Jeopardy! category: THE LAST CENTURY (03-04-2014)
$1600 clue: The nationalist party, which came to power in China in the 1920s, was also called this, KMT for short
The gist: Usually known in English as the Chinese Nationalist Party (but translating more like the “Chinese National People’s Party”), the current ruling party of Taiwan has been in power in that country for all but eight years (200-2008) since the founding of the Nationalist Government in the late 1920’s in Nanjing. The Kuomintang, as it is known in Chinese (and English transliteration), was officially founded in 1911, shortly after its predecessor the Revolutionary Alliance succeeded in overthrowing the Qing (pronounced “shing” or “ching”), the last royal Chinese dynasty. Led by Sun Yat-sen, the KMT’s political power quickly faded under the influence of warlords, and retained control only of a small part of southern China. It expanded again under Yat-sen’s friend, ally, and successor Chiang Kai-shek, who led as Chairman of the ruling party for eight years and of the National Military Council for 15 until 1948. That year, the raging Chinese Civil War saw the People’s Liberation Army of Mao Zedong chase Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist allies to the island of Taiwan. From there, they continued to claim jurisdiction over mainland China while Mao’s People’s Republic of China did the same over Taiwan, a relationship which continues under the name “the One-China policy.” Officially, both the PRC and the KMT consider their laws to apply to the entirety of the entity they consider China, but generally acknowledge that they lack the power to enforce those laws outside of their controlled territory. The current leader of the KMT and President of Taiwan (or the Republic of China), Ma Ying-jeou, resumed office in 2008. He has stated that while his party officially seeks the unification of Taiwan and China, they “don’t have a timetable” for the process.
The clue: Not an easy question, but certainly helped quite a bit by giving the initials. It may be that more people would be able to name the KMT by their initials but not by their Chinese name – asking for only the tougher of the two makes it a good $1600 clue, but one that might be a $2000 in a non-tournament game. Interestingly, the clue doesn’t mention any of the KMT’s more recent history. Maybe the writers didn’t want to drag the clue into the 21st century, given the category.
In Jeopardy!: The Kuomintang (not the KMT) appears in seven clues in the J!Archive, but this is the first that asked for the name of the party rather than using the party to contextualize something else. Three of the clues look for Chiang Kai-shek (as a military leader both before and during WWII), one for Taiwan, and one for Sun Yat-sen (as the party’s founder). The final clue asks for Tianenmen Square, where Mao founded the PRC after defeating the Kuomintang in the Civil War.