Guangzhou Uprising

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Guangzhou Uprising
Part of Chinese Civil War
Guangzhou Uprising 1.jpg
Date 1927
Location Guangzhou, Republic of China
Result Decisive government victory; the uprising is crushed but encourages further uprisings across China.
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg Communist Party of China Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg Zhang Tailei
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg Ye Ting
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg Ye Jianying
Flag of the Chinese Communist Party.svg Xu Xiangqian
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army Zhang Fakui
20,000 15,000; later 5 divisions
Casualties and losses
5,000 heavy
Guangzhou Uprising
Traditional Chinese 廣州起義
Simplified Chinese 广州起义
Cantonese Yale Gwóngjàu Héiyih

The Guangzhou Uprising or Canton Riots of 1927 was a failed Communist uprising in the city of Guangzhou in southern China.


On December 11, 1927, Red Guard[clarification needed] activists, directed by Communist political leaders, took over Guangzhou (then romanized as "Canton"). The uprising occurred despite the strong objections of Communist military commanders such as Ye Ting, Ye Jianying and Xu Xiangqian. Using the element of surprise, rebel forces took most of the city within hours, despite a huge numerical and technical advantage held by government troops. The Communist leaders officially renamed the city's political structure "Guangzhou Soviet". However, the uprising was quickly crushed by warlord armies. Zhang Tailei, the leading Red Guard organizer, was killed in an ambush as he returned from a meeting. The takeover dissolved by the early morning of December 13, 1927.

In the resulting purges, many young Communists were executed and the Guangzhou Soviet became known as the "Guangzhou Commune" or "Paris Commune of the East"; it lasted only a short time at the cost of more than 5,000 Communists dead and an equal number missing. Ye Ting, the military commander, was scapegoated, purged and blamed for the failure, despite the fact that the obvious disadvantages of the Communist force was the main cause of the defeat, as Ye Ting and other military commanders had correctly pointed out. Enraged by his unjustified treatment, Ye Ting left China and went into exile in Europe, not returning until nearly a decade later.

Despite being the third failed uprising of 1927, it encouraged further uprisings across China.

See also


  • Dirlik, Arif (1 October 1997), "Narrativizing Revolution: The Guangzhou Uprising (11-13 December 1927) in Workers' Perspective", Modern China .

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