Baihua: (buy hwa) Literally, "plain language." A literary movement of the 1920s in China, the main idea of baihua was to promote writing as people spoke, rather than using the ancient forms of classical Chinese. Hu Shi, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun were all advocates of baihua.
Chen Duxiu: (chuhn doo show) 1879-1942. Chen received a classical education; he also studied in Japan. After returning to China, he became a professor at Beijing University. He published a journal. New Youth, which promoted radical modernization, Baihua, and Marxism. In July 1921, Chen was elected the first Secretary-General of the CCP. He was dismissed in 1927, during a KMT assault against the CCP. Chen never played a role in Chinese politics again. Although he co-founded the CCP, Chen died in obscurity and has been ignored in the PRC.
Chiang Kai-shek: (jahng guy shek) 1887-1975. One of the major political leaders of twentieth century China, Chiang's career included military service and leadership in the Guomindang (1928-49). After the Guomindang's loss to the Communists, he established a government in exile in Taiwan, serving as President of Republic of China (ROC) from 1949-75. Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, succeeded him as head of the ROC.
Chinese Communist Party (CCP): Secretly founded in Shanghai in July 1921 by Chen Duxiu and representatives of communist groups from all of China, including Mao Zedong. The Comintern played a significant role in the foundation of the party.
Guomindang (KMT): (gwoe min dahng) Literally, "National People's Party." The Wade-Giles romanization is Kuomintang, from which KMT is derived; also known as the Nationalists. Founded in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen, the KMT was involved in China's attempts at parliamentarygovernment. Although the KMT and the CCP cooperated initially, they split after Sun died. After losing the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the KMT retreated to Taiwan. The KMT traditionally claimed to be the legitimate government of all China.
Hu Shi: (who sure) 1891-1962. Educated in America, Hu became a professor at Beijing University upon his return to China. Hu advocated Western liberalism, Baihua, and democratic ideals. Although a critic of China's traditions, Hu favored gradual change, and called forindividual solutions to individual problems. Hu was the international voice for the moderate Chinese position.
Li Dazhao: (lee da jao) 1888-1927. The CCP claims Li as one of its founders, even though he was not at the 1921 organizational meeting. Li, head librarian at Beijing University, was Mao Zedong's mentor and introduced him to Marxism-Leninism.
Lu Xun: (loo shun) Pen name of Zhou Shuren, 1881-1936. He went to Japan to study medicine, but switched to literature after deciding he could best help China by writing. He was China's strongest proponent of language reform. His most famous works. Diary of a Madman and The True Story of Ah Q, attacked traditional Chinese as unready to build the modern state. He dismissed the Xinhai Revolution as meaningless. Although not a communist, Lu Xun is hailed by the CCP as China's premier leftist writer of that period.
May Fourth Movement: So named for an incident in Beijing on 4 May 1919, in which about 3000 university students poured into the streets to protest the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. The movement itself is usually given the dates 1917-1921. It was a total rejection of traditional Chinese culture by young, modern-educated Chinese.
May Thirtieth Incident: In the spring of 1925, Chinese workers called a strike against Japanese-owned factories in Shanghai. On 30 May 1925, police of the foreign concessions fired on and killed several student protesters. This led to nationwide boycotts, strikes, and riots.
Nanjing: Literally, "southern capital." The first capital of Ming China. Eventually, the Ming adopted & dual capital system, split between Beijing (administration) and Nanjing (ceremonies). Nanjing was the KMT base, and served as the KMT capital from 1928 to 1937.
New Culture Movement: Often given the dates 1915-1925. The appearance of New Youth, published by Chen Duxiu, marks the beginning of this movement. This movement rejected traditional Chinese culture and sought to replace it with something modern.
Northern Expedition: A military maneuver of 1926. The KMT pushed north, to gain control of areas ruled by warlords. The expedition's success established Chiang Kai-shek as virtual dictator of China.
Three Principles of the People: The platform of the KMT at its establishment in 1912. The Three Principles, proposed by Sun Yat-sen, are democracy, people's livelihood, and nationalism.
Warlords: Independent generals of the late Qing and Republic periods. Warlords were regional powers, surviving through their control of territories and command of personal armies.
Xi'an Incident refers to the December 1936 capture of Chiang Kai-shek by Zhang Xueliang, a general (supposedly) under his command. Zhang took Chiang in a successful attempt to force the KMT to stop fighting the CCP and create a unified front to fight the Japanese.
Xinhai Revolution: (shin high) Mandarin name for the revolution of 1911. This revolt toppled the Qing but did not replace the dynasty with another central power. China was wracked by civil war until 1949.
Yuan Shikai: (you-ahn sure kai) 1859-1916. Qing general who quelled the 1894 Kapsin Coup and the 1900 Boxer Uprising. The success of the Xinhai Revolution rested upon Yuan's refusal to support the Qing. Yuan became president of the Chinese Republic in 1912. He attempted to establish himself as emperor in 1915. However, this bid for supremacy was rejected by other political forces.