Chapter

Speaking Parts in Chinese History

David Strand

in An Unfinished Republic

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267367
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948747 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267367.003.0003
Speaking Parts in Chinese History

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

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

Chapter.  19537 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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