China at War: Political Institutions During the Period of the Sino-Japanese War

  • William L. Tung


The expansionists in Japan had long held the opinion that China’s unity was Japan’s disaster. In the mind of the Japanese militarists, a unified and strong China would block their aggressive designs in Asia. It was to their great disappointment that the Nationalist unification of the country was achieved in spite of their well-planned Tsinan Incident in May 1928, when the Japanese soldiers fought against the advance of the Nationalist troops in Shantung.1 Japan’s determination to take direct action in Manchuria could be traced back to the winter of 1928, when Chang Hsueh-liang, virtual leader in Manchuria after the death of his father, failed to comply with Japanese wishes to maintain a semi-independent status of Manchuria. Instead, he sided with the Nationalist Government in Nanking. On September 18, 1931, the Japanese army finally executed its long and carefully planned invasion of Manchuria in violation of the Covenant of the League of Nations, the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922, and the Kellogg-Briand Pact.


Provincial Government District Council District Government Executive Yuan Nationalist Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See Ch. V, Sec. 3, “Nationalist unification of China.”Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    For the Report of the Commission, see League Doc. C. 663. M. 320. 1932. VII*. For a brief analysis of the League efforts to settle the Sino-Japanese dispute through conciliation, see William L. Tung, China and Some Phases of International Law* (New York: Oxford University Press, 1940), pp. 164–168.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    For a full description of the Sino-Japanese War, see Chinese Ministry of Information, China Handbook, 1937–1945* (New York: Macmillan Co., 1947), pp. 299–322; Ho Ying-chin, A Description of the Eight Years’ War of Resistance (Chinese Ministry of Defense, 1955). Ho was Chief of Staff and concurrently Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Ground Forces during the war.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Peking Provisional Government in 1937; Reformed Government of the Chinese Republic in Nanking in 1938. Since 1940 until the Japanese defeat, Wang Ching-wei headed the Nanking puppet regime.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    See Ch. II, Sec. 7, “Political Alignments in Parliament.”Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    On the morning of September 19, 1931, the day after the Mukden Incident, a mass meeting presided over by the author was held on the open ground in front of the former Imperial Palace in Peiping. It was attended by more than one hundred thousand people, including students, workers, peasants, merchants, party members, and government em­ployees. After its adjournment, about three thousand, largely students, marched to the Peiping Headquarters of the National Military Council. Chang Hsueh-liang, Commander of the Manchurian forces, was then stationed in Peiping as Chiang’s deputy in charge of the Military Headquarters. The demonstrators demanded arms because they wanted to fight against the Japanese invaders. In order to avoid a bloody incident, an understanding was reached with Chang that he would receive ten representatives from the marchers at his official residence. After learning the difficulties of the government position as explained by Chang, the representatives promised to explain the facts to their compatriots. When the demon­strators finally dispersed, it was already six o’clock in the afternoon. This unique mass meeting, still so vivid in the memory of the author, was an evidence of the patriotic sentiment of the general public and of their anxiety over government reluctance to fight against the foreign invaders. Throughout the winter and the following year, there were mass meetings and demonstrations all over the country. Although some of these resulted in mob violence and caused personal injuries and property damages, the Nationalist Party and Government maintained a tolerant attitude toward the patriotic extremes.Google Scholar
  7. 1.
    Under the name of China Nationalist Youth Corps at its initial stage, the party adopted the present title at its fourth national congress in September 1929. It is also known in English as the Young China Party. See China Handbook, 1960–61*, p. 100.Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    The origin of this party could be traced way back to the Emperor-Preservation Associ­ation of K’ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch’i-ch’ao at the end of the Ch’ing dynasty.Google Scholar
  9. 1.
    Among the leading figures of the Association at that time were Carsun Chang, Tso Shun-sheng, Chang Pai-chun, Lo Lung-chi, Shen Chun-ju, and Tsou T’ao-fen.Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    For further details of Chinese political parties, see Ch’ien Tuan-sheng, The Government and politics of China*, Chs. XIII, XXIV; for other political groups emerging fa a later date and working together with the Communist Government in the Mainland, see Ch. X.Google Scholar
  11. 4.
    Ch. V, Sec. 4, “The Central Political Council as a link between the Party and Govern­ment.”Google Scholar
  12. 1.
    For details, see the Organic Law of the National Government of September 15, 1943.Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    Ch. VI, Sec. 2.Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    The National General Mobilization Act was enforced in May 1942.Google Scholar
  15. 1.
    See China Handbook, 1937–1945*, p. 101.Google Scholar
  16. 2.
    All these were enacted during the period from November 18, 1937 to March 15, 1945. The members and staff were quite serious in their work. Even though only one-third of the members were required to constitute a quorum, usually the attendance came to two-thirds according to the author’s recollection as a member of the Legislative Yuan at that time.Google Scholar
  17. 1.
    See also Ch. VI, Sec. 4, “ Judicial Reforms.”Google Scholar
  18. 2.
    It was s scholastic society of a private nature. While the judicial officials showed a keen interest in its work, they had no intention to control it. The author was then elected as Secretary-General of the Society, when he held the same position at the Ministry of Infor­mation without any affiliation with the Judicial Yuan Google Scholar
  19. 3.
    They were Hopei, Honan, Chekiang, Kiangsi, Anhwei, Kiangsu, Shantung, Shansi, and Kwangtung.Google Scholar
  20. 4.
    For the English text of Regulations for Safeguarding the Freedom of the Human Person of July 15, 1944, see China Handbook, 1937–1945*, pp. 265–266. These regulations became ef­fective as of August 1, 1944.Google Scholar
  21. 2.
    The following were some of the available figures: 657,475 successful candidates for public elective posts from June 1941 to March 1945; 42,418 successful candidates for government appointing posts from 1931 to March 1945; and 5,010 professional and technical personnel who had successfully passed the examinations from February 1942 to March 1945. For details, see China Handbook, 1937–1945*, p. 104.Google Scholar
  22. 3.
    They were Kiangsu; Anhwei and Kiangsi; Fukien and Chekiang; Hunan and Hupei; Honan and Shantung; Yunnan and Kweichow; Kansu, Ningsia and Chinghai; Kwantung and Kwangsi ; Shansi and Shensi ; and Sinkiang. The Hopei supervisory district was abolished after its occupation by the Japanese army at the beginning of the war.Google Scholar
  23. 1.
    See Ch. VI, Sec. 5, “the question of the early termination of political tutelage.”Google Scholar
  24. 2.
    The first one was promulgated on April 12, 1936, and the last amendment was made on March 1, 1947. For its English text, see China Handbook, 1937–1943*, pp. 110–112.Google Scholar
  25. 1.
    Arts. 6–10 of the Organic Law of the People’s Political Council, September 16, 1944.Google Scholar
  26. 1.
    See Ch’ien Tuan-sheng, op. cit., pp. 280–295; also Chen Chih-mai, The Government of China, Vol. II, pp. 259–266; Pan Wei-Tung, The Chinese Constitution*, Ch. V.Google Scholar
  27. 2.
    For a full description of the pre-war system of provincial and municipal governments see Ch. VI, Sec. 6.Google Scholar
  28. 1.
    For its English text, see China Handbook, 1937–1945*, pp. 122–126.Google Scholar
  29. 2.
    Cf. the district government described in Ch. VI, Sec. 6.Google Scholar
  30. 1.
    The provisional provincial councils in Chinghai, Ningsia, and Suiyuan had only 20 members each ; while the Szechwan provincial council was composed of 80 members.Google Scholar
  31. 1.
    In March 1945, 19 provisional provincial councils were established in the following provinces: Anhwei, Chekiang, Chinghai, Fukien, Honan, Hunan, Hupei, Kansu, Kiangsi, Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Ningsia, Shantung, Shensi, Sikang, Suiyuan, Szechwan, Kweichow, and Yunnan.Google Scholar
  32. 1.
    In 1944, such village or township councils were established in 371 districts (hsien). Google Scholar
  33. 2.
    In 1944, pao general councils were established in 975 districts (hsien). 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

Personalised recommendations