Three principles of the people

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Constitution of the Republic of China. In the third column from the left the three principles are mentioned.

The Three Principles of the People ( Chinese  三民主義 , Pinyin sān min zhǔyì , W.-G. san min chu-i ) were formulated in 1912 by Sun Yat-sen as a guide and political philosophy and later both in the constitution and in the national anthem of the Republic of China (1912–1949) anchored. In the Republic of China (Taiwan) , the “Three Principles of the People” remain unchanged as political guidelines.

Principle of the national community

With the principle of the national community ( 民族 主義 , mínzú zhǔyì , min-chu chu-i ), sometimes also imprecisely translated as “ nationalism ”, China should become a sovereign nation state. In a first step, a new Chinese ethnic community based on the common culture and history should develop from the five large ( Han , Mongols , Tibetans , Manchu and Uighurs ) and the many small tribes of China . In a second step, China, supported by this national community, should rise up against the colonial states and the unequal treaties concluded with them in order to become an independent and equal member of the international community.

Principle of people's rights

With the principle of people's rights ( 民權 主義  /  民权 主義 , mínquán zhǔyì , min-chüan chu-i ), sometimes also translated as “democracy”, the Chinese people should rule as sovereigns according to the Western model, but a bureaucratic apparatus should rule the administration according to Chinese tradition of the state.

The rule of the people should be guaranteed by the four popular rights ( 民權  /  民权 , minquán , min-chüan ): the right to elect civil servants, the right to recall them, the right to propose laws and the right to vote on laws.

State authority should be shared and taken over by five councils ( , yuàn , yüan ): the Legislative Council , the Executive Council , the Judicial Council , the Control Council and the Audit Council . The three powers of Montesquieu are supplemented by two traditionally Chinese ones .

Principle of the people's welfare

The principle of people's welfare ( 民生 主義 , mínshēng zhǔyì , min-sheng chu-i ) was intended to describe the main task of the state, the satisfaction of the four major needs of life: food, clothing, housing and transport for all citizens.


  • Thomas Weyrauch: China's neglected republic. 100 years in the shadow of world history. Volume 1: 1911-1949. Longtai, Gießen (ie) Heuchelheim 2009, ISBN 978-3-938946-14-5 .
  • Thomas Weyrauch: China's Democratic Traditions from the 19th Century to the Present in Taiwan. Longtai 2014, ISBN 978-3-938946-24-4 .
  • Johannes Chang: Sun Yat-sen - His teaching and its meaning . In: JCSW , 1 (1960) pp. 179-194
  • Thomas Weyrauch: Sanmin Zhuyi - Sun Yatsen's theory of the state . In: Gregor Paul (ed.): State and society in the history of China . Nomos, Baden-Baden 2016, p. 103 ff.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Translation of the terms according to Mechthild Leutner (Ed.), Andreas Steen: German-Chinese relations 1911–1927. From colonialism to "equality" . Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2006, p. 269; Bernd Martin, Susanne Kuss: German-Chinese Relations 1928–1937: “Equal” partners under “unequal” conditions . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2003, p. 383. Thomas Heberer , Claudia Derichs (ed.): Introduction to the political systems of East Asia . 2nd Edition. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2008, p. 24 and 422.
  2. a b c Johannes Chang: Sun Yat-sen - His teaching and its meaning . In: JCSW , 1 [1960], pp. 179-194