SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Chung, Dooeum (1997) A Re-Evaluation of Chiang Kaishek's Blueshirts: Chinese Facism in the 1930s. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (15MB)


This thesis considers the Chinese Blueshirts organisation from 1932 to 1938 in the context of Chiang Kaishek's attempts to unify and modernise China. It sets out the terms of comparison between the Blueshirts and Fascist organisations in Europe and Japan, indicating where there were similarities and differences of ideology and practice, as well as establishing links between them. It then analyses the reasons for the appeal of Fascist organisations and methods to Chiang Kaishek. Following an examination of global factors, the emergence of the Blueshirts from an internal point of view is considered. As well as assuming many of the characteristics of a Fascist organisation, especially according to the Japanese model and to some extent to the European model, the Blueshirts were in many ways typical of the power-cliques which were already an integral part of Chinese politics. The influence of Chinese secret society traditions is also examined as an aspect that clearly distinguished them from their European Fascist counterparts. The second part of this study will turn to the ideological development of the organisation, and to the ultimately abortive attempt to build up a mass-based organisation through the New Life Movement. At the same time, connections between the Blueshirts and the Qing Bang are analysed. Finally, this thesis looks at the apparent disbandment of the Blueshirts in 1938. The conclusion arrived at, is that the Blueshirts may properly be described as Fascist - or an organisation with unmistakable links to Fascism. Like Fascist movements in many countries, the Blueshirts displayed the same unstable combination of adherence to highly conservative traditional values while simultaneously embracing modernism in technology, communications and new forms of social and political organisation. Not only does this study contribute specifically to the political history of China, it also examines the development of political and military movements in the Far East in the period preceding World War Two.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:26

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads since deposit
Accesses by country - last 12 months
Accesses by referrer - last 12 months

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item