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Three Principles of the People

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The Republic of China's national anthem is also by the same name.


Three Principles of the People (三民主義 ; Pinyin: Sān Mín Zhǔyì ; Wade-Giles: San¹ Min² Chu³-yi⁴), also translated as Three People's Principles or collectively, Sanmin Doctrine, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a program to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation. The principles are:

  • The Principle of Mínzú (Min²-tsu²) (民族主義 "The People's Relation/Connection"): Nationalism (which Sun meant freedom from imperialist domination)
  • The Principle of Mínquán (Min²-ch'uan²) (民權主義 "The People's Power"): Democracy (to Sun, it represented a Western constitutional government)
  • The Principle of Mínshēng (Min²-sheng¹) (民生主義 "The People's Welfare/Livelihood"): Socialism (which Sun understood as an industrial economy and equality of land holdings for the Chinese peasant farmers)

The ideology is heavily influenced by Sun's experiences in the United States and contains elements of the American progressive movement.

The Three People's Principles was claimed as the basis for the ideologies of the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek, of the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong, and of the Japanese collaborationist government under Wang Jingwei.

The Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China largely agreed on the meaning of nationalism but differed sharply on the meaning of democracy and people's welfare, which the former saw in Western social democratic terms and the latter interpreted in Marxist and Communist terms. The Japanese collaborationist governments interpreted nationalism less in terms of anti-imperialism and more in terms of cooperating with Japan to advance pan-Asian interests.

Many streets and businesses in Taiwan are named either "Three People" or are named for one of the three principles.



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