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Sun Yat-sen and 'Three Principles of the People'


11-11-2016 09:49 BJT

Dr. Sun Yat-sen also developed the well-known 'Three Principles of the People' -- often summarized as nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood. It was claimed as the cornerstone of the Republic of China's policy as carried by the Kuomintang Party. It was also said to have influenced the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong. 

Principle of Nationalism. By this, Sun meant to overthrow the Qing Dynasty. He blamed China's misery on the feudal Manchus Qing rulers. He later interpreted this principle as unity among the different ethnicities in China to seek independence from imperialist domination.

Principle of Democracy. To Sun, it represented a Western constitutional government. He divided political life for China into two sets of powers: the power of politics and the power of governance. The former may be equated to civil rights such as suffrage. The latter means the powers of administration. He expanded the European-American constitutional theory of a three-branch government into a government of five branches, by adding the Examination and Inspection departments.

Principles of People's Livelihood. The concept can be understood as social welfare. Sun hoped all peasants could be given farmland on which to work. He also suggested imposing control on capital so that individual capitalists couldn't manipulate the nation's economy and hence affect people's livelihood.

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