|dc.description.abstract||Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) has been hailed as a great revolutionary leader, on par with Mao Zedong in mainland China. At the same time, he has been a powerful national symbol in Taiwan, where he has been praised as the founding Father of the Nation (guofu). Even though many Western scholars have tended to strip his ideology of any intellectual value whatsoever, one can not come by the fact that his thoughts have had great impact on the development on modern Chinese society. Both Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, for instance, were influenced by his political ideas, and Deng s policy of the Four Modernisations has been presented by Beijing as inheritance from Sun Yat-sen. In Taiwan, the myth of Sun has given legitimacy to the state system and the far-reaching agrarian reform program initiated in 1949.
The nationalist discourse of Sun Yat-sen represents one of the first expressions of modern nationalism in China. This thesis identifies and analyses the development of this specific nationalist discourse, with the aim to provide one source for fuller understanding of the complex issues of national identity in China the last Century.
Sun Yat-sen s discourse on race and nation, as expressed in his principle of nationalism (minzu zhuyi), evolved through a lifetime of intellectual changes and was shaped by historical circumstances. His concept of race can be traced back to his youth, which was characterised by a growing antipathy against the Manchus, a minority people who had ruled China since the fall of the Ming dynasty in 1644. Sun increasingly identified with the Taiping rebels, a group of semi-religious activists, who had threatened to overthrow the Qing dynasty in the 1850 s and 60 s. Eventually this resulted in a clear stand against the Manchus, and the acknowledgement of an original difference between them and the Chinese. The Manchus were identified as the main cause for China s ills which needed to be removed for China to survive. Backed by the pseudo-science of Social-Darwinism, Sun and his collaborators were able to justify their racial hatred and the cry for revolution. They conceived of a racial war between the Manchus and the Chinese in the struggle for survival, and applied the notion of fit and unfit races. Since the Chinese was the fit race, they were destined to win. Social Darwinism became one of the main ingredients in the nationalist discourse, which was developed by Sun and his theorists in Japan, between 1905 and 1907. Anti-Manchuism became the focus of the debate, since this was the unifying element in a diverse revolutionary movement. Racial nationalism was seen as the only tool capable of unifying the Chinese people and save China from misery. The concepts of nation and nationalism were also elaborated upon, which in turn led to a definition of both a Chinese Han race and a Chinese nation. Reviving a myth of common descent for the Han race, the revolutionaries created a concept of a Chinese nation, which after the revolution in 1911 came to also encompass the other four major minority peoples of China. However, the policy of a Republic made up of five races (wuzu gonghe) seems to have been applied mainly out of pragmatic considerations, to avoid chaos and consolidate the Republic. So in Sun s final deliberations on the issues of race and nation in 1924, the Chinese nation was again defined to exist merely of one pure Han race. Essential to his final discourse, was the acknowledgement of a Social-Darwinian racial war between the yellow and white races. This acknowledgement partially came about through an interaction between Sun s nationalist discourse and the ideology of Pan-Asianism, which was the main Japanese influence to his ideas. In line with the rising tide of nationalism in China and influenced by his cooperation with the Soviet Union, the main enemy was redefined to be the white imperialist powers. Sun raised the threat of racial extinction and urged the Chinese people to stand up and unite from family and clan as one nation, under the state. At the same time, he stressed the importance of tradition as a basis to build a strong nation-state, which could free China from the imperialist yoke and establish a universal rule of Great Harmony (datong).
Sun Yat-sen created a modern Chinese national identity, which has influenced several generations of Chinese. Chinese national identity in the Twentieth Century can not be examined without taking his discourse on race and nation into account.||nor