Republic of China
Timeline: Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum

OTL equivalent: China proper
Flag of China (Myomi Republic) Emblem of China (de facto) (Myomi Republic)
Flag Emblem

天下為公 (Classical Chinese)
("All is equal under Heaven")

Anthem "Ode to the National Flag"
Capital Xi'an
Largest city Shanghai
Standard Mandarin Chinese (de facto)
  others Mongol, Manchu and various others
Religion Sinaism; Buddhism; Confucianism; Taoism; Islam; Christianity
Ethnic Group Han Chinese
Demonym Chinese
Government Semi-presidential republic; Dominant-party system
  legislature National Assembly of China
President Wan Gang
Premier Chen Zhu
Established January 1, 1912
Currency Chinese yuan (¥) (CNY)
Time Zone various (UTC+7 to +8)
Calling Code +85
Internet TLD .cn, .至那
China (Chinese: 至那 Zhìnà), officially the Republic of China (Chinese: 至那民國 Zhìnà Mínguó), is a sovereign state located in East Asia. China bordered with Mongolia and Manchuria to the north, with Altishahr to the west, with Tibet to the southwest, and with India, Burma, Laos and Vietnam to the south. The national capital of China is Xi'an with a population of 19 million.

Politics and government

The government of China is founded on the 1948 Constitution of the Republic of China, according to the Three Principles of the People based on the teachings of Sun Yat-sen as well as the principle of National Democracy.

Xian Shaanxi History Museum

The National Assembly Hall in Xi'an.

The National Assembly of China (國民大會 Guómín Dàhuì) is the highest state organ of the Republic of China. Its consists of about 2500 delegates which are elected for four-year terms through a multi-tiered representative electoral system. Theoretically, the National Assembly is the supreme law-making institution. However, in practice the Assembly usually acts as a powerless rubber-stamp parliament for decisions already made by the ruling Chinese Solidarity Party (至那團結黨 Zhìnà Tuánjiédǎng).

According to the 1948 Constitution, the National Government of China (國民政府 Guómín Zhèngfǔ) consists of the President of the Republic and the five branches of government (五院 wǔyuàn; Five Yuans), namely the Executive Yuan, Legislative Yuan, Control Yuan, Judicial Yuan and Examination Yuan. All members of the Five Yuans are elected by and responsible to the National Assembly from among its members every four years, except for Legislative Yuan which is elected every two years.

Chung-san Building, Taipei

The Presidential Palace, the official office of President of China, located at the foot of Mount Li, Xi'an

The President of the Republic of China (總統 Zǒngtǒng) is the head of state of China and nominal commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The President is elected by the National Assembly every four years from among its members. Under the 1948 Constitution, the office of President is largely ceremonial and symbolic with limited powers and functions. In practice, however, the Presidency can be a powerful office if it is occupied by an influential individual within the political system such as the leader of the Chinese Solidarity Party.

The Executive Yuan (行政院 Xíngzhèngyuàn) is the executive branch of National Government and is presided by the Prime Minister of China (總理 Zŏnglĭ). It consists of the Prime Minister as its presiding officer, two Deputy-Prime Ministers, Ministers of State and various heads of state commissions. The composition of the Executive Yuan is determined by the recommendation of the President of the Republic and is approved by the majority of the Assembly.

The Legislative Yuan (立法院 Lìfǎyuàn) is elected every two years by the National Assembly from among its members. The Yuan exercises the legislative powers and acts on the behalf of the National Assembly in the interim of the parliamentary sessions. Although the Legislative Yuan has a function to exercise the powers of Assembly while the latter is not in session, the Yuan has no power to censure and supervise the other branches of the government. Such powers are specially vested on the Control Yuan.

The Control Yuan (監察院 Jiāncháyuàn) is based on the traditional Chinese censorate and has powers to supervise and inquire the other branches of the government. While the Constitution has bestowed the power to act on the behalf of the National Assembly on the Legislative Yuan, in fact the Control Yuan has more power regarding it. The Control Yuan has the powers to censure and impeach the members of other branches of National Government, including the Prime Minister, and is considered the strongest branch within the Government.

The Judicial Yuan (司法院 Sīfǎyuàn) is the highest judicial body in the Republic of China. The President and Vice-President of the Judicial Yuan and 15 Justices form the Council of Grand Justices. They are appointed by the National Assembly based on the recommendation from the President of the Republic. The highest court, the Supreme Court, consists of a number of civil and criminal divisions, each of which is formed by a presiding Judge and four Associate Judges, all appointed for life.

The Examination Yuan (考試院 Kǎoshìyuàn) is in charge of validating the qualification of civil servants in the Republic of China. It is based on the old imperial examination system used in pre-Republican China. While in theory the Examination Yuan has least importance compared with the other branches, in practice the Yuan has functions to maintain the civil service under the control of ruling Solidarity Party as well as to ensure the effectiveness and to eliminate inefficiency of national bureaucratic system.


Chinese Revolution (1911–1912)

Disillusioned by the failure of the Qing Dynasty’s attempt to reform and modernize China, the revolutionary movement against the ruling dynasty emerged by the late 19th century. Different with other political organizations before the failed Hundred Days Reform, this movement advocated the overthrow of Manchu’s Qing rule and the restoration of Han Chinese rule in China. Many of early Chinese revolutionary movements were founded by overseas Chinese, such as the Furen Literary Society in Hong Kong and the Revive China Society in Hawaii.

10132144 319270

Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925), one the founding fathers of modern China

In 1905, the Tongmenghui was founded in Tokyo after the merger between the Revive China Society, the China Revival Society, and the Restoration Society. Sun Yat-sen (孫中山 Sūn Zhōngshān), a republican and anti-Qing activist, was elected as its leader. This organization soon was increasingly popular between the younger people, especially the students. When the Tongmenghui was established, more than 90% of its members were between 17 and 26 years of age. Tongmenghui was also popular among the overseas Chinese communities, especially in Malaya, who was financially funding the organization.

A series of uprisings, started from the First Guangzhou Uprising in 1895, was launched by the revolutionaries against the Qing government. The uprisings prior to 1911 was always successfully suppressed by the government due to lack of the participants and a coordination. It was not until the Wuchang Uprising in Wuhan on October 10, 1911, the revolutionary wave swept throughout China and many people started to show their support to the revolutionaries.

Chinese-army Wuhan flag (1911-1928) 18 dots

Flag of Wuchang Uprising

Alerted by this situation, the Qing Court ordered Yuan Shikai on October 27, 1911 to lead his New Army to retake Wuhan. Outnumbered by the New Army, the revolutionaries retreated to Hanyang and, finally, to Wuchang where they would fight against the New Army for about 50 days. During this battle, more than a half of all Chinese provinces already declared its independence from Qing, including Tibet and Outer Mongolia. On November 1, 1911, the Qing Court appointed Yuan as new Prime Minister who would briefly led the short-lived Qing constitutional government.

With much of the provinces that declared its independence from Qing, Yuan sent Tang Shaoyi as his representative to negotiate with the revolutionaries in Wuhan where the revolutionaries choose Wu Tingfang as their representative. They agreed that Yuan Shikai would force the Emperor to abdicate in exchange for the southern provinces' support of Yuan as the president of the Republic. To prevent civil war and possible foreign intervention from undermining the infant republic, Sun Yat-sen agreed to Yuan's proposal to unify China under Yuan Shikai's Beijing government.

On January 1, 1912, Sun officially declared the establishment of the Republic of China and was inaugurated in Nanjing as the first Provisional President. On February 12, 1912, the child Emperor Puyi and Empress Dowager Longyu finally abdicated following the threat and pressure from Yuan. Following the agreement between him and Sun Yat-sen, Yuan Shikai was sworn as the second Provisional President of the Republic of China in Beijing on March 10, 1912, starting the period of Beiyang Government

Beiyang Regime (1912–1928)

Yuan Shikai's era (1912–1916)

Flag of China (1912–1928)

Flag of the Republic of China during Beiyang era

On August 25, 1912, the Nationalist Party (國民黨 Guómíndǎng), popularly known as the Kuomintang, was founded by Song Jiaoren, one of Sun's associates. It was an amalgamation of small political groups, including Sun's Tongmenghui. The 1912-1913 National Assembly elections gave over half the seats and control of both houses to the Kuomintang, where the second largest party was the Progressive Party (進歩黨 Jìnbùdǎng), led by Liang Qichao.

As a supporter for the parliamentary republic system, Song Jiaoren was widely regarded as a primary candidate as new Prime Minister after the election. However, Song was assassinated while traveling with a group of friends to Beijing on March 20, 1913, less than two weeks before the assembly convened. An investigation showed the assassination was arranged by the incumbent Prime Minister, Zhao Bingjun. Amid Yuan's denial, the Nationalists still suspected Yuan has a higher responsibility to the assassination. Because of the lack of evidence, Yuan was never officially implicated.

YuanShika Colour

Yuan Shikai (1859–1916), first President of China (1913–1916)

Nevertheless, the tensions between the Kuomintang and Yuan continued to intensify. Following Yuan's authorization of $100 million of "reorganization loans" from a variety of foreign banks to finance his Beiyang Army, the Kuomintang became highly critical of Yuan's use of power that independent from the Assembly. In July 1913, seven southern provinces rebelled against Yuan and the Second Revolution, which was mainly staged by the Kuomintang faction under Sun Yat-sen's leadership, was begun. Due for being ill-prepared, this revolution was unsuccessful and forced Sun to flee to Japan.

Through the bribes and threats from military that surrounded the Assembly building, the National Assembly formally elected Yuan as the President of the Republic of China on October 10, 1913. Yuan then outlawed the Kuomintang on November 1913 and its members of parliament was expelled from the Assembly. Without a quorum after the expel of Kuomintang MPs, the Assembly was unable to convene and finally, was declared on permanent recess by Yuan on January 10, 1914. On May 1, 1914, Yuan convened his own Constitutional Conference that produced a "constitutional compact" that gave the presidency the unlimited powers. Yuan justified these actions by stating that representative democracy had been proven inefficient by political infighting.


Liang Qichao (1873–1929), one of the founding fathers of modern China

On December 12, 1915, Yuan proclaimed himself Emperor of the newly established Empire of China under the era name of Hongxian. The universal opposition against Yuan now formed throughout China, not only from the old Kuomintang revolutionaries, but also from their former rival political organization, the Progressives, under Liang Qichao, which already opposed Yuan's abuse of power since the ban on the Kuomintang in 1913.

The increasing centralization under the Imperial government by abolishing the provincial system also triggered the opposition from the local military governors. Following the advice from Liang Qichao, the Yunnan clique under former Yunnan governor, Cai E, declared the independence of Yunnan on December 25, 1915 which started the National Protection War (護國戰爭 Hùgúo Zhànzhēng) against Yuan's government. Similar anti-Yuan sentiment was also emerging even among Yuan's Beiyang clique in the north following Yuan's coronation. Pressured by the widespread opposition, Yuan finally renounced his title as Emperor and restored the Republic on March 22, 1916.

Warlord era (1916–1927)

On June 5, 1916, Yuan died from uremia. Li Yuanhong appointed as new President of China and Duan Qirui as the Premier. However, Li and Duan soon had a conflict over China's entry to the World War I. Duan insisted on joining the war while Li opposed. Li Yuanhong removed Duan from office and called for national military support, resulting to a nation-wide political crisis. With German funds and arms, monarchist general Zhang Xun, took the opportunity. Zhen then occupied the capital and forced Li to dissolve parliament, in attempt to restore the Qing Dynasty on July 1, 1916. This restoration only to being repressed by Duan later. Li resigned as president and was succeeded by Feng Guozhang.

May fourth 1919

Protests during the May Fourth Movement

Emerged as the the most powerful leader in China, Duan established the new government and organized the new senate along with Liang Qichao. China eventually entered World War I as the part of Allies on August 1917. Sun Yat-sen and and former parliament members that had been deposed during the Manchu Restoration responded Duan's unconstitutional action by forming a rival government in Guangzhou, and then in Shanghai, and organizing the Constitutional Protection Movement against the Beiyang Government with the backing of the Yunnan clique and the Old Guangxi clique.

When Duan's loans from foreign banks to finance his Anhui forces were exposed, the May Fourth Movement sparked throughout the country on May 4, 1919. The students, merchants, and workers in Beijing and other larger cities across China went on strike, protested against corruption and nepotism that hampered the government. The movement played a significant role in the history of China as it radicalized the Chinese intellectual thought such as the introduction of Marxism and rise of the New Culture Movement. During this period of national unrest, Sun Yat-sen re-established the Kuomintang in October 1919 in southern China.

Naval Jack of the Republic of China

Flag of the Kuomintang (1912–1945)

The conflict between Duan's Anhui clique and the rival Zhili clique under Cao Kun and Wu Peifu for control of the Beijing government led to the break of Zhili-Anhui War on July 14, 1920. The Anhui clique was defeated by the Zhili forces and their ally, the Fengtian clique from Manchuria. Duan stepped down from the power and retired as an ordinary citizen. Despite assumed the national power, the Zhili clique had an uneasy relationship with the Fengtian clique of Chang Tso-lin, led to their military conflicts in 1922 and 1924.

Meanwhile in the south, Sun Yat-sen proclaimed himself as the Grand Marshal of a military government in 1921. Following the May Fourth Movement, Sun was slowly getting disillusioned with Western democracy. With assistance from the Soviet Union and the Comintern, Sun started to re-establish the Kuomintang as a Leninist party despite its non-Communist nature and permitted the Chinese Communist Party joined the party membership while maintaining their separate party identities. Sun was also able to develop the military power needed for against the North. He established the Whampoa Military Academy with Chiang Kai-shek as the commander of the National Revolutionary Army.

Northern Expedition (1926–1928)


Chiang Kai-shek, who emerged as the leader of China following the Expedition

After Sun's death on March 12, 1925, Chiang launched the Northern Expedition in July 1926 and rapidly defeated the armies of Zhili clique. In April 1927, Chiang Kai-shek purged the Communists from his National Revolutionary Army and caused a split between the Kuomintang's left and right wings. The leftists, led by Wang Jingwei in Wuhan, condemned Chiang's purge. Chiang, however, subsequently established his own government in Nanjing in April 1927 and the expedition was put on halt.

The situation gave Chang Tso-lin, the warlord of Fengtian clique, an opportunity to take control of the Beiyang Government personally as the Grand Marshal of the Republic of China in June 18, 1927. Under Chang, the civil service began to improve and start functioning again. The navy and army ministries were also merged to create the Ministry of Military Affairs.

Following the Nationalists’ defeat in Xuzhou, Chiang resigned from his position as the Chairman of the Nanjing Government and moved to Shanghai. Li Zongren as new leader of the Nanjing Government attempted to negotiate a possible reconciliation with the Wuhan Government. Wang Jingwei, upon the end of negotiations, ordered the purge of all Communists from his government, resulting to a military coup by the Communists in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. As a result, the Wuhan Government became destabilized and strengthened the Nanjing Government on the other side. On January 2, 1928, Wuhan finally reconciled itself with Nanjing and the Northern Expedition restarted in February 1928.

The Nationalists swept across the remains of Zhili clique forces and reached the Yellow River in mid-April, 1928. Yan Xishan's forces successfully occupied Beijing in June 1928 and renamed the city as "Beiping" or "Northern Peace". Chang evacuated himself to Fengtian and retained a government in exile led by Premier Pan Fu. However, many of its civil servants, had already switched over to the Nationalist government. In December 1928, Chang finally accepted the jurisdiction of the Nationalist Government by replacing all banners of the Beiyang Government in Manchuria to the Nationalist one. Chang was recognized by the Nationalist government as "vice-leader" of China in return for his allegiance to the Nationalists.

Central Plains War (1930)


Feng, Chiang and Yan, as the allies, prior to the outbreak of the Central Plains War.

At the end of the Expedition, the NRA consisted of five army groups: Chiang's Whampoa clique, Chang Tso-lin's Fengtian clique, Feng Yuxiang's Guominjun, Yan Xishan's Shanxi clique, and Li Zongren's New Guangxi clique. Chiang did not have direct control of the other four so he considered them to be threats.

In February 1929, Li Zongren fired pro-Chiang governor of Hunan but Chiang objected and the two clashed in March, leading to Li's defeat and temporary expulsion from the KMT. Chiang then briefly regained the position as the Chairman of National Government. Feng Yuxiang tried to rebel against Chiang's government on May 19, only to find that half of his army defected through bribery. From October to February, fighting resumed with Chang Tso-lin, Wang Jingwei of left-wing Wuhan faction and Lin Sen of right-wing Western Hills faction of Kuomintang joining the opposition.

In May 1930, the Central Plains War erupted, pitting Chiang against the Beiping coalition of Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang, Li Zongren, Chang Tso-lin, and Wang Jingwei. Battles in the north were generally in Henan and Shandong and battles in the south were mainly in the area of Yuezhou, Changsha and Hunan province. With the assistance of its air force, Chiang's Central Army struck with several major offensives. The Northwest Army, however, crushed Chen Cheng and Chiang's forces in Gansu at the end of May, and Chiang was captured as he was inspecting the front line.

Nanjing Regime (1930–1945)

Yan-Wang Administration (1930–1932)


Yan Xishan (3rd from right) and Wang Jingwei (2nd from right) after the Enlarged Party Conference

After the coalition's victory, Yan Xishan convened the Enlarged Party Conference and set himself as new Chairman of the National Government while Chang Tso-lin as the Vice-Chairman and Wang Jingwei as the Chairman of Executive Yuan. On other side, as the losing party, Chiang was expelled from the Party's leadership and was appointed as the Director of Whampoa Military Academy in December 1930.

During this decade, China entered a period of relative prosperity. The Nationalist Government started to modernize the legal and penal systems, stabilize prices, amortize debts, reform the banking and currency systems, build railroads and highways, improve public health facilities, legislate against traffic in drugs and augment industrial and agricultural production. On the other hand, political freedom was considerably curtailed due to the Kuomintang's political tutelage.


Boat traffic and development along Suzhou Creek, Shanghai, ca.1920

Although the Nanjing government claimed all of China proper, Mongolia, Dzungaria, Tibet, Manchuria and Altishahr under its jurisdiction, in fact the government rule was only strongest in the eastern regions around the capital Nanjing. Large areas of China remained under the semi-autonomous rule of local warlords, provincial military leaders or warlord coalitions as Yan wanted to get the support from his fellow warlords. All cliques now wore the Zhongshan suit and had the Kuomintang party membership while ruling independently in the name of Kuomintang.

The regional cliques such as the Fengtian clique in Manchuria, Shanxi clique in Shanxi, Ma clique in the Northwest, and New Guangxi clique in the South retained considerable local autonomy, while other regions were independent from Nanjing and under control of foreign powers, such as the Soviet Union in Outer Mongolia and Altishahr and the British Empire in Tibet. Almost bankrupted after the Central Plains War, China had no choice other than retreated its forces from northern Korea and Manchuria following the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931–1932).


Lin Sen (1868–1948)

As Yan-Wang administration getting unpopular, Chiang Kai-shak re-emerged again to political arena with the backing from his Whampoa clique colleagues, the traditionalist Central Club clique, the technocratic Political Study Clique, and the Green Gang criminal organization. CC and Political Study cliques itself were the main opposition against Yan Xishan and Feng Yuxiang that they viewed as "leftists" and were believed to be financially backed by the Soviet. Yan resigned from his office on 1932 after China's defeat on the Second Sino-Japanese War and Chiang's influence was virtually restored.

However, Chiang was unable to reinstate himself as the Chairman of National Government as Hu Hanmin's rightist Western Hills faction and Wang Jingwei's leftist Reorganizationist faction jointly opposed his nomination and successfully placed senior statesman Lin Sen,as the new Chairman. Chiang instead became the Chairman of Executive Yuan, replacing Wang. Nevertheless, Lin's lack of political ambition made him more as a figurehead, while Chiang exercised the actual power on government.

Sino-German Cooperation (1933–1941)

Sino-german cooperation

Sino-German cooperation (1931–1945)

Chiang then started to accelerate the industrialization and modernize the military of China with the help of Nazi Germany. Germany then sent some military advisers to help the development of the National Revolutionary Army. The anti-communist NSDAP and the anti-communist KMT were soon engaged in close cooperation with the Germans training Chinese troops and air fighters and expanding Chinese infrastructure, while China opened its markets and natural resources to Germany.

By 1936, China had only about 16,000 miles (25,750 km) of railways, far lower than the 100,000 miles (160,000 km) that Sun Yat-sen had envisioned for his ambition of a modernized China. In addition, half of these were in Manchuria, which was already lost to Japan and out of the Kuomintang control. However, the series of Sino-German agreements between 1934 and 1943 was greatly accelerating the railway construction in China. Major railroads were built between Nanchang, Zhejiang and Guizhou. These fast developments were made possible because Germany needed efficient transportation to export raw materials, and because the railway lines served the Chinese government's need to build an industrial center south of the Yangtze, in the south-central provinces.

China also followed German preparation in aerial warfare in 1930s. In 1931, Chang Hsueh-liang, son of Chang Tso-lin who had the largest air force among the warlords, proposed the development of military aviation against Japan. While Chang's air force was failed to be deployed during war with Japan, the idea of air supremacy took ground among the KMT leaders. Allied with Chiang in 1932, Chang was appointed the Minister of Aviation and supervised the development of Chinese Air Force (空防軍 Kōngfángjūn, simply known as the "Kungfong") and concluded the purchase of 500 German, Soviet and American planes in 1938. In addition, China started to produce its own war planes in 1940 and, by 1945, had about 750 war planes.

In July 1937, Japan and China engaged in a confused, sporadic skirmishing battle which later escalated into a full-scale one in the Southern Hebei Demilitarized Zone and fought near the Xingcheng city walls, later known as the Battle of Xingcheng Wall. Japanese government's reluctance to escalate the conflict into full-scale war with China again and Germany's arbitration forced Japan to withdraw its troops from Hebei. On September 22, 1938, Japan and China reluctantly signed a non-aggression pact after pressures from Germany and the United Kingdom, where China recognized the territorial integrity of Manchuria and Korea.

On November 12, 1937, the new Constitution of the Republic of China was adopted by the National Assembly and went into effect on January 1, 1938. Chiang was elected by the Assembly as the President of the Republic of China, replacing Lin Sen on November 27, 1937. According to the constitution, President's term was increased from four to six years and granted the power to convene extraordinary sessions of the Assembly and the right to veto a bill that passed by the Legislative Yuan. While the adoption of new constitution legally ended the political tutelage of the Kuomintang, in fact the constitution established an authoritarian presidential system that centered on Chiang Kai-shek's figure.

World War II (1941–1945)

Early progress (1941–1943)


President Chiang Kai-shek gave a speech to the public regarding the invasion of French Indochina on December 8, 1940

When France fell under Axis occupation on June 25, 1940, China still used the Sino-Vietnamese Railway in French Indochina and the Burma Road in British Burma to transport material and fuel imported from Germany and Iran. By August 1940, a plan to invade Indochina had been considered after the intelligence report of Japan's attempt to isolate China by invading the Dutch East Indies.

After failed to negotiate with the French, on November 17, 1940, Chiang ordered the Chinese troops in Guangxi to march to French Indochina that supported by the aerial bombardment. The French resisted, resulting to the Battle of Hanoi on November 19–24. However, China had achieved air supremacy over the French by end of 1941, which resulted to a swift victory over the battles against the defending French colonial army. When Hanoi fell on November 25, 1940, the French hopelessly retreated farther south until it was defeated on February 4, 1941.

Chinese invasion to French Indochina prompted the Tamiikusa Navy to invade the Dutch East Indies from the Japanese South Pacific on March 13, 1941, resulted to the economic isolation of China from the main oil exporter of Southeast Asia. When the news of the German invasion of the Soviet Union reached China, Chiang decided to nullify the non-aggression pact and to retake Manchuria by force. On July 17, 1941, Chiang declared war on Japan. Full-scale battles soon broke out across Sino-Manchurian borders on July 18–29. On August 1, 1941, the Kungfong, dubbed as the "Luftwaffe of the East", was deployed to bomb Kwantung. On August 4, the Tamiikusa's Kwantung Army was ordered to retreat immediately to Korea.

6 june tiananmen-with-chiang-kaishek

Chiang Kai-shek's portrait was hung at the Tiananmen gate after the successful Chinese invasion of Manchuria, 1941

With the Fall of Kwantung on August 4, 1941, China was unexpectedly able to overrun the Japanese defense in Manchuria by September 1941. The Chinese continued to move into the Korean Peninsula on October 11, 1941 and energetically chase the retreating Japanese forces. Seoul was fallen on November 2. However, the Chinese forces were halted from moving further into the tip of the peninsula by the Kwantung Army and the Chawi Army at the famous Battle of Hongcheon on November 20-25, 1941. Unable to move closer into southern Japan, Chiang ordered the Chinese troops to stop the campaign temporarily.

In December 1941, China joined military alliance with Thailand. After Japan officially joined the Allies in March 1942, Chiang sent Premier H.H. Kung to Berlin. China formally joined the Axis Powers on April 12, 1942 with Germany, Italy and Spain. On April 24, 1942, China invaded British Hong Kong as a symbolic declaration of war on the British and other Allied nations. However, China did not want to renounce its non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union like what it did to Japan before to avoid forming a northern front war with the Soviet Union which would waste the military resources of the Chinese army. Despite his anti-communism, Chiang still considered Japan, not the Soviet Union, as the primary enemy of China.

Setback (1943–1945)


Chinese troops marching across Burma during the invasion of Burma, 1943

On May 7, 1942, the Chinese army invaded Burma from Yunnan to secure the supply line from the Indian Ocean. The Chinese, helped by the Thai forces from the southwest and Burmese insurgents, led by Aung San, were able to drive the British out of Burma and temporarily retreat to Bengal, British India (now East Pakistan) in December 1942. The lengthy invasion of Burma, however, cost the Chinese army with heavy losses both on the number of soldiers and the military logistics. It would soon be proved to be the disastrous factors when the Japanese forces launched the massive counterattacks in mid-1943.

In March 1942, the Japanese had launched several offensives to re-capture northern Korea. In December, the Japanese and Korean forces reached Amnok and Duman regions and pushed the Chinese back beyond the Yalu River. On February 1, 1943, the Senrima Offensive was launched to regain control of Manchuria from the Chinese. Without strong reinforcements, the Chinese retreated to the south of the Great Wall in April 1943. Manchurian statehood was restored by the Japanese on April 23, 1943. The setback in the northeast prompted talk among high-ranked Kuomintang figures to negotiate the surrender with Japan by early 1943.

Japanese mechanized forces marching towards Lo-yang

Japanese mechanized forces marching towards Luoyang, Henan Province, 1943

On June 9, 1943, the Tamiikusa launched Operation Go-Daigo; China's northeast front was rapidly deteriorated. Beiping was captured by the Tamiikusa on July 27, 1943. Advancing very aggressively, the Tamiikusa forces captured Nanjing by December 1943 and forced the National Government to move southward to Chengdu. With the aggressive offensive from occupied northern China and the naval infantry landings in the southeastern coast from Taiwan in April 1944, Japan had completely conquered eastern China by late 1944.

Chiang's political nemesis, Wang Jingwei, established contacts with the Tamiikusa between March and September 1943. After his plan was revealed, Wang was assassinated in October 1943 by the Juntong agents sent by Chiang. Wang's death forced his supporters and other anti-Chiang opposition leaders to flee to Taiwan and northeast China, establishing the Tsaiho Kuomintang ("Kuomintang in Japan") with Chen Gongbo and Zhou Fohai as its leaders. However, by 1944, it was clear that Japan favored the Japanese-educated Zhou Fohai as the sole leader of this group.

Surrender (1945)

China suffered a severe blow when Thailand defected to the Allies in September 1944. The high-ranked government officials had secretly discussed for a conditional surrender with the Americans and the British, rather than with the Japanese, hoping for a better outcome. Chiang dispatched T.V. Soong to the United States on January 19, 1945, only a week after the Japanese landed at Hainan. However, the mission was discovered by the Japanese intelligence and the airplane carried the secret delegation was shot down just when it flew above Taiwan.

On May 2, 1945, Japan engaged in psychological warfare with China by installing the Great Han Interim Government (大漢過渡政府 Dàhàn Guòdù Zhèngfǔ) with defected Kuomintang officials in Beiping; Zhou Fohai became its chairman. On August 9, 1945, the Soviet Union renounced its non-aggression pact with China and attacked the Chinese in East Turkestan, fulfilling its Yalta Conference pledge. The Soviets recognized the Altishahri communist government headed by Ehmetjan Qasimov on August 19, 1945. In less than a week, the Soviet Red Army and the Altishahri partisans overran western China. China officially capitulated to the Allies on August 25, 1945 and the official surrender was signed in Shanghai on September 2, 1945.

Allied Occupation (1945–1949)

Flag of Allied Occupied Japan

Civil and naval ensign during the occupation of China (1945–49), derived from international maritime signal flag "E".

Following the Manila Agreement, China proper was divided among the occupying forces. The British retook Hong Kong and controlled Hunan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Fujian and Jiangxi. Tibet had declared its independence on September 1, 1945 and, under the British military occupation, a provisional government was set up in Lhasa by Tsarong Dzasa since Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, was still in his minority. The Soviets occupied Kokonor, Gansu, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan, while the Americans were given the control of Shandong, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Hainan. The Japanese controlled the largest occupation zone, comprising the rest of Inner China.

During the war, the Allies had agreed to treat China as a single economic unit. This plan, however, was delayed until 1947 because Japan had blocked any establishment of central administrative structure for China. The Japanese secretly consolidated a pro-Japanese all-China administration by retaining several collaborative ex-KMT politicians as puppet leaders and avoiding the implementation of liberal democracy in China. Inner Mongolia was also proposed to be merged into pro-Soviet Mongolian People's Republic, but the Japanese successfully prevented it and managed to keep Inner Mongolia as a part of China.

Wartime anti-Chinese violence among the locals in Malaya and North Borneo (and in lesser degree, in the Dutch East Indies), prompted the Allies, especially the British, to repatriate about 1.7 million ethnic Chinese to Hong Kong and the British zone in the south. On October 1, 1945, the Allied Council in China formally assumed the responsibility of the repatriates from Southeast Asia; the Japanese agreed to settle about 750,000 refugees to northern China. Among the repatriates were future Chinese leader, Lee Kuan Yew, who migrated from Singapore and Liem Koen Hian, who migrated from Surabaya and later served as China's Foreign Minister from 1948 to 1952.

In 1946, the independence war broke out in Burma between the British and the pro-independence Burma Liberation Front (Lutmyauk). The communist-dominated Lutmyauk was supported by the Soviets and was constantly supplied with firearms and artillery through southwestern China. The British, which at first opposed the Japanese political move in China, then openly supported the creation of a unified Chinese government even if it will be under Japanese influence. In 1947, the British and the Americans agreed the Allied forces will retreat from China effectively in 1949 and forced the Soviets to stop the supply line to Burma.

The Allied approval paved a way for the pro-Japanese governments to be established throughout occupied China. On October 14, 1947, the Chinese Solidarity Party was founded as the ideological successors both of the Kuomintang and the Progressive Party, formalized with a symbolic hand-shake between Sun Fo, the son of Sun Yat-sen, and Liang Sicheng, the son of Liang Qichao, to show the unity of legacies of two founding fathers of modern China. On November 12, 1948, Zhou Fohai declared the establishment of National Government of the Republic of China before the All-China Political Consultative Conference (全至那政治協商會議 Quán Zhìnà Zhèngzhì Xiéshāng Huìyì) in Xi'an.

Zhou Fohai era (1948–1983)

Post-war economic miracle (1957–1976)

Sino-Portuguese War (1960–1961)

Economic stagnation (1976–1983)

Lee Kuan Yew era (1983–1998)

Liberalization (1985–1998)

Return of Hong Kong (1997)

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