China's Republic (New Approaches to Asian History)
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Twenty-first century China is emerging from decades of war and revolution into a new era. Yet the past still haunts the present. The ideals of the Chinese Republic, which was founded almost a century ago after 2000 years of imperial rule, still resonate as modern China edges towards openness and democracy. Diana Lary traces the history of the Republic from its beginnings in 1912, through the Nanjing decade, the warlord era, and the civil war with the Peoples' Liberation Army which ended in defeat in 1949. Thereafter, in an unusual excursion from traditional histories of the period, she considers how the Republic survived on in Taiwan, comparing its ongoing prosperity with the economic and social decline of the Communist mainland in the Mao years. This introductory textbook for students and general readers is enhanced with biographies of key protagonists, Chinese proverbs, love stories, poetry and a feast of illustrations.
drabber than their fathers’ or grandfathers’ had been. The elegant, swishing long gowns that Chinese men had worn for centuries disappeared from the new capital. The gorgeous robes of officials, prescribed by precise sumptuary rules, had been casualties of the demise of the dynasty. Now it was the turn of everyday gowns – silk for the elite, cotton for the less wealthy – to disappear. Chinese men moved toward sober Western suits, severe Zhongshan jackets (based on a Japanese military uniform), or
Opera is still adored by huge numbers of fans. The efforts of Jiang Qing (Madame Mao) to produce revolutionary operas during the Cultural Revolution, by developing new operas with titles such as On the Docks and The Red Detachment of Women, almost killed the art form, but in the last two decades it has revived strongly. The floating world The committed nationalist modern culture and the transformed traditional culture coexisted with other more self-centered cultures. Shanghai was the sin city of
and, above all, warfare. The rural problems really were intractable. The government had many plans, for rural bank loans, crop improvement, agricultural mechanization, but neither the control nor the personnel nor the money to implement them. Real structural changes were needed before China’s rural economy could escape from chronic poverty. But the GMD was wary about promoting structural changes in rural society; it associated structural solutions with Communist policies – class war, land
seeking compensation. The suits have all failed. The Resistance War – warfare and chaos: 1937–45 139 Gladys Yang and Yang Xianyi One famous wartime love story was that of Gladys Tayler and Yang Xianyi. Gladys was born in China, of missionary parents, but brought up in England. At Oxford in the 1930s she met Yang Xianyi, the son of a wealthy Tianjin family who had been sent to Oxford to study. They fell in love, and at the beginning of the war went to Chongqing together. They married there and
of China, volume 12, edited by John King Fairbank (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983). For a guide to primary sources for the study of the Republic, see Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A Manual, 2nd edition (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000), 981–1061. 1 The decline of empire, the dream of a republic: 1890s–1911 China’s imperial system lasted for more than two millennia, through twenty or more dynasties, some of which lasted only a few years, others several