unpublished autobiography Sun wrote: "After my graduation I practised
medicine in Canton and Macao as a pretext for spreading my revolutionary

_Nationalism: Revolutionary Modernist Phase_

The Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895 was the cause of much disturbance in
China and the first major event to shake the belief of the masses in
their own ideology. Fantastic barbarians with deadly contrivances might
harry the coasts and even allow themselves impertinences with the
dynasty, but the situation became different when a small, inoffensive,
ineffectual neighbor nation took over these same weapons and spoiled the
internal arrangements of the Far Eastern universe. The peripheral
countries could perhaps even demolish the central suzerainty; this was
the _mene-tekel_ of the Empire.

The revolutionary organization of Sun Yat-sen had by now become
definitely modernist, nationalist, and antimonarchical, instead of
merely patriotic and antidynastic. Under the name of _Hsing Chung Hui_
there was established a confederacy of secret societies. After a short
while the member societies were liquidated, and a modern revolutionary
organization emerged, advocating overthrow of the Manchus. The
intellectual elite of this group had no part in the ideological control
which gripped the rest of China, in the form of the traditional
mandarinate. As a new elite, with a new ideology, it broke the monopoly
of leadership, the monopoly of thought. The consequences cannot be
exaggerated. It was symptomatic that Sun's own family became estranged
in part and that many members of the society had to die a civil death
before working in the organization. They left their property to heirs
and changed their names, lest--under the principle of group
responsibility--terrible punishments be visited upon their native
villages and their families. Furthermore, an important bloc of
participants consisted of Chinese from overseas.

The Chinese overseas were for the most part men who had been kidnaped
and sold in the coolie trade or who had stealthily deserted their native
regions for adventure and wealth. With the increased foreign commerce it
was possible for many Chinese to become wealthier outside their own
country than within. But in leaving they left their custom and tradition
and met peoples--especially Europeans and Americans--whose way of life,
though utterly different, was effective in the practical, tangible terms
of wealth and security. Chinese in increasing numbers bettered their
condition outside. They did not amass wealth through family effort, nor
did they broaden their learning through the classics. What they won,
they won themselves; and they learned something for which the Confucian
ideology had no place. When they returned home, they were greeted with
contempt, though also with covert admiration. Those among them who had
gathered knowledge of the West, of modern methods of business, of
European languages, found that in the eyes of the traditional literati
and officials they were lower than the lowest illiterates.

Such men came in great numbers to the revolutionary party. Among
overseas Chinese merchants, workers, and students, there developed a
group--possessing power in the form of money and family
connections--which was determined to overthrow the existing order and
bring China in line with the outside world. Their effort was idealistic,
because the Chinese overseas felt that the economic and cultural
advantages of the West should be secured for their countrymen at home;
it was also realistic, since they were fighting in the only way they
knew for a respectable, honorable return to their homes. They could not
throw their lives away and admit that their ventures and dangers were of
no profit. They felt that they had acquired something, and they wanted
it recognized. It was Sun Yat-sen who showed them how they could do it.

In a sense, this feature of the Nationalist movement might be taken as
the pivot of modern Chinese government and politics. Controlling men
through controlling their minds and through making sure that every
possible leader would lead from within the hierarchy--these devices of
the past had failed. There were now Chinese to whom the Confucian rules
were pleasant and homelike but not the real material of modern life.
These Chinese possessed intellectually trained leaders who had nothing
in common with the dominant elite--who were more interested in building
railroads, improving water supplies, defending China's frontiers, and
modernizing the country than in augmenting the virtue of mankind.

_Nationalism: Republican Phase_

Every year brought the Nationalists increased strength. The Manchu court
yielded a series of constitutional reforms which by their promises
disturbed the minds of those still content with the old order and by
their nonfulfillment raised fresh storms of resentment against the
Manchu rule. The court did not really seek to master the drift in the
thought of the people; it tried to defeat change rather than direct
it.[2] In a few short years before and after 1900 the Dragon Throne
declined from the supreme office of mankind to an obsolete and
picturesque ornament of a government so weak and disorganized as to
render ornament artificial. While the Empire lost prestige, the
Nationalists came to emphasize the republican part of their program more
and more. As Nationalists, they differed little from the generations of
patriots who had fought the alien rulers of China. As republicans, they
were the Chinese vanguard of modernization. Some people accepted
republican ideas as good in themselves; far more thought them better
than the Manchu rule, especially since there was no Chinese pretender in
sight--the heir of the Mings, the last native dynasty, was a pensioner
in Peking. A large number probably thought little about the abstract
issue one way or another but trusted the revolutionary leaders because
they seemed to have a competence consonant with the times.

As the Nationalists advanced, they reorganized their party mechanism,
and formed the T'ung Mêng Hui in 1905. At this time the principles which
were later to become the _San Min Chu I_[3] were given public
formulation. The Nationalists began to feel the necessity of an ideology
with which to replace that of the Confucian monarchy. It had been
possible to leave doubt unsettled so long as they were a small,
conspiratorial group. As soon as they began to secure adherents among
the masses it became necessary to provide their followers with a common
set of ideas. In seeking agreement on fundamentals, they found
disagreements within the party. Sun Yat-sen's role began to change from
conspiracy to statesmanship. The future was to show that even a
statesman was not enough--that a lawgiver, a state founder, was needed.

The T'ung Mêng Hui was one of the most effective revolutionary
organizations which the modern world has seen, so far as achievement of
immediate aims was concerned. In a series of activities which would
rouse a mystery-story addict to startled incredulity, the
revolutionaries tried to awaken the populace by spectacular revolts.
They capitalized on the impotence of a government alien to China, one so
ineffectual that it could not protect the Chinese from the other, newer
aliens who had appeared. They realized that it was hopeless to attack
the monarchy along its entire front, since the old ideological guidance,
although waning, still held the broad masses in inertia. The
revolutionaries accordingly attacked the Empire at its top level, its
most obvious and conspicuous points of strength--the military and
political headquarters of the viceroyalties and other significant
positions. Knowing that they themselves could not monopolize the
government of China, they looked forward to attaining a position of
leadership among the various groups in the Chinese society and to
keeping that leadership through parliamentary methods to be established
under the Republic. Instead of regarding the Empire as a set of
institutions, they considered it the mere decoration of the country.
They had no reason to suppose, nor any way of telling, that in
destroying the old regime they destroyed government and all possibility
of government for a long time to come. They consequently tried to set in
motion a snowball revolution--an initial conspiracy of terror which
would intimidate the Manchus and cause the whole house of cards to
collapse. It was their task only to start the movement, which could be
counted upon to avalanche itself into history.

To the revolutionary group a republican scheme seemed possible. They
felt that in the twentieth century men would disagree but amicably, and
they regarded democracy as a form of government so excellent that its
mere inauguration would guarantee success. Furthermore, republicanism
and democracy were closely associated with nationalism; how could a
nation be free unless it governed itself in the most direct
manner--through the votes of its broad majorities?

In failing to provide a stopping point for the revolution before they
started it, the Nationalists were scarcely guilty of rash action. No
human being could have foretold the consequences of revolt against a
civilization. The revolutionaries were men who had passed through the
transition from the old Confucian ideology to that of the West with
relative ease. They did not realize that what was obvious to them would
be a mystery to the masses and that the political changes contemplated
would rip asunder the very fabric of thought in China. It is evidence of
the simplicity and usefulness of Confucian ideas that--even when
admitted to be challenged by the new environment--they continued to
operate without the sanction of intelligence, and operated well as empty

With the old patriotic forces behind them, and an untested Utopia ahead,
the Nationalists raced the Manchu Empire into revolution. The story of
the revolution is not complex.[4] In a great part of China the people
awoke to find no government. In the North the imperial officials and
princes clamored for the assistance of a man whom they had once
slighted: Yüan Shih-k'ai, the leader of the modernized armies of the
Empire. He held the fate of China in his hands. But he betrayed the
Empire so that he might betray the Republic; he joined the
revolutionaries and thrust a settlement upon the ruling house. With his
intervention the whole picture of Chinese politics changed. Yüan brought
troops into the play of power, troops dependent upon himself, men no
longer interested in ideas now that the all-compelling force of the old
way of thought was gone.

_Nationalism: Constitutionalist Phase_

The Republic at Nanking enjoyed a brief Utopian existence, with Sun
Yat-sen as its president. The revolutionaries were independent from
October, 1911, to March, 1912, when the Republic became the instrument
of Yüan Shih-k'ai. No substantial power accrued to the legislative.

During their bright heyday of power as a parliamentary party under the
Republic--which they had founded only to give it away to the
military--the Nationalists were known as the _Kuomintang_. At this time
the Chinese name of the party was significantly translated "Democratic
Party." Sun Yat-sen and the revolutionaries had expected that the
Chinese people would accept the new ideology without understanding it
and then would come to understand it very quickly. They could not hope
to replace the old ideology before the revolution, because the presence
of the imperial government made large-scale educational work impossible.
After the establishment of the Republic, however, they found themselves
hamstrung because they had not inculcated republicanism. It was a
vicious circle. The governmental pattern set up at Nanking was replaced
by another to make room for Yüan Shih-k'ai, who proposed a third, in
which he should have more power, in order that he might create a fourth
government, in which he should be emperor.[5] The armies of the
revolutionaries, such as they were, became absorbed in the forces of
Yüan. When, in a few months, the Republic had been won and lost, the
Nationalists realized that the revolution of 1911-1912 was only the
first step in their labors. They experimented with a minor revolution in
1913, and then turned to other measures for securing a return to
constitutional government and the creation of a republic which should be
as firmly rooted in men's minds as the majestic but irretrievable
Confucian order had been. They had won the revolution by creating doubt
and giving it tangible expression; they lost their revolution because
doubt persisted, swallowed everything, leaving China in a turmoil beyond
all systematic thought.

The first years of the nominal Republic, the beginning of the new order
in China, were marked by a feverish pretense of changed forms. The
outlook which superseded the ancient ideology was curious. It was a
mixture of traditionalist acceptance of temporary disorder and
resignation to a period of transformation into an unconceived and
unproclaimed future. This outlook gave life no purpose, but it kept men
from falling into complete anarchy. People were willing to accept
illegal authorities, since local administrators had traditionally
maintained a spotty cloak of public order. Modern Chinese were prepared
to pay lip service to a preposterous parliamentary regime but soon found
that it was comfortable to think in terms such as armies, foreign
interference, and money--thus allowing their thinking to settle in the
large framework of an accepted disorder.

The Nationalists tried to combat this anticonstitutional way of thought.
For six years (1914-1920) they combined conspiratorial techniques with
the role of a legally constituted power fighting for law. They assumed
the name _Chinese Revolutionary Party_ until they discovered that they
could secure no ideological foothold upon which to base the order they
proposed. Some of them went so far as to become anarchists, favoring a
continuance of disorder until the world joined China in collapse. Others
followed an unrealistic legalism; they held to the paper constitution,
to the text of the president's oath of allegiance to the constitution,
to the election laws, thinking that the magic of ink would conjure up a
government. Sun Yat-sen, and the body of his followers with him,
attempted to chart a middle course; in 1917 there was created a "lawful"
administration in the South. With extraordinary good fortune the
Republic might have succeeded, but the war in Europe, the Japanese
interventions, and other adverse circumstances prevented this.

The Nationalists changed the name of their party back to _Kuomintang_
after 1920 but did not discontinue their reformist policies until about
two years later. Sun Yat-sen had spent years in study and propaganda;
eventually his program became an ideology. No sharp line can be drawn
between the two. In some respects the very first programs of the
revolutionaries were ideological, in that they presupposed a change in
man's outlook which would accommodate republican government. On the
other hand, programmatic proposals may be distinguished from ideological
theses by the fact that programs refer to things which should be done
and ideologies to things in which men should believe in order to do
anything at all. A program which is rooted in no ideology is one lacking
context; unless a program refers to some accepted scheme of thought it
is words in a vacuum. Similarly, an ideology without programs to put it
into men's minds, to persuade men to believe in it and give it effect,
is an airy prettiness for philosophers. The Nationalists had stood on
the foundations of Confucian common sense and proposed a republic; they
had destroyed the organization which made that common sense seem real
and had cut the ground from under their own feet. They could not
distinguish values because their critical attitude enveloped all moral
notions or made them isolated points without coherent significance. The
Nationalists themselves fell prey to day-dreaming when they appealed to
worthless paper for their right to govern. The epoch is significant in
the history of the movement in that it taught the Nationalists that men
would not fight unless there was something to fight for and that there
was nothing to fight for until men could find desirable elements
embedded in some larger scheme of life. Politics had to have an end and
an environment; without either it was a series of monologues in the
wilderness, the soliloquies of logicians.

Sun Yat-sen during this time wrote the drafts of monumental treatises
which were to relate the general body of his doctrines to the background
of fact and thought from which they had emerged. He never finished them,
but meanwhile he and his followers realized that if they were to have a
grip over government they must grasp power within the brains of men. The
revolutionary reformists had to supply some better medium of persuasion
than the frivolity of military cynicism or the impudence of shadow
government. They had to abandon legalism and bring forth an ideology
capable of serving as the new foundation for a just and effective system
of government in China. If their original importance was that of an
effective counter-elite springing up in the intellectual borderlands
between the Western and Chinese ideologies, their second period of
significance begins with their realization that a new framework of
thought would have to be set up before any of their programs could be

_The Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen_

The ideology which the Nationalists were to teach was one which had lain
dormant in the party for more than thirty years. It was the invention of
Sun Yat-sen--his reinterpretation of Confucianism to suit the modern
world. He did not settle down with books before him, pen in hand and
notebooks all about, to formulate a Utopia; nor did he approach the
subject as a historian, seeking scientific causes for the emotions and
loyalties of men. He came to the subject as a political leader,
modifying the given background only so far as was necessary. His
doctrines grew with his personal growth and the development of his
movement. They are scattered among a variety of writings and utterances,
and are contradictory in many points although remarkably consistent as a

Sun Yat-sen asked himself: What is China? China is a race, he said, a
race which was once great and which held benevolent world leadership in
the world it knew. It has declined because it has fallen upon evil days,
under the rule of outsiders, barbarians, and has failed to develop in
ways which the West discovered. This race should be a nation in the
modern world; a great, powerful, united, effective nation in a world of
nations. It should fight for its right of self-rule and should support
justice in the international community. In order to achieve greatness,
the Chinese will have to turn their nation into an effective state and
add the devices of law to the devices of social control through
ideology. They should rethink their ideology, keeping the old ethical
philosophy and the old social knowledge (the technique of control
through thought, as in Confucianism) but adding Western technics. They
should then strive to make their nation the leader in progress toward
world peace and eventual cosmopolitanism. China should turn to
nationalism for the time--decades or centuries--that remained for the
travail of nations, but the Chinese should never forget the world
society whence they came. This is the first of Sun's three principles,

The second principle referred to the problem of leadership and the
organization of government. Obviously, the Chinese could not return to
monarchy in the modern world. In the first place, it would not be
modern; Sun lived at a time when the democratic tide was sweeping to its
high point and when the world triumph of democracy seemed a foregone
conclusion. Secondly, Sun thought it disloyal to China's past for the
Chinese to evade the responsibility of democracy, as it was implicit in
their most ancient traditions and thus an obligation laid upon them by
their first great leaders. Thirdly, he thought that good administration
was to be derived from democracy more readily than from any other
system. Fourthly, because democracy was a modernizing force, it should
be introduced; the people, participating in progress, would themselves
become progressive. Fifthly and most necessarily, democracy was simply
the self-control of a nation. If the nation was to be created and made
free through nationalism it had to become democratic, since there was no
other way for a whole people to express and rule itself. But the Chinese
needed specific devices[6] in order to assure that the old system of
selecting an intellectual leadership would not be compromised or
destroyed by democracy. They should see to it that democracy did not
become mob rule. The Chinese people should become self-indoctrinating
and thus maintain ideological control along with political. But the
Chinese should accommodate the concept of the state in their thinking,
since the concentration of power in Western states made it necessary
that there be in China an equivalent social device for canalizing and
concentrating power, in order to meet Western and Japanese attacks. The
egalitarian features of democracy should be congenial to the democracy
of customs and manners which was indigenous to old China. This was the
second principle, _democracy_.

The third principle was the restatement in modern political terms of the
cardinal economic principles of the past, together with an infusion of
newly invented doctrines. It protected the livelihood of the people, and
may be summed up in a single sentence: No government deserves to exist
unless it assures its people of the maximum of material welfare possible
under prevailing physical conditions. Government was of no use if the
people perished. The state was nothing if its substance was lost.
Political leadership should aim at constant improvement of economic
conditions, spread economic benefits, and make the nation healthy. In
doing so it was not to be bound by any creed of capitalism or communism
but was to experiment and seek the most efficient measures for the
benefit of the whole community. This last principle involved the _life_
of the nation, as nationalism did its _birth_ and democracy its
_freedom_. It was an ethical doctrine rather than a schematic principle,
and cannot be properly translated. It should best be left in the
Chinese, and expressed by two words which mean "people" and
"generation": _min shêng_.

This ideology gave the Nationalists a faith to propagate. It was
designed to achieve the revision of the old Confucian ideology;
experience and the accepted ideology would supply this new skeleton with
flesh. It differed radically from the Marxian doctrine in that it was
traditionalistic and nationalistic; it resembled the Marxian doctrine in
that it sought to create a whole new intellectual civilization before
turning to the question of government.

The new ideology had to make headway against other propagandas, the
partially adequate ways of thought which had grown up since the
establishment of the Republic. It had to restore life to the vast corpse
of Confucianism, and soon after its first general promulgation (1924)
had to fight its temporary ally--communism--for power over Chinese

_Opportunist Movements and their Anticonstitutional Effects_

The field which the Nationalists invaded to propagate their doctrines
was already occupied. The slow evaporation of the Confucian moral,
intellectual, and social system had given rise to various movements
which, for lack of a better term, may be called _half-ideological_.
These movements made no pretense of presenting a new order sufficient
for Chinese thought and belief, but--in the opinion of those
constituting them--they did afford an adequate frame of reference for
immediate action. Some of the half-ideologies were: (1) military
feudalism, (2) provincial _tuchünism_ (3) China-wide militarism, (4)
bureaucratism, and (5) capitalism. Although none of them succeeded in
indoctrinating broad masses of the population, yet each was effective in
a negative way. Each obstructed the development of any coherent system
of social and political life. Each was anticonstitutional, since it
proposed to constitute a scheme narrowly pragmatic or unattainable in

The presence of these movements gave China an appearance of considerable
freedom in the earlier years of the Republican era. Diversity of opinion
based upon a fundamental concord in outlook--diversity circumscribed by
one cohesive ideology--may be most wholesome in social and political
life. When diversity penetrates so deep as to include all major aspects
of human existence, it becomes insupportable, a hindrance and not a
stimulant to action. When policy is predetermined by tradition, thought
is easy, action relatively more difficult; when there is discord even on
fundamentals, thought is difficult, action easy. Almost any scheme
mitigating the evils of discord will be assured a hearing; if the world
cannot be rationalized, the individual will be.

Yüan Shih-k'ai inaugurated, in his efforts to control China through
military means, a way of thought which might be characterized as
military feudalism of the twentieth century variety, an order based upon
contract between commander and soldier, upon the payment of wages by the
former and the performance of any task by the latter. This militarism
never flowered in literature, never developed a political theory, never
achieved governmental form. Even Yüan felt its inadequacy as a state
philosophy, and by his attempt to establish a modern monarchy ruined
what chances he might have had for anticipating Mussolini with a Fascist
movement. As it was, the movement of military thought was derived from
the facts rather than propagated to excuse the facts. The militarists
themselves abandoned it whenever they found substitutes.

Nevertheless, the movement for a military ideology was at times the
prevailing mode of thought among the men who held power in China. They
were able to gain perspective on their own behavior by reference to the
old traditions, regarding themselves as upright magistrates in a time of
chaos. For working purposes they could claim from their subordinates and
superiors a vague constitutionalism limited to army circles. Amid the
cowardice, betrayal, and corruption in the military dictatorships,
tendencies occasionally appeared leading toward an effective military
spirit. Certain kinds of betrayal or cruelty were beyond the limits of
good soldiering, but not many.

A more effective explanation for the condition of the armies in China
from 1916 to about 1931 may be found in _tuchünism_. A _tuchün_ was a
military commandant ruling an area ranging from a few districts to a
number of provinces.[7] The imperial regime maintained a military
counterpart to the provincial governor. After the Republican Revolution
provinces tended to become separate and autonomous under military
leaders. The military man, who was prone to apologize for his position
by admitting that he was not developing a permanent establishment, who
held his troops together by a modern feudalism, could also rationalize
his role by presenting himself to his province as a good son, by
stressing the wickedness and strangeness of the soldiers in other
provinces, and by suggesting the thought of federalism. The scheme was
not convincing or edifying, but it could become temporarily popular. A
great part of the news from China is still written in terms of
_tuchünism_--since it is a simple pattern and requires no explanation
involving Chinese peculiarities. Satrapies have become tyrannies in all
ages. At the very best the _tuchünist_ movement could not have served
well as the constituent force of a new China. It would necessarily have
ended in one-man government, almost unthinkable with modern Chinese
conditions; or it would have implied a military federalism which is
scarcely a solution to the problem of unity.

Military cliques at times had China-wide proportions, but despite the
proclamations which were occasionally issued, there was no effective
single movement for a general military regime. Such movements as there
were developed within the framework of the shadow Republic. Moreover,
the shifting alignments of Chinese wars within the nominal organization
of the Republic were so confused as to make almost anything but order
seem possible. Yet many Chinese thought in terms of a "realism"
compounded of slogans and military exigencies.

If movements for military feudalism, provincial _tuchünism_, and (most
nebulous of all) China-wide militarism failed to provide more than an
explanation of immediate fact, there were counterparts in the civilian
administration aspiring to political autonomy for particular cliques.
Ministries tended at times to develop a spirit of independence. Finance
was too close to the military, but the revenue collection services (with
a large European and Japanese personnel) and the postal services behaved
as _imperia in imperio_. The foreign office functioned frequently
without effective superiors. Working without pay a great part of the
time, in a period which offered no near solution for its disastrous
troubles, bureaucrats saw in the increase of bureaucracy a possible
inauguration of order. The ministries did function in a way, despite the
chaos about them. They might have evolved a new bureaucratism to steal
the _tuchüns'_ power. Their spirit was helpful in particular and
damaging in general, since it was bound to sabotage any government which
might come to power. A few years of insecurity may weld a bureaucracy
together more closely than would decades of spoils; this was the case
between 1916 and 1928. Bureaucratism demonstrates the limitations of
opportunist ideology as a foundation for government.

Capitalism flourished wherever economic conditions made it possible;
such economic conditions did not last very long under the jurisdiction
of the military. In treaty ports[8] the Chinese capitalists prospered,
secure under governments which were international in effect, Chinese
only in legal fiction. There Chinese soon amassed enough capital to
compete with economic institutions erected by foreigners, and exercised
an important indirect influence on the growth of Chinese government.
Capitalism helped to thwart a peasant-labor alliance in China, for
although the capitalists were an insignificant minority without
country-wide influence, its form of control was mobile. No army, no
surge of popular resentment, no propaganda, no conspirator can travel as
fast as a telegraphic money order. The ideology of capitalism was
content in China to remain subordinate as long as the political and
legal conditions were favorable to it. Capitalist groups supported any
sort of strong government which might protect property and increase
opportunities for investment.

Among the most pitiful of the movements for the construction of a
general agreement in China were the proalien movements. They were
pitiful because they represented a prostitution of thought by men
conscious of the nature of their action. The Anfu Party flourished in
the first decade after the death of Yüan in 1916; together with its
militarism and its meaningless "realism" it was pro-Japanese. The
present "government" in North China[9] is another such movement.
Manchoukuo bases little of her official ideology on such a dangerous
outlook and prefers to propagate a Confucianist traditionalism in so far
as she propagates anything. Pro-Japanese action may express a discontent
with the competence of the Chinese for self-government, but more
forcefully it relates to theories of Pan-Asianism or Pan-Mongolism.

The opportunist movements--militarism, _tuchünism_, military federalism,
bureaucratic separatism, capitalism, and political puppetry--served to
confuse the basic alternatives. Because they reflected a narrow and
accidental scheme of power rather than long-range transformation, they
possessed a specious realism which obfuscated real issues. They
distracted attention without rewarding it and polarized opinion around
conflicts which were beyond settlement. There is no possibility of
agreement between men who think one another deluded in regard to
fundamentals. Disorder in China was the more violent because of these
different explanations. They delayed the creation of a framework in
which men could find a common reasonableness, an ideology sufficient to
rationalize all interests and to sublimate all frustrations.

_Christianity as a Political Force_

Ever since the establishment of American and British Protestant missions
in the nineteenth century, Christianity has been a conditioning force
for a democratic ideology in Asia.[10] The Protestants were among the
first to make a breach in the stronghold of Confucianism; they secured
international action to assist them. Their role was that of
counter-ideologues whose position was guaranteed by treaty (British
Treaty of Tientsin, 1858; American Treaty of Tientsin, 1858). They
possessed the power, under the legal sanction of the Chinese government,
to preach against the moral foundations upon which that government
rested. A missionary wrote in 1887:

  The foremost opposition to the introduction of Christianity comes from
  those who esteem themselves the followers of Confucius. They assent to
  our views about the "emptiness" of Buddhism, the deceptions of Taoism,
  the character of the priesthood, the mud and stone of the images, but
  when we gently allude to ancestral idolatry, the worship of heaven and
  earth, and the sacrifices of the mandarins, they are offended. Also,
  the Confucianists do the thinking for the people; they have the minds,
  the books, the schools, and the offices. Without a long residence in
  the country it is hard to imagine the influence of a penniless scholar
  in his neighbourhood, and the mental control he exercises over the
  minds of the peasantry. More than this, the graduates at the
  government examinations form a clique or "ring," and their voice is
  the unwritten law of China, their authority above that of His
  Excellency the Governor. The lamented Carstairs Douglas said at the
  Shanghai Missionary Conference of 1877, "Confucianism is the citadel;
  take it, and the war is ended."[11]

But for the presence of Christianity, a Chinese counter-elite with
sufficient moral self-assurance and intellectual ability to attack the
traditional institutions of the Empire might not have developed. Sun
Yat-sen was a Christian, although in his case Christianity has been less
of a modernizing force compared with the influence of his actual
experience abroad. Large numbers of the reformist and republican leaders
were Christian, some of them with missionary or Y. M. C. A. connections.
These men were not bound by the moral tenets of Confucianism; those
among them who had mission school educations had little in common with
the long intellectual tradition of the Chinese. For a while Christianity
spelled Westernization and provided an avenue of self-advancement
hitherto unprecedented in China--one outside the archaic scheme of

With the coming of the Republic, Christian ethics appeared to have an
open field. The emphasis which Christianity places upon the value of
individual human life was favorable to the emergence of modern
republican institutions. Even Yüan Shih-k'ai is said to have
acknowledged the influence of Christianity in this respect; he is
reported to have said, in an interview with a leading missionary
educator, "You missionaries are responsible for this revolution. Now you
must see us through."[12] The implication of doctrines of human
brotherhood is obvious, despite the fact that such doctrines--in less
forceful and spiritual form--were a familiar feature of certain Chinese

In its more direct effects Christianity demonstrated a variety of new
points to the Chinese. The intervention of the missionaries was not only
moral; it was scientific, and the early mission leaders brought Western
engineering and industrial methods with them. They published the first
journal in Chinese to give regular accounts of practical mechanics. As
the missions themselves developed, the physical presence of the
Protestant missionaries and of Western ways of life--to which they
adhered in contrast with the Catholics--became strong informational
influences. Later the rise of churches and of Christian establishments
gave the Chinese experience in the Western methods of social and
business organization.

In practical administration the Christian impact has been striking.
American missionaries were influential in developing popular education
in China. They have led the way in public health. They have organized
model orphanages and have assailed infanticide, footbinding, and
concubinage. They have been the public opinion of the Western world,
right on the spot, and have introduced the Chinese to a great many of
the best features of Western life. Finally, the Christians have
embellished and justified Western imperialism in China. The mission
enterprises have been among the most expensive and elaborate
philanthropic agencies ever set up by one state for the benefit of
another. The advance of the West has been saved from seeming unrelieved
imperialism. The West has taken, but it has also returned. Christianity
has been the companion and the antagonist of Western exploitation in the
East; it has suffered and benefited because of this position.

The total contribution of Christianity to Chinese politics cannot be
assessed. The ways of Christian influence are frequently pervasive and
incalculable. In the headquarters of the Chinese Red Army, Chinese
Communist leaders have quietly gone away to pray. The Christians have
breached the Confucian citadel and have weakened the ideological
foundations of government. They have also torn the web of Chinese
popular superstition and afforded a foothold for religion in a truer
sense. There has been no genuine Christian party, no real Christian
army, no government avowedly Christian in policy. Nevertheless, the
first president of the Republic was a Christian, as was the outstanding
founder of the National Government at Nanking, Chiang K'ai-shek. The
Protestant Church counts among its members a large number of the highest
government personnel; no other religion plays as active a part.
Christianity, then, has been an indirect force, not a program or an
immediate political challenge.

_Nationalism: Social-revolutionary Phase_

In 1912 the Nationalists had won their revolution, which was political
in nature, but they found in the ensuing years that mere change in the
form of government would not of itself bring about the needed
regeneration of Chinese society. By 1922 Sun Yat-sen and his followers
possessed a well-defined ideology and a definite new revolutionary
program but they had neither a way of propagating the ideology nor a
method of realizing the program. Sun himself thought in political and
economic rather than agitational terms. He sought loans from abroad and
schemed for power in the turbulent military politics of the time. His
slogan was still that of the Confucians: "Hold office in order to
teach." The Nationalists intended to gain a political rostrum from which
to expound their teachings, since they no longer hoped to rule
effectively without converting the masses to their way of thought. They
had not yet realized that conversion scarcely required governing and
that--given the appropriate technique--they might agitate more
successfully as an opposition than as a government.

The means of systematically winning men's minds--wholesale and
high-speed agitation--did not occur to the Nationalists because the
Bolshevist revolution was the only successful demonstration of such
methods, and Russia was not yet understood. China was just reaching that
phase of revolution which the Communists had already traversed in
Russia. Without the benefit of Russian advice, the Kuomintang might have
become a political sect with long-range plans. Fortunately for their
cause, the Kuomintang leaders were willing to learn and the Russians
willing to teach. Mere physical contact served to inaugurate the

Contact was not afforded by way of the Communist Party of China, a small
and largely academic group which developed after 1920, but through
direct correspondence and negotiation between Sun Yat-sen and Moscow.
Sun had communicated with persons of influence all over the world,
trying to build up interest in the future of a united and powerful
China. He had conceived a plan for the international development of
China which envisaged the extension of Allied war budgets for one year
after the war, and the lending of vast sums for the modernization of
China. He believed that his project would appeal to imperialism and at
the same time would serve to create in China a modern state-socialist
industrialism. China would thereby become a customer for all the
capitalist nations of the world and alleviate the depression which was
bound to follow the war. Correspondence about other projects for
ideological and political reconstruction elicited more replies from
Russia than from anywhere else. Sun was not doctrinaire in the
furtherance of immediate projects. He was willing to accept help from
the Russians, just as he would have accepted help from the imperialist
nations had they been prepared to risk their money. From 1920 onward he
was in touch with the Bolsheviks.

In December, 1922, and January, 1923, the decisive turning point was
reached. Adolf Joffe, the Soviet representative in China, had come to
Shanghai and conferred with Sun Yat-sen. These two found that there were
terms on which they could cooperate. The Communist ideology and that of
the Nationalists coincided in their general opposition to imperialism.
Resistance to the treaties which bound China[13] became more and more
apparent to Sun as a necessity for further revolutionary progress. He
had met polite regret or open ridicule in his solicitation of help for
China from the imperialist powers, and his invitation to Western capital
had not been taken seriously. The Communists seemed to have adequate
idealistic and practical motives for joining the Chinese.

The Communists, moreover, conceded a point which they had not conceded
to any other country up to that time. They willingly assumed a secondary
position, agreed that the communist order of things was not suited to
China, and in effect guaranteed their practical assistance to the
Nationalists without demanding, as the price, the acceptance of Marxism.
Sun and Joffe gave out a joint memorandum which made the issue perfectly
plain. It was to be the constitutional compact between the Nationalists
and the Communists for the period of their collaboration. The most
significant paragraph read:

  Dr. Sun Yat-sen holds that the communistic order, or even the Soviet
  system, cannot actually be introduced into China because there do not
  exist the conditions for the successful establishment of either
  communism or Sovietism. This view is entirely shared by Mr. Joffe, who
  is further of the opinion that China's paramount and most pressing
  problem is to achieve national unification and attain full national
  independence; and regarding this great task he has assured Dr. Sun
  Yat-sen that China has the warmest sympathy of the Russian people and
  can count on the support of Russia.[14]

In the autumn of 1923 Chiang K'ai-shek was sent by Sun to Russia to
study the Soviet military system. This was the first step in the
formation of a non-mercenary Nationalist army. About the same time
Michael Borodin arrived in Canton, where Sun had come to power for the
third time. The ensuing period was marked by an intensive reorganization
of the Nationalist Party and of its technique of revolution, to the end
that it might become a movement depending upon mass conversion, not upon
mass apathy, for power. The military mission was followed by other and
more important grants of aid. The Bolsheviks not only trained Chinese
sent to Russia but also supplied military instructors who reorganized
the Nationalist forces on the spot.[15]

The assistance rendered by the Soviets in the application of tested
propaganda methods to a revolutionary situation resulted in vast
changes. The Russians found that approximately the same devices could be
used in China as in Russia without affecting the fundamentals of
Nationalist philosophy. Integration and regularization of the party
machinery, formulation of immediate programs to bring large groups into
the Nationalist fold, development of large-scale propaganda techniques,
and other improvements designed to enlarge and speed up the Nationalist
advance were effected within the Kuomintang.

Throughout, Sun Yat-sen worked in close collaboration with Borodin. The
details of Nationalist party reforms and of Nationalist participation in
local politics are now part of the history of the modern Far East. These
details, while significant, tend to blur the cardinal change: the
transformation of the Nationalist party from a revolutionary elite with
long-range effectiveness into a mass organization designed for
propaganda and immediate general measures. The Russian Communists made
it possible for the Kuomintang to perform in weeks what had been planned
for the decades, or at least to reach the equivalent of the contemplated

A new era had begun. At first the Nationalists had proposed to develop a
parliamentary government which would gradually foster a modernized
ideology, and to govern China well in the meanwhile; when this hope
vanished with the rise of Yüan Shih-k'ai's military power, in 1913, they
had to reroute the revolution. Had they relied upon the experience of
the liberal nations, they might have resigned themselves to a policy of
gradualism. The Communist process of conversion was different from the
Confucian. The Confucians had gradually built up a body of the most
public-spirited men and permeated the ruling intellectual class with
Confucian ideas. Their slow process of persuasion triumphed with the
elevation of their main texts to the status of bibles in China and with
their monopoly of advanced education. The Communists proposed to take a
few simple, obvious issues, to present them dramatically, to win as many
people as possible to the support of immediate policies and to reach
power through such support. Once political and military authority had
been established, they expected to go further in the "education" of the
masses of the people.

To obtain tangible results quickly the Nationalists had to make
extensive promises. On the advice of the Communists, they led vigorous
anti-imperialist movements which embittered both Chinese and foreigners
and provided the whole country with issues more real than the
personalities of war lords or the machinations of cliques.
Communist-trained propagandists took the reforms which the Nationalists
had proposed among themselves and carried them into the people. Sun's
principle of _min shêng_ appeared in practical programs as an immediate
call for socio-economic revolution. Mass organizations grew, swelling
their ranks by promises to all subordinate economic groups. These
organizations were bound to cause difficulty as soon as it became
apparent that the Nationalist-Communist promises could not be realized
immediately and in full.

In the meantime, the Communists maintained their separate party
organization within the Kuomintang. The Russians found China a fertile
field for conversion, and while they assisted the Nationalists they
fostered the growth of a Chinese Communist Party. From an academic group
which meant nothing in 1921, the Communist Party grew in 1925-1926 to
comprise the radical vanguard of the revolution. The Communists assumed
the vanguard position because they were less bound by loyalty to the
existing groups in Chinese society than were the Nationalists. The
working alliance, in which the Nationalists received Communist help in
money, technical political services, and arms, made the seizure of
political power a reality. Sun Yat-sen died in March, 1925, before the
great surge of the revolution came, but in 1926 and 1927 the
Nationalist-Communist forces proceeded north, brushing the militarists
aside as they went. The combination of a patriotic, foreign-trained,
professionalized army, a powerful agitation department, and a party
organization able to govern after conquest, came to prevail everywhere.
Half of China was now under Kuomintang dominion, which operated through
a council form of government.[16] Then came the schism. Conflict was
inevitable between Communists and Nationalists when the Communists
proved unwilling to look forward to the establishment of a republic
according to Sun's principles, pushing on with the revolution as soon as
the Nationalists slowed down or stopped.

Communist training helped the Nationalists to power, but under
circumstances which made necessary either the institution of terror or
the partial inhibition of the Nationalist programs. The Nationalists had
promised almost anything to almost everyone in order to secure power;
this was a part of the propaganda methods which Communists taught. After
seizing power in 1926-1927 the Nationalists could resort only to
military dictatorship and party terrorism in order to achieve the
fulfillment of their extravagant promises. But the Nationalists were
Chinese, and as such cherished the old notions of moderation and
humanity in government. They were not the master of any legalism or
dialectic which would justify the slaughter of millions for the good of
a system. Millions have died in China, but the Chinese never
acknowledged the massacre. They could not face the program of class war
which their promises inevitably implied. The Communists kept pressing
forward, now giving pledges in their own name and in the name of the
Nationalists, redeemable only by class warfare or involving the
discredit of the Nationalists. The situation came to a head when the
Communists began taking independent action. Indiscreet Communists
informed Nationalist leaders that the Kuomintang was to be discarded so
that the revolution could continue--along Communist lines. The breaks,
first with the Kuomintang Right and then with the Kuomintang Left,
occurred in 1927. The Russians went back to Russia. The Chinese
Communists faced their future alone.

The Canton-Moscow Entente--as the Nationalist-Communist coalition has
been called--changed the Nationalist movement profoundly in 1923-1927.
It found the movement a small elite of opposition and left it a swollen
party with a government and an army under its control, a vast schedule
of promises to fulfill, a second revolution to vindicate.[17]


[1] Sun Yat-sen, _How China Was Made a Republic_ (unpublished manuscript
written in Shanghai in 1919, now in possession of the present author),
p. 4.

[2] On the Manchu reforms see H. M. Vinacke, _Modern Constitutional
Development in China_, Princeton, 1920, and Meribeth E. Cameron, _The
Reform Movement in China_, 1898-1912, Stanford, 1931. On the
revolutionary group see T'ang Leang-li, _The Inner History of the
Chinese Revolution_, New York, 1930.

[3] See below, pp. 41 ff.

[4] See below, pp. 145 ff.

[5] See below, pp. 149 ff.

[6] See below, p. 60. A description of other plans for democracy in
China is given in M. J. Bau, _Modern Democracy in China_, Shanghai,

[7] See below, pp. 102 ff.

[8] See below, pp. 139 ff.

[9] See below, pp. 185 ff.

[10] See, among others, Tyler Dennett, _The Democratic Movement in
Asia_, New York, 1918; R. Y. Lo, _China's Revolution from the Inside_,
New York, 1930. The author wishes to thank J. J. Holmes, School of
Religion, Duke University, for suggestions concerning this section.

[11] Hampden C. DuBose, _The Dragon, Image, and Demon ..._, pp. 48-49,
New York, 1887.

[12] Paul Hutchinson, _China's Real Revolution_, p. 155, New York, 1924.

[13] See the literature cited above, p. 30, n. 1.

[14] Lyon Sharman, _Sun Yat-sen: His Life and Its Meaning_, p. 248, New
York, 1934. This is the most critical of the biographies of Sun Yat-sen.
The one which Sun himself authorized and on which he collaborated to
some extent is Paul M. W. Linebarger, _Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese
Republic_, New York, 1924.

[15] For the military development of this period see below, pp. 105 ff.

[16] See below, pp. 163 ff.

[17] For some of the ideological developments involved in the
Moscow-Canton Entente see Tsui Shu-chin, "The Influence of the
Canton-Moscow Entente upon Sun Yat-sen's Political Philosophy," _The
Chinese Social and Political Science Review_ (Peiping), vol. 18, pp. 177
ff., 1934. On the role of nationalism in education see Victor Purcell,
_Problems of Chinese Education_, London, 1936.

_Chapter_ III


The right-wing Nationalists, establishing the National Government of
China at Nanking in 1927, found themselves in the position of
revolutionaries sitting at roll-top desks. After more than forty years
of criticism and opposition, the movement had assumed the
responsibilities of government. In breaking with the Communists the
Nationalists lost the doctrinal edge of the extreme Left; thenceforth
there were to be groups more radical than themselves. This disheartened
some of the revolutionaries, who either lost interest in politics or
continued revolutionary opposition to the regime their colleagues had

_Nationalism: Governing Phase_

The Kuomintang was confronted with the issues of national unification,
development toward democracy, and realization of the economic reforms
and programs postulated by Sun's principle, of _min shêng_. The
instrument for their task was a brand-new form of government, fresh
from the pages of Sun Yat-sen, which at its birth was beset with
difficult military, administrative, economic, and diplomatic problems.
But the Nationalists had one particular advantage which they shared only
with the Communists--that of possessing a well-integrated ideology. It
was possible for them to couch intra-Party struggles in a reasonably
consistent set of terms. Even when respect for one of Sun Yat-sen's
theories had been reduced to mere lip service another from the same
source took its place. The intellectual outlook inherited from the
humanistic political training of Confucianism kept the Chinese from a
dogmatic political pseudo-theology, while the wide circulation of Sun's
principles provided a moral and programmatic foundation for governmental

The break with the Communists and the development of a Red military
problem were continuing forces driving the Nationalists to the Right,
where opportunists and reactionaries of all categories welcomed them.
They were also drawn to the Left--by the social revolution which had
carried them to power and by the need of agrarian and labor reform.
Central to the very continuance of the government, however, was the
military power of the Nationalist armies led by Chiang K'ai-shek.
Without the armed force to implement their decisions the Nationalists
would have been compelled to let their endeavors subside into
subterranean defeat. To the considerations of Right, Left, and armed
force were added responsibilities incident to government. The Kuomintang
in its governing phase, therefore, plotted its course with reference to
three points: doctrinal consistency, military necessity, governmental
responsibility.[1] As an ideologically constituent movement, how did
Nationalism use its power?

The Nationalists in power had to find their way through class
alignments, inert and meaningless oppositions, the rancor of the Left,
the contempt of the established monarchist Right. Personalities in
conflict, cliques forming and disbanding, factions denied overt
expression--these lay behind the pressure politics of the intra-Party
contest for the control of policy conducted on a thin and novel
constitutional plane. The written formulas guiding the struggle for
power were supplemented by the bodies of unwritten practice which had
developed in the years of the Republic. There were appropriate forms for
extraconstitutional action, just as for constitutional. It was the
outstanding contribution of the Kuomintang to modern Chinese government
that it kept its internal conflicts within its own constitutional
framework, and did so more successfully than any other movement in
modern China.

The meandering and difficult course of Kuomintang policy flowed within
the valley rather than the river bed of Sun Yat-sen's doctrine. The
planning power of Sun's intellect bound the movement long after his
death. In his plans for the regeneration of China are to be found the
ideal requirements for the growth of modern government under the
tutelage of a patriotic elite of overseas men, revolutionary veterans,
and scholars. The Nanking government of the Kuomintang had to meet all
the problems of government while keeping within the broad boundaries of
Sun's demands. The movement as a whole, however, displayed certain broad
shifts which are readily traceable.[2] Sun Yat-sen envisaged the
establishment of authentic democracy by a course of action including
three steps: (1) the military period, in which the movement should
acquire power over the nation through the use of force; (2) the period
of tutelage, in which the members of the movement should exercise a
benevolent party dictatorship over the nation, while training the
populace for democracy; (3) the period of constitutional democracy, in
which the people should exercise actual self-government.

Shortly after its establishment, the National Government announced the
ending of the period of military conquest and the opening of the period
of tutelage, which was set for 1930-1935. The Japanese invasions caused
the establishment of constitutional government to be postponed
indefinitely, and it is to be feared that even if constitutional
government were installed it would fall far short of Sun's programs,
which called for truly effective training in the arts of democracy
before Chinese government could be entrusted to the broad masses of the
electorate. In the meantime, the arbitrariness, the political
composition, and the outlook of the transitional Party dictatorship
became subjects of hot controversy among the Kuomintang leaders.

The Party dictatorship demanded a rigor of discipline and a deflation of
revolutionary enthusiasm which soon drove the militant Left out of the
Kuomintang. Even Sun Yat-sen's brilliant young second wife remained
outside the Party--a permanent and indefatigable opposition. Within the
Party personalities came to dominate--Hu Han-min, the chief Rightist
disciple and interpreter of Sun Yat-sen; Chiang K'ai-shek, Sun's
outstanding military protege; and Wang Ch'ing-wei, the chief Leftist
disciple of the Leader. There were also Sun Fo (Sun K'ê), the only son
of Sun Yat-sen, and other ranking Party members whose opinions ranged
from philosophic anarchism (as in the case of Wu Chih-hui) to a
progressive business outlook not unlike Mr. Hoover's (as in the instance
of T. V. Soong).

The National Government settled down with Chiang and Hu Han-min
(military and Right) holding the leadership, which Wang Ch'ing-wei
decried as reactionary. In 1931 Chiang ousted Hu, in the course of a
conflict over a proposed American silver loan and over constitutional
questions. Shortly thereafter Wang Ch'ing-wei assumed a place in the
government, after participating in an unsuccessful armed rebellion (the
"Nationalist Government" in Peking, 1930-1931).

This might seem to indicate a swing from the Right to the Left within
the Party. Actually it was indicative of the growing practicality of the
Nationalist movement and its preoccupation with problems of installing
the form of government planned by Sun.[3] With the passage of time, the
Nationalists adopted three main lines of endeavor: (1) the suppression
of the Communists at all cost, even that of temporary nonresistance to
Japan; (2) the tendency to abandon revolutionary fervor for
administrative zeal, and to become governmental in spirit as well as
form--a tendency illustrated most notably in the promotion of industry
under H. H. Kung, railways under Sun Fo, and finance under T. V. Soong;
(3) a policy of emphasizing military power, which meant the rise to
effective personal leadership of Chiang K'ai-shek. The development of a
United Front policy in 1937 and the war with Japan led to the reversal
of the first two policies and an enormous emphasis on the third. The
Nationalists again turned to patriotism on the mass level rather than
government action in a patriotically bureaucratic sphere. This latter
policy, although it may seem strangely nonrevolutionary, was actually a
part of Sun's programs to which the Nationalists were bound.

The class theory held by Sun was based upon a distinction between power
and competence. The people should have _power_ to determine the range of
government policy; they obviously did not have the _competence_.
Competence was confined to the intellectual leaders and the thinking
people of society (who were to form two classes) and could not be found
in the vast majority of people untrained to contemplate political
problems. Accordingly, Sun's scheme of government assumed the continuity
of a bureaucracy made up of men of competence, but subject to the
periodic check of the populace, which possessed the power.

Another of Sun's programs relates to the question: How can democracy be
reconciled with ideological control? The Chinese had lived in a society
so completely under the rule of common ideas that independent individual
thinking had to be moderate, careful, and orthodox in appearance before
it met with any welcome. The individual was not free to think freely;
but since most did not think freely, sensing no need for it, they were
unconscious of control. A problem larger than that of individual freedom
is raised by the question of ideological control, since the controlled
individual himself transmits control to his neighbors and his
dependents. The ideology must be filtered, as it were, at some point.
Sun believed that democracy would effectuate the filtering, allowing
long-range revision from outside the bureaucracy. He expected that the
bureaucracy of democratic China would rule well but would be subject to
control from a people not completely under its thumb. The ideology was
to be officially fostered, but it was to be subject to the check of the
electorate. The Chinese were still to use orthodoxy as a tool of control
and social pressure as the major instrument of constraint, but they were
not to be allowed to fall into a blind traditionalism which would
isolate them.

The old ideology was to be adjusted and supplemented with Western
science, so that the new would be compounded of three things: old
Chinese social and political experience, old Chinese ethical knowledge,
and modern scientific truth. With respect to Western science, the
Nationalists had to present few startling governmental innovations,
since the need for a knowledge of the physical and technical sciences
was widely recognized in China--not only by the Nationalists. That the
Western technology should serve to build the new China was obvious;
trade schools needed encouragement rather than initiation. As to the old
Chinese social and political experience, the Kuomintang stressed study
of China's past. They attempted to mend the gap between the generation
born in the 1880's and that born in the 1910's by encouraging
concentration on the classical texts, reverently, but critically as
well. Archaeology has heightened interest of the Chinese in their past.
As a consequence, their sense of national value has deepened.

For the restoration of the old Chinese moral and ethical system the New
Life movement, which has been fostered personally by Generalissimo
Chiang K'ai-shek, is of great importance. Its principles consist of a
simple restatement of the cardinal Confucian personal virtues,
interpreted to suit modern conditions. It has presumably been influenced
by Protestant Christianity, and may be said to be a form of puritanism.
Although the Nationalist movement has not been as successful in ten
years as was the Confucian in two hundred, it has at least created a
state pattern. A state in the full sense would require a type of
organization so clear in its ideology that people would personify it
willingly, would accord it existence whether leaders and governments
fell or not, and would be loyal to it and to those who claimed to wield
its power.

Among negative influences running against the Nationalist ideology, the
Nationalist neo-militarism has stood forth. As in the other
ideologically integrated states of the world (Russia, Germany, Italy),
the army assumed especial importance because its type of law and order
required no common understanding higher than the assent of idiots. An
army is the one institution where complete harmony of thought is a
luxury and not a necessity, where simple agreement on rewards,
punishments, and organization morale will hold the structure together.
The Nationalist armies, however, rose to a new position. Ideological
control was introduced; the literate armies fought best. But despite the
civilian and intellectual factors from outside, the mere force
concentrated in weapons was so great as to amount to a constant
temptation. Whenever the day's fortunes were inclement, the men in
command tended to settle things with guns. In contrast with sheer
ideals, the Nationalists were strongly military; in contrast with their
predecessors, the Nationalist generals showed respect for civilian
authority. The charge of Nationalist neo-militarism focused upon the
personal popularity of army leaders, especially that of Chiang
K'ai-shek. It can be adjudicated only by history.

The Nationalist movement neared its most drastic ordeal in 1936. The
predetermined period of tutelage as decreed was passing, while the
inauguration of constitutional government had to be deferred. With the
approaching abolition of the Party dictatorship the Nationalist leaders
were to demonstrate their consistency with their own ideals and
programs. The programs of Sun Yat-sen called for the abdication of the
patriotic elite, and the requirement--coupled as it had been with the
proclamation of definite time limits--placed the issue squarely before
the Kuomintang leadership. Were they to attempt the democratic
experiment in a nation patently unripe for it, or were they to disavow
the commands of their deceased and sainted Leader, and continue in

_Independent Marxism in China_

The proponents of Marxism were welcomed into China as trusted friends.
In 1926 it was obvious to the whole world that China was definitely
within the orbit of Marxism; in 1935 it was just as apparent that the
Marxists faced a military doom, and that their forcible suppression
might mean the end of their political effectiveness. Never ruined beyond
all hope of recovery and triumph, never successful beyond all danger of
disaster, the Marxists and their doctrines are the greatest uncertainty
facing China.

Sinologues, judging from past experience and impressed with the deep
continuities and repetitions of Chinese history, may well argue that
Marxism is another religious distributive cult such as periods of
turmoil always produce in China. They can point to the rise and fall of
the Yellow Turbans in the third century A. D., when the two leaders--the
Duke of Heaven and the Duke of Humanity--shook the great Han dynasty
down into everlasting ruin. Or they can refer to the T'ai-p'ing
rebellion, which held a territory infinitely greater than that ever
occupied by the Marxists, which impressed a fantastic but politically
operative Christianity upon its followers, and which promised to do in
South China what Brigham Young and the Mormons had done with the United
Order in Utah; but the T'ai-p'ing went down to an extinction so complete
that no living advocate of the cult practiced by millions seventy years
ago can be found today. Thus it would be no violation of the set
patterns of Chinese history if the movement of Marxism were to rise to
world-dazzling splendor and then pass into utter oblivion. Yet Chinese
history is no longer the only kind of history which holds weight for
precedent in China, and if the T'ai-p'ing rebellion is one example, the
Russian Revolution is another. Bolshevism certainly has better chances
of succeeding in China than it could have seemed to have--to anyone but
a fanatic--in the Russia of 1915.

The Marxian doctrines had already eaten well into Chinese territory
before entering upon the Chinese scene proper. One of the less savory
bequests which the tsarist regime left the Communists was the question
of Outer Mongolia, a vast stretch of land under the admitted suzerainty
but beyond the real control of the Chinese. The area was used by White
Russians as a base for operations, and--whether or not it accorded with
their principles--the Red forces had to cross the frontier to pacify
Siberia. Once in, they could not get out. It was essentially the sort of
absent-minded conquest which has contributed so much to the British
Empire: a strategic occupation leading inevitably to political
domination. The Russians compromised as well as they might, setting up
an Outer Mongolian People's Republic and administering the area in the
way which the world was to observe on a much grander scale in the case
of the Japanese in Manchuria--through advisers.

Marxism became a force in China through men and literature and money and
arms reaching China by the sea route, as have most Western things. Its
position reflected, however, the facts that Russia is China's greatest
neighbor and that the Russo-Chinese land frontier is one of the longest
in the world. China is much nearer to San Francisco, in terms of
shipping costs and speed of connections, than it is to Leningrad, but
the appearance of closer proximity to the latter played a considerable
role. The Nationalist-Communist coalition[4] was the result of the
impact of Marxism from Russia upon China proper. The Communists entered
as allies, not as leaders. The period of Nationalist-Communist
cooperation lasted because the practical projects of the two
revolutionary parties lay in a common direction. The gradual shift in
the role of the Communists from advisers and allies to teachers and
masters led to the break between the two organizations.

How did this shift develop? From the Marxian standpoint it was the move
of a party leadership which was bound by a true ideology, that of
dialectic materialism. Whatever the ethics of broken individual pledges,
there is no question that the Communists were justified according to
their own beliefs in abandoning the Nationalists when the Nationalists
ceased positive revolutionary action and began a Nationalist
reconstitution. The Communists felt themselves bound to take up the
standards of the revolution and proceed against Nationalists as against
others. There was no room in the Marxian ideology for anything but the
officially approved Communist Party; there was no ground for conceding
that the Nationalists might be wise in calling a breathing spell.

The Kuomintang leaders, on the other hand, had every reason to feel
aggrieved at the Communists. The Communists had come to help the Chinese
revolutionaries in their struggle for national liberation and to bring
about a common front against imperialism in the Far East. When the
revolution of national liberation was more than half accomplished, the
Communists had increased their following to such an extent that they
regarded the Nationalist alliance as a mere episode in the growth of
Marxian power in China. Marxists had come to help the cause of Sun
Yat-sen; Marxism was spread to fight and undo it. The sobering shock of
a grasp on power sent the Nationalists into relative conservatism. An
eminent Chinese writer has suggested the change of mood:

  Our imagination was fired, our enthusiasm was kindled; thousands of
  young men have fled from home and school from the outermost provinces
  to join the Nationalist forces; they have toiled and they have
  sweated, and thousands have gladly laid down their lives on the altar
  of Nationalism that their dream of a regenerated and redeemed China
  might come true. But, alas!... The war has ended--so has all

The Soviet Communists, deprived of their opportunity to broadcast
propaganda on a large scale, and unable to ride the back of the
Nationalist tiger any longer, found themselves on a defensive which
seemed to be permanent. At the same time, the Marxists in China
encountered difficulties in adjusting their ideology to the fact that
their strength lay in elements which official Marxism discredited. They
owed their existence to agrarian discontent and to their excellent
army--the shock troops, in many cases, of the former coalition. The
leader of Chinese Marxism, Ch'en Tu-hsiu, broke the party wide open with
a schism; he believed in modernizing effort rather than orthodox Marxist
symbols. Other schisms from the Left produced Marxisms intent on
applying the European technique to China's small proletariat,
indifferent to the land question and eager to make an Asiatic revolution
from the textbooks of European labor conflict. Such deviations were as
unrealistic and sterile as Blanquism, against which the nineteenth
century Marxists inveighed so heavily. Even so the official Communist
Party withstood nine years of savage attack and persecution because
necessity forced the Reds to pursue a simple line of policy--survival.
Out of the test of deadly experience the Chinese Communists evolved
means of allying themselves with the discontented peasantry, and found
the point at which further social reform yielded diminishing returns in
popular support. In relying on the people for practical help, instead of
invoking theoretically popular appeals, the Chinese Communists attained
a defensive strength which could easily be turned into an offensive.

The reorientation in attitude--the splitting off of both extremes, the
iron necessity for an immediate and effectual popularization of the
Party among the peasantry, and the lessons derived from responding to
actual conditions--enabled the Communists to establish a state in
Kiangsi in 1931: the Chinese Soviet Republic.[6] In 1935 and 1936 Chiang
K'ai-shek began the most vigorous of his attacks, which led to the
removal of the Chinese Red Army some two thousand miles from South
Central to Northwest China--one of the most astonishing military feats
of modern times. Some observers have suggested that Chiang had no
intention of allowing the Communists to disappear altogether from the
scene, as they provided his military power with a _raison d'être_ in the
eyes of the Japanese. Had he run them utterly to ground, the Japanese
might have dispensed with him. Later events have made such an
explanation seem less persuasive, after the _coup d'état_ at Sian in
December, 1936.

The personal factors and political events in this extraordinary drama
are not yet known in their entirety, and it may be decades before the
whole story is pieced together from the accounts of eyewitnesses and
interpreters. Chiang K'ai-shek in his published diary mentions no formal
agreement for the institution of a United Front policy, but the rumors
from the Left persist in affirming the existence of a truce between the
Nationalists and the Communists, the fruits of which were to be action
against Japan. Certainly the military and political effects of Chiang's
kidnaping were substantial,[7] and the ideological scarcely less. In
brief, the kidnaping arose from action on the part of Chinese National
Army troops under the command of Chang Hsüeh-liang, the ex-_tuchün_ of
Manchuria. His forces were mostly from the Manchurian provinces and had
no stomach for fighting the Communists in the far west of China while
the Japanese remained in undisturbed occupation of their homelands. They
had inaugurated an informal understanding with the Communists, and
fraternization had begun between the opposing armies. When Chiang came
up to investigate conditions, he was promptly kidnaped (December, 1936).
His bodyguard was slaughtered and he himself was injured in the spine.
The kidnaping was nominally the act of the _Tungpei_ (ex-Manchurian)
troops. Even the Communist forces worked for the release of Chiang,
since they felt that his death would mean national disaster. The release
of Chiang was finally procured through the mediation of an Australian
editor with a long experience in Chinese politics.[8]

The effect on popular thinking was twofold. In the first place, Chiang's
popularity was made fully apparent by the vigor of the demonstrations in
his favor all over China. It had long been asserted that even the most
momentary relaxation of Chiang's despotism, as its opponents termed it,
would be followed either by anarchy or a new revolutionary regime.
Neither appeared. The strength of the National Government as a
government was apparent, despite a strong odor of treason in widely
separated quarters, and the people as a whole kept quiet. Students,
workers, capitalists, officials, military men--all groups sought
Chiang's release. Their anxiety for his personal safety was in some
cases qualified by a hearty dislike of the man himself, but almost
everyone admitted to an admiration, either grudging or whole-hearted,
for the effectiveness of his work. The National Government and its chief
military leader were indeed strongly entrenched in popular sympathy and
thought--more so than even the most optimistic observers had dared to

The second consequence of the _coup d'état_ at Sian was even more
important. The mere physical juxtaposition of the two leaderships,
Marxian and Nationalist, and the probability that forced arbitration
would be the result of the kidnaping, led to a wild stimulation of
hopes. At the same time it was generally realized that failure to come
to terms might end in the murder of Chiang and in fateful results for
all groups in China. The kidnapers demanded a United Front; the
Communists had issued a manifesto in behalf of it several months earlier
(August 1, 1936). The problem was: could Chiang accede without ruining
his prestige or impairing the ideological position he had so laboriously
built up for himself?

A compromise was found, which amounted to a paper victory for Chiang,
nominal punishment of Chang and the other perpetrators of the kidnaping,
ceremonial apology to the nation by Chiang for having been kidnaped, and
a series of formally unrelated but probably linked events--all of which
brought the two ideologies and their adherents to a common ground.
Throughout the following spring, progress was made in the negotiation of
a truce, which broadened into an armistice and ended as an alliance. On
April 30, 1937, for instance, the Young Communist Congress, composed of
men whose brains Chiang would have cheerfully blown out a few months
before, elected Chiang and other Nationalist leaders to honorary
membership. On occasion, the Communists and the Nationalists exchanged
classical Chinese poems; each side sought to excel in sincere courtesy.
The armistice lasted through the period of the Japanese invasion in the
summer of 1937; formal union was achieved in September.[9]

On the political surface, the course of Marxism in China has been one of
the most startling developments in modern history. Alliance between
Hitler and Stalin would seem more plausible than the reunion of
Nationalist and Communist groups in China. To those in the service of
the Nanking regime in 1936, such an eventuality was the one thing
certain not to happen. The break between the Marxist and Nationalist
leaderships and their subsequent reconciliation appeared, however, less
improbable in consideration of the course steered by the Communist world
movement during the decade 1927-1937. The United Front in China made it
possible for the Chinese Communists to concede more than they would
otherwise have dared to except at the suggestion of the Russian and
international Communists.

The future role of Marxism in China is still undecided. Nothing can be
regarded as beyond the limit of probability, except the immediate
establishment of a permanent and unalterable regime. The challenges the
Marxists raise are too important to be ignored--land and labor reform
and the devising of workable techniques for distributive justice. If
they do not take control of the country themselves, they will at least
be a formidable factor for whoever does control the government. In the
event of foreign conquest the Marxians could provide an underground
resistance of spectacular value. If the Chinese, applying terror and
espionage against the Marxians then regarded as traitors, were not able
to root them out in ten years of ferocious warfare, what will aliens
do--against Communists who have become patriots in the eyes of all the
people and who are assured help from all sides?

_Japanese Efforts to Participate in Creating a New China_

China is Japan's greatest outside problem; she is only a secondary
problem in the foreign policies of the other great powers. Japan owes
much to China in the way of borrowed ideas and institutions. Japan and
Siam are the only free nations in the modern world which share with
China the background of a Chinese-dominated world society in the Far
East.[10] The Japanese resisted the extension of Chinese suzerainty to
their islands, and on only one occasion did they concede formally that
the Chinese emperor was the head of all civilized society; this they
bitterly regret. While the Siamese have maintained their independence,
they are in no position to take an active part in the creation of a new
Far East, and the issue is between China and Japan, with the other
Pacific powers largely as spectators. The construction of a way of
thinking to accommodate the men and territories no longer guided by the
old order is a problem shared by Japan and China; the competition for
imposing a feasible system is sharp. Japan wishes to create a new Far
East in which the Japanese shall constitute the most cultured core; the
Chinese take their ancient position for granted.

In addition to the ideational conflict for prestige between Chinese and
Japanese, there is another realm wherein the two nations compete, using
ideas not as ends but as means. The extension of Western industry and
trade to the East produced acute dislocations both in China and in
Japan, and in the case of Japan involved transforming the Japanese
autarchy into a most dangerous dependence upon a share of the world
economy. Japan is truly a commercial and capitalist power; hers is no
mere affectation of modernity. It is conceivable, should the West go
down to its Armageddon, that the Chinese might swing back to the ways of
their past. The Japanese could not; their economic and political system
has expanded too far. They are inextricably bound up with the rest of
the industrial, capitalist modern world. In China the stock exchanges
have a mere toehold on the country; in Japan they have become the spine
of national life. The Japanese must either pay the price of
modernization by accepting the lowly place of the latecomer or make up
their tardiness in entering the imperialist scene by a veritable frenzy
of expansion. Apart from the future of capitalism, there remains the
question: Will Japan collapse before reaching imperial success in the
world economy?

China and the unpredictable but colossal Chinese markets are Japan's
goal, formulated after contact with the West. China and her unquestioned
cultural prestige are the targets of the Japanese drive for the
acquisition of standing, a campaign couched in indigenous Far Eastern
terms. The conflict between the two countries weaves its way back and
forth through elaborate and self-contradictory sets of terms. The
Japanese have toyed with a multitude of policies for China. Some of
these are: (1) simple conquest; (2) the establishment of a peculiar Far
Eastern order under Japanese leadership--either in terms harmonious with
Western concepts of international affairs (the "Japanese Monroe
Doctrine") or in terms derived from a modification of the past
("Pan-Asia"); (3) a common cause of Japanese and Chinese against the
white peril, without any special emphasis on the relative positions of
the two countries; (4) a divine Japanese mission, not merely to save the
yellow race but to rescue the whole world and put all nations under the
protecting benevolence of Japanese overlordship; (5) a strict policy of
day-to-day opportunism--binding those parts of China accessible for such
procedure with treaties and agreements, and catching the Chinese as they
come forth into the arena of modern economic life; (6) expediency
couched in military terms, looking to absolute Japanese gains on the
map, regardless of the erection of a social system to perpetuate the
immediate military advances; (7) a pro-Chinese policy, to assure the
Japanese a close ally (but in such a case a strong independent China
would inevitably excel Japan, and the Japanese would have to yield to
Chinese hegemony--however friendly--or else retreat from it into the
isolation from which they emerged in the 1850's).

Direct military conquest has a considerable appeal to the Japanese,
except for its limitations. All the armies of the modern world would not
be enough to garrison and patrol a China desperately hostile through and
through. The Chinese would not stop at suicide to embarrass their
enemies, if there were complete ideological antagonism. The Japanese
would have to persuade the Chinese whom they conquered to remain alive,
to keep working, to grow wealthy so that the conquest might not be
without value. It is not possible to consider a policy involving the
outright murder of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred million
persons; short of such extermination, there is no way for the Japanese
to clear the field for colonization in Chinese territories. If the
Japanese cannot replace the Chinese, they must make use of them; to make
use of them, they must teach them to think in a way which will permit
exploitation, for even the most inequitable exploitation involves some

Ever since their peculiar Far Eastern order had been partially
recognized the Japanese began building up theories of a zone of
influence to be based not upon law but upon geographic and racial fact.
The doctrines of Pan-Asia fitted their purpose. Writers in the different
Asiatic countries had pointed out the desirability of a union of those
Asiatic peoples which were not yet under colonial rule to prevent
further occidental advance and to rescue their conquered neighbors. Sun
Yat-sen himself thought well of the Pan-Asia idea and stressed it, along
with the recommendation that all economically exploited powers confront
the exploiting powers--a class war between nations. As soon as the
Japanese began turning to Pan-Asia for furtherance of their own peculiar
ends, these arguments lost much of their realism. The Japanese policies
generated more disturbance in Asia than did the Western. Their call to
prevent Western aggression, at a time when the Western powers were in
retreat, sounded artificial. Nevertheless, the Pan-Asian movement forms
a link between ideology-conscious leaders in China and Japan; Japan's
ultra-patriotic Toyama had been friendly and helpful to Sun at the time
when the former led the _Genyosha_ and the latter the _Hsing Chung
Hui_.[11] It was natural, however, that the Pan-Asian doctrine, although
it never disappeared altogether in China, should be strongest in Japan.
Pan-Asia or its restricted form--Far-Easternism (_Toa-shugi_)--played a
significant part in the military indoctrination in Japan, even though
attempts to propagate it in China ended in almost complete failure.

To the ideological conquest of China the Japanese have contributed very
little. Their theories, summed up, amount to but a drop in the sea of
doctrines. Only as the spokesman of China's ultra-reactionary
monarchists--who flourished twenty-five years ago--has Japan presented
an ideological program which is other than derisible. Rich in the
ceremonial trappings of government, and in the personal elegance of its
powerless ministers, the Great Manchou Empire makes a strong appeal to
literary persons with archaic tastes. Even there, the blunt modernism of
the Japanese military machine destroys the illusion.

_Patriotism: The United Front_

1937 was one of the most critical years of modern China. It marked a
swift and startling grouping of the three active forces in China:
Nationalism, Communism, and Japanese compulsion. For ten years the
Nationalists and the Communists had waged a war of terror against each
other; for six years a Chinese Soviet Republic had defied the National
Government of China established at Nanking. Six years had passed since
the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, five since the establishment of a
Manchoukuo government. The Nationalists had hated the Japanese, but they
hated the Communists more; at the humiliating price of non-resistance to
Japan, Chiang K'ai-shek had brought the full military and agitational
power of Nationalism to the suppression of the Marxians. The Japanese
had no great attachment to Chiang and the Nationalists and regarded
Nationalism itself as a force subversive to Japanese order in the Far
East. But they had tolerated the Kuomintang because it seemed a buffer
between themselves and the Communists, and because they did not have the
power or the immediate inclination to destroy the Nationalist regime.

This triangular deadlock was first broken by the kidnaping at Sian.
Nationalist and Communist leaderships were brought face to face, and
preliminary terms were agreed upon. With each step toward a termination
of the Nationalist-Communist wars the danger of a powerful China became
more striking to Japan, while simultaneously the Nanking regime became
less valuable to the Japanese as a bulwark against Communism. The spring
of 1937 marked the settlement with the Communists in the Northwest, the
continuance of a general armistice, and the sharp improvement of
Nationalist prestige throughout the country. Circles which had been
Rightist recognized the increased military and financial power of the
Nationalists, now that the long and wasteful struggle with the
Communists was ended, releasing men, weapons, and money for application
in other quarters. Leftist groups again found the Nanking state
philosophy palatable, and discovered in the official tenets of the
Nationalist Party enough common principles to justify the re-coalition
of revolutionary forces. The radical intellectuals and students, who had
swung sharply to the Left as a result of continued Nationalist yielding
to Japan, turned again to Nationalist leadership.

As practical solutions to the Nationalist-Communist conflict were found,
the people in the larger cities were released from the governmental
restrictions which the Nationalists--upon Japanese insistence and threat
of force--had placed on the expression of patriotic sentiments. A vast
and vigorous patriotic feeling came suddenly to life, having grown more
intense under the cramping inhibitions of police prohibition. The
patriotism was revolutionary in mood but not wholly different from
Chinese patriotism of the past. The slogans all centered on national
defense. Release of political prisoners, cessation of internal war, and
democratization of the government were regarded as steps to union and

When the Japanese decided to push forward in earnest and began fighting
in North China in the summer of 1937, the patriotic movement became so
powerful that for the time it supplanted all other separate movements.
Only a number of aged or cynical opportunists remained outside. It was
now possible, under the slogan of a United Front of all China against
Japan, to disregard the fundamental differences between the Nationalists
and the Communists. A Chinese Communist wrote:

  While we declare ourselves, despite the differences in principle that
  exist between communism and Sun-Yat-sen-ism, advocates of the basic
  revolutionary slogans of Sun Yat-sen, of the best revolutionary
  traditions of the Chinese people, we Communists never for an instant
  under any circumstances cease to be true followers of the
  Marxist-Leninist teachings.[12]

Such utterances were matched by similar ones from the Nationalist side.

In their haste the Japanese utilized an ideology which they had
practiced in Manchuria--literary Confucianism colored by notions adopted
from the Japanese cult of the emperor. They also appealed to the
practical and immediate needs of the Chinese living in the areas which
they conquered, setting up governments[13] to govern for them. But this
was hardly more than an expedient. Of far greater importance than even
the war itself is its long-range impact upon the Chinese mind.

The formulation of the present Chinese patriotic movement into a
definite drive for the establishment of a new Chinese way of life may
emerge as one of the lasting facts of the century. The various movements
of the Republican era failed to disturb and arouse the masses
sufficiently to make possible a replacement of the decrepit remnants of
the old Chinese social and intellectual world, or a reinterpretation
adding the ingredients needed in a modern civilization. If patriotism
unites the Chinese permanently, Japanese invasion may have provoked what
twenty-five years of Chinese effort could not bring about.

Furthermore, the Chinese have reacted to the emergencies of war in a
manner almost unprecedented among modern nations. War has not meant the
creation of a temporary despotism; it has brought democracy instead. The
ideological concord, the supremacy of a common national purpose, which
could not be achieved in a quarter century of peacetime agony, was
brought forth in the ordeal of national resistance. Democracy and not
tyranny was the unifying force. The Kuomintang Party Congress, meeting
in Hankow from March 29 to April 2, 1938, reaffirmed the primacy of the
_San Min Chu I_, but at the same time guaranteed the sanctity of private
rights, even in wartime, of groups who had been liable to official
suppression for years. The Communist press was flourishing openly in
Hankow, a testimony to the curious tolerance with which the Chinese
united for national defense. The governmental structure was increasingly
democratized. Japan had provided a body of common assumptions strong
enough to sustain democracy, despite the burden of mutually tolerated


[1] For the military aspects see below, pp. 108 ff.; for the immediate
governmental aspects see below, pp. 167 ff.

[2] The best account of the internal politics of the Kuomintang between
1927 and 1933 is to be found in Gustav Amann, _Chiang Kaishek und die
Regierung der Kuomintang in China_, Berlin and Heidelberg, 1936.

[3] See below, pp. 172 ff.

[4] See above, pp. 51 ff.

[5] Lin Yutang, _Letters of a Chinese Amazon and War-Time Essays_, p.
vi, Shanghai, 1930.

[6] See below, pp. 182 ff.

[7] See below, p. 184 ff.

[8] On the Sian incident see General and Madame Chiang Kai-shek,
_General Chiang Kai-shek_, Garden City, 1937; James M. Bertram, _First
Act in China_, New York, 1938, an account by an Australian newspaperman
in Sian at the time; and Edgar Snow, _Red Star over China_, New York,
1938--an extraordinarily valuable work on all phases of Chinese
Communism, by an observer of great insight and acuteness.

[9] See the references below, p. 190, n. 10.

[10] See Yoshi S. Kuno, _Japanese Expansion on the Asiatic Continent_,
vol. I, Berkeley, 1937, for an authoritative description of early
Sino-Japanese relations. Chinese records of the time of Christ describe
the payment of tribute by Japanese chieftains. The most explicit
acknowledgment of Chinese suzerainty occurred in the time of Yoshemitsu,
the third Ashikaga shogun (see Kuno, pp. 92-93).

[11] The Japanese patriotic leagues are described in Kenneth Colegrove,
_Militarism in Japan_, Boston, 1936.

[12] Wang Ming, _China Can Win!_ p. 44, New York, 1938. Wang Ming is a
Chinese expert on Marxism residing in the U. S. S. R.

[13] See below, pp. 184 ff.



_Chapter_ IV


From the outside, militarism seems to dominate the Chinese scene. China
is frequently interpreted in terms of personalities instead of mass
inclinations, wide-filtering habits, and extensive relocations of
thought. The picturesqueness of the Chinese leaders has done nothing to
prevent the notion of many romantic autocracies from appearing real: the
Dog-Meat General, six feet tall, diabolically cruel and brazenly comic,
with his veritable zoological garden of ladies from all over the world;
the Christian General, burly, bluff, honest, Christian and Bolshevik,
with the happy naïveté of a feudal politician; the Bandit General and
his infatuation with fine arsenals; the Generalissimo, with his
Christian wife, himself a Christian, rolling up a military machine
against the third greatest naval power of the earth--such figures make
Chinese news a confused but exciting serial story.

_Military Rule and Political Economy_

For long-range effects, the literary experiments of men like Hu Shih and
the mass-education drive of Dr. James Yen and his associates are more
significant than any one of hundreds of military leaders, but long-range
trends are never news. The armies and their commanders have occupied the
center of the stage, overshadowing the quest of the Chinese for civilian
rule. Civilian rule, however, presupposes a sufficient area of common
agreement on which to build laws and usages for government; armies
require nothing but a nearly mechanical discipline and the crudest rule
of thumb administration. The civilian government of Republican China has
had to await the coming of at least a minimum of order out of the
turmoil; armies, for lack of government, have dominated and continued
that turmoil. China has been disunited in great part because she was
impoverished by military rule; she has been ruled by arms partly because
she was disunited. No unifier of the nation would have needed to
maintain the armed hordes which were the greatest impediment to real
national defense--hordes powerful enough to wreck governments but not
powerful enough to build them. The war lords, as they are perhaps too
flatteringly termed, do by no means measure up to the note of the
intellectual and political leaders; but they have unquestionably held
the greater bulk of day-to-day authority in China since 1912.

The most significant function of the armies is one which is quite
frequently overlooked: their power as agencies of unsettlement. They
have created disturbances more profound than mere public disorder; they
have attacked institutions more vital than the public treasury; they
have kept all parts of China from the dull apathy of conservatism. The
arrogance and rapacity of the military rulers, their utter incompetence
as administrators (with a number of honorable exceptions), and their
ineffectiveness as propagandists have provided that loose and haphazard
tyranny which some philosophers consider the prime requisite for social
ferment. The military men have never been intelligent enough to impose
truly totalitarian regimes, nor efficient enough to make the people of
any one area content with a permanent separatism. The presence of the
military rank and file has turned the Chinese social system upside down,
reversing the accepted scale of ranks within the society and infringing
upon the interests of every group--even the minimum interest of the very
poor, their right not to starve to death. More conspicuously, the armies
have given a picture of power which, in contrast with the scarcely
traceable lines of influence and persuasion arising from ideological
movements, is intelligible and reducible to concrete terms.

Without the militarists, there would have been no visible series of
events to trace the change in China, no stereotypes at all by which to
show the immediate alterations on the scene of power. Many men did rise
and fall regardless of military considerations, but such occurrences
were loosely and popularly ascribed to intrigue or else dismissed as
beyond all rational understanding. The armies subsisted and roamed
about, leaders and men both helpless on a sea of ignorance and doctrinal
conflict; but the mere assent to unthinking discipline looked like
order, and the most shadowy and insubstantial military hierarchy held
out a promise of Caesarian peace. From 1915 to 1925 foreign comment
stressed the movements of the war lords, singling out the man who might
play the role of a Chinese Napoleon, and to the present this simple
approach satisfies many. Meanwhile the foundations of social life
shifted, falling away here, growing more solid there, behind the gloomy
panorama of brutal, ineffectual warfare.

Closely related to the problem of armies was another category partially
understandable in narrowly factual terms--political economy. The armies
conditioned and set the pace, a slow one, for economic development. All
financial projects were jeopardized by military rule, both by the
exactions which the military might impose and by the constant threat
that militarists, devaluating the currency or arbitrarily changing the
political controls of economy, might alter the very economic system in
which the project was being considered and fostered. Economic life in
China could not continue through the traditional agricultural, guild,
semicapitalist devices; Western trade and social dislocation prevented
that. Yet no new economy could automatically replace the ruins of the
old, since economic matters were part of a _political_ economy subject
to the extra-economic interferences which ideological change, military
power, and halfway government could impose. One of the truly important
achievements of the National Government at Nanking was the creation of a
core for a twentieth century army. But all the military achievements in
modern China pale before the staggering surprise of a managed currency,
displacing a commodity and specie system which was older than all modern

One need not subscribe to either military or economic determinism to
concede the relevance of military and economic matters in any society.
In China there exists a peculiarly close correlation between the two.
The absence of a class founded squarely on economic privilege and the
subordination of the military to the bureaucratic elements in the
imperial society were largely the result of the position occupied by the
average nonacademic Chinese, who was typically a farmer capable of being
a militiaman or a bandit. This duality of role strongly affected the
development of government in China, and is a factor which still plays a
great part. The Chinese owe many of their social and political
peculiarities to the effectiveness of their mass action, which is able
to take place with a minimum of formal leadership and coordination and
with a maximum of secrecy and totality. In times when foreign conquest
of China is no longer in the realm of the improbable, it is worth
remembering that the Chinese are a people adamant in resistance to force
and schooled in centuries of rebellion. Neither pacific nor military
resistance could take place in the traditional Chinese way without the
diffusion of military and economic power among broad masses of the

How, it may be asked, have the Chinese succeeded in being such a
peaceful people, and yet a people so prone to popular uprising? How is
it that, with their great talents for organization, they have let a
shabby third-rate militarism sweep their land in modern times? The
Chinese generals did not command the allegiance widely extended to even
the meanest of South American despots; yet the people trembled before
them. Not until the war lords lost power was there great popular
enthusiasm for military ideals. If Chinese armies are considered solely
as rough and primitive parallels to their European counterparts, paradox
will follow paradox without rational explanation. To understand the
Chinese military situation one must go back across the centuries and
trace a system and a tradition which, at times obscure and frequently
submerged, must come to the surface in the decisions upon which rest the
question of national life or death for China.

_The Downfall of the Charioteers_

The Chinese have differed from other peoples not in being peaceful so
much as in extolling peace. Not even in the Christian tradition of peace
and love are there condemnations of war stronger than those of the
Confucians. Yet, century to century, the Chinese have known war against
the outside barbarians and with each other. Throughout historic times
there are records of struggle and slaughter. H. G. Creel writes, "If we
are to locate the traditional Chinese time of 'great peace' it must be
far back in the Neolithic stage. Experts agree that in the earlier of
the Neolithic sites known to us there is little evidence of warfare."[1]

At the very edge of history, about 1500 B. C., the Chinese appear as
accomplished archers, using bows which were probably not dissimilar to
those in use down to the twentieth century--heavy reflex bows, with a
pull that was sometimes far greater than the longbow of the celebrated
English yeomen of medieval times. The pellet bow, a form of slingshot,
was also common in the earliest times. Armor was known in the earliest
historic dynasty, the Shang, which by Chinese tradition is dated
1765-1123 B. C. The chariot, however, seems to have been less widely
used than it later came to be.[2]

Under the Chou dynasty, in all Chinese history the most caste-bound,
militaristic, and feudal (traditionally dated 1122-256 B. C.), the
implements of warfare and the management of conflict fell into the hands
of the ruling class. Previous to the Chou there was a relative military
equality of all, despite the sharp lines between masters and men. After
the Chou the great military states culminating in the warrior-bureaucrat
tyranny of the Ch'in Shih Huang Ti (third century B. C.) tended to
reduce war to mass movements, in which establishments, management, and
broader considerations constantly increased. During this period the
master class developed a scheme which was not as elaborately traced out
in legal terms as Norman-English feudalism, nor as solidly grounded in
outright military effectiveness as the Japanese system twenty-odd
centuries later, but which amounted to a chivalric order within the
limits of an ideology rooted in the family. The lords were the spiritual
guardians and clan leaders as well as the earthly despots of their
subjects. Standing above the law and invested with positions of high
political dignity, their class nearly became a caste. Warfare--as apart
from slaughter--was formalized and ritualized beyond all Western dreams
of gallantry. According to Marcel Granet, who has brilliantly described
public life of the period,

  The battle is a confused mélée of boasts, generosities, homages,
  insults, devotions, curses, blessings and sorceries. Much more than a
  clash of arms, it is a duel of moral values, an encounter of competing
  honours.... The battle is the great moment in which each warrior
  proves his nobility, while in addition they prove to all present the
  nobility of their prince, their cause and their country.[3]

Our very word _chivalry_ suggests horsemen; the Chinese nobles ruled
their elaborate realm not from horseback but from chariots. The
education of every patrician youth involved archery, music, writing, and
reckoning, among other arts and virtues.[4] Archery was something which
might be learned, after a fashion, by large numbers of common men; even
peasants, with a bow and a lance or pike, might constitute light cavalry
when provided, or providing themselves, with mounts. But the use of the
four-horse chariot necessarily remained the exclusive privilege of the
nobles. The chariot fighter had to have a driver and one or two others
with him in his vehicle, which was itself costly, hard to obtain, and
difficult to operate. A Chou noble driving forth to war thirty centuries
ago was as technical a unit as an aviator in a combat plane today or a
small group of men in a tank. Just as there is a democracy implicit in
the light machine gun or the automatic rifle, so was there the
potentiality of equality in vast masses of infantry, supported by light,
cheaply armed cavalry. Aristocratic individualism meant something when
wars were short and fought with elaborate equipment; but no noble could
stand up against the mass forces which emerged and continued fighting
until the feudal system lost any real significance and left the country
open to the development of bureaucratic government and military power.

There was no overt attack on the feudal system. The system, however,
possessed within itself contradictions which led to its doom. The
central power was insufficient to keep the peace, and certain local
groups were--by talent, economic factors, or geography--too strong to
remain subordinate. The period known as the Spring and Autumn epoch
(Ch'un Ch'iu; 770-473 B. C.) yielded to that known as the Age of Warring
States (Chan Kuo; 473-221 B. C.). From feudal cores there grew states,
which began to follow the course of development that led to the
appearance of a system of sovereign nations in Europe; they increasingly
interfered with the free operation of the feudal economy. By effecting
the massing of power they eliminated the overawing charioteer from the
field of decisive combat.[5] The chariots remained as the vehicles of
the leaders or the focal points of battles, but they no longer implied a
skill so great as to make up a monopoly of first-rate military force.
While the most eminent thinker of the age, Confucius, lamented the
decline of order, a new order was being shaped from the social,
economic, and military realities laid bare by rapid development,
Machiavellian intrigue, and the hard necessities of wartime economies.

The state of Ch'in, a Chinese Prussia, attained overwhelming hegemony in
the third century before Christ. Its power rested on universal
registration of the inhabitants, conscription, heavy policing, taxation
involving constant intervention in economic matters, and legalistic
administration. In its warfare there was little of the ritual which
characterized the military period when chariots were dominant; codes did
not amount to much. The immediate end of war was slaughter for political
and economic purposes, not the hazardous parade of a feudal class. The
Ch'in monarch who finally established a centralized empire took the
vainglorious title of Shih Huang Ti (The First Emperor), and set himself
the task of eradicating the regionalist ideologies of his conquered
rivals by suppressing all political history but that of his native
state. Proceeding from innovation to innovation, he ended by becoming
one of the historic figures detested by later epochs. One of the
practices which he extended throughout the Empire of China was the
regularization of military service. He is also known as the originator
of the grandiose project of the Great Wall; it is less well known that
he forbade the erection of walls around cities within the Empire. His
system of conscription involved three years of compulsory military
service for all young men, and a corvee of three days' service each year
at the frontier for every citizen; the former came to depend for its
inclusiveness upon administrative integrity, while the latter was soon
replaced by a money tax.

Although the First Empire established by the Ch'in did not last long,
the Han dynasty (202 B. C. to A. D. 220) continued its military
system[6] and kept standing armies at the northern frontier and at the
imperial capital. The frontier forces were composed of militia augmented
for special campaigns by volunteers and criminals. The Chinese fought
the barbarians with the tactics of mounted archers, devices learned from
the nomads. Away from the northern steppes, infantry seems to have
gained constantly in importance. By the time of Christ the chivalry of
the religious-social-military class of charioteers was ancient history,
and mass armies had taken their place.

_Military Elements in Chinese Imperial History_

Through the greater part of the past two thousand years, Chinese society
has been governed by civilians. The scholastic bureaucracy secured and
kept a position of primacy, and a common ranking of the social classes
was: scholars, farmers, merchants, soldiers. The Confucians were
antagonistic to war, and bureaucrats--if for governmental reasons
alone--suspected the danger which lay in the broad dissemination of
military knowledge. The Chinese consistently ranked the military man
below the civilian; as a natural consequence most of the abler men went
into scholarship and politics. Chinese history has its great military
names and ample accounts of spectacular military exploits, but even here
the elements of strategy, of diplomatic and cunning warfare, rate higher
than in the corresponding European histories. Despite the fact that arms
did not play as great a role in Chinese history as in Western, the
difference is one of degree only; military considerations appeared and
persisted which colored governmental action and social organization.
Among these was the relation of the armed forces to the social order--in
point of numbers and in point of force. When elections are lacking in a
civilized society, fighting power demarcates an electorate of force, as
it were; the distribution of power determines the center of political
gravity as located in the society. In China there were, however,
elements distinctly different from those in the West.

One of these was the correlation of mass power and military power. In
epoch after epoch, armies seem to spring forth out of the very
soil--armed groups radically unlike the Roman legion. For seasoned
veterans marching forth with elaborately effective disciplines China
substituted mass forces drawn directly from the populace, as need arose.
In some dynasties the system was regularized in militia form. Of the
Han, H. H. Dubs writes:

  Chinese armies were largely militia. Everyone was compelled to serve
  three years in the army or in forced labor; at the northern border,
  the whole male population had constantly to be ready to repel Hun
  forays. Hence all males seem to have been able to fight and to be
  required to do so. When the Emperor Wu [ca. 120 B. C.] wanted armies
  and none would volunteer, he merely had his officials sentence
  criminals to army service--and thus secured armies which seemed to be
  able to fight as successfully as his previous armies. Universal
  military conscription plus a registration of all able-bodied males
  seems to have been the Han method.[7]

The common people had crossbows for shooting birds or pronged hoes for
digging which were efficient even in fighting standing armies; they were
also frequently in possession of weapons because they were called up as
militia against barbarians. Underlying such military conditions, with
their highly important political consequences, there were several
surprisingly concrete and simple mechanical considerations. The
charioteers had come to an end partly because the chariots were drawn by
horses yoked in such a fashion that when the horses pulled hard, they
often choked themselves. Other factors are suggested by Dubs:

  By the time that horses became plentiful, so that cavalry was
  employed, the crossbow had reached such a state of development that
  cavalry was shown to be inferior to infantry with crossbows. The
  medieval European crossbow was hampered by the mechanical weakness of
  its trigger mechanism--the crossbow was likely to be discharged
  prematurely by a jar; the Chinese Han crossbow had no such defect and
  was a powerful weapon. A group of crossbowmen with others in the rear
  to string crossbows and others to bring cocked bows to the marksmen in
  the front rank, could shoot down cavalry before they could come near
  enough to discharge the lighter bows cavalry necessarily carried.
  Cocked crossbows could be carried around safely and fired when needed.
  A bolt from a powerful crossbow could pierce any armor. Hence the
  strong-backed peasant with a crossbow had an advantage over the noble
  no matter how well the noble was armed or how good horses the latter
  possessed. The only advantage retained by the noble was that of
  leadership--tactical skill and command of large bodies of infantry.
  Cavalry became useful for scouting and pursuit chiefly.[8]

The character of military techniques caused Chinese politics to be
qualified by rebellion or the fear of rebellion. The difference between
a mob and an army became slight. In times of poor government there were
rebellions almost yearly. Insurrectionary forces gained momentum
overnight; from era to era huge mobs, tens and hundreds of thousands
strong, swept away governmental armies and erased corrupt or oppressive
dynasties. The process may be described as popular unrest made effective
with arms, which professional armies could not resist. The low place of
the soldier in society prevented men of genius from organizing a
dominant military caste; the professional armies were insufficient to
make military government effective. By a crude and brutal democracy of
mob and murder the populace of China could destroy dynasties and
governments whenever economic, social, or political conditions veered
too far beyond the limits of the tolerable.

Trained fighters there were, but they had the function of frontier
defense; when civil war broke out behind them, the imperial governments
frequently called back the frontier forces together with the barbarians
they had been fighting. At least two great dynasties, the T'ang and the
Ming, were destroyed because they used the nomads of the northern wilds
in order to put down domestic insurrections. Light cavalry supplemented
enormous bodies of infantry. In fact, the Chinese were put down by
foreign conquerors only when the foreigners had Chinese allies, or when
a campaign of terror had broken the spirit of popular resistance.
Chinese warfare showed the disadvantages as well as the advantages of
being carried on by what were in effect militia forces. The cruelty was
personal and direct, and not covered with fine disclaimers; restraint of
armed forces was the distinguished exception rather than the rule. The
line between soldier and peasant was one which could be crossed easily,
and the line between soldiery and banditry a matter of intention. At its
best, military technique was honest and robustly egalitarian; at its
worst it led to abuse of force such as lynching, robbery, and fanatical
turbulence. The formal records of Chinese dynasties show the use of
trained armies in foreign expeditions, in some of which they achieved
feats of military accomplishment which rank with any of world history.
Domestic troops were also employed as guards and ornamental bodies
attached to the throne and other great offices of the Empire.

The convenience of rebellion was such as to make revolt a part of the
unwritten constitutional practice--that broad ideological framework upon
which the Chinese world rested. It was sanctioned by the classics. It
served as a barometer of popular opinion. An unsuccessful rebellion, one
without the dimmest chance of success, might well be launched by
intelligent and patriotic men because its very appearance could prompt
the government to reform. In the words of one of the earliest Western
writers on the subject:

  A military and police is maintained sufficient to crush merely
  factious risings, but totally inadequate, both in numbers and in
  nature, to put down a disgusted and indignant people. But though no
  despotism, this same government is in form and machinery a pure
  autocracy. In his district the magistrate is absolute; in his
  province, the governor; in the empire, the Emperor. The Chinese people
  have no right of legislation, they have no right of self-taxation,
  they have not the power of voting out their rulers or of limiting or
  stopping supplies. _They have therefore the right of rebellion._
  Rebellion is in China the old, often exercised, legitimate, and
  constitutional means of stopping arbitrary and vicious legislation and

Thomas Taylor Meadows, the author just quoted, also noted that "of all
nations that have attained a certain degree of civilization, the Chinese
are the least revolutionary and the most rebellious."[10] _Revolution_
is a word broad enough to include principles; _rebellion_, more
narrowly, suggests action against men. The same tight, enduring system
of ideological control served to restrain the Chinese in their thinking
even when they had the material power sufficient to shake off their past
and build Utopia in its place. Rebels themselves obeyed the unwritten
precepts. The triumph of the civilians was complete: with infantry
prevailing on the battlefield, the peasants were the strongest; and with
the total population saturated in compelling, uniform ideas of right and
wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, the scholars had only to await the
establishment of administration to assume the leadership. Against
malgovernment, the populace retained the power of rebellion. Against
misrule, the scholars held the power which came to them as interpreters
of a vast and persuasive code of tradition. Whereas Western courts,
citing the past, can negate the acts of the executive or legislative by
interpretation or annulment, the Chinese scholars would do the same not
merely for law, but for manners, morals, thoughts, and social activities
as well. The great peasant armies, though able to destroy military
dictatorship, were by their very nature too loosely organized to
establish it.

_The Military Organization of the Manchu Dynasty_

Although the Manchus, who conquered China in the first half of the
seventeenth century and ruled it until the opening of the twentieth, did
not profoundly modify Chinese culture, they affected the military
scheme. The general outline of Chinese war and its place in society
remained largely the same; but there were two innovations: the
establishment of a warrior caste and the introduction of military
techniques from the West.

The Manchus were a non-Chinese people living in the northeastern
peripheral zone of Chinese civilization. They had adopted the Chinese
form of empire and bureaucracy in their capital at Mukden in the early
seventeenth century, before advancing toward China proper. Invited by
the Chinese to lend their aid in a civil war, the Manchus found
themselves excelling in effectiveness and leadership, which soon led
them to conquer the whole country. The numerical disproportion between
Chinese and Manchus was such that the conquerors would never have taken
over the Empire and founded a new dynasty (the Ch'ing) had they not been
assisted by large numbers of Chinese. On the other hand, the spectacular
terrorism of the Manchu cavalry was a potent weapon, and the Manchus did
not feel that they owed their throne entirely to the Chinese. They were
in the anomalous position of half-conquerors, a people coming into China
partly as aliens and partly as the new leaders of the Chinese. At the
very beginning of their rule (commonly dated 1644) they had to decide on
a policy to determine their relations with the Chinese: Should they
allow their people to mingle with and disappear into the vast Chinese
masses, or should they attempt a policy of racial separateness to keep
their blood clear of Chinese dilution? Underlying this question there
was the even more practical one: Should the Manchus rule China simply as
another imperial house, or should they attempt to maintain their status
as a racially separate caste of conquerors?

There is a Chinese legend which tells of a high minister of state, a
Chinese in the service of the Manchu conquerors, who saw no remedy from
the oppression of China in his own generation, but who nevertheless
worked with craftily concealed patriotism to sow the undoing of the
house of the Ch'ing. He recommended to the Manchus that they keep their
fighting men from demoralization by ordaining that no Manchu warrior
should enter any trade or profession but those of warfare and public
administration, and that they should guard the ancient heritage of their
valiant blood by making miscegenation a crime. Thus he schemed to
stiffen the Manchu monarchy in a position of unbounded arrogance, so
that a few generations of peace would find its armies sloven, atrophied,
and useless, and its people still alien to the Chinese. With neither
military power to overawe the masses nor popular affection to uphold
their foreign-rooted dynasty, they were bound to go down; all this, the
legend tells, the Chinese adviser who lived and died with high Manchu
honors clearly foresaw. Actually the Manchus did move in such a
direction, and with the prophesied results.

They had conquered China with their own tribal-military system intact,
organized into units termed _banners_. Unable to hold the country by
their own force alone and, after putting down serious rebellions,
unwilling to depend on the Chinese, they arranged a method of dual
garrisoning. A Manchu military hierarchy paralleled the Chinese
bureaucracy throughout the Empire, and Manchu bannermen were placed in
every city of strategic importance. The Manchu garrisons were made up of
men destined to arms, men who were the descendants of the wild horsemen
of the northeastern plains, but who soon became tragic and useless
idlers. Forbidden entrance into the vast and vital civilian society of
the Chinese, by a decree of their own kinsman on the throne, they spent
generation after generation in profound peace, forgetting war and losing
their self-respect as warriors. Whatever the reason, they did not engage
in practices such as the extended hunts, amounting in fact to great army
maneuvers, by which Kublai Khan kept his Mongol troops hard and ready
for war. An English writer, familiar with the state of the Manchu
garrisons in their last years, thus described them:

  But, unhappily, the inactive bannermen, both at Peking and in the
  provinces, had towards the end degenerated into idle, flabby, and too
  often opium-smoking parasites; they had long neglected to keep up
  their archery, which in any case had become useless in these days of
  magazine rifles, though it might have nourished a wholesome muscular
  habit of body if persisted in.... In the provinces these degenerate
  Manchus were often, practically, honourable prisoners, rigidly
  confined within the limits of the city walls, in the midst of a
  semi-hostile population speaking a dialect which the bannermen ... had
  to learn, ... if they wished even to buy a cabbage in the streets; and
  the Tartar General, who nominally outranked even the Chinese Viceroy,
  was really often a self-indulgent, ignorant incompetent.[11]

Politically, the Chinese found themselves face to face with a foreign
group imbued with an arrogant racial pride and determined to maintain a
separate existence. The Manchus did not bend to the superior numbers of
the Chinese, nor yield to the attractions of Chinese culture. They
maintained the Manchu language at the innermost citadel of Chinese
civilization--the Forbidden City at Peking--and stamped their West
Asiatic script on the money of the Empire. They worked out schemes by
which the Manchus would retain a majority in the highest offices of the
Empire, on the sole ground of race. Elementary rationalizations of two
opposing racial attitudes were the result. The Manchu policy fortified
and brought back from the past the racial pride of the Chinese. They
were not merely the civilized heart of humanity; they were, civilization
or no civilization, bound together by blood. If the Manchu garrisons
served no other purpose, the presence of alien troops in the cities
taught the Chinese the first lessons of resentment; it prepared them for
the vigorous racial-nationalist appeal which the Nationalists were to
put forth.

Governmentally, the effect of Manchu dual government was to force the
Chinese to an increased consciousness of the implied presuppositions of
their social and political system. The use of the garrisons constituted
one of the four main causes of Manchu decline; the second cause was the
violation of the strict merit system by racial preference in the
bureaucracy; the other two were failure to maintain domestic
tranquillity, and corruption in the hierarchy of scholar-officials.[12]
Manchu rule by military power was unrealistic and a political affront.
Their army of permanent occupation committed slow suicide in idleness
and at the same time kept the Manchu dynasty from nativizing itself so
that the Chinese might think of it as Chinese. Their creation of a
hierarchy of bannermen, paralleling the older Chinese civilian
institutions, brought to the surface of thought those prejudices and
assumptions which had guided and controlled Chinese destiny for
centuries. Government and society had been one to such a degree that the
special features of a universal control did not require legalization or
sharp tracing. The Manchus removed government from the rest of society
by staining it with militarism and racial preference; it became
ominously disparate and a conspicuous target for examination and

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Manchu rule brought into a
sharper focus the largely unformulated constitutional theory which had
underlain the Chinese imperial society for nearly twenty centuries. With
the sharper demarcation of rulers and ruled, the Manchus had to make
frequent and overt use of legal authority over the ideology. The Chinese
read of the sanction of rebellion in their own classics; they could turn
to their histories for a description of the ignoble origins of their
present masters. The dynasty turned therefore to literary censorship and
ordered extensive excisions from all writings scholarly, artistic, or
other, which might weaken the prestige of their house.[13] They ordained
a most rigid and dogmatic interpretation of the classics so as to suit
their purposes. This the Chinese met with sharp criticism. The literary
struggle did much to weaken the scholastic class and to deprive the
Manchus of academic supporters. At the same time it deprived the peasant
Chinese of their natural leaders, with the consequence that secret and
half-literate political associations faced an arbitrary government
military in character. The old Chinese system remained, but it became
more and more of a form with every generation. The theory of moral
agency and ideological control was defamed by the very presence of the
barbarian garrisons. The barbarians themselves weakened so much that in
the later days of the Manchu Empire the military occupation became a
myth instead of being a political fact. For the time being, however,
Manchu military organization acted as a force-displaying agency until
the scholars and the less favored classes of society were able to
combine in a revolution.

Pacific government, government by moral agency, derives its greatest
powers from assent and agreement; it thrives on symbolization and is
never necessarily dependent upon the display of outright force.
Government by force, on the other hand, remains effective almost in
proportion to the exercise and vigor of that force; stereotyped and
ritualized, it is essentially weak. Purely ceremonial administration and
offices may be a burden on the body politic, yet their dignity may make
up for their lack of efficiency. But an army that cannot fight is an
object of ridicule, and its very presence a challenge to the resources
of intelligence.

The Manchu garrisons in the key cities were under the command of Manchu
military officers, whom Europeans dubbed with the picturesque title of
_Tartar Generals_. The garrisons were made up of three racial elements:
Manchu, Mongol, and Chinese. The Chinese in the banner armies were the
descendants of soldiers in the renegade Han army (_han chün_), the
Chinese section of the Manchu-Mongol-Chinese formations which conquered
China for the Manchus in the seventeenth century. The military
organization seems to have been a simplified copy of civilian
bureaucracy, with examiners, censors, and other familiar devices of
Chinese government appearing in quasi-military form. The principle of
merit was violated, however, in that certain categories of men claimed
special rank by hereditary right.[14] It was also possible for some of
the bannermen to transfer between the civilian and the military branches
of the government.

In the early nineteenth century the _han chün_ possessed considerable
artillery. There was a separate navy, comprising more than two thousand
war vessels equipped from a score of dockyards. Even then, Chinese
military technology was markedly inferior to European; the Chinese navy
was no match even for Europe's wooden warships. When ironclads entered
Far Eastern waters and breech-loading cannon were employed, the
difference made Chinese naval and artillery establishments almost
antiquarian in nature. With most of the banner forces of the Empire kept
at Peking and the rest scattered over the country in the great cities,
the Manchu force was widely diffused. In practice their armies hardly
exceeded a quarter of a million men; whatever the exact total, the
military were outnumbered far over a thousand to one by the Chinese, in
the realm which the Manchus supposedly held by conquest.

The effective army in the later years of the Ch'ing dynasty was formed
for the most part of the Green Standard (_lü ying_), provincial
regulars, and the vast hordes of irregulars (_yung_, or "braves") who
have traditionally done the greater share of the fighting in Chinese
history. The Green Standard troops appear to have suffered, although to
a lesser degree, from the long peace which ruined the banner armies, but
their use in major police enterprises and troubles with primitive
peoples kept them from the utter demoralization of the banners. The
common practice under the Ch'ing was to recruit the local toughs, to
appoint their leaders as probationary officers, and to use such
emergency armies for real and immediate fighting. Although the Manchu
dynasty had no system of organized reserves and little machinery for
rapid mobilization, they were thus nevertheless able to swell their
armies to astonishing numbers in a very short while. American military
commentators said in 1900 that the peacetime size of the Chinese
imperial army was about three hundred thousand men and its wartime
strength about one million--minute figures for China's reserve of man
power--and added:

  The total strength of the standing army of China can not be exactly
  ascertained, and if a statement of the number of men belonging to it
  could be given, it would be of little value, as many of the men who
  are carried on the rolls are neither armed nor equipped, and a great
  number of them are not even performing military service, but are
  following their usual vocations.[15]

This military regime bears the air of a vast preparation for some
foreseen but remote emergency. The Manchus themselves seemed to sleep;
armies drowsed through the centuries, weapons rusting, tactics forgotten
in the mimicry of parade, while all about them the factual potency of
military power passed to the Chinese. Even the Europeans at first shared
the illusion of great although latent military power behind the Manchu
throne. The easy defeat of the Manchu Chinese forces in the wars with
England and France in the early and middle nineteenth century led
writers such as Thomas De Quincey to cry out against the great fraud of
Asia--the sleeping Manchu giant, who was not sleeping but dead.

The T'ai-p'ing rebellion[16] lasting from 1849 to 1865 provided an
actual test of military power in the Manchu Empire, and demonstrated two
remarkable new facts. First, the real forces were no longer the regular
troops, whether banner or Green Standard, but the militia which might be
organized and trained for immediate results by robust civilians like the
viceroys Li Hung-chang and Tsêng Kuo-fan.[17] Second, the military
technique of the Far East was obsolete; even a little Western equipment,
leadership, and training made any Chinese army immediately more
effective. The consequences were contradictory. If the military regime
of the Manchus existed only in a formal sense, and actual power had
passed to the Chinese masses, who had only to await a leadership to
exhibit their power, then force had failed and government by moral
agency would again be the need of the epoch. At the same time, the
introduction of Western technique showed the possibility of a new regime
of force, another opportunity for a minority to overwhelm the vast
majority by sheer technical military effectiveness, and government by
moral agency could not be sufficient. The center of military gravity
would not simply pass to the group possessing the largest army. A new
form of government, making intelligent use of modern weapons, was called

Undoubtedly China was and is too large to be governed by mere military
occupation--unless forces far larger than any which have heretofore
operated in the Far East are employed. The very garrisoning of the
country would absorb tremendous armies. At the same time, military force
is sufficient to overawe and intimidate civilians in any given area,
since the man with a rifle is superior to the man with the crossbow or
spear. Conceivably, however, a rhythm may originate between the progress
in introducing new weapons and the progress of the populace in learning
new means of counteraction. In 1860 the British and French entered
Peking and later burned the Summer Palace of the Manchu emperors as a
lesson to the imperial government. The expedition, casual when measured
by Western standards, showed that the Manchu bannermen and Chinese
levies were equally powerless before the intrusion of a more advanced
skill in warfare. As soon as peace was declared the Chinese began
organizing some of their metropolitan forces after the Western manner,
obtaining foreign instructors to put them through the Western manual of

At the same time that the Manchu court was learning to its discomfort
the importance of Western warfare, it was calling Westerners to its aid
in putting down the T'ai-p'ings. The Manchus assembled a nineteenth
century navy including steam vessels from British and other sources,
which broke up without having accomplished much. With land forces there
was much greater success; an American, Frederick Townsend Ward, and an
Englishman, Major Charles George ("Chinese") Gordon, organized a small
body of imperial regular troops along Western lines and with Western
officers. This force was given the honorific title of "Ever Victorious
Army" by the court, and together with the militia organized by Tsêng
Kuo-fan and Li Hung-chang suppressed the T'ai-p'ing rebellion after the
banner and Green Standard armies had failed.

The ensuing thirty years (1865-1895) witnessed the slow decline in
Manchu foreign policy and military development and a gradual crumbling
of Chinese society at large. Revolutionaries such as Sun Yat-sen
received their first baptism of Westernization in the 1870's and 1880's,
and foreign trade rose by great leaps. Occasionally the Empire's
military regime seemed to rally. Between 1883 and 1885 the Chinese
forces fighting the French in Indo-China were equipped with Mannlicher
rifles far more up-to-date than the weapons of their enemies. In the
preceding decade the Chinese destroyed a Mohammedan state set up in
Chinese Turkestan in defiance of their suzerainty, and overawed the
Russians into evacuating an area along the Ili seized under the pretence
of maintaining order. The lack of coordination between the different
agencies of government was as much to blame for China's weakness as were
the specific defects of the central departments. When the army was
winning, the diplomatic agencies yielded; when the army was unprepared,
the diplomatic agencies, by some ill-timed impertinence, gave aliens the
pretext for hostilities.

The first Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) offered another test. Hitherto,
the armed conflicts with Europeans, even including the entry of
Westerners into Peking in 1860, had seemed remote from the actual
problem of military power in China. The Europeans might possibly
withdraw and leave the Empire in peace. But incalculable danger would
arise to Chinese prestige should the _wo_, the sea dwarfs, defeat the
Chinese and eat more deeply into the mainland. Chinese began to realize
that in this war their status was at stake, not only in the dimly
perceived wide universe of the Westerners but also in that of the Far
East in which they had long held such comfortable hegemony. They entered
the war relatively well equipped, so that even outside observers were
doubtful of the outcome of the struggle. No one was more amazed than the
Chinese themselves when they were whipped as no modern nation has been
whipped, routed ignominiously in a sequence of slaughters, and
ultimately forced to make important territorial and financial
concessions to the Japanese.

This catastrophe was followed by a series of reforms, some designed to
enable China to meet the West on its own ground. In January, 1896, a
turning point was reached with the appointment of Yüan Shih-k'ai to
command the one efficient brigade assembled in the course of the
war.[18] Yüan was to find in modern arms the career which led to his
dictatorship after the fall of the Empire, and was to perform notable
work as a military and administrative reformer, although of restricted
value. He joined the reactionaries and brought to an end the Hundred
Days of Reform of 1898, a movement generated by the initiative of the
idealistic young Emperor Kuang Hsü, who sought to direct China into the
course already taken by Japan--modernization within the imperial system.
In 1900 there occurred the wild upheaval of the Boxers. It began as a
native racial uprising against the Manchus, but was deflected by the
Manchus into the support of the court and hostility against the Western
intruders. During the Boxer movement part of the fighting against the
Westerners was done by regular banner and Green Standard troops, but the
greater part by bands of desperadoes and fanatics. The imperial army
suffered in the chaos following the international occupation of Peking.

Under the name of the _Wu Wei Chün_ the first large-scale attempt was
made to modernize the Chinese armed forces. After the military and naval
experiments of the 1860's and later decades, this enterprise evoked
great hopes. The new army was inaugurated in 1895 with foreign
instruction and foreign arms. In 1901 one division was made the core of
Yüan Shih-k'ai's new modern force. Rodney Gilbert, a British publicist,
has summarized the military changes down to the end of the Manchu
dynasty as follows:

  In January 1901 the Yangtze Viceroys submitted a memorial to the
  Throne suggesting among other things the disbandment of the useless
  _Lü Ying_ [Armies of the Green Standard], the employment of the
  Bannermen, almost as useless, in service other than military, and the
  creation of a modern army. This brought forth an Imperial decree
  ordering reorganization of the army, of which Yuan Shih-kai, then
  Viceroy of Chihli, took advantage to build up six new divisions, four
  of which were transferred to the Ministry of War in 1906. This was
  the real beginning of the _Lu Chun_, the Chinese National Army. In
  January, 1905, a comprehensive scheme was outlined designed to give
  China an army of 36 Divisions or 360,000 men, by the year 1911. Three
  years after this decision was made there were about 60,000 men, with
  360 guns, in the North, and 40,000 men, with 174 guns, in the South.
  The army was developing along sound lines when Yuan Shih-kai was
  removed from office in 1908 after the death of his great patroness
  the Empress Dowager, and the direction of military, as well as
  other affairs, fell into the hands of the Manchu princes, whose
  mismanagement contributed much to the downfall of their dynasty three
  years later.[19]

The beginning, although auspicious, did not mean that even the model
sections of the modernized forces were comparable to those of other
lands. The confusion of weapons was already evident. A member of the
United States General Staff wrote in 1910:

  To arm these masses China has been obliged to use weapons that are
  considered somewhat out of date. There are four types of rifles,
  mostly Mausers and Japanese Murata rifles of old pattern. They are,
  however, breech-loading, small-caliber weapons, not to be despised,
  even if they do not reach the ideal which some nations set. In fact
  they are the weapons which have been used in the great wars of most
  recent date.

  It is so also with the artillery where even a greater difference of
  types is to be observed. This is, undoubtedly, a serious drawback,
  owing, of course, to the great difficulty of providing ammunition.[20]

It was during this period, from the decisive defeat of the dynasty by
Japan in 1895 to the Republican Revolution of 1911-1912, that the
Chinese revolutionaries most eagerly studied military manuals and sought
to purchase Western arms to offset the great advantages gained by the
modernized portions of the imperial army. Sun Yat-sen became almost as
much a military authority as he was a political philosopher and leader;
his chief military follower, General Huang Hsing, performed for the
revolutionaries the services rendered for the regime by Yüan Shih-k'ai.
On both sides there was the anxiety to master the mysteries of twentieth
century warfare. The World War had not yet begun, nor had the staggering
burdens of modern armament become evident. Great as were the
improvements in fighting, prewar military organization seemed still
primarily a matter of well-equipped infantry, properly led, properly
drilled, and supported by adequate artillery and other auxiliary
services. Wireless, gas, airplanes, tanks, submarines, torpedo launches,
and mechanized or aerialized infantry were little more than a matter of
speculation. The proportions of present-day military budgets no one
could foresee.

_The Army and the Republican Revolution_

The Republican Revolution of 1911-1912 was the last overt act in the
collapse of the ideologically maintained social system; it brought
armies into violently free play in the support of movements toward
re-formation of the ideology and articulation and control of the
society. On October 10, 1911, the troops of the Wuch'ang garrison rose
in mutiny and sided with the revolution. A series of uprisings
engineered by military and agitational leaders followed, province by
province, all directed against the imperial power in the North. The use
of violence in Chinese politics served to accentuate a condition which
had affected China even in the earliest historic times--the unresolved
contradictions between the North and the South. Differences of race,
spoken language, and economy produced fundamental cleavages accentuated
by temperament. Traditionally the North was more conservative and
solidaristic, the South more rebellious and enterprising. Sun Yat-sen
was a Southerner; militarism reached its sharpest effectiveness in the

Yüan Shih-k'ai, who had proved himself the evil genius of Emperor Kuang
Hsü by betraying the monarch's reforms of 1898, was called to the aid of
the Manchus only to betray them to the Republic; he then served the
Republic with the intention of seizing complete power for himself. The
Republicans set up their regime in Nanking on January 1, 1912, with Sun
Yat-sen as president. They established contact with Yüan, who acted in
the triple capacity of negotiator for the Manchus, representative of the
modernized armies of the North (which were his), and leader in his own
right and in his own interest. The Republicans realized that Yüan could
not be dispossessed--indeed, it is fairly certain that he could have
upheld the throne had he so wished. Their power was indefinite, and as
Chinese they preferred compromise and order to ideals pushed to the
bitter end. In the middle of February they yielded to Yüan, and Sun
surrendered to him the presidency as a reward for his allegiance to the
Republic. Yüan, for the Manchus, secured a settlement by which the
Forbidden City (the residence of the emperor in Peking) was made into a
second Vatican City; the emperor was allowed his formal and ritual
titles (a status remarkably like that of the Pope) and a very
substantial stipend. For the Northern armies and himself Yüan obtained
actual power over the country. A civilian, but a soldier as well, Yüan
rose by both intrigue and the implied threat of force.

The Republic was launched by valedictory imperial edicts ordering the
imperial officials throughout the realm to obey Yüan and the new form of
government; by Republicans nominally headed by their greatest and
coldest antagonist; and by a soldier of higher professional standing in
the Western sense than any Chinese leader for centuries past undertaking
the task of keeping order and ushering China through drastic
reconstruction. For a few halcyon months it seemed as though the
Republic might grow into reality from under the aegis of military
dictatorship.[21] But soon it became apparent that the revolution was
not a transfer of power and renovation of order but the dissolution of
power and the erasure of order. What was left was ideological
uncertainty, social turmoil, economic disorganization--with politics
reduced to mere pageantry, and the armies, ominously growing under the
care of President Yüan, maintaining what little order was left to
maintain. In 1913 the Nationalist-Republicans rebelled in the Yangtze
valley and were crushed by the armies of the government of the Republic
of China.

From the military rule of Yüan Shih-k'ai there emerged an army system
which was to bring China to almost complete political ruin in the decade
after Yüan's death. Although he organized a model regiment as a sample
of what could be done in China, inflation of numbers and deterioration
of morale and _matériel_ were the most obvious symptoms of the new role
of the army--a role much more concerned with problems of domestic
intrigue than with defense against the outsiders. For an army of
national defense, high technical excellence and a commensurate smallness
of numbers are desirable features; for an army of dictatorship or
occupation, inferior equipment, poor supplies, and inefficient training
are all trifling handicaps in comparison with the advantage of vast
numbers which can be used to garrison large sections of the realm and
meet the threat of civil war. The very shift from empire to republic
involved the enlistment of additional thousands of revolutionary
fighters; once in the army, they were hard to dislodge. The personal
military interests of Yüan led him to expand the army, and his political
ambitions nourished the thought that the country would be secure beneath
him only through the medium of an extensive garrison system. Finally,
there was a far-reaching shift in the Chinese social pyramid. Men of
intelligence and of education flocked to the army, and Japan's military
schools were crowded with young Chinese who saw in war their easiest
avenue to fortune or to the service of their country.

A reconstituted army, soldiers who could command greater respect than
ever before, numerical extension and qualitative deterioration of the
national armed forces--these were the more patent military changes under
the Republic. To them must be added the factors fusing the elements into
a system that was to bring immediate fortune and ultimate ruin to
practically all who ventured into its operations. Many of the provinces
which turned to the cause of the revolutionaries in 1911 and 1912 became
gradually militarized. When the Manchus were gone, the old distinction
between the Tartar General and the civilian viceroy had lost its
purpose; the new provincial executives combined both military and
governmental powers. Provincial jealousies and the growing disorder
favored a strong factual autonomy for the various provinces, even though
there was no technical claim of provincial independence and very little
even of confederation. The first Republic was in name a centralized
parliamentary-presidential state with quasi-federal features; in fact it
was the combination of an impotent, headless imperial bureaucracy and a
presidential military dictatorship possessing physically limited and
indefinable authority over a large group of provinces. Between China and
the accomplishment of regular and orderly republican government there
stood ignorance, turmoil, poverty, reaction, and despair. Between Yüan's
regime and the _tuchün_ system there stood only Yüan's might.


[1] Herrlee G. Creel, _The Birth of China_, p. 141, London, 1936.

[2] _Ibid._, pp. 142-154.

[3] Marcel Granet, _Chinese Civilization_, p. 270, New York, 1930.
Quoted by permission of the American publishers, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

[4] Henri Maspero, _La Chine antique_, p. 131, Paris, 1927. This is one
of the most valuable surveys of ancient China.

[5] An elementary discussion of this period is to be found in Paul M.
A. Linebarger, _The Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen_, pp. 25-29,
"Nation and State in Chinese Antiquity," Baltimore, 1937.

[6] Pan Ku (H. H. Dubs, translator), _The History of the Former Han
Dynasty, passim_, Baltimore, 1938.

[7] In a memorandum prepared in response to a request by the present

[8] _Ibid._

[9] Thomas Taylor Meadows, _The Chinese and Their Rebellions_, p. 24,
London, 1856. His accounts of the T'ai-p'ing rebellion even today
possess great liveliness and interest and illuminate twentieth century
Chinese problems.

[10] _Ibid._, p. 25.

[11] E. H. Parker, _China ..._, pp. 259-260, New York, 1917.

[12] A. N. Holcombe, _The Chinese Revolution_, pp. 70-81, Cambridge,

[13] See Luther Carrington Goodrich, _The Literary Inquisition of
Ch'ien-lung_, Baltimore, 1935.

[14] The most extensive source of information on Manchu military
organization in China is T. F. Wade, "The Army of the Chinese Empire:
Its Two Great Divisions, the Bannermen or National Guard, and the Green
Standard or Provincial Troops; Their Organization, Pay, Condition &c.,"
_The Chinese Repository_ (Canton), vol. 20, pp. 250-280, 300-340,
363-422, 1851, which is now unfortunately rare. William James Hail,
_Tseng Kuo-fan and the Taiping Rebellion_, New Haven, 1927, presents an
accessible and informative digest of this and other material in its
opening pages. Two French works based on Wade are Jules Picard, _État
générale des forces maritimes et militaires de la Chine ..._, Paris,
1860, and P. Dabry, _Organisation militaire des Chinois, ou la Chine et
ses armées_, Paris, 1859. William Frederick Mayers, _The Chinese
Government_, Shanghai, 1897, is one of the most valuable references for
the structure of the last imperial government of China; designed as a
manual of titles, it presents a concise outline of all major civil and
military offices. A more elaborate treatise is P. C. Hsieh, _The Chinese
Government_, 1644-1911, Baltimore, 1925. See also Anatol M. Kotenev,
_The Chinese Soldier_, Shanghai, 1937. The text refers to Wade, p. 391,
and Hsieh, p. 260.

[15] United States War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, no. 30,
_Notes on China_, pp. 57-69, "The Chinese Army," Washington, 1900.
Except for cursory references, this pamphlet is of no great value.

[16] See above, pp. 32 ff.

[17] See Hail, _op. cit._ in note 14.

[18] See Meribeth E. Cameron, _The Reform Movement in China_, 1898-1912,
p. 59, Stanford, 1931.

[19] H. G. W. Woodhead (ed.), _The China Year Book_, 1921-2, Tientsin,
1921; chap. XIX, "Defense," by Rodney Gilbert, pp. 511-512. Gilbert's is
a competent contemporary account of tuchünism, sketching the background
very clearly.

[20] George H. Blakeslee (ed.), _China and the Far East_, New York,
1910, Chapter X, "The Chinese Army--Its Development and Present
Strength," by Major Eben Swift, p. 181. See also General H. Frey,
_L'Armée chinoise: l'armée ancienne, l'armée nouvelle, l'armée chinoise
dans l'avenir_, Paris, 1904.

[21] For a discussion of the governmental changes of the period see
below, pp. 145 ff. See also H. F. MacNair, _China in Revolution_,
Chicago, 1931; A. N. Holcombe, _The Spirit of the Chinese Revolution_,
New York, 1931. For a contemporary censure of Yüan Shih-k'ai see Paul
Myron [Paul M. W. Linebarger], _Our Chinese Chances_, Chicago, 1915.

_Chapter_ V


Yüan's closing years might have resembled Napoleon's rise from the
position of First Consul to that of emperor, had he not been checked at
the very last moment by armed uprisings and expressions of deep popular
contempt. Even so, he retained control of the country.[1] The
humiliation of his defeat lacked even dramatic compensations, and he
died in June, 1916, of disease, poison, or chagrin. With his death the
Republic had a chance to stand by itself, but it could not.

_The Age of the War Lords_

Yüan had fastened the symbols of old on the scaffolding of a new order.
With his death the momentum of administrative routine retained from the
Manchu dynasty was lost; the Republican government in Peking degenerated
from impotence to comedy. The process called government began to
nauseate patriotic Chinese and foreigners alike; few were able to take a
long view, to maintain their courage, and to keep on fighting against
disgusting and disheartening realities. With the decomposition of the
central government--except the modern bureaucracies such as posts and
customs, which were kept intact by their foreign personnel and their
special international status--the armies, though divided provincially,
stepped into positions of unprecedented authority. There was a veritable
epidemic of monarchical ambition, greed, and willfulness among the
provincial military commanders; many Chinese expected a new Yüan to
emerge from that group and become the "strong man of China." With such a
stage to strut on, it is not surprising that the Chinese military lost
constructive vision. A sober nucleus of idealistically hard-headed,
patriotic men, each a George Washington, might have used military power
to reunite the country, but order could not be expected to emerge from
the unsystematized competition of armed forces.

Three broader factors affected the ascendancy of war lords, in addition
to obvious motives and interests. The ideological ruin was bad enough;
the consequent social disorder crippled China. But the armies now came
to provide a refuge for the unemployed and dispossessed. A second
factor, the mechanical mobilization of military forces through the
railways, made warfare more expensive and ruinous than it would have
been with the slow-moving infantry of the past. Thirdly, the war lords
gave physical embodiment to the ideological and social disunity of
China, inviting the constant intervention of the Western powers and of
Japan in Chinese affairs.

Individually the war lords warrant no special attention. There was Chang
Tso-lin in Manchuria; Tuan Chi-jui and Ts'ao Kun in North China; Yen
Hsi-shan ("The Model Governor") and, to the west of him, Fêng Yü-hsiang
("The Christian General"); Chang Chung-chang in Shantung, significant
more for his brutality than for his political and military position; the
quaint, conservative scholar Wu P'ei-fu, in the Yangtze valley, minor
figures in the South and West. It was not the generals who were
important, but militarism.

Militarism machine-gunned the Confucian ethics out of politics; it taxed
the land into ruin; it laid China wide open to imperialistic thrusts,
and--by the same act--made her a poor market. Militarism built roads
when they were strategically required, established a few railways and
spoiled more, modernized China, but did so in the costliest way of all.
Only in the intellectual world was military domination not outright
destruction. The generals and their staffs were surprisingly ignorant of
the power of ideas, ineffectual in their censorship, oblivious to the
great leverage of undercover agitation. Trusting arms, they failed to
see that the only opposition able to destroy them was not military but

While the soldiery stirred the country with murder and oppression, their
system progressed steadily toward self-destruction. Two great pressures
forced constant further expansion of the armies. The first is obvious:
military rivalry. The second was the growing abuse of army organization
as a means of unemployment relief. Military taxation drove the peasants
off the land, whereupon they had no recourse but to become bandits or
soldiers. If they were bandits, consolidation under a chieftain
transformed them into military irregulars and induced some ambitious
general to include them in his forces. If they were soldiers, the bandit
stage remained in reach. In either case, they added to the burden
falling upon their commander, which in turn led to still greater
impoverishment of the peasants, a further increase of dispossessed men,
bandits, and soldiers. With the widening circulation of arms, Western
guns and fighting methods became less and less a secret of small groups
capable of establishing a firm military oligarchy and more and more the
property of a cross section of the Chinese masses.

From an estimated total of 1,369,880 in 1921,[2] the number of men under
arms rose to a figure estimated to be between 1,883,300 and 1,933,300
five years later.[3] This increase occurred in one of the poorest
countries of the world, despite conditions of extreme misery:

  Recruiting goes on incessantly in every town in North China where
  there is a garrison. There are no statistics available, but it is
  known that the death rate from disease is very high because, even in
  garrison, sanitary precautions are crude and the medical service is
  inefficient and inadequate. In battle the care of the wounded is
  barbarously primitive, even in the best units, and death from infected
  wounds is rather the rule than the exception; while those who cannot
  walk from the field to the nearest hospital more often than not die of
  exposure or clumsy handling. One of a Chinese commander's major
  concerns is filling the gaps in the ranks, but at the same time these
  conditions have kept the proportions of the armies down to a fairly
  constant figure. Chinese officers have advanced the theory that if
  recruiting were everywhere abandoned, disease, desertions and losses
  in battle would account for ten per cent. per annum, so that the
  armies would automatically cease to exist in ten years.[4]

The use of the railways for military purposes unsettled large groups of
Chinese geographically and caused meetings of extensive bodies of men
from different areas. At first such contacts, especially under wartime
conditions, would only intensify provincial sentiment and mistrust of
strangers, but gradually this influence began to make for a new national
consciousness. In the meantime, the troops learned the intricacies of
modern transport. A coolie in a peaceful part of Asia might see trains
for years, observing the Westerners riding in them, and remain impressed
by the sight; a Chinese bandit sitting on a freight car in a
commandeered train would become rapidly familiar with the fire vehicles.

The role of the militarists with respect to China's international status
was ambiguous. In the first place, the weakness which they created
reduced China to an international pawn. The discord into which she had
fallen allowed for semipartitions--various foreign interests backing
different war lords--although a genuine partition may thereby have been
staved off. In China proper the influence of the Japanese seemed to be
behind Chang Tso-lin and the Northern militarists; the British were
regarded as friendly to Wu P'ei-fu in the Yangtze valley; and the French
achieved something not far from domination in the province farthest
southwest, Yünnan. Fêng Yü-hsiang was supposed to have veered
picturesquely for foreign friends between the Protestant missions and
the Bolshevik agents. A miniature replica of the European balance of
power could be played in China, with outside groups friendly to one or
the other war lord. An agreement between the chief participants in 1919
sought to prevent the shipping of arms to unauthorized military groups
in China but proved largely ineffectual in the end.

Between 1922 and 1926 there was formed in South China a nexus of armies
which were to provide the military edge to ideological revolution and
establish the followers of Sun Yat-sen in power. These armies were built
up with the assistance of Russian and German advisers and with American
arms which had been left in Siberia and had fallen into the hands of the
Bolsheviks; the troops were led by new-style Chinese officers under the
leadership of Chiang K'ai-shek. The Whampoa Academy was the most obvious
sign of the new school of military thought, coming forth as a
consequence of the Nationalist-Communist coalition.[5] Armaments did not
differ in any substantial degree from those of the war lords, but they
were more carefully kept and more skillfully used. The military machine
which arose in the South was better organized, better disciplined,
better led, and better cared for than any army on the Chinese scene for
a decade.

From 1926 to 1927 the ensuing campaign for the Nationalist conquest of
China, as outlined in the principles of Sun Yat-sen,[6] drove forward
with striking success. The Nationalist troops everywhere pushed their
enemies before them with astonishing speed. The explanation is to be
found in part in the efficiency and military honesty of officers and
men, but even more in the nonmilitary factors which fortified the armies
and the ideological weapons which cleared the ground before it. The new
armies not only represented military might; they were also propaganda
machines. To every regiment there was attached a political staff to keep
up the morale of the troops and to win over the enemy and the civilian
population. The troops themselves were propaganda brigades as well as
military units. Literacy in the armies was made a point of great pride,
and certain divisions made novel reputations for themselves on this
ground. The Nationalists were known by many as the soldiers who did not
harm the people. Without the troops the Nationalists would never have
come to power; but without the supporting sweep of mass propaganda the
Nationalist movement might have gone on for decades in the form of
civilian conspirators fighting against overwhelming odds or else seeking
to make venal mercenaries the prime instrument for the regeneration of
Chinese civilization.

The military revolution of 1926-1927 brought new factors to the Chinese
military scene. It indicated that a point of equilibrium had been
reached between the military and the ideological modes of control and
that it was no longer possible for sheer force and a minimum of
intelligence to hold unchallenged power in the Chinese society. It was,
furthermore, a threefold struggle: a patriotic and progressive uprising
against domestic and foreign oppression and inefficiency; an agrarian
revolt on a grand scale; and a proletarian uprising on the part of the
relatively small but strategically placed Chinese proletariat. Only in
the first of these aspects did the revolution meet with the approval of
most Chinese--the victims and not the bearers of arms. Men of all shades
of opinion were able to agree on a policy of attacking the system of
_tuchüns_, which offered no planning for the future, no resurrection of
the past, and little public order. The patriotic troops were enraged by
the corruption and inadequacy all about them and by the fortresses of
privilege reared by aliens on their coasts and in their greatest inland

The campaign of 1926-1927 marked the identification of the coolie
soldier with his own class and of the peasant fighter with his. The rank
and file were given to understand that they were not fighting in some
game beyond their understanding but for the security of people like
themselves. Under the influence of the propaganda put forth by the
Nationalists and the allied Communists, an incipient agrarian revolt was
fanned into flame and proletarian uprisings in the cities were made
possible for the first time. Whole sections of the countryside fell into
a condition not far from anarchy as the revolutionary troops led the
people in revolt. After 1927, however, the military forces developed
along two antagonistic lines. The Nationalists, seizing the political
instruments of the revolution but finding its ideological factors
largely beyond their control, began to create a professionalized army
with which to stabilize their regime. The Communists, and their agrarian
allies, standing to the Left of the newborn Nanking government, were
eager to fight on in the tested informal fashion. In the year of the
establishment of the Nanking government, 1927, the Red Army could still
demonstrate its effectiveness. Shortly afterward the precautionary arms
embargo of the foreign powers, which had prevailed since 1919, was
lifted, thereby opening up the means by which Chiang K'ai-shek could
renovate and specialize the armies under his command.

The break with the war-lord tradition was much more obvious in the case
of the Communists than in the case of the Nationalists. The Communists,
lacking sufficient support to occupy any broad contiguous territory,
fell back on guerrilla fighting of their own. The Nationalists, strong
enough to hold a certain portion of the area, nevertheless compromised
with the existing military system to seek mastery. For three years after
the establishment of the Nanking government, it remained doubtful
whether the whole government might not subside into inertia and neglect,
leaving Chiang standing alone, distinguished from the other war lords
only by his character.

Late in 1930 and early in 1931 a menacing alliance was organized between
two of the most influential remaining Northern _tuchüns_ and the
"liberal" wing of the Nationalists. Operating from the north, after the
proclamation of an insurgent "National Government" at Peking, the rebels
at first seemed to have the military advantage. Chiang had learned many
lessons, however, and in the most serious fighting which China had seen
in years he broke the force of the Northern offensive. Airplanes
appeared as a threat against the civilian population of Peking, although
no actual deaths were reported. There were ugly rumors that gas was
being used at the front. Small tanks from England, though giving a
rather poor performance, symbolized a novel trend. More and better heavy
artillery was used than ever before. Trenches came up to World War
standards. The war ended with the intervention from Manchuria of Chang
Hsüeh-liang, a strangely progressive and patriotic _tuchün_; but the
fighting had been enough to show that of all the great armed forces in
China the Nationalist armies of Chiang K'ai-shek and the Nanking
government were the most effective.

The rehabilitation of men's thinking had not proceeded far enough to
eliminate the dangers of an overemphasized military leadership, but the
tide had turned. After 1931 the military situation in China had become
subordinate to the problems of ideology and of government. The chief
military factors were now the governmentalized armies, the guerrilla
opposition of the Communists, and the problem of foreign war.

_The Age of Air Conquest_

The new military period which replaced the war-lord system was marked by
(1) technical improvement of the armies, especially in the direction of
air power; (2) supplementation of the armies by the quasi-military power
of the civil government, so that Chinese wars ceased to be a question
of armed bands drifting about the surface of the social system;
(3) organization of the Nationalist armies into national units in
fact as well as name; (4) increasing pressure of the disbandment
problem; (5) development of guerrilla tactics by the Reds and of
guerrilla-suppression tactics by the Nationalists; (6) problems arising
from Japanese conquest, which overwhelmed Manchuria in one fierce
onslaught and harassed China for six years of military aggressions
before breaking forth anew in the catastrophic surge of 1937-1938.

Aviation was to leap to a sensational place. Aviation and national
civilian government became almost natural complements of one another.
Only by aviation could all parts of the country be brought under the
jurisdiction of Nanking and the geographical handicaps of China be
overcome, and only a national government could afford the long-term
investments in machines and men necessary to effective air armament. The
record of technical improvement in the Nationalist armies is clearly
symbolized by the advancement of military aircraft. Military aviation in
China previous to the establishing of the Nanking government
demonstrated the weakness of the preceding regime. As early as 1909 a
French aviator was giving demonstration flights over Shanghai.[7] The
Ch'ing dynasty sought to establish an airplane factory but met with no
success. Yüan Shih-k'ai purchased a few planes and set up a flying
school. The first telling use of planes in Chinese politics and war
occurred, however, with the bombardment of the imperial palace by a lone
aviator in the course of an attempted monarchical restoration in 1917.
In the period of the war lords there were many isolated efforts to build
up flying services. The most promising of these, undertaken by the
Peking Republic with British assistance after 1920, failed through
neglect, mismanagement, and corruption. As late as 1928 there was no
prospect of significant air fighting in China.

By 1931 the Nanking government had built up an air force of about
seventy serviceable planes; a contemporary commentator observed,
"Aeroplanes played a very considerable--some would even say a
decisive--part in the civil war of 1930...."[8] By 1932, when an
American aviation mission arrived to help in the training of a Chinese
military air force, the estimates ran into a total of 125 to 140
commercial and training planes.[9] In the ensuing five years the Chinese
national air force developed rapidly. It played the leading role in
suppressing the Fukien uprising of 1932-1933 and in driving the
Communists into the Northwest. In 1937 the head of the American aviation
mission, Colonel John Jouett, wrote, "Japan maintains that China has a
thousand planes; my guess would be seven hundred and fifty of all types.
But no one knows...."[10] Other experts would reduce the figure to
one-third or less by the elimination of planes which would not be of
first-class utility in actual combat. The preparations for foreign
hostilities up to 1937 were accompanied by such a degree of secrecy that
definite figures are not available. For domestic purposes, however,
almost every plane would count, and the cardinal fact remains that
domestically the National Government possesses a monopoly of air power
in China. It is thereby in a better position to make its supreme will
formidably known than was any emperor of any dynasty. The future may
show that Chinese mastery of aircraft is psychologically as important as
was mastery of the steamship for the Japanese--a visible demonstration
to an Asiatic people of their own accomplishments with Western

As for other improvements of the armies, only three factors need be
mentioned. The armies were consolidated generally, and with their better
status--in literacy, pay, means of subsistence, and regularity of
control--there came a realization that the military force was the
creature of the national state. The Chinese nation was taking form as an
ideological and social entity of sufficient strength to command the
direct allegiance of fighting men. A new respect arose for the officers
and men of the armies. Under Yüan Shih-k'ai the armies had been able to
evolve a respectability of their own making; under Chiang K'ai-shek this
respectability began to be accepted at its face value by the rest of the
society, so that a pilot was not only admired by the crowd but was
recognized as an expert among experts, even in literary and civil-minded
circles. Secondly, the armies affected the nation by road construction.
In the course of the Nationalist-Communist wars of 1927-1937 the
Nationalists built thousands of miles of highway in order to make full
use of their new mobility gained from machine power. The military roads,
supplemented by civilian roads built with an eye to military use,
constituted a network of communications upon which a new political
geography could be framed--with new strategic points and new avenues of
commerce. Thirdly, the armies began to emphasize culture and comfort.
The soldiers were given a taste of twentieth century life and standards;
their civilian kin and friends who lived under less favorable conditions
saw in the elite sections of the armies a mass demonstration of China's

In the age of air power in China the relation between the army, the
government, and the economy was revolutionized. The new power of a state
with actual authority[11] led to the creation of an army dependent on an
intricate and sensitive financial and economic system, operating under a
regular scheme of law. The strength of the government made modern armies
possible; modern armies made corresponding political forms imperative. A
resulting tendency was for the armies to take on national form. Even in
those areas where _tuchünism_ had left its imprint upon society, or
where provincial autonomy provided a factual check upon the national
authorities, the regional armies accepted organizational details and
long-range plans set forth by the central government. Armies which had
arisen as dumps for the unemployed or as resources for civil war were
fitted together so as to make the Chinese forces resemble the other
armies of the world--which exist for the preservation, defense, or
aggrandizement of national states. Foreign military observers, equipped
with the critical faculties of their profession, might look at the
Chinese armies and state point-blank that China had not an army but
merely armed men. They could not, however, deny that the Chinese armed
forces in their latest phase were on the way to becoming an army
nationally organized and fit to serve as the instrument of a great
nation. The lessons of nearly a thousand years of European and American
political experience may be epitomized in great part in the word
_nation_; the Chinese armies helped to give this word true significance
in China.

For the time being, the armies continued to serve their role of a refuge
for the economically displaced. Armed paupers are a menace to the
security and stability of any society; with the emergence of a higher
degree of Chinese unity a great proportion of the armed forces lost
their _raison d'être_. Nevertheless, the last great war-lord war, that
of 1930-1931, was fought largely over the issue of army reduction. The
National Government forces gradually increased in preparation for the
disbandment of others--extensive bodies of irregulars were roughly
systematized and placed under central supervision. They were used in
moderately successful but insufficient colonization efforts in the
Northwest, and as labor reserves in the construction of highways,
airports, and similar projects. Even so, the size of the armies did not
cease to interfere with their rapid improvement. Too much had to go into
pay, even with the ridiculously low rates of compensation. As against
the estimates of nearly 1,400,000 men for 1921 and about 1,900,000 for
1926, the size of the armies was unofficially estimated at 2,379,770 for
1936.[12] This figure did not include Communists, brigands, or the
Manchurian garrisons in the service of the Japanese (the Manchoukuo
army), which would bring the total to well over 2,500,000 men.
Differences in definition of what made a coolie or peasant into a
soldier caused violent discrepancies in the estimates. If training equal
to that of a German Republican Reichswehr soldier were set as the
criterion, the Chinese army could be measured in scores. If some more or
less vague relation to a military payroll, or to the possession of arms,
or both, were taken as the requirements, the number would run into
millions. Japanese propagandists, in the light of these facts, made
injudicious statements when commenting thus on the Chinese army of 1937:

  China had 198 divisions comprising 2,250,000 officers and men. This
  gigantic army has further been reinforced by 200,000 Communist
  soldiers whom Nanking worked hard to set against Japan.

  In comparison the Japanese Army is a puny affair, consisting of 17
  divisions of 250,000 officers and men.[13]

The well-informed expert on Chinese famine relief, Walter H. Mallory,
set the total for 1937 at 1,650,000, of which 150,000 were Communist and
350,000 the crack troops of Chiang K'ai-shek; arms would be available
for less than 1,000,000.[14] All factors considered, the figure of
2,000,000 armed men with nonproductive occupations seems to be in rough
accord with the facts. Two salient conclusions emerge from these
figures: Firstly, the armies constituted an enormous burden, which could
only be reduced by partial disbandment; this in turn would not be
achieved until greater national prosperity had become a fact. Secondly,
and in China's favor, the armed forces have spread some elementary
notions of modern fighting throughout the rest of the population and
have enhanced not merely the willingness of the Chinese masses to fight
but also their capacity to do so.

Disbandment programs had not made enough progress by 1937 to alter the
general position of the armies in Chinese society. Nevertheless, the
counterpart of disbandment--selective recruiting--produced a central
force which became the vocation, avocation, and passion of Generalissimo
Chiang K'ai-shek. Though not marked in any recognizable way as apart
from the rest of the armed forces, the central units were given special
arms, special equipment, regular pay, mass education, and training in
the patriotic and reform doctrines of the New Life movement. "Chiang's
own" were to distinguish themselves; they seem to have profited by new
_matériel_, modern military instruction (chiefly from Germans), and the
excellent opportunities for practice which arose from the Communist wars
of 1928-1937. They were a testimonial to the fact that, had the
disbandment program fully materialized, a more effective and much
smaller Chinese army might have appeared. Despite the failure of
disbandment, alliance with the quondam enemies, the Chinese Red Army,
gave the national forces of 1937 a great diversity and wealth of actual
experience in all types of fighting. Although the Chinese have never had
adequate training for aggressive, coordinated warfare, they possess a
marvelous background in guerrilla methods. The Communist forces have
been hunted for a decade; technical superiority they have learned to
meet by tactics which force the enemy to meet them on their own terms.
Ultimately they were driven by the Nationalists across China, but at
most disproportionate cost. The Nationalists, on the other hand, learned
to master the terrain of inland war and thus acquired the very knowledge
which a foreign enemy would need most.

In time, the Chinese armies became increasingly less the free agencies
of domestic tyrants and, after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, more
and more the protective force for the whole nation. The enemy began to
force Chinese society into national form more sharply than could any
pressure from within. Even the efforts of the National Government at
Nanking to make a truce with the Japanese in order to continue the drive
against the Communists failed to still the widespread clamor for
unification. Whether or not Chiang, as a soldier, thought successful war
with Japan conceivable, he found that destiny had cast him in the role
of the defender--he had only the choice of accepting or rejecting the

_Governmental and Political Role of the Armies_

Broadly, the political role of the armies was that of giving a
day-to-day index for the influence of ideological control, and of
providing the framework to which government had to accommodate itself.
The Republic was born with Sun Yat-sen as its father but with Yüan
Shih-k'ai as its midwife. Yüan and his armies established the order in
which the parliamentary Republic had its illusory success; with his
death the military order broke into military anarchy, and the political
order disappeared almost completely from the arena of actual power. The
armies and the tuchüns expressed a certain provincial autonomy and a
desire for a crude stability. They ruled the chaos but kept the society
stirred by war until the Nationalist-Communist revolution in 1926-1927
brought ideology back to a conspicuous place in the play of events. The
armies developed under Yüan into separate entities exercising the power
derived from the monopoly of force. In time this monopoly of force was
broken. The problem was one not of tyranny but of anarchy. Force was too
broadly distributed, order too insufficiently achieved. The Chinese,
said Sun Yat-sen, did not need liberty; they needed wealth, in the form
of food for those starving and the necessities of life for impoverished
millions.[15] When even soldiers were treacherous and tumultuous, order
could not come from bayonets. It had to arise within men's minds,
including the minds of the soldiers. This happened; the ideological
revolution absorbed the military forces, but only to disgorge them, as
it were, into opposing camps--the one identifying military power and the
masses, the other seeking to build up a new military elite with which to
impose government and law on the society. Each of the two incompatible
ideals reached a considerable measure of fulfillment, and they were
reconciled only by the very presence of alien invaders. From being the
_de facto_ rulers, the armies found themselves called upon to act as _de
facto_ defenders. Hitherto the forces unsettling ideological control,
they became the instruments of ideologies reconciled on the minimal
terms of national defense for national existence.

The armies had supplied the power necessary to government but not the
order. The Peking Republic lost its claim to authority when it was made
the tool of Yüan Shih-k'ai. The years after his death were a pitiful
period wherein the civilian authorities in the central government
constituted either the puppets of the war lords or their sycophants. The
Peking Republic fell into the expedient of giving _de jure_ status to
every shift in the interplay of power. Military leaders of provincial
importance easily captured the functions of _tuchüns_; regional leaders
obtained correspondingly higher titles. The Peking Republic tried to
govern on the Western pattern when the country was not ready for it, and
it governed poorly. Soon it passed from nominal control into

The National Government established at Nanking in 1927[16] gained actual
effectiveness partly because the armies under its command were in need
of essentials not obtainable by merely military measures. The modernized
Nationalist armies under Chiang K'ai-shek were dependent upon a
complementing state which would provide support behind the lines.
Furthermore, the cry from the educated classes for civilian government
was loud, and practical considerations prompted the acquiescence of the
Nationalist generals in the development of civilian government. Although
by 1938 a government primarily civilian was not yet in evidence, the
auspices were favorable to the regularization and demilitarization of

Finally, the most significant role of the armies may be found in their
destructive powers. Modern weapons coming into China pressed on her the
mold of a modern state. By preventing any tranquil change from the
Ch'ing dynasty to another form of government preserving the older
controls of village and family, Western armament brought China into a
condition of military anarchy in which a strong modern government became
imperative. The armies and their irresponsible leaders goaded the masses
into the revolution of 1926-1927, and the necessity of establishing
military superiority for the sake of stability led the victorious
Nationalists to create a modern defensive force, a working government,
and the outline of operative statehood--to be partly Chinese, but
modified by Western influences, according to the teachings of Sun
Yat-sen. From 1931 on, the army and the government became more and more
the integral parts of a single machine.

_War and the Agrarian Economy_

There is a close correlation between militarism and agricultural
conditions in China. Distress among the Chinese farming masses is both a
cause and an effect of war. Misery creates unrest, unrest brings war,
war brings misery--until government stops the vicious circle. On the
whole, the economic system of old China was probably more stable, and
ensured greater distributive justice, than did the Western systems
during the same centuries; but periods of famine, flood, and--worst of
all--oppression were far from rare.[17]

At its best, the old economy rested on a vast body of farmers,
associated in villages (_hui_) and families but tilling their own land
in fairly small units. The farming class provided the nourishment for
the bulk of society but did not hold a low status, since the
compensations of interclass kinship and of free play in the hierarchy of
politics and intellect made families (if not individuals) approximately
equal. There were no families in old China to compare with the
aristocracy which Europe inherited from the Middle Ages, nor castes to
compare with those of India. When functioning well, the Chinese economic
system resembled some Western ideals of freehold farming governed by a
hierarchy of scholars.

But at its worst, when the government became sterile and unimaginative,
or corrupt and demoralized, the taxes rose sharply, and usurers added to
the burden. Lack of resources caused the loss of the land, and the
peasant proprietor found himself a tenant farmer. When economic and
political exploitation overreached itself, social upheaval followed, and
peasant rebellions tore down the government and the economy together.
Most Chinese dynasties met their end as a consequence of the land

Moreover, the Chinese farmer maintained very slight reserves of
foodstuffs, so that flood or drought resulted in appalling famines,
sometimes costing the lives of millions in one year. Governments
established large granaries which, under good management, were filled in
time of plenty and dispersed in time of need. R. H. Tawney says of
drought and flood:

  Those directly affected by them cannot meet the blow, for they have no
  reserves. The individual cannot be rescued by his neighbors, since
  whole districts together are in the same position. The district cannot
  be rescued by the nation, because means of communication do not permit
  of food being moved in sufficient quantities. Famine is, in short, the
  last stage of a disease which, though not always conspicuous, is
  always present.[19]

Whether or not natural calamities struck in conjunction with specific
extortions sanctioned by social injustice, the Chinese farmer has been
faced with threefold oppression whenever times were bad. The tax
collector, the usurer, and the landlord were able to lay their hands on
the harvest, reduce the peasant to subsistence level or beneath it, and
place him under a system of exploitation which was as severe as Western
feudalism. The check which provided a stop to any indefinite decline
into greater and greater horror was the fighting power of the peasants.
Peasant revolts periodically followed agrarian oppression, and swept the
land free for the time. The Han dynasty, in some ways the greatest in
all Chinese history, went down in an uproar of peasant rebellions.
Peasant bandits have provided the ancestry of many imperial houses.
Politics or war might ease the economy, until the government again
became weak and exploitation common.

It is one of the tragic coincidences of history that the Europeans
should have appeared in China at a time when the Chinese were entering
upon one of their most acute periods of agrarian decline and class
exploitation. Roughly, from the middle of the eighteenth century down to
the present day the lot of the Chinese farmers has become worse and
worse. At periods the country as a whole seemed fairly prosperous, but
the broad agricultural recession remained constant. The nineteenth
century was one long record of rebellions, and the twentieth amplified
the disturbances.

Government in modern China has fallen heir to a depression centuries
old, arising from inequitable land distribution, overtaxation,
insufficient public works for drainage and communications, and--in more
recent generations--the evils attendant upon sharp economic change. Most
economic writers agree that some of the difficulties of Chinese
agriculture are caused by the smallness of individual holdings and by
population pressure. Such factors are not subject to immediate remedy;
the peasants have attributed their misfortune primarily to landlordism
and political oppression. The Chinese Communists, on their economic
front, may perform a valuable service if they are able to devise new
methods of social organization which will provide relief for the organic
difficulties of Chinese agriculture. Of all the important problems of
China, the land problem shows government ineffectiveness at its worst.

Behind the T'ai-p'ing rebellion which flared up in unparalleled
fanaticism in the 1850's and 1860's, there was the long provocation of a
land system which made farming unprofitable and a government supine in
the face of unreversed decline. The Boxer rebellion burst forth from the
unrest of the peasants, although it could be deflected by the
demagoguery of the Manchu officials and changed into wild xenophobia.
When the fiercely discordant economics of imperialism and international
industrialism intruded upon the old and already corrupted economy, farm
existence became even less tolerable than it might have been if left to
its native miseries. Dynastic decomposition was hastened by the collapse
of handicraft economy and the fiscal disorganization caused by Western
commercial activity.

In the earliest days of the Republican-Nationalist movement led by Sun
Yat-sen, emphasis was on land reform. Sun Yat-sen's family had suffered
from overtaxation when he was a boy.[20] Nationalization and
equalization of the land were slogans used at the founding of the _Tung
Mêng Hui_; the program seems at that time to have been derived from old
Chinese distributism and from Henry George.[21] With the coming of the
Republic, two years went by, however, before any agrarian legislation
was passed, and the new laws had no perceptible consequence.[22] The
problem of land reform had to be fought out on the ideological front and
placed above the military before it could become a fit subject for
competent government action.

The epoch of the _tuchüns_ added to agricultural misfortune. Militarism
had a direct effect on the deterioration of the land economy, and an
indirect one in that it led to the cultivation of opium as the one
money-making crop which could meet the excessive tax demands of the
militarists. A Chinese writer has described the years which marked the
ending of the _tuchün_ system as follows:

  The ... misery among the farming population in the decennial period
  1920-1930 [must be] attributed to (1) internal warfare; (2) neglect of
  agriculture; (3) low stage of art; and (4) over-population. The civil
  wars during the last eighteen years have increased the cost of
  production, have added to the farmers' ... burden of taxation, have
  raised the rate of interest on loan, and have caused endless suffering
  to [those] who form the basis of our social and economic life. Great
  many people have often wondered as to why a country like China with 75
  per cent of her total population engaged in farming and with such a
  vast territory should suffer from the high cost of living; but to the
  student of social problems the question is comparatively simple, for
  the recurrence of civil war since the establishment of the Republic
  has [changed] conditions of supply and has driven millions of farmers
  out of cultivated areas, and this alone suffices to explain an
  unprecedented rise of prices of food and other necessities of life
  during the last few years, especially since 1926.[23]

These conditions led to farmers' movements, which became effective,
however, only as they merged with the broader ideological tendencies in

  The Farmers' Movement ... may ... be divided into four periods: (1)
  the period of reaction to bad conditions ... (1921-1925); (2) the
  period of communistic activities and violence (1925-1927); (3) the
  period of retrenchment and preparation for reconstruction (from the
  spring of 1927-1928); and (4) the period of reconstruction (since

The Kuomintang-Communist alliance struck severely at the _tuchün_ armies
by giving their own forces a sense of doctrine and by tying together the
causes of patriotism and agricultural reform. The joint agrarian program
was a failure in that it accentuated precisely those issues on which
neither of the parties could compromise. When the Communists and the
Nationalists parted, the Nationalists took one portion of Sun Yat-sen's
economic program (industrialization and communications) for emphasis,
and the Communists another (land reform). The agrarian issue was a
source of strength to the Chinese Red Army, intent upon winning the
peasantry. It was a military weakness to the new-style Nationalist
armies officered largely by the relatives of landlords; they had little
sympathy for the economic troubles of the farmers whose lands they
occupied. The Nationalist Reconstruction aimed in great part at removing
both the acute and the latent causes of peasant rebellion, thereby
cutting the ground from under the feet of the Communists. Although it
met with more success than any other project of its type in modern
China, Western observers agree in regarding it as inadequate.[25]

_Imperialism and Chinese Wars_

A great part of the military disturbances in modern China can be
regarded as both the cause and the effect of agrarian evils, and some of
the struggles as peasant rebellions in modern guise, carrying on the
immemorial farmer-infantry tradition. Another part is traceable to the
impact of the Western economy on China. It was Western economic activity
that gave most compelling proof of the fact that the Westerners had
encircled China and were compressing it from a world in its own right
into a nation. The military intervention of Western powers in China not
only caused much of the ideological reaction and forced a reorganization
of the government, but also provided deadly evidence of the superiority
of Western fighting. Western economy helped to bring the confusion which
meant war in China; and Western economy itself waged war.

Sun Yat-sen saw China's unfortunate position as a whole, and in his
programs there may be discerned three separate demands, for (1) a
national economic revolution, (2) an industrial revolution, and (3) a
social revolution.[26] Since the Chinese could no longer function as a
self-contained world economically, and scorn foreign trade as a
magnanimous concession to the outer barbarians,[27] the Chinese would
have to develop an economic system conforming to national patterns in
the society and in thought. They must relate their economy to their
independence and defense, if they were to survive. In the first place,
they could not afford to remain the only free market of the world,
subject to exploitation and haphazard development. It would be necessary
for them to establish governmental controls over economic matters and
protect their national livelihood. Secondly, they had to work toward a
complete transformation of their technological system and meet Western
productive practices, if they were to claim a competitive position; this
involved an industrial revolution. Thirdly, they had to correct the
abuses inherited from their forefathers. Simultaneously they would have
to construct an economic system not only modern but equitable, if they
wished to avoid the horrors of early capitalism and the tragedy of the
industrialist class war. This would require a social revolution.

At the time that Sun Yat-sen formulated his ideas (1924), none of the
three revolutions was making any progress. The Chinese did not
constitute a nation in fact; they had even lost the old unity of the
Confucian society. The _tuchüns_ opposed Chinese nationalism by
preventing the development of any one authority able to monopolize
force, and by acting as agents of, or in alliance with, foreign powers.
Thus they helped to make China something not far from a quasi colony
under pooled control of all the industrial capitalist nations. The
Nationalists and Communists were able to join forces on this issue of a
class war of nations, both believing in the independence of China. The
Nationalists, however, saw China's most direct approach toward national
unity in the development of a national economic system, with a
reasonable military independence of imports and the economic devices
current throughout the world as instruments of national policy. The
Communists did not agree that such an economy, national in form, would
have much meaning unless it were grounded upon a peasant-proletarian
regime. Nor did they feel that change from imperialist to native
capitalism would constitute an advance in itself.

After the schism, the Nationalists devoted themselves to the
national-economic and industrial revolutions, while the Communists
stressed the social revolution, particularly the land problem. The
Nationalists were able to secure tariff autonomy for China, and
thereupon entered upon a policy of protective tariffs and other
mechanisms designed to make China a reasonably self-sufficient nation.
At the same time they pushed hard toward the industrial revolution, in
developing highways, railroads, airways, and radio, and in creating the
economic controls required for modern government--standard weights,
measures, currency, civil law, and fiscal uniformity.

T. V. Soong (Sung Tz[)u]-wên), a veteran minister of finance, stands out
as the organizer of the modern Chinese economy. Veritable miracles were
performed in the development of national credit; after 1928 the National
Government adopted the policy--as remote as a mirage to its
predecessors--of floating all government loans within the country and
making the Chinese government independent of Japanese and Western
financiers. The only loans of any importance contracted abroad were
taken up with other governments. Financial independence was a great step
toward the realization of the Nationalist ideals, but it may be
questioned whether the loss of financial allies was a price to be paid
without hesitation in a capitalist world. Had the Chinese had more bonds
in the Western capital markets, or larger debts to the American or
British governments, they might have elicited greater international
support in repelling the Japanese invasion in 1931.

The crowning point in the economic achievements of the National
Government at Nanking was the successful institution of a managed
currency. China had dealt with currency merely as a convenient form for
specie, and the Chinese were accustomed to regard a dollar as worth only
the amount of metal in it. When the National Government placed the
currency on a national basis, it drew together the whole financial
structure of China by one gigantic move, and placed finance in a
position of greater unity and dependence upon government than ever
before. Together with the financial reforms, the Nationalists organized
a legal system providing a minimum foundation of law and order. The
codification of laws, the revamping of the judiciary, the clarification
of policies by legal formulation--all these contributed to China's
emergent nationhood.

The economic program accorded with considerations partly Hamiltonian,
partly state-socialist. The economy had first of all to be organized and
integrated in national terms, and later to be revised so as to ensure
social justice. The Nationalists were convinced that a policy of
immediate land reform would lead to internal disharmony and frustrate
the very purposes for which the revolution of 1926-1927 had been
launched. The Communists, on the other hand, succeeded in keeping the
agrarian issue from being forgotten and forced the Nationalists to
better the lot of the peasant. In the meantime, China's boom in physical
development and the unification of the commercial, financial,
productive, and legal systems began to startle observers.

As a result, China was able to build national armies in direct ratio
with the invigoration of her national economic system. The war machine
of the National Government, under the care and leadership of
Generalissimo Chiang K'ai-shek, became the most powerful in China. The
central government's military power in turn speeded up the pace of
general unification. There was thus a remarkable interaction of forces
tending toward national integration. From 1932 to 1937, between the
first and second major phases of the Japanese invasion, progress was
rapid--stimulated, perhaps, by the external menace.

The two greatest dangers to the Nationalist policy of military and
economic unification were (1) the dismal condition of the Chinese
proletariat, as yet small but constantly growing, and (2) the vested
interests of the industrial powers. Had China's growth been less rapid,
the foreigners might have withdrawn slowly and found compensation in
Chinese commerce for their losses in direct ownership in China. There
was one power, however, to which Chinese unification was a living and
increasing threat. The rising military-economic power of the Chinese was
incompatible with the position which Japanese leaders visualized as part
of the manifest destiny of their country. The Japanese might have
tolerated the _tuchün_ system for decades had the _tuchüns_ been able to
establish orderly regional governments; or they might have aided a
reactionary Chinese regime which asked for survival only. The appearance
of a genuine republic in the Far East was a menace to Japan; if that
republic was bound by sheer physical proportions to overshadow Japan,
the unification and modernization of China had to be averted at all

Nevertheless, China's development, even apart from the hindrances of
war, cannot be regarded as possessing the same potentialities as did
American growth during the past century. China, from all indications
available to date, is an area much poorer in natural resources than is
the United States; she does not offer comparable opportunities for the
heavy industries. The steel, coal, oil, and water power necessary for
large-scale industrialization are by no means negligible, but not
sufficient to make possible the rise of another America. The far future
may change man's dependence upon currently utilized resources and
facilitate greater strides in China's technological advancement.
Meanwhile, she can look forward to decades of measurable development
through exploiting raw materials already available, if political
conditions permit.

The conflict with Japan has thrown Chinese economic development back to
conditions not too far from the pre-Nanking stage. China not only faces
the handicaps of social dislocations but also the ruin of her factories
and her industrial centers. The Japanese have destroyed much of the
Chinese manufacturing equipment and are placing what remains under
Japanese control. Significantly, the deadliest enemy of Japanese
business--in the unlikely event of a complete Japanese success--will be
Japanese-owned factories in China. Chinese labor will deeply affect
Japan's domestic production, unless the Japanese succeed in
rationalizing their economic system to an extent not yet contemplated.
Hence, Japan's losing the war may well be brought about by bankruptcy
from sheer military indebtedness; her winning the war, however, may lead
to more remote but no less certain ruin--through the competition of
Chinese output with Japanese home industries disadvantaged by the
cheaper labor markets of China. But Japan's loss is not inevitably
China's gain, and the Chinese may find themselves, at some point in the
future, controlling an industrial system which has been wrecked, looted,
and bankrupted.

Whatever the ultimate outcome, loans will again play a part in Chinese
development. The placing of large foreign loans has been a key part of
Chinese development, and the task of reconstruction in China--no matter
who undertakes to do it--will require large amounts of capital.
Consequently, the loan policies of the wealthier nations may return to
the importance which they enjoyed in 1913, and the dictates of the
Western states may again direct the lines of Chinese economic progress.
The effects of the Japanese conquest, if it is partial and then lapses
into a stalemate, may well be determined by the extension of loans to
the Chinese or to the Japanese in China. The effect of the war has
already complicated the picture of China's economic future to the extent
of making even cautious prophecy hazardous.[28]

In the military sphere, the Chinese have come of age, although their
fighting strength will be determined by the importance of infantry. If
later wars continue to depend upon man power, China will become more and
more significant in world politics. Internally, the armies provided (1)
a transitional administration from the Empire to the Republic; (2) a
physical expression of the ideological confusion and the regional
disunity of China from 1916 to 1931 (the period of _tuchüns_); (3) the
armed edge of the ideological revolution of 1926-1927; (4) decisive
instruments in the conflict between the Communists and Nationalists from
1927 to 1937; and (5) one of the most powerful unifying agencies at the
command of the National Government at Nanking. The Chinese military
system spread the knowledge of Western warfare and, with it, of modern
techniques throughout the country; it shaped the ideological and
governmental experience of modern China.


[1] See below, pp. 154 ff.

[2] Rodney Gilbert in _The China Year Book_, 1921-2, p. 519, Tientsin,

[3] _Ibid._, 1926, p. 1065.

[4] _Ibid._, p. 1062.

[5] See above, pp. 51 ff.

[6] See above, pp. 58 ff.

[7] Gilbert, _loc. cit._, 1928, pp. 1283-1285.

[8] _Ibid._, 1931, pp. 251 ff.

[9] Source confidential.

[10] John H. Jouett, "War Planes over China," _Asia_, vol. 37, pp.
827-830, 1937.

[11] See below, pp. 167 ff.

[12] _The China Year Book_, 1936, p. 427.

[13] Japanese Chamber of Commerce of New York, _The Sino-Japanese
Crisis_, 1937, p. 18, New York, 1937.

[14] Walter H. Mallory, "Japan Attacks, China Resists," _Foreign
Affairs_, vol. 16, pp. 135-136, 1937.

[15] Paschal M. d'Elia, S. J., _The Triple Demism of Sun Yat-sen_, pp.
252-273, Wuchang, 1931. This is one of the most useful translations of
Sun Yat-sen's lectures on the _San Min Chu I_. Others are Frank Price,
_San Min Chu I, The Three Principles of the People_, Shanghai, 1930; and
L. S. Hsü, _Sun Yat-sen, His Political and Social Ideals_, Los Angeles,

[16] See below, pp. 167 ff. It is to be noted that the Nanking
government did not secure international recognition until 1928--the year
following its establishment.

[17] Among the more recent discussions of economics in Chinese history
is Chi Chao-ting, _Key Areas in Chinese Economic History_, New York,

[18] See Karl August Wittfogel, _Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Chinas_,
Leipzig, 1931, and the same author's outline of one of the boldest
programs of Chinese studies, "A Large-Scale Investigation of China's
Socio-Economic Structure," _Pacific Affairs_, vol. 11, pp. 81-94, 1938.

[19] R. H. Tawney, _Land and Labour in China_, p. 77, New York, 1932.

[20] Paul M. W. Linebarger, _Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese Republic_, pp.
67-71, New York, 1924.

[21] See Lyon Sharman, _Sun Yat-sen: His Life and Its Meaning_, New
York, 1934; and Paul M. A. Linebarger, _The Political Doctrines of Sun
Yat-sen_, pp. 132-156, Baltimore, 1937, for discussion of the
development of Sun's economic programs.

[22] Jefferson D. H. Lamb (Lin Tung-hai), _The Development of the
Agrarian Movement and Agrarian Legislation in China_, p. 134, Shanghai,

[23] _Ibid._, p. 221.

[24] _Ibid._, p. 77.

[25] See _Pacific Affairs_ for 1934 and 1935, for articles by George
Taylor and others dealing with reconstruction.

[26] Linebarger, _op. cit._ in note 21, chap. VII, "The Programs of Min
Shêng," discusses these points at greater length.

[27] See P. H. B. Kent, _The Twentieth Century in the Far East_, p.
364, London, 1937, for an extract from the mandate sent by the
Chinese-Manchu Emperor Ch'ien-lung to England's George III.

[28] See G. E. Hubbard, _Eastern Industrialization and Its Effect on
the West_, London, 1935, for a very illuminating survey. J. E. Orchard,
_Japan's Economic Position_, New York, 1930, is equally informative.
Much current information will be found in _Far Eastern Survey_
(semimonthly, New York), and _Amerasia_ (monthly, New York) on economic
matters. _Pacific Affairs_ (quarterly, New York) and _International
Affairs_ (bimonthly, London) possess book review sections which are
useful guides to the literature. The _Bulletin of Far Eastern
Bibliography_ (quarterly, Washington, D. C.) is the most complete guide
of its kind, but has just completed its initial volumes.



_Chapter_ VI


The governing of China is not and has not been confined to governments.
In many instances the working of specific institutions called
_governments_ has been of less importance than that of other
establishments and organizations. The problems of government in
Republican China are affected but not determined by the fate of
individual governments. Movements and armies have predetermined action;
governments have reflected it. Government in China may be divided into
three chief periods. The first extends from prehistory to 221 B. C. The
second is the imperial period.[1] The third--the Republican epoch--did
not begin until 1912, although it was foreshadowed in the nineteenth

_Government to the End of the Warring States_

In the semihistoric Shang dynasty, which ruled China during the second
millennium B. C., there was a central overlordship which might well have
claimed primacy over all offices of the world. In its own territory,
Shang rule seems to have been based not upon a feudal system such as
developed later in the time of the charioteering lords but upon the
reduction of defeated princes to positions of vassaldom. History cannot
yet tell of the exact relations between the Shang overlord and his
vassal princes, nor of other monarchs who, in the shadowy bypaths of
present knowledge, stand forth vaguely from complete obscurity as rivals
to the hegemony of Shang. The rulers of twenty-five or twenty-six
centuries ago are recognized by modern Chinese as the direct
predecessors of the Ch'ing emperor who in turn yielded to the Republic.
This is no case of a Mussolini seeking to weave together the long-broken
threads between Augustan and modern Rome; in China the succession is as
direct as that from St. Pius I to Pius XI. The central monarchy comes
over the edge of history as an identifiable institution.

In rudimentary form this monarchy already suggests the features of
bureaucracy. Like the Prussian kings thousands of years later, the Shang
monarchs seem to have relied upon commoners as their royal officials,
and for the same reasons. A commoner strengthened the position of the
monarch: "He could not easily usurp the place of his master, even if he
had the power. And if he was disobedient he could be executed on the
spot, with complete impunity; he had no powerful clan to exact
vengeance."[2] Whether or not the system of loose overlordship be termed
_feudalism_, social forms not too unlike European feudalism originated
under the next dynasty, the Chou (traditionally dated 1122-256 B. C.).
Conquering the great city of the Shang, the Chou turned to feudalism for
means of internal control and defense. Powerful vassals arose, however,
so that after the eighth century B. C. the original Chou dynasty was no
longer in actual command. From the eighth to the third century B. C.,
when China was consolidated under the Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, a rapid
spread of feudal organization brought about a state system resembling
that of early modern Europe.

Before the Chou rulers lost their power and became the faraway analogues
of the late Holy Roman emperors or the Tennos of shogunal Japan, there
emerged from their house one of the most remarkable of all Chinese
political leaders. The Duke of Chou, who lived in the eleventh century
B. C., seems to have done most in founding the system which later ages
called _Confucian_--after Confucius had reformed it, clarified it, and
given it ethical stature. He is also regarded as the father of the
Constitution of Chou, a plan for a bureaucratic monarchy with an
emperor, three Great Dukes, and six ministers (in charge of
administrative, educational and economic, religious and historiographic,
military, judicial, and engineering matters, respectively) ruling over
nine large provinces.[3] The Duke of Chou is finally credited with the
authorship of several important treatises. He has served as the
archetype of intellectual statesmanship in Chinese legend. His work may
have contributed in great part to the long life of the Chou dynasty, as
a _de jure_ ruling house, since a family which had produced such an
eminent member was not to be set aside lightly.

In the earlier part of this period the feudal order seems to have
ensured relative stability, but in the later part a system of states
arose. The greatest Chinese philosophers, Confucius (Kung Fu-tz[)u]) and
Lao Tz[)u], lived in interstate turmoil. They saw all about them the
displacement of virtues which had long been recognized, the advance of
states which substituted greed for morality, the centralization of
power, the destruction of the feudal economy, the transformation of
ceremonial warfare into outright slaughter, and the rising disrespect of
the advancing kings for the Chou overlord. Lao Tz[)u] preached a
philosophy devoid of constructive politics; he had little use for the
state and for the organization of society. Not quite an anarchist, his
programs are probably closer to those of Herbert Spencer than of any
other Western thinker. But the spiritual and psychological background
from which he wrote is roughly identical with that of the world's great
mystical intuitionists. Confucius (551-479 B. C.) preached a system of
ethics and education which was to rationalize and systematize preceding
Chinese thought and lead to the system of ideological control known as

Chinese historians themselves term the closing period of the Chou the
Age of Warring States. Diplomacy lubricated the machinery of conflict,
smoothing struggle without eliminating it. The regional governments
fought each other for centuries, though at times venturing into
collective security pacts entrusting authority to a preeminent king for
defense against the outer barbarians. The last years of interstate wars,
however, were marked by an ever increasing awareness of the meaningless
character of a struggle which had enveloped the Chinese world. Legalism
and militarism, twin media of centralized monarchy, blossomed forth.
While the Western political system, molded by geography and conditioned
by language, has frozen into a pattern of theoretically sovereign and
theoretically eternal states--the "mortal Gods" of Hobbes's
imagination--without promise of workable universal government, China's
states were swept aside by the conqueror Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, who
established imperial unity for Chinese government. With the rise to
domination of the state of Ch'in, its king took the title of _Shih_
(First) _Huang Ti_ (Emperor), and the Chinese Empire was established.

_The Chinese Imperial Government_

The Shih Huang Ti was not revered by succeeding ages for the great
mission which he performed. His methods were those not of a cautious
reformer but of a bullying conqueror. With the aid and advice of a
legalist philosopher, he organized all of China (covering the area of
much of modern China) into a strongly centralized and despotic military
monarchy. He destroyed all books not of obvious practical use,
completely eradicating the histories of rival states and the works of
philosophers whose opinions might undermine his regime. His tyranny
brought his house to a rapid end; his heirs held the throne only a short
while. But the work he had done was done. He had persecuted the worship
of the past. He had extirpated a large part of the literature which
might have survived as a source of dissent. He had cleared China of all
military power but his own. He had brought operative law into being and
had spread the institution of private ownership of land. Feudalism might
remain as a form, but its economic and political realities were lost.

In 206 B. C. there began the reign of the Han dynasty. They effected a
compromise between the past and the governmental, military, and
political system created by the Shih Huang Ti. They retained legalism in
practice but turned more and more to Confucianism. Under them the cult
of Confucius grew into the major influence on the state.[4] The Han
allowed the imperial system to grow, whereas the Shih Huang Ti had
sought to build it. In consequence, Han rule--although interrupted in
the time of Christ by a Utopian usurper--lasted from the third century
B. C. to the third century A. D. There followed the turbulent Chinese
middle ages, extending until the reinstitution of organized government
with the Chin and the Sui.[5]

Out of the earliest tradition attributed to the Duke of Chou and put in
definite shape by Confucius, out of the arbitrary military despotism of
the conqueror of the Chinese world, Shih Huang Ti, and out of the actual
practices of the Han, there evolved a governmental system which, though
altered dynasty by dynasty and epoch by epoch, nevertheless retained its
general form down into the days of men now living. It never became,
however, the prime agency of government, even of the men governing.
Ritual and scholarship were more significant functions of the dominant
hierarchy than was administration itself. The emperor was the head of
the country's family structure, the focal point in the social sphere,
the outstanding member of the community at large, the chief examiner and
model of the scholars, the pontiff of the quasi-religious hierarchy, the
moral scapegoat and intermediary between destiny and mankind, and the
autocrat of a despotism constitutionalized, as it were, by the power of
traditional practices.

The imperial system of China was thus a monarchy in the proper sense of
the word, with none of the parvenu features suggested by the etymology
of the word _imperial_. As the preeminent leader in an organic society,
the emperor held a position comparable with that of other family heads.
His authority could rival that of a father but not excel it; among all
the families of the Chinese Empire the imperial stood forth as a family.
Second, the emperor was the chief dignitary in the social life of the
Chinese world. He was not unlike the British monarchs, providing a model
of formal propriety and elegance in setting the fashions of the decade.
The physical isolation of most of the emperors prevented them from
playing this role with widespread effectiveness, but it was a part of
their function. Third, the emperor bore the relation to the Empire which
the outstanding villager bore to the village. It was he of whom men
talked; his behavior commanded greatest interest; his future conduct was
a constant source of speculation. Apart from his role as a formal
dignitary, he occupied the more immediate position of most conspicuous
person, of the first member of society. He had the human accountability
of a leader and was to be praised or blamed for his actions in the
histories and by his subjects. In the normal routine, the emperor
himself was not to govern; but he selected and supervised his ministers,
who did and who consequently bore the odium for evil deeds.

Fourth, the emperor himself was the ultimate examiner of scholars. He
thus had contact with the most successful of the civil service
candidates and completed their examination. These examinations served
the emperor as a means of selecting advisers who upon further testing
became ministers. The Forest of Pencils (_Han Lin_, the Imperial
Academy) was within his jurisdiction, and the emperor was supposed to be
enough of a scholar to check the most important of the documents of
state. The myth of intellectual supremacy is suggested by the fact that
the chief implement of the imperial office was a red pencil. The
imperial symbolism did not stop here. Fifth, the quasi-religious
hierarchy of the Chinese, competing with Buddhism and the superstitions
of popular Taoism for the support of the people, centered on the
performance of certain rites in the propitiation of fortune and the
honoring of the dead. To this were added the cult rituals of
Confucianism. The Confucian temples, with tablets bearing the names of
worthies, served as the visible demonstration of the ideological power
wielded by the scholars over the populace, and of the emperor over the

Sixth, the emperor had the more definitely religious status referred to
in his title _Son of Heaven_. He was the intermediate figure between the
will of Heaven and mankind. In him were summarized and epitomized the
virtues or the evils of the generation; he had to represent mankind in
its best light to all supernatural forces or agencies. Upon his conduct
of worship depended the good or ill will of the deities and hence
weather, crops, life and death. Conversely, he was responsible to
mankind for the misbehavior of nature, and an earthquake, a two-headed
calf, or any other monstrous occurrence was blamed on his disturbance of
the routine of things. The order which enveloped the Confucian society
was conceived not merely as a set of traditional and moral man-made
customs but as a type of behavior which fitted in with the life of the
natural world. In the eyes of the Chinese, perturbations in the world of
men soon produced consequent natural calamities. Lastly, the Chinese
emperor was the autocrat of the administration. His action, however, was
limited by various customary devices; for example, while the
countersignature of a minister was not needed on an edict, the emperor
was supposed not to take the initiative but to secure the wisest
suggestions and adopt them. Practical considerations rendered a stable
bureaucracy impervious to constant intermeddling of the emperor,
although the effect of imperial action was not negligible.

The administrative outline of Chinese government from the establishment
of the Empire by the Ch'in Shih Huang Ti in 221 B. C. to its overthrow
by Sun Yat-sen and his followers in 1911 varied from dynasty to dynasty
and ruler to ruler. Nevertheless, certain general characteristics were
common to the whole period. The government operated as the chief
implementation of the emperor's power over the people. The people
maintained its social organizations, but none of these developed office
hierarchies comparable to that of the government. The government alone
served as the connecting link between the ideologically unified Chinese
world as a whole and its many separate parts. The T'ang dynasty (A. D.
620-906) provided an exceptionally clear articulation of the Empire,
which not only compelled the admiration and imitation of later ages but
even served as a model for state governments on the periphery of the
Chinese world. In the great Taikwa Reforms of 645, the Japanese made a
heroic attempt to adapt the T'ang form of government to dissimilar
conditions; the scheme worked on paper but failed to recast the
fundamental mold of Japanese society, which remained feudal.

The three most striking features of the Chinese bureaucracy were: (1)
the central administrative organization; (2) the operation of civil
service examinations and the use of administrative supervision; (3) the
integration of government operation on the imperial, regional, and local
levels. The metropolitan administrative organization under the T'ang
dynasty was headed by the emperor. But the intricate regularity of the
hierarchy beneath him was such as to preclude imperial autocratic
caprice. The outline of the hierarchical organization was as follows:[6]



  The Departments:

  _a._ Department of Ministerial Coordination
     1. Ministry of Administrators
     2. Ministry of Finance
     3. Ministry of Rites
     4. Ministry of War
     5. Ministry of Justice
     6. Ministry of Public Works
  _b._ The Imperial Chancery
  _c._ The Grand Secretariat

  The Tribunal of Censors

  Imperial Commissioners

  Provinces (10) and _Governments-General_ (at the frontiers)

The general structure of Chinese administration differed little from
that of preceding ages, and has not changed markedly during the
following centuries. Later developments strengthened the provinces, at
the expense of both the central government and the local areas; earlier
conditions had tolerated a much greater extent of feudal establishments.
Nevertheless, the six ministries may have been established as early as
about 1000 B. C., and remained a feature of Chinese government until

The Grand Council met daily. It was composed of grand ministers, who--in
the phrase of Baron des Rotours--"under the T'ang held in their hands
the government of the Empire."[7] The emperor's chief power lay in
appointing the council members, to whom fell the greater share of
governing in fact. Directly under the Grand Council there were the three
departments. The Department of Ministerial Coordination served as an
administrative center and clearinghouse for the work of the separate
ministries under it. The names of the ministries are self-explanatory.
The Ministry of Administrators was in charge of the examination system
and the arrangement of the offices in the bureaucracy. The Ministry of
Rites, by an extension of its protocol features, was in charge of the
reception of foreign ("barbarian") princes and ambassadors, and
emissaries. The other two departments provided one of the most ingenious
systems of checks and balances to be found in any constitutional scheme.
The Imperial Chancery received all communications from the various parts
of the Empire. Since most of the governing was carried out by means of
written orders, instructions, and requests for reports, the Chancery
occupied an important place. But the function of drafting replies to
such communications, preparing manifestoes, or issuing ordinances was in
the hands of the Grand Secretariat. Thus the Chancery was prevented from
exerting an outside influence, while it was impossible for the
Secretariat to receive any communication directly. As a final check, all
outgoing documents of state had to pass through the Chancery to receive
the official seal, without which they were invalid. Thus any item of
government business was routed first through the Chancery for
registration and classification, then to the Secretariat for reply, and
back to the Chancery for what amounted to countersignature (by seal).[8]
Yet the Secretariat was no mere drafting agency for the Chancery.

The Tribunal of Censors occupied a position not unlike that of the great
independent establishments of the United States government. It was
directed by a president and two vice-presidents, and concerned itself
with ferreting out and exposing irregularities and abuses in the
administration. The morale of the censorate varied from time to time,
but at its optimum efficiency it was a formidable and significant
institution. Han Confucianism provided the general background from which
the organization rose to effectiveness.

This sophisticated and rationally designed central bureaucracy was
supplemented by regional administrations. Under the T'ang the regional
establishments were a source of trouble to the government. The Empire
was divided into provinces, but the provincial administrations were
superseded by Imperial Commissioners whenever an emergency arose. Later
dynasties placed the provincial system on a more stable basis, which
resulted in genuine and geographically sound regionalism. The provincial
governments were replicas in miniature of the central; their heads might
be regarded as appointive and removable satraps whose authority was a
smaller reproduction of the power of the emperor. It was not until the
Ming dynasty (A. D. 1368-1643) that the provinces took on their modern
form. The provincial governments were a source of great strength to
China in that they made possible a quasi-federal government. In the
Ch'ing period no officer was eligible to a post in his native
province;[9] this custom had considerable centripetal effect and offset
the danger that populace and officials, united by common sympathies,
might revolt or secede.[10]

Another feature to be noted about the Chinese government under the
Empire was the examination and civil service system. The T'ang dynasty
provided for three major types of examination: (1) The _chü_
corresponded most closely to a modern academic degree, and allowed the
candidate to qualify in any one of a number of subjects, including the
classics, law, and mathematics. (2) The _hsüan_ was the special
examination necessary for appointment to a post in the bureaucracy; it
was both written and oral and included the personal history of the
candidate. (3) The _k'ao_, an in-service examination, consisted of
annual reports on the performance of all officers in the Empire. They
were transmitted to the Bureau for Examination of Merits in the Ministry
of Administrators on a schedule varying with the distance of the office
from the capital. There were five points on which to report: virtue and
justice; integrity and circumspection; equity and impartiality;
diligence and activity; and one of twenty-seven special talents suitable
to the particular office in question. The grades received on these
reports determined the advancement or demotion of the officer, in
accordance with an elaborate and exact schedule.[11] All three
examinations provided the administrative form for the close relation
between the government and the scholastic elite. The _chü_, with its
emphasis on the classics, framed the content of all curriculums. The
_hsüan_, with its oral examination and personal record, made the
prospective candidate careful in observing the customs. The _k'ao_ kept
up the morale and efficiency of the bureaucracy, while the ominous
Tribunal of Censors was present to guard against abuse of the system.
Every detail was precise, well ordered, explicit, to a degree that would
delight present-day industrial personnel managers. Formulation was
refined and impressive. In fact the T'ang laws, although their part in
Chinese life was less than a Westerner might expect, were a code of such
force and appeal that the Japanese and the Annamese used them as a model
for their juridical systems.[12]

The decline of particular dynasties in China--caused by poor economic
policy, demoralization of the court, corruption of the bureaucracy,
laxity in the examinations, oppression of the farmers--did not effect
great alterations in the structure of government. With the centuries the
Chinese government settled into more and more definitive form.
Unfortunately, the Manchu government (1644-1911)[13] had sunk into
administrative demoralization when the full force of the Western impact
was felt. In the early nineteenth century a British observer wrote of an
imperial official:

  The late _tungling_ [gendarmerie commander] Wanking, degraded last
  year for connecting himself with a magician whose confessions went to
  implicate a large number of nobles and public servants, was a Reader
  at the Classical Feasts, Manchu President of the Board of Civil
  Office, Revisor-General of the Veritable Records of the Reign, a
  Superior of the Academy, Supervisor of the Household, t'utung of a
  Banner [military division], superintendent of the Gymnasium in the
  Ning-shan Palace, and of the Treasuries of the Board of Revenue, and
  Visitor of the 17 Granaries in the City, and at Tungchau.[14]

When such conditions of indifference toward sharply defined hierarchic
ethics began to be common among the bureaucracy, the end of the dynasty
was near. The Chinese Empire had remained intact even when it had fallen
into the hands of Tartars, Mongols, and Manchus. It had returned to the
bases of its former greatness, and the administrative machinery created
since the day of the Shih Huang Ti continued for twenty centuries. With
the decrepitude of the Manchu dynasty, and the simultaneous collision
with the Western world, the old political system broke and had to be
reshaped into new forms. Nevertheless, even in the Republican era
techniques of the T'ang have reappeared in the administration of
government services.

Underneath all shifts there remained a series of social groupings which
were affected far less than were the broad and conspicuous central
regimes. They have existed since the times before organized government,
and may well be sufficiently strong to set the conditions under which
any government or any race of rulers will succeed or fail in China.

_Family, Village, and Hui_

The ideological control in old China operated through those groups most
closely attached to the individual. The government was not one of them.
The fundamental strength of Chinese society rests upon the cohesion and
power of three outstanding quasi-political agencies: the family system,
the village and district, and the _hui_ (associations, leagues,
societies or guilds.)[15] The family was an intricate structure,
"composed of a plurality of kin alignments into four families: the
natural family, the economic family, the religious family, and the
sib."[16] The natural family corresponded to the family of the West. The
economic family commonly extended through several degrees of kinship,
and may have included from thirty to one hundred individuals, who formed
a single economic unit, living collectively. The religious family was an
aggregate of economic families; it would be difficult to give any
specified number of constituent families as an average. This unit
provided the organization for the proper commemoration and reverence of
ancestors and maintained an ancestral shrine where the genealogical
records were kept; the cult feature has largely disappeared in modern
times. The sib resembled the clan as found in the West; its role was
determined by the immediate environment. In some cases, especially in
the South, the sib was powerful enough to engage in feuds; at times one
or more sibs dominated whole communities. In the greater part of China
it was a loose organization, holding meetings from time to time to unite
the various local religious families which constituted it.

Family consciousness played its part in sustaining certain elements of
the Confucian ideology. It stressed the idea of the carnal immortality
of the human race. It oriented the individual not only philosophically
but socially as well. The size of each family determined his position
spatially, and family continuity fixed a definite location in time for
him. With its many-handed grasp upon the individual, the family system
held him securely in place and prevented his aspiring to the arrogant
heights of nobility or falling into the degradation of a slavery in
which he might become a mere commodity. A Chinese surrounded by his
kinsmen was shielded against humiliations inflicted upon him by
outsiders and against the menace of his own potential follies. It was
largely through the family system, with its religious as well as
economic and social foundation, that the Chinese counteracted
undesirable mobility of individuals in a society stable as a whole.
Stability thus obtained a clear and undeniable purpose--the continued
generation of the human race through the continuity of innumerable
families, each determined upon survival. A materialistic interpretation
would point out the need for cheap and plentiful human labor in
maintaining the agrarian economy of China, and reduce the rationale of
the system to a mere web of justifications.

The family was equaled if not excelled in importance by the village.[17]
Had the family been the only vital social grouping, it might have been
impossible for democratic processes to develop in China. The family
pattern provided, indeed, the model for the government, but the
influence of villages in Chinese life mitigated the familistic
tendencies of government. It would have been heresy to revolt against an
unrighteous father; but there was nothing to prevent the deposition of
an evil village elder. In times of contentment, the emperor was the
father of the society; at other times he might be looked upon as a
fellow villager subject to the criticism of the people. The village was
the largest working unit of local self-government; it, and the groups
within it, such as the sib, was almost completely autonomous and subject
to outside interference only in very rare cases. At the same time, the
village was the smallest unit of district organization. The District
Magistrate, as the government officer in charge of a district containing
from one to twenty villages, relied on the village leaders in performing
the duties imposed upon him. Village government was at times very

Next in importance was the _hui_. It was in all probability the last to
appear. Neither ordained, as the family seemed to be, by the eternal
physical and biological order of things, nor made to seem natural, as
was the village, by the geographic and economic environment, this
association emerged from the Chinese propensity toward cooperation.
Paralleling and supplementing family and village, the _hui_ won for
itself an unchallenged place in the Chinese social structure. The _hui_
may be classified into six categories[19]: (1) fraternal societies; (2)
insurance groups; (3) economic guilds; (4) religious societies; (5)
political societies; and (6) militia and vigilante organizations. The
_hui_ made up the greater part of the economic organization of old
China, and offered vocational education to men not destined for
literature and administration. Under such names as the Triad and the
Lotus the _hui_ provided the party organizations of old China and
challenged the dynasties whenever resentment was ripe.

The old Chinese society, made up of innumerable families, villages, and
_hui_, comprised the whole "known world." Its strength was
inexhaustible. Having no one nerve center, the world society could not
be destroyed by the inroads of barbarians or the ravages of famine,
pestilence, and insurrection. The Confucian ideology continued. At no
one time were conditions so bad as to break the many threads of Chinese
culture and to release a new generation from tradition. Throughout the
centuries education and government continued side by side, even though
dynasties fell and the country was overrun by conquerors. The absence of
any rigid organization of legal authority facilitated survival, while a
certain minimum of order could be maintained even in the absence of an
emperor or, as more commonly occurred, in the presence of several.

The governmental superstructure kept the Chinese world together in a
formal manner; it did not give it vitality. The family, the village, and
the _hui_ were fit subjects for imperial attention, but the emperor
could not remove his sanction from their existence and thereby
annihilate them. No precarious legal personality was attributed to the
family, the village, and the _hui_, which could be extirpated by a mere
edict. It was possible for the English kings to destroy the Highland
clan of the MacGregor--"the proscribed name"--without liquidating the
members of the clan _in toto_. In China the emperor could wipe out a
family by massacre, but it was practically impossible for him to destroy
an organization without destroying all its members. On the whole,
however, the government of China pursued its three main ends--the
maintenance of the ideology (education), the defense of the realm
against barbarians (military affairs) and against adverse forces of
nature (public works), and the collection of funds for the fulfilment of
these functions (revenue).

_Governmental Changes Foreshadowing the Republic_

The pressure of the West compelled the Chinese government to define more
clearly than ever before its own boundaries, its relations with the
vassal states, and its lines of contact with the Chinese people. By the
Treaty of Nerchinsk, negotiated in 1689 with Russia, the Chinese tried
to demarcate their land frontier. The vassal nations presented a crucial
problem. The Chinese failed to make explicit their quasi suzerainty in
terms comprehensible to Western jurisprudence. At the same time they
followed a policy of brisk exaggeration of territorial rights
alternating with outright disclaimer of responsibility. The scope of
government itself was affected by new functions which arose with the
coming of the Westerners. The tax system was expanded. The development
of an imperial customs service with Western personnel and Western
methods of accounting provided the government with a source of large
revenue. The demands that Western states be given adequate consideration
in the transaction of business led to the establishment in 1860 of the
Foreign Office (_Tsung-li Yamên_), a new institution which modified the
traditional administrative pattern.

In addition, the Western states introduced their own type of government
into China through the demand that their citizens be subject only to the
law with which they were familiar at home. In dealing with Westerners
the Chinese had at first employed a code far more Draconic than the
provisions of Chinese penal practice. After many years of irritation the
Western powers, under the leadership of Great Britain, secured
extraterritorial privileges for their citizens. Extraterritoriality
placed Westerners in China solely under the jurisdiction of their
respective national representatives. If an American today were to shoot
down the Dalai Lama in Tibet, he could be tried legally only in the
United States Court in Shanghai--although it is improbable that the
Tibetans would insist upon juridical niceties. Apart from the guarantee
of personal immunity from Chinese law for their citizens, wherever they
might be in China, the Western powers, through a long series of special
arrangements and actual usage, obtained certain footholds on Chinese
soil where even Chinese were under Western rule. These areas were known
as _concessions_ and _settlements_, and the cities of their location as
the _treaty ports_. Both the presence of Westerners subject only to
Western law throughout the Empire, and of areas where Western governance
was paramount, taught the Chinese the lesson of strong government.

Nor was this all. The British-Chinese treaty of Nanking (1842) and that
with the United States (1844) both contained provisions relating to the
protection of the life and property of foreigners. The imperial
government found itself pledged to the fulfillment of a policy which
collided directly with the xenophobia engendered by ideological control.
The enforcement of these provisions, half-hearted as it was, involved
constantly increasing imperial intervention in regional affairs,
although the issues arising between the central government and the
provincial authorities were settled through negotiation rather than
enforceable commands.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century the gradual transformation in
China gave rise to a reform movement carried forward by a group of
constitutional monarchists. One of their leaders, K'ang Yu-wei, became
in 1898 the tutor of the young Emperor Kuang Hsü. The summer of that
year witnessed a steady stream of edicts which ultimately might have
made China under the leadership of the throne as progressive as Japan.
The reforms aimed primarily at efficiency and modernization, and
partially at the parliamentarization of the regime. The young Emperor,
however, was soon checked by Yüan Shih-k'ai, his leading military
adviser, and outmaneuvered by the reactionary Empress Dowager. He spent
the rest of his life in actual imprisonment, and the Six Geniuses--as
the reformers behind his policy were called--were exiled or executed.
One of those who were put to death was the poet Tan Shih-tung, a man of
great skill in the classical literature and of ambitious visions for the
future, who might, had the Hundred Days succeeded, have lived to be a
guardian of the throne in a modern Chinese Empire. Just before his
execution he wrote the following poem, calling forth the memory of
Chiang-ch'ing and Tou-keng, upright men of the past, and comparing his
faith with the mountain range of Kuang-lêng:


    _Prison door facing me--thoughts of Chiang-ch'ing--
    I could die easily, if like Tou-keng ...
    Laughing and alone, I lift the knife to heaven:
    I die but leave behind hopes higher than Kuang-lêng!_[20]

Reform, indeed, could not be downed. The Manchu dynasty itself began to
tread cautiously in the footsteps of Japan. In 1905 an agency was set up
for the purpose of studying various foreign forms of government and of
making recommendations for the modernization of the imperial government.
In 1908 a draft constitution, very similar to the constitution of the
Japanese Empire, was approved. A nine-year program, from 1908 to 1916
inclusive, was to lead to constitutional, parliamentary monarchy--if
parliamentary monarchy be regarded merely as a monarchy with a
parliament appended. The principle of cabinet responsibility to
parliament was not established, and from the very beginning the Manchus,
less wise than the ruling house in Japan, not only failed to grant
sufficient powers on paper but began packing the quasi-parliamentary
institutions before they were set up. Hand-picked, the preliminary
National Assembly which met in 1909 began wrangling with the Throne.[21]
The old Empress Dowager had died in the preceding year; so had the
imprisoned Emperor Kuang Hsü. The new Emperor was an infant, and the
court was little more than a gathering of bewildered Manchu princes
listening to the advice of the eunuchs and palace officials.[22] Reform
from above, had there been a single man of will and courage to take
charge of it, might have had considerable chances of success. But while
the Manchus tinkered with the superstructure of government, the
foundations of society were washing away beneath their feet. More was
involved than the improvement of administrative technique and the
illusion of popular representation. A political and social revolution
was in the making. Sun Yat-sen was the man who, more than any other
single person, shaped its course.

In 1893 Sun had gone north to advocate reform and present a petition to
Li Hung-chang, an eminent imperial statesman.[23] The mission failed. In
1897 Sun was willing to speak openly of revolution. He refrained,
however, from advocating a republic before Western audiences, even
though his party was committed to it. He wrote in his book _Kidnapped in

  The prime essence of the movement was the establishment of a form of
  constitutional government to supplement the old-fashioned, corrupt,
  and worn-out system under which China is groaning.

  It is unnecessary to enter into details as to what form of rule
  obtains in China at present. It may be summed up, however, in a few
  words. The people have no say whatever in the management of Imperial,
  National, or even Municipal affairs. The mandarins, or local
  magistrates, have full power of adjudication, from which there is no
  appeal. Their word is law, and they have full scope to practice their
  machinations with irresponsibility, and every officer may fatten
  himself with impunity. Extortion by officials is an institution; it is
  the condition on which they take office; and it is only when the
  bleeder is a bungler that the government steps in with pretended
  benevolence to ameliorate but more often to complete the depletion....

  This official thief, with his mind warped by his mode of life, is the
  ultimate authority in all matters of social, political, and criminal

In 1905 Sun Yat-sen lashed out at the monarchical reformers, subjecting
their motives to vigorous criticism:

  Since the Boxer war many have been led to believe that the Tartar
  [Manchu or Ch'ing government] is beginning to see the sign of time and
  to reform itself for the betterment of the country, just from the
  occasional ... edicts ... not knowing that they are mere dead letters
  made for the express purpose of pacifying popular agitations. It is
  absolutely impossible for the Manchus to reform the country because
  reformation means detriment to them. By reformation they would be
  absorbed by the Chinese people and would lose the special rights and
  privileges which they are enjoying. The still darker side of the
  government can be seen when the ignorance and corruptness of the
  official class are brought to light. These fossilized, rotten,
  good-for-nothing officials know only how to flatter and bribe the
  Manchus, whereby their position may be strengthened to carry on the
  trade of squeezing [graft].[25]

He also insisted that China's difficulties could be solved only by the
establishment of a republic, which he envisaged with great optimism:

  A new, enlightened and progressive government must be substituted in
  place of the old one; in such a case China would not only be able to
  support herself but would also relieve the other countries of the
  trouble of maintaining her independence and integrity. There are many
  highly educated and able men among the people who would be competent
  to take up the task of forming a new government, and carefully
  thought-out plans have long been drawn up for the transformation of
  this ... Tartar monarchy into a Republic of China. The ... masses of
  the people are also ready to accept the new order of things and are
  longing for a change for better to uplift them from their ...
  deplorable condition of life. China is now on the eve of a great
  national movement, for just a spark of light would set the whole
  political forest on fire to drive out the Tartar from our land. Our
  task is indeed great but it will not be an impossible one....[26]

Sun's diagnosis of the situation was remarkably correct; he clearly
sensed the coming Republic whose first president he was to become seven
years later. The ideological revolution was already under way, and the
Empire about to dissolve into the past. What neither Sun nor anyone else
realized was that ahead of China there lay government problems more
serious than misrule. The ideological shift had terminated the reality
of the old regime, and the military conditions were favorable; but would
men be ready to invest their faith durably in a new order?


[1] See above, pp. 17 ff., 83 ff.

[2] Herrlee G. Creel, _The Birth of China_, p. 138, London, 1936.

[3] Leon Wieger, S. J., _La Chine à travers les âges: hommes et
choses_, pp. 22-25, Hsien-hsien, 1920. This is among the most useful
handbooks of Chinese history and bibliography. It is written on a
popular level and designed for the rapid and easy information of
Catholic missionaries in China. H. F. MacNair, _Modern Chinese History,
Selected Readings_, Shanghai, 1923, will be found entertaining as well
as highly informative.

[4] See John K. Shryock, _The Origin and Development of the State Cult
of Confucius_, New York, 1932, for a description of the rise of

[5] For a list of the Chinese dynasties see below, p. 197.

[6] T'ang government is outlined on the basis of Baron Robert des
Rotours, _Le Traité des examens_, Paris, 1932, a lucid and detailed
translation of a section of the T'ang dynastic history dealing with the
civil service. The book includes a valuable account of the organization
of T'ang government and may well be cited as a model of Sinological
achievement. The rendering _Department of Ministerial Coordination_ was
suggested by the usage of Professor C. S. Gardner, Harvard-Yenching

[7] Rotours, _op. cit._, p. 10. See also _ibid._, p. 3.

[8] Cf. Hans Wist, _Das Chinesische Zensorat_, Hamburg, 1932.

[9] For a Western parallel see Fritz Morstein Marx, _Civil Service in
Germany_, in: _Civil Service Abroad_, p. 181 _n._ 31, New York and
London, 1935.

[10] For further detail on local home rule see below, pp. 177 ff.

[11] Rotours, _op. cit._, pp. 26-55, "Les examens sous la dynastie des

[12] Jean Escarra, _Le droit chinois_, p. 97, Peiping and Paris, 1936.
This is the outstanding work on Chinese law, by a French scholar long in
the service of Chinese governments. The exhaustive bibliography of
Escarra may be supplemented by Cyrus H. Peake, "Recent Studies in
Chinese Law," _Political Science Quarterly_, vol. 52, pp. 117-138, 1937.

[13] P. C. Hsieh, _The Chinese Government_, 1644-1911, Baltimore, 1925;
William F. Mayers, _The Chinese Government_, Shanghai, 1897.

[14] T. F. Wade, "The Army of the Chinese Empire," _The Chinese
Repository_ (Canton), vol. 20, p. 300 n., 1851.

[15] The following discussion has been taken from the author's _The
Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen_, pp. 38-43, Baltimore, 1937.

[16] D. H. Kulp, _Family Life in South China_, p. xxiv, New York, 1925.

[17] See H. G. Creel, _Sinism_, Chicago, 1929.

[18] See Arthur H. Smith, _Village Life in China_, p. 228, New York,

[19] See J. S. Burgess, _The Guilds of Peking_, New York, 1928. The
present classification is a modification of that of Burgess.

[20] Translation by the present author.

[21] See Hsieh, _op. cit_., in note 13; Meribeth E. Cameron, _The
Reform Movement in China_, 1898-1912, Stanford, 1931; Harold M. Vinacke,
_Modern Constitutional Development in China_, Princeton, 1920.

[22] Reginald Johnston, _Twilight in the Forbidden City_, London, 1934,
presents an interesting narrative of court life before and after the
revolution of 1911-1912.

[23] Lyon Sharman, _Sun Yat-sen: His Life and Its Meaning_, pp. 30-32,
New York, 1934.

[24] Sun Yat-sen, _Kidnapped in London_, pp. 13-15, Bristol and London,
1897. This is a most engrossing work, whether considered as a political
revelation, a personal narrative, or a story of adventure.

[25] Sun Yat-sen (Hu Han-min, editor), _Tsung-li Ch'üan-chi (The
Complete Works of the Leader)_, vol. IV, p. 357, Shanghai, 1930; from
"The True Solution to the Chinese Question," pp. 347-368, an article
written by Sun himself in English.

[26] _Ibid._, p. 366.

_Chapter_ VII


On October 9, 1911, a follower of Sun Yat-sen, one of the heroic and
desperate "Dare-to-dies" who had harassed the imperial government for
years, was working over a bomb in the Russian concession in the upriver
port of Hankow. The bomb exploded accidentally; the secret storage of
munitions was discovered; the next day, in the ensuing turmoil, the
Republic of China was born. Double Ten Day (October 10, 1911) has since
been celebrated as the Chinese Fourth of July. When the imperial
officials sought to suppress the insurrection, they uncovered a
conspiracy in the ranks of their own troops; in self-protection the
troops revolted. In the next two months the Manchu Empire crumbled away.
Sun Yat-sen, who was in Chicago at the time of the outbreak,[1] could
trust his organization. Sure that destiny was working with him, he took
his leisure in returning to China and stopped in London to forestall
financial aid to the collapsing Empire.

_The Presidency of Sun Yat-sen and the Republican Revolution_

The fall of the Empire was not the result of a great mass movement
agitating the whole population; it developed from the revolutionary
nucleus which Sun and his followers had built up to secure power. They
had hammered away at the imperial regime by instigating mutiny and
terror for many years, since they realized that the incompetence of the
government was matched only by its impotence. The revolution itself was
a chain of rebellions, occurring province by province under the
leadership of revolutionaries or officials joining the revolution.
Except for the massacre of Manchus in some of the cities, it was a
nearly bloodless revolution. However, the various groups pushed in
different directions, and different men tried to seize power. The
constitutional monarchists compelled the throne to issue a very liberal
constitution, which might be accepted by the populace in place of the
Republican programs. Military men began to come to the fore, as the army
units alone were in a position of unchallengeable power. Men who had no
thought of revolution might join it in time to become leaders of the
revolutionary-military juntas. Li Yüan-hung, an officer of the Empire,
hid under his bed when revolutionary soldiers sought him out; given the
choice between death and adherence to the revolutionaries, he sided with
the new powers, and in a short while became the commanding officer of
the revolutionary forces in the Wu-han cities. Similar instances were
not uncommon.

The revolutionaries managed to call together representatives of their
party and of the troops to a National Convention at Nanking. They were
seriously handicapped by the absence of Sun Yat-sen, who now hastened
back to China from London. Few of the members of the revolutionary
group--heretofore forced to operate as a secret society--were well
enough known to have the prestige needed to form a new government. Huang
Hsing, Sun's chief military follower, sought to manage in the interim,
but not until the arrival of Sun Yat-sen in Shanghai on December 24,
1911, was there a prospect of consolidation. Five days later the
National Convention elected him president of the Provisional Government
of the United Provinces. On January 1, 1912, he took office; with the
adoption of the Gregorian calendar now in use, this date became the
first day of the Year I of the Chinese Republic. With the presidency
there was created a cabinet, whose ministers did not yet hold any
specific portfolios. The portions of the country under revolutionary
control were ruled for the time being by a temporary system which
combined the military and civilian governments in each province.

Meanwhile, the Empire was still the internationally recognized
government of China and continued to function in Peking. Thoroughly
frightened, the imperial court saw no alternative to calling into its
service the one man who could be expected to master the situation--Yüan
Shih-k'ai, who had ruthlessly terminated the experiment of the Hundred
Days in 1898 and whipped up the first effective modern army of the
Empire. Yüan, who had fallen into disfavor as a result of court
machinations a few years before, waited his time, receiving offers from
both sides. Finally he went to Peking, on October 27, 1911.

The negotiations which ensued over the establishment of a new government
and the pacification of the country brought into the spotlight two of
the outstanding personalities of modern China--men whose characters were
to mold the institutions in a highly plastic society and whose
influences were to last beyond their deaths. Sun Yat-sen, a Cantonese
with many overseas connections, stood outside the old-style elite--a
constitutionalist and an idealist. Yüan was a soldier and diplomat from
the North, narrow in outlook, altogether a tradition-bound official
despite his up-to-date military ideas--an opportunist and a realist in
politics. Rarely have two leaders represented such opposite extremes.

In the conclusion of the negotiations Yüan played a part which would
have filled Machiavelli with admiration. The imperial family was cajoled
into taking the baby Emperor off the throne but was at the same time
wheedled into refusing outright abdication. The edicts of February 12,
1912, are among the most curious state papers of modern times. They
turned over "the power of government" to Yüan, admitted the faults of
the dynasty, and ordered him to negotiate with the revolutionists and
establish a Republic of China. Nothing was said about any eventual
resumption of power by the dynasty, although provision was to be made
for the comfort and dignity of the court. The Manchu house was to retain
the Forbidden City (imperial palace) in Peking, where the monarch could
continue to exercise his functions, freed from the cares of government.

Sun Yat-sen indignantly repudiated any idea that the Republic derived
from a formal authorization extended by the hated Manchus--the Republic
for which he and his revolutionists had struggled for decades. But he
held his peace, unwilling to upset the chances of national unification
on a point of form. Yüan was recognized as an able man, although he
lacked trustworthiness and intellectual ability; it seemed possible to
make use of him and simultaneously to satisfy him by giving him a
position within the Republican framework. After the edicts of
abdication, the issue became one of ultra-idealist constitutionalism
versus brutal military realism.

It was agreed that Sun should keep the provisional presidency until Yüan
could be inaugurated as president. Under the circumstances it was the
only possible course. Yüan possessed decisive military power, and there
could have been no hope of bending him. Furthermore, Sun actually did
not wish the office of president. He realized that his own strength was
that of ideologue and leader and felt that by enforcing his principle of
_min shêng_[2] he could serve China best.

Yüan, it was arranged, was to come south to the new capital at Nanking.
This was something which he had no desire to do, as the city was in the
hands of the revolutionists and his army was in the north. When he was
pressed to take office, he engineered a military mutiny in the Peking
area, which did enormous property damage and gave him an adequate excuse
for remaining where he was. By thus forcing the government to establish
itself at Peking, he followed out the spirit of the imperial abdication
edict and brought the Republican regime to the very city in which the
Emperor still lived, and in which the imperial bureaucracy awaited its
new Republican garments--socially and ideologically the stronghold of
resourceful reaction. There was thus no problem of creating a new modern
administration. The old Peking mandarinate continued, and the
revolutionary Republicans came into the government offices as strangers
intruding into a closed system. For the initial months of the Republican
experiment Peking's novel status was merely the evidence of Yüan's
prestige; thereafter, Peking was to become the embodiment of archaism,
blind pragmatism, and corruption.

On March 10, 1912, Yüan Shih-k'ai took a solemn oath to preserve and
defend the Republic and assumed office as president. On the same day a
Provisional Constitution went into effect, whereby the National
Convention placed the greater share of government power in the hands of
a National Council, to serve until the promulgation of election laws for
the choice of a national parliament. Republican mistrust of Yüan was
evident in this action. Yet Sun Yat-sen was satisfied that his first
principle, nationalism, had been realized in great part by the expulsion
of the Manchus, and that his second, democracy, was in the process of
fulfillment. He turned to the realization of the third, _min shêng_.[2]
Yüan placed him in charge of all railway development in China, and Sun
cherished the freedom to carry out the practical aspect of the
revolution. He had passed beyond the stage of agitation and conspiracy,
of wandering about in the world, his life in year-long daily jeopardy,
seeking men and funds for a revolution which seemed Utopian to most. Now
he could do his work quietly, without inducing simple merchants and
workers to risk sudden death or the torture racks of the Board of
Punishments. He had no way of realizing that his miraculous success was
to be followed by defeat and that the revolution for which he had fought
was not over but had only begun.

The presidency of Sun Yat-sen in Nanking, terminated by Yüan Shih-k'ai's
assumption of office, was little more than a military and revolutionary
junta linking together the various provincial revolutionary groups. It
had to face no serious problems of administration, and the collection of
taxes was the last thing that a brand-new revolutionary government would
dare to stress in China. Its principles were republican, but it
inaugurated no formal institutions and resorted to no elections,
referenda, or plebiscites. The task of constituting democracy in China
was placed under the stewardship of the most versatile military
opportunist of the age: Yüan Shih-k'ai.

_The Parliamentary Republic_

After Sun Yat-sen relinquished the presidency to Yüan Shih-k'ai and the
Republican regime settled down in the citadel of the old regime, a form
of government was set up which did not immediately reveal itself as
patently unworkable but which in retrospect seems a curiously
ill-conceived experiment in transplanting institutions. Sun and his
followers assumed that democratic, parliamentary institutions were
adaptable, that the existing grouping would soon lend itself to the
purpose of effective multi-party government, and that parties would
arise organically from honest differences of opinion. They considered
the republicanization of the provincial and local governments of less
immediate importance than the establishment of a national democratic
order. They expected to have a constitutional government with the five
"races" of China--Chinese, Mongol, Manchu, Tibetan, and Turkic
(Mohammedan)--united under the new five-barred banner. At the time,
these assumptions seemed practicable.

The Provisional Constitution of March, 1912, established a relatively
weak presidency though with somewhat greater powers than the French.
Article 45 required the countersignature of all presidential orders by
the appropriate cabinet minister; the ministers were to be appointed by
the president with the concurrence of the legislative. Unfortunately,
the principle of ministerial responsibility to parliament was not
explicitly stated, although it might have been expected that the
far-reaching powers of the legislative body would have led to actual
parliamentarism very shortly. It was obviously the intention of the
Republicans to promote Yüan to a position of ineffectiveness. The
premier and the cabinet selected by the president with legislative
concurrence were to be subject to interpellation. On the other hand,
they were granted the privilege of speaking in the legislative body
(Articles 43-47). The unicameral National Council (_ts'an-i-yüan_)--to
continue only until the election of the legislative body--was to be
constituted in the following manner, under Article 18:

  The Provinces, Inner and Outer Mongolia, and Tibet shall each elect
  and depute five members to the National Council, and Ch'inghai
  [Kokonor] shall elect one member.

  The electoral districts and methods of election shall be decided by
  the localities concerned.[3]

As a result of this procedural latitude, the delegates to the National
Council were either elected by the provincial assemblies or appointed by
the military governors or came with no formal credentials whatever. All
officials were ordered to continue in their posts. The revolutionists
still exerted control over large military bodies in the South and held
many of the provinces under their military leaders or juntas, so that
Yüan proceeded cautiously in the creation of his first administration.
He chose personalities acceptable to the revolutionists, but appointed
no outstanding men of Sun's Tung Mêng Hui.

The parliamentary system looked well enough on the surface, but the
basis of government had disappeared and the problem of mass democracy
was more fundamental than anyone then imagined. Many groups in the
country began organizing as parties; Yüan himself appeared to further
the new way. But he had his own thoughts. He ordered his followers to
enter the revolutionary units to undermine them, and simultaneously
pushed for the establishment of a party of his own. There was on all
sides a pathetic eagerness to live up to the formal expectations of the
Western world. Tragically, this government was comic opera. Yüan began
having skirmishes with the Council within a few months. The Republicans
allowed the actual power to slip away from them while seeking to
exercise the authority derived from a constitution which most citizens
of the new Republic could not understand at all. In the summer of 1912
Sun Yat-sen's followers began to face a definitely hostile executive.
The Council looked for redress but found that parliamentary tricks
turned easily against it. The conservative members, supporting Yüan,
walked out, and the Council lacked a quorum.

In August, 1912, the old revolutionary organization of Sun Yat-sen,
founded by his coordination of earlier secret societies, was transformed
into a regular party, the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang devoted themselves
to the development of genuine party government; looking upon the
Republic as their own creation, they were less ready for compromise than
Chinese usage might have required. This did not improve the position of
Sun's adherents. Yüan countered by forming the Progressive Party
(_Chinputang_). While both sides lost control over the people, the party
system was not even important enough to amount to carpetbagging. The
only power in the country, as doctrine and administration melted away,
was the military.[4]

Under the terms of the Provisional Constitution the Council was to yield
to a bicameral National Assembly, for which it should provide by law
within ten months. It was to be the duty of the National Assembly to
prepare a permanent constitution (Articles 53 and 54). In the summer of
1912 the Council passed the required law, providing for the indirect
election of a Senate and the direct election, by a limited electorate
and under a very complicated electoral scheme,[5] of a House of
Representatives. About 1/35 of 1 per cent of the total population voted.
The Kuomintang came out far ahead of any other party, with a definite
plurality but one insufficient to give it absolute control of the
Assembly, which met early in 1913. Inexperienced even in the elementary
requirements of parliamentary practice, let alone the conduct of
government, the legislative branch was destined to be sheer ornament.
The Kuomintang had relegated themselves to the occupancy of the least
important branch of the government. The new parliament met amid great
theatricals and placed heavy emphasis on form but was unable to make its
will felt. The quarrels with the President over foreign loans,
democratic policy and party rule were not settled by a showdown, but by
resort to technicalities on both sides.

Yüan, however, had his finger on the trigger. March, 1913, was marked by
the murder of Sung Chiao-jên, one of the ablest of Sun's followers. It
was the first political act to indicate that Yüan was embarking upon a
program of assassinations. Even upon this occasion, Sun Yat-sen held his
hand, ready to let the new regime prove its character. Yüan used the
waiting spell to replace Kuomintang men in the provincial armies and
governments with his own adherents. In July, 1913, a second revolution
broke out. It was a move of self-defense on the part of the Republicans,
followers of Sun. The revolution was suppressed by Yüan.

Undisturbed, the work of constitution drafting proceeded apace in the
North. Again, the trend, paradoxically, was toward French precedent. The
paradox became patent when Yüan forced the advance adoption of the
provisions relating to the presidency; on October 10, 1913, the Assembly
elected him president of the Republic. This gave him full _de jure_
status as head of the Chinese state in the eyes of the foreign powers.
On November 4 Yüan suppressed the party which had created the Republic,
the Kuomintang. This not only eliminated serious opposition to him but
paralyzed the Assembly as well. It was left without a quorum and without
a constitution under which a new Assembly could be elected--one of the
most surprising constitutional cul-de-sacs in modern times. The
dictatorship began.

_The Presidential Dictatorship of Yüan Shih-k'ai_

Not content with having immobilized the National Assembly, Yüan
proceeded to kill it. He called together an extraconstitutional body of
his supporters, known as the Political Council. It recommended two
measures: the dissolution of the National Assembly and the calling of a
Constitutional Council to frame a permanent constitution. On January 10,
1914, Yüan suspended the Assembly by presidential decree. With that day
the Chinese Republic ceased to have a government consonant with its
laws. Technically the whole Republic lapsed into unconstitutionality and
illegality, until it was swept out of existence by the National
Government in 1928.[6] Nevertheless, the military leaders had sufficient
belief in the political value of twentieth century formalities to
preserve the appearance of constitutional procedure. During the
following months Yüan's Constitutional Council, which succeeded the
Political Council and was, similarly, made up of persons favorable to
his rule, labored over another constitutional document. On May 1, 1914,
the document was promulgated under the name _Constitutional Compact_.
The Compact changed the style of Yüan's rule from a nominal
parliamentarism to presidential government, and legitimatized the

Two and a half years after the establishment of the Republic, the
country had grown accustomed to the rule of Yüan. His government had the
advantage of carrying on from the seat of the former imperial
administration. Yüan's peculiar faculties of old-school diplomacy and
his grasp of modern militarism stood him in good stead. The Republic was
generally admitted to be not much of a democracy, but even democratic
Westerners applauded the hard-headed competence of the "strong man of
China." Government was more efficient and more despotic than it had been
in the last days of the Manchu dynasty; resistance and defiance did not
take open forms, except for the activities of Sun Yat-sen and his
followers, who had reverted to revolutionary tactics since the outlawry
of their party. Their agitation was spreading with rapidity. Yüan made
the same mistake the Republicans had made before: he failed to sink the
roots of government into the minds of the people and to provide a
coherent explanation for his own existence. Underestimating the change
which had taken place, Yüan sustained the illusion that the Chinese
society in which he was reared still existed. While he failed to evolve
a symbolism emphasizing the rise of a new order with him as the head,
the realization that the old Empire was gone was allowed to spread
slowly across China. There was no more throne; the child Emperor dwelt
quietly in his museum.

In 1915 Yüan embarked upon one of the strangest exploits in modern
Chinese politics. After prostituting the democratic formulas in
accordance with which he professed to govern, he began to use the same
formulas for a cautious approach to the creation of a new monarchy. He
was partly encouraged by a memorandum presented to him on August 9,
1915, by his constitutional adviser, Professor Frank Goodnow. The
memorandum suggested, as a sane political theorem, the desirability of
establishing a constitutional monarchy _if_ there was general demand for
it rather than of maintaining the trappings of Republicanism without
operative democracy. But Yüan's scheming met with strong opposition.
Both sides to the ensuing monarchical controversy misconstrued Professor
Goodnow's memorandum; Yüan's foes denounced it even as a recommendation
for autocracy. Seen from a purely institutional point of view, there was
no harm in the proposal. A disadvantage might lie in the fact that other
military leaders would be jealous of Yüan's obtaining the throne on
which so many of them speculated. If the state of mind of the Chinese
and the new doctrines of the Republicans are considered, the proposal
becomes less feasible. Having gone through the terrific mental and moral
jolt of a fundamental shift of living forms, and having realized that
the Empire was irrecoverable, substantial sections of the population
were in no mood to allow an untried Republic to be superseded by an even
less tried modern military monarchy.

Yüan used Japan's Twenty-one Demands of 1915, which might have made
China a quasi protectorate of Japan, as an argument for the immediate
necessity of strengthening the central government. In sponsoring the
movement for monarchy he virtually copied the procedure of Napoleon III
in establishing the Second Empire. The whole technique of modern
usurpation was brought into play, and no one stopped to consider who
might be impressed by it. The only audience which might have taken at
their face value Yüan's carefully staged "popular demonstrations" and
his recommendations for "representative" public bodies was the Western
public outside. Chinese familiar enough with elections to understand
their meaning were for a Republic; the Chinese who did not understand
them were not impressed.

Had China possessed a man with the administrative and military talents
of George Washington, a genuine republic might have developed from
beneath the tutelage of a strong military ruler. Sun Yat-sen, because of
his Southern birth, his thoroughly revolutionary tenets, and his
impatience with the jobbery of petty politics, was not prepared for the
presidential office in Peking. He might have headed a revolutionary
government elsewhere in China but not a carry-over administration in
Peking. Yüan misjudged his own opportunities and went back to the ritual
of the Empire in an endeavor to place himself on a widely coveted
throne. In December, 1915, after a circus of plebiscites and
constitutional councils had been provided, the constitutional monarchy
was proclaimed. In the same month Yüan performed the ancient ceremonials
of the Imperial Sacrifice to Heaven, clad in the traditional gowns of
the emperor. On Christmas Day, 1915, the province of Yünnan--in the
extreme southwest of China--revolted against Yüan. The revolt spread,
and in March, 1916, Yüan renounced the throne. His dream had come to a
dismal end; he died on June 6, 1916. In the same month Vice-President Li
Yüan-hung--the imperial officer whose political career began when he was
dragged from beneath his bed in 1911--assumed the title of president.
The National Assembly was convoked. The Provisional Constitution was put
into effect again. And, as a sign of the times, the provincial military
commanders took the new title _tuchün_ in place of the older version

_The Phantom Republic in Peking_

When the Manchu Empire fell in 1911-1912, it left the military power to
Yüan Shih-k'ai, who cloaked it with the Republic which he appropriated.
When Yüan died, control of the armies passed to the provincial military
commandants whom he had installed as a prime feature of his "strong man"
regime. With the passing of the Empire, civilian bureaucracy fell into
disuse yet retained just enough cohesion to serve the purposes of Yüan,
so far as they were to be served by government. After Yüan's death, the
governments in the provinces followed the flow of power--to the
provincial commanders. The Indian summer of the parliamentary Republic
was founded upon its toleration of the army system which Yüan had left
standing in its fragments. The weight of power was now to go into these
fragments and not into the Republic, which fell heir merely to Yüan's
naive and almost contemptuously conceived "constitutional" show.

Sun Yat-sen was favorable to the newly restored Republic but did not
participate in it, since it was made up largely of second-string
revolutionists--men who had joined when the cause was winning in
1911--with a sprinkling of his own followers, together with a
substantial cohort of the new-style military. Sun had been in exile in
Japan during Yüan's regime, sounding out the possibility of Japanese
assistance in furthering his movement. Without the participation of any
group competent to attract ideological support to civilian government,
and without any one military leader able to serve or master its cause,
the Republic had to rest upon the administrative structure. Its power
was virtually nil. The legislative, as in the early days of the
Republic, was dominated by Sun's revolutionary Republicans, the
executive by a conservative cabal of soldiers. The situation differed
from the earlier one in that the military leader from the North, Tüan
Chi-jui, occupied the post of premier instead of that of president.
Within a year the fundamental contradictions in the regime displayed
themselves. Tüan quarreled with the President and the Assembly,
demanding dissolution of the latter. Not obtaining what he wished, he
joined in 1917 other military chieftains in forming a provisional
military junta in Tientsin. The President called in for his support the
most reactionary army man of all, Chang Hsün. Chang forced the
dissolution of the Assembly, the very contingency he was supposed to
prevent. He capped this act by restoring the Manchu dynasty and putting
the boy ex-Emperor Hsüan T'ung back on the throne (July 1, 1917).

While the country was startled to learn of the restoration of the
dynasty, and to receive edicts by telegraph issued in the name of Hsüan
T'ung, forces of opposition began to gather. The restoration lasted
until the Northern military leaders could catch their breaths; on July
12 Tüan Chi-jui marched back into Peking to prevent Chang Hsün from
stealing a march on him. The unfortunate ex-Emperor was promptly deposed
for the second time. He was not to be put on a throne again until he
became the Emperor of Manchoukuo in 1934.

At this juncture the arena was to broaden. In October, 1917, Sun Yat-sen
was elected Generalissimo of the South by the remnants of the parliament
which had gathered in Canton. Their action was provoked largely by
China's declaration of war on Germany--a step which Sun bitterly opposed
as serving no Chinese interest. From now on there were to be _two_
Republican traditions in China, each one of them with theoretical claims
to the legitimate succession from the 1912-1913 Republic. The government
established by Sun Yat-sen in the South did not secure any international
recognition, nor did it contain remnants of the imperial bureaucracy, or
win the respect of the soldiery. But it did fall heir to the ideological
revolution. The people were still skeptically indulgent toward Sun the
idealist and his ramshackle governments, although they conceived of
government in China largely as the problem of fattening the Peking
phantom and raising it to husky manhood. The Northern Republic survived
until 1928, increasingly a puzzle and an illusion.[7]

The details of its slow death are intricate. The military did not ignore
the Republic altogether. They requested its sanction for their
manipulation of the balance of power. The Republic legitimized the
gradations of military strength which grew out of conspiracy, tax
exploitation, opium farming, and ineffectual war. The Republic and its
presidency were the chief pawns in the pointless game of Chinese
militarism. The Republic lent a color of unity to the country and
preserved those proprieties dominant in the Chinese mind. Even banditry
becomes respectable if it observes "political" formalities, and at times
the line between banditry and generalship became a matter of day-to-day
intentions or of the size of the armed forces at hand. The government in
Peking struggled to provide a suitable organizational form for the
status quo, though never quite catching up with the new _faits
accomplis_ of each week.

In three connections the Republic of China at Peking is worthy of
consideration: in its constitutional development, which in a dreamlike
and ineffectual way mirrored the political ideals of the
nonrevolutionary elite;[8] in its international role, which was of
genuine importance and value to China; and in its administrative
accomplishments, which--for a government--were negligible to the point
of absurdity, but admirable indeed for bureaucracy working in chaos.

The Peking government was technically based on the Provisional
Constitution of 1912. At the earliest period of the restored Republic
(1917) it fell into the hands of the Anfu clique, which administered to
China a dose of Reconstruction on the American model. The treasury was
literally looted, and the politicos who attached themselves to the
government and to the military dominating it fell over each other in
their haste to sell the nation out to Japan. A peace conference with the
representatives of the South met in 1919 but accomplished nothing. A new
parliament was chosen from the areas claimed by Peking; when this passed
out of existence another parliament stemming from the National Assembly
dissolved by Yüan in 1913 assembled in 1922--a rare modern instance of a
legislative body succeeding its successors. This so-called Old
Parliament returned to the task which had been interrupted ten years
before and in 1923 gave birth to a constitution.

The 1923 constitution--China's third Republican constitution, after the
Provisional Constitution of 1912 and the Constitutional Compact of
1914--was adopted by a body revoltingly corrupt. The constitution itself
was the work of political scientists; it was as admirable a document as
John Locke's constitution for the colony of Carolina, although the
parliament elected Ts'ao Kun president under conditions which set a
record for indefensible practices. The constitution itself was
federalist, but with many adaptations of French institutions in so far
as the central government was concerned. As a theoretical device for
government, it would stand high among the constitutions of the world,
but if not stillborn it was never brought to life. Within a year it was
set aside, and another provisional system of government was established.
A committee was set to work on a fourth constitution more strongly
federal.[9] The provisional government lasted from 1924 to 1926. In 1926
Chang Tso-lin, the _tuchün_ of Manchuria, took over the city of Peking
and the government. In doing so he did not bother to appoint a
constitutional committee or to bribe a parliament. He appointed himself
dictator (_ta yüan shuai_) and let the legalistic logicians construe it
as they might. On June 5, 1928, Sun Yat-sen's armies from the South
occupied Peking, and the Peking Republic was at an end. A ghost of a
ghost, it was to reappear as a Japanese device in 1937, at a time when
constitutional debate was at a minimum.

From the metamorphoses of the Peking Republic the Chinese learned most
bitterly the lessons of political reality. It dawned upon them that
government would have to rest upon foundations reaching deep into
society and could not be superimposed upon the existing disorder. Their
constitutional experience also satiated the Chinese with Western
formalism. Yet the phantom governments at Peking enjoyed the full
recognition of the Great Powers, and the Waichiaopu (Foreign Office)
maintained an impeccable diplomatic front. Although the Chinese scored
no triumph at the Paris peace conference, they came off much better than
they would have done without any representation. Three years later, at
the Washington Conference, the Chinese, favored by the jealousies
prevailing between the other powers, won a notable diplomatic victory.
Representing a government whose authority scarcely reached beyond its
own capital and whose limited financial resources threw its diplomatic
corps largely on their own, the members of the Chinese delegation
secured advantages for China greater than any won at the time by the
Soviet Union.[10]

In the international field the Chinese owed their strength to the same
factors that weakened them at home: careful attention to form, the
anxious cherishing of prestige and appearance, and a limitless patience
which did not predispose the diplomats to violent action. Since the
Peking regime, in point of military forces available for world-wide
action, was on about the same level as Liberia, the fact that China
remained a second-rate power instead of becoming a plain victim suggests
the degree of her international prestige. The Peking government provided
a background, however shadowy, for the Chinese Foreign Office, and the
Foreign Office carefully nursed the fictions of China's international
status. Moreover, some domestic machinery remained. Around the Peking
government there clustered a group of administrations which were so
purely bureaucratic and non-policy-making in character that they were
tolerated even by the military, or else were under the protection of
international agreements. The Maritime Customs in Shanghai was staffed
in its key positions with Westerners. This feature arose out of
conditions during the T'ai-p'ing rebellion; it was later given
international status by Chinese assurances that under certain
stipulations the customs were to retain their foreign personnel. The
autonomy of the customs became a striking characteristic of the
international legal and financial position of China, since most of the
Chinese debts were secured by a mortgage on customs receipts.[11] The
Salt Revenue Administration was similarly separated from the rest of the
Chinese bureaucracy by international agreement, since loans had been
secured upon this revenue. The surpluses from both services were paid
for the greater part to the central government at Peking and provided a
definite fiscal incentive for the maintenance of the Republic. The
Chinese Post Office was also manned in part by Westerners, and it
managed to preserve reasonably good postal service throughout the
country despite the governmental anarchy which otherwise prevailed.
These administrations were largely autonomous; they made up the
deficiencies of the Peking government so far as it was within their
power. Thus the regime could boast of an excellent written constitution,
a first-class Foreign Office, several good revenue agencies, a good
postal service, and almost nothing else.

In the age of the _tuchüns_ the Peking regime had no domestic power to
speak of; most of the time government was by courtesy only.

_The Governments of Sun Yat-sen in Canton_

In 1917, when the National Assembly was dissolved for the second time by
the intervention of the _tuchün_ Chang Hsün, a group of its members met
first in Shanghai and then adjourned to Canton. Assembling as an
Extraordinary Parliament, it elected Sun Yat-sen Generalissimo of the
South. He was not given the title of president because he did not wish
to create the appearance of national disunity. Sun was in the peculiar
position of being placed in military command at the sufferance of
regional military leaders. He even had to fight for support in the rump
parliament which had elected him.

In this first Cantonese government, Sun's military objectives
overshadowed all others. Attempts were made to promote a frontal assault
on the army plague, and various expeditions were launched against the
North. Sun Yat-sen had his experiences in the years of revolt before
1911 to hearten him. The Republican Revolution of 1911-1912 was not so
much a carefully timed universal conspiracy as it was the seizure of a
few pivotal points by small bands of revolutionists, backed by
provincial support. Sun did not think in terms of nationalism as yet,
for he felt that with the expulsion of the Manchus the Chinese had
solved the major problem of foreign oppression. His course of action in
the first Cantonese government was therefore that of a man fighting on a
constitutional and democratic issue while leaning on a temporary
military government. His new regime had acquired at one time an enormous
reach of territory by bringing under its fold, through a process of
negotiation and intrigue, the leading military figures of Southern

Sun was, however, working too much outside his own party. He had both
the parliament and the Southern militarists to contend with. The task of
maintaining a revolutionary movement with troops who were no more
interested in it than the troops opposing them, transcended even Sun's
optimism and courage. Despite demonstrations of his personal capacity
and bravery, he felt that his work lacked momentum. In May, 1918, after
his office as generalissimo had been abolished and he had been made one
of a Supreme Committee of Seven, Sun left for Shanghai.

In Shanghai Sun had time to ponder organizational strategy, to conduct
the world-wide operations of the Kuomintang officially now _Chung-hua
Kê-ming Tang_, or Chinese Revolutionary Party, and to consider types of
government and methods of propaganda. He worked with Judge Paul
Linebarger, his sympathizer and supporter since 1906, on a biography
similar to the campaign biographies of American presidential
candidates.[12] At this time he was still devoting himself to the
organization of the existing groups in Chinese society for revolutionary
purposes. He saw himself as the moral leader of the revolution and
simultaneously as the necessary advocate of constitutionalism. He was
anxious to implement the ideological revolution but thought that the
parliamentary democratic techniques had been designed in the West to
accomplish just that end. While he was in Shanghai, the Canton regime
carried on a fragmentary existence. In November, 1920, he returned to
Canton after his military friends had cleared the way for him. On this
occasion the Canton government came forth as a fully civilian regime.
Sun was elected Extraordinary President of the Republic of China by the
Southern parliament in April, 1921. Using the city of Canton as his
base, Sun continued the long series of military expeditions he had led
for years, trying to whip the _tuchüns_ at their own game without
becoming one himself. He personally went with forces into the field
again. In 1922 treason on the part of his chief war-lord supporter drove
him out of Canton. Back in Shanghai, he established contact with the
representative of the Soviets, Adolf Joffe; both men stipulated the
terms of the alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communists.[13]

In 1923 Sun laid new emphasis on one part of his program hitherto
neglected: the doctrine of the three stages of revolution. The
revolution had failed in fact because it had not provided adequate
measures for democratic training. The revolutionists had assumed an
organic political change, and militarists had profited by their mistake
in taking over the Republic and using its forms to subvert what were the
merest beginnings of democracy. Henceforth, the revolutionary group
would have to emphasize a sequential process in democratic state
construction: (1) the acquisition of political power by the missionaries
of the revolution; (2) the teaching of the new ideology of democracy and
the training of the people in the techniques of self-government; (3) the
establishment of constitutional democracy.[14] When offered the
opportunity of forming his third Canton government, he took no chances
and himself assumed the title generalissimo and the command of the
armies. In October, 1923, a plan was drawn up for the reorganization of
the Kuomintang, with the advice of Borodin. Next January the First
Congress of the Party opened. Sun Yat-sen, delighted with the new
instrument for promoting the ideological revolution, allowed government
problems to recede. The Party came to the front, and with the Party
organization were to be solved the problems of a universe in revolution.
During the fifteen months of life which remained to Sun Yat-sen, his
third government at Canton was not to undergo any transformation. The
strictly political purposes of the revolution had become mere adjuncts
to the ideological and military features. The government continued to
possess the now familiar parliamentary-democratic formulas which,
misused and deformed as they were throughout China, had come to be the
embroidery of might.

_The Nationalist Government, Soviet in Form_

The sorry picture of inadequacy in both the North and the South was
interrupted by the launching of the Nationalist Revolution of 1926-1927.
As a preparatory step to the acquisition of revolutionary power, Sun
Yat-sen's followers reorganized the Canton government in June, 1925.
This action followed Sun's death on March 11, 1925, in Peking, where he
had gone to take part in a reunification conference with the leading
_tuchüns_ of the North. The conference had failed, but it is
characteristic that Sun, embittered though he was, lent his last hours
to formulating a compromise. The new Canton government took the name of
_The Nationalist Government of China_, thereby disavowing succession
from the ineffectual Republic which preceded it. It remained in Canton
until the end of 1926; on January 1, 1927, it was transferred to Hankow,
the greatest inland city of China, located some six hundred miles up the
Yangtze River from Shanghai. Hankow is one of three sister cities
collectively termed the Wu-han cities; hence this phase of the
Nationalist Government is referred to as the Wu-han regime. It came to
an end in the fall of 1927, enjoyed a momentary resurrection in Canton,
and then passed into history, being succeeded by another Nationalist
Government at Nanking.

In the last two years of his life, Sun had come to stress again his
principle of nationalism. After the birth of the 1912 Republic he had
for some years placed in the foreground democracy and _min shêng_, until
he became aware that the problem of China's internal reconstruction
could not be solved without an adequate adjustment of foreign relations.
He saw that the _tuchün_ wars were influenced by competing imperialisms,
agreed upon resistance to the Chinese revolution while expressing pious
hopes for Chinese unity. Accordingly, the Kuomintang began emphasizing
its nationalist character, and Sun's followers, previously termed
Republicans or merely revolutionaries, were called Nationalists. With a
program of anti-imperialism, anti-_tuchünism_, and national unification,
the Party began making great headway. The propaganda machinery which the
Russian advisers had devised was turned against the vested interests. In
addition, the rapid rise of the Nationalists must be explained through
their party organization and the creation of agencies linked with the
Party, such as youth groups, labor unions, peasant unions, and women's
associations. Thus, instead of trying to superimpose a modern government
upon preexisting social forms, the Nationalists built their government
by molding the social groups necessary to its support.

The government was composed of a hierarchy of committees, similar to the
Soviet system in Russia. The topmost committees of the government were
subject to the control of the Central Executive Committee of the Party.
The Party secured its authority through a policy of democratic
centralism buttressed by the election of a Party Congress from the
various branches of the party. Power thus followed a perfectly clear and
traceable line; it did not depend upon mock elections or upon indefinite
delegations of authority. The party members elected the delegates to the
Party Congress; the Party Congress chose a Central Executive Committee;
the Central Executive Committee or its Standing Committee controlled the
Political Council (policy-making) and the Administrative Council
(cabinet), together with the Military Council. These three were the
supreme government agencies. The same party authorities appointed and
removed all members of all other councils in provincial or municipal
governments. There was not the faintest show of popular participation in
the government; government had become the exclusive tool of the Party.
But by being admittedly a tool, the government possessed definite power.

Party agencies opened wide the doors of mass participation, not in the
government but in the movement. The Nationalist Revolution won with the
assistance of the Communists in 1926-1927 rested on the extension of
every conceivable agitational device to every group of the population.
The government tied these devices together. Halfway on the road to
victory the differences between the Right and Left Kuomintang, and
between the Communists and the Kuomintang, became too acute to allow for
further operation. In April, 1927, Chiang K'ai-shek, the Nationalist
Generalissimo, established a Nationalist Government at Nanking. The
Nationalist Government, soviet in form, remained in Hankow for a few
more months, transferred again to Canton, and then expired. Even so, the
councils of the Nationalist governments at Canton and Wu-han had served
their purpose well; they had effected the concentration of power,
instead of its division, in the course of a revolution when
concentration was at a premium. With the approaching victory and peace,
the council form of government began to appear to the Chinese as no less
alien than parliamentarism. The Nanking government set out to
reconstitute a government both Chinese and modern.


[1] Sun Yat-sen, _How China Was Made a Republic_ (unpublished
manuscript written in Shanghai in 1919, now in possession of the present
author), p. 40.

[2] See above, pp. 43 ff.

[3] Wu Chih-fang, _Chinese Government and Politics_, p. 361, Shanghai,
1934. Wu's work, and Kalfred Dip Lum, _Chinese Government_, Shanghai,
1934, are the two surveys in a Western language of modern Chinese
government. Wu's work, while carefully done and containing a great deal
of useful material, is patterned rather closely after Western works on
Western government and makes no attempt to transpose Chinese politics
into Chinese terms, nor does it give adequate documentation of Chinese
sources; Lum's outline is based in great part on first-hand contact with
Chinese politics and, while brief, is helpful, especially on Kuomintang
organization and problems. M. T. Z. Tyau, _Two Years of Nationalist
China_, Shanghai, 1930, is a statistical and official commemoration
volume and useful within its obvious limitations; anonymous,
_Twenty-five Years of the Chinese Republic_, Nanking, 1937, contains
short essays and monographs, some excellent, some undistinguished, on
the Nanking regime and its predecessors. See also Sih-gung Cheng,
_Modern China: A Political Study_, Oxford, 1919, and the "China" issue
of _The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science_,
vol. 152, Philadelphia, 1930.

[4] Jermyn Chi-hung Lynn, _Political Parties in China_, Peking, 1930,
gives the most detailed outline of political parties yet available.
Bitterly anti-Kuomintang, the author became pro-Japanese in the autumn
of 1937.

[5] Harold M. Vinacke, _Modern Constitutional Development in China_,
pp. 145-146, 150, Princeton, 1920.

[6] See Wu, _op. cit._ in note 3, pp. 50-51, for the problem of
constitutional succession.

[7] Bertram Lennox-Simpson, who wrote under the pseudonym Putnam Weale,
was an Englishman native to North China who spent his life editing
newspapers, writing books, and playing the game of North Chinese
politics. He was murdered in 1931. His books cover the period from the
Boxer incident to the triumph of the Nationalists of Nanking, and--while
not always reliable in detail--are stimulating contemporary documents.
_The Fight for the Republic in China_, London, 1918, and _The Vanished
Empire_, London, 1926, are very readable. His novels, which suffer from
neglect, present some aspects of Chinese and foreign life in the North
which are not dealt with by any other writer with the same

[8] A. N. Holcombe, _The Chinese Revolution_, pp. 96-101, Cambridge,
1930, discusses this point with clarity and vigor.

[9] Jean Escarra, _Le droit chinois_, p. 133, Peiping and Paris, 1936.

[10] W. W. Willoughby, the very competent and sympathetic adviser to
the Chinese delegation at the Washington Conference, has written _China
at the Conference_, Baltimore, 1922, and _Foreign Rights and Interests
in China_, 2 vols., Baltimore, 1927. For further treatment of recent
Chinese foreign relations see, among others, R. T. Pollard, _China's
Foreign Relations_, 1917-1931, New York, 1933.

[11] For the origin of this system see John K. Fairbank, "The Creation
of the Foreign Inspectorate of Customs at Shanghai," _The Chinese Social
and Political Science Review_ (Peiping), vol. 19, pp. 469 ff.,

[12] Paul M. W. Linebarger, _Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese Republic_, New
York, 1924.

[13] See above, pp. 51 ff.

[14] This program is very pithily put by Sun in his _Fundamentals of
National Reconstruction_, issued the following year (to be found in M.
T. Z. Tyau, _op. cit._ in note 3, pp. 439 ff., and L. S. Hsü, _Sun
Yat-sen, His Political and Social Ideals_, pp. 85 ff., Los Angeles,
1933). The point is elaborated by Tsui Shu-chin, "The Influence of the
Canton-Moscow Entente upon Sun Yat-sen's Political Philosophy," _The
Chinese Social and Political Science Review_ (Peiping), vol. 18, pp. 177
ff., 1934; and Paul M. A. Linebarger, _The Political Doctrines of Sun
Yat-sen_, pp. 209-214, "The Three Stages of Revolution," Baltimore,
1937. See also Hou Yong-ling, _La vie politique et constitutionelle en
Chine_, Peiping, 1935; Tsêng Yü-hao, _Modern Chinese Legal and Political
Philosophy_, Shanghai, 1930.

_Chapter_ VIII


The National Government of China set up at Nanking in April, 1927, was
not definitively organized until late that year. Chiang K'ai-shek had to
resign from the government before the Left Kuomintang group would accept
the regime. In the following year, with the return of Chiang and the
adoption of a new constitution (Organic Law of the National Government),
the Nanking government was more firmly established than any previous
government since the death of Yüan Shih-k'ai. A high price had been paid
for stability: Northern military leaders had been allowed to join it,
much as those of the South had supported Sun Yat-sen ten years before.
The break with the Communists meant stopping a vast agrarian-proletarian
revolution midway in its course, at a cost of many lives. The
Nationalists, thrust into the role of governors, could not avoid turning
against many of those who had helped to put them in power but wished to
continue the revolution.

_The National Government of China_

Despite the difficulties which it faced, the National Government had
many assets. In the realm of ideology, it had the advantage of
possessing a state philosophy and a patron saint: the _San Min Chu I_[1]
and its author, Sun Yat-sen. In the military sphere, it had at its
disposal an army unequaled in China; in the economic, the support of the
Chinese bourgeoisie, together with the friendly interest of the
capitalist powers. In the province of politics, it carried with it much
of the personnel formerly serving the Nationalist Government, soviet in
form, to which it claimed succession. Its officials were accustomed to
devote themselves seriously to government, so that from the very
beginning the Nanking government was inclined to enforce its laws as
well as promulgate them--thereby breaking with the usage of the shadow
Republic at Peking. Finally, the new government secured full
international recognition with the flight of Chang Tso-lin from Peking
and the disappearance of the rival regime in the North (1928).

Sun's state philosophy fulfilled a cardinal function. Even in its most
troubled phases, when military factors came closest to the surface of
government, the new government did not lapse into fiction. There was a
programmatic index against which Nanking's accomplishments could be
tested, and a definite long-range plan to follow. The program enabled
the National Government to utilize the forms of revolution for the
purpose of stabilizing government--far less dangerous than the practice
of their Northern predecessors, to use government in order to further
disunited military despotism. The officers of the Kuomintang exhibited a
meticulous respect for the dead Leader of their Party. Sun Yat-sen,
known by his honorific pseudonym _Chung Shan_, was buried in one of the
most magnificent tombs of modern times. In carrying out Sun's legacy,
the Kuomintang was pledged to the principles of intraparty democratic
centralism and party dictatorship over the rest of the nation. The
formal party organization was not seriously effected by the change from
a soviet form of government.

Government under the Kuomintang, despite the breakdown of morale which
followed the disintegration of the Great Revolution (1927), was
radically unlike that of the Peking regimes. In 1927, when Chiang
K'ai-shek turned against the peasant unions and officialized the labor
unions, a tendency toward outright military dictatorship became
apparent. The developments of the following ten years did not at any
time suggest that military power had meekly yielded to governmental
power, but they did indicate that government was taking an increasing
part in the control of society. The close interrelation of ideology and
government, dating from the period of the Nationalist-Communist
alliance, was to endure after the revolution had been transformed into a
reconstructive process and rebellion had been superseded by
administration. However much Sun and his teachings failed to create a
new political Islam, they weathered criticism sufficiently well to
provide a scheme of policy, political values, and broad objectives.

The influence of Sun Yat-sen was harmed, rather than reinforced, by the
hysterical ritualists who seem to be the parasites of all one-party
governments. The memory of the Leader and his teachings settled into the
stabilizing roles of founding father and general dogma. Only a few
veterans of the movement are still inspired by the fire of his words and
the vigor of his personality. To the vast bulk of Chinese public opinion
Sun Yat-sen is the human embodiment of virtuous, brave, and intelligent
conduct, whose theories are acceptable in their general form and whose
programs have proved pragmatically usable. The _San Min Chu I_ failed to
cause widespread political ecstasy; it succeeded in bringing direction
and sanity, after a limited fashion. To spread allegiance the government
fostered a Sun Yat-sen memorial ritual; every Monday morning, in every
government office, college, school, police station, and other public
building, there was held a service consisting of the reading of Sun
Yat-sen's political testament and passages from his speeches clarifying
his doctrines. The services seemed for a while to resemble a state
religion; but the moderateness and formalism of Chinese life was
inimical to the fervor necessary for political religion. The Kuomintang
and its government came to see these limitations; although the services
have remained, they are now severely secular in spirit.

The most dynamic part of the _San Min Chu I_, the doctrine of
nationalism, had contributed to placing the Kuomintang in power. The new
government was accordingly nationalist and centralistic; it opposed any
type of regionalism--political, administrative, economic, or military.
The Northern generals who sided with the government at the time of its
formation were brought within the operation of the national military
laws. When they revolted--quite properly, according to their _tuchün_
standards--against reduction of their forces in the Disbandment War of
1930-1931, they were defeated. With the Southern and the Western
military leaders Chiang was not as successful, until Japanese and
Communist pressure brought first the one and then the other group into
his fold. After actual autonomy for a number of years, the province of
Kuangtung (Canton) submitted in 1936 to the authority of the National
Government, thereby bringing to an end the generation-old division of
North and South. Nationalism and centralism affected not only the armies
but also the entire administration, whose service functions and police
powers developed amazingly. Although the Nanking government had
originally faced broad popular suspicion, it began to win genuine
respect because of its accomplishments.

Was the Nanking government a dictatorship? Its record does not justify
the assumption that it was merely to camouflage a military dictatorship
commandeered by Chiang K'ai-shek. Moreover, the policy-making power was
not by any means a prerogative of Chiang K'ai-shek. Chiang was nearly
sovereign in technical military matters and possessed more political
influence than did any other single individual. Yet the power of policy
making rested with a small group of men not over a hundred in number.
Some of the gentlest, sincerest, and quietest of these leaders had once
been _tuchüns_ in their own right; some of the most military and
forthright had never handled anything more lethal than a cash register.
The leaders tended to work within the party and government structure, so
that the political organization, while not of great simplicity or
clarity, accurately portrayed the distribution of power. No one can
gauge the degree of interdependence between the leaders of a government
system in its formative period, and between the offices which these
leaders occupy. The Sian episode indicated that the Nanking government
could continue without Chiang and that Chiang's incarceration was not
the signal for immediate anarchy. But Chiang was not actually dead, nor
was the government deprived of the support which his prestige had
generated. From 1927 to 1937 the Nanking government remained under
approximately the same leading officials.

The last test for the sources of Nanking's power may be found in
considering the relation between the men in command and the authority
which placed them there. The supreme organ of the party was the Party
Congress. This body did determine the course of government policy
frequently, and on such occasions clarified issues through action. The
Congress elected the Central Executive Committee and the Central
Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang. The entire membership of the
Congress would vote in the elections, any of the members being eligible.
Since the Congress was composed of representatives from the various
regional and functional divisions of the party, intraparty democracy was
insured in theory and--though to a lesser extent--in practice. The two
top committees elected smaller Standing Committees; the Central
Executive Committee in addition elected the Central Political Council,
which was the highest organ of government in China and the agency
through which the party controlled the government. The Central Political
Council did not seek to keep track of the detail of government; it
outlined governmental policy, appointed major officials, and directed
rather than supervised administration. It was a policy-making body in
the strictest sense, and its action took effect upon the Council of
State, which coordinated the government establishments.[2]

Had there been a schism between the Nanking government and the
Kuomintang, it might have been possible to trace a political issue as it
was fought out--all the way from the party membership up through the
Party Congress and the Central Executive Committee, from party to
government by action of the Central Political Council, and down through
the Council of State and the subordinated government organs to the
administrative network operating upon the broad masses of the populace.
In fact, however, no issue saw the light, since the same group that
dominated the party controlled the government. The relation between the
leaders and the Party Congresses can perhaps best be compared with that
between the leading personalities of a Republican or Democratic
convention in the United States and the convention delegates. Convention
action rarely transfers power or upsets leadership, nor do constructive
plans or formulated policies emerge from convention sessions; and yet
the conventions cannot be regarded merely as tools in the hands of the
party leadership. A similar situation existed in China. Even when Chiang
and the other leaders seemed to hold the bag, the meetings of the Party
Congress did not lack importance, and the issues before the Congress
were not considered predetermined. This was no personal regime in the
Napoleonic sense. Party dictatorship expressed itself in defined forms,
as a part of Sun Yat-sen's state philosophy. Benevolent oligarchy of
patriotic modernists, acting with party sanction obtained through
intraparty democratic processes, was not foreign to Sun's mind. The
Nanking government further differed from fascist governments, and
resembled the Russian, in that it was democratic in intent; its
dictatorial character was avowedly temporary. Throughout the period
during which the Kuomintang ruled from Nanking, democracy was regarded
as a definite goal of governmental policy. The Japanese invasions
culminating in open war made impossible the immediate abrogation of
Kuomintang party dictatorship. Yet when war broke out in 1937, the
National Government was on the verge of reconstituting itself as a
democracy; but now the regime itself became itinerant, moving into the

The Nanking government was organized under Kuomintang rule in a form
unique among modern states. Its three most distinctive features were:
(1) the concentration of power in the supreme agencies; (2) a fivefold
division of power and function through the _yüans_; and (3) the absence
of parliamentary chambers.[3] While the Organic Law was in effect as a
constitution (1928-1931), the government was headed by a president
wielding considerable power and a Council of State which served as the
chief control agency. In 1931 a National People's Convention made up of
representatives of the Kuomintang and of occupational groups adopted a
Provisional Constitution.[4] Under this constitution the power of the
president was sharply reduced, making him practically a titular officer.
The Council of State became a more formalized agency, and the greater
weight of government routine was placed in the Executive _Yüan_. Under
the draft constitution proposed for the period after the end of party
dictatorship a presidential system was to have been inaugurated.

The years 1931-1937 were characterized by the use of the Council of
State as the supreme agency of formal government. The president of the
National Government was little more than the chairman of the Council.
The Council received instructions from the Central Political Council,
and transmitted them to the five regular departments of government in
the form of policies. Great as its powers may seem to be, the Council of
State was largely an intermediary agency, although the personal
influence of its members was extensive. The Council, with its
administrative adjuncts, was of value in that it provided an
institutional center for the government and gave governmental form to
the commands of the party. There was no judicial check on the executive
or the legislative branches.

The fivefold division of powers (adopted as the _yüan_ system) is one of
the most original points in Sun Yat-sen's political scheme. _Yüan_ is an
almost untranslatable Chinese term signifying a "public body" and used
in modern China to designate the five great coordinate departments of





  1. Secretariat for Civil Affairs
  2. Secretariat for Military Affairs
  3. Commission for the Disciplinary Punishment of Political Officials


  1. Commission of Military Affairs
  2. Board of General Staff
  3. Directorate-General of Military Training
  4. Military Advisory Council
  5. National Reconstruction Commission
  6. Academia Sinica
  7. National Economic Council
  8. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum Commission

    1. Ministry of the Interior
    2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    3. Ministry of Military Affairs
    4. Ministry of the Navy
    5. Ministry of Finance
    6. Ministry of Industries
    7. Ministry of Education
    8. Ministry of Communications
    9. Ministry of Railways
    10. Commission on Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs
    11. Commission on Overseas Chinese Affairs
    12. National Health Service
    13. Hopei-Chahar Political Council
    14. Mongolian Local Autonomy Council
    15. Weihaiwei Administration
    16. Preparatory Commission for the Sikang Provincial Government
    17. Boards of Trustees for Boxer Refunds
    18. Committee on Efficiency

    Legislative Members
    Legislative Research Bureau
    Bureau of Statistics

    Commission for the Disciplinary Punishment of Public Functionaries
    Administrative Court
    Supreme Court
    Ministry of Justice

    Examination Commission
    Ministry of Personnel

    Ministry of Audit

  _Hsien_    Municipalities

The Executive _Yüan_ was headed, as were all the others, by a
_yüan_ president (_yüan-chang_), assisted by a vice-president, a
secretary-general, and a director of political affairs. The yüan
included all the major executive ministries, and the formal meeting of
the Executive _Yüan_ was a meeting of the _Yüan_ officers, the heads of
the ministries, and other directing officials. Such meetings took place
once a week and corresponded to cabinet meetings in Western countries.
The executive work of the entire government was performed by the
Executive _Yüan_ and--through characteristic Chinese devices--the _Yüan_
Secretariat, divided into bureaus and committees, came to occupy a
position of high strategic importance in Chinese government. All
executive measures were funneled through the Secretariat, which cast
them into proper form and determined whether or not they should be put
on the _yüan_ agenda. It thus occupied a position not unlike that of the
Grand Chancery and Grand Secretariat of the T'ang dynasty or of the
Office of Transmissions under the Manchus. The Executive _Yüan_ combined
within itself nine ministries: Interior (having charge of provincial and
local government), Foreign Affairs, Military Affairs, Navy, Finance,
Industries, Education, Communications, and Railways. Included were also
a number of special commissions and agencies.

The Legislative _Yüan_ consisted of a president, a vice-president, and
eighty-six members, with an extensive administrative staff attached to
it. The _yüan_ was divided, as are parliaments, into committees, but it
was not a representative body, nor able to enact laws independently of
the other divisions of government. Its president's powers were so wide
as to make the cameral organization of the _yüan_ more apparent than
real and to reduce the _yüan_ to a legislative drafting and research
agency. The Judicial _Yüan_ was made up of four establishments: Supreme
Court, Administrative Court, Commission for the Disciplinary Punishment
of Public Functionaries (dealing with the government personnel below
political rank), and the Ministry of Justice. The Examination _Yüan_,
composed of two divisions (Examination Commission and Ministry of
Personnel) gave expression to the Chinese tradition of separate
examining agencies. Its function was to provide a merit system
applicable to the whole government staff, except those relatively few
positions which were political in nature. Because of the difficulty of
developing elaborate machinery under unusual circumstances, the
Examination _Yüan_ did not establish for itself a high standard of
accomplishment. Finally, the Control _Yüan_ served as a chamber of
censors entitled to bring suit against dishonest or treacherous
officials, and maintained a central Ministry of Audit. In the last few
years of the Nanking regime it brought over two hundred and fifty cases
to bar each year.

An informative picture of the practical workings of one of the key parts
of the National Government, the Secretariat of the Executive _Yüan_, is
given by Tsiang Ting-fu, the Chinese ambassador to the Soviet Union and
formerly one of the ranking officials of that _Yüan_:

  The Bureau of General Affairs keeps the internal machinery of the
  Secretariat going. It receives the dispatches and distributes them
  among the sections. It manages the funds and looks after supplies.

  The Bureau of Confidential Affairs handles confidential telegrams and
  keeps the secret codes.

  The Secretaries in the Drafting Bureau draft documents that require
  high literary finish, usually formal documents.

  The Reception Bureau takes care of callers and visitors and sees to it
  that dignitaries who come to the Executive Yüan for business or
  courtesy calls are accorded a due reception.

  The Meetings Bureau arranges for all meetings held in, or under the
  auspices of, the Executive Yüan.

  The Compilation and Translation Bureau watches over the periodical
  press, both Chinese and foreign.

  The real political work is done in the Sections. Let us take up first
  political correspondence. A minister, governor, or mayor sends a
  dispatch to the Executive Yüan, asking for instructions in regard to,
  let us say, a problem in raising funds. It goes to Section 5. The head
  clerk and his assistants look up regulations, precedents, and other
  relevant facts and write a memorandum. The dispatch with the
  memorandum goes to the secretary or councillor in charge of the
  Section, who writes a minute suggesting a solution or approving a
  solution suggested by the head clerk. Then the dispatch, memorandum,
  and minute go to the Director of Political Affairs, who, taking into
  consideration political factors, renders a tentative decision for
  final approval by the Secretary-General. The clerical staff sticks to
  law, tradition, and precedent. Adjustments are usually made only by
  the ranks above. As the majority of problems are so-called routine
  problems, in connection with which the opinion of the clerical staff
  is usually sound, the ranks above usually accept the proposed
  solution. What is important and bothersome is the minority of unusual
  problems, for the treatment of which procedures are varied.

  The sender of a dispatch dealing with an unusual problem may call, or
  send a representative to call, on the Secretary-General or the
  Director of Political Affairs before or simultaneously with the
  sending of the dispatch, giving a personal detailed explanation of the
  matter and sounding the opinion of the Executive Yüan as represented
  by the Secretary-General and the Director of Political Affairs. An
  agreed solution may be arrived at during the interview. In that case
  the correspondence will be only formal. But the parties involved may
  disagree, in which case the Secretary-General will courteously say
  that the matter must be referred to the President or to the Yüan
  meeting, and the Director has an additional solution of the problem by
  resorting to consultation with the Secretary-General. In some cases
  the Secretary-General and the Director will decide the matter during
  the interview whether the caller likes it or not.

  Some unusual matters touch several jurisdictions, _i.e._, two or three
  ministries; or a number of provinces or cities; or both. The Executive
  Yüan then calls a meeting of representatives of the jurisdictions
  affected and the matter is threshed out there. The conclusions of such
  meetings may be referred to the President or to the Yüan meetings.

  In dealing with unusual problems of primary importance the
  Secretary-General usually consults the President, and the Director of
  Political Affairs consults the Secretary-General in most cases and the
  President in some cases where the work is specifically assigned to the
  Director by the President.

  The average of dispatches (including telegrams) received and sent out
  daily by the Executive Yüan is about three hundred, of which number
  only two or three need to be referred to the President or the Yüan
  meeting, the rest being handled by the Secretariat without such

  The Secretariat on its part, by the order of the President as Chairman
  of the Yüan meeting, or on the initiative of the Secretary-General or
  at the suggestion of the Director of Political Affairs, sends
  dispatches to the ministries, commissions, provinces and
  municipalities, in the form of decrees, ordinances, instructions,
  inquiries and requests.

  The energies of the clerical staff are devoted entirely to the
  incoming and outgoing correspondence. About half of the time of the
  secretaries and councillors is devoted to correspondence and half to
  conferences. The sub-committees created by the Yüan meeting are
  numerous and are almost always convoked by the Secretariat. In a few
  cases the Secretary-General and the Director of Political Affairs,
  usually accompanied by a secretary or councillor, attend; in most
  cases, however a secretary or a councillor is designated as the Yüan's
  representative. The conclusions of such sub-committees are always
  reported back to the Yüan meeting.[5]

Strange as the _yüan_ system may appear, it seems to have been the most
effectual form of government that the Chinese have devised in the
Republican era. In times of military or revolutionary crisis, however,
this elaborate scheme of bureaucratic departmentalization would prove
too cumbersome for rapid readjustment and action; during the Japanese
invasions, great reliance was placed on the creation of emergency
commissions. In addition to the _yüans_ there were a number of agencies
which did not fit into the five-power scheme. Great independent
establishments were attached directly to the Council of State. An
Academia Sinica took the place of the Han Lin of imperial times as a
national center for scholarship. A National Economic Council and a
National Reconstruction Commission performed specialized functions
effectively, with assistance from experts provided by the League of
Nations. In fact, there was a scattering of foreign advisers throughout
the government. Of these the highest in rank were placed at the disposal
of the Council of State, some rendering actual technical service, others
active in unofficial representation abroad, propaganda, lobbying in
foreign capitals, or similar tasks. Other advisers were attached to the
_yüans_ and to the ministries.

Provincial government under the Nanking regime was subordinated to the
Executive _Yüan_ through the Ministry of the Interior. The provinces
each possessed a commission form of government, with the commission
chairman serving as titular head of the province. The actual operation
of the provincial governments exhibited a great deal of variation,
depending on the character of the area, the extent of its political
development, and the tangible influence enjoyed by the National
Government. The provincial commission combined the policy-making,
policy-executing, and quasi-judicial functions, operating largely on the
basis of instructions from Nanking and transmitting reports through the
Secretariat of the Executive _Yüan_ at the other end. Attached to each
commission were a secretariat and four or more departments--mainly civil
affairs, finance, reconstruction, and education. The department heads
were members of the commission--a type of government not unlike that of
American cities under the Galveston plan. The theory of Sun Yat-sen
provided, however, that the province should decrease in importance with
the growth of modern government in China, so that the dangerous
regionalism in the country would eventually be denied overt political
expression. He saw the future significance of the provincial governments
only in their role as intermediaries for _hsien_-national relationships.
Under the National Government while at Nanking, the tendency was to
centralize control and to emphasize national guidance in those provinces
squarely under Nationalist rule. In other provinces the provincial
governments tended to follow local conditions and mirror the national
standards as a matter of decorum only. The provincial governments were
far less important in the life of the provinces than was the National
Government for the nation. They had the national civilian and military
authorities to cope with, in addition to the impositions of their own
local military. Their sources of revenue were not ample, and their
authority not well established. In some provinces the commission form
was adopted only as a matter of legal compliance, leaving to local
leaders the actual conduct of affairs. In fact, reform centered on the
_hsien_ rather than the province, partly because the province was a
potential rival to the nation, and partly because the _hsien_ was a more
organic unit in Chinese society.

Between the provincial authorities and those of the _hsien_ there stood
Special Commissioners of Administrative Inspection, whose function was
to relate the two administrative units and to work for the modernization
of _hsien_ organization. The _hsien_ served, and still serves, not only
a rural area but also the central municipality in which the _hsien_
magistrate has his headquarters. The _yamên_ (official building)
occupies the center of the town, mostly a one-story edifice built around
a courtyard; some _yamêns_ still display the two flagpoles and the two
stone lions that were required by the custom of the Empire. Usually the
_yamên_ contains:

"(_a_) the rooms occupied by the tax collectors and the administrative
and judicial police; (_b_) the court and the assembly room; (_c_) the
offices of the various bureaus; (_d_) the residence for magistrates and
the dormitory for officers."[6] The conduct of _hsien_ government is
influenced by three main groups--the illiterate masses, the conservative
gentry, and the younger progressives. In those _hsien_ units where no
reformist or revolutionary pressure is felt, the magistrate and the tax
collector do little more than collect funds, and the administration is
marked by the laxity which characterized old Chinese government in its
inadequate form. The gentry, the scholar-administrators, and the tax
collectors represent a single social group and manage to rule in their
own economic interest. In other _hsien_ units the influence of modern
government is noticeable; the magistrate is in most cases a man
determined to put into effect the standards of twentieth-century
administration. The prestige and power of young men with modern
educations have so increased that they are able to obtain a considerable
number of magistracies, and if they are willing they may introduce a
respectable measure of good government and reform.

The magistrate selects his secretary and four bureau heads, subject to
the approval of the provincial authorities. The secretary performs the
work usually expected of permanent officials, carrying on much of the
routine so as to leave the magistrate free for political and
quasi-judicial functions. The secretary is virtually a vice-magistrate
and, if successful, keeps the governmental machinery of the _hsien_ in
smooth operation. When the magistrate is absent, he acts as the
substitute. The four bureaus of the _hsien_ correspond to the four chief
administrative divisions of the province--civil affairs, finance,
reconstruction, and education. An opium suppression bureau is often
added, carrying on the anti-narcotic campaign. The civil affairs bureau
has charge of the census, and supervises local areas within the
district. Such matters as police, militia, sanitary administration,
public buildings, classical shrines, and parks are frequently under its
jurisdiction. The subordinate units of administration are provisional,
but the _pao-chia_ system has been restored at the lowest level. This is
a device for the mutual guarantee, protection, and responsibility of
citizens, in which ten families make a _pao_ and ten _pao_ make a
_chia_. The tax bureau is one of the weakest links in Chinese local
government, as in this office corruption is rife, and severe oppression
of the farmers most frequent. In unreformed _hsien_ units, the tax
bureau is likely to be the political plum of members of the local
gentry, who use it to extend their tenant farms, promote usury, and
defraud the government. The provincial governments have begun to send
out accountants and to install regular bookkeeping systems--an
undertaking which if completed would be one of the major reforms of
local administration.

In the smaller _hsien_ units the magistrate is assisted for judicial
purposes by a judge; in the larger, separate courts are provided. Up to
the outbreak of hostilities in 1937 the national and provincial
governments were making great strides in reorganizing judicial
administration and in the professionalization of police work. The judges
are appointees of the provincial courts, a factor which may make for
greater professional capacity and independence. The general importance
of the _hsien_ is illustrated by the fact that in Manchoukuo the
Japanese have been forced to revive this system. They have, however,
implemented it with a Japanese officer known as the _Kanjikan_, who is
supposed to advise his Chinese colleague. The experiment is of great
interest, as it provides the acid test for the Japanese attempt actually
to administer a Chinese area. Without firm _hsien_ governments beneath
them, the Japanese puppet regimes are foredoomed to failure.[7]

Until the beginning of the undeclared war, the departmentalization and
modernization of the _hsien_ had proceeded most extensively in certain
model districts selected for the purpose of political and administrative
experimentation. Some of these had reached a level of efficiency which
augured well for the future of Chinese government. With the coming of
war, however, administrative interests had to yield in many cases to
political or military ones, but in one significant respect _hsien_
government was constructively affected. The evocation of popular
interest in and cooperation with the government caused a great
acceleration of progress toward local democracy, and focused attention
on reaction and corruption in the inland regions. War propaganda among
the masses of the people amounted to a call for public-spirited action;
such action is bound to take the form of direct military enlistment or
of collaboration in local patriotic and defense schemes.

Municipal government in old China was carried on largely by the
officials of the imperial or provincial bureaucracy. Cities and towns
were graded and even named according to the rank of the office for which
they served as headquarters. The imperial administration thus extended
to municipal affairs; each municipal government included a designated
rural area surrounding the city. With the growth of modern government in
China, plans were considered for a definite and systematic development
of municipal administration. The foreign-controlled cities of the coast
provided models of Western administration, and the Chinese were not slow
to copy. A few years ago the cities of China were divided for
administrative purposes into three categories: those administered
directly by the national government; those placed directly under the
provincial governments; and those for which no special category was
provided, leaving them under the established bureaucratic hierarchy. In
1936 there were five cities of the first class (Nanking, Peiping,
Shanghai, Tientsin, and Tsingtao) and eighteen of the second class,
including the very important cities of Hankow and Canton. The municipal
administration is headed by the mayor and the council. The mayor is
appointed by the authority under whose jurisdiction the city is placed.
The council is composed of two appointed councillors and the chiefs of
the municipal bureaus--four or more. The four required bureaus are civil
affairs, finance, public works, and education. Intracity organization
was accomplished through the use of _ch'u_, or wards, subdivided into
family groups of defined size. With the development of democracy it was
intended for each of these to take part in the promotion of
self-government; at each level representatives should be chosen by free
suffrage. The family foundation has remained a significant feature even
of municipal administration.

The chief political question before the National Government at the
outbreak of hostilities in the summer of 1937 was the adoption of a
permanent democratic constitution. This was to be accomplished in much
the same way that the Provisional Constitution had been adopted in
1931--by means of a specially elected People's Congress. In the
meantime, a draft constitution had reached a nearly final form. The
outstanding features of the draft included the strengthening of the
presidency, the abolition of the Kuomintang party dictatorship, the
extension of a widely defined suffrage to operate on an unprecedented
scale, and provision for periodically assembling People's Congresses to
take, by and large, the position of the Kuomintang by exercising the
four powers of the people: initiative, referendum, election, and recall.
The elective offices would be reduced to a few. The installation and
removal of the major government officers was a function to be divided
between the People's Congress and the president, who was himself to be
elected and recalled by the Congress.

The Japanese invasion led to the scattering and the partial suspension
of government. Military needs began to rule the hour. The Kuomintang
Party Congress held in the spring of 1938 elevated Chiang K'ai-shek to
the newly-created position of _Tsung-tsai_--a term meaning Party Leader,
which had been the office held by Sun Yat-sen under the more august
synonym _Tsung-li_. Not only was this a partial recognition of the
leadership principle[8] in a democracy at war and a testimonial to
Chiang as the supreme military leader of the Republic, but it was also a
substantial grant of power. Four new powers were given Chiang as Party
Leader: (1) the position of Chairman of the National Kuomintang
Congress; (2) the chairmanship of the Central Executive Committee of the
Kuomintang; (3) the power to ask (impliedly, to demand) that the
National Kuomintang Congress reconsider its resolutions, which amounted
to the grant of a courteous but effective conditional veto; and (4)
final authority on Central Executive Committee resolutions, by means of
a parallel veto.[9] This apparent trend toward emergency one-man control
was, however, offset by the convening on July 6, 1938, of the People's
Political Council, an advisory all-Party representative body, designed
to substitute temporarily for the again-postponed National Congress. Its
appearance was the widest break in the formal front of one-party
Kuomintang rule to occur in a decade, and was heralded as a signal for
the practical democratization of the government.

_The Chinese Soviet Republic_

After the suppression of the Marxists by Chiang K'ai-shek and the
liquidation of the Nationalist government at Wu-han, the Chinese
Communist movement took to underground agitation. It demonstrated its
power, however, by proclaiming the Canton Commune on December 11, 1927.
The Commune ended in bloody suppression. At the same time, in the far
interior, the first Chinese Soviet had been established; from it, in
Tsalin on the Hunan-Kiangsi border, was to develop the Chinese Soviet

On the fourth anniversary of the Canton Commune the Chinese Soviet
Republic came into official being. A constitution was adopted, and soon
in the Communist districts soviets began to spread during a period of
relative peace. Nevertheless, the Soviet organization was always under
considerable pressure because of the war waged upon it by Chiang.
Although labor and agrarian legislation was adopted, the regime
had to operate under conditions of extreme military activity,
counterrevolution, and terror. Despite all these handicaps, the
Communists kept their government intact; they were able to move it
thousands of miles across China in the historic Long March from South
Central to Northwest China, which began October 16, 1934, and ended
October 20, 1935.

Under its constitution, the Chinese Soviet Republic is declared to be
"the democratic dictatorship of the workers and peasants."[10] The
suffrage was set at the age of sixteen. The government was formed in a
manner similar to that employed in the U. S. S. R. before the adoption
of the new Soviet Constitution: local soviets elect district or city
soviets, which in turn elect provincial soviets, which elect a National
Congress of Soviets. In practice, the pattern could not be followed
closely, since elections were difficult to hold and territorial division
not always certain. The Central Executive Committee of the Congress of
Soviets was the chief political authority of the Communist regime; it
had the familiar executive organization of the Soviet system: a
Presidium of the Central Executive Committee and under it the People's
Council, the equivalent of a cabinet. The strength of the Chinese
Communists lay in their Party and adjunct organizations, in their land
policy, and in their Red Army.

The central government of the Chinese Soviet Republic was no mere torso.
It included the following agencies immediately subordinate to the
People's Council: the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Inspection, the
Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Land, the Ministry of Labor, the
Revolutionary Military Commissariat, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the
Political Safety Bureau, the Ministry of Communications, the People's
Economic Commissariat, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Food, the
Ministry of Education, and--strangely--the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As a result of the kidnaping at Sian at the end of 1936, the
Nationalists and the Communists drifted toward a _rapprochement_. The
next February the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang accepted
the Communist offer of United Front collaboration, although disguising
the acceptance by formal conditions for a Communist surrender. In
September the Chinese Soviet Republic was ready to assume the name of
_Special Administrative District of the Chinese Republic_. This left
their governmental and administrative organization unaffected; nor did
it mean the dissolution of the Red Army, now also under a new name, that
of the Eighth Route Army. With the commencement of the Japanese advance,
Communist leaders began taking part in the work of the National
Government, first at Nanking and then inland.

_Other Governments in China_

As the National Government at Nanking rose to a dominant position in
Chinese affairs, regional regimes outside its fold found it less easy to
fit themselves into the framework of the new Chinese state. The
Disbandment War of 1930-1931 had witnessed the defeat of the two most
redoubtable _tuchüns_ remaining in the North. On the other hand, it
became increasingly evident that acceptance of the Nanking hegemony in
name led to the infiltration of Nanking rule in fact.

Nothing but a register of encyclopedic proportions could list and
describe the various political institutions which arose calling
themselves _governments_ in the troubled quarter-century of the Chinese
Republican era. Some have bordered on the pathological: Islamistan, for
instance, which was the work of an Englishman who proclaimed himself
emperor of a new Moslem Empire in Central Asia. The provincial
authorities of Chinese Turkestan (Sinkiang) drove him out by using
airplanes borrowed from the Soviet Union. In Foochow, in 1932-1933,
there arose a movement headed by exiled Left Kuomintang leaders and
other ultra-patriots eager for immediate war with Japan. This government
was the first in years which did not pay lip service to the _San Min Chu
I_, nor claimed legitimate descent from the movement of Sun Yat-sen and
his revolutionaries--a surprising circumstance. Its very flexible
constitution would have permitted collaboration with the Chinese
Soviets--had the Red leaders not decided against it. The other main
point in which it varied from the pattern set by the Nanking government
was its profession of federalism. Known as the Federal Revolutionary
Government of China, it lasted a few months only to be destroyed by
Chiang, who had no scruples against using the weight of his modern
armies, including planes and motorized troops. These vegetations of
government can only interest the political botanist. Far more
troublesome have been the opposition governments mentored or sponsored
by outside forces. Tibet and Sinkiang (Chinese Turkestan) provided a
fertile field of anti-Nanking agitation. Two "states" in China proper--
Manchoukuo and an equally Japanese-controlled Peking Republic
(1937)--find their counterparts in three others located in Chinese
dependencies: the Communist republics of Outer Mongolia and Tannu-Tuva,
and the ambiguous "state" in Eastern Inner Mongolia (sometimes called

These Communist republics are under stable government, and, judged from
reports which reach the outside, seem efficiently administered. They lie
in the former Imperial Russian sphere of influence, south of the
Sino-Russian border; except for the complications which would have
arisen internationally, they might just as well have been in the Soviet
Union as outside. Both governments maintain legations in Moscow. It
might be mentioned that when the Russian Red Army invaded Manchuria in
1929 during the conflict over the Chinese Eastern Railway, a Barga
Mongol Soviet was temporarily established. The Communist "states" cannot
be compared with the Chinese Soviet Republic, which depended on no
outside military support and resulted from a great ideological drive.
They serve as advance posts of the Soviet Union--precedent for the
creation of puppet states within China. Years later the Japanese
manufactured a "state" in Eastern Inner Mongolia, with the cooperation
of anti-Chinese Mongol princes, which Japan has publicized very little.
Known in the world press as _Mêngkokuo_, it provides a Japanese buffer
state to meet the Russian buffer of Outer Mongolia. On October 29, 1937,
it reached its latest phase with the proclamation of the Autonomous
Government of Inner Mongolia.

The Great Empire of Manchou, to use its present official name, arose as
Manchoukuo. The word itself was a concession to world opinion, as
Manchuria is known to the Chinese simply as the Three Eastern Provinces
(Tung San Shêng); its population is overwhelmingly Chinese. With the
development of Chinese national unity, the Japanese position in this
area was threatened. They invaded Manchuria in September, 1931; the
following year they proclaimed the independence of Manchoukuo, inviting
the young man who as a child had been the last Manchu emperor of China
to serve as the head of the state. In 1934 he was installed as Emperor
Kang Têh of the Great Empire of Manchou. The Japanese have done a great
deal toward bettering their own economic position in Manchuria, but the
effect of their policies on the Chinese population is of doubtful merit.
Equal motives underlay the rebirth of Peking, where on December 14,
1937, the Provisional Government of the Republic of China was
proclaimed.[11] The old Peking-Republican flag was flown. The heads of
the new regime were aged men who already twenty years ago had cooperated
with the Japanese. Others served under duress and performed their mock
routine in the cold agony of treason. The new administration is
honeycombed with Japanese "advisers" and under the domination of the
Japanese army.

To round out their collection of puppet governments, the Japanese
established in the spring of 1938 a Reformed Government of the Republic
of China in Nanking, and even went so far as to adopt--provisionally, at
least--the constitutional form of the National Government, which had
moved upriver. This regime was admittedly even more ephemeral than the
others, and the Japanese announced their intention of consolidating it
with the set-up they had organized in Peiping. For the time, it was to
be subordinate for purposes of theory to the Northern regime, but the
future of the whole Japanese adventure was in doubt, and that of their
half-conceived instrumentalities even more dubious.

_The Growth of Government in China_

In the decade following 1927, Chinese government became more significant
than it had been since the days of the founding emperors of the Ch'in
and the Han. Power was based on a correlation of government with
ideological and military forces. The Nationalist Party was the first to
effectuate this correlation, in part as a result of lessons learned from
the Soviet advisers in the period of collaboration.[12] The Nationalists
utilized the doctrinal bases of the _San Min Chu I_, tested in the
social revolution which arose from the Nationalist-Communist propaganda.
The great personal prestige of Sun Yat-sen was one of the most important
contributing factors to the growth of Nationalist administration in

The military ability and political leadership of Chiang K'ai-shek
largely determined the success of the subsequent National Government.
Chiang created a military machine superior to any other in China and
coordinated army and government in such a way as to add strength to
both.[13] But Chiang stood not alone. His wife became his _alter ego_
for press relations, and important in her own right. His brother-in-law
T. V. Soong, resourceful financier, and his sisters-in-law, Mme Sun
Yat-sen (Sun's second wife) and Mme H. H. K'ung (wife of a later
minister of finance), were strong influences at Nanking. Yet these
members of the "Soong dynasty" did not shape the course of Nanking
policies as a closed concern. They were part of a larger group sharing
responsibility equally.

Once the National Government was established its success was largely the
result of success. Improvements in the international status of China
accrued to the prestige of the regime, and a new surge toward
reconstruction, delayed intolerably long by the anarchy of _tuchüns_,
occurred as the result of the Nanking hegemony. In the later years of
the National Government, before the Japanese onslaught transformed it
into a quasi-military regime fighting for its existence, the increased
extent of the national police power was brought into sharp relief. With
the extension of a unified gendarmery service over great parts of the
nation, and the development of a court system which worked well except
when under political pressure, the individual came to face government as
a reality--more than ever before, under any dynasty. The government
defied custom and tradition in promoting public health, in attacking
epidemics, in sponsoring modern burial practices, and in deriding
unhygienic superstitions. In the broad field of mores which adjoins
public health, the influence of the government made itself felt--in
reducing the cost of marriage, in promoting municipal cleanliness and
tidiness in public places, in furthering temperance. The New Life
movement combined the prestige of the government with the elasticity of
voluntary association. In its closing days Nanking whipped up an
unprecedented wave of public spirit among the masses.

As to government control of the economy, the Nanking government aimed at
system, in place of the inchoate conditions which existed before its
ascendancy. Chinese banks began to be as reliable as those of the West.
The currency was standardized on a national basis. A national fiscal
policy was adopted. A great achievement was the introduction of a
managed paper currency in a country where specie alone had been
respected for ages. Agriculture, however, was lagging behind.

Government disavowed its previous identification with a scholastic
officialdom. It dispensed with a state religion, although the
commemoration of Sun Yat-sen compensated in part for the change.
Government disclaimed any vague totalitarianism and instead clarified
its zone of functioning through the use of law. By narrowing the field
of its authority, it increased its effectiveness. Nationalization,
centralization, bureaucratization, the development of lawful process,
the emergence of a half-Western state working for Chinese needs--thus
may the growth of government be characterized in the period after 1928.
Obstacles remained, enough to dismay any ruler; but they had become
obstacles and were not impassable barriers of cynicism, incomprehension,
and futility.

The Japanese invasion of 1937 had two immediate effects on the
government. It shattered overnight the structure erected by the Nanking
regime. The work of a decade was undone. On the other hand, the Japanese
threat helped to drive the Communists and Nationalists together and
forced into the national nexus those regional leaders who were
maintaining the last vestiges of separatism. Most consequential of all:
Japan's push--the greatest invasion the Chinese had known since the
1600's--thrust government and people toward each other. Foreign troops
taught inland China what nationalism really meant.

They taught nationalism not merely with the fury of their guns, or with
the cruelties of their hysterical troops in Nanking. The Japanese
fostered nationalism most strikingly when they drove inland the
protagonists of nationalism. Students, merchants, engineers, soldiers,
administrators, physicians, and scientists of the coast were forced into
the far interior. Villagers to whom the sight of these modern Chinese
was as rare as the sight of a lama in Arkansas now had such refugees
dwelling among them. The effect of forced cultural cross-fertilization
is yet to be seen, but it may prove to be of extraordinary significance.
Chinese able to hold their own with any representative of the Western
world can now be found in the remote valleys and plateaus of the
hinterland--twentieth-century China and timeless China, united in their
hatred of the invaders, and deeply aware of their new national unity,
their desperate need for power.


[1] See above, pp. 41 ff.

[2] See Wu Chih-fang, _Chinese Government and Politics_, pp. 147 ff.,
Shanghai, 1934.

[3] The outline given and the description offered are brief and
generalized because the Japanese invasion will probably lead to
recurrent reorganization of the government. Shih Chao-ying and Chang
Chi-hsien (editors), _The Chinese Year Book_, 1936-1937, have an
excellent series of short descriptions by acknowledged authorities of
the organs of government. Some of these are: Tsui Wei-wu, "Kuomintang,"
pp. 223-229; Ray Chang, "Central and Local Administrative Systems," pp.
230-240; Tsiang Ting-fu, "Executive Yüan," pp. 241-246; Hsieh Pao-chao,
"Legislative Yüan," pp. 247-292; Hsieh Kuan-sheng, "Judicial Yüan," pp.
293-336; Chien Chih-shiu, "Control Yüan," pp. 337-347; Chen Ta-chi,
"Examination Yüan," pp. 348-362; and Chu Shih-ming, "Army," pp. 946-955.
This annual, which is written by Chinese in English and edited by
Chinese, is not to be confused with the British _China Year Book_,
1912-; the latter gives a broad outline of Chinese government.

[4] Kalfred Dip Lum, _Chinese Government_, Shanghai, 1934. The author
was himself a member of this convention; his work, therefore, possesses
unusual interest.

[5] Tsiang Ting-fu, _loc. cit._ in note 3, pp. 244-245.

[6] A number of French doctoral dissertations by Chinese students deal
with Chinese local government. Although they are of uneven quality, some
give considerable material not otherwise available in a Western
language. Among these are Chang-Yu-Sing, _L'Autonomie locale en Chine_,
Nancy, 1933; Hsu Han-hao, _L'Administration provinciale en Chine_,
Nancy, 1931; Ku-Yen-Ju, _Le Regime actuel le l'indépendance
decentralisée en Chine_, Nancy, 1931; and Loo Kon-tung, _La Vie
municipale et l'urbanisme en Chine_, Lyon, 1934. Among the most valuable
and informing pictures of hsien government is "Hsien Government and
Functions" by W. H. Ma, _The Chinese Recorder_ (Shanghai), vol. 68, pp.
506-512, 1937. The quotation is from p. 506. The _Information Bulletins_
published by the Council of International Affairs, Nanking, 1936-1937,
include much material on Chinese politics and government. Especially
interesting are E. C. Tang, _Five Years of the Control Yüan_, Nanking,
1936, and C. L. Hsia, _Background and Features of the Draft Constitution
of China_, Nanking, 1937.

[7] See "An Account of the Hsien and Banner Council System of
Manchoukuo," _Contemporary Manchuria_ (Dairen), vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 92
ff., 1938.

[8] Compare the position of Chiang as Party Leader in China with that
of the _Führer_ in Germany, as described in Fritz Morstein Marx,
_Government in the Third Reich_, 2d ed., pp. 62 ff., New York and
London, 1937.

[9] See the news reports in _The China Weekly Review_ (Shanghai), vol.
84, pp. 150 ff., 1938.

[10] See _Fundamental Laws of the Chinese Soviet Republic_, p. 18, New
York, 1934. Edgar Snow's _Red Star Over China_, New York, 1938, is the
best book on the Chinese Communists. P. Miff, _Heroic China_, New York,
1937, is a useful condensed history of Communism in China based on the
material currently available in the Soviet press. Mao Tse-tung, Wang
Ming and others, _China: The March Toward Unity_, New York, 1937,
contains some of Snow's material and also translations of important
speeches and manifestoes regarding the inauguration of a United Front
policy. A considerable amount of Chinese Communist material is to be
found in the magazines _The Voice of China_ (now suspended), Shanghai,
and _China Today_, New York.

[11] For a description of the nature and organization of the
pro-Japanese Peking regime of 1937-1938 see Andrew W. Canniff, "Japan's
Puppets in China," _Asia_, vol. 38, pp. 151-153, 1938. The new Nanking
regime is described in the _China Weekly Review_ (Shanghai), Apr. 2,

[12] Tsui Shu-chin, "The Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente upon
Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Tactics," _The Chinese Social and Political
Science Review_ (Peiping), vol. 20, pp. 101 ff., 1936.

[13] For biographies of Chiang K'ai-shek see Chen Tsung-hsi, Wang
An-tsiang, and Wang I-ting, _General Chiang Kai-shek, the Builder of New
China_, Shanghai, 1929; Gustav Amann, _Chiang Kaishek und die Regierung
der Kuomintang in China_, Berlin and Heidelberg, 1936, which is only
incidentally a biography of Chiang, since its scope is that of providing
nation-wide reportage; Hollington K. Tong, _Chiang Kai-shek_, 2 vols.,
Shanghai, 1937; and Robert Berkov, _Strong Man of China_, Boston, 1938.
The Japanese retired Admiral Ishimaru Tota published a sensational life
of Chiang (which appeared in Chinese as _Chiang Chieh-shih Wei-ta_,
Shanghai, 1937); since Mr. Ishimaru's other works have been translated
into English, this one may soon be available for Western readers.


Government in China has in the Republican era undergone one of the most
significant transformations to be found anywhere in the world's
political experience. The oldest society on earth found itself forced to
redefine its position and to reconstruct its ways of thought and
internal means of organization. Pressure from without compelled China to
adopt the modern state. Chinese society was required to incorporate this
state and all implied institutions in its routine living. The earlier
period of the Republic marks an epoch in which modern forms had been
established in harmony with the accepted standards of the Western state
system. Chinese society fell into chaos beneath the up-to-date
superstructure. The later period witnessed the correlation of state and
society by coordination of ideological, military, and governmental
power. From the collapse of the Manchu rule in 1911 to the operative
zest of the National Government at Nanking in 1937 there was a
revolution in the processes of government which for completeness can
compare with any century of Western transformation.

_The Collapse of the Imperial Society_

Western ideology has failed to enter China as a constructive whole, but
it has smashed whatever reality there was to the old world view.
Western-educated Chinese leadership has undertaken the task of governing
a people which has learned only indirectly of the West. In carrying out
a program of adaptation, contemporary Chinese leadership has relied on
Sun Yat-sen's phrase, "modernization without Westernization." But a
dilemma remains. How can the standards of the modern world be divorced
from their Western origins? How can Western technology be used without
the attitude of mind which has created it and brought it to operative
efficiency? How can a world which never knew Rome or the Normanic _Curia
Regis_ know jurisprudence? How can modern government be made Chinese,
when government itself has meant something far different in China from
what it has meant in the West?

Further, the nature of Chinese leadership has not only been transformed
from being literary and ethical in its orientation to being technical
and legal; it has also been transformed socially in the replacement of
scholars by soldiers. The ideal ruler of old was a humane classicist
with a taste for historical studies; the contemporary Chinese ruler must
be military, if not militaristic, and must have the inevitable
background of engineering and management which modern war connotes. The
soldier must collaborate with the modern administrator, while both
recapture the high ideals of devotion typical of the old scholastic
rule, even if they cannot use its substance. These imperatives are
indispensable if China is to live.

Finally, the language system which did so much to create and then
perpetuate the scholastic elite through thousands of years of Chinese
culture has now submitted to changes deeper and more far-reaching than
any in the past. The development of the _pai-hua_ school of literature
and the progress of mass education indicate that even with ideographs
the Chinese can reach conditions of uniform literacy approximating those
which prevail in the advanced Western nations. If the alphabetization of
the Chinese language, which is now in the form of tentative experiment,
should become a fact, even more striking developments could take place.
Reading and writing, and on this basis the transmission of authoritative
tenets, does not presuppose profound economic adjustments. The modern
Chinese will know his classics increasingly through paraphrases no more
difficult than a newspaper column. When it is realized that the
simplification of intellectual activity is offered to a people schooled
in the idolatry of books, the potentialities of educational and
intellectual renaissance--already partially realized--become apparent.

With the disappearance of the imperial world society of the Confucians
as a consequence of its encirclement by Westernized states, with the
passing of the scholars and the rise of Western-trained soldiers,
lawyers, and technicians, and with the alteration of the linguistic and
intellectual foundation upon which the old society rested, what is there
left of old China?

_The Nature of the Transformation_

In the first place, the ideological change is not complete. No Western
idea can enter China unimpaired. Sun Yat-sen was influenced by the
almost entirely contradictory notions of Western nationalism, democracy,
and socialism. In the _San Min Chu I_ their Western identity was
destroyed, and the new doctrines had much in common with the past.
Western ideas served largely as a mold; when the mold was removed, the
form was Western but the content was still Chinese. Mazzini and
Confucius might both approve of Sun's political doctrines.

Secondly, the extrapolitical agencies of Chinese life remain. Chinese
society may be shattered in dogma, but it persists in fact. The family,
though subject to legal redefinition caused by Western cultural and
economic influences, nevertheless plays a role far greater than in the
West. The village is still the fundamental grouping among the rural
masses. The guild system is impaired by the Western impact, but the
party organizations--Nationalist and Communist--have absorbed much of
the strength which once lay in the _hui_. Under foreign domination,
these institutions may play a determining role in the struggle against
the intruder.

Thirdly, for modern government the Chinese have resources of their own
experience on which to rely. But they also have Western devices and
prescriptions. The National Government, while falling short of Western
levels of government efficiency, nevertheless trained large numbers of
Chinese to think in terms of the modern state. But no new pattern has as
yet crystallized. Chinese political and military development may well
present a flexibility beyond Western grasp.

Fourth, the Chinese have still ahead of them the choice of criteria of
authority to prevail in society. Learning, office, property played a
decisive part in the old society. Hitherto, the Republic has grown with
three modes of power: ideological, military, governmental. The relation
between them is not yet determined.

_The Problems of Government in China_

Among the governmental problems confronting China the acquisition of
national territorial sovereignty stands out. Ever since the
establishment of the Republic the Chinese have grown acutely conscious
of the fact that some of their most important economic centers have been
lifted out of the national territory. Sun Yat-sen realized in the
frustration of his first efforts toward republicanization and social
policy that the problems of internal government could not be settled
unless the people as a whole were free. Without general freedom there
could be no question of democracy, no question of a coordinated plan for
the realization of the _min shêng_ principle.[1] Observing the intimate
relation between the _tuchüns_ and the foreign interests, which often
favored them, Sun and his followers began to stress their nationalist
role. With the Japanese invasion of the Northeast in 1931, of Shanghai
in 1932, of Inner Mongolia and North China in the following years, and
of China as a whole in 1937, the issue of territorial sovereignty has
become the most important one of all. Until it is settled, all other
questions must necessarily be considered in their relation to it.

Second, the question of economic sustenance and development is becoming
pressing. Without an adequate economic base, the Chinese population
lives under the constant threat of simply starving to death. Military
difficulties emphasize this problem; in fact, military effectiveness and
strategy will have to depend upon the physical existence of the people
in and behind the lines. The Chinese masses have lived close to the edge
of starvation for a long time. As a consequence, the Chinese cannot wage
war but in close proximity to the point of economic paralysis--plain
exhaustion of the physical necessities of life. The economic problem
cannot wait for spontaneous self-cure.

Third, the Chinese will have to recognize the need for politicalization
of public opinion. They must evolve the faculty of transforming group
opinion into governmental or organizational action. They must acquire
techniques for group collaboration which will allow them to break down
traditional groups into more diversified units--a government commission,
a factory workshop, an army unit--without reference to family bonds or
village and _hui_ connections. This is less a problem of doctrine or
education than one of habit and practice.

Fourth, the restoration of national prestige is necessary to the
security of the Chinese nation in the international sphere, and to the
wholesome development of the Chinese people within their national
boundaries as well. They cannot effectively borrow from the West if they
do so reluctantly, overcome by the thought of inferiority or by shame.
Unless they conquer their present handicap, the Chinese will continue to
lack self-confidence.

Fifth, the army problem must be solved. In the last analysis, the excess
of men under arms damages the Chinese military, as the number of
well-equipped effectives remains disproportionately small. The hordes of
half-armed soldiers constitute a heavy burden upon the society, reduce
the general economic level, and--by affording one particular group a
disproportionate opportunity for making its preferences felt--brutalize
the operation of public opinion and discourage peaceable group pursuit.

Sixth, the Chinese state--if China is to solve political questions
through governmental procedures--must be constituted as a clear and
legal entity. The old imperial society of China was able to dispense
with law through reliance upon social forces expressing themselves in a
large number of small but stable units. If these disappear the question
arises: How can the individual conceive clearly his relationships within
Chinese society? Systematized modern organization requires a legal

_The Question of Chinese Political Survival_

That the Chinese will survive, biologically, as a race--this no one
doubts. That the Chinese will survive culturally is more open to
question. The Chinese absorbed all their conquerors of the past because
the country was large, because the people were extraordinarily
homogeneous in ideology and habit, because the Chinese were wealthier
than their conquerors and more cultured. Absorption or cultural
extinction is not a matter of race; it is a question of ideology, of
thought and the habits which arise from ways of thought. What ways of
thought are there today that will absorb the conquerors? What ways of
thought are there that the conquerors might tear apart from the long
past, to change China into a mere geographical expression?

In the past, China has been conquered by invaders who accepted the
Chinese estimate of China, and who reciprocated the Chinese self-esteem
with a deep admiration for Chinese culture. China's modern invaders
bring with them a veritable cult of national self-aggrandizement. Their
fondness for the Chinese past is mixed with contempt for modern China.
Will the Chinese preserve their national equanimity and sanity in the
face of such an attitude? Much depends upon their military and political
fortune and its effect upon their confidence.

Government in the Republican era demonstrates the fertility and
inventiveness of the Chinese mind in building political and
administrative institutions and in finding means of uniting and
controlling the Chinese as a people. When the chaos from which they have
been emerging is considered, their recent accomplishments are an
attestation of political ability. The National Government and the
Chinese Soviet Republic were worthy adversaries; each met disastrous
odds, not the least of which was the other. Their governmental forms may
be destroyed and yet reappear so long as the Chinese remain Chinese in
the sense of their long past. Sun Yat-sen expressed his countrymen's
elementary social and national consciousness, so different from the
feverish nationalism of the West, in very clear language:

  Suppose that we, Chinese, were naturalized English or Americans and
  helped England or America to conquer China on the principle that we
  accept cosmopolitanism, would our consciences, I ask you, be at rest
  or not? If our consciences troubled us, that would be a sign that we
  have nationalism; nationalism would trouble our consciences.[2]

Such nationalism may prove indestructible. With democracy and _min
shêng_ as nationalism's corollaries, China promises to contribute a gift
of peace and political intelligence to the world, and may yet return to
her ancient role as the pacific preceptress of nations.


[1] See above, pp. 41 ff.

[2] Paschal M. d'Elia, S. J., _The Triple Demism of Sun Yat-sen_,
p. 132, Wuchang, 1931.


This is the accepted time scheme in China. The dates are the Western
equivalents of the most widely current Chinese computation, which is
known to be incorrect or haphazard from the eighth century B.C. back.
The periods given for the dynasties are chronological formulas rather
than the exact expression of political realities. For a discussion of
the materials of Chinese historiography, see Charles S. Gardner,
_Chinese Traditional Historiography_, Cambridge, 1938. For an excellent
short summary of Chinese history, see the "Historical Sketch" by Lei
Hai-tsung in _The Chinese Year Book_, 1936-1937, Shanghai. Chronologies
are to be found in the major Chinese-English dictionaries, and--among
many others--in Leon Wieger, S. J., _La Chine à travers les âges_,
Hsien-hsien, 1920, where they are accompanied by a great deal of the
old-style, uncritical, but nevertheless informative, Chinese

  HSIA                            ended 1765 (?)B.C.   } prehistoric
  SHANG                           1765(?)-1123 (?)B.C. } or
  CHOU                            1122(?)-256 B.C.     } semihistoric
    _Ch'un Ch'in_ (Spring and
        Autumn Epoch)             770-473 B.C.
    _Chan Kuo_ (Warring States
        Epoch)                    473-221 B.C.
  CH'IN                           221-203 B.C.
  EARLY HAN (including Wang Mang) 202 B.C.-A.D. 25
  LATER HAN                       A.D. 25-220
  SAN KUO (Three Kingdoms)        A.D. 221-264 }
  CHIN                            A.D. 265-419 }    China's
  NAN PEI CH'AO (Northern                      }  "dark ages"
     and Southern Dynasties)      A.D. 420-588 }
  SUI                             A.D. 589-619
  T'ANG                           A.D. 620-906
  WU TAI (Five Dynasties)         A.D. 907-960
  SUNG                            A.D. 960-1279
  YÜAN (the Mongols)              A.D. 1280-1367
  MING                            A.D. 1368-1643
  CH'ING (the Manchus)            A.D. 1644-1911
  MIN KUO (The Republic)          1912-



  Administration (_see_ Hsien; Scholastic bureaucracy; and _Yüan_

  Agrarian problems, 115ff.

  Aircraft, military, 108ff.

  Anfu party, after 1916, 47, 157

  Armies, under the Han, 83ff.;
    Manchu period, 86ff.;
    Nationalist, 105ff.;
    national, 110ff.;
    _tuchünal_, 104ff.


  Barga Mongol Soviet Republic, 185

  Borodin, Michael, 53, 162

  Boxer uprising, 95, 117

  Buddhism, 24, 131


  Canton governments (established by Sun in opposition to the Peking
  Republic), 156ff., 160ff.

  Canton-Moscow entente (_see_ Nationalist-Communist coalition)

  Capitalism, 46, 69

  Chan Kuo epoch, 473-221 B.C., 15ff., 82

  Chang Chung-chang, the Dog-Meat General, 103

  Chang Hsüeh-liang, 1898-   (ex-_tuchün_ of Manchuria, son of
  Chang Tso-lin), 108

  Chang Hsün (monarchist _tuchün_), 156

  Chang Tso-lin, 1876-1928 (_tuchün_ of Manchuria), 103ff., 158, 168

  Charioteers (Chou period), 80ff.

  Ch'en Tu-hsiu, 1879-   (excommunicated Communist leader), 65

  Chiang K'ai-shek [Chiang Chieh-shih], 1888-   (military heir
  to Sun Yat-sen; educated in Japan, further trained by Russians,
  advised by Germans; leading general in China after 1927, and
  outstanding figure in the National Government), 52, 105ff., 122,
  164, 182

  Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, 259-210 B.C. (king of Ch'in, legalist, despot,
  unifier, conquered all China by 221 B.C.), 80ff., 128ff.

  Chinese Soviet Republic (established in Kiangsi, 1931; merged with
  National Government, 1937), 66, 182ff.

  Ch'ing dynasty (_see_ Manchu dynasty)

  Chinputang (Progressive Party), 151

  Chou, Duke of (died 1105 B.C.[?]; semi-historic state founder), 127

  Chou dynasty, 1122(?)-256 B.C., 14ff., 80ff., 127ff.

  Christianity, 48ff.

  Chu Hsi, 1130-1200 (Sung philosopher; interpreter of Confucianism), 16

  Ch'un Ch'iu epoch, 770-473 B.C., 15, 81, 128

  Communism, 51ff., 63ff., 72ff., 182ff.

  Communist Party, 54ff., 68, 182ff.

  Concessions, foreign, 140

  Confucius [K'ung Ch'iu], 551-479 B.C. (China's most important
  philosopher, spent his life teaching, with intervals of practical
  administration), 15ff., 128

  Constitutions: Constitution of 1923, 158;
    Constitutional Compact, 1914, 153;
    Draft Constitution, 1937, 181;
    Nanking Organic Law, 1928, 172;
    Nanking Provisional Constitution, 1931, 172;
    Provisional Constitution of 1912, 148ff.

  Council of State (_see_ Yüan system)

  Customs, Maritime, 159


  Democracy (_see_ San Min Chu I)

  Double Ten Day, 145


  Emperor, in old China, 18ff., 130ff.

  Empress Dowager Tzu[)u] Hsi [Yeho-nola], 1835-1908 (actual ruler of
  China in the latter days of the Ch'ing), 141

  Extraterritoriality, 140


  Family system, 3, 136ff.

  Federal Revolutionary Government, 1932-1933 (Foochow), 184ff.

  Fêng Yü-hsiang, 1880-   (the Christian general,
  later pro-Soviet, joined the Nationalists, revolted in 1930, took
  part in anti-Japanese agitation), 103ff.

  Feudalism, 80ff.

  Foreign Office, 139, 159


  Genyosha (ultra-patriotic Japanese group), 71

  George, Henry, 118

  Goodnow, Professor Frank, 154

  Gordon, Charles George, 1833-1885 (British commander of the
  Ever-Victorious Army), 93


  Han dynasty, 202 B.C.-A.D. 220, 82ff., 116, 129

  Han Lin (Imperial Academy), 130, 177

  Hsia dynasty, 2205(?)-1765(?) B.C., 13

  _Hsien_ (district) system, 178ff.

  Hsüan T'ung (last Manchu emperor of China; abdicated in his boyhood;
  now Kang Têh, Emperor of Manchoukuo), 156, 186

  Hu Han-min, 1886-1937 (leader, Right Kuomintang), 59

  Hu Shih, 1891-   (philosopher, literary critic, language reformer), 76

  Huang Hsing (early military leader of Republicans), 96

  _Hui_ (guild, league) system, 3, 136ff.

  Hundred Days, the (see Reform Movement)


  Ideology (see San Min Chu I)

  Imperialism, 119ff.

  Islam, 24ff., 94

  Islamistan, 184


  Japanese-Chinese conflict, 34, 69ff., 74, 122ff., 154, 188ff.

  "Japanese Monroe Doctrine," 70

  Joffe, Adolf (Soviet agent in China), 51ff., 161ff.


  K'ang Yu-wei, 1856-1928 (monarchical reformer), 140

  Kuang Hsü, Emperor, 1871-1908 (modernist and reformer), 95, 140ff.

  Kublai Khan, 1214-1294 (emperor, Yüan dynasty), 88

  K'ung, H. H. [K'ung Hsiang-hsi], 1881-   (industrial and financial
  administrator; Kuomintang leader), 60

  Kuomintang, 31ff., 38ff., 50ff., 57ff., 72ff., 161ff., 167ff.


  Lao Tz[)u], traditionally 6th century B.C. (founder of Taoism,
  mystical philosophy antistate in effect), 24, 128

  Li Hung-chang, 1822-1901 (Ch'ing viceroy), 92, 142

  Li Yüan-hung (military opportunist; once President), 146, 155

  Linebarger, Judge Paul (adviser to Sun Yat-sen), 161

  Local government (_see_ Hsien)


  Manchoukuo, 28, 72, 185ff.

  Manchu (Ch'ing) dynasty, 1644-1911, 32, 86ff., 135ff.

  Mandarins (_see_ Scholastic bureaucracy)

  Marxism (_see_ Communism)

  Mêngkokuo, 185

  Militarism (_see_ Armies; _Tuchünism_)

  _Min shêng_ (_see_ San Min Chu I)

  Ming dynasty, A.D. 1368-1643, 17, 85

  Missionaries (_see_ Christianity)

  Mohammedanism (_see_ Islam)

  Municipal government, 181


  Nanking government (_see_ National Government of China; "Reformed

  National Government of China (Nanking, 1927-1937; inland thereafter),
  114, 164, 167ff.

  Nationalism (_see_ San Min Chu I)

  Nationalist-Communist coalition 1923-1927, 54ff., 161ff.

  Nationalist Government at Nanking (_see_ National Government of

  "Nationalist Government" of Peking, 1930-1931 (rebellious coalition of
  Northern tuchüns and Left Kuomintang; suppressed), 59, 107

  Nationalist Government, soviet in form (Canton, 1925-1926; Wu-han,
  1926-1927), 162ff.

  Nationalists (_see_ Kuomintang)

  New Life movement, 61


  Opportunist movements, 44ff.

  Outer Mongol People's Republic, 185ff.

  Overseas Chinese, 35ff.


  Pan-Asianism, 47, 70ff.

  Pan-Mongolism, 47

  Parliamentary Republic at Peking, 1912-1928, 114ff., 149ff., 157ff.

  Party Congress, Kuomintang, 170ff.

  Political doctrines, Sun Yat-sen's, 41ff.

  Pro-Japanese movements, 47

  Propaganda, 23ff.

  Provincial government, 134, 177ff.

  "Provisional Government" at Peking, 1937-   , 186

  Provisional Government of the United Provinces of China, Nanking,
  1911-1912, 146


  Red Army, Chinese, 107, 182ff.

  Reform Movement, Manchu, 140ff.

  "Reformed Government" at Nanking, 1938-   , 186

  Republicans (_see_ Kuomintang)

  Revolution, doctrine of, 59, 162;
    of 1911-1912 [the Republican Revolution], 38, 97ff., 145ff.;
    of 1926-1927 [the Great Revolution], 55, 105ff., 168

  Revolutionists (_see_ Kuomintang)


  Salt Revenue Administration, 159ff.

  San Min Chu I (the philosophy of Sun Yat-sen, since 1927 the official
  state dogma of China), 36, 41ff., 59ff., 72ff., 120, 167ff.

  Scholastic bureaucracy, 5, 86, 129ff., 188

  Settlements, foreign, 140

  Shang dynasty, 1765(?)-1123(?) B.C., 14, 80, 126

  Shih Huang Ti (_see_ Ch'in Shih Huang Ti)

  Siam, 69

  Sian, kidnaping of Chiang K'ai-shek at, 62, 66ff.

  Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, 34

  Soong, T. V. [Sung Tz[)u]-wen], 1894-   (brother-in-law of Sun
  Yat-sen; Kuomintang leader; finance administrator), 59ff., 121

  Soviet Republic, Chinese (_see_ Chinese Soviet Republic)

  Soviet Russia (_see_ Nationalist-Communist coalition)

  Sun K'ê [Sun Fo], 1891-   (son of Sun Yat-sen; Kuomintang
  leader; railway administrator), 59ff.

  Sun Yat-sen [Sun I-hsien; Sun Wên], 1867(?)-1925 (agitated for a
  republic; first President, 1912; author of the San Min Chu I; elected
  Leader, Tsung-li, of the Kuomintang; known after death as Chung Shan),

  Sun Yat-sen, Mme., 59

  Sung Chiao-jen, Nationalist, 152

  Sung dynasty, A.D. 960-1279, 1, 16


  Taikwa reforms, 645 A.D., 132

  T'ai-p'ing rebellion, 1849-1865 (Christian agrarian jacquerie), 32ff.,

  T'ang dynasty, A.D. 620-906, 1, 85, 132ff.

  Tannu-Tuva People's Republic, 185

  Taoism (_see_ Lao Tz[)u])

  Toa-shugi [Far-Easternism], 71

  Treaties, with Western states, 48, 139ff.

  Treaty ports, 140

  Tsao Kun (Northern tuchün), 103

  Tsêng Kuo-fan, 1811-1872 (Ch'ing viceroy), 82

  Tuan Chi-jui (Northern _tuchün_; once President), 103

  _Tuchünism_, 45ff., 76ff., 107ff., 114ff., 157

  Tungpei troops (Chinese soldiers exiled from Manchuria), 67


  United Front policy, 1937-   , 60, 67ff., 72ff., 184


  Village system, 3, 136ff.


  Wang Ch'ing-wei, 1885-   (leader, Left Kuomintang), 59

  Wang Mang, 33 B.C.-A.D. 23 (Utopian who usurped the throne, dividing
  early and later Han), 17

  War, in Chinese thought, 79

  War lord (_see Tuchünism_)

  Ward, Frederick Townsend, 1831-1862 (American adventurer in Manchu
  service), 93

  Whampoa Military Academy, 105

  Wu Chih-hui, 1864-   (Kuomintang leader with anarchist leanings), 59

  Wu P'ei-fu (_tuchün_ of the Yangtze valley), 28, 103ff.

  Wu-han regime (_see_ Nationalist Government, soviet in form)


  Yellow Turbans, 3rd century A.D. (farmer rebels), 63

  Yen Hsi-shan,  1881-   (the "Model Governor"; Northern _tuchün_ who
  joined the Nationalists, revolted in 1930, subsequently retired), 103

  Yen, Dr. James [Yen Yang-chu], 1894-   (mass-education leader), 76

  Yüan Shih-k'ai, 1859-1916 (administrator, soldier, politician; served
  the Manchus, leading in army modernization; became President,
  attempted usurpation, failed, and died), 38, 44, 94ff., 146ff.

  _Yüan_ system (five-fold division of powers), 172ff.

Transcriber's Notes: Obvious errors in spelling have been silently
corrected. Also 'u' with breve is represented as [)u] in this text.

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