Democracy, Nationalism and Revolution: The Relationships between Revolutionists and the Powers during China’s National Protection War (1915‒1916)

Mandarin presentation

The twentieth century is a century of revolution for China. The main purpose of these revolutions was to save the country from the internal counterrevolutionaries and invasion by western Powers. This study reveals that the revolutionists were occasionally forced to seek aid from the camp of the ‘invaders’ to advance their cause against the overwhelming power of the counterrevolutionaries. Focusing on the relationships between the revolutionists and the Powers during the National Protection War which swore to protect the newly installed republic system against the monarchists, this study sheds light on our understanding of China’s search for modernity and democracy and the dire reality that pushed the revolutionaries to seek help from the Powers, whose motives were far from being totally altruistic.

Honglei Cheng, an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford China Centre, is an Associate Professor at the Central China Normal University.