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Kuomintang (also KMT, 國民黨 Guo2 Min2 Dang3 - national peoples party)

Founded in China in 1912 by Sung Chiao-jen and Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) from a anti-monarchy league as a democratic and moderate socialist party.

It gained a majority in the first national assembly but in 1913 following a coup, Yuan Shih-kai, the president of China, ordered the Kuomintang suppressed.

The party established an government at Guanzhou in 1918 and accepted aid from the USSR. At the party congress in 1924 they adopted Sun's political theory, which included the Three People's Principles - nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people.

In 1926, following the death of Sun Yat-sen the new Kuomintang leader General Chiang Kai-shek launched the Northern Expedition against the official government. Halting briefly in 1927 to purge the Communists the civil war began.

Kuomintang forces finally Beijing in 1928 and received diplomatic recognition in the same year. After several military campaigns, the Communists were forced (1934-35) to withdraw from their bases in southern and central China. The Kuomintang continued to attack the Communists, ignoring the Japanese until Manchuria was invaded in 1937.

Full-scale civil war lasted from 1945 to 1949. By the end of 1949 the Communists controlled the mainland. The Kuomintang fled to Formosa (later named Taiwan). In 1950 Chiang took office in Taipei under emergency rules which halted democratic processes. He was succeeded by his son. Taiwan retained China's seat in the United Nations until 1971. It was not until 1991 that emergency rule ended.

In the 1970's and 1980's, the Kuomintang focused on transforming itself from a party of a single-party system to a multi-party democratic party. With the end of martial law the Kuomintang found itself competing against the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwanese elections.