Dai Jitao (1890-1949) was a leading theoretician of the Kuomintang Party. He saw the root of China’s crises in his time as a moral question. Statecraft was at the time alienating the Chinese people, and a shared faith would help to restore confidence.
In 1902 Dai Jitao attended school in Japan. He was influenced by what he learned and became an enemy of the Qing dynasty. Later he studied law in Tokyo. Returning 1909 to China he became a teacher in Jiangsu. After some time in China he returned to Japan and later moved to Malaya.
Dai Jitao was the most important theoretician of the KMT Party. in 1925 he published a book on the philosophy of Sun Yat-sen, “The Philosophical Foundations of Sun Yat Sen-ism”, a book that was revised in 1945 and republished. Possibly the most important book of his ideas was “The Republican Revolution and the Kuomintang”. Three Principles of the People of Sun Yat-sen, was a philosophy for the livelihood of the people. The people’s livelihood was an expression of the “great virtue” under Heaven. “Kind-heartedness and love” were the basics of the people’s livelihood. In his eyes, the thoughts of Sun Yat-sen were the vital thoughts of China, and a perpetuation of the kind-hearted government of the mythical rulers Yao and Shun and of the philosophy of Confucius and Mengzi.
Confucius’ philosophy had also basically been a philosophy for the livelihood of the people. Confucianism was a philosophy in which all members of society had mutual responsibility. Dai Jitao explained that Sun Yat-sen had been a Great Saint who had walked in the footsteps of Confucius and tried realizing the old master’s philosophy in practice. In a system of mutual support man was to overcome the individualist restrictions. Dai Jitao was an idealist who fought against the materialist worldview of the Communists. On Mainland China class struggle was and continues to be a solution for social problems.
Other important books by Dai Jitao are “The Peoples of the East and the Culture of the East” and “The Position and Value of Chinese Culture in the World”.
In contrast to the regime in Mainland China Dai Jitao’s ideas represented vital aspects of Chinese culture. The Chinese Communist Party represents the Legalist Tradition of China. One of the basic traits of Legalism is an uncompromising recognition that war and organization for war are the mainstays of government.