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Partifying Sichuan: The Chinese Youth Party in Sichuan, 1926–1937

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China saw a rise of mass party politics in the early 1920s. Different from previous parties which primarily appealed to the elites, the newly emergent parties wished to invoke wide popular support and to organize the people into a disciplined political organization in order to win national power. Current scholarship on China’s political construction during the Republican era particularly focuses on the Communist Party and the reorganized Nationalist Party in this context. Yet, China was far from integrated in this era, and we must recognize this particular focus blinds us to the diversity of visions and attempts of various political actors for the construction of the new Chinese nation-state. This paper examines the Chinese Youth Party’s activities in Sichuan between 1926 and 1937. Through its appeals to the students and teachers in educational circles, its actions with local gentry, and its quests for local warlords’ support, this paper highlights the Youth Party’s successful local operations that outstripped both the Nationalist and Communist parties in Sichuan in this period. In the distinctive sociopolitical environment of Sichuan, the Youth Party helps us understand the multiplicity of China’s political construction during the Republican era.


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