In the modern Chinese political imagination and cultural landscape, revolution established itself first as an idea, and then as a set of political practices, from the end of the nineteenth century, reflecting the interweaving of global and local transformations that shaped Chinese culture, society and politics in the context of Western imperialism and the crisis of imperial institutions. From then on, as a blueprint for transforming the empire into a nation-state, to struggle against foreign imperialism and to promote radical cultural and social change, the call for revolution has profoundly and widely inspired Chinese political activism throughout the twentieth century, deeply affecting the historical experience and the image and self-image of China. From this perspective, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 represents a significant case study. Dubbed for many years a ‛national bourgeois revolution’ from a teleological perspective, which transformed it in a step towards the revolution that culminated in 1949 under the Chinese Communist Party’s aegis, the Chinese Republican Revolution in 1911 was the first consciously ‛revolutionary’ event in modern Chinese history. The revolution aimed at establishing a republic, which was considered the only kind of polity able to give democracy to the Chinese people, granting them freedom, rights and equality. Its premise was the introduction of a whole new set of concepts and notions to the Chinese political vocabulary, such as the ideas of nation, citizenship, people’s sovereignty and people’s rights, which were inspired by the knowledge of contemporary Western ideas, but which sometimes had to be nativised. Moreover, it required prefiguring and creating a new political culture in which popular mobilisation and active participation were deemed the foundations of a modern polity.

Imagining, Scripting and Enacting Revolution in Early Twentieth-Century China: The Xinhai Revolution of 1911

De Giorgi, Laura
2023-01-01

Abstract

In the modern Chinese political imagination and cultural landscape, revolution established itself first as an idea, and then as a set of political practices, from the end of the nineteenth century, reflecting the interweaving of global and local transformations that shaped Chinese culture, society and politics in the context of Western imperialism and the crisis of imperial institutions. From then on, as a blueprint for transforming the empire into a nation-state, to struggle against foreign imperialism and to promote radical cultural and social change, the call for revolution has profoundly and widely inspired Chinese political activism throughout the twentieth century, deeply affecting the historical experience and the image and self-image of China. From this perspective, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 represents a significant case study. Dubbed for many years a ‛national bourgeois revolution’ from a teleological perspective, which transformed it in a step towards the revolution that culminated in 1949 under the Chinese Communist Party’s aegis, the Chinese Republican Revolution in 1911 was the first consciously ‛revolutionary’ event in modern Chinese history. The revolution aimed at establishing a republic, which was considered the only kind of polity able to give democracy to the Chinese people, granting them freedom, rights and equality. Its premise was the introduction of a whole new set of concepts and notions to the Chinese political vocabulary, such as the ideas of nation, citizenship, people’s sovereignty and people’s rights, which were inspired by the knowledge of contemporary Western ideas, but which sometimes had to be nativised. Moreover, it required prefiguring and creating a new political culture in which popular mobilisation and active participation were deemed the foundations of a modern polity.
Rethinking Revolutions from 1905 to 1934 Democracy, Social Justice and National Liberation around the World
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5010480
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