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China During Sun Yat-Sen And Mao Zedong

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Question 1

When classifying revolutionary movements of the 20th century it is often customary to try and label the conflict either Left Wing or Right Wing. However, in the cases of Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong, neither Left nor Right Wing seems an appropriate label for what their revolutions contained for China. The difference between democratic and anti-democratic is more fitting for the two Chinese revolutionaries. Both Sun and Mao advocated different methods of development to achieve the same goals but caused drastically different results. Sun Yat-sen, who was taught at a young age the Western ways of life, favored a revolutionary movement with democratic aspirations. Conversely, Mao admired Stalinism and the industrial drive of the Soviet Union, and favored moving away from Sun’s democracy to form a Communist government.

Sun Yat-sen was educated in Honolulu, Hawaii at a young age and was impressed by the United States industry, government, and technology. When he was older he wrote вЂ?The Three Principles of the People’ which was his political ideology created as a plan to revolutionize China. His ideology promoted three principles that “will lead China to a position of equality with other nations in her international relations, in her government, and in her economic status.”1 The three principles are: nationalism, democracy, and the people’s livelihood. All three of these needed to be present for a successful revolution to occur Sun advised. The three principles of Sun’s ideology clearly outline the structural features and economic strategies that he favored.

Firstly, he felt that nationalism is important because in China the race constitutes the nation. Since China is so connected by family and clans he felt that he needed to unify all the people together for “nationalism is a treasure, the possession of which causes a nation to aspire to (greater) development, and a race to seek to perpetuate itself.”2 With a united nation he believed he could motivate the Chinese to work harder and fight through the difficult times of industrialization by reminding them they were in the process of raising China’s status in the world. Sun wanted “all forms of class warfare and social division that threatened national unity to be rejected.”3 Sun did not favor any type of class struggle, for he felt that collaboration in the pursuit of economic prosperity and growth would be the correct way for China to industrialize. He wanted to unite the Chinese and use their shared background as a way of fostering cooperation and teamwork.

Secondly, and most importantly, he advocated democracy which he adopted from the United States and had always admired. He believed that China would need to have an all powerful state and a democracy that would “provide for the expression of natural inequality that would serve the fundamental interests of the people of China.”4 He stated that military rule in the form of an authoritarian regime would come first, then a period of tutelage, followed by a representative democracy.5 Sun knew that his end goal for China would be a constitutional government, but the process of achieving that goal would be difficult. Sun advocated democracy very heavily in his Triple Demism when he declared “without democracy, we cannot hope to achieve either a stable government and a lasting peace for the nation or the happiness of the people.”6 Sun created the Kuomintang political party in 1912 to lead China into the revolution because he “anticipated that revolutions, in our time, would be nationalist, and developmental вЂ" led by an elite, unitary party. For China, that party was the Kuomintang and its “charismatic” leader was Sun Yat-sen.”7 The structural features for Sun’s government leaned more towards a totalitarian command because he advocated a one party state. However, Sun promoted constitutional democracy and advocated having five branches of government that were modeled off the United States’ legislative, executive, and judicial power sharing government. Sun wanted the Chinese to have free and open elections, freedom of religion, and a civil society.

Thirdly, Sun advocated economic development which he felt would help China become a larger force on the world scene. He had seen how advanced the Western world had become through the Industrial Revolution and was intent on bringing that success to China. Sun’s economic development would entail:

Creating a “Chinese neo democracy” [which] involved a developmental regime, typified by qualified private property rights, market guidance, and major state intervention in the process. It would constitute a modified capitalism- a form of market-governed, developmental national socialism- calculated to accelerate industrialization.8

Sun felt that having a developmental regime and also a plan for infrastructural expansion such as railways, roadways, and telephones would also aid in China’s modernization and ease the change from being an agrarian society to an industrial society. Sun created his revolution specifically for China’s economy and the structure of their nation. For the economy, Sun knew and understood the intricacies of the market and that abandoning it would be economical suicide for China. Sun proposed a market under state control which would involve private property and a market- governed price structure. Sun did not believe in collectivization because a democratic society needs private property so that the people are motivated by their self interest to work hard and succeed. Sun also realized in order to yield industrial growth and increase agricultural production that China would need to collaborate with advanced nations. Sun understood that receiving foreign aid would be difficult but he wanted to capitalize on China’s “low-cost labor and its seemingly boundless resources, China вЂ?would create an unlimited market for the whole world.вЂ™Ð²Ð‚Ñœ9 By focusing on the economic aspects that China could contribute to the world, Sun felt that foreign investors would want to collaborate and aid China. Besides following his Three Principles, Sun believed in other philosophies and ideologies that would aid in China’s quest towards democracy. The philosophies and principles Sun established have also garnered him adoration and respect in Taiwan. He brought his ideas and the Triple Demism to Taiwan and helped build its foundations. Sun is considered one of the most important leaders



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