In Search of Chinese Democracy: Civil Opposition in Nationalist China, 1929-1949

Why modern China has been unable to institutionalize democracy is a long-standing topic of debate and the ultimate subject of this book. The greatest momentum for democracy, Edmund Fung contends, emerged between 1929 and 1949 with civil opposition to the one-party rule of the Guomindang. This analysis of China's liberal intellectuals and political activists who pursued democracy in the 1930s and 1940s, fills a gap in the historical literature on the period between May Fourth Radicalism and the Chinese Communists' accession to power. Fung argues that the reasons the growth of democracy was thwarted during this period were ultimately more political than cultural. The Nationalist era contained the germs of a reformist, liberal order, which was prevented from growing by party politics, a lack of regime leadership, and bad strategic decisions. The legacy of China's liberal thinkers can be seen, however, in the pro-democracy movement of the post-Mao period.

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