Any comparison between Mao Zedong's and Chiang Kai-shek's differing approaches to International Law should start with a comparison between their different conceptions of nationalism. In turn, these different conceptions were born out of a distinct ideological, and, at times, different practical approach to the needs of modern Chinese society and, more specifically, to what steps were to be taken to solve them. These distinct ideologies determined Mao's and Chiang Kai-shek's vision of China as a sovereign state, but only in part.
In many ways, Mao and Chiang Kai-shek were both children of the 1911 Revolution and both of them found inspiration in the thinking of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the chief ideologist of that revolution. Dr. Sun Yat-sen's first and foremost aim was the elevation of China to a position of freedom and equality among the nations, away from the state of subservience originally imposed by foreign powers thanks to the growing weakness of the Manchu Dynasty.
The 1911 Revolution deposed that dynasty. One of its crucial objectives was to free China from the shackles of foreign encroachment. Yet, by the time of his death in 1925, Dr. Sun Yat-sen saw the job of revolution as far from completed. In his famous book "The Three Principles of the People," based on a series of lectures he gave before passing away, he reminded to his followers about the importance of Nationalism as a fundamental instrument to obtain China's freedom (Yat-sen, 1981, 1-38) In fact,