The Nationalist Party in Power: Unification of China under Kuomintang Programs

  • William L. Tung


According to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary program of China would be divided into three stages: first, military administration; second, political tutelage; and, third, constitutional government. As the Nationalist Party’s development has been the source of power in Chinese politics, especially during the periods of military administration and political tutelage, a comprehensive analysis of the various phases of the Party is necessary for a clear understanding of modern China. A brief description has already been made of the different organizations of the party at different times: Hsing-chung Hui (Society for the Regeneration of China) in 1894, T’ung-meng Hui (The Alliance) in 1905, the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) in 1912, the Chinese Revolutionary Party (Chung-hua Ko-min Tang) in 1914, and the Nationalist Party of China (Chung-kuo Kuomintang) in 1919.


Party Member Party Organization Nationalist Party Constitutional Government Supervisory Power 
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  1. 1.
    When the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 decided to transfer former German rights and interests in Shantung to Japan despite China’s strong protest, the students in Peking were angry with the Peking government because of its diplomatic failure. On May 4, 1919, they attacked some of the cabinet ministers and made various efforts to stir up nationalist sentiment among the populace throughout the country. For the significance of the new intellectual movement in China, see Bulletin No. 6 of the Chinese National Association for the Advancement of Education. The most comprehensive description of this movement was made by Chow Tse-tsung in his book, The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China.* Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    This manifesto is included in The Collected Manifestos of the Nationalist Party, published by the special committee of the mass meeting at Nanking on the memorial day of Dr. Sun in 1928. See also The China Year Book,* 1924, p. 863.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    Louis Fischer, The Soviets in World Affairs* Vol. 2, p. 635.Google Scholar
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    Tang Leang-li, The Inner History of the Chinese Revolution* p. 178.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    See Dr. Sun’s Labor Day speech in 1924 under the title, “The Sufferings of the Chinese Workers from Unequal Treaties,” which is contained in The Collected Works of Sun Yat-sen (Shanghai: New Cultural Press, 21st ed., 1929), Vol. III, pp. 189–196.Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    See his speech on August 23, 1924, before the Government Institute for the Training of Workers for the Peasant Movement at Canton, ibid., pp. 337–342. The English texts of most of Dr. Sun’s Writings and important speeches can be found in L. S. Hsü’s Sun Yat-sen: His political and social Ideals*. Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    Ch. VII, Sec. 1.Google Scholar
  8. 3.
    Galens was later known as Marshal Blücher while leading the Soviet Far Eastern Army after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. Both Galens and Borodin had to leave China for Russia after the split between the Nationalists and the Communists in 1927.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    For a detailed analysis of The Three People’s Principles, refer to Chou Fu-hai, The Theoretical System of The Three People’s Principles ; also William L.Tung, What Are The Three People’s Principles? (Shanghai: Kuo-min Press, 1929). For the English translation of The Three People’s Principles, see Frank W. Price, San Min Chu I: The Three Principles of the People* (Shanghai: Commercial Press, 1927).Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    These remarks were made by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in his series of lectures in July 1921, before a group of the party members at the party headquarters in Kwangtung. See The Collected Works of Sun Yat-sen (Shanghai: Tai Chuan Co., 1929), Vol. II, Pt. 3 of “The Program of National Reconstruction,” p. 109.Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    The five governing powers of the government will be exercised by five Yuan. The office of Yuan is a unique system of the Chinese government, higher than a department or a ministry in the Western countries. Under a Yuan, there may be a number of departments or ministries. For Dr. Sun’s description of the exercise of the four rights of direct democracy, see ibid., p. 112.Google Scholar
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    The Philosophy of Sun Wen is included in The Collected Works of Sun Yat-sen in all three editions referred to in this work.Google Scholar
  13. 2.
    The English text of The International Development of China* was published in 1922 (New York: Putnam’s Sons).Google Scholar
  14. 3.
    Dr. Sun personally wrote two copies of The Outline, one being kept at Mme. Sun’s place and the other at Sun Fo’s. This showed his emphasis on this Outline, which was published in April, 1924. Sun Fo, son of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, had played an important role in the National Government.Google Scholar
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    Paul M. A. Linebarger, The Political Doctrines of Sun Yat-sen, an Exposition of the San Min Chu I*, p. 8.Google Scholar
  16. 1.
    In 1920, Dr. Sun wrote Methods of Applying Local Self-Government for the guidance of the nation’s endeavor toward that direction.Google Scholar
  17. 3.
    Maurice William’s view in this respect was fully discussed in his book, The Social Interpretation of History* (New York, 1921). Dr. Sun commented that Mr. William’s interpretation sounded perfectly reasonable and fitted in with his principle of livelihood.Google Scholar
  18. 1.
    Paul M. A. Linebarger, op. cit., p. 6.Google Scholar
  19. 2.
    Published in Canton, 1925.Google Scholar
  20. 3.
    Frank W. Price, op. cit., p. 391.Google Scholar
  21. 4.
    Sometimes Dr. Sun used the term “Communism” simply to mean “great similarity”, which, in Chinese classics, indicates that all people work together for their common good in a world of complete harmony.Google Scholar
  22. 5.
    See “The Manifesto on Going to Peking,” November 10, 1924, included in The Collected Works of Sun Yat-sen. Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    For details, see ibid., “A Letter to the Chief Executive Tuan, concerning the Reorganization Conference, February 17, 1925.”Google Scholar
  24. 2.
    Dr. Sun Yat-sen is still revered as one of China’s great revolutionary heroes in the Communist controlled Mainland. At the time of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Tse-tung stated: “For over a century, our predecessors have never paused in their unflinching and unswerving struggle, including the 1911 revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of the Chinese revolution, against foreign and domestic oppressors. Our predecessors instructed and requested us to fulfill their behest. We are doing it now.” (Sun Yat-sen Commemorative Album*, Peking, 1956, p. 17.) At the 90th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, on November 12, 1956, the Chinese people on the Mainland were allowed to hold huge meetings and conduct other forms of activities in Peking and other cities to pay tribute to this great revolutionary leader. Attending the commemoration meeting in Peking were party and government leaders, including Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai. The opening words of Mao’s speech were: “Let us pay tribute to the memory of our great revolutionary predecessor, Dr. Sun Yat-sen!” Condemning great-power chauvinism and emphasizing the importance of modesty, Mao commended Dr. Sun as follows : “ Dr. Sun was a modest man, I heard him speak on many occasions and was impressed by the grandeur of his mind. The way in which he devoted himself to the study of China’s historical conditions and contemporary social conditions, and of the conditions in foreign countries, including the Soviet Union, shows that he was a man of great modesty. “His whole life was devoted heart and soul to the rebuilding of China. Of him it could be said that he gave of his best, gave his all till his heart ceased to beat.” (Dr. Sun Yat-sen: Commemorative Articles and Speeches by Mao Tse-tung, Soong Ching-ling, Chou En-lai and Others*. Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1957. pp. 9, 11.)Google Scholar
  25. In his opening address to the same meeting, Chou En-lai paid tribute to the contribution Dr. Sun made to the Chinese revolution in the following manner:Google Scholar
  26. “Today is the 90th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Reverently, in respectful remembrance, we pay tribute to this outstanding forerunner of the democratic revolution in modern China. Dr. Sun was a valiant fighter who led the struggle to overthrow the feudal monarchy and to build up a democratic republic. He was a patriot who fought against imperialist aggression and for the independence and freedom of China. In his later years, he went a step further. He adopted the three cardinal policies of alliance with Soviet Russia, cooperation with the Communists and assistance to the workers’ and peasants’ movement, thus developing his old Three People’s Principles into the new Three People’s Principles. He was a great revolutionary and a great statesman.” (Ibid., p. 22.)Google Scholar
  27. 1.
    The Communists claimed that the fall of Shanghai on March 22 was largely through the efforts of the General Labor Union under their leadership. See Harold R. Isaacs, The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution* (2nd ed.), pp. 137–141.Google Scholar
  28. 3.
    ChenKuo-fu was a nephew of Chen Chimei, one of the most important revolutionists who overthrew the Ch’ing dynasty in 1911. He and his brother Li-fu were in charge of the Party organization for a long time.Google Scholar
  29. 2.
    The name derived from a conference which they held before the tomb of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in the temple on the Western Hills near Peking.Google Scholar
  30. 2.
    Foreign Policy Association, Information Service, The Rise of the Kuomintang* (Vol. IV, No. 8), p. 182.Google Scholar
  31. 1.
    Ibid., pp. 183–184.Google Scholar
  32. 1.
    It is evident that “Tsungtsai” has the same meaning as “Tsungli,” but in a different word. The Emergency Congress was held at Wuchang, March 29-April 1, 1938.Google Scholar
  33. 2.
    All new members of the two Committees were inducted by means of the following oath, repeated with the right hand raised : “I solemnly swear that I shall faithfully observe the last will of the Tsungli [Sun Yat-sen], believe in the principles of the Party, abide by the Party discipline, obey the orders of the Party, keep the secrets of the Party, and never form or take part in any other political organization. Nor shall I be selfish and let my personal feelings interfere with the execution of my duties. If I violate my oath, I shall be willing to accept the severest punishment of the Party.”Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    The National Government was formally established on July 1, 1925, in accordance with the decision of the Council.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
    For details, see William L. Tung, The Government of China, Vol. I, pp. 391–394; and Ch’ien Tuan-sheng, The Government and Politics of China*, pp. 139–145, 475–476.Google Scholar
  36. 3.
    The adoption of these Principles by the Standing Committee of the Central Executive Committee was confirmed on March 19, 1929, by the Third National Congress of the Party.Google Scholar
  37. 1.
    Wang Ching-wei, China’s Problems and Their Solutions*, p. 89.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. Tung
    • 1
  1. 1.Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkUSA

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