8     The Early Republican (1912-1916) and Warlord

       (1916-1928) Periods                      


Primary Resources 


Document 8.1


“Medicine,” a short story by Lu Xun, first published in Xin Qingnian (New Youth magazine), May 1919

Document 8.2

Excerpts from Act 2 of Teahouse, a play by Lao She, 1957

Document 8.3

Table of Contents from Xin Qingnian (New Youth magazine), Vol. 6 No. 5, May 1919


Document 8.4


Excerpts from “Why I Write Poems in the Vernacular” by Hu Shi, in Xin Qingnian (New Youth magazine), May 1919


Document 8.5


Excerpts from “My View on Marxism” by Li Dazhao, in Xin Qingnian (New Youth magazine), May 1919

Document 8.6

Slide show “Duolun Road” on the New Culture Movement in the 1920s and 30s in Shanghai

Document 8.7

Excerpts from a memoir by Li Xiuwen (1890–1992), describing the political turmoil of the 1920s

Document 8.8

Clips from Northeast Historic Film, 1934. Courtesy of Northeast Historic Film, Joan Branch Collection


Clip 1: “Americans living in Shanghai” 


Clip 2: “The Paper Chase” 


Clip 3: “An American Family Tours the Countryside”


Supplementary Resources


Item 8.A

Map of areas controlled by warlords, 1925



Suggested Resources




Buck, Pearl S. The Good Earth. New York: Washington Square Press, 1931.

A novel about a farmer and his family confronted by new practices that threaten to wash away old traditions. It includes themes of women’s rights, family, class conflict, spiritual and moral trials, and hardships of the modern world. Buck won the Pulitzer Prize for this work, and in 1938, won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Dong, Stella. Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City. New York: William Morrow, 2000.

A history of the city at the center of China’s turbulent revolutionary years.


Hahn, Emily. The Soong Sisters. New York: Doubleday, 1941.

Written by an American expatriate living in China, this biography offers insight into the inner workings of the Republican era.


Lan, Hua R. and Vanessa L. Fong. Women in Republican China: A Sourcebook. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1999.

Essays by activists of the May Fourth Movement.


Lao She. Blades of Grass: The Stories of Lao She. Trans. William Lyell. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1999.

A collection of short stories set in the era of the early Republic.


Lao She. Rickshaw. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1979.

A novel about a rickshaw puller hoping to make a successful life for himself against the backdrop of revolution, warlords, and social chaos.


Lu Xun. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories. Trans. William Lyell. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1990.


Ng, Janet and Janice Wickeri. May Fourth Women Writers: Memoirs. Hong Kong: Research Centre for Translation, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1996.


Spence, Jonathan and Annping Chin. The Chinese Century: A Photographic History of the Last Hundred Years. New York: Random House, 1996.


Zarrow, Peter Gue. China in War and Revolution, 1895-1949. New York: Routledge, 2005.



Asia for Educators, Columbia University

Select the 1900–1950 section for primary sources and essays on Republican China and the May Fourth Movement.


Before and After the May Fourth Movement, Asia for Educators, Columbia University

An overview, primary sources, and discussion questions about the May Fourth Movement.


Chinese Warlords

Images of Chinese Warlords.


Lu Xun

Biographical information and posters of Lu Xun.


May Fourth Movement, 1919

Background information and posters of the May Fourth Movement.


Virtual Shanghai

A website about the history of Shanghai from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It includes documents, maps, images, and essays.




China in Revolution, vol. 1 of China: A Century of Revolution (120 mins; 2007)

This documentary provides footage of the Republican Period and interviews with Chinese people who lived through this era.


The Last Emperor (162 mins; 1987)

This film poignantly captures the anachronism of a child-emperor coming to power in China in the early twentieth century and the subsequent political turmoil.


Rickshaw Boy (120 mins; 1982)

An adaptation of Lao She’s novel Rickshaw. The film captures the grim realities of life for the urban working poor in 1920s China.


Writers and Revolutionaries (60 mins; 1992)

Volume IV of the ten-part Pacific Century series focuses on the role of intellectuals in the rise of twentieth-century nationalism and progressivism in the East.




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