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Kuomintang of China
Zhōngguó Guómíndǎng
Chairman Ma Ying-jeou
Founded November 24, 1894 (as Revive China Society)
October 10, 1919 (modern)
Headquarters No.232~234, Sec. 2, BaDe Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei, Republic of China [1]
Newspaper Central Daily News,
Kuomintang News Network
Membership  (2011) 1,090,000[2]
Ideology Three Principles of the People,
Chinese nationalism,
Chinese reunification
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Colours Blue
Legislative Yuan
64 / 113
Municipal Mayoralties
3 / 5
City Mayoralties and County Magistracies
12 / 17
Local Councillors
409 / 906
Township Chiefs
121 / 211
Party flag
Naval Jack of the Republic of China.svg
Political parties

The Kuomintang[3] (/ˌkwmɪnˈtɑːŋ/ or /-ˈtæŋ/;[4] KMT), officially the Kuomintang of China,[5] or sometimes romanized as Guomindang by its Pinyin transliteration, is a ruling political party in the Republic of China. The name literally means the Chinese National People's Party, but is more often translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party.[6]

The predecessor of KMT, the Revolutionary Alliance, was one of the major proponents who advocated to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and establish a republic. The KMT was founded by Song Jiaoren and Sun Yat-sen shortly after the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. Sun was the provisional president but he did not have military power and ceded the first presidency to the military leader Yuan Shikai. After Yuan's death, China was divided by warlords, while the KMT was able to control only part of the south. Later led by Chiang Kai-shek, the KMT formed a military and succeeded in its Northern Expedition to unify much of China. It was the ruling party from 1928 until its retreat to Taiwan in 1949 after being defeated by the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese Civil War. In Taiwan, the KMT continued as the single-ruling party until reforms in the late 1970s through the 1990s loosened its grip on power. Since 1987, the Republic of China is no longer a single-party state, but the KMT remains as one of the main political parties.

The guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, advocated by Sun Yat-sen. Its party headquarters are located in Taipei. It is currently the ruling party in Taiwan, and holds most seats in the Legislative Yuan. The KMT is a member of the International Democrat Union. Current president Ma Ying-jeou, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012, is the seventh KMT member to hold the office of the presidency.

Together with the People First Party and Chinese New Party, the KMT forms what is known as the Taiwanese Pan-Blue Coalition, which supports eventual unification with the mainland. However, the KMT has been forced to moderate its stance by advocating the political and legal status quo of modern Taiwan. The KMT accepts a "One China Principle" – it officially considers that there is only one China, but that the Republic of China rather than the People's Republic of China is its legitimate government. However, since 2008, in order to ease tensions with the PRC, the KMT endorses the "three noes" policy as defined by Ma Ying-jeou – no unification, no independence and no use of force.[7]


Early years, Sun Yat-sen era

The Kuomintang refer reverentially to founder Sun Yat-sen as the "Father of the Nation." Sun is pictured here in 1917.

The Kuomintang traces its ideological and organizational roots to the work of Sun Yat-sen, a proponent of Chinese nationalism and democracy, who founded Revive China Society in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1894.[8] In 1905, Sun joined forces with other anti-monarchist societies in Tokyo to form the Tongmenghui or the Revolutionary Alliance, a group committed to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of a republican government.

The group planned and supported the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and the founding of the Republic of China on January 1, 1912. However, Sun did not have military power and ceded the provisional presidency of the republic to strongman Yuan Shikai, who arranged for the abdication of the Last Emperor on February 12.

On August 25, 1912, the Kuomintang was established at the Huguang Guild Hall in Beijing, where the Revolutionary Alliance and five smaller pro-revolution parties merged to contest the first national elections.[9] Sun, the then Premier of the ROC, was chosen as the party chairman with Huang Xing as his deputy.

The most influential member of the party was the third ranking Song Jiaoren, who mobilized mass support from gentry and merchants for the KMT to advocate a constitutional parliamentary democracy. The party opposed to constitutional monarchists and sought to check the power of Yuan. The Kuomintang won an overwhelming majority of the first National Assembly in December 1912.

But Yuan soon began to ignore the parliament in making presidential decisions. Song Jiaoren was assassinated in Shanghai in 1913. Members of the KMT led by Sun Yat-sen suspected that Yuan was behind the plot and thus staged the Second Revolution in July 1913, a poorly planned and ill-supported armed rising to overthrow Yuan, and failed. Yuan, claiming subversiveness and betrayal, expelled adherents of the Kuomintang from the parliament.[10][11] Yuan dissolved the KMT in November (whose members had largely fled into exile in Japan) and dismissed the parliament early in 1914.

Yuan Shikai proclaimed himself emperor in December 1915. While exiled in Japan in 1914, Sun established the Chinese Revolutionary Party, but many of his old revolutionary comrades, including Huang Xing, Wang Jingwei, Hu Hanmin and Chen Jiongming, refused to join him or support his efforts in inciting armed uprising against Yuan Shikai. In order to join the Chinese Revolutionary Party, members must take an oath of personal loyalty to Sun, which many old revolutionaries regarded as undemocratic and contrary to the spirit of the revolution.

Thus, many old revolutionaries did not join Sun's new organisation, and he was largely sidelined within the Republican movement during this period. Sun returned to China in 1917 to establish a rival government at Guangzhou, but was soon forced out of office and exiled to Shanghai. There, with renewed support, he resurrected the KMT on October 10, 1919, under the name of the Chinese Kuomintang and established its headquarter in Guangdong province in 1920.

In 1923, the KMT and its government accepted aid from the Soviet Union after being denied recognition by the western powers. Soviet advisers - the most prominent of whom was Mikhail Borodin, an agent of the Comintern – arrived in China in 1923 to aid in the reorganization and consolidation of the KMT along the lines of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, establishing a Leninist party structure that lasted into the 1990s. The Communist Party of China (CPC) was under Comintern instructions to cooperate with the KMT, and its members were encouraged to join while maintaining their separate party identities, forming the First United Front between the two parties. During this year, Mao Zedong and early members of the Chinese Communist Party also joined the KMT.

Sun Yat-sen [middle] and Chiang Kai-shek [on stage in uniform] at the founding of the Whampoa Military Academy in 1924.

Soviet advisers also helped the KMT to set up a political institute to train propagandists in mass mobilization techniques, and in 1923 Chiang Kai-shek, one of Sun's lieutenants from the Tongmenghui days, was sent to Moscow for several months' military and political study. At the first party congress in 1924, which included non-KMT delegates such as members of the CPC, they adopted Sun's political theory, which included the Three Principles of the People - nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood.

Chiang Kai-shek assumes leadership

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who assumed the leadership of KMT after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925.

When Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, the political leadership of the Nationalist Party fell to Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin, respectively the left wing and right wing leaders of the Kuomintang. The real power, however, was in the hands of Chiang Kai-shek (also known as Jiang Jieshi in Pinyin transliteration), who, as the superintendent of the Whampoa Military Academy, was in near complete control of the military.

With their military superiority, the Kuomintang confirmed their rule on Canton, the provincial capital of Guangdong. The Guangxi warlords pledged loyalty to the KMT. The KMT now became a rival government in opposition to the warlord government based in the northern city of Beijing.[12]

Chiang Kai-shek assumed leadership of the Kuomintang in 1926. Unlike Sun Yat-sen, whom he admired greatly, Chiang had relatively less contact with the West. Sun Yat-sen had forged all his political, economic, and revolutionary ideas primarily from what he had learned in Hawaii and indirectly through the British colony Hong Kong and Japan under Meiji Restoration. Chiang Kai-shek, however, knew relatively little about the West. He also studied in Japan, but he was firmly rooted in his Chinese identity and was steeped in Chinese culture. As his life progressed, he became increasingly attached to Chinese culture and traditions. His few trips to the West confirmed his pro-Chinese outlook and he studied the Chinese classics and Chinese histories assiduously.[12] In 1924, Sun Yat-sen sent Chiang to spend three months studying in Moscow studying the Soviet political and military system. Chiang met Leon Trotsky and other Soviet leaders, but quickly came to the conclusion that the Russian model of government was not suitable for China. This laid the beginning of his lifelong antagonism against communism.

Chiang was also particularly committed to Sun's idea of "political tutelage". Sun Yat-sen believed that the only hope for a unified and better China lies in a military conquest, followed by a period of political tutelage that would culminate in the transition to democracy. Using this ideology, Chiang built himself into the dictator of the Republic of China, both in the Chinese Mainland, and when the national government was relocated to Taiwan.[12]

Following the death of Sun Yat-sen, General Chiang Kai-shek emerged as the KMT leader and launched the Northern Expedition to defeat the northern warlords and unite China under the party. With their power confirmed in the southeast, the Nationalist Government appointed Chiang Kai-shek commander-in-chief of the National Revolutionary Army, and the Northern Expedition to suppress the warlords began. Chiang had to defeat three separate warlords and two independent armies. Chiang, with Soviet supplies, conquered the southern half of China in nine months.

A split, however, erupted between the Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist Party; this split threatened the Northern Expedition. Wang Jing Wei, who led the KMT leftist allies took the city of Wuhan in January 1927. With the support of the Soviet agent Mikhail Borodin, Wang declared the National Government as having moved to Wuhan. Having taken Nanking in March, Chiang halted his campaign and prepared a violent break with Wang and his communist allies. Chiang's expulsion of the Communists and their Soviet advisers led to the beginning of the Chinese Civil War. Wang finally surrendered his power to Chiang. Joseph Stalin ordered the Chinese Communists to obey the Kuomintang leadership. Once this split had been healed, Chiang Kai-shek resumed his Northern Expedition and managed to take Shanghai.[12]

Kuomintang forces took Beijing in 1928. The city was the internationally recognized capital, though previously controlled by warlords. This event allowed the Kuomintang to receive widespread diplomatic recognition in the same year. The capital was moved from Beijing to Nanjing, the original capital of the Ming Dynasty, and thus a symbolic purge of the final Qing elements. This period of KMT rule in China between 1927 and 1937 was relatively stable and prosperous and is still known as the Nanjing decade.

Chinese Kuomintang National Revolutionary Army soldiers marched into the British concessions in Hankou during the Northern Expedition.

During the Nanjing Incident, (March 1927) Chinese soldiers stormed the consulates of America, Britain, and Japan, looted foreign properties and almost assassinated the Japanese consul. An American, two British, one French, an Italian, and a Japanese were killed.[13] These looters also stormed and seized millions of dollars worth of British concessions in Hankou, refusing to hand them back to Britain.[14] Both Nationalists and Communist soldiers within the army participated in the rioting and looting of foreign residents in Nanjing.[15]

After the Northern Expedition in 1928, the Kuomintang government declared that China had been exploited for decades under unequal treaties signed between the foreign powers and the Qing Dynasty. The KMT government demanded that the foreign powers renegotiate the treaties on equal terms.[16]

Before the Northern Expedition, the KMT began as a heterogeneous group advocating American-inspired federalism and provincial autonomy. However, the KMT under Chiang's leadership aimed at establishing a centralized one-party state with one ideology. This was even more evident following Sun's elevation into a cult figure after his death. The control by one single party began the period of "political tutelage," whereby the party was to lead the government while instructing the people on how to participate in a democratic system. The topic of reorganizing the army, brought up at a military conference in 1929, sparkled the Central Plains War. The cliques, some of them former warlords, demanded to retain their army and political power within their own territories. Although Chiang finally won the war, the conflicts among the cliques would have a devastating effect on the survival of the KMT.

Nationalist soldiers during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Kuomintang General Ma Bufang.

Muslim Generals in Gansu waged war against the Guominjun in favor of the Kuomintang during the Muslim conflict in Gansu (1927–1930). These Muslim Generals of the Hui ethnicity agreed with Kuomintang's ideology of Chinese nationalism that Han, Manchurian, Mongolian, Tibetan, Hui and Uyghur Muslims should be united as one nation under the Three Principles of the People.[17] After the Northern Expedition, Qinghai and Ningxia provinces were created out of Gansu province, and three Muslim Ma Clique Generals, Ma Qi, Ma Hongkui, and Ma Hongbin were appointed as their military governors for their assistance and their joining the KMT. Bai Chongxi, also a Hui Muslim, was a general of the New Guangxi Clique and later became the Minister of National Defences, the highest position a Muslim had reached in the Chinese government. Ma Fuxiang, a Muslim army General, joined the Kuomintang and filled many important positions.[18] However, while most Hui people are Chinese language speakers, Muslims of Uyghur ethnicity speaks a Turkic language and they were less prone to Chinese nationalism. The Uyghur separatists has built the First (1933–1934) and the Second (1944–1949) East Turkestan Republic in opposition to the KMT government.

Although the Second Sino-Japanese War officially broke out in 1937, Japanese aggression started in 1931 when they staged the Mukden Incident and occupied Manchuria. At the same time, the Communist party has been secretly recruiting new members within the Kuomintang government and military. Chiang was alarmed by the expansion of the communist influence. He believed that in order to fight against foreign aggression, the KMT must solve its internal conflicts first, so he started his second attempt to exterminate communist party members in 1934. With the advise from German military advisors, the KMT forces the Communists to withdraw from their bases in southern and central China into the mountains in a massive military retreat known as the Long March. Only less than 10% of the communist army survive the long retreat to Shaanxi province, but they reestablished their military base quickly with aids from the Soviet Union.

The Kuomintang was also known to have used terror tactics against suspected communists, through the utilization of a secret police force, who were employed to maintain surveillance on suspected communists and political opponents. In The Birth of Communist China, C.P. Fitzgerald describes China under the rule of KMT thus: "the Chinese people groaned under a regime Fascist in every quality except efficiency."[19]

Zhang Xueliang, who believed that the Japanese invasion was a greater threat, was persuaded by the Communists to take Chiang hostage during the Xi'an Incident in 1937 and forced Chiang to agree to an alliance with the Communists in the total war against the Japanese. However, in many situations the alliance was in name only; after a brief period of cooperation, the armies began to fight the Japanese separately, rather than as coordinated allies. Conflicts between KMT and communists were still common during the war, and documented claims abound of Communist attacks upon the KMT forces and vice versa.

While the KMT army received heavy casualties fighting the Japanese, the Communists expanded its territory by guerrilla tactics within Japanese occupied regions, leading some claims that the Communists often refused to support the KMT troops, choosing to withdraw and let the KMT troops take the brunt of Japanese attacks.

After Japanese surrendered in 1945, the brief period of celebration was soon shadowed by the possibility of a civil war between the KMT and the Communists. Soviet Union declared war on Japan just before they surrendered and occupied Manchuria, the north eastern part of China. Soviet Union denied the KMT army to enter the region and assisted the Communists to take over the Japanese factories and supplies.

Full-scale civil war between the Communists and KMT erupted in 1946. The Communist armies, previously a minor faction, grew rapidly in influence and power due to several errors on the KMT's part: first, the KMT reduced troop levels precipitously after the Japanese surrender, leaving large numbers of able-bodied, trained fighting men who became unemployed and disgruntled with the KMT as prime recruits for the Communists.

Second, the KMT government proved thoroughly unable to manage the economy, allowing hyperinflation to result. Among the most despised and ineffective efforts it undertook to contain inflation was the conversion to the gold standard for the national treasury and the Gold Standard Scrip in August 1948, outlawing private ownership of gold, silver, and foreign exchange, collecting all such precious metals and foreign exchange from the people and issuing the Gold Standard Scrip in exchange. As most farmland in the north were under the Communists' control, the cities governed by the KMT lacked food supply and this adds to the hyperinflation. The new scrip became worthless in only ten months and greatly reinforced the nationwide perception of KMT as a corrupt or at best inept entity.

Third, Chiang Kai-shek ordered his forces to defend the urbanized cities. This decision gave the Communists a chance to move freely through the countryside. At first, the KMT had the edge with the aid of weapons and ammunition from the United States. However, with the country suffering from hyperinflation, widespread corruption and other economic ills, the KMT continued to lose popular support. Some leading officials and military leaders of the KMT hoarded material, armament and military-aid funding provided by the US. This became an issue which proved to be a hindrance of its relationship with US government. US President Truman wrote that "the Chiangs, the Kungs, and the Soongs (were) all thieves", having taken $750 million in US aid.[20]

At the same time, the suspension of American aid and tens of thousands of deserted or decommissioned soldiers being recruited to the Communist cause tipped the balance of power quickly to the Communist side, and the overwhelming popular support for the Communists in most of the country made it all but impossible for the KMT forces to carry out successful assaults against the Communists.

By the end of 1949, the Communists controlled almost all of mainland China, as the KMT retreated to Taiwan with a significant amount of China's national treasures and 2 million people, including military forces and refugees. Some party members stayed in the mainland and broke away from the main KMT to found the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, which still currently exists as one of the eight minor registered parties in the People's Republic of China.

KMT in Taiwan

The former KMT headquarters in Taipei City; the imposing structure directly faced the Presidential Building, was seen as a symbol of the party's wealth and dominance.

In 1895, Taiwan, including the Penghu islands, became a Japanese colony, a concession by the Qing Empire after it lost the First Sino-Japanese War. After Japan's defeat at the end of World War II in 1945, General Order No. 1 instructed Japan, who surrendered to the US, to surrender its troops in Taiwan to the forces of the Republic of China Kuomintang.

Sovereignty over Taiwan was transferred to the ROC in 1945 on the basis of the Instrument of Surrender of Japan which recognized the Potsdam Declaration which referenced the Cairo Declaration, and the ROC put Taiwan under military rule. Tensions between the local Taiwanese and mainlanders from mainland China increased in the intervening years culminating in a flashpoint on February 27, 1947 in Taipei when a dispute between a female cigarette vendor and an anti-smuggling officer triggered civil disorder and protests that would last for days. The uprising turned bloody and was shortly put down by the ROC Army in the 228 Incident. As a result of the 228 Incident in 1947, Taiwanese people endured what is called the "White Terror", a KMT-led political repression that resulted in over 30,000 Taiwan independence criminals "eliminated".[citation needed]

Following the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, the commanders of the PRC People's Liberation Army believed that Kinmen and Matsu had to be taken before a final assault on Taiwan. KMT fought the Battle of Kuningtou and stopped the invasion. In 1950 Chiang took office in Taipei under the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion. The provision declared martial law in Taiwan and halted some democratic processes, including presidential and parliamentary elections, until the mainland could be recovered from the Communists. KMT estimated it would take 3 years to defeat the Communists. The slogan was "prepare in the first year, start fighting in the second, and conquer in the third year."

However, various factors, including international pressure, are believed to have prevented the KMT from militarily engaging the Communists full-scale. The Kuomintang backed Muslim insurgents formerly belonging to the National Revolutionary Army during the Kuomintang Islamic Insurgency in China (1950–1958). A cold war with a couple of minor military conflicts was resulted in the early years. The various government bodies previously in Nanjing were re-established in Taipei as the KMT-controlled government actively claimed sovereignty over all China. The Republic of China in Taiwan retained China's seat in the United Nations until 1971.

Until the 1970s, KMT successfully pushed ahead with land reforms, developed the economy, implemented a democratic system in a lower level of the government, improved cross-Taiwan Strait relations, and created the Taiwan economic miracle. However KMT controlled the government under a one-party authoritarian state until reforms in the late 1970s through the 1990s. The ROC in Taiwan was once referred to synonymously with the KMT and known simply as "Nationalist China" after its ruling party. In the 1970s, the KMT began to allow for "supplemental elections" in Taiwan to fill the seats of the aging representatives in parliament.

Although opposition parties were not permitted, Tangwai (or, "outside the party") representatives were tolerated. In the 1980s, the KMT focused on transforming the government from a single-party system to a multi-party democracy one and embracing "Taiwanizing". With the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986, the KMT started competing against the DPP in Parliamentary elections.

In 1991, martial law ceased when President Lee Teng-Hui terminated the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion. All parties started to be allowed to compete at all levels of elections, including the presidential election. Lee Teng-hui, the ROC's first democratically elected President and the leader of the KMT during the 1990s, announced his advocacy of "special state-to-state relations" with the PRC. The PRC associated it with Taiwan independence.

The KMT faced a split in 1994 that led to the formation of the Chinese New Party, alleged to be a result of Lee's "corruptive ruling style". The New Party has, since the purging of Lee, largely reintegrated into KMT. A much more serious split in the party occurred as a result of the 2000 Presidential election. Upset at the choice of Lien Chan as the party's presidential nominee, former party Secretary-General James Soong launched an independent bid, which resulted in the expulsion of Soong and his supporters and the formation of the People First Party (PFP). The KMT candidate placed third behind Soong in the elections. After the election, Lee's strong relationship with the opponent became apparent. In order to prevent defections to the PFP, Lien moved the party away from Lee's pro-independence policies and became more favorable toward Chinese reunification. This shift led to Lee's expulsion from the party and the formation of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.

In 2006, the Kuomintang sold its former headquarters to Evergreen Group for $2.3 billion New Taiwan dollars (96 million United States dollars). The KMT moved into a smaller building on Bade Road.[21]

Current issues and challenges

Lien Chan [middle] and Wu Po-hsiung [second left] and the Kuomintang touring the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing, the People's Republic of China. The Pan-Blue coalition visited the mainland in 2005.

As the ruling party on Taiwan, the KMT amassed a vast business empire of banks, investment companies, petrochemical firms, and television and radio stations, thought to have made it the world's richest political party, with assets once estimated to be around US$2–10 billion.[22] Although this war chest appeared to help the KMT until the mid-1990s, it later led to accusations of corruption (often referred to as 'black gold').

After 2000, the KMT's financial holdings appeared to be more of a liability than a benefit, and the KMT started to divest itself of its assets. However, the transactions were not disclosed and the whereabouts of the money earned from selling assets (if it has gone anywhere) is unknown. There were accusations in the 2004 presidential election that the KMT retained assets that were illegally acquired. Currently, there is a law proposed by the DPP in the Legislative Yuan to recover illegally acquired party assets and return them to the government; however, since the pan-Blue alliance, the KMT and its smaller partner PFP, control the legislature, it is very unlikely to be passed.

The KMT also acknowledged that part of its assets were acquired through extra-legal means and thus promised to "retro-endow" them to the government. However, the quantity of the assets which should be classified as illegal are still under heated debate; Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), in its capacity as ruling party from 2000–2008, claimed that there is much more that the KMT has yet to acknowledge. Also, the KMT actively sold assets under its title in order to quench its recent financial difficulties, which the DPP argues is illegal. Former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-Jeou's position is that the KMT will sell some of its properties at below market rates rather than return them to the government and that the details of these transactions will not be publicly disclosed.

In December 2003, then-KMT chairman (present chairman emeritus) and presidential candidate Lien Chan initiated what appeared to some to be a major shift in the party's position on the linked questions of Chinese reunification and Taiwan independence. Speaking to foreign journalists, Lien said that while the KMT was opposed to "immediate independence," it did not wish to be classed as "pro-reunificationist" either.

At the same time, Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of the Legislative Yuan and the Pan-Blue Coalition's campaign manager in the 2004 presidential election, said that the party no longer opposed Taiwan's "eventual independence." This statement was later clarified as meaning that the KMT opposes any immediate decision on unification and independence and would like to have this issue resolved by future generations. The KMT's position on the cross-strait relationship was redefined as hoping to remain in the current neither-independent-nor-united situation.

Ma Ying-jeou, the current ROC President and chairman of the Kuomintang.

In 2005, then-party chairman Lien Chan announced that he was to leave his office. The two leading contenders for the position include Ma Ying-jeou and Wang Jin-pyng. On April 5, 2005, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said he wished to lead the opposition Kuomintang with Wang Jin-pyng. On July 16, 2005, Ma was elected as KMT chairman in the first contested leadership in Kuomintang's 93-year history. Some 54 percent of the party's 1.04 million members cast their ballots. Ma Ying-jeou garnered 72.4 percent of vote share, or 375,056 votes, against Wang Jin-pyng's 27.6 percent, or 143,268 votes. After failing to convince Wang to stay on as a vice chairman, Ma named holdovers Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), and Lin Cheng-chi (林澄枝), as well as long-time party administrator and strategist John Kuan (關中), as vice-chairmen; all appointments were approved by a hand count of party delegates.

There has been a recent warming of relations between the Pan-Blue Coalition and the PRC, with prominent members of both the KMT and PFP in active discussions with officials on the Mainland. In February 2004, it appeared that KMT had opened a campaign office for the Lien-Soong ticket in Shanghai targeting Taiwanese businessmen. However, after an adverse reaction in Taiwan, the KMT quickly declared that the office was opened without official knowledge or authorization. In addition, the PRC issued a statement forbidding open campaigning in the Mainland and formally stated that it had no preference as to which candidate won and cared only about the positions of the winning candidate.

On March 28, 2005, thirty members of the Kuomintang (KMT), led by KMT vice chairman Chiang Pin-kung, arrived in mainland China. This marked the first official visit by the KMT to the mainland since it was defeated by communist forces in 1949 (although KMT members including Chiang had made individual visits in the past). The delegates began their itinerary by paying homage to the revolutionary martyrs of the Tenth Uprising at Huanghuagang. They subsequently flew to the former ROC capital of Nanjing to commemorate Sun Yat-sen. During the trip KMT signed a 10-points agreement with the CPC. The opponents regarded this visit as the prelude of the third KMT-CPC cooperation. Weeks afterwards, in May, Chairman Lien Chan visited the mainland and met with Hu Jintao. No agreements were signed because Chen Shui-bian's government threatened to prosecute the KMT delegation for treason and violation of R.O.C. laws prohibiting citizens from collaborating with Communists.

Ma Ying-jeou became KMT chairman in 2005 defeating Wang Jin-pyng in the first competitive election for the party leadership. On February 13, 2007, Ma was indicted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office on charges of allegedly embezzling approximately NT$11 million (US$339,000), regarding the issue of "special expenses" while he was mayor of Taipei. Shortly after the indictment, he submitted his resignation as chairman of the Kuomintang at the same press conference at which he formally announced his candidacy for President. Ma argued that it was customary for officials to use the special expense fund for personal expenses undertaken in the course of their official duties. In December 2007, Ma was acquitted of all charges and immediately filed suit against the prosecutors. Despite having resigned the party chairmanship, Ma was the party's nominee in the 2008 presidential election which he won.

On June 25, 2009, ROC President Ma launched his bid to regain the KMT's leadership and registered as the sole candidate for the election of the KMT chairmanship. On July 26, Ma Ying-jeou won 93.87% of the vote for KMT leadership, becoming the new chairman of the Kuomintang,[23] taking office on September 12. This officially allows Ma to be able to meet with People's Republic of China President [Xi Jinping] (who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China) and other PRC delegates, as he is able to represent the KMT as leader of a Chinese political party, rather than as head-of-state of a political entity unrecognized by the PRC.[24]

Elections and results

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Pan-blue supporters at a rally during the 2004 presidential election.

The KMT won a landslide victory in the Republic of China Presidential Election on March 22, 2008. The KMT fielded former Taipei mayor and former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou to run against the DPP's Frank Hsieh. Ma won by a butt of 17% against Hsieh. Ma took office on May 20, 2008 and ended 8 years of the DPP presidency. The KMT also won a landslide victory in the 2008 legislative elections, winning 81 of 113 seats, or 71.7% of seats in the Legislative Yuan. These two elections gave the KMT firm control of both the executive and legislative yuans.

Prior to this, the party's voters had defected to both the PFP and TSU, and the KMT did poorly in the December 2001 legislative elections and lost its position as the largest party in the Legislative Yuan. However, the party did well in the 2002 local government mayoral and council election with Ma Ying-jeou, its candidate for Taipei mayor, winning reelection by a landslide and its candidate for Kaohsiung mayor narrowly losing but doing surprisingly well. Since 2002, the KMT and PFP have coordinated electoral strategies. In 2004, the KMT and PFP ran a joint presidential ticket, with Lien running for president and Soong running for vice-president.

The loss of the presidential election of 2004 to DPP President Chen Shui-bian by merely over 30,000 votes was a bitter disappointment to party members, leading to large scale rallies for several weeks protesting alleged electoral fraud and the "odd circumstances" of the shooting of President Chen. However, the fortunes of the party were greatly improved when the KMT did well in the legislative elections held in December 2004 by maintaining its support in southern Taiwan achieving a majority for the Pan-Blue Coalition.

Soon after the election, there appeared to be a falling out with the KMT's junior partner, the People First Party and talk of a merger seemed to have ended. This split appeared to widen in early 2005, as the leader of the PFP, James Soong appeared to be reconciling with President Chen Shui-Bian and the Democratic Progressive Party. Many PFP members including legislators and municipal leaders have defected to the KMT, and the PFP is seen as a fading party.

The KMT won a decisive victory in the 3-in-1 local elections of December 2005, replacing the DPP as the largest party at the local level. This was seen as a major victory for the party ahead of legislative elections in 2007. There were elections for the two municipalities of the ROC, Taipei and Kaohsiung on December 2006. The KMT won a clear victory in Taipei, but lost to the DPP in the southern city of Kaohsiung by the slim margin of 1,100 votes.

After 8 years of the KMT legislative majority sharing rule with a DPP president, the KMT regained the presidency by winning the 2008 Presidential Election. The citizens of the ROC elected Presidential candidate Ma Ying Jeou and Vice-Presidential candidate Vincent Siew. This followed an earlier election in January of the Legislative Yuan in which the KMT increased their control of the legislature by winning 3 quarters of the total seats.

Supporter base

Support for the Kuomintang in the Republic of China encompasses a wide range of groups. Kuomintang support tends to be higher in northern Taiwan and in urban areas, where it draws its backing from small to medium and self-employed business owners, who make up the majority of commercial interests in Taiwan.[citation needed] Big businesses are also likely to support the KMT because of its policy of maintaining commercial links with mainland China.[citation needed]

The KMT also has strong support in the labor sector because of the many labor benefits and insurance implemented while the KMT was in power.[citation needed] The KMT traditionally has strong cooperation with labor unions, teachers, and government workers.[citation needed] Among the ethnic groups in Taiwan, the KMT has solid support among mainlanders and their descendants for ideological reasons and among Taiwanese aboriginals.

Opponents of the KMT include strong supporters of Taiwan independence, and rural residents particularly in southern Taiwan, though supporters of unification include Hoklo and supporters of independence include mainlanders.[citation needed] There is opposition due to an image of KMT both as a mainlanders' and a Chinese nationalist party out of touch with local values.[citation needed]


The Kuomintang headquarters in Taipei City. In June 2006, the Kuomintang Central Committee moved to Bade building, a much more modest building, and has sold the original headquarters to private investors of the EVA Airways Corporation.

The KMT maintains offices in some of the Chinatowns of the world. Its United States party headquarters are located in San Francisco Chinatown, directly across the Chinese Six Companies.


The Kuomintang Eastern U.S. headquarters is in New York Chinatown.

KMT Building in Vancouver's Chinatown, BC, Canada.

Leadership history

List of leaders of the Kuomintang (1912–1914)


  1. Song Jiaoren (1912–1913)


  1. Sun Yat-sen (1913–1914)

List of leaders of the Kuomintang of China (1919–present)


  1. Sun Yat-sen (1919–1925)
  2. Zhang Renjie (1925–1926)

Chairman of Central Executive Committee:

  1. Hu Hanmin (1927–1931)
  2. Wang Jingwei (1931–1933)
  3. Chiang Kai-shek (1933–1938) (self-proclaimed)


  1. Chiang Kai-shek (1926–1927)
    Vacanct (1927–1935)
  2. Hu Hanmin (1935–1936)
    Vacanct (1936–1938)
  3. Chiang Kai-shek (1938–1975)


  1. Chiang Ching-kuo (5 April 1975 – 13 January 1988)
    • Lee Teng-hui (13 January 1988 – 27 July 1988) (acting)
  2. Lee Teng-hui (27 July 1988 – 24 March 2000)
  3. Lien Chan (24 March 2000 – 29 August 2005)
  4. Ma Ying-jeou (27 July 2005 – 13 February 2007)
    • Wu Po-hsiung (13 February 2007 – 14 March 2007) (acting)
    • Chiang Pin-kung (14 March 2007 – 11 April 2007) (acting)
  5. Wu Po-hsiung (11 April 2007 – 17 October 2009)
  6. Ma Ying-jeou (17 October 2009 –)

Current vice chairpersons

  • Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正)
  • Chan Chun-po (詹春柏)
  • John Chiang (蔣孝嚴)
  • Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權)
  • Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱)
  • Huang Ming-hui (黃敏惠)[25][26]

List of Secretaries-General of the Kuomintang of China

Secretaries-General of the Central Executive Committee:

  1. Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang (葉楚傖) (1926–1927)
  2. Post abolished (1927–1929)
  3. Chen Li-fu (陳立夫) (1929–1931)
  4. Ting Wei-feng (丁惟汾) (1931)
  5. Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang (1931–1938)
  6. Chu Chia-hua (朱家驊) (1938–1939)
  7. Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang (1939–1941)
  8. Wu Tieh-cheng (吳鐵城) (1941–1948)
  9. Cheng Yen-feng (鄭彥棻) (1948–1950)

Secretaries-General of the Central Reform Committee:

  1. Chang Chi-yun (張其昀) (1950–1952)

Secretaries-General of the Central Committee:

  1. Chang Chi-yun (1952–1954)
  2. Chang Li-sheng (張厲生) (1954–1959)
  3. Tang Tsung (唐縱) (1959–1964)
  4. Ku Feng-hsiang (谷鳳翔) (1964–1968)
  5. Chang Pao-shu (張寶樹) (1968–1979)
  6. Chiang Yen-si (蔣彥士) (1979–1985)
  7. Ma Shu-li (馬樹禮) (1985–1987)
  8. Lee Huan (李煥) (1987–1989)
  9. James Soong (宋楚瑜) (1989–1993)
  10. Hsu Shui-teh (許水德) (1993–1996)
  11. Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) (1996–1997)
  12. Chang Hsiao-yen (章孝嚴) (1997–1999)
  13. Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) (1999–2000)
  14. Lin Fong-cheng (林豐正) (2000–2005)
  15. Chan Chun-pao (詹春柏) (2005–2007)(2009)
  16. Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) (2007–2009)
  17. King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) (2009–2011)
  18. Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) (2011–2012)
  19. Lin Join-sane (林中森) (2012)[27]
  20. Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) (2012-)[28]

Party organization and structure[29]

  • National Congress
    • Party Chairman
      • Vice-Chairmen
    • Central Committee
      • Central Steering Committee for Women
    • Central Standing Committee
    • Secretary-General
      • Deputy Secretaries-General
    • Executive Director
      • Policy Committee
        • Policy Coordination Department
        • Policy Research Department
        • Mainland Affairs Department
      • National Development Institute
        • Administrative Division
        • Research Division
        • Education and Counselling Division
      • Party Disciplinary Committee
        • Evaluation and Control Office
        • Audit Office
      • Culture and Communications Committee
        • Cultural Department
        • Communications Department
        • KMT Party History Institute
      • Administration Committee
        • Personnel Office
        • General Office
        • Finance Office
        • Accounting Office
        • Information Center
      • Organizational Development Committee
        • Organization and Operations Department
        • Elections Mobilization Department
        • Community Volunteers Department
        • Overseas Department
        • Youth Department
        • Women's Department

Ideology in Mainland China (1920s–1950s)

Chinese nationalism

The Kuomintang was a nationalist revolutionary party, which had been supported by the Soviet Union. It was organized on Leninism.[30]

The Kuomintang had several influences left upon its ideology by revolutionary thinking. The Kuomintang and Chiang Kai-shek used the words feudal and counterrevolutionary as synonyms for evil, and backwardness, and proudly proclaimed themselves to be revolutionary.[31][32] Chiang called the warlords feudalists, and called for feudalism and counterrevolutionaries to be stamped out by the Kuomintang.[33][34][35][36] Chiang showed extreme rage when he was called a warlord, because of its negative, feudal connotations.[37] Ma Bufang was forced to defend himself against the accusations, and stated to the news media that his army was a part of "National army, people's power".[38]

Chiang Kai-shek, the head of the Kuomintang, warned the Soviet Union and other foreign countries about interfering in Chinese affairs. He was personally angry at the way China was treated by foreigners, mainly by the Soviet Union, Britain, and the United States.[34][39] He and his New Life Movement called for the crushing of Soviet, Western, American and other foreign influences in China. Chen Lifu, a CC Clique member in the KMT, said "Communism originated from Soviet imperialism, which has encroached on our country." It was also noted that "the white bear of the North Pole is known for its viciousness and cruelty."[36]

The Blue Shirts Society, a fascist paramilitary organization within the Kuomintang modeled after Mussolini's blackshirts, was anti-foreign and anticommunist, and stated that its agenda was to expel foreign (Japanese and Western) imperialists from China, crush Communism, and eliminate feudalism.[40] In addition to being anticommunist, some Kuomintang members, like Chiang Kaishek's right-hand man Dai Li were anti-American, and wanted to expel American influence.[41]

Kuomintang leaders across China adopted nationalist rhetoric. The Chinese Muslim general Ma Bufang of Qinghai presented himself as a Chinese nationalist to the people of China, fighting against British imperialism, to deflect criticism by opponents that his government was feudal and oppressed minorities like Tibetans and Buddhist Mongols. He used his Chinese nationalist credentials to his advantage to keep himself in power.[42][43]

The Kuomintang pursued a sinicization policy, it was stated that "the time had come to set about the business of making all natives either turn Chinese or get out" by foreign observers of Kuomintang policy. It was noted that "Chinese colonization" of "Mongolia and Manchuria" led to the conclusion "to a conviction that the day of the barbarian was finally over."[44][45][46]

New Guangxi Clique

Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of the Republic of China and of the Kuomintang party praised the Boxers in the Boxer Rebellion for fighting against Western Imperialism. He said the Boxers were courageous and fearless, fighting to the death against the Western armies, Dr. Sun specifically cited the Battle of Yangcun.[47]

During the Northern Expedition, the Kuomintang incited anti-foreign, anti-western sentiment. Portraits of Sun Yatsen replaced the crucifix in several churches, KMT posters proclaimed- "Jesus Christ is dead. Why not worship something alive such as Nationalism?". Foreign missionaries were attacked and anti foreign riots broke out.[48]

The Kuomintang branch in Guangxi province, led by the New Guangxi Clique implemented anti-imperialist, anti-religious, and anti-foreign policies.

During the Northern Expedition, in 1926 in Guangxi, Muslim General Bai Chongxi led his troops in destroying Buddhist temples and smashing idols, turning the temples into schools and Kuomintang party headquarters.[49] It was reported that almost all of Buddhist monasteries in Guangxi were destroyed by Bai in this manner. The monks were removed.[50] Bai led an anti-foreign wave in Guangxi, attacking American, European, and other foreigners and missionaries, and generally making the province unsafe for non-natives. Westerners fled from the province, and some Chinese Christians were also attacked as imperialist agents.[51]

The three goals of his movement were anti-foreign, anti-imperialism, and anti-religion. Bai led the anti-religious movement, against superstition. Huang Shaoxiong, also a Kuomintang member of the New Guangxi Clique, supported Bai's campaign, and Huang was not a Muslim, the anti religious campaign was agreed upon by all Guangxi Kuomintang members.[51]

As a Kuomintang member, Bai and the other Guangxi clique members allowed the Communists to continue attacking foreigners and smash idols, since they shared the goal of expelling the foreign powers from China, but they stopped Communists from initiating social change.[52]

General Bai also wanted to aggressively expel foreign powers from other areas of China. Bai gave a speech in which he said that the minorities of china were suffering under foreign oppression. He cited specific examples, such as the Tibetans under the British, the Manchus under the Japanese, the Mongols under the Outer Mongolian People's Republic, and the Uyghurs of Xinjiang under the Soviet Union. Bai called upon China to assist them in expelling the foreigners from those lands. He personally wanted to lead an expedition to seize back Xinjiang to bring it under Chinese control, in the style that Zuo Zongtang led during the Dungan revolt.[53]

During the Kuomintang Pacification of Qinghai the Muslim General Ma Bufang destroyed Tibetan Buddhist monasteries with support from the Kuomintang government.[54]

General Ma Bufang, a Sufi, who backed the Yihewani Muslims, and persecuted the Fundamentalist Salafi/Wahhabi Muslim sect. The Yihewani forced the Salafis into hiding. They were not allowed to move or worship openly. The Yihewani had become secular and Chinese nationalist, and they considered the Salafiyya to be "Heterodox" (xie jiao), and people who followed foreigner's teachings (waidao). Only after the Communists took over were the Salafis allowed to come out and worship openly.[55]

The New Guangxi Clique clashed with Chiang Kai-shek, which led to the Central Plains War where Chiang defeated the clique.

Socialism and anti-capitalist agitation

The Kuomintang had a left wing and a right wing, the left being more radical in its pro Soviet policies, but both wings equally persecuted merchants, accusing them of being counterrevolutionaries and reactionaries. The right wing under Chiang Kaishek prevailed, and continued radical policies against private merchants and industrialists, even as they denounced communism.[citation needed]

One of the Three Principles of the People of the Kuomintang, Mínshēng, was defined as socialism as Dr. Sun Yatsen. He defined this principle of saying in his last days "it's socialism and it's communism.". The concept may be understood as social welfare as well. Sun understood it as an industrial economy and equality of land holdings for the Chinese peasant farmers. Here he was influenced by the American thinker Henry George (see Georgism) and German thinker Karl Marx; the land value tax in Taiwan is a legacy thereof. He divided livelihood into four areas: food, clothing, housing, and transportation; and planned out how an ideal (Chinese) government can take care of these for its people.[citation needed]

The Kuomintang was referred to having a socialist ideology. "Equalization of land rights" was a clause included by Dr. Sun in the original Tongmenhui. The Kuomintang's revolutionary ideology in the 1920s incorporated unique Chinese Socialism as part of its ideology.[56][57]

The Soviet Union trained Kuomintang revolutionaries in the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. In the West and in the Soviet Union, Chiang was known as the "Red General".[58] Movie theaters in the Soviet Union showed newsreels and clips of Chiang, at Moscow Sun Yat-sen University Portraits of Chiang were hung on the walls, and in the Soviet May Day Parades that year, Chiang's portrait was to be carried along with the portraits of Karl Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and other socialist leaders.[59]

The Kuomintang attempted to levy taxes upon merchants in Canton, and the merchants resisted by raising an army, the Merchant's volunteer corps. Dr. Sun initiated this anti merchant policy, and Chiang Kai-shek enforced it, Chiang led his army of Whampoa Military Academy graduates to defeat the merchant's army. Chiang was assisted by Soviet advisors, who supplied him with weapons, while the merchants were supplied with weapons from the Western countries.[60][61]

The Kuomintang were accused of leading a "Red Revolution"in Canton. The merchants were conservative and reactionary, and their Volunteer Corp leader Chen Lianbao was a prominent comprador trader.[60]

The merchants were supported by the foreign, western Imperialists such as the British, who led an international flotilla to support them against Dr. Sun.[61] Chiang seized the western supplied weapons from the merchants, and battled against them. A Kuomintang General executed several merchants, and the Kuomintang formed a Soviet inspired Revolutionary Committee.[62] The British Communist party congratulated Dr. Sun for his war against foreign imperialists and capitalists.[63]

In 1948, the Kuomintang again attacked the merchants of Shanghai, Chiang Kaishek sent his son Chiang Ching-kuo to restore economic order. Ching-kuo copied Soviet methods, which he learned during his stay there, to start a social revolution by attacking middle-class merchants. He also enforced low prices on all goods to raise support from the Proletariat.[64]

As riots broke out and savings were ruined, bankrupting shopowners, Ching-kuo began to attack the wealthy, seizing assets and placing them under arrest. The son of the gangster Du Yuesheng was arrested by him. Ching-kuo ordered Kuomintang agents to raid the Yangtze Development Corporation's warehouses, which was privately owned by H.H. Kung and his family. H.H. Kung's wife was Soong Ai-ling, the sister of Soong May-ling who was Ching-kuo's stepmother. H.H. Kung's son David was arrested, the Kung's responded by blackmailing the Chiang's, threatening to release information about them, eventually he was freed after negotiations, and Ching-kuo resigned, ending the terror on the Shanghainese merchants.[65]

The Kuomintang also promotes Government-owned corporations. The Kuomintang founder Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by the economic ideas of Henry George, who believed that the rents extracted from natural monopolies or the usage of land belonged to the public. Dr. Sun argued for Georgism and emphasized the importance of a mixed economy, which he termed "The Principle of Minsheng" in his Three Principles of the People.

"The railroads, public utilities, canals, and forests should be nationalized, and all income from the land and mines should be in the hands of the State. With this money in hand, the State can therefore finance the social welfare programs."[66]

The Kuomintang Muslim Governor of Ningxia, Ma Hongkui promoted state owned monopoly companies. His government had a company, Fu Ning Company, which had a monopoly over commercial and industry in Ningxia.[67]

The Kuomintang Muslim Governor of Qinghai, General Ma Bufang was described as a socialist.[68] An American scholar and government advisor, Doak Barnett, praised Ma Bufang's government as "one of the most efficient in China, and one of the most energetic. While most of China is bogged down, almost inevitably, by Civil War, Chinghai is attempting to carry our small-scale, but nevertheless ambitious, development and reconstruction schemes on its own initiative."[citation needed]

General Ma started a state run and controlled industralization project, directly creating educational, medical, agricultural, and sanitation projects, run or assisted by the state. The state provided money for food and uniforms in all schools, state run or private. Roads and a theater were constructed. The state controlled all the press, no freedom was allowed for independent journalists. His regime was dictatoral in its political system. Barnett admitted that the regime had "sterm authoritarianism" and "little room for personal freedom".[69]

Corporations such as CSBC Corporation, Taiwan, CPC Corporation, Taiwan and Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation are owned by the state in the Republic of China.

Marxists also existed in the Kuomintang party. They viewed the Chinese revolution in different terms than the Communists, claiming that China already went past its feudal stage and in a stagnation period rather than in another mode of production. These marxists in the Kuomintang opposed the Chinese communist party ideology.[70]

Confucianism and religion in ideology

Kuomintang Members pay tribute to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Beijing in 1928 after the success of the Northern Expedition. From right to left, are Generals Cheng Jin, Zhang Zuobao, Chen Diaoyuan, Chiang Kai-shek, Woo Tsin-hang, Yan Xishan, General Ma Fuxiang, Ma Sida, and General Bai Chongxi.

The Kuomintang used traditional Chinese religious ceremonies, the souls of Party martyrs who died fighting for the Kuomintang and the revolution and the party founder Dr. Sun Yatsen were sent to heaven according to the Kuomintang party. Chiang Kaishek believed that these martyrs witnessed events on earth from heaven.[71][72][73][74]

When the Northern Expedition was complete, Kuomintang Generals led by Chiang Kaishek paid tribute to Dr. Sun's soul in heaven with a sacrificial ceremony at the Xiangshan Temple in Beijing in July 1928, among the Kuomintang Generals present were the Muslim Generals Bai Chongxi and Ma Fuxiang.[75]

The Kuomintang backed the New Life Movement, which promoted Confucianism, and it was also against westernization.

The Kuomintang leaders also opposed the May Fourth Movement. Chiang Kai-shek, as a nationalist, and Confucianist, was against the iconoclasm of the May Fourth Movement. He viewed some western ideas as foreign, as a Chinese nationalist, and that the introduction of western ideas and literature that the May Fourth Movement wanted was not welcome. He and Dr. Sun Yat-sen criticized these May Fourth intellectuals for corrupting morals of youth.[76]

Imams sponsored by the Kuomintang called for Muslims to go on Jihad to become shaheed (Muslim term for martyr) in battle, where Muslims believed they would go automatically to heaven. Becoming a shaheed in the Jihad for the country was encouraged by the Kuomintang, which was called "glorious death for the state" and a hadith promoting nationalism was spread.[77] A song written by Xue Wenbo at the Muslim Chengda school, which was controlled by the Kuomintang, called for martyrdom in battle for China against Japan.[78]

The Kuomintang also incorporated Confucianism in its jurisprudence. It pardoned Shi Jianqiao for murdering Sun Chuanfang, because she did it in revenge since Sun executed her father Shi Congbin, which was an example of Filial piety to one's parents in Confucianism.[79] The Kuomintang encouraged filial revenge killings and extended pardons to those who performed them.[80]


The Kuomintang purged China's education system of western ideas, introducing Confucianism into the curriculum. Education came under the total control of state, which meant, in effect, the Kuomintang party, via the Ministry of Education. Military and political classes on the Kuomintang's Three principles of the people were added. Textbooks, exams, degrees and educational instructors were all controlled by the state, as were all universities.[81]

Soviet style military

Chiang Ching-kuo, appointed as Kuomintang director of Secret Police in 1950, was educated in the Soviet Union, and initiated Soviet style military organization in the Republic of China Military, reorganizing and Sovietizing the political officer corps, surveillance, and Kuomintang party activities were propagated throughout the military. Opposed to this was Sun Li-jen, who was educated at the American Virginia Military Institute.[82] Chiang Ching-kuo then arrested Sun Li-jen, charging him of conspiring with the American CIA of plotting to overthrow Chiang Kaishek and the Kuomintang, Sun was placed under house arrest in 1955.[83][84]

Parties affiliated with the Kuomintang

Malaysian Chinese Association

Malaysian Chinese Association

Initially the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) party was pro-ROC and mainly consisted of Kuomintang members who joined as an alternative and were also in opposition to the Malayan Communist Party, supporting the Kuomintang in China by funding them with the intention of reclaiming the Chinese mainland from the communists.[85]

Tibet Improvement Party

The Tibet Improvement Party was founded by Pandatsang Rapga, a pro-ROC and pro-KMT Khampa revolutionary, who worked against the 13th Dalai Lama's Tibetan Government in Lhasa. Rapga borrowed Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People doctrine and translated his political theories into the Tibetan language, hailing it as the best hope for Asian peoples against imperialism. Rapga stated that "the Sanmin Zhuyi was intended for all peoples under the domination of foreigners, for all those who had been deprived of the rights of man. But it was conceived especially for the Asians. It is for this reason that I translated it. At that time, a lot of new ideas were spreading in Tibet", during an interview in 1975 by Dr. Heather Stoddard.[86] He wanted to destroy the feudal government in Lhasa, in addition to modernizing and secularizing Tibetan society. The ultimate goal of the party was the overthrow of the Dalai Lama's regime, and the creation of a Tibetan Republic which would be an autonomous Republic within the ROC.[87] Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT funded the party and their efforts to build an army to battle the Dalai Lama's government.[88] The Kuomintang was extensively involved in the Kham region, recruiting the Khampa people to both oppose the Dalai Lama's Tibetan government, fight the Communist Red Army, and crush the influence of local Chinese warlords who did not obey the central government.

Vietnamese Nationalist Party

Vietnamese Kuomintang

The Kuomintang assisted the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang party, which translates literally into Chinese as Yuenan Kuomintang (越南國民黨), meaning "Vietnamese Nationalist Party".[89][90] When it was established, it was based on the Chinese Kuomintang and was pro Chinese.[91][92] The Chinese Kuomintang helped the party, known as the VNQDD, set up headquarters in Canton and Yunnan, to aid their anti imperialist struggle against the French occupiers of Indo China and against the Vietnamese Communist Party. It was the first revolutionary nationalist party to be established in Vietnam, before the communist party. The KMT assisted VNQDD with funds and military training.

The VNQDD was founded with KMT aid in 1925, they were against Ho Chi Minh's Viet Nam Revolutionary Youth League.[93] When the VNQDD fled to China after the failed uprising against the French, they settled in Yunnan and Canton, in two different branches.[94][95] The VNQDD existed as a party in exile in China for 15 years, receiving help, militarily and financially, and organizationally from the Chinese KMT.[96] The two VNQDD parties merged into a single organization, the Canton branch removed the word "revolutionary" from the party name. Lu Han, a Kuomintang official in Nanjing, who was originally from Yunnan, was contacted by the VNQDD, and the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee and Military made direct contact with VNQDD for the first time, the party was reestablished in Nanjing with KMT help.[93]

The Chinese KMT used the VNQDD for its own interests in south China and Indo China. General Zhang Fakui (Chang Fa-kuei), who based himself in Guangxi, established the Viet Nam Cach Menh Dong Minh Hoi meaning "Viet Nam Revolutionary League" in 1942, which was assisted by the VNQDD to serve the KMT's aims. The Chinese Yunnan provincial army, under the KMT, occupied northern Vietnam after the Japanese surrender in 1945, the VNQDD tagging alone, opposing Ho Chi Minh's communist party.[97] The Viet Nam Revolutionary League was a union of various Vietnamese nationalist groups, run by the pro Chinese VNQDD. Its stated goal was for unity with China under the Three Principles of the People, created by KMT founder Dr. Sun and opposition to Japanese and French Imperialists.[98][99] The Revolutionary League was controlled by Nguyen Hai Than, who was born in China and could not speak Vietnamese. General Zhang shrewdly blocked the Communists of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh from entering the league, as his main goal was Chinese influence in Indo China.[100] The KMT utilized these Vietnamese nationalists during World War II against Japanese forces.[101]

A Kuomintang left winger, General Chang Fa-kuei worked with Nguyen Hai Than, a VNQDD member, against French Imperialists and Communists in Indo China.[102] General Chang Fa-kuei planned to lead a Chinese army invasion of Tonkin in Indochina to free Vietnam from French control, and to get Chiang Kai-shek's support.[103] The VNQDD opposed the government of Ngo Dinh Diem during the Vietnam War.[104]

Organizations sponsored by the Kuomintang

Taipei Grand Mosque

Ma Fuxiang founded Islamic organizations sponsored by the Kuomintang, including the China Islamic Association (中國回教公會).[105]

Kuomintang Muslim General Bai Chongxi was Chairman of the Chinese Islamic National Salvation Federation.[106] The Muslim Chengda school and Yuehua publication were supported by the Kuomintang government, and they supported the Kuomintang.[78]

The Chinese Muslim Association was also sponsored by the Kuomintang, and it evacuated from the mainland to Taiwan with the party. The Chinese Muslim Association owns the Taipei Grand Mosque which was built with funds from the Kuomintang.[107]

The Yihewani (Ikhwan al Muslimun a.k.a. Muslim brotherhood) was the predominant Muslim sect backed by the Kuomintang. Other Muslim sects, like the Xidaotang were also supported by the KMT. The Chinese Muslim brotherhood became a Chinese nationalist organization and supported Kuomintang rule, Brotherhood Imams like Hu Songshan ordered Muslims to pray for the Kuomintang government, salute Kuomintang flags during prayer, and listen to nationalist sermons.

Policy on ethnic minorities

The Kuomintang considers all minorities to be members of the Chinese Nation, Chiang Kai-shek, the Kuomintang party leader, considered all the minority peoples of China, including the Hui, as descedants of Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor and semi mythical founder of the Chinese nation. Chiang considered all the minorities to belong to the Chinese Nation Zhonghua Minzu and he introduced this into Kuomintang ideology, which was propagated into the educational system of the Republic of China, and the Constitution of the ROC considered Chiang's ideology to be true.[108][109][110] In Taiwan, the President performs a ritual honoring Huangdi, while facing west, in the direction of the mainland China.[111]

The Kuomintang kept the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission for dealing with Mongolian And Tibetan affairs. A Muslim, Ma Fuxiang, was appointed as its Chairman.[112]

Kuomintang was known for sponsoring Muslim students to study abroad at Muslim universities like Al Azhar and it established schools especially for Muslims, Muslim Kuomintang warlords like Ma Fuxiang promoted education for Muslims.[113] The Kuomintang Muslim Warlord Ma Bufang built a girl's school for Muslim girls in Linxia City which taught modern secular education.[114]

Tibetans and Mongols refused to allow other ethnic groups like Kazakhs to participate in the Kokonur ceremony in Qinghai, until the Kuomintang Muslim General Ma Bufang forced them to stop the racism and allowed them to participate.[115]

Chinese Muslims were among the most hardline Kuomintang members. Ma Chengxiang was a Muslim and a Kuomintang member, and refused to surrender to the Communists.[116][117]

The Kuomintang incited anti Yan Xishan and Feng Yuxiang sentiments among Chinese Muslims and Mongols, encouraging for them to topple their rule during the Central Plains War.[118]

Masud Sabri, a Uyghur was appointed as Governor of Xinjiang by the Kuomintang, as was the Tatar Burhan Shahidi and the Uyghur Yulbars Khan.[119]

The Muslim General Ma Bufang also put Kuomintang party symbols on his mansion, the Ma Bufang Mansion along with a portrait of party founder Dr. Sun Yatsen arranged with the Kuomintang Party flag and the Republic of China flag.

General Ma Bufang and other high ranking Muslim Generals attended the Kokonuur Lake Ceremony where the God of the Lake was worshipped, and during the ritual, the Chinese national anthem was sung, all participants bowed to a Portrait of Kuomintang party founder Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and the God of the Lake was also bowed to, and offerings were given to him by the participants, which included the Muslims.[120] This cult of personality around the Kuomintang party leader and the Kuomintang was standard in all meetings. Sun Yatsen's portrait was bowed to three times by KMT party members.[121] Dr. Sun's portrait was arranged with two flags crossed under, the Kuomintang Party Flag and the Flag of the Republic of China.

The Kuomintang also hosted conferences of important Muslims like Bai Chongxi, Ma Fuxiang, and Ma Liang. Ma Bufang stressed "racial harmony" as a goal when he was Governor of Qinghai.[122]

In 1939 Isa Yusuf Alptekin and Ma Fuliang were sent on a mission by the Kuomintang to the Middle eastern countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Syria to gain support for the Chinese War against Japan, they also visited Afghanistan in 1940 and contacted Muhammad Amin Bughra, they asked him to come to Chongqing, the capital of the Kuomintang regime. Bughra was arrested by the British in 1942 for spying, and the Kuomintang arranged for Bughra's release. He and Isa Yusuf worked as editors of Kuomintang Muslim publications.[123] Ma Tianying (馬天英) (1900–1982) led the 1939 mission which had 5 other people including Isa and Fuliang.[124]

Stance on separatism

The Kuomintang is anti separatist, and during its rule on mainland China, it crushed Uyghur and Tibetan separatist uprisings. The Kuomintang claims sovereignty over Mongolia and Tuva as well as the territories of the modern People's Republic and Republic of China.[citation needed]

The Kuomintang Muslim General Ma Bufang waged war on the invading Tibetans during the Sino-Tibetan War with his Muslim army, and he repeatedly crushed Tibetan revolts during bloody battles in Qinghai provinces. Ma Bufang was fully supported by the Kuomintang President of China Chiang Kaishek, who ordered him to prepare his Muslim army to invade Tibet several times and threatened aerial bombardment on the Tibetans. With support from the Kuomintang, Ma Bufang repeatedly attacked the Tibetan area of Golog seven times during the Kuomintang Pacification of Qinghai, eliminating thousands of Tibetans.[54]

General Ma Fuxiang, the chairman of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission stated that Mongolia and Tibet were an integral part of the Republic of China.

Our Party [the Guomindang] takes the development of the weak and small and resistance to the strong and violent as our sole and most urgent task. This is even more true for those groups which are not of our kind [Ch. fei wo zulei zhe]. Now the peoples [minzu] of Mongolia and Tibet are closely related to us, and we have great affection for one another: our common existence and common honor already have a history of over a thousand years.... Mongolia and Tibet's life and death are China's life and death. China absolutely cannot cause Mongolia and Tibet to break away from China's territory, and Mongolia and Tibet cannot reject China to become independent. At this time, there is not a single nation on earth except China that will sincerely develop Mongolia and Tibet."[125]

Under orders from the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kaishek, the Hui General Ma Bufang, Governor of Qinghai (1937–1949), repaired Yushu airport to prevent Tibetan separatists from seeking independence.[citation needed] Ma Bufang also crushed Mongol separatist movements, abducting the Genghis Khan Shrine and attacking Tibetan Buddhist Temples like Labrang, and keeping a tight control over them through the Kokonur God ceremony.[120][126]

During the Kumul Rebellion, the Kuomintang 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) crushed a separatist Uyghur First East Turkestan Republic, delivering it a fatal blow at the Battle of Kashgar (1934). The Muslim General Ma Hushan pledged alleigance to the Kuomintang and crushed another Uyghur revolt at Charkhlik Revolt.

The Kuomintang also fought against a Soviet and White Russian invasion during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang.

During the Ili Rebellion, the Kuomintang fought against Uyghur separatists and the Soviet Union, and against Mongolia.

Election results

Presidential elections

Election Candidate Running mate Total votes Share of votes Outcome
1996 Lee Teng-hui Lien Chan 5,813,699 54.0% Elected Green tickY
2000 Lien Chan Vincent Siew Wan-chang 2,925,513 23.1% Lost Red XN
2004 Lien Chan James Soong Chu-yu (LogoPFP.svgPFP) 6,423,906 49.8% Lost Red XN
2008 Ma Ying-jeou Vincent Siew Wan-chang 7,658,724 58.4% Elected Green tickY
2012 Ma Ying-jeou Wu Den-yih 6,891,139 51.6% Elected Green tickY

Legislative elections

Election Total seats won Total votes Share of votes Outcome of election Election leader
95 / 161
5,030,725 53.0% Increase1 seats; Government Lee Teng-hui
85 / 164
4,349,089 46.1% Decrease10 seats; Government Lee Teng-hui
123 / 225
4,659,679 46.4% Increase38 seats; Government Lee Teng-hui
68 / 225
2,949,371 31.3% Decrease46 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Blue) Lien Chan
79 / 225
3,190,081 34.9% Increase11 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Blue) Lien Chan
81 / 113
5,291,512 53.5% Increase2 seats; Opposition coalition (Pan-Blue) Wu Po-hsiung
64 / 113
5,863,379 44.5% Decrease17 seats; Government (Pan-Blue) Ma Ying-jeou

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Further reading

  • John F. Copper. The KMT Returns to Power: Elections in Taiwan, 2008 to 2012 (Lexington Books; 2013) 251 pages; A study of how Taiwan's Nationalist Party regained power after losing in 2000
  • Chris Taylor, "Taiwan's Seismic shift", Asian Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2004 (not available online)

External links

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