Heretics in Revolutionary China

The Ideas and Identities of Two Cantonese Socialists, 1917–1928


In this book, Xuduo Zhao revisits the early twentieth-century Chinese revolution by focusing on two forgotten Cantonese socialists: Chen Gongbo and Tan Pingshan. By analyzing a host of previously untapped primary sources, Zhao discovers a social democratic approach within the newly founded Chinese Communist Party and argues that its decline marked a key moment in the Chinese communist movement.

The study of these two figures, and the ebbs and flows of their lives, reflects and reveals the fundamental tensions in the Chinese revolution which have shaped China’s political trajectory to contemporary times and the broader political, social, and cultural landscapes of Republican China.

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Xuduo Zhao, Ph.D. (2019), University of York, is Boya Postdoctoral Fellow at Peking University. He has published several articles in leading journals of Chinese studies, including Modern China and Twentieth-Century China.
list of Abbreviations

 1 The Decline of Social Democracy: a Turning Point
 2 Reflections on the Origin of Twentieth-Century Chinese Radicalism
 3 A Fundamental Conundrum: between Governance and Revolution
 4 Political Ideas and Social Identities: a Dynamic Entanglement
 5 The Structure of the Book

1 Between Province and Capital (1917–1920)
 1 Tan Pingshan: Climbing the Ladder
 2 Making Sense of the Education Reforms
 3 Chen Gongbo: off the Track
 4 PKU : a Cultural Field
 5 Learning to Be an Intellectual: Tan Pingshan and Chen Gongbo at PKU
 6 Reception and Reinterpretation of Marxism

2 Between Democracy and Revolution (1920–1922)
 1 The Discredited Establishment
 2 Zhengheng: a Prelude to Social Democracy
 3 Mapping the World: the Advent of the Age of Revolution
 4 Making Sense of Marxism: Cantonese Social Democracy
 5 Rationality, Debate, and Socialism: Creating a Public Cultural Space

3 Between Sun and Chen (1922)
 1 The June 16th Incident
 2 To Choose between Sun and Chen: an Enigmatic Quarrel within the CCP
 3 A Difficult Decision to Make: the Communists in Shanghai
 4 A Vague Relationship: Chen Jiongming and the Cantonese Communists
 5 Behind the Mystery: the Origin of the Rumor
 6 The Identity Problem: Intellectual vs. Revolutionary

4 Between Revolutionary and Politician (1923–1928)
 1 Transforming into a Revolutionary: the Start of the Nationalist Revolution
 2 Revolutionary vs. Politician: a Dilemma in Guangzhou
 3 Revolutionary vs. Politician: a Dilemma Again in Wuhan
 4 Building a Revolutionary Party: a Way Out?

5 Between Communism and Nationalism (1923–1928)
 1 The Rise of Materialist Historiography in China
 2 The School of “New History” and Hayes’ Historical Writings
 3 Chen Gongbo’s Historical Practices
 4 Chen Gongbo’s Interest in British Anti-Imperialism
 5 Locating Chen Gongbo’s Left-Wing GMD Program

 1 The Abandonment of Social Democracy
 2 Revolution and Counter-Revolution
 3 Nationalism and Socialism

Appendix: Events in Republican China (1915–1920)
University departments, libraries, and institutes interested in Asian studies; scholars and students of twentieth-century Chinese history, Chinese politics, or global socialist and communist movements.
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