As of October 10th, it has been 100 years since China became a republic. The Xinhai Revolution or Revolution of 1911 started with the Wuchang Uprising and ended as the revolutionaries overthrew the Qing Dynasty and established the Republic of China. Wenran Jiang of The Diplomat reports how the uprisings of 100 years ago and the dreams of Sun Yat-sen have not been fully achieved in modern China.
On Sunday, China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution. A century is just a flash in the perpetual flow of history, but an age for individual human beings. When the republican revolution swept across China in 1911, overthrowing the Qing dynasty, the country had been in a miserable condition of mass starvation, internal rebellion and foreign invasion for much of the previous century.
Optimism accompanied the abolition of the 2,000-year-old imperial system. Sun Yat-sen, who led the revolution and the Nationalist party, set out three grand national goals: achieving independent nationhood through expelling foreign occupiers, establishing a democratic republic and restoring China to prosperity by nurturing the people’s welfare.
But the Chinese people had to struggle for generations more to realize elements of these dreams. Local warlords and their rivalries replaced the young republic weeks after the fall of the imperial system; foreign powers took advantage of the internal turmoil and strengthened their spheres of influence; Japan, the only Asian country to succeed in modernizing itself quickly, steadily and brutally occupied China and much of Asia in its own quest for empire. Sun passed away in 1925 with his dreams dashed. And one of the world’s oldest civilizations faced a pivotal crisis of survival.