沒有國民黨就沒有中國, Without the Kuomintang there would be no China, A Republic of China Story

maybe china and pakistan invade afghanistan causing china to get bogged down To add flavor to the mix, the Soviets also send boots on the ground causing a proxy war that drains the resources of both powers.
六十八, The Tsingtao Incident
In January 1976, less than three months after the death of Chiang Kai-shek, China went to the polls. They were the last legislative elections before the 1979 electoral reforms. The Kuomintang overwhelmingly triumphed over the China Youth Party, the China Democratic Socialist Party, and independent candidates. The KMT would have nearly 70% of all seats in the Legislative Yuan. The KMT also won every contested governor’s race. While results surprised no one, there were many in China who were unsatisfied. A growing number of people, including many within the Kuomintang, wanted more democracy. They believed that the death of Chiang Kai-shek be the beginning of a new era. Chen Lifu, on the other hand, was fine with the status quo.

In February, a group of KMT politicians and journalists met together to discuss a new path forward for China. The Kuomintang Future Faction, as it was called, was founded by Cheng Shewo, a journalist and member of the Legislative Yuan. He had worked with Chiang Kai-shek to formulate the “Steps to Democracy,” but was now advocating for a faster pace of reform. Another journalist, Lee Tze-chung joined him. Lee was part of the left-wing of the KMT and a member of a committee to promote the party’s interests in Hong Kong. Former Shanghai mayor K. C. Wu was also a member. The pro-democracy movement had a strong following in Taiwan, where it was supported by former Governor Lee Teng-hui and general Chiu Chuang-huan.


(Cheng Shewo and his daughter)

Some democracy supporters were restless. Some decided to protest for greater democratic reforms. The majority of the protesters were students. What most people don’t know about the 1976 protests is that they were very small, and Nanking mostly ignored them. The response of most local governments was the same. In some cities, the protesters were arrested. Some protesters were beaten by police. On May 6, in Tsingtao [1], soldiers fired on protesters. Nine people were killed, and many more were injured. Among the dead was the daughter of an influential businessman. Her father started a petition to get the government to put General Ba Zhongtan on trial. The petition was signed by over 20,000 people around China, but the government would not act on it for years. Three other protestors were killed in other cities, but their deaths did not capture the attention of China and the world.

News of the deaths in Tsingtao quickly spread across China and around the world. It gave people reason to believe that the government’s talk of democracy was just talk. It helped turn public opinion against the KMT. The Shandong office of the party claimed that the protesters were engaged in seditious activities. Several underground pro-democracy groups formed, with some hoping to start a revolution. In the democratic world, what was being called the “Tsingtao Incident” was used to drive a wedge between those countries and China. There were protests in front of Chinese embassies in several western countries. The incident would have few immediate affects on China, however. Few Chinese were willing to take action against their government, and no country that didn’t already have a poor relationship with China condemned the actions of the army in Tsingtao.

1: This city is commonly called Qingdao today, but I figured that more of my readers would be familiar with the name Tsingtao
So Lee-Tung Hui is still going to be a player, interesting. What about those Prominent CCP officials in 80s, like Zao Zhi-Yang or Li Peng?
So Lee-Tung Hui is still going to be a player, interesting. What about those Prominent CCP officials in 80s, like Zao Zhi-Yang or Li Peng?
They joined the CCP prior to the POD, so they'd be dead or in exile ITTL.
Correct. So far, two CCP officials (not counting KMT officials who switched sides after 1946 but before 1949) have been mentioned in this TL that are not either dead or living in exile in Mongolia, Jiang Zemin and Ba Zhongtan.
六十九, Chen Lifu
Chen Lifu had succeeded Chiang Kai-shek as President of China. Twenty years earlier, few would have expected him to be Chiang’s successor. However, Chen Lifu was still alive while Sun Fo and Chen Cheng were not. Chen Lifu was born in Zhejiang, the same province as Chiang Kai-shek. He received a master’s degree in mining engineering in America and joined the KMT at the party’s office in San Francisco in 1925. In 1927, he became Chiang Kai-shek’s confidential secretary. He would later become Minister of Education and when the new Constitution went into effect, he was vice-president of the Legislative Yuan. He became President of the Legislative Yuan when Sun Fo became Vice President. In 1972, Chen became Vice President, and Huang Shao-ku succeeded him as President of the Legislative Yuan. And in 1975, he became President of China.


(Chen Lifu and his wife Sun Lu-ching, decades before Chen became president)

Provided that he lived he didn’t die in office, Chen Lifu had at least two and a half years as president. Chen Lifu was not interested in being merely a caretaker president, the role that many in China hoped he would fulfil. He wanted to make his mark. He wanted to take what Chiang Kai-shek had done and go beyond that. He wanted to do more to fight communism, and he also wanted to crack down hard on corruption and crime. He never refrained from singing the praises of his predecessor, however. He commissioned dozens of statues of Chiang Kai-shek to be built around the country. Statues were obviously erected in Chiang’s hometown of Ningbo, along with Nanking and Chungking, and other major cities. One Chiang statue would be built in Yan’an in 1977, the former base of the Chinese Communists, to commemorate the fall of the city to Nationalist forces in March 1947.

In March 1976, Chen launched an anti-drug campaign that was also an anti-organized crime campaign. The cities of Guangzhou, Kunming, Chongqing, and Chengdu were especially targeted by this campaign. Unsurprisingly, it was revealed that the local drug lords had connections with both government and business. Chen began to force the resignations of many government officials, most of them within his own party. This had the effect of increasing opposition to Chen Lifu within his own party. Anti-Chen KMT officials were able to successfully convince a large portion of the party that the president was trying to purge the party of all whom he opposed. Chiang Ching-kuo hoped that these people would separate him and Chen in their minds.

Chen Lifu’s most ambitious goal was one that he had very little hope of accomplishing in his time in office. He could at least get the ball rolling on it though. He formulated a theory that Communism would always be a threat to China and the world as long as the Soviet Union existed. Communism, while a blight on any country where it was present, was a foreign ideology fundamentally opposed to Chinese civilization and culture. This was the ideology of those who straddled the fence between right-wing and far-right in China. Thus, the Soviet Union must be destroyed. It didn’t matter if it was replaced by dozens of independent Republics, or a right-wing Russian empire, as long as it wasn’t Communist. China wouldn’t destroy the USSR by itself, America would obviously play a role as well. Another ally he envisioned for China came in the form of a religion practiced by over 600 million people [1].

Though he was not a Muslim himself (despite urban legends of a conversion late in life), Chen Lifu saw Islam as the key to breaking the Soviet Union. Working in conjunction with Xinjiang Governor Isa Alptekin, Chen expanded the Academy of Central Asia. Previously, it had trained people to fight East Turkestan or its supporters in the parts of Xinjiang controlled by China. Now, it would train Kazakhs to go into Soviet Union to fight for an independent Kazakhstan. He recruited Saudi Arabia into his coalition against Communism, seeing the kingdom as an important ally. The other gulf states were seen as potential allies as well. He also sought the overthrow of the Communist government of Afghanistan.


(Isa Alptekin)

Juntong agents were in contact with Afghani generals who opposed the regime of Hafizullah Amin. Amin had only come to power in 1975. In 1977, it was determined that Chinese special forces would fly into Afghanistan and help in a palace coup. Special forces had been used in China throughout the 1970s to rescue hostages from drug lords or Communist terrorists. Members of the Special Airborne Service Unit would land in Kabul and help the coup attempt. Amin discovered the plot against him the day before and was prepared for it. The coup plotters were defeated and executed, and the Chinese special forces were all either killed or captured and subjected to horrific torture. It was a national humiliation for China. Chen responded by beginning to fund Afghan rebels.


(Hafizullah Amin)

Chen Lifu was a hardcore Confucian, and he made sure to promote Confucian values in government and society. He was also a promoter of Chinese traditional medicine, and funded the construction of institutions to teach it. He ignored the growing calls to make China a more democratic society. He claimed that China was already on the path to full democracy, similar to what Chiang Kai-shek had said before. In general, he did not represent much of a departure from his predecessor. His problem was that he was much less popular, much less of a unifying figure as Chiang Kai-shek. Since Chiang Ching-kuo was alive and healthy, and had avoided scandal, Chen Lifu had no realistic way of winning the presidential election in 1978. All that was left for him to do was plan out how he could continue to influence politics after leaving office.

1: The Muslim population has grown exponentially.
Nice look at the start of Chen's presidency. Especially enjoying his efforts to build an anti-Soviet coalition; it'll be interesting to see if this speeds up the Soviet collapse.
The anti corruption program is important, ill give him that. I wonder what would happen if he would rule for another eight years
Also, is East Turkistan more developed then the rest of Xinjiang?