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An Unfinished RepublicLeading by Word and Deed in Modern China$
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David Strand

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267367

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267367.001.0001

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Speaking Parts in Chinese History

Speaking Parts in Chinese History

Chapter:
(p.52) Chapter 2 Speaking Parts in Chinese History
Source:
An Unfinished Republic
Author(s):

David Strand

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520267367.003.0003

Republics demand political representation, and political parties are designed to transmit public opinion and the popular will. The rapidity with which reformers and revolutionaries banded together locally, nationally, and in exile meant that political parties in fact if not in name led the Qing parliamentary reforms of 1907–10 and the convening of the provisional Republican Senate in 1912. Affairs of state, in contrast, were supposed to be dignified and carefully controlled. Ritual offerings during the Qing dynasty by officials and literati included impressive costumes, props, physical movement, and billowing incense but were conducted in silence except for the directions called out by the protocol chief. Song Jiaoren's behind-the-scenes negotiations in the summer of 1912 required public affirmation. His commitment to a parliamentary regime and electoral politics led from backstage maneuvering to open meetings, press coverage, and public scrutiny. This opening from the subterranean to the pellucid also exposed him to attack.

Keywords:   revolutionaries, Senate, literati, protocol chief, affirmation

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