After much reflection on the course of China’s revolution, Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) decided to adopt the policy of “allying with Soviet Russia” or “friendship with Soviet Russia” and expressed his willingness to “accommodate the Chinese communists” within the Kuomintang of China (KMT, 中國國民黨) as advised by Soviet Russia. By “accommodating”, Sun interpreted it as: “The KMT would allow members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP, 中國共產黨) to join on an individual basis, not that it would allow the introduction of Communism.” In February 1923, Li Dazhao (李大釗) became the first CCP member to join the KMT. Sun proceeded to finish restructuring the KMT’s operations with the aid of Soviet advisor Mikhail Markovich Borodin. On 20-30 January 1924, Sun convened the KMT’s first national congress in Guangzhou (廣州). It was attended by 165 representatives, including some CCP members.
The Congress passed the KMT’s declaration and constitution, and adopted the policies of allying with Soviet Russia (聯俄), accommodating the Chinese Communists (容共), and assisting peasants and workers (扶助農工). Sun further explained the “Three Principles of the People” – nationalism, democracy, and people’s livelihoods – in the declaration. Other resolutions passed at the Congress included the establishment of a national government and a military academy. This meeting officially marked the beginning of the first KMT-CCP cooperation (1924-27).
The Sun-Joffe Manifesto (《孫文越飛宣言》) issued on 26 January 1923 represented a preliminary consensus between Sun Yat-sen and the Soviet Union (officially established on 30 December 1922). It was a crucial foundation for the first KMT-CCP cooperation that followed. In February 1923, the first CCP member Li Dazhao joined the KMT. From 12 to 20 June 1923, the CCP convened its third national congress in Guangzhou (pictured). During the meeting, the CCP affirmed its cooperation with the KMT and formally agreed on allowing its members to join the KMT as individuals.
On the left: Mikhail Markovich Borodin, the Communist International (Comintern)’s representative to China during 1923-27; on the right: Sun Yat-sen (figure with a cane) and Borodin surveying Weiyuan Fort (威遠炮台) of Humen (虎門) in October 1923. Borodin was a key figure in the first KMT-CCP cooperation.
On the left: Sun Yat-sen signed the appointment of the Comintern representative Borodin as adviser on the KMT organisation on 18 October 1923; on the right: a letter dated 19 October 1923 from Sun in Guangzhou to the KMT office in Shanghai (上海), inviting CCP member Li Dazhao to Shanghai to discuss the KMT’s reorganisation.
The First National Congress of the Kuomintang of China was held at the Guangdong Secondary Normal School from 20 to 30 January 1924. Pictured are modern-day photos of the congress venue.
On the left: the First National Congress of the Kuomintang of China was convened on 20 January 1924. As the premier of the KMT, Sun Yat-sen chaired the congress and presided over the opening ceremony; on the right: the congress venue.
On the left: Sun Yat-sen’s handwritten membership lists for the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee and the Kuomintang Central Supervisory Committee; on the right: a list of Budget Committee members elected at the first national congress, with Sun’s signature of approval.
Sun Yat-sen delivering a lecture on the “Three Principles of the People” at the First National Congress of the Kuomintang of China on 27 January 1924.
The Declaration of the First Congress of the Kuomintang of China (《中國國民黨第一次全國代表大會宣言》) was passed at the founding congress. A new interpretation of the “Three Principles of the People” within the declaration established three key policies (known as the “Three Policies”): allying with Soviet Russia, accommodating the Chinese communists, and assisting the peasants and workers.
A group photo taken during the First National Congress of the Kuomintang of China, featuring Sun Yat-sen (sixth figure from the left in the front row), CCP member Qu Qiubai (瞿秋白, third figure from the left in the back row), and other attendees outside the congress venue.
Sun Yat-sen (third figure from the right) and Li Dazhao, one of the CCP founders (right to Sun), exiting the congress venue.
Sources of most photos used in this feature piece: Fotoe and misc. photo sources.