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POLI 422 (21)
Juan Wang (19)
Chapter 2

POLI 422 - Lieberthal, Ch. 2: The Republican Era

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 422
Juan Wang

The Early Republican EraThe breakdown of the Qing was fundamental and had a cataclysmic effect on Chinese society Country quickly dissolved into regional warlordism who for the most part were determined only to enrich themselves Rampant taxation impoverished the countryside and forced many poor peasant youths to join the warlords armies Foreigners also became involved as various warlords competed to obtain the best foreign weaponryWhile intellectuals debated over the direction of the country the concerns of most Chinese were turned toward surviving the ravagings of the various warlord armies Intellectuals championed two main concepts science and democracy However WWI tarnished the allure of Western civilization and although Beijing hoped to reap the rewards of Wilsons selfdetermination this hope was shattered when German concessions in Shandong was given to Japan instead of being returned to China due to a secret agreement Japan signed with Western allies This betrayal lead to the May Fourth Incident May Fourth MovementIntellectuals were no longer the old scholars of Confucian eras but university students and young faculty who were invigorated with new and foreign ideas Most had studied abroad or been trained in foreignrun schools Because the imperial state reflected fundamental concepts of Chinese civilization its collapse lead to the questioning of the basic organization of Chinese society Young scholars began to attack the family system champion the rights of women and critize the education system thOn May 4 1919 in response to the giving of German concessions to Japan three thousand university students marched around Tiananmen Square The violent government crackdown lead to a mass movement that quickly developed across coastal China Publications fuelled antiJapanese sentiments and demonstrations towards embracing modern ideas eventually forced Beijing to fire three proJapan ministers and to refuse to sign the final peace treaty with Germany The May Fourth Movement signified a new form of politics in Chinamass politics GuomindangFrom the May Fourth movement two main political forces emerged the nationalist Guomindang GMD and the Chinese Communist Party CCP The GMD was led by Sun Yatsen who sought alliances with warlords and foreign aid to extend political influence
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