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Chen Jiongming's Federalism


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Sun's ideas were quite fuzzy, and many people consider him to be an idealist (too idealistic some say) who didn't have a clear-cut plan of action to carry out his ideals.

And how would Sun convert China into a full democracy if he survived longer? Perhaps we will never know the answer. He died too early as you mentioned. Yet I wonder how he would have converted China into a full democracy if he was anti-parliamentarism. What kind of formula or concrete plan of action did he have in mind to implement his Three Principles?

Sun wanted to unite the country by military force under the banner of a single-party state. I think this caused divisions within the country because it exacerbated relations with supporters of regional autonomy.

At least Chen had a more defined, realistic plan of action compared to Sun's. In addition to his proposed confederation of provinces, Chen wanted Guangdong to be a model of development for other provinces. Too bad that Chen and Sun did not reach a consensus on this.

I agree with ala that had there been more regional or provincial autonomy, the communist takeover would not have materialized the way it did. Instead of pitting KMT resources against communists, it could have been provincial governors (as part of a national confederation) obstructing or fighting the communists.

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Of course Sun's ideas were fuzzy. As a long time revolutionary for over 30+ years, Sun's thoughts constantly changed due to the changing political environment. Just like Mao, their political thoughts were fuzzy and even self-contradictory. That is why Beijing and Taipei can selectively quote Sun's words to justify their policies.

Except the short-term provisionary presidency at the beginning of ROC, in reality Sun never ruled for a single day. So did his proposal work? Nobody knew. He might wind up like Mao being a good revolutionary but a bad ruler.

But most likely Sun would wind up like Corazon whom people placed so much hope at the time of the revolution but totally despaired at the end of her presidency.

So Sun actually died at a good timing.

Regarding regional autonomy, actually before and after the Northern Expedition, most provinces still kept their regional autonomy. For instance, Chiang's forces never entered Manchuria. Marshal Chang Hsieh Liang just needed to replace the 5-color ROC flag into the Blue Sky White Sun flag and was still the overlord there.

I don't blame Sun needed a one-party military force. Why? Chinese tradition said "Good guys don't become soldiers". So all along only peasants and crooks enlisted as soldiers. And in fact, soldiers were no different from thieves as perceived by the civilians.

So Sun decided to change this phenomenon. Like the Bolshevik army, Sun gave the soldiers an ideology so that they knew what to fight for.

And that is why the brightest of bright Chinese youths gathered in Guanzhou in early 1920s. That is why merely after 3-years' training, the under-equipped, under-staffed Expeditionary Force could advance and succeed to defeat the better-staffed, better-equipped Northern Warlords' Armies.

In Chinese History, that was the only second occasion that a revolution starting from the South succeeded.

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