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Personally, he was being subjected to a charm offensive by the powerful Soong family which was to have a considerable effect on Chiang's life. The attacks on western interests were particularly serious. The British consulate was attacked and the consul badly wounded. Two European Catholic priests and the American Vice President of the University were killed. The Japanese Consulate was wrecked and this event is often said to account for the terrible ferocity shown by the Japanese in Nanjing in 1937.

This line was insisted upon by Moscow who saw the GMD as a more useful tool than the tiny new Communist Party. The issue was raised again and again at meetings. In the 1 922 congress of the CCP it was agreed to seek a temporary alliance to combat warlords and in the third congress in 1 92 3 it was agreed that communists could not only cooperate with the GMD but actually join the party as a 'bloc within' . Mao followed the official line and in 1 92 3 joined the GMD. His obedience to the official line won him membership of the central committee.

Elections were held in December 1 9 1 2 . Four main parties emerged to contest the election and over 300 smaller local political groupings . The National People's Party (GMD) was created by Sun Yat-sen and his assistants out of the Revolutionary Alliance and it did remarkably well to win 43 per cent of the vote and 269 out of 5 96 seats in the house of representatives. The election appears as China's first exercise of democracy, even if the voting was restricted to male taxpayers, possibly 1 0 per cent of the population.

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