Government in Republican China

Government in Republican China

Government in Republican China

Government in Republican China

Excerpt

The origins of Chinese society may reach half a million years into the past. Anthropologists have suggested that Sinanthropus Pekinensis, among the earliest forms of man, resembles the modern Chinese more closely than he does any other modern race. In what specific period the earliest ancestors of the Chinese came to China is not known. It is certain, however, that about 1500 B. C. there existed a well-developed civilized society in the Yellow River valley, and that this same society has lived on—modified by the centuries, but in unbroken continuity—down into the present. China has outlasted Crete, Tyre, Greece, and Rome. The Aztec empire, which arose in Mexico when China was already ancient, has become only a memory, while China is still vital. How is it that China's institutions survive, while those of other nations did not? How real are Chinese institutions today? What, precisely, is the Republic of China?

Duality or Confluence?</b></p><p>The phrase <i>Republican China</i> indicates an era rather than a system. The preceding ages of China have been known by the names of great dynasties. T'ang China (620-906 A. D.) overawed and instructed all eastern Asia. Sung China (A. D. 960‐ 1279) flourished, civilian and tolerant, in a world marked by bigotry and arms. Well into the past century the West remained distant and vague. Republican China struggles in the presence of the modern world and subject to its superior force; her very name is a capitulation to the twentieth century. The problems of the Republican era are not merely the problems of republican government; they involve the broad question of the meeting and interpenetration of civilizations. How are the Chinese, schooled for thousands of years in the effective operation of their own political system, to adapt themselves fast enough to the Western scheme? What happens when they must and yet cannot effectuate such adaptation? These are not queries to be answered simply in the routine terms of Western politics.</p>
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