The Pan-Chinese Movement is the form of Chinese nationalism that asserts that the Chinese are a nation and promotes the cultural and political unity of the Chinese, regardless of their ethnic origins. After the 1911 Revolution, the official definition of "Chinese" was expanded to include non-Han ethnicities as part of a comprehensive Chinese nation (Zhonghua Minzu), in order to boost the unification of different races in China. The main races or ethnics groups considered are the Han, the Manchus, the Mongols, the Hui (name given to the Chinese Muslims), and the Tibetans.

Initial development

Sun Yat-sen, founder and first president of the Republic of China.

Five races under one union flag, also national flag of the First Republic of China

Some people say, after the overthrow of the Qing, we will have no further need of nationalism. Those words are certainly wrong... At the present we speak of unifying the 'five nationalities' (Han, Manchu, Mongol, Hui, and Tibetan), yet surely our country has far more than five nationalities? My stand is that we should unite all the peoples of China into one Chinese nation (Zhonghua minzu)...and, furthermore, develop that nation into an advanced, civilized nation; only then will nationalism be finished. (Sun Yat-sen).

It has its beginnings in the Five races under one union was one of the major principles upon which the Republic of China was originally founded in 1911 at the time of the Xinhai Revolution. Despite the general target of the uprisings to be the Manchus, Sun Yat-sen, Song Jiaoren and Huang Xing unanimously advocated racial integration to be carried out on the frontiers; hence the different colors used for the flag. The general idea is that all of the non-Han races were Chinese also, despite the non-Han portion making up a relatively small percentage of the population. The "five ethnic groups under one union" flag was no longer used after the Southern Expedition.

The political Chinese unification considers China proper and includes Manchuria, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Mengjiang and Tibet. The case of Outer Mongolia is usually open and as historically varied. For example the KMT considers Outer Mongolia part of China and does not fully recognized its independence. However the Communist Party of China (CPC) acknowledges the independence of Mongolia.

Later development

Although post 1911 Chinese nationalists have agreed on the desirability of a centralized Chinese state, almost every other question has been the subject of intense and sometimes bitter debate. Among the questions on which Chinese nationalists have disagreed is what policies would lead to a strong China, what is the structure of the state and its goal, what the relationship should be between China and foreign powers, and what should be the relationships between the majority Han Chinese, minority groups, and overseas Chinese. This debate divided the Chinese nationalism, and therefore Pan-Chinese movements in two groups: nationalists and progressives. The Japanese sponsored a Pan-Chinese Movement that was functional to their political and war goals during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1946).

The independence of Outer Mongolia (1911) and Tibet (1912), the division between the First and Second Republic (1916-1935), the fragmentation of China (1920-1929), the establishment of the puppet state of Mengjiang (1932-1944) and Manchukuo (1934-1944) by the Japanese and the Second Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1946) keep the reunification as unfulfilled task for the nationalist and progressive Pan-Chinese movements.

The Warlord states of United Provinces of China (Chongqing), South Chinese Republic (Guangzhou), and the State of Yunnan (Kunming) and outlaw all expression of Pan-Chinese movements by outlawing the organizations, groups or persons that campaign for it. This measures forced the KMT and CPC to go underground.

The Japanese puppet states of Manchukuo, Mengjiang and the japanese province of Taiwan also outlaw Pan-Chinese parties and movements. The existence of the NRL was restricted to the Chinese State Union (CSU).

The main groups of the Pan-Chinese movement

The main political expressions and organizations of the Pan-Chinese movement are the following four:

The Sinocentric Group

Flag of the Young China Association and YCP

The Young China Association, better know by its political section the Young China Party, is a conservative and reformist party. It was also strongly anti-communist, and later attacked the centralism and pro-western attitude of the KMT. The YCA/YCP established organizations in Shanghai, other major Chinese cities, and among overseas Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. From its foundation, The YCA's primary platform was to advocate the elimination of China's warlords and the establishment of a strong central government. It also promoted a nationalist agenda which focused on the abolition of the special privileges and extraterritoriality which foreign powers had obtained in China during the final years of the Qing Dynasty.

Strangely enough for a party that advocated in some degree Chinese chauvinism, it attracted wide attention in Southeast Asia and some elements of is program and ideas became the basis and groundwork for several nationalist movements, such as the Thai Nation Party.

The Nationalist Group

Party flag of the Kuomintang

The Kuomintang (KMT), the first and foremost nationalist party of China is the most important body of this group. It includes all KMT party branches in Manchuria, and the former warlord states and also sister parties in Taiwan and Tibet. It also incorporates overseas sections of the KMT and affiliated fraternal societies. To a lesser degree the military cliques and parties of the First Chinese Republic also belong here. The Joint Asian National Conference, formed during the Second Sino-Japanese War assumed the coordination of sister parties and organizations under the aegis of the Foreign Affairs Department of the KMT, Previously there were sporadic meetings of organizations promoted or allied to the the KMT.

The United Provinces of China can also be included for its promotion of federalism, that is the central government should share sovereignty with regional entities.

The main scientific, cultural and ideological organizations are the Academia Sinica of the Second Chinese Republic, that as an affiliated center in Taiwan.

Progressive Group

Party flag of Communist Party of China (CPC)

The Communist Party of China (CPC), inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1918 adheres to Marxism–Leninism, is the foremost member of the progressive group. Also are included similar parties. In 1937 the All-China People’s Political Consultative Conference (All-China PPCC) was created has an umbrella organization that includes Chinese communist and allies in China, Manchuria, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet and former warlord states. It also incorporates affiliated overseas fraternal societies.

The main scientific, cultural and ideological organizations are the Academies of Sciences of Manchuria and Xinjiang.

The independent socialist states of Manchuria and Xinjiang are officially committed to the reunification. The Chinese People’s Unification Council (CPUC) is the interstate coordinating body, which also includes the All-China PPCC.

Japanese sponsored Pan-Chinese Movement

Flag of the National Renaissance League (NRL)

The National Renaissance League (NRL). that was founded in 1925 in China and sponsored in 1930 by the Japanese Empire. The NRL was the sole legal political party of the Chinese State Union (CSU). The NRL was committed to Pan-Asianism, Pan-Chinese unification and mainly to its official ideology, the Great Union. This ideology, based on the Great unity (大同, dàtóng) and its common expression are the five principles of Union. The movement includes NRL sections and cooperating agencies in the Japanese Empire. However NRL’s Pan-Chinese nationalist, is limited to the unification of Inner China identified as the true Huaxia versus barbarians (Yi). Thereby this brand of nationalism excludes Outer Mongolia. Manchuria, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet.

The main scientific, cultural and ideological organizations is Society of Academies of Classical Learning of the CSU and affiliated bodies and centers in Japan. The Society is sponsored by the Imperial Academy of Japan.

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