22 Mayıs 2009 Cuma

Revolution and Modernity in China/Togan-May 6,2009

Stearns et al compare the Chinese and Ottoman empires as coming under the direct influence of the western powers and thereby coming to an end. This aspect is well documented in your textbook.

•Yet there was a major difference between the two as the outcome in the 20th century also portrays.

•Ottoman Empire came to a dissolution and was transformed into many nation states.
•The Chinese empire transformed itself into the Republic of China in 1911 and then into People’s Republic of China in 1949 by holding on the former territories.

Major differences
•This was possible especially due to two major differences:
•land tenure system
• relationship between state and religion.
•Imperial China’s land tenure system was not uniform.
•The north historically had been divided into military colonies, in other words there was more government intervention there.
•The south, on the other hand, had been the land of farming and commerce.
•This is why resentment against gentry domination and local landlords was one of the major issues in the 20th century.

Liang Qichao

Lu Xun in the first decade of the 20th century

•The uprisings, revolts and also the revolution all had their roots in these issues. The degree of well being (on political, economic, social and educational terms) of a group as well of the individual became increasingly important.

•In comparisons with the modern western world China at the beginning of the 20th century was not faring well.

•This is why struggle against imperialism, for economic self-sufficiency, nation building with multi-ethnic characteristics, rule of democracy became major aims.

•The Chinese intellectuals were fighting for political, economic and intellectual rights.

•They also wanted to overthrow the Manchu Qing dynasty

•Chinese emperors as sons of Heaven were regarded as sacred but they were not the head of any religious denomination. There was also no religious establishment in association with the state. There were only different groups with various religious affiliations, like the Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, a.s.o.

Uprisings by religious groups (Taiping) were a historical phenomena but these groups had never been as part of the law and order or the mainstream. We encounter them each time towards the end of a dynasty. They helped to give a drive to discontent, but they were not part of the establishment. Each effort towards this end had ended with failure in Chinese history

Three Principles of the People

Because of these reasons the revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen was able to speak in this Three principles (Sanmin zhuyi) of the unity of 5 nationalities.1. the Han, 2. Manchu 3. Tibet 4. Muslim/Uigur 5. Mongol

Sun Yat-sen marrying Soong Qilingfrom Shanghai

•With the aim of creating a modern nation Sun Yat-sen, said “Chinese people (people of the Middle Country) have only family and clan solidarity; they do not have national spirit. […] Therefore we must espouse nationalism and bring this national spirit to the salvation of our country.”

•While trying to raise national consciousness, he was on the one hand emphasizing the Han Chinese culture,
• but at the same time he proclaimed the equality of the 5 races (nationalities) in 1912.

-What the revolutionaries of the early 20th century wanted was the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty members of which came to be regarded as outsiders, conquerors, foreigners. With the revolution 1911 Chinese were neither fighting for a secular state nor for a one-nation state, but for a democratic state which was multi-etnic.

•They were fighting for democracy on the domestic and equality on the international scene. They also wanted to be equal to other nations in terms of modernity.

-The fight for democracy meant fighting against the power of the landed gentry and the norms of traditional Confucian society where hierarchies and veneration of ancestors was important.

The Long Road leading to Change of Mentality meant also fighting against well established norms of Confucianism and its hierarchical order

However the road to
a) land reforms and
b) change of mentality was a long one,
leading to the changes in 1949 with the People’s Republic of China.

•At present the former residence of Lu Xun has now been paired with the Lu Xun museum to offer comprehensive coverage of the former writer's life and work. The large renovated courtyard house belonged to the author between 1881 and 1936, Widely accepted as China's greatest modern writer, Lu Xun gave up a promising medical career to write books with the aim of curing thousands of bored, sick people with his pithy and satirical stories.

Sun Yat Sen's Memorial Hall(Taipei)