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The South Chinese Republic (南中国民國, Nán Zhōngguó Mínguó) was an independent warlord state created in the Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, It existed between 1920-1928. Also called the Pearl River Republic. It bordered the United Provinces of China, Second Chinese Republic, French Indochina, and Yunnan.
During its brief existence the South Republic had an extremely rapid economic growth, aided in part by its close trading links with Hong Kong, Kwang-Chou-Wan and Macao, which borders it and the overseas Chinese community. Given the massive scale of its export sector, it had become an important industrial market for all sorts of inputs, materials, and capital goods. It also is a major market for transportation and trade-related services. Rapid urbanization and burgeoning city populations have created demand for infrastructure, building materials, transportation services, housing, and other goods and services associated with urban development.
Formally it was constitutional republic, however it was ruled by provincial military cliques. These ceremonially recognized the authority of Nanjing.
In 1921 the Tripartite Agreement of Friendship, Commerce and Consular Relations was signed by South China, Yunnan and United Provinces of China.
During the first phase of the South Campaign for National Unity it was annexed by the Republic of China in Nanjing. Most of the republic's state bureaucracy and armed forces troop and officers were incorporated in the Republic of China.
According to the Constitution of 1921, the South Chinese Republic is unitary state organized as follows:
The executive power resides in the President of the Republic. He is elected by a joint session of the Legislative Yuan, Economic Council and delegates of the provinces for a 6 year term. He names the President of the Executive Yuan and ministers and presides its meetings. He is the supreme commander of the armed force. The President can issue emergency legislation for its later approval by the Legislative Assembly. He also approves emergency decrees issued by the Executive Yuan.
The legislative powers resides in the unicameral Legislative Yuan. It is elected every 3 years, but it can extend its mandate or dissolved by the President. Its composed of a representatives directly elected by the people. The Overseas Chinese have seats allocated to them in the Legislative Yuan. Men and women over 21 years old and native of South China have voting rights and political rights.
An Economic Council, elected by business and labor interest groups. The Economic Council advises the Executive Yuan and the Legislative Yuan and its mandatory its opinion on the approval of the state budget. Acts as an upper chamber for specific legislation that effects the economy or labor relations.
A Supreme Court, nominated by the President on advice of the Legislative Yuan, directs and manages all courts of justice. A State Prosecutor, named by the Executive Yuan and full voting member of it, is in charge of supervising, guiding and enforcing public prosecution on behalf of the State and the investigation of criminal cases.
South China is administratively is divided in provinces, prefectures, counties, municipalities and the special municipality of Guangzhou. Local elected government exists in the counties and municipalities.
The main and hegemonic party is the Unity and Reform Party. It acts as the political vehicle of the military cliques and South Chinese business groups (Hongs). It usually has the majority in national and local elections. The party wins elections with a mixture of vote buying, fraud, intimidation, disenfranchisement and gerrymandering. The Workers’ League, an official politica party minor importance, created after the National Sovereignty Law, had the official representation of working class interest along the Trade Union Council of South China.
The KMT and Communist have national branches, however they are not allowed to freely campaign or distribute propaganda. In 1923, after the National Sovereignty Law was approved it outlawed parties with foreign links, or were part of Pan-Chinese movements, or are a threat to national unity. This law forced the KMT and CPC to go underground until the South Campaign for National Unity.
The Pearl River Delta is the main industrial region, and it as several workshops and is a major manufacturing base for products such as mechanical goods, garments and textiles, plastic products, and a range of other goods. Much of this output is invested by foreign entities and is geared for the export market. An important state office was the National Planning Commission (NPC) in charge of promoting and and implement defense-related industries. It also was involved in managing a large state-owned industrial sector and in coordinating foreign trade. However the lack of natural fuels has led to the formation of the South China Fuel Corporation (SCFC), a state monopoly that imports coal and oil. The SFC along the NPC indirectly guide investment and capital funding.
The economy of the South Chinese Republic was able to take advantage of its access to the ocean, proximity to the foreign enclaves of Hong Kong, Kwang-Chou-Wan and Macao, and historical links to overseas Chinese. Several official Overseas Chinese Bureaus were established in Asia and Western Hemisphere to function as consulates, cultural, education, economic and information exchanges.
Most of Hongs firms became multinational corporations with management consisting of mostly European expatriates and returned Overseas Chinese. After the South Campaign for National Unity most of the Hongs moved mainly to Hong-Kong or Kwang-Chou-Wan and in a lesser amount to Macao.
The South cash or Nán wén (南文) issued by the South China Central Bank was also recognized has legal tender in the State of Yunnan.
South China as large and well developed banking and financial services. An important stock exchange exists in Shenzhen, rivaling its competitors in Shanghai and Hong-Kong.
An Overseas Chinese banks network plays a significant role in remitting money back to South China but also catering to the people of their adopted countries and promoting investment in South China and the foreign enclaves. On the fall of the South Chinese Republic, these banks moved their headquarters and reserves to the foreign enclaves.
Radio Corporation of South China and several private companies have radio stations.
Armed forces and internal security
The Armed Forces, the real power brokers in the South Chinese Republic are organized in a the Joint Command of the Land and Air Forces and the Naval Command. Theoretically they depend of the Ministry of National Defense, but it serves as a liaison between the Generals and the President.
The Army owns or has participation in several trading and commercial companies, besides controlling the fuel monopoly of the South China Fuel Corporation.
The services of the Armed Forces are organized as follows::
- Presidential Guard
- South Chinese National Army
- South Chinese Air Group
- South Chinese Navy
Public order is in charge of the National Police.