China under Chang Kai Check

High Culture, Religion, Philosophy and Esoterica.
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neverfail
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China under Chang Kai Check

Post by neverfail » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:42 am

THE SOONG DYNASTY - By Sterling Seagrave. published by Harper and Row, New York 1985.

Hi Milo.

Copies of this publication are few and far between here in Australia, largely because it has been out of print for decades. But I followed up on your recommendation posted several weeks ago and obtained the loan of a copy.

I can see what you mean about the extended family that Chang joined by marriage and its/his connection to triads: secret societies, often into organised crime, that bear a distinct resemblance to the regional mafias of southern Italy.

Things I have learned that I was unaware of before include:

1)The extent to which triads intruded into every aspect of life (and business) - especially in southern China.

2) That a number of these triads began centuries earlier as Han underground resistance cells to the Manchu conquest of China. Since the Qing dynastic imperial state had been one founded by foreign conquerors a lot of the native Chinese never accepted it as having a legitimate right to rule their country.

3) When Dr. Sun Yat Sen and supporters overthrew and abolished Manchu rule in 1911, the triads flooded into power with them. That was inimical to the unity and best interests of China. Since the Triads had no love even for each other (especially for one another?) but at best could only arrive at truces (like mafia dons entering into "gentleman's agreements" to avert costly turf wars) triad rule rapidly degenerated into rival regional warlord fiefdoms. China politically fragmented and for all intents and purposes ceased to exist as a unitary state.

4) Chang and his Kuo Min Tang party NEVER ruled the whole of China or anywhere near it. Apart from areas where the Communists were strong a number of regional strongholds ruled by local warlords denied him the re-unified China the KMT ideally wanted.

5) Chang Kai Check was apparently a greedy bastard like the other members of the Soong family he had married into. During the 1941-45 part of World war Two when the USA suddenly discovered that it had a common interest with China in defeating the Japanese. US representatives responsible for providing aid to prop up the Chinese nationalists against the Japanese nicknamed him "cash my cheque"

6) After the Japanese invaded China 1937 to 1945, it is not surprising that the Japanese inflicted so many defeats on their ill fed, ill equipped and usually ill trained and disciplined Chinese opponents. It amazes me that, given China's disunity and backwardness, they failed to conquer the whole country. The salient fact is that while many of China's most populous areas in the northeast and east went under Japanese occupation, the bulk of the country's terrestrial mass was kept out of Japenese hands. While China was incapable of defeating Japan,(to borrow a phrase from America's Vietnam War experience a quarter century later) the Chinese managed to bog the Japanese down into an unending quagmire war that the latter could not win but were loath to disengage from out of fear of loss of face (not least loss of face in the eyes of the Japanese people; the home crowd).

7) given the shortcomings and multiple failures of the regime that Chang presided over, it seems that victory by the Communists in the open civil war that came about in the wake of Japan's surrender in 1945 was almost a foregone conclusion.
.........................................................................................................................................

Conclusion: Totalitarian one-party police state and all, the China of today just has to be a vast improvement on the China of Chang Kai Check.

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Milo
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Re: China under Chang Kai Check

Post by Milo » Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:25 am

I am glad you enjoyed the book so much Neverfail. You should look into other books by Sterling Seagrave, they are all amazing as far as I am concerned.

It looks like the Kuomintang eventually built a solid civil society in Taiwan. Unfortunately the average Chinese peasant couldn't wait that long.

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Doc
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Re: China under Chang Kai Check

Post by Doc » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:07 am

neverfail wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:42 am
THE SOONG DYNASTY - By Sterling Seagrave. published by Harper and Row, New York 1985.

Hi Milo.

Copies of this publication are few and far between here in Australia, largely because it has been out of print for decades. But I followed up on your recommendation posted several weeks ago and obtained the loan of a copy.

I can see what you mean about the extended family that Chang joined by marriage and its/his connection to triads: secret societies, often into organised crime, that bear a distinct resemblance to the regional mafias of southern Italy.

Things I have learned that I was unaware of before include:

1)The extent to which triads intruded into every aspect of life (and business) - especially in southern China.

2) That a number of these triads began centuries earlier as Han underground resistance cells to the Manchu conquest of China. Since the Qing dynastic imperial state had been one founded by foreign conquerors a lot of the native Chinese never accepted it as having a legitimate right to rule their country.

3) When Dr. Sun Yat Sen and supporters overthrew and abolished Manchu rule in 1911, the triads flooded into power with them. That was inimical to the unity and best interests of China. Since the Triads had no love even for each other (especially for one another?) but at best could only arrive at truces (like mafia dons entering into "gentleman's agreements" to avert costly turf wars) triad rule rapidly degenerated into rival regional warlord fiefdoms. China politically fragmented and for all intents and purposes ceased to exist as a unitary state.

4) Chang and his Kuo Min Tang party NEVER ruled the whole of China or anywhere near it. Apart from areas where the Communists were strong a number of regional strongholds ruled by local warlords denied him the re-unified China the KMT ideally wanted.

5) Chang Kai Check was apparently a greedy bastard like the other members of the Soong family he had married into. During the 1941-45 part of World war Two when the USA suddenly discovered that it had a common interest with China in defeating the Japanese. US representatives responsible for providing aid to prop up the Chinese nationalists against the Japanese nicknamed him "cash my cheque"

6) After the Japanese invaded China 1937 to 1945, it is not surprising that the Japanese inflicted so many defeats on their ill fed, ill equipped and usually ill trained and disciplined Chinese opponents. It amazes me that, given China's disunity and backwardness, they failed to conquer the whole country. The salient fact is that while many of China's most populous areas in the northeast and east went under Japanese occupation, the bulk of the country's terrestrial mass was kept out of Japenese hands. While China was incapable of defeating Japan,(to borrow a phrase from America's Vietnam War experience a quarter century later) the Chinese managed to bog the Japanese down into an unending quagmire war that the latter could not win but were loath to disengage from out of fear of loss of face (not least loss of face in the eyes of the Japanese people; the home crowd).

7) given the shortcomings and multiple failures of the regime that Chang presided over, it seems that victory by the Communists in the open civil war that came about in the wake of Japan's surrender in 1945 was almost a foregone conclusion.
.........................................................................................................................................

Conclusion: Totalitarian one-party police state and all, the China of today just has to be a vast improvement on the China of Chang Kai Check.
Mao punished his generals that engaged in the fight against the Japanese.

As far as Triads go I just saw this yesterday It may interest you:

“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros

neverfail
Posts: 4813
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: China under Chang Kai Check

Post by neverfail » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:40 pm

Milo wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 9:25 am
I am glad you enjoyed the book so much Neverfail. You should look into other books by Sterling Seagrave, they are all amazing as far as I am concerned.

It looks like the Kuomintang eventually built a solid civil society in Taiwan. Unfortunately the average Chinese peasant couldn't wait that long.
Thanks so much for recommending that I read it Milo. I will be on the lookout for other works by the same author.

Taiwan, (as I keep on trying to point out to Cassowary - fruitlessly it seems) is a totally different kettle of fish to mainland China. To begin with from 1895 until 1945 Taiwan had been ruled by the JAPANESE. It was the Japanese Empire's very first overseas acquisition. I have not studied the course of Japanese rule on Taiwan but if I know the Japs I could not see them as having put up with any nonsense from the triads the way that mainland China had to after the overthrow of the Manchu monarchy (which with all of its shortcomings and unlike their KMT successor acted in earnest in keeping down the triads).

If the Japanese extinguished the power of any local triad organisations that may have been resident on Taiwan before sovereignty over the island was transferred to Japan the way I believe that they might have; then arguably the Japanese must have inadvertently bequeathed to Chang and his subsequent KMT exiles a small nation largely cleansed of organised crime.

Then there is the matter of 1950's US aid to the regime living in exile on the island. The USA had got its fingers burned during the 1946 to 1949 climax of the Chinese civil war with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the regime going astray. With Chang and the KMT then in a relationship of utter dependency on the goodwill of the USA for its survival, the Truman administration very likely "read the riot act" to Chang and his regime-in exile to the effect: clean up your act or we will cut you off at the knees!

Rightly so too!

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