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

An Organization for Middle and Small Merchants:
The Federation of Shanghai Street Associations

Ta-chia Li

Institute of Modern History, Academia.Sinica

The Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce served as an umbrella organization for all people engaged in commerce in the city. However, during the May Fourth Movement of 1919, as a result of the impact of political and intellectual currents, some persons came to the realization that the General Chamber had been monopolized by big merchants to the detriment of the voice and interests of middle and small merchants.  They thus brought street shops together to form the Federation of Shanghai Street Associations.  Although its name referred to merchants, the membership of the Federation was not confined to those engaged in commerce, and intellectuals and politicians also played important role in it. In fact, the political stand of the leadership of the Federation had considerable effect on the development of the General Chamber. As it was more radical than the General Chamber in the political movements of the 1920s, the Federation was actively courted by both the Guomindang and the Communist Party. But in the wake of the GMD’s reorganization of commercial associations in Shanghai, the Federation lapsed into history.


Keywords: Federation of Shanghai Street Associations, Shanghai General Chamber of Commerce