Chinese Revolutionary Thought
Chinese revolutionary thought is best understood in the context of the events surrounding the revolutions of 1911 and 1949. The modern Chinese term for revolution, geming , existed in classical Chinese and indicated a change in dynasties. However, political actors and theorists used this term in a radically different sense in the twentieth century. Chinese revolutionary thought is important because the concept of “revolution” influenced the way in which Chinese understood politics during the twentieth century. To explain the historical significance of the twentieth-century Chinese concept of revolution, this entry briefly explains the premodern conception of geming and then examines Chinese revolutionary thought during the 1911 and 1949 revolutions. The modern Chinese term for revolution is the character couplet geming which is made up of two characters, ge ( ) “to change” and ming ( ) “life.” One of the most famous classical instances of this couplet is in the ...