The politics of exclusion: Revolutionary centralization, national identity and Christianity in China during the Nationalist Revolution, 1923--1927.
Author(s)Murdock, Michael Glen
Contributor(s)Young, Ernest P.
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractThis dissertation explores the competitive relationship between the Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomindang or GMD) and rival systems of social and cultural influence operating in south China between 1924 and 1927, particularly Christian enterprises such as schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Through these establishments, many foreign Christians hoped to direct Chinese development toward a future committed to liberal as well as Christian political and social values. By 1924, this Christian vision, as well as those of non-revolutionary provincialist and localist interests, contended sharply with that of China's Nationalist revolutionaries who sought a strong, centralist version of modern China. Against resistance by rival organizations to its centralization efforts, the GMD employed an effective strategy that involved heavy use of popular activism and simultaneous regime accommodation. By employing mass agitation (which constantly disrupted rival programs) as well as government intervention (which offered assistance to these same rivals if they would accept GMD oversight) competitors such as the Guangzhou Merchants' Corps, British interventionists, various anti-government citizens corps (<italic>mintuan</italic>), and Christian institutions, gradually gave up their opposition and accepted GMD dominance in return for government support against popular agitators. Against Christian institutions, the dual-pronged strategy proved remarkably effective at pressuring missionary educators to comply with government regulatory oversight in return for protection from anti-Christian agitation. Thus, rather than simply targeting non-revolutionary groups for destruction, the Nationalist movement successfully processed them for inclusion in the GMD version of the modern Chinese nation. Although effective as a means of dealing with non-revolutionary rivals, the dual-pronged strategy also empowered popular agitating groups which sometimes viewed destructive and confrontational agitative objectives as the desired end of their efforts. Taking propaganda to its logical conclusion and pursuing their own interests, agitating organizations often acquired new agendas for agitating that extended beyond the centralizing objectives of party authorities. During the course of the Northern Expedition in particular, anti-Christian mass-agitation became acutely disruptive, precipitating concern among revolutionary leaders (both left and right wing) about escalating violence and prompting GMD efforts to diffuse and suppress agitation in order to avoid destructive conflict with Christian and foreign institutions.
Philosophy, Religion and Theology
University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies