By Dr. Bingling Wei

The background of the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) reveals the rich history of humanitarian efforts in the twentieth century in China, particularly during the Beiyang Government period (1912-1928). Against the backdrop of the First World War, the RCSC established strategic collaborations with external partners, including the United States. However, it also faced considerable challenges, many driven by a Chinese government whose vested interests often opposed the RCSC’s goals. The Beiyang Government thus engaged in both constitutional and in strong-arm tactics to exert its control over key facets of the RCSC, which was then a well-established and globally reputable organisation. These circumstances make the organisation an effective test case of developing a humanitarian organisation in a country with an unstable governmental system. This paper argues that the ideological conflict between the RCSC and the Beiyang Government was a sign that civil society still lacked penetration and depth in China.

Keywords: RCSC, Constitutional Republic, Civil Society, Beiyang Government, Government Interference

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