Federalism in China

Chinese federalism refers to political theories which argue that China's central government either does or should devolve large amounts of power to local entities. (See federalism). Such proposals were made in the early twentieth century, in connection with the end of the Qing dynasty; as well as recently, with a view to providing checks against the power of the central government, as well as settling the relationship between the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, and other potential political entities. A few scholars, such as Fareed Zakaria, suggest that political power in China is already decentralized, albeit on an informal basis. Wu Bangguo, officially number two in China's leadership structure, said in 2011 there will be no federal system in China. The Revive China Society, founded in November 1894 by Sun Yat-Sen, was among the first to suggest that a future Chinese government should be established on federal lines—a feeling expressed in the organisation's oath, "Expel the northern barbarians, revive Zhonghua, and establish a unified (hezhong) government" (,,). The term hezhong (), literally meaning "many unified as one", refers to a federal structure such as the United States of America. During the Xinhai Revolution, fourteen provinces proclaimed independence from the Qing dynasty and reunited as the Republic of China ( / /Zhonghua Ming

o). But when the Guizhou Provincial Consultative Council ( / /Guizhousheng Ziyiju) proclaimed independence, they asked to build the Great Han Federal Democratic Republic (? / ? /Dahan Lianbang Minzhu Gongheguo). Prior to January 1912, one semi-official translation of the country's new name used by revolutional Shanghai Military Government (? / ? / Hujan Dudufu) was the United Provinces of China. Sun Yat-sen's title in 1912 was "President of the Provisional Government of the United Provinces of China". Chinese federalists from this period often used "United Provinces" ( / Lian Sheng) instead of "Federation" ( / Lian bang) or "United States" (? / Hezhong Guo) because "states" suggested a more independent arrangement than "provinces." In other words, they wished to avoid the impression that federalism implied separatism. Proposals for a federal Chinese state were first advanced in the 1920s, but these proved unpopular. These often used the phrase United Autonomous Provinces ( / Liansheng Zizhi) as the name of the intended system. Hunan was the center of this movement. The young Mao Zedong even advocated the formation of a "Republic of Hunan" during that period. But many intellectuals, including Sun Yat-sen, argued that these proposals would limit the ability of China to fight off external invasion and would legitimize the rule of warlords.