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Reviewed Work(s): The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919-1927 by Alexander
Review by: Gregor Benton
Source: The China Quarterly, No. 163 (Sep., 2000), pp. 864-866
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the School of Oriental and African
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/655816
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864 The China Quarterly

Throughout the book, Kutcher contrasts the Confucian attempt to

channel or control expressions of grief through ritual with the views of
the Ming founder and others that ritual should spring from "natural
affection" (p. 39). Unfortunately, the implications of this contrast and the
effect of the Qing relaxation of mourning observance on the psychology
of grieving are not fully analysed.
Did the decline in mourning observance - and by implication, Confu-
cian norms - affect individuals outside the elite and court circles, which
are the focus of Kutcher's book? The "disengagement" with Confucian
mourning norms that Kutcher observes may be linked to the sophisticated
urban commercial culture emerging from the 16th century onward, but
the late Ming and early Qing period was a time when values that were
formerly confined to literati families were disseminated among much
broader social strata in Chinese society. David Faure's essay in the
recently published State and Court Ritual in China (1999) suggests that
the creation and expansion of lineage organization during the early Qing
reinforced rather than weakened the penetration of Confucian ideals
among commoner households in the Canton delta. Faure demonstrates the
importance of local politics and local social structure in analysing the
dissemination of values into rural society. Kutcher's monograph, which
will interest scholars interested in comparative ritual, Qing history and
the evolution of Confucian thought, raises questions that should stimulate
further research on the important issue of cultural transmission in late
imperial China.


The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919-1927. By ALEXANDER

PANTSOV. [Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000. xii + 324 pp. ?40.00.
ISBN 0-7007-1187-2.]

Alexander Pantsov worked in the Russian Academy of Sciences before

joining Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. His excellent new book
analyses the Bolsheviks' China policy up to 1927. It concludes with a
pioneering account of the impact of the Stalin-Trotsky split on the
Chinese students in Moscow.
The basic elements of Pantsov's story are familiar, but he retells them
with the help of documentary sources previously inaccessible to all but a
handful of students of Sino-Soviet relations. His access to so many r
materials (unpublished Chinese and Russian state papers and privat
archives, Party and Oppositionist journals and bulletins, interviews with
eye-witnesses and participants, and memoirs), his close acquaintance with
Bolshevik political codes and practices, his analytical acuity and hi
unflagging regard to the theoretical issues behind the immense corpus o
data he draws on, enable him to reduce to clarity and order what w
previously a big muddle.

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Book Reviews 865

His focus is on the Soviet role in the Kuomintang

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1927. He shows
times said to have sacrificed the CCP to protect Soviet n
in fact hoped to communize the Kuomintang by means
coup. Although Stalin believed he could win the inner
China with methods he had applied earlier in Moscow
was out-manoeuvred by Chiang Kai-shek. As for Tr
consistently oppose the CCP's immersion in the Ku
sometimes said to have done; and only in April 1926
withdrawal. Although "Leninism" became synonymo
theory of permanent revolution in 1917, Trotsky's in
ened by Lenin's partial reversion to a stages theory of r
and by the 1922 call for a "revolutionary democratic
proletariat and peasantry."
Pantsov's study solves numerous riddles in the
Comintern-CCP relations. Well organized and highl
long be a landmark in its field. I would take issue w
Pantsov's findings, though without wishing to detra
First, Pantsov's claim that Trotsky "made no criticism at all of the
Comintern doctrine of 'multi-class' parties" is questionable. He fails to
note that on 21 April 1924, when the idea of a multi-class party was in
gestation, Trotsky pointedly and publicly called the Kuomintang a bour-
geois party.
Secondly, Pantsov doubts Wang Fanxi's hearsay report that two to
three hundred Chinese Trotskyists were betrayed in 1930, noting that
"there were simply not that many ... in the USSR." The archives suggest
that fewer than a hundred were arrested in 1930. But how many Opposi-
tionist sympathizers escaped the net? Wang, one of Pantsov's main
informants, has written elsewhere that he "knows for sure" that there
were more than a hundred Chinese Trotskyists in the Soviet Union in
1929 and that he had heard that more joined subsequently. Their organi-
zation was secretive and deliberately amorphous. Pantsov himself quotes
OGPU evidence of 80 members and "scores of sympathizers and waver-
ers" in 1930. So why is Wang's estimate apparently so unthinkable?
Thirdly, according to Pantsov, the Chinese Trotskyists failed to win
support in the 1930s because they "could propose only ... the democratic
reconstruction of the Chinese military-bureaucratic regime, which had no
potential for ... reform." However, the purpose of the Trotskyists' cam-
paign for a constituent assembly was not to achieve "reform" but to "help
the revolution mature in a period of counter-revolution ... rally the
revolutionary forces against the military dictatorship, and prepare the way
for a new revolutionary upsurge" - the opposite of what Pantsov says.
Fourthly, according to Pantsov, the Trotskyists' ideas "coincided
with much of the [Kuomintang's] anti-Communist propaganda," another
reason for their failure. But whereas the Kuomintang criticized the CCP
for being "internationalist" rather than patriotic and for fostering class
struggle rather than national unity, the Trotskyists criticized it for

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866 The China Quarterly

renouncing internationalism and embracing class collaboration, particu-

larly after 1935. So although only a fool would deny that the Trotskyists'
enterprise ended in ruin, the reasons for their failure lie elsewhere than in
a conversion to reformism or a mimicking of the Kuomintang.


The Making of the Republican Citizen: Political Ceremonies and Symbols

in China, 1911-1929. By HENRIETTA HARRISON. [Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2000. viii + 270 pp. ?45.00. ISBN 0-19-829519-7].

The Making of the Republican Citizen is an excellent addition to the

growing number of works examining the cultural dimensions of Chinese
politics. Harrison uses new material from newspapers, memoirs, state
documents, school text books and photographs. She combines pronounce-
ments on clothing, hair styles, etiquette, calendars and festivals with
descriptions of such state and national symbols as flags, holidays, military
reviews, parades and funerals. These fascinating details all bear upon the
image of the modem citizen - so crucial for Republican governments
basing legitimacy on the people. After a quick look at beginnings in the
1911 Revolution, she focuses on governmental production and manipu-
lation of symbols to 1929. Harrison first describes how political leaders
created markers of the modern citizen and symbols of national com-
munity during the 1910s. She then describes the Nationalist Party's
efforts in the mid to late 1920s to appropriate and control the citizen-
image to legitimize and consolidate its political power. The political
import of these two phases is dramatized in contrasting accounts of the
Beijing state funeral for Sun Yat-sen in 1925 and his second interment in
Nanjing in 1929.
This book is thus about the changing uses of culture to legitimize and
buttress political power. During the first decade of the Republic, political
elites spread linked ideas of modernity, national identity and citizenship.
Symbols, ceremonies and practices made these abstract ideas a concrete
part of daily life and differentiated both the citizen and the modem from
a reconceptualized static tradition. As the new images became diffused
within urban settings, segments of the populace adapted them in ways
that were not closely controlled during these years of fragmented state
power. Longings for national unity and expansive ideas of citizen partici-
pation in politics were revealed in the out-pouring of grief and spon-
taneous mass participation in Sun Yat-sen's 1925 funeral.
Subsequently, however, the Nationalist Party rewrote revolutionary
history to place Sun and the party at the centre and Harrison convincingly
argues that Sun's reputation as a leader and the father of the country
largely dates from his trip to Beijing, death and funeral. When the
Nationalist faction headed by Chiang Kai-shek came to power, it more
strictly circumscribed the meanings of modern and citizen. Political

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