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M a y  4 t h  M o v e m e n t
 

My name is Simon Lee and I am a University student living in Beijing. The period of the May 4th movement had past my eyes, as my country China, demonstrated what were the most important chapters in history. The day where masses of people were fighting for themselves, the future and the land that all Chinese live on. It was the day not to forget.

The May 4th movement was a result of political, cultural and social backgrounds. In 1915, the Japanese had forced Yuan Shi Kai (a declared emperor in China) to accept the '21 Demands' document. During this time, European power was strong, so Japan saw opportunities to expand its power in China by controlling their government. Japan had lent money to the Warlord government in Beijing so as to gain Chinese support, but it was further seen as bribes in return for the 21 demands. The Japanese sent army to occupy Shandong, as the Chinese signed the treaty. This led to the May 4th movement. Many were angry and felt they were betrayed by the Japanese.

China had difficulties with foreign relations, as they tried very hard to take back Shandong from Japan, but Japan was defended by Britain and France. When the news reached Beijing, the people were very angry for the government for being so weak and useless. This was the result of the May 4th movement.

As the Japanese companies moved into China, they began to increase their control of the Chinese economy. The effect on the national economy made the people unhappy and was concerned about the influence in their country, as they have more power to invade areas of Chinese territory. The result of the May 4th movement was the spread of western ideas. It made people realise that China was weak and was unable to control its future.

The bad news spread quickly to all Chinese people young and old. I heard the news on the radio, and everyone was talking about it. There was a large demonstration held on May the 4th, 1919. Thousands of students in many cities, especially in Tia?en Square, were protesting against officials. All around China, many went on strike, including University and school students, merchants and workers and me. There was a lot of confusion, but anger was so great that the ruling group gave in. China refuses to sign the Treaty of Versailles and pro-Japanese officials were dismissed. At the Versailles Peace Conference, the Chinese abolished the 21 demands, gained back Shandong and resisted foreign powers.

Although the May 4th movement only lasted a little more than a month, it had changed China and led to a revival in nationalism. After the movement, it had increased nationalism among young people. We took part in political activities and showed more patriotic feelings. The Chinese refused to buy Japanese goods, promoting the Chinese Communist Party and made China stronger by strengthening the new culture movements. Women having more control and respected, as some went to school and took part in activities in society. These are just some of the changes being affected by the May 4th movement.

What started out as a student demonstration had become a forceful national movement. It had made China a strong force, enough to convince me that my future is safe and that there was a lot to look ahead. The uniting of China has given us new hopes that we can overcome foreign power and be treated as equals.