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Wednesday, October 10, 2001, updated at 13:21(GMT+8)

Great Awakening of Chinese Nation-Marking 90th Anniversary of 1911 Revolution

Following are excerpts of the article written by Ren Zhongping and published on the front page of People's Daily on October 9.

(1) The Revolution of 1911 already has a history of 90 years. On October 10, 1911, gunshots were heard in Wuchang, Hubei Province, which was responded by various provinces throughout the country. Within one-plus month, 15 provinces and cities declared independence one after another. On January 1, 1912, the rule of the Qing Dynasty crumbled amidst the flames of revolution, and the Republic of China was proclaimed established.

(2) The 1911 Revolution initiated the modern national-democratic revolution in its full sense, but it failed to achieve victory in its complete sense. First was Yuan Shikai who declared himself to be emperor, followed by Zhang Xun's restoration of the monarchy and then by the establishment of separatist warlord regimes, imperialism and feudalism further colluded with each other and there was no fundamental change in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal situation. In this sense, the Revolution of 1911 finally ended in failure. The one which genuinely accomplished its historical mission was the magnificent people's revolutionary war led by its successor, the Communist Party of China, which, after 28 years of bloody battles, finally overthrew the three big mountains (imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism) and founded the People's Republic of China, thus paving the way and clearing all obstacles for realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

(3) However, the historical merits of the 1911 Revolution are indelible. Its victory, setback and failure are all of historic significance.

The biggest achievement of the 1911 Revolution was that it toppled the Qing government and put an end to the thousands of years of feudal rule on the vast expanse of Chinese territory. This was an earth-shaking change, which meant an unprecedented emancipation of the Chinese people and a heavy blow to imperialism.

The Revolution of 1911 represented a great awakening of the Chinese nation, the accumulation and eruption of the sense of national crisis, the sense of saving the country and seeking survival and the sense of overthrowing the feudal monarchy and establishing a democratic republic, it promoted an unprecedented growth of the patriotic spirit. This patriotism was a powerful, world-shaking spiritual force. The noble revolutionary integrity and patriotic devotion of the 72 martyrs in Huang Huakang, a cemetery in Guangzhou. It was a magnificent flower of patriotism in the modern history of the Chinese nation.

(4) The 1911 Revolution marked the great beginning of the Chinese nation's advancement from the long-drawn-out night of feudalism to modern civilization. At this historic turn, Sun Yat-sen was the national hero who stood on the front of the tide of the time, leading the people to put an end to the old epoch and open up a new age.

(5) The 1911 Revolution was an important ideological liberation movement. Its main achievement was the advance from being patriotic and loyal to the throne to saving the country through revolution, this represented an important boundary marker in the awakening of the Chinese nation in the modern time. In this process, the intense trial of strength between reformation and conservatism and between revolutionaries and royalists enabled the democratic republican idea to go deep into the hearts of the people, authoritarianism was being impacted and spurned.

(6) This was an arduous course, for which progressive Chinese had paid a price of blood. Representatives of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Reform Movement of 1898 and the 1911 Revolution were all great patriots. However, the advocacy and road they took were different. The revolution of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom took the old form of peasant uprising in its fight against feudal rule and the invasion by big powers. This struggle dealt a heavy blow at the rulers of the Qing court and the foreign invaders, making it one of the largest peasant uprisings in the world. However, Hong Xiuquan acted as the "heavenly king", remaining an emperor and courting his final defeat.

People of high ideals in the Reform Movement were distressed to see that their country was in a passive position and taking a beating, so they published newspapers and magazines, translated Western science books, preached the doctrine of evolution, advocated innate rights of man, criticized the divine right of kings and advocated building a strong country through reform. They told people with their own blood: The road of constitutional monarchy was impassable.

Leaders of the 1911 Revolution realized that to save the country, it was necessary to make revolution, they clearly put forward the national-democratic revolutionary program for overthrowing royal power, equalizing land ownership, establishing a republic and rejuvenating China.

(7) In the Chinese feudal society that existed for thousands of years, feudal emperors were representatives of Heaven, while the masses of people were only the emperor's slaves and subjects. Feudal authoritarianism was a formidable ideological system and a cruel ideological bond. The Revolution of 1911 resolutely floored down the emperor, in public opinion, it lashed out at and criticized the divine right of kings and authoritarianism, thereby greatly inspiring the revolutionary spirit of the people and setting off an upsurge in the democratic movement. This was an important background against which the process of China's modern history witnessed an unprecedented acceleration, which rapidly advanced to the May 4th Movement, to the birth of the Chinese Communist Party and the founding of New China.

(8) Only after repeated reversals, will history send decadent things into the grave. The change from the feudal society to the capitalist society represented a great turn, a great progress, and a great leap of the time, which could not be accomplished at one stroke. In the process of human history, the replacement of several social forms was not accomplished at one stroke. The replacement of darkness by brightness, reaction by progress usually needed to go through repeated trials of strength.

But this should not hinder our effort to analyze and discuss the defeat suffered by historical incidents, and to draw lessons and enlightenment therefrom.

(9) The 1911 Revolution ended in failure, the capitalist constructive scheme for the country was completely foiled. The direct reason was that the feudal forces were too strong, the fruit of revolution was usurped by feudal warlords. Its external reason was imperialists' control over China's politics and their support to Yuan Shikai, lackey of warlords. The fundamental reason was that the Chinese national bourgeoisie which led the revolution was too weak and so had never been able to become a force influencing the Chinese political situation. Politically, its fight against imperialism and feudalism could not be carried out thoroughly, on the contrary, it relied upon imperialism and feudalism; militarily, it failed to establish a revolutionary army under its full control; in its relations with the people, it was divorced from and feared the masses and could not satisfy peasants' demand for land, it lacked a necessary major rural change, so it could not get the genuine support from the people. The decisive thing was that there was not a firm and mature political party.

Involved here was the dual character of the consequence of the invasion of big powers, the dual character of capitalism itself, the dual character of the Chinese national bourgeoisie as well as the 1911 Revolution leaders' understanding and grasp of these dual characters and comprehensive role, and their understanding and grasp of the revolutionary tasks and situation of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal country.

(10) The capital expansion by Western powers to China brought disaster and humiliation, as well as Western cultures to the Chinese nation, which, from different aspects, promoted the awakening of the Chinese nation. Under the conditions prevailing at that time, the Chinese people still failed to find an ideological weapon more advanced than Western cultures for national salvation. For a time, learning from the West and the advancement from learning natural science to sociology had become a powerful trend.

The results of learning from the West: one was the remarkable achievement which promoted the modern awakening of the Chinese nation; the other was it did not and could not fundamentally change the destiny of the Chinese nation. The Chinese revolutions launched since the dawn of modern history were conversely strangled one after another by Western powers, countless revolutionary martyrs had regret for this forever. Before the spread of Marxism into China, this was an enigma-Why did the teacher invariably invade the student? Why did the advanced Western culture invariably turn out to be ineffective?

(11) The essence of the matter lay in the dual character of capitalism, in the period of its ascendancy, the bourgeoisie smashed the old relationship of production and the state machine, cleared away the feudal sludge and filth, thus paving the way for the development of advanced productive forces. After it went downhill, its progressive role was waning, and its reactionary role gradually became evident. When it launched aggression against other countries, attacked new-born social forces, exercised colonial rule or conducted colonial plundering, those were a concentrated exposure of its reactionary nature. Under whatever circumstance, capitalism would not tolerate the genuine independence and strength gained by the colonial and semi-colonial countries.

(12) The crux of the matter lay in the fact that the Chinese national bourgeoisie which led the Chinese revolution was congenitally deficient, and so it could not put forward thorough anti-imperialist and anti-feudal political program and was unable to lead the Chinese people to carry the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal national-democratic revolution through to the end. This is because Chinese national capitalism had not gone through the road of development from primitive accumulation and industrial revolution to machine production, while some landlords, bureaucrats and merchants of the feudal class, stimulated by foreign capitalism, plunged themselves into modern industries and had gradually developed themselves. The Chinese national bourgeoisie had close relations with both feudalism and foreign capitalism, fundamentally, this determined that the Chinese national bourgeoisie had the dual character of both contradiction and struggle and interdependence and compromise with feudal forces and foreign capitalism.

This made it necessary to understand and grasp the nature and revolutionary tasks of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal China. Internally, it was the regime of the Qing Dynasty; externally, it was the union of Western powers. This determined the main revolutionary tasks of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal China, i.e., the principal tasks for the 1911 Revolution, that meant the overthrow of the joint domination of feudalism and imperialism. That was hard to accomplish by the Chinese national bourgeoisie.

(13) More importantly, the times of the bourgeois revolution had gone, and the time for the proletarian revolution had come. The failure of the 1911 Revolution declared an end to the time of the old democratic revolution, Chinese revolution needed a new leading force, new guiding thought and a revolutionary road. This task historically fell on the shoulder of the Chinese working class and its vanguard, the Communist Party of China.

(The development of capitalism immensely boosted the process of human history. However, the capitalists' sanguinary extortion of the surplus value and the blood and sweat of the people had increasingly intensified social contradictions. By the early years of the 20th century, capitalism had gone through half-century development, its social defects had been further exposed in the Western society, the insurmountable contradictions of capitalism were broken out in the extreme form of world war, which compelled the Chinese people to look for a way to national salvation and survival. After the Russian October Revolution, the propagation of Marxism brought new hope for the liberation of the Chinese nation.

Leaders of the 1911 Revolution once overestimated the role of the Western political system, thinking that they only needed to topple the feudal rule and establish a democratic republic. After suffering repeated failures, Sun Yat-sen, in his later years, clearly realized the corrupt practices of capitalism and the imperialists' strangling of the Chinese revolution. In his later years, Sun Yat-sen set forth the Three Great Policies (alliance with Russia, cooperation with the Communist Party and assistance to the peasants and workers). This indicated that only socialism could save China, this had increasingly become the theme of the time, a theme commonly realized by the Chinese people. The Chinese revolution would then enter a new stage of development.

(14) In a certain age, there are historical tasks to be resolved specifically in this period. In judging the historical contributions, we do not require the historical activist to provide things demanded by the modern time, but rather we should see how many more new things he can supply than his predecessor.

The 1911 Revolution is likened to a high mountain, seen from the fountainhead of history, it towers into clouds; seen from the height of today, it seems like a hilltop just past under our feet, the great cause of rejuvenating China to which we dedicate ourselves in present day started and grew up therefrom. The Chinese Communists always encourage themselves as the successors to Sun Yat-sen and always respect Sun as a forerunner of the Chinese revolution.

(15) We should not forget the past, there are three phases of history which we should particularly bear in mind.

One was that our nation had once created a splendid ancient culture, it was far ahead in the world at that time even in the aspects of the development of science, technology and productive forces and had maintained this leading position all the way up to the 15th century. Up to the 18th century in the late years of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, China's economic aggregate ranked first in the world, and it enjoyed a long-term favorable balance of foreign trade. As the development of world history underwent profound changes and began to enter the period of capitalism. China fell behind. Backwardness means taking beatings. Remembering this phase of history is aimed not only at keeping ourselves vigilant against being overbearing or improperly belittling ourselves, but all the more at keeping in mind this lesson: No matter how powerful the country is, and how unbeatable it is, so long as it remains where it is, and fails to advance with the time, it is unavoidable that it will fall into the deep gully and be humiliated and trampled upon by others.

The second was the disaster and humiliation we suffered after the Opium War. In order to carve up and occupy the Chinese market, Western powers continually launched wars of aggression, engaged in burning, killing and pillage, committing all sorts of atrocities. Bearing in mind this epoch, remembering the foreign signboard bearing the words "No admission to the Chinese and dogs" which appeared in the vast land of China, is aimed not only at remembering humiliation, but more importantly, at turning humiliation into strength, concentrating our forces to develop productive forces, enhance our comprehensive national strength and building our country to become more powerful. Only when our country becomes prosperous and strong, will it be possible to have our national dignity and our personality and the rights and interests and wellbeing of the people.

The third was the history of rejuvenating China since the 1911 Revolution, particularly after the founding of New China and since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy over the 20 years and more. That was a road paved with the blood, sweat and wisdom of the Chinese people. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have been advancing wave upon wave, and have finally stood up, got rich and are growing in strength on this road. Hong Kong and Macao have successively returned to the embrace of the motherland and remain stable and prosperous. Compatriots across the Taiwan Straits are yearning for an early reunification and are joining efforts to create a better future. Gone were the days when the Chinese nation was subjected to humiliation. The rise of the Chinese nation is shaking the world and inspiring the just cause of all humanity. Bearing in mind this phase of history is aimed at remembering that the Chinese nation, not resigned to humiliation, "has the spirit of carrying the bloody struggle against its own enemies through to the end, has the determination to recover what was lost on the basis of self-reliance, and has the ability to place itself in the galaxy of the world's nations". Even though it was once being trampled upon, bullied and humiliated, and was carved up by Western powers. So long as it had such a spirit, and was unreconciled to humiliation and backwardness, it still could have stood up. The precondition here was the choice of a right way and a good system. This history since the 1911 Revolution has revealed this truth: Unswervingly upholding the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, unswervingly representing the requirement to develop advanced productive forces, the orientation toward advanced culture and the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people, our country will have future and hope and will become increasingly powerful.

(16) Ninety years have passed. This is a period of momentous, heroic and moving 90 years, a period in which the Chinese nation advanced from darkness to brightness and from humiliation to prosperity. In 50 more years, we will be able to build our dear motherland initially into a modern, powerful socialist country and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Our nation will bear watching, so will our socialism with Chinese characteristics. Let's rally closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core, hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, conscientiously carry out the important "three represent's" thought, go all out to make our country strong, engage in exploration and innovation, create greater achievements and forge a new glory.

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Following are excerpts of the article written by Ren Zhongping and published on the front page of People's Daily on October 9.

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