CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
Nos. 30/31, June/September 2012


On National Renaissance | China Heritage Quarterly

On National Renaissance

National Reconstruction Based on San-Min-Chu-I 三民主義

Sun Fo 孫科

This article, written to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Kuomintang, was translated and published in The China Critic II:12 (21 March 1929): 233-235. The author, Sun Fo, was Sun Yat-sen's son.—The Editor.

Four years have rapidly passed since the demise of our Leader. Every time when we came upon the date of 12 March, the anniversary of his death, we would in retrospect think of the sacred trust he bequeathed us on his death-bed as well as his unaccomplished aims and objects; especially would we feel the magnitude of our responsibility when we read in his will the two sentences, 'As the Revolution has not yet been accomplished, our compatriots are required to make further efforts', the meaning of which leaves us absolutely no ground to remain idle or even to relax our efforts.

Fig.1 A young Sun Fo 孫科 (1891-1973, standing at left) with his father, Sun Yat-sen 孫中山 (1866-1925).

On 12 March this year, there are several matters worthy of being laid before the spirit of our late Leader, viz, 1. The unification of China by the Revolutionary Army, which was one of the aims of his life, is now a fait accompli; 2. The Communist Party which had plotted to devour and destroy the 'estates' of our late Leader (the Kuomintang of China) has been effectively expelled and its evil influence eradicated; and, 3. An interim route which, our Leader had often told us, we must pass from a military administration to a constitutional government, (the route of political tutelage), has already been taken and some progress made.

His spirit may feel still more consoled if we tell him further that the National Conference for Army Reorganization and Disbandment has been brought to a successful conclusion; that the plan of converting the soldiers into workmen will immediately be put into practice; that the Third National Congress of the Kuomintang will shortly be convened, after which the foundation of the Party will become more consolidated than ever; and that China has now really passed the destructive period of Military Administration and entered the constructive period of Political Tutelage when we cannot but recognize that, of all times, this is a most opportune and propitious one for the reconstruction of our Nation.

Theoretically speaking, as well all know, it was the life aim of our Leader to start the Revolution with the object of reconstruction our Nation; the destructive stage of the Revolution was only a preliminary step towards the constructive stage; as a revolution without constructive aims would be wholly senseless and meaningless.

But as a matter of fact, during the eighteen years since the Revolution started in China in 1911, our citizens have suffered many hardships and enough misery. At present, such deplorable scenes, as the countless number of youthful persons without employment in every community, and the scattering of famished farmers and starving people over many provinces, which present themselves before us, truly denote that danger still lurks everywhere of which some apprehension may justly be entertained. Henceforth, whether the political power of the Kuomintang can be stabilized and strengthened, and whether reactionary influences can create disturbances, will entirely depend upon the kind of effort we may make on constructive measures. If we can really exert ourselves in respect of constructive works, the amelioration of the conditions of our starving masses and peace-loving people will furnish the best proof the our Party is in earnest in its schemes of reconstruction.

Having obtained this opportunity, the question is how to take the best advantage of it so that we may freely and truly devote ourselves to constructive works according to the spirit of the Three People's Principles. If our compatriots will carefully study the teaching of our late Leader, we may at once perceive that during this period, our constructive works should embrace the following three measures:

Fig.2 Entrance to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum 中山陵 in Nanjing. The 'Three Principles of the People' 三民主義—Nationalism 民族, People's Livelihood 民生 and Democracy 民權 —are inscribed in gold.

Economic Rehabilitation to Increase our National Capital

The most important of the San-Min-Chu-I is the Principle of People's Livelihood, the object of which is to give the people of the whole country an equal chance for economic development. Our Leader has already shown us two routes by which we may attain this object. First, in the fields of productivity, we should promote and increase our National Capital. And secondly, in the matter of distribution, we should restrict private capital and equalize the land rights. But in view of the people's poverty and our financial exhaustion in present-day China, increase of productivity should come first, and equalization of wealth, next. Should we fail in improving our productivity, there could and would be no wealth to be equalized or property to be commonly owned. Communism cannot be applied in a community of beggars! Therefore, the first and greatest step for our Party to take in our economic rehabilitation today is to promote our National Capital. But how are we going to do it? We must clearly recognize three basic points, namely: 1. to curtail as much as possible all unnecessary and wasteful expenses; 2. to devote our National incomes as far as possible to constructive purposes; and, 3. on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, to employ foreign capital to accelerate the execution of our Party's industrial schemes. These three essential points constitute a necessary basis of which our country may today build up our National Capital. As regards the direction in which such capital should be invested, we must say that we should invest it first in such industries as we may consider to be most useful and necessary to our country, and most profitable and safest to the investors. Is there anything more urgent and important than the building of railroads as a means of communication in China today? For this reason, I have been advocating all along the appropriation of fifty percent of our annual income for the construction of railroads. If my plan is followed, our National Capital will have grown to a respectable size in less than five years, and the poverty-stricken state of our finance will have disappeared. This is economic rehabilitation, which is also the promotion of People's Livelihood, in which interest, let us do our utmost.

Political Reconstitution to Accelerate Local Government

Politically, our Party advocates the Principle of Democracy. Hence, in the reconstitution of our government, is embodied this principle of administering our country on democratic lines. But how to put our idea into practice? The answer is that we have two chief aims in view: one is to organize a five-power constitutional government, and the other is to train our people in the exercise of their four rights. Having inaugurated the five councils or yuan, a very excellent model system of the Five-Power Government has been set up. Having completely organized this machinery for the administration of our Government, we may gradually improve the methods of our administration and attend to the readjustment of other national affairs in our homeland, while in our foreign relations, we may by degrees consolidate our national foundation and obtain recognition from the friendly Powers. Some success has already been achieved in these respects. But these cannot be accepted as constituting the fundamental basis of democratic rule.

In order to give democracy a firm foundation, it is absolutely necessary to train our masses until they can gradually exercise their four rights acquired by virtue of the Revolution: in other words, we must lay a good foundation for local government first and foremost. Otherwise, however complete and perfect our Government may have been organized the political power would, from first to last, remain in the hands of the minority, namely, the militarists, mandarins, and the gentry. This would be a false and deceptive description of democracy, for, in reality, it would be militarism, mandarinism, aristocracy or anything but true democracy!

In order to institute the system of local government, we must first pay attention to the urban districts and villages, inasmuch as seventy to eighty percent of our population are farmers. If our farmers, who form the largest class of our people, should remain ignorant or incapable of participation in the exercise of political rights, then the Principle of Democracy which we are advocating every day would mean nothing but 'empty words'. Therefore, what our Party should most urgently and energetically do in the future is to set in motion a gigantic campaign throughout our country, in which all members should be mobilized to take part, in favour of mass education. At the same time, a national propagation of the San-Min-Chu-I should take place, so that not only would the knowledge of the masses be gradually improved, but their conception of the Three People's Principles as well. Only then, would they be able intelligently to comprehend the benefits conferred upon them by the Kuomintang and recognize themselves as masters of the nation, entitled to enjoy certain rights and meet certain obligations. People must have received such an education before they could take a hand in local government, and before they could understand how to use their four political rights, that is, in elections, in the removal of officials, in the enactment of laws and in confirming or rejecting decisions. When this stage is reached, democracy may be said to be well founded. Thus, the reconstitution of our political administration is shaped in the Principle of Democracy, to uphold which we must do our might and main.

Military Reorganization to Consolidate Our National Defence.

Our Party preaches the Principle of Nationalism with a view to securing for China independence and liberty and for the whole of the Chinese Race full emancipation. In order to attain this object we cannot be too early to attend to the question of our military reorganization. The world of today is still a world at the mercy of the Imperialists. Not one of the so-called Great Powers is not feverishly making all preparations for war. With the Anti-War Pact, the League of Nations, the Disarmament Conference, the Locarno Agreement and so on, superficially, it seems that the people, being war-wearied, have been eager to enter into some common understanding in the interest of peace. But if we look beneath the surface, the demons of war are lurking everywhere, and a terrible conflagration may break forth at the touch of a single spark at any moment. Although our Party's doctrine of Nationalism advocates 'racial equality' which precludes us from oppressing other people, nevertheless, it would be foolhardy to neglect our means of defence, for the purpose of self-protection, against alien encroachment. We must not maintain our military forces up to an offensive strength, but we cannot afford to be altogether devoid of any defensive forces. With such military forces as we now possess, we would be powerless to resist any one of the Great Powers.

Last year, the Japanese forcibly seized and occupied our Tsinan [Jinan, Shandong province—Ed.]; and up to the present, we are still as helpless as ever! This is indeed a most painful and humiliating blow to our national prestige, unwarranted and never-to-be-forgotten. To safeguard the lives and interest of the Chinese Race, our Party has therefore, no alternative but to pay attention to the consolidation of our national defenses. It would be useless to keep large numbers of troops good only for participation in civil warfare. In order to protect and preserve our territory we must be able to make rifles and guns and aeroplanes, construct naval harbours and fortifications, possess rapid means of transport and communications and make progress in all branches of military science. The future wars of this world, as everybody knows, will be wars of scientific knowledge. It would appear that no more urgent question that demands our attention exists today than that of training of scientists. If we are sincere in our Military Disbandment Program, we have only to devote half of the large military outlay thus saved to the purposes of national defence, and in ten years, I believe, our Nation will find her position in international relations vastly different from what it is now. Since Military Reorganization is necessary in support of National Consciousness, we cannot do better than rendering this measure our energetic help. As all the three measures suggested above are important and constructive in nature, during the Tutelage Period of this Party, I sincerely request all members to cease their meaningless factional quarrels and, henceforth, to devote their whole energy to co-operating with one another in carrying out these three measures.

These are my views submitted for the consideration of my compatriots on the fourth anniversary day of the death of our Leader.