Reviews 163 was unique enough (including, for example, the special role played by secret societies in helping Sichuan elites create a mass protest movement) that one might argue that Sichuan’s experience was hardly representative of broader revolutionary trends. In the end, though, Zheng is effective in showing how the overall changes in political culture she outlines, though perhaps more intensiﬁed and more articulately expressed in Sichuan, were reﬂective of a broader political transformation seen across the nation that radically changed the way in which the Chinese people saw themselves and their relationship to the Chinese nation and its government. For Zheng this transformation in political culture was an “enlightenment” (pp. 79–80), challenging, without making this direct comparison herself, the claim of the May Fourth Movement to this label. As a result, she also sees the legacy of the 1911 Revolution in terms of a rhetoric of popular rights and popular sovereignty as more lasting than a political revolution. Indeed, all Chinese governments since 1911, including the PRC, have deployed the rhetoric introduced by the Revolution to term themselves republics. At the same time, the recurring application of undemocratic power in the name of the people by the governments of
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 4, 2019
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