Movement of the Fourth of May


Movement of the Fourth of May

Was an anti-imperialist cultural and political movement that grew out of students participating in Beijing on May 4, 1919, protesting the weakness of the Chinese reaction to the Treaty of Versailles, especially when Japan was allowed to acquire land in Shandong, which was besieged by Germany after Tsingtao’s siege. These demonstrations ignited national protests and fueled Chinese nationalism, towards political mobilization, alienation from cultural activities, and movement towards populism rather than the intellectual elite. In that period, many political and social leaders emerged in the following decades.

The term “movement of the fourth of May” in the general sense usually refers to the period from 1915 to 1921 which is often called the movement of new culture.


Climate and the political mood that emerged in 1919, “in the words of Miter (2004),” was concentrated in a set of ideas that shaped the 20th century in China. “[1] In the aftermath of the Shanghai Revolution of 1911, the Qing Dynasty dissolved, Years, and theoretically presiding over a new era in which power stood with the people, yet the reality was that China was a fragmented state controlled by warlords who were not interested in either their own political powers and their own armies, rather than national interests. [2] The interior did little to counter the influence exerted by foreign powers. [3] The movement of the one from what Q that occurred in Korea (1919), the Russian Revolution (1917),

The defeats by foreign powers and the presence of spheres of influence inflamed the sense of patriotism between the emerging middle class and educated leaders [citation needed]. The leaders of the new cultural movement believed that traditional Confucian values were responsible for the political weakness of the nation [citation needed]. Chinese nationalists called for the rejection of traditional values and optional adoption of the Western values of “master of science” order to strengthen the new nation. [4] These rebellious and anti-traditional views and programs have shaped China’s politics and culture to the present.

Shandong problem

Main article: Shandong Problem China entered World War I on the side of the Allied Tripartite Alliance in 1917 provided that all German spheres of influence, such as Shandong, returned to China. Although in that year 140,000 Chinese workers were sent to France (as part of the British Army, the Chinese Workers’ Corps), 6 under the Treaty of Versailles, April 1919, Japan granted German rights in Shandong Province. The representatives of the Chinese Government made the following demands:

Canceling all privileges of foreign powers in China, such as extraterritoriality

Canceling the “Twenty-One Claims” with the Japanese

China’s restoration of land and rights in Shandong, which Japan had taken from Germany during the First World War

The Allies took control of the meeting in Versailles and did not pay attention to Chinese demands. Britain and France were mainly interested in punishing Germany. Despite the United States’ promotion of the 14 Woodrow Wilson points and the values of self-determination, they were unable to advance these ideas in the face of violent resistance by David Lloyd George, George Clemenceau, and the US Congress. The American defense of self-determination in the League of Nations was attractive to Chinese intellectuals, but their failure to move forward was seen as a betrayal. The failure of Chinese diplomacy at the Paris peace conference triggered the May 4 movement and became known as the “Shandong problem.”

Days of protest

On the morning of May 4, 1919, the students’ representatives met from 13 different local universities in Beijing and issued the following five resolutions:

Opposition to granting Shandong to the Japanese under former German concessions

Raising awareness of China’s fragile position among the masses in China

Recommend a rally in Beijing

Payment to establish the Beijing Students Union A demonstration was held the same evening in protest against the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

For years, the traditional view in the People’s Republic of China was that after the 1919 demonstrations and its suppression, the decision became increasingly political. People such as Chen Duxiu and Li Dajao became more leftist and were among the founding founders of the Communist Party of China, while other thinkers, such as the Anarchist writer and political advocate Ba Jin, also took part in the movement. Original volunteers or nihilists such as Lee Shinsen and Zhou Qianzhi made similar shifts to the left, where China in the 1920s experienced increasing turmoil. Mao Zedong claimed that the May 4 movement was the step leading to the revolution.

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