In 1926, Kuomintang general Chiang Kai-shek launched the Northern Expedition, advancing north from Guangzhou against the Beijing government. After halting temporarily in 1927, when the Communists were purged and the civil war between the two factions began, Kuomintang forces finally captured Beijing in 1928. The Kuomintang government at Nanjing received diplomatic recognition in 1928 and began the period of tutelage. After several Kuomintang military campaigns, the Communists were forced (1934-35) to withdraw from their bases in S and central China and establish new strongholds in the northwest. The Kuomintang continued to war against the Communists, ignoring the growing Japanese threat until N China was invaded by the Japanese in 1937. Although plagued by bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption, it controlled the Chinese central government until 1947, when it permitted some participation by minor liberal parties. Its control at the provincial and local level, however, was never complete.
Full-scale civil war, further complicated by inflation, characterized the years from 1945 to 1949. The power of the Kuomintang steadily declined, and by the end of 1949 the Communists controlled the mainland. The Kuomintang, forced from the mainland, remained in power in Taiwan, first under Chiang, then under his son, Chiang Ching-kuo, and Lee Teng-hui. In 1991, Lee ended emergency rule, which had permitted the domination of Taiwan's national assembly by mainland delegates elected in 1947. During the 1990s the major opposition party gained a number of seats in the assembly; in the 1996 presidential elections, President Lee, who was opposed by the Beijing government, won a landslide victory. In 1999 a split developed in the party when James Soong challenged the official candidate for the 2000 presidency race, Vice President Lien Chan, and was expelled; the opposition candidate, Chen Shui-bian, won the election, and Lien placed third behind Soong. Shortly thereafter Lee Teng-hui resigned as Kuomintang chairman. Lee was expelled from the party the following year when he accused its leaders of selling out Taiwan to Beijing when they pursued a less confrontational relationship with the mainland. Although the factions united to oppose Chen's reelection in 2004, he narrowly defeat Lien Chan. In 2005, Lien visited China, becoming the first KMT leader to meet with a Chinese Communist party leader since World War II. Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou succeeded Lien as party leader in 2005 (except during 2007-9) and was elected president of Taiwan in 2008.
See G. T. Yu, Party Politics in Republican China: The Kuomintang, 1912-1924 (1966); Hsieh Jan-chih, ed., The Kuomintang (1970).
Together with the People First Party and Chinese New Party, the KMT forms what is known as the Taiwanese Pan-Blue coalition, which supports eventual reunification with the mainland. However, the KMT has been forced to moderate their stance by advocating political and legal status quo of modern Taiwan. The KMT accepts a one-China policy but defines "One China" to mean the Republic of China and not the People's Republic of China.
The KMT was founded by Song Jiaoren and Sun Yat-sen shortly after the Xinhai Revolution. Later led by Chiang Kai-shek, it ruled much of China from 1928 untiI its retreat to Taiwan in 1949 after defeat by the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the Chinese Civil War. There, the KMT controlled the government under a single party state until reforms in the late 1970s through the 1990s loosened its grip on power. The ROC was once referred to synonymously with the KMT and known simply as "Nationalist China" after its ruling party.
Support for the Kuomintang in the Republic of China encompasses a wide range of groups. Kuomintang support tends to be higher in northern Taiwan and in urban areas, where it draws its backing from small to medium and self-employed business owners, who make up the majority of commercial interests in Taiwan. Big businesses are also likely to support the KMT because of its policy of maintaining commercial links with mainland China. The KMT also has strong support in the labor sector because of the many labor benefits and insurance implemented while the KMT was in power. The KMT traditionally has strong cooperation with labor unions, teachers, and government workers. Among the ethnic groups in Taiwan, the KMT has solid support among mainlanders and their descendants for ideological reasons and among Taiwanese aboriginals.
Opponents of the KMT include strong supporters of Taiwan independence, and rural residents particularly in southern Taiwan, though supporters of unification include Hoklo and supporters of independence include mainlanders. There is opposition due to an image of KMT both as a mainlanders' and a Chinese nationalist party out of touch with local values.
Sun Yat-sen, who had just stepped down as provisional president of the Republic of China, was chosen as its overall leader under the title of premier and Huang Xing was chosen as Sun's deputy. However, the most influential member of the party was the third ranking Song Jiaoren, who mobilized mass support from gentry and merchants for the KMT in winning the 1912 National Assembly election, on a platform of promoting constitutional parliamentary democracy. Though the party had an overwhelming majority in the first National Assembly, President Yuan Shikai started ignoring the parliamentary body in making presidential decisions, counter to the Constitution, and assassinated its parliamentary leader Song Jiaoren in Shanghai in 1913. Members of the KMT led by Sun Yat-sen staged the Second Revolution in July 1913, a poorly planned and ill-supported armed rising to overthrow Yuan, and failed. Yuan dissolved the KMT in November (whose members had largely fled into exile in Japan) and dismissed the parliament early in 1914. Yuan Shikai proclaimed himself emperor in December 1915.
While exiled in Japan in 1914, Sun established the Chinese Revolutionary Party, but many of his old revolutionary comrades, including Huang Xing, Wang Jingwei, Hu Hanmin and Chen Jiongming, refused to join him or support his efforts in inciting armed uprising against Yuan Shikai. In order to join the Chinese Revolutionary Party, members must take an oath of personal loyalty to Sun, which many old revolutionaries regarded as undemocratic and contrary to the spirit of the revolution. Thus, many old revolutionaries did not join Sun's new organization, and he was largely sidelined within the Republican movement during this period. Sun returned to China in 1917 to establish a rival government at Guangzhou, but was soon forced out of office and exiled to Shanghai. There, with renewed support, he resurrected the KMT on October 10, 1919, but under the name of the Chinese Kuomintang, as the old party had simply been called the Kuomintang. In 1920, Sun and the KMT were restored in Guangdong. In 1923, the KMT and its government accepted aid from the Soviet Union after being denied recognition by the western powers. Soviet advisers – the most prominent of whom was Mikhail Borodin, an agent of the Comintern – began to arrive in China in 1923 to aid in the reorganization and consolidation of the KMT along the lines of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, establishing a Leninist party structure that lasted into the 1990s. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was under Comintern instructions to cooperate with the KMT, and its members were encouraged to join while maintaining their separate party identities, forming the First United Front between the two parties.
Soviet advisers also helped the Nationalists set up a political institute to train propagandists in mass mobilization techniques, and in 1923 Chiang Kai-shek, one of Sun's lieutenants from the Tongmenghui days, was sent to Moscow for several months' military and political study. At the first party congress in 1924, which included non-KMT delegates such as members of the CCP, they adopted Sun's political theory, which included the Three Principles of the People - nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood.
Following the death of Sun Yat-sen, General Chiang Kai-shek emerged as the KMT leader and launched the Northern Expedition in 1926 to defeat the northern warlords and unite China under the party. He halted briefly in Shanghai in 1927 to purge the Communists who had been allied with the KMT, which sparked the Chinese Civil War. When Kuomintang forces took Beijing, as the city was the de jure internationally recognized capital, though previously controlled by the feuding warlords, this event allowed the Kuomintang to receive widespread diplomatic recognition in the same year. The capital was moved from Beijing to Nanjing, the original capital of the Ming Dynasty, and thus a symbolic purge of the final Qing elements. This period of KMT rule in China between 1927 and 1937 became known as the Nanjing decade.
In sum, the KMT began as a heterogeneous group advocating American-inspired federalism and provincial independence. However, after its reorganization along Soviet lines, the party aimed to establish a centralized one party state with one ideology - Three Principles of the People. This was even more evident following Sun's elevation into a cult figure after his death. The control by one single party began the period of "political tutelage," whereby the party was to control the government while instructing the people on how to participate in a democratic system. After several military campaigns and with the help of German military advisors (German planned fifth "extermination campaign"), the Communists were forced to withdraw from their bases in southern and central China into the mountains in a massive military retreat known famously as the Long March, an undertaking which would eventually increase their reputation among the peasants. Out of the 86,000 Communist soldiers that broke out of the pocket, only 20,000 would make the 10,000 km march to Shaanxi province. The Kuomintang continued to attack the Communists. This was in line with Chiang's policy of solving internal conflicts (warlords and communists) before fighting external invasions (Japan). However, Zhang Xueliang, who believed that the Japanese invasion constituted the greater prevailing threat, took Chiang hostage during the Xi'an Incident in 1937 and forced Chiang to agree to an alliance with the Communists in the total war against the Japanese. The Second Sino-Japanese War had officially started, and would last until the Japanese surrender in 1945. However in many situations the alliance was in name only; after a brief period of cooperation, the armies began to fight the Japanese separately, rather than as coordinated allies. Conflicts between KMT and communists were still common during the war, and documented claims of Communist attacks upon the KMT forces, and vice versa, abound.
In these incidents, it should be noted that The KMT armies typically utilized more traditional tactics while the Communists chose guerilla tactics, leading to KMT claims that the Communists often refused to support the KMT troops, choosing to withdraw and let the KMT troops take the brunt of Japanese attacks. These same guerilla tactics, honed against the Japanese forces, were used to great success later during open civil war, as well as the Allied forces in the Korean War and the U.S. forces in the Vietnam War.
Full-scale civil war between the Communists and KMT resumed after the defeat of Japan. The Communist armies, previously a minor faction, grew rapidly in influence and power due to several errors on the KMT's part: first, the KMT reduced troop levels precipitously after the Japanese surrender, leaving large numbers of able-bodied, trained fighting men who became unemployed and disgruntled with the KMT as prime recruits for the Communists. Second, the KMT government proved thoroughly unable to manage the economy, allowing hyperinflation to result. Among the most despised and ineffective efforts it undertook to contain inflation was the conversion to the gold standard for the national treasury and the Gold Standard Script in August 1948, outlawing private ownership of gold, silver, and foreign exchange, collecting all such precious metals and foreign exchange from the people and issuing the Gold Standard Script in exchange. The new script became worthless in only ten months and greatly reinforced the nationwide perception of KMT as a corrupt or at best inept entity. Third, Chiang Kai-shek ordered his forces to defend the urbanized cities. This decision gave the Communists a chance to move freely through the countryside. At first, the KMT had the edge with the aid of weapons and ammunition from the United States. However, with hyperinflation and other economic ills, widespread corruption, the KMT continued to lose popular support. At the same time, the suspension of American aid and tens of thousands of deserted or decommissioned soldiers being recruited to the Communist cause tipped the balance of power quickly to the Communist side, and the overwhelming popular support for the Communists in most of the country made it all but impossible for the KMT forces to carry out successful assaults against the Communists. By the end of 1949, the Communists controlled almost all of mainland China, as the KMT retreated to Taiwan with a significant amount of China's national treasures and 2 million people, including military forces and refugees. Some party members stayed in the mainland and broke away from the main KMT to found the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang, which still currently exists as one of the eight minor registered parties in the People's Republic of China.
In 1895, Taiwan, including the Pescadores, became a Japanese colony, a concession by the Qing Empire after it lost the First Sino-Japanese War. After Japan's defeat at the end of World War II in 1945, General Order No. 1 instructed Japan, who surrendered to the US, to surrender its troops in Taiwan to the forces of the Republic of China Kuomintang.
Taiwan was placed under the administrative control of the Republic of China by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), and the ROC put Taiwan under military occupation. Tensions between the local Taiwanese and mainlanders from mainland China increased in the intervening years culminating in a flashpoint on February 27, 1947 in Taipei when a dispute between a female cigarette vendor and an anti-smuggling officer triggered civil disorder and protests that would last for days. The uprising turned bloody and was shortly put down by the ROC Army in the 228 Incident.
Following the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, the commanders of the PRC People's Liberation Army believed that Kinmen and Matsu had to be taken before a final assault on Taiwan. KMT fought the Battle of Kuningtou and stopped the invasion. In 1950 Chiang took office in Taipei under the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion. The provision declared martial law in Taiwan and halted some democratic processes, including presidential and parliamentary elections, until the mainland could be recovered from the Communists. KMT estimated it would take 3 years to defeat the Communists. The slogan was "prepare in the first year, start fighting in the second, and conquer in the third year." However, various factors, including international pressure, are believed to have prevented the KMT from militarily engaging the Communists full-scale. A cold war with a couple of minor military conflicts was resulted in the early years. The various government bodies previously in Nanjing were re-established in Taipei as the KMT-controlled government actively claimed sovereignty over all China. The Republic of China in Taiwan retained China's seat in the United Nations until 1971 .
Until the 1970s, KMT successfully pushed ahead with land reforms, developed the economy, implemented a democratic system in a lower level of the government, improved cross-Taiwan Strait relations, and created the Taiwan economic miracle. However KMT controlled the government under a one-party authoritarian state until reforms in the late 1970s through the 1990s. As a result of the 228 Incident in 1947, Taiwanese people had to endure what is called the "White Terror", a KMT-led political repression. The ROC in Taiwan was once referred to synonymously with the KMT and known simply as "Nationalist China" after its ruling party. In the 1970s, the KMT began to allow for "supplemental elections" in Taiwan to fill the seats of the aging representatives in parliament. Although opposition parties were not permitted, Tangwai (or, "outside the party") representatives were tolerated. In the 1980s, the KMT focused on transforming the government from a single-party system to a multi-party democracy one and embracing "Taiwanizing". With the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 1986, the KMT started competing against the DPP in Parliamentary elections. In 1991, martial law ceased when President Lee Teng-Hui terminated the Temporary Provisions Effective During the Period of Communist Rebellion. All parties started to be allowed to compete at all levels of elections, including the presidential election. Lee Teng-hui, the ROC's first democratically elected President and the leader of the KMT during the 1990s, announced his advocacy of "special state-to-state relations" with the PRC. The PRC associated it with Taiwan independence.
The KMT faced a split in 1994 that led to the formation of the Chinese New Party, alleged to be a result of Lee's "corruptive ruling style". The New Party has, since the purging of Lee, largely reintegrated into KMT. A much more serious split in the party occurred as a result of the 2000 Presidential election. Upset at the choice of Lien Chan as the party's presidential nominee, former party Secretary-General James Soong launched an independent bid, which resulted in the expulsion of Soong and his supporters and the formation of the People's First Party (PFP). The KMT candidate placed third behind Soong in the elections. After the election, Lee's strong relationship with the opponent became apparent. In order to prevent defections to the PFP, Lien moved the party away from Lee's pro-independence policies and became more favorable toward Chinese reunification. This shift led to Lee's expulsion from the party and the formation of the Taiwan Solidarity Union.
As the ruling party on Taiwan, the KMT amassed a vast business empire of banks, investment companies, petrochemical firms, and television and radio stations, thought to have made it the world's richest political party, with assets once estimated to be around US$ 2–10 billion. Although this war chest appeared to help the KMT until the mid-1990s, it later led to accusations of corruption (see Black gold (politics)). After 2000, the KMT's financial holdings appeared to be more of a liability than a benefit, and the KMT started to divest its assets. However, the transactions were not disclosed and the whereabouts of the money earned from selling assets (if it has gone anywhere) is unknown. There were accusations in the 2004 presidential election that the KMT retained assets that were illegally acquired. Currently, there is a law proposed by the DPP in the Legislative Yuan to recover illegally acquired party assets and return them to the government; however, since the pan-Blue alliance, the KMT and its smaller partner PFP, control the legislature, it is very unlikely to be passed. The KMT also acknowledged that part of its assets were acquired through extra-legal means and thus promised to "retro-endow" them to the government. However, the quantity of the assets which should be classified as illegal are still under heated debate; DPP, in its capacity as ruling party from 2000–2008, claimed that there is much more that the KMT has yet to acknowledge. Also, the KMT actively sold assets under its title in order to quench its recent financial difficulties, which the DPP argues is illegal. Former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-Jeou's position is that the KMT will sell some of its properties at below market rates rather than return them to the government and that the details of these transactions will not be publicly disclosed.
In December 2003, then-KMT chairman (present chairman emeritus) and presidential candidate Lien Chan initiated what appeared to some to be a major shift in the party's position on the linked questions of Chinese reunification and Taiwan independence. Speaking to foreign journalists, Lien said that while the KMT was opposed to "immediate independence," it did not wish to be classed as "pro-reunificationist" either.
At the same time, Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of the Legislative Yuan and the Pan-Blue Coalition's campaign manager in the 2004 presidential election, said that the party no longer opposed Taiwan's "eventual independence." This statement was later clarified as meaning that the KMT opposes any immediate decision on unification and independence and would like to have this issue resolved by future generations. The KMT's position on the cross-strait relationship was redefined as hoping to remain in the current neither-independent-nor-united situation. In 2005, then-party chairman Lien Chan announced that he was to leave his office. The two leading contenders for the position include Ma Ying-jeou and Wang Jin-pyng. On April 5 2005, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said he wished to lead the opposition Kuomintang with Wang Jin-pyng. On 16 July 2005, Ma was elected as KMT chairman in the first contested leadership in Kuomintang's 93-year history. Some 54 percent of the party's 1.04 million members cast their ballots. Ma Ying-jeou garnered 72.4 percent of vote share, or 375,056 votes, against Wang Jin-pyng's 27.6 percent, or 143,268 votes. After failing to convince Wang to stay on as a vice chairman, Ma named holdovers Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄), Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), and Lin Cheng-chi (林澄枝), as well as long-time party administrator and strategist John Kuan (關中), as vice-chairmen; all appointments were approved by a hand count of party delegates.
There has been a recent warming of relations between the pan-blue coalition and the PRC, with prominent members of both the KMT and PFP in active discussions with officials on the Mainland. In February 2004, it appeared that KMT had opened a campaign office for the Lien-Soong ticket in Shanghai targeting Taiwanese businessmen. However, after an adverse reaction in Taiwan, the KMT quickly declared that the office was opened without official knowledge or authorization. In addition, the PRC issued a statement forbidding open campaigning in the Mainland and formally stated that it had no preference as to which candidate won and cared only about the positions of the winning candidate.
On March 28 2005, thirty members of the Kuomintang (KMT), led by KMT vice chairman Chiang Pin-kung, arrived in mainland China. This marked the first official visit by the KMT to the mainland since it was defeated by communist forces in 1949 (although KMT members including Chiang had made individual visits in the past). The delegates began their itinerary by paying homage to the revolutionary martyrs of the Tenth Uprising at Huanghuagang. They subsequently flew to the former ROC capital of Nanjing to commemorate Sun Yat-sen. During the trip KMT signed a 10-points agreement with the CPC. The opponents regarded this visit as the prelude of the third KMT-CPC cooperation. Weeks afterwards, in May, Chairman Lien Chan visited the mainland and met with Hu Jintao. No agreements were signed because Chen Shui-bian's government threatened to prosecute the KMT delegation for treason and violation of R.O.C. laws prohibiting citizens from collaborating with Communists.
On February 13, 2007, Ma was indicted by the Taiwan High Prosecutors Office on charges of allegedly embezzling approximately NT$11 million (US$339,000), regarding the issue of "special expenses" while he was mayor of Taipei. Shortly after the indictment, he submitted his resignation as chairman of the Kuomintang at the same press conference at which he formally announced his candidacy for President. Ma argued that it was customary for officials to use the special expense fund for personal expenses undertaken in the course of their official duties. In December 2007, Ma was acquitted of all charges and immediately filed suit against the prosecutors who are also appealing the acquittal.
The KMT won a landslide victory in the Republic of China Presidential Election on March 22, 2008. The KMT fielded former Taipei mayor and former KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou to run against the DPP's Frank Hsieh. Ma won by a large margin of 17% against Hsieh. Ma took office on May 20, 2008 and ended 8 years of the DPP presidency. The KMT also won a landslide victory in the 2008 legislative elections, winning 81 of 113 seats, or 71.7% of seats in the Legislative Yuan. These two elections gave the KMT firm control of both the executive and legislative yuans.
Prior to this, the party's voters had defected to both the PFP and TSU, and the KMT did poorly in the December 2001 legislative elections and lost its position as the largest party in the Legislative Yuan. However, the party did well in the 2002 local government mayoral and council election with Ma Ying-jeou, its candidate for Taipei mayor, winning reelection by a landslide and its candidate for Kaohsiung mayor narrowly losing but doing surprisingly well. Since 2002, the KMT and PFP have coordinated electoral strategies. In 2004, the KMT and PFP ran a joint presidential ticket, with Lien running for president and Soong running for vice-president.
The loss of the presidential election of 2004 to DPP President Chen Shui-bian by merely over 30,000 votes was a bitter disappointment to party members, leading to large scale rallies for several weeks protesting alleged electoral fraud and the "odd circumstances" of the shooting of President Chen. However, the fortunes of the party were greatly improved when the KMT did well in the legislative elections held in December 2004 by maintaining its support in southern Taiwan achieving a majority for the pan-blue coalition. Soon after the election, there appeared to be a falling out with the KMT's junior partner the People's First Party and talk of a merger seemed to have ended. This split appeared to widen in early 2005, as the leader of the PFP, James Soong appeared to be reconciling with President Chen Shui-Bian and the Democratic Progressive Party. Many PFP members including legislators and municipal leaders have defected to the KMT, and the PFP is seen as a fading party.
The KMT won a decisive victory in the 3-in-1 local elections of December 2005, replacing the DPP as the largest party at the local level. This was seen as a major victory for the party ahead of legislative elections in 2007. There were elections for the 2 Municipalities of the ROC, Taipei and Kaohsiung on December 2006. The KMT won a clear victory in Taipei, but lost to the DPP in the southern city of Kaohsiung by the slim margin of 1,100 votes.
After 8 years of the KMT legislative majority sharing rule with a DPP president, the KMT regained the presidency by winning the 2008 Presidential Election. The citizens of the ROC elected Presidential candidate Ma Ying Jeou and Vice-Presidential candidate Vincent Siew. This followed an earlier election in January of the Legislative Yuan in which the KMT increased their control of the legislature by winning 3 quarters of the total seats.
Chairman of Central Executive Committee:
Seceretaries-General of the Central Reform Committee:
Seceretaries-General of the Central Committee: