Patterns of Interaction

Upheavals in China

chinese man Image from China has struggled with upheavals in its history.  In the early 1900s China was ripe for revolution.  Sun Yizian, is considered the “father” of the Chinese revolution after the fall of the Qing dynasty, he created a new republic of China based on Three Principles for People, nationalism, democracy and economic security.  He made little progress and China quickly fell into chaos. After Sun’s death in 1925, Jiang Jieshi became leader of the nationalist (Guomindang) and was soon rivaled by Mao Zedong and the Communist movement.  Within a few years, the Communists triumphed and Mao moved to impose revolution in China winning the support of the huge peasant population.  After Mao, came more moderate leaders, such as Deng Xiaoping.  Deng set China on a new path leading to economic reforms that welcomed foreign capital and technology. However, political reforms did not move as swiftly. China’s openness to the West introduced Western ideas of freedom and democracy, but those ideas were quickly and harshly repressed as was shown during the Tiananmen Square incident.



Questions to Consider

  • What groups came to power after the fall of the Qing dynasty?
  • Late 20th-century Chinese political thought of communism can be attributed to what early foundations?
  • How did Tiananmen get people to thinking about democracy?
  • How did the Chinese government react to demands for democratic reform?

Major Upheavals Since 1949

Click on each section to read the information.

Angrarian Reforms

Early 1950s


The Great Leap Forward



Cultural Reformation



Hundred Flowers

Liberalization 1956


Crushing of the Gang

of Four Late 1970s



Rebellion of Prodemocracy
(Student Rebellion)



Compare and Contrast of Jieshi (formerly Chiang Kai-shek) and Mao Zedong
Jiang Jieshi Mao
Party Nationalist Republic of China Communist
Key Supporters Great Britain; United States Peasants; Soviet Union
Reforms Modernize and develop Cities Divided land won among farmers,
Military Actions Fought warlords with the Communists; turned on Communists in Shanghai, Long March May Fourth Movement; Recruited Peasants in the countryside for the Red Army; trained peasants in guerrilla warfare