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Analyze the Significance of the Role of the Nanjing Government (1928-1937) for China's Modernization

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In 1919, Sun Yixian reorganized the Kuomintang (KMT) which was first founded in 1912. He set up a military government in Guangzhou. After Sun's death, Jiang Jieshi took over Sun's position and became the leader of KMT. In 1926, he launched the Northern Expedition to fight against the warlords and unify China. In 1928, the completion of the Northern Expedition was actually a step forward to modernize China. It ended the warlord era and unified China which helped establishing China as a modern unified nation-state. He set up a government in Nanjing, which was known as the Nanjing government. Since then, the government struggled to carry out Sun's legacy of national reconstruction. A modernization program was begun.

Modernization is an ever-changing process by which human beings progress in political, economic, social, intellectual and military aspects for the betterment of society as a whole. Therefore, the Nanjing government did make certain efforts in achieving progress in these aspects.

If China was to be modernized, she first had to obtain an equal status with the foreign powers. In this regard, the Nanjing government made a great effort in diplomacy. First of all, the Nanjing government succeeded in regaining some of the foreign concessions. For example, the British concessions in Hankou, Jiujiang, Zhenjiang, Weihaiwei and Xiamen as well as the Belgian concession in Tianjin were recovered from 1926-1930.

Secondly, it regained tariff autonomy. The US, European countries and Japan made equal and friendly tariff agreements with China in 1930. The Nanjing government also announced to abolish unequal treaties and extra-territoriality signed between the Qing government and foreign powers. Due to the efforts of the Nanjing government, most of them agreed to give up their extra-territorial rights in principle. However, it was only after the Second World War that the unequal treaties and extra-territoriality were completely abolished.

The efforts of the Nanjing government helped China to obtain a higher international status among the power. Only after the establishment of the Nanjing government, China become diplomatically modernized by gradually regaining her rights. This has laid a foundation for cooperation and communication with other countries in the future with a higher international status. For instance, China became the founding member of the United Nations after the Second World War. This was a remarkable achievement of the Nanjing government.

According to the Sun's Outline of National Reconstruction for the Nationalist Government, a constitution is essential for a politically modernized nation to define people's rights and duties, and prevent rulers from imposing autocratic rule. In 1928, the KMT passed an Outline of Political Tutelage and adopted provisional constitution. It also practiced separation of powers, where the Five-power system was established, namely the Executive Yuan, the Legislative Yuan, the Judicial Yuan, the Control Yuan and the Examination Yuan. These five "yuans" were placed under the leadership of the chairman.

The Nanjing government made an effort to prevent the restoration of the monarchy in China. Also, the structure of the Nanjing government appeared to reflect the idea of power division suggested in Sun's Principle of Democracy and his concept of political tutelage. This laid the foundation for the future establishment of constitutional government in China.

There were also improvements in the judicial system. Several modern laws were passed and a civic code was initiated in 1929. Some of these laws recognized the equal status of men and women which has improved the sexual equality, raising the status of women by granting them more rights, such as the right to inheritance and free marriage. The government also required all judicial officials to pass an examination before appointment, built more local courts and provided extensive trainings for judges. All these policies helped modernize China's judicial system and displayed the rule of law in China.

The Nanjing government also carried out several measures to construct the economy of China in order to improve the people's livelihoods. First of all it carried out the currency reform and introduced a new monetary system. It nationalized silver and introduced banknotes in 1935. It also standardized the weights and measures, for the betterment of trading with foreign countries.

A series of economic regulations were issued, such as the Stock Exchange Ordinance, Company Law and Bankruptcy Law, etc. In 1928, the Central Bank was established in Shanghai for directing the development of China's finance sector and also



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