May Fourth Movement
Chinese intellectual revolution and sociopolitical reform movement (1917–21). In 1915 young intellectuals inspired by Chen Duxiu began agitating for the reform and strengthening of Chinese society through acceptance of Western science, democracy, and schools of thought, one objective being to make China strong enough to resist Western imperialism. On May 4, 1919, reformist zeal found focus in a protest by Beijing's students against the Versailles Peace Conference's decision to transfer former German concessions in China to Japan. After more than a month of demonstrations, strikes, and boycotts of Japanese goods, the government gave way and refused to sign the peace treaty with Germany. The movement spurred the successful reorganization of the Nationalist Party and gave birth to the Chinese Communist Party. See also Treaty of Versailles.
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