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of Western culture was to be introduced into China either. The debate seemed to come to a stop in 1949, when the Chinese Communists took over the country, and declared that a particular branch of Western learning, Marxism, would be upheld in China because it emphasized paying attention to the particular issues of each society. But in the 1980s, China again opened up to the outside world, and the debate over Westernization continues to this day.

9. Late Qing Dynasty Reforms and the Republican Revolution of 1911:

After the series of defeats by Western powers, especially the defeat by eight allied countries in 1900, the Chinese government quickened its reforms, which were no longer confined to the scattered schools that taught Western learning and the factories/shipyards that manufactured Western style weapons and ships in the 19th century, but included a nationwide Western educational system from the primary to the tertiary in 1902. Co-education was also introduced, although its implementation in most parts of China was not realized until the 1920s. China also started to train its army in the Western way, and sent many imperial officials and students to the West to study foreign ways of science, technology, and politics. By 1910, the Chinese government was seriously considering establishing a parliamentary monarchy, although it was not ready to do it yet.  

The Qing government’s many practices, however, irritated Chinese in many provinces.  One of the things that angered the provinces most was their lack of any decision over who gets what business deals in their provinces. Railroad building was becoming a hotly contested business in central and eastern  China. The Qing imperial government wanted to sell railroad rights to Western companies, as it borrowed heavy loans from Western countries.  So the government nationalized all railroads in China. Chinese business people were irate at the loss of their own railroads. There were spontaneous movements in provinces such as Sichuan and Hubei in central China to prevent foreign companies from building railways in these provinces. When an uprising against the Qing government’s policy to nationalize railroads in Sichuan Province started in 1911, troops in Hubei Province were commissioned to go and put down the resistance. In October 1911, however, the troops in Wuchang, Hubei Province, in alliance with the local residents, rebelled against the Qing government, and were joined by many other Chinese provinces in southern and central China. By December 1911, most of southern China had declared independence from the Qing government. And a delegation from the independent Chinese provinces elected Sun Yat-sen, a long time revolutionary, as the first Chinese president in December 1911. The delegates also decided on January 1, 1912, as the beginning of the new Chinese republic. In March 1912, the first provisional constitution of the Republic of China was implemented, with a division of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

The beginning of the republic also saw the beginning of the first modern political party in China, the Nationalist Party (Guomindang).  Based on an anti-Manchu political alliance established in the late 19th century, the Nationalist Party, headed by Sun Yat-sen, was founded on three principles: nationalism, the people’s rights, and the people’s livelihood.  Sun’s ideal vision was that every farmer in China could have a reasonably good livelihood and each would have his own plot of land to farm on. The Nationalist

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