Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai Shek - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14495109
Would we be able to say that these two figures were conservatives? I understand that they were both revolutionaries and went against the old order (Qing dynasty), however at the same time both espoused some conservative principles.

Both wanted to preserve Chinese culture within the context of a Western modernity and both believed in Christianity (although being Chinese this might have made them less conservative for the time).

It is possible to argue that the real Chinese conservatives were the Qing monarchists.

Can Chiang and Sun be counted as conservative heroes?
#14495111
In a current world framework most definately. They had a progressive ideology for their time. They wanted to modernise the country having aknowledged the fact that the country was falling apart because of the monarchist divide system. Same thing can be said about Mao Tse Dong, he also aknowledged the fact, just found answers in a different ideology which brought westernisation in a different way. Ultimately Mao triumphed because his way was more proper for China at the time.
#14495117
JohnRawls wrote:In a current world framework most definately. They had a progressive ideology for their time. They wanted to modernise the country having aknowledged the fact that the country was falling apart because of the monarchist divide system.


That is very true, their movement was a reaction to the Westernisation of the world, however both men were quite conservative in their own personal affairs and view of things. Chiang was especially conservative.

JohnRawls wrote:Same thing can be said about Mao Tse Dong, he also aknowledged the fact, just found answers in a different ideology which brought westernisation in a different way. Ultimately Mao triumphed because his way was more proper for China at the time.


Mao Zedong was not a good leader for China and aside from most of the 1950s China only started to develop after the reforms of 1978-1979. The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution ruined the Chinese economy and social system. At least Chiang never attempted anything ridiculous like a Cultural Revolution or GLF.

Other leaders like Hua Guofeng or Liu Shaoqi were far more sensible than Chairman Mao.
#14495121
Mao Zedong was not a good leader for China and aside from most of the 1950s China only started to develop after the reforms of 1978-1979. The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution ruined the Chinese economy and social system. At least Chiang never attempted anything ridiculous like a Cultural Revolution or GLF.

Other leaders like Hua Guofeng or Liu Shaoqi were far more sensible than Chairman Mao.


Mao was a great leader, he didnt develop the country economically, but he unified the country, prevented it from falling apart and created a stable beroucracy to westernise the country.(After almost 50-100 years of either occupation, foreighn power medling and civil war) Before Mao, China was a country of peasants(thats why the previouse 2 candidats failed by the way), after Mao the country had a stable, united, one party berocracy and a semblance of industry to rely on. That alone is a great achievment in my book in a country with over a billion people. I am not saying Mao did only good, i am saying that many people overlook the good things that Mao has done.
#14495208
Sun Yat-sen was influenced by Miyazaki Toten, a Japanese philosopher who aided and supported Sun Yat-sen during the Xinhai Revolution, and modern Japan played an important part in Sun's development as a political activist. Sun was a supporter of nascent pan-Asianism and he aided the Philippine-American War to achieve the Filipino dream of independence. The Philippines became an American colony after losing the war but it gained independence later when the Imperial Japanese Army took over the country and expelled the Americans. Sun's Xinhai Revolution was mainly organised in Tokyo, which represented pan-Asian cooperation between Japan and China, and many Chinese students were studying in Japan at the time. But unfortunately, this period of friendship between the two countries was brief and Imperial Japan implemented a series of anti-Chinese measures to reduce the number of Chinese students and residents.

Sun Yat-sen spent time living in Japan while in exile. He befriended and was financially aided by a democratic revolutionary named Miyazaki Toten. Most Japanese who actively worked with Sun were motivated by a pan-Asian fear of encroaching Western imperialism.[32] While in Japan, Sun also met and befriended Mariano Ponce, then a diplomat of the First Philippine Republic.[33] During the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War, Sun helped Ponce procure weapons salvaged from the Imperial Japanese Army and ship the weapons to the Philippines. By helping the Philippine Republic, Sun hoped that the Filipinos would win their independence so that he could use the archipelago as a staging point of another revolution. However, as the war ended in July 1902, America emerged victorious from a bitter 3-year war against the Republic. Therefore, the Filipino dream of independence vanished with Sun's hopes of collaborating with the Philippines in his revolution in China. On 20 August 1905 Sun joined forces with revolutionary Chinese students studying in Tokyo, Japan to form the unified group Tongmenghui (United League), which sponsored uprisings in China.[45][46] By 1906 the number of Tongmenghui members reached 963 people.[45]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Yat-sen
Last edited by ThirdTerm on 06 Dec 2014 00:52, edited 2 times in total.
#14495209
Chiang definitely is remembered for his anti-communist authoritarianism. In that context he's often regarded as "right-wing".
I'm less sure about Sun. Certainly both Chiang and the Reds look up to him and both Chinas claim to be the legitimate heirs to his legacy.
#14495217
In no sense can Sun Yat-Sen be described as a 'conservative'. He was a revolutionary whose actions led to the collapse of the 2000 year old imperial system in China, and he often expressed great admiration for Marxism and communism. By modern standards, he was socially conservative of course. But then, so was Lenin.
#14495221
For certain definitions of "conservative", sure, they were conservative. For others, definitely not.

Generally speaking, I wouldn't call either conservative as revolutionaries/modernizers, though Jiang later on feels pretty conservative.

The main thing is that the word "conservative" has different definitions depending on context and summarizing complex individuals in complex historical settings to a single word is far too reductive to be of much use.
#14495265
Are there any Chinese Monarchists out there? I'd like to know if there is any.
#14495270
Potemkin wrote:In no sense can Sun Yat-Sen be described as a 'conservative'. He was a revolutionary whose actions led to the collapse of the 2000 year old imperial system in China, and he often expressed great admiration for Marxism and communism. By modern standards, he was socially conservative of course. But then, so was Lenin.


This.

Further conservatism is not really a well defined ideology. What does it mean, exactly? Preserving the status quo? Does that mean Stalin was a conservative in 40s ?
#14495385
"Conservatives'' defend the established status quo, whether recently established or long held. I've come to think that the term itself, like 'Liberal', has almost no meaning whatsoever in a political sense, unless it describes an unthinking spiritual mindset of a certain type of person, the kind of person who says; 'whatever is, is right'.
#14495431
"Conservatives'' defend the established status quo, whether recently established or long held. I've come to think that the term itself, like 'Liberal', has almost no meaning whatsoever in a political sense, unless it describes an unthinking spiritual mindset of a certain type of person, the kind of person who says; 'whatever is, is right'.

I agree, but this means that about 90% of the human race could be described as 'conservatives' in that sense. Most people just unthinkingly accept that whatever exists around them must be good and right and proper, simply because it exists and is exerting power on them. As I've said before, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives a certain amount of necessary political and social stability to human societies, and prevents them from collapsing as soon as even a minor crisis strikes. The fact that most people don't think about anything much is not a problem; in fact, it would be a problem if they did think too much.
#14495443
Potemkin wrote:I agree, but this means that about 90% of the human race could be described as 'conservatives' in that sense. Most people just unthinkingly accept that whatever exists around them must be good and right and proper, simply because it exists and is exerting power on them. As I've said before, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It gives a certain amount of necessary political and social stability to human societies, and prevents them from collapsing as soon as even a minor crisis strikes. The fact that most people don't think about anything much is not a problem; in fact, it would be a problem if they did think too much.


I used my reason to abolish reason from the throne I placed her upon, most reasonably, and have determined that I am one of those who think too much, as you say. It is very true, all you said. Things should never be lightly changed, and what seems to be 'unreasonable' to these Questioners like I was, should be accepted for the most part.

Custom is the security of nations and the enforcer of peace, which is the greatest of civic goods, this is why I now see Mao as the spiritual son of Sun Yat-sen....
#14495478
Custom is the security of nations and the enforcer of peace, which is the greatest of civic goods, this is why I now see Mao as the spiritual son of Sun Yat-sen....

Precisely. Mao always saw himself as the political and historical heir of Sun Yat-Sen. Even the so-called 'Mao suit' which became so fashionable during the Cultural Revolution was actually designed by Sun Yat-Sen, who designed it to embody his own political and social principles. He intended it to be the Chinese equivalent of the Western suit - a Western suit "with Chinese characteristics", rather like Chinese socialism in fact. Rather than calling it a "Mao suit", it would be more accurate to call it a "Sun Yat-Sen suit".
#14495824
Do modern historians consider the Boxer Rebellion as an expression of pro-Qing conservatism or as a proto-nationalist revolution? Western propaganda painted the Boxers as primitive and backwards, compared to the more modern countries, especially the newly modernised Meiji Empire. The Boxers are considered heroes in the PRC but the opposite is true in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
#14495829
JohnRawls wrote:Mao was a great leader, he didnt develop the country economically, but he unified the country, prevented it from falling apart and created a stable beroucracy to westernise the country.(After almost 50-100 years of either occupation, foreighn power medling and civil war) Before Mao, China was a country of peasants(thats why the previouse 2 candidats failed by the way), after Mao the country had a stable, united, one party berocracy and a semblance of industry to rely on.


Mao Zedong can definitely be called a great military and possibly even nationalist leader. The CCP were definitely far more ahead in fighting the Japanese than the reluctant and cautious KMT. Unifying China was also a monumental accomplishment.

It is true that from 1926 to 1949 the KMT had failed to significantly industrialise China but at the same time it is important to remember that they were struggling with the Japanese from the early 1930s onwards. Moreover they had numerous other problems to deal with like Uyghur separatism in the far west. The existence of these problems is of course no excuse for their failure to deal with them when the CCP managed to do so. However by 1949 the Kuomintang were learning from their mistakes and had begun enacting land reform just like the communists. If we look at Taiwan and what Chiang was able to do there it becomes obvious which leader would have been better.

Chiang's problem was he was beholden to certain bourgeois interests as well as the middle class. Because of this he could not really do anything to alienate. The CCP did not have this problem because their support base rested on the masses.

We must not forget the tremendous violence which took place under Chairman Mao. The Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward cannot be dismissed.

Potemkin wrote:In no sense can Sun Yat-Sen be described as a 'conservative'. He was a revolutionary whose actions led to the collapse of the 2000 year old imperial system in China, and he often expressed great admiration for Marxism and communism. By modern standards, he was socially conservative of course. But then, so was Lenin.


Sun Yat-sen was definitely not a Marxist. It is true that he was a socialist and was influenced by Georgism but do we have any actual evidence that he became a Marxist by the end of his life? Were the Three Principles of the People not quite distinct from Marxism?
#14495841
I didn't say that Sun Yat-Sen became a Marxist, for the very good reason that he didn't. I said that he often expressed admiration for Marxism and communism, which he did.
#14499641
I will not consider Sun Yat-sen conservative since he helped overthrew China's monarchical system and co-opted with socialists and communists. Even his "Three Principles" included leftist themes. Chiang Kai Shek is a different subject do to the most part his opposition to communism. I consider Chiang Kai Shek a rightist nationalist than a conservative but wouldn't dispute him being a conservative.
#14501563
JohnRawls wrote:Mao was a great leader, he didnt develop the country economically, but he unified the country, prevented it from falling apart and created a stable beroucracy to westernise the country.(After almost 50-100 years of either occupation, foreighn power medling and civil war) Before Mao, China was a country of peasants(thats why the previouse 2 candidats failed by the way), after Mao the country had a stable, united, one party berocracy and a semblance of industry to rely on. That alone is a great achievment in my book in a country with over a billion people. I am not saying Mao did only good, i am saying that many people overlook the good things that Mao has done.


Mao stood on the shoulders of Sun Yat-Sen, as did Kai-Shek. I would argue that Sun Yat-Sen was well on his way to creating a modern china in practice. At the very least he created the very notion of a modern China. His only mistake (albeit a noble one) was to relinquish his power to Yuan Shikai, a mistake that cost China dearly. As far as the conservative nature of Sun Yat-Sen, he would no doubt be considered conservative by modern standards, but his reputation as a revolutionary makes me disregard his social leanings.

Your whole statement on Mao ignores the fact that Mao was responsible for the economic stunting of China, the damaging of its history, and the death of millions of Chinese citizens. He could've westernized to the max, and created the greatest bureaucracy of all time, but that will never change the fact he was batshit insane
#14501733
Batshit insane is a relative term. Labeling leaders batshit insane is a simplistic when you are at odds at what they have done or you have never tried to understand why have they done it. Be it Hitlers holocaust or Obamas healthcare there is always an underlying explanation to it. Things are not done, because the person in charge is "Batshit insane''. Actions can't be labeled good or bad if you take an impartial perspective. There is only action and reaction (then again you can say i am removing morality which in itself makes Mao look better).

But that is the whole paradigm of the situation. You are approaching it from moralistic point of view(That the leader must be batshit insane to kill people/hurt people to achieve a goal) while i try to be more amoral/altruistic(Don't know better words to describe) in respect to all leader(That the head of the country tries to achieve the maximum benefit/achieve the goal with the means he has). Some fail, some don't.

Why i do this, is because moralistic point of view can't explain the realities of politics/diplomacy in general. (For example, Bush invaded iraq with no pretext or with a faulty context, which means he shouldn't have, which is contrary to reality or America helped greatly with the collapse of the soviet union, collapse of the Soviet Union caused great damage to the population living in it, which they shouln't have done, which again is contrary to the reality).

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