but could no longer control the whole China. In 1917, conflict between president Li Yuanhong and prime minister Duan Qirui over whether China should participate in World War I led to the mediation of a warlord Zhang Xun who tried to restore imperial rule in China but was ousted in no time. Prime Minister Duan was a warlord over Anhui Province and was the one who ousted the warlord that tried to restore imperial rule. Duan attempted to monopolize the government without due parliamentary procedure, however.
Sun Yat-sen, the Nationalist leader, tried to restore the republic by declaring war on Duan but failed in 1918. Warlord rule would continue until 1928, with the country fragmented into regions controlled by various military strongmen.
11. The Formation of Two Modern Political Parties: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party
In 1919, the Chinese again painfully realized that a political revolution was not enough. At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, which imposed the terms of the victorious countries on the defeated in the wake of World War I, China, an ally of the victorious side, was asked to cede its territory Shandong Province, a former German colony, to Japan. The humiliation led to mass student demonstrations in Beijing on May 4, 1919, calling for a cultural transformation of China. Western culture and translations of everything Western flourished in China, including Marxism. Chinese Communism was born in the May 4th era.
The Communist Party
The first Chinese Communists mostly belonged to what one would refer to as the May Fourth era, named after an event in May 4, 1919 that resonated in later Chinese history. On May 4, 1919, thousands of students in Beijing poured into the streets to protest against the Chinese government’s decision to cede the Chinese territory of Shandong Province to Japan. The decision was to materialize in the Chinese delegation’s signature at the Versailles Peace Treaty, where a clause about the transfer of Chinese Shangdong Province from Germany to Japan had to be approved. The Chinese government’s decision was made under the pressure of Japan that, like China, participated in World War I on the side of the British and the Americans, and the U.S. and Britain, but the information was leaked out in Japan to Chinese students studying there, who then informed Chinese students in China and in France about the clause in the treaty. The outburst of anger of Chinese students was not only due to the fact that China continued to be treated as a second class country even after it sent paramedics, trench diggers, and cooks to the French front in World War I, but also because China, after various reforms, including the establishment of a republic, continued to be weak and manipulated by strong powers. Eventually the Chinese delegates at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 refused to sign the treaty, and Japan did not get Shangdong Province. But the event taught many educated Chinese a lesson, namely, to make China strong, it not only had to transform its technology and politics, but also its culture. Thus May 4th was also connected to what was called the New Culture Movement, a flurry of introduction of Western culture. They imbibed the ideas of humanism, individual values, science and