[The Three Princi ples of the People] have inherited the morality and essential spirit of
ancient China— that of Emperors Yao and Shun, of Kings Wen and Wu, of the Duke of
Zhou and Confucius— they employ the native spirit of the Chinese race to lead the revo-
lution and revive the nation.— chiang kai- shek, March 1933
From June 1925 until October 1926, a general strike brought work in Hong
Kong to a halt, while consumers in the Canton delta boycotted commodities
imported via the British colony. The strike- boycott, materially supported by
Canton’s Soviet- backed United Front government and directed against co-
lonial authorities in Hong Kong, followed a crescendo of anti- imperialist
and labor actions throughout mainland China in the early 1920s. Launched
in response to the 1925 May 30th Incident, in which British- commanded
policemen had killed and wounded Chinese demonstrators in Shanghai’s
International Settlement, the Hong Kong– Canton strike- boycott signaled
not only the sharp escalation of popu lar anti- imperialism but also the
increased power of or ga nized labor.1 To con temporary observers, its pro-
tracted temporal duration and extensive geo graphical coordination across
British colonial and Chinese national space suggested the dawn of a new
era of anti- imperialist agitation. Canton’s novel experiment in revolution-
ary organ ization—in which the Moscow-based Communist International
directed an alliance between the Chinese Nationalist Party (Guomin dang,
gmd) and members of the Chinese Communist Party (ccp)—had
rendered southern China a magnet for anti- imperialist, anticapitalist, and
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