Growing Cautiously Into a Modern Republic – Part 1/7

The China Law Blog challenged an opinion I wrote about China becoming a republic with more freedom for the people.

I wrote, “The Economist wants India to win this race, because it is called a democracy as is the U.S., but what isn’t mentioned is that China is becoming a republic with a Chinese twist, which is what Dr. Sun Yat-sen wanted.… Once you read the two pieces in The Economist, you may understand why India’s democracy cannot beat China’s evolving republic.” Source: Comparing India and China’s Economic Engines

The China Law Blog criticized this post saying, “In other words, iLook takes what he sees as China’s aspirations and assumes (without a shred of factual support or even argument) that China will very shortly fully achieve those aspirations.”

I don’t recall writing “very shortly“.

In fact, the freedoms the world’s democracies are urging China’s government to implement ASAP may not materialize for decades and some freedoms found in the West may never appear.

To understand why China may be moving toward more freedom slowly, the best place to start is with Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925)

Sun is known as the father of China’s Republic.

To achieve this dream, Sun started by unifying the Communists and Nationalists into a two-party republic in southern China in the early 20th century. Both parties respected Sun, and he made it work.

Unfortunately, Sun died in 1924 at a time when China was in ruins and torn by anarchy and violence between competing warlords.

Then, Chiang Kai-shek, who was a member of the ruling class and a man who hated the Communists, went on a rampage slaughtering Communists and igniting a civil war that would rage even after Japan invaded during World War II. 

Chiang’s first move against the Communists was in the south. His next was in Shanghai to break the labor unions the Communists had been organizing to improve the lives of sweatshop labor working in foreign owned factories. 

Chiang Kai-shek’s goal was to exterminate the labor unions and the Communists, and he had support from the foreign factory owners.

The Communists that survived had no choice but to defend themselves. Surrender wasn’t an option.

Decades later, in 1949, the Communist Party won the revolution under Mao’s leadership and with the support of China’s peasants.

Chiang Kai-shek would flee to Taiwan and protected by the US, he would rule that island under martial law as a brutal dictator for twenty-six years. Taiwan would not become a democracy until years after Chiang and Mao’s deaths.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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2 Responses to Growing Cautiously Into a Modern Republic – Part 1/7

  1. Sino-Gist says:

    This summary of China’s twentiety century history up to 1949 is all well and good, but how does this show China is “moving toward more freedom slowly”…?

    • Sino-Gist, This is the first post in a seven-part series. To understand what is happening today and the possibilities of the future, it is a good idea to know the history that brought us here before introducing the signs of change.

      You may already know the history in Part 1, but many who read this Blog may not since so many in America don’t even know the history of the United States. Last week, I talked to a woman (American citizen) who knew nothing of China’s history. She only knew what she reads in the Western media. She didn’t know anything about The history between China and Tibet or the history in China with cults like the Falun Gong. She didn’t know that there were those in the party who wanted to execute China’s SARS doctor because he spoke out about SARS and warned the world but the majority vote within the Party’s top leadership (there are 300 men at the top of the Party who have a hotline and they can pick up that phone and have a conference call in an instant) shot the execution idea down.

      If you read the entire series as it unfolds, you may understand why I included the history to explain why China is moving toward a more open republic, which may never exactly match what we have in the US or Europe.

      There are members in the Party who want to do away with censorship and have a freer media and the debate is ongoing. A high-ranking Party member wrote a letter and Blogged to release the Nobel Peace Prize winner from prison but the majority vote said no. That Party member wasn’t alone in his sentiments but he was among the minority. AT one time, the Maoists were the majority and Deng Xiaoping managed to change that.

      So far, the majority has managed to keep the censorship and limit freedom of religion but time may erode their hold on those controls. Consider that there was no religion under Mao compared to today. Change comes slow. The iChing, The Book of Changes, warns against changing too quickly.

      China’s leadership is very aware of what Mao’s quick changes did to China due to the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution and they do not want that to happen again. You may be aware that when Mao wanted to launch the Cultural Revolution the nine members of the Politburo voted no, so Mao got rid of all nine one way or another. Deng Xiaoping voted no and Mao directed the Red Guard to toss his son off the top of a three or four story building.

      Deng’s son survived but was paralyzed from the neck down. Deng took his family and fled to southern China where a powerful PLA general offered sanctuary from Mao and the Red Guard. However, Deng didn’t rest. He worked out of sight to end the Cultural Revolution as soon as Mao died and he succeeded.

Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

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