By David Strand
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Additional info for An Unfinished Republic: Leading by Word and Deed in Modern China
Liang Qichao had long stressed the impor- Strand, An Unfinished Republic 4/14/11 5:39 PM Page 31 Slapping Song Jiaoren | 31 tance of a mobilized citizenry. Sun brought these social, economic, and political elements together in a set of resonant principles that carried an aura of historical inevitability and his personal stamp. 90 Sun did pioneer the idea that the words and will of a single leader might imprint themselves on the new age. Yuan Shikai was pleased that Sun had accepted his call to visit the capital in a fashion that supported rather than directly challenged his government.
As a military band played and the train pulled away, in the front car Chen suddenly saw “a man wearing a tidy westernstyle suit, his demeanor cultivated and erect, hair a lustrous sheen, mustache slanting. One look and I knew it was Sun Yat-sen. ”100 In the unsettled public culture of Republican China, appearances mattered. 101 Lu Xun recalled that his visits to photography shops in Beijing were notable for the way decorative portraits of great men “vanished in a ﬂash of light” with every change in who held power in the capital.
78 After all, there was something to be gained by pairing the energy of the young Republic with the prestige of the old capital, not to mention the proximity to foreign legations quartered in Beijing who had diplomatic recognition and Strand, An Unfinished Republic 28 | 4/14/11 5:39 PM Page 28 Slapping Song Jiaoren much-needed loans in their gift. This same juxtaposition was anathema to revolutionaries who viewed Beijing as a den of Manchu iniquity. 79 The revolutionaries held to their demand to keep Nanjing as the capital until Yuan staged a troop riot in Beijing on February 29 to demonstrate his willingness to use force if necessary to resolve the question.