2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Revolution, Counterrevolution, and the Purge of the Communists in the Nationalist China, 1927-1928

Jinlin Hwang

Department of Sociology, Tunghai University

This article argues that the April 1927 purge of the Communists was not just a patriotic movement or a coup d’etat, as many historians have described. The occurrence of the purge revealed that the revolution, initiated by Sun Yet-sen in the early 1920s to bring down the warlords and the imperial forces in China, contained in itself a counterrevolutionary disposition. This development not only resulted in the revolution becoming arbitrary and indefinable in character, but also distanced the revolutionary activity from the desires of the people. An inquiry of the political, military, and cultural arbitrariness that consisted in the purge in particular, and the revolution in general, will show why and how violence played so central a part to the survival of the Nanking Regime in the late 1920s.


Key Words: party purge, revolution, counterrevolution, discourse, symbolic violence