The May Fourth Movement

9 Dec, 2021 950 History of Asia

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the violent protests in China on 4th May 1919 over the nation’s humiliation in the Versailles Treaty after World War One. China had supported the Allies, sending workers to dig trenches, and expected to regain the German colonies on its territory, but the Allies and China’s leaders chose to give that land to Japan instead. To protestors, this was a travesty and reflected much that was wrong with China, with its corrupt leaders, division by warlords, weakness before Imperial Europe and outdated ideas and values. The movement around 4th May has since been seen as a watershed in China’s development in the 20th century, not least as some of those connected with the movement went on to found the Communist Party of China a few years later.

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  • Rana Mitter 8 episodes
    Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China and Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford
  • Elisabeth Forster No other episodes
    Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Southampton
  • Song-Chuan Chen No other episodes
    Associate Professor in History at the University of Warwick

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Programme ID: m001282c

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Auto-category: 951 (China and adjacent areas)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. On May the 4th in 1919 in China, violent protests broke out over the Versailles Treaty, which had concluded the First World War.