History the May 4th Movement (1919), which sought democratic and cultural renewal. The two organisations opposed the Warlords and in 1927 proclaimed a new democratic republic with Nanjing as its capital.
The alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party was short-lived. Chiang Kai-shek (see Famous People) who replaced Sun Yat-sen as leader of the Kuomintang began to suppress and persecute the Communists, who withdrew to southern China.
When the Japanese occupied Manchuria in 1931 and installed a puppet 1931-45 government led by Puyi (last emperor of the Qing Dynasty), the Kuomintang pushed southwards in order to eliminate the Communists led by Mao Zedong. Mao led his followers into the interior to prepare for the Long March north. They eventually reached safety in Yenan (Yan’an), but the brutality of the Japanese invaders, who caused the death of 20 million Chinese, forced Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists to re-unite and to fight alongside each other in the war against Japan, which lasted until 1945.
After victory over the Japanese the conflict between the Kuomintang People’s Republic and Communist People’s Liberation Army rekindled, and the founda- 1949 tion by Mao Zedong of the People’s Republic on October 1 st 1949 was followed by Chiang Kai-shek’s withdrawal to Taiwan (Formosa) where he established the Republic of China or Nationalist China.
Between 1949 and 1952, the period of “Reconstruction”, the Commu- 1949-52 nists introduced agrarian reforms in which all land owners were dispossessed and the confiscated estates distributed among the peasants. Each peasant received three mu (about a fifth of hectare or half an acre). The government guaranteed price and currency stability, came to an agreement with the Soviet Union on economic cooperation to boost production, introduced a new law to outlaw arranged marriages and prepared the ground for the emancipation of women, who under Confucianism were condemned to a subordinate role within the family and society.
This period covered the 1st five-year plan. As well as the continuing 1953-59 land collectivisation programme, higher investment was planned for the war-damaged heavy industries.