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    Yan Xishan Thought was the ideology of the Chinese warlord Yan Xishan and his Shanxi Clique. It is a bizarre blend of Conservative Socialism,, Tridemism, Patriotism, Traditionalism, Stalinism, Leninism and Neo-Confucianism.


    Over his life as a warlord, Yan Xishan developed an ideology which he thought would truly unite China under one banner. During his time in Japan, he supported Eugenicism and Militarism, but he later renounced these ideas after WW1. His ideology was built around a position that was held by many Chinese Conservatives, that only through ethical progress could true economic and social progress be achieved. Yan Xishan combined the "best elements of Militarism (軍國主義), Nationalism (民族主義), Anarchism (無政府主義), Democracy (民主主義), Capitalism (資本主義), Communism (共產主義), Individualism (個人主義), Universalism (普世價值), Paternalism (專制主義) and Utopianism (烏托邦主義)". Yan spread his ideology through a network of semi-religious organizations called "Heart-Washing Societies" (洗心社).

    Influence of Confucianism

    Yan Xishan was emotionally attached to Confucianism because of his upbringing and because he viewed it's values as the key to solving China's problems. In Yan's speeches and writings, he developed a love for the virtues of harmony and moderation that were associated with the Confucian Doctrine of the Mean. Yan viewed himself as a "Junzi", the epitome of Confucian values. Yan Xishan Thought was greatly influenced by Neo-Confucianism, which was incredibly popular in the Qing Dynasty. Yan believed that all people were born good, but to keep on being good, people needed to control their emotions and place reason above emotions. He admired the Ming philosophers Lu Jiuyuan and Wang Yangming, who worshipped knowledge. Yan believed that humans could only become good through self-criticism and self-cultivation. He established in every town in the Shanxi Clique, a "Heart-Washing Society", whose members gathered every Sunday to listen to Confucian sermons and the members would confess their misdeeds they committed over the past week.

    Influence of Christianity

    Yan believed that much of the west's success was due to Christianity. He used missionaries to educate the people of Shanxi and to modernize the province. Yan would go to these schools to see how the students were doing in their studies, but he failed to recruit them into his regime. He supported the Christian Church in Shanxi, but his support of Christianity waned after he failed to come to the support of the Christians during the 1925 anti-Christian and Xenophobic riots in Taiyuan. The "Heart-Washing Societies" were greatly inspired by Christianity and they would pray to Confucius and place their face into a supreme godlike being called "Shangdi". If someone became an adherent of Yan Xishan Thought, said Yan, they could be reborn.

    Influence of Nationalism

    In 1911 Yan Xishan became the dictator of Shanxi and he promoted Nationalism to secure his rule there. The stated primary goal of the "Heart-Washing Societies" was to promote Patriotism among the people and revive Confucianism. He was accused by foreigners of creating a Chinese version of State Shinto. Yan tried to improve Tridemism, altering the Civic Nationalism and Democracy principles to virtue and knowledge. During the May Fourth Movement, Yan said that " Nationalism is, like rainfall, only beneficial when moderate". After the KMT created a central government, Yan created in every village in Shanxi a "Good People's Movement" to promote the values of Chiang Kai-shek's "New Life Movement". These values were honesty, friendliness, dignity, diligence, modesty, thrift, personal neatness and obedience.

    Influence of Socialism and Communism

    In 1931 Yan returned from exile in Dalian admiring the Soviet Union's first five year plan, and began what he called the "Ten-Year Plan" in the Shanxi Clique. Yan brought all of the economy under state control during this time. Yan's speeches after 1931 were increasingly Marxist. Slowly but surely, the Shanxi Clique started to become more like the Soviet Union, inspiring a scheme of economic "distribution according to labour". When the Chinese Communist Party's power was growing, most warlords fought denounced them, but Yan Xishan defended the Communists. He viewed them as courageous and self-sacrificing fanatics who were not common bandits. Unlike most Communists, Yan Xishan rejected the inevitability of Class Warfare. Yan praised Marx for his analysis of the material aspects of human society. By rejecting economic determinism in favour of morality and free will, Yan hoped to create a society that would be more productive and less violent than he perceived communism to be, whilst avoiding the exploitation and misery caused by Capitalism. Yan believed that FDR's New Deal as promoting Socialism whilst opposing Communism. "The New Deal is an effective way of stopping communism," Yan said, "by having the government step in and ride roughshod over the interests of the rich." Yan then undertook a series of public work projects inspired by the New Deal in order to reduce unemployment in the Shanxi Clique.

    How to Draw

    Flag of Yan Xishan Thought
    Drawing Yan Xishan Thought is somewhat difficult:
    1. Draw a ball.
    2. Fill the ball in Dark Yellow.
    3. Draw the character 晉.
    4. Add the eyes, and you're done!





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