History of political parties in China
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Of the Chinese political parties the first major party in China was the Kuomintang (KMT), which moved to Taiwan in 1949. It was founded in Guangdong Province on August 25, 1912 from a union of several revolutionary groups. The Republic of China was founded by Kuomintang's leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen later that year. In 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao in Shanghai as a study society, and an informal political network.
During the Chinese Civil War, under the CPC's leadership, the People's Liberation Army defeated the Kuomintang's National Revolutionary Army in 1949. As a last resort, the Kuomintang leadership left mainland China, and moved to Taiwan. Since then, there have been two very different Chinese political entities, one ruling mainland China, and the other ruling Taiwan.
After the founding of the Republic of China in 1912, a plethora of parties appeared to compete for the upcoming National Assembly elections. The four largest winners were the Nationalist Party representing revolutionaries, the Republican Party representing militarists, the Unity Party representing the gentry, and the Democratic Party representing former constitutional monarchists. The latter three merged to form the Progressive Party in 1913. After the failed Second Revolution against Yuan Shikai, the Nationalist leadership fled China and regrouped as the Chinese Revolutionary Party. The Progressives were split into pro- and anti-Yuan factions during the National Protection War.
During the warlord era, the Chinese Revolutionary Party which ruled in southern China renamed itself as the Chinese Nationalist Party in 1919. Meanwhile, the Beiyang government in northern China held its own elections in 1918 which were won by the Anfu Club and followed by the Communications Clique and the Research Clique (successors to the Progressives). The Anfu Club dissolved after the 1920 Zhili-Anhui War, the Communications Clique in the Northern Expedition, and the Research Clique after the 1924 Beijing coup.
The Communist Party of China, formed in 1921, entered into a united front with the Nationalists in 1923 to defeat the warlords. The right-wing Young China Party (YCP) appeared in 1923. Following the 1925 Yunnan-Guangxi War, ex-Nationalists who adhered to the expelled Chen Jiongming and Tang Jiyao created the China Public Interest Party (CPIP). During the Northern Expedition, the Communists were purged from the united front while the Nationalists set up their one-party state. Left-wing Nationalists and non-doctrinaire Communists formed the genesis of the Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party (CPWDP) in the wake of the purge.
In 1935, former members of the Research Clique created the Chinese National Socialist Party, they were known as the Socialists to avoid confusion with the German Nazis. The CPWDP joined the short-lived Productive People's Party in the Fujian Rebellion. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the YCP, CPWDP, and the Socialists formed the China Democratic League (CDL), as an umbrella group, to fight the Japanese while providing for a "Third Way". After the war, the YCP and the Socialists, joined the Nationalists in Taiwan. The Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, CPWDP, CDL, and the CPIP joined the Communists' United Front which also included several political pressure groups.
Political parties of China
The Government of the Republic of China
The Government of the Republic of China ruled all of mainland China before 1945, both mainland China and Taiwan between 1945 and 1949, and has been confined to Taiwan after 1949.
Major parties prior to 1949 were:
- Kuomintang (KMT)
- Communist Party of China
- Youth Party of China
- Progressive Party of China
- Constitution Party of China