The May 4th Movement in China Essay

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The May 4th Movement in China

The first Cultural Revolution of China’s 20th century began with the May Fourth Movement on May 4th, 1919. The May Fourth Movement in China was an anti-imperialist, cultural, and political movement. Although it physically began on May 4, 1919, it actually lasted from about 1917 until 1923. It marked the rapid rise of Chinese Nationalism as well as a re-evaluation of Confucianism. The movement was sparked by the dissatisfaction with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles settlement regarding China. The treaty endorsed the Japanese takeover of the German concessions in the Shandong peninsula. The movement was an attempt to redefine the culture, political, and intellectual state of China. The movement
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The recommendation of a large-scale demonstration in Peking. 4. The creation of a strong student union in Peking. 5. An afternoon demonstration to protest the terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

Against Government orders, the students held a mass demonstration in front of the Gates to the Forbidden Palace. The students voiced their disagreement with the terms of the Treaty of Versailles as well as the government’s inability to secure Chinese interests with the Allies. They demanded retribution towards individuals such as Cao Rulin, Lu Zongyu, and Zhang Zongxiang. The demonstration reached a peak when some students burned down Cao Rulin’s house. The Beiyang Government sent in the army and arrested many students, with one student dying in the melee.

The next day, students throughout China went on strike. This was followed by strikes by many workers and businessmen throughout parts of China. This caused the Beiying Government to release the arrested students and to dismiss some government officials that the students had targeted as detrimental to China’s interests. The Chinese representatives in Paris also refused to sign the peach treaty. The events of May 4th, 1919, remained symbolic in nature. Japan still continued to control the Shandong peninsula.


Confucianism in China had been a way of life, a state ideology as well as a combined philosophical, religious, and social system. Fundamentally, Confucianism focused on
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