STUDY GROUP 2020
We had planned to discuss the topic “China’s Republican Era 1911 to 1949” in April but Covid-19 frustrated our plans for what would have been the last Chinese again in November. For four weeks loyal members and new recruits spent Tuesday mornings at Conet in Central listening to each other and learning. It was well worth the wait!
We were treated to a succession of informative and revealing presentations and have all ended up wiser for the experience. We began with the life story of John Rabe, a German national, who risked his life, health and reputation to save countless thousands of the poorest citizens in Nanking fleeing from the Japanese army. Another account was given of Sapajou whose bitingly accurate cartoons during the occupation of Shanghai showed at first hand the horrors of war against a civilian population.
Yuen Shi Kai was the man who successfully negotiated the abdication of Pu Yi and peacefully ended thousands of years of imperial rule. After he was appointed Provisional President of the Republic it all went to his head and he tried to restore the monarchy with himself as Emperor but stepped down after only 83 days.
The writer as the only male member of the group had some minor reservations about Women’s Emancipation in China but it proved to be a fascinating topic and detailed the struggle for equality for women in a society that had treated them as subservient for thousands of years. Some of those who were prominent in the struggle were described in Women on the Long March in which the wives and companions of those on the Long March began to challenge the superior role of males in the early days of the Republic. Closely associated with the declaration of the Republic and twice as a seat of government Life in the City of Wuhan made us realise what a major city it was and the role it played in the early struggles leading to the 1911 declaration and thereafter.
On a lighter note we were treated to a presentation Music for the Party and for Parties which traced the development of both patriotic music including The March of the Volunteers and contemporary jazz and light music in an era when there was no shortage of musical talent. Finally we were privileged to learn of the life and achievements of Art Lym, from a close descendant. Art Lym is seen by many as the founder of the Chinese Airforce and we were able to learn more about him from an extensive selection of family archives.
For more details including an arrangement for a small number of potential presenters to join the group as “observers” or for more than one member to team up with another to do a joint presentation please contact Patrick Moss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact Patrick Moss at email@example.com if you are interested or know of someone who might be.