The Kwangsi Way in Kuomintang China, 1931-1939

The Kwangsi Way in Kuomintang China, 1931-1939

The Kwangsi Way in Kuomintang China, 1931-1939

The Kwangsi Way in Kuomintang China, 1931-1939

Synopsis

This work offers a detailed study of Kwangsi, the "model province" of Nationalist China, as it prepared for war with Japan in the 1930s. The author examines the theoretical and pragmatic origins of the Kwangsi Clique's ideology and describes the action taken by its citizen army against Japanese in the second Sino-Japanese War, incorporating an account of the reform programme instituted in Kwangsi during the preceding years.

Excerpt

The reforms of the Kwangsi Clique during the 1930s are of profound importance to an accurate understanding of modern China. the Clique created a theoretical and practical program in answer to Sun Yat-sen's deathbed call for the awakening, organizing, and training of the masses. This program included as its centerpiece a unique system of local government and militia based not on a model selected from the modern West, but on one thought to have existed in ancient China during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 B.C.). the Kwangsi Clique claimed to have democratized and socialized Kwangsi society by institutionalizing this system. Many Chinese and foreign observers, people of widely varying political viewpoints, became admirers of the Clique during visits to the province. Although the reputation of the Clique was enhanced by the performance of Kwangsi generals and citizen-soldiers in China's War of Resistance against Japan, it was based solidly on the political, social, economic, and military reforms carried out earlier within Kwangsi. This reputation led the Clique's head, Li Tsung-jen, to the vice-presidency, then the acting presidency, during the last months of the Republic of China's sway over the mainland.

The Central Problem and Its Implications

The central problem in this study is to evaluate the theory and practice of Kwangsi mobilization and reconstruction. Was the theory practicable, the practice successful? From the formation of the Chinese Communist party in the 1920s to the worldwide collapse of communism in the 1990s, the central question in Chinese internal politics has been whether the reformism of the Kuomintang was, or could have become, an adequate alternative to the economic and social revolutionism of the Communists. One may, perhaps, grant that the People's Republic, at . . .

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