AMID the dramatic events of the past several years of war China's development of democratic political institutions has passed almost unreported abroad. Americans hear of "dictatorship" in China and rumors of civil wars. Few have heard of the growth of a governmental machinery which is the antithesis of dictatorial and which is the best insurance against future civil conflict. So far, of course, the program can be given effect only in those parts of China which are free of Japanese domination, and even there it has made uneven headway. The ultimate goal -- a Chinese National Congress -- cannot be realized until there is peace. But through the creation of representative assemblies in small administrative units throughout the provinces there has been a steady advance toward Dr. Sun Yat-sen's political ideal of direct democracy.
Chinese history is full of racial and religious differences among the "Five Peoples" -- Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Mohammedan and Tibetan. From the early days of the Chinese Republic, Chinese revolutionists hoped for the unification of these five peoples into one great family. But after the founding of the Republic this was postponed by a period of internecine conflicts and the struggles of war lords. The vast expanse of China's territory, the absence of efficient means of communication, the high percentage of illiteracy, and an agricultural economy based on small self-sufficient units were among the factors which made the problem difficult.
Japan's blows drove the Chinese people together. The 1,300,000 Tibetans who live on the "roof of the world" now offer regular prayers for the "final victory of the Central Government." From the Mohammedans of the northwest and from Mongolia and Manchuria comes similar evidence of an awareness of national purpose. The Japanese stimulated this spirit with their first attacks. In the battle of Shanghai in 1932, for example, two regiments of Lolos, or aborigines, representing a number of tribes from the frontier districts in Sikang, generally known as China's "baby province," learned to fight not in the name of
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