Chinese nation-building and sun yat-sen : a study on 1911 revolution in China

Ergenç, Ceren
The intellectual and political roots of present-day China lie in the late imperial era and the transition to modern statehood. As the last chain of the thousands years of dynastic rule in China, the Qing Dynasty ended in 1911 with a revolution. Even though the Republican regime was immediately established after their revolution, it took three decades until thenew government (People̕s Republic of China) achieved full sovereignty on the territory. The thesis argues that the 1911 Revolution is a major turning point in Chinese transformation not only because of the regime change but also the ideological shift towards modern statehood. In this study, first, the social forces and actors on the eve of the Revolution are analyzed. The gentry-domination of society and the power relations within the forces involved in the Revolution - especially the intellectuals and the military - appear to be the two major reasons why the transition was not completed with the Revolution. The second focus of the study: the process of breaking with the past. In other words, how was the shift in people̕s mind achieved? In China, this turning point did not coincide with the 1911 Revolution and/or regime change. It came later in 1910s, reaching its peak in 1919, with the New Culture Movement of the May Fourth intellectuals. There had been some influential intellectuals building a nationalist discourse even before the May Fourth Movement (e.g. Liang Qichao, reformist and ideologue in late Qing dynasty) but the radical and outspoken tone of the New Culture Movement achieved the grounds for a shift in minds. I will briefly analyze the intellectual work of the period and its politicization. A special emphasis is given on Sun Yat-sen̕s political and intellectual contribution to the transition since he was not only a major political activist but also a theoretician whose works (Three Principles of


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Citation Formats
C. Ergenç, “Chinese nation-building and sun yat-sen : a study on 1911 revolution in China,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2005.