The leader of the Chinese revolution

The Star, Sunday June 16, 2006

release1DR SUN Yat-sen (Nov 12 1866 – March 12, 1925) is revered today in China, both in the mainland and in Taiwan, as father of modern China. Founder of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party), Sun’s political career was one long struggle as he spent years in exile.

Born in Guangdong Province in south China, Sun joined his elder brother in Hawaii. But Sun was sent back to China when it was feared that he would convert to Christianity which, in fact, he later did.

He completed his medical studies at Hong Kong University and was soon drawn into the revolutionary cause. In 1894, he founded the Xinzhonghui (Revive China Society). But his first attempt against Manchu rule in October 1895 failed and he fled China.

While in London in 1896, he was seized by Chinese embassy officials. However, a British friend alerted a newspaper. He was released and the incident gained him wide political recognition among the Chinese overseas.

During this period he worked out a political philosophy known as Sanminxhu-i and in 1903 formed the United League (Tongminghui).

He launched nine further attempts to oust the Qing Dynasty. All failed.

Then, in 1911, the United League made plans to strike at Wuchang in late October but an accidental explosion in nearby Hankow forced the revolutionaries to act earlier. Manchu resistance was overcome with surprising ease and a provisional revolutionary government set up.

Dr Sun, who was not in China when these happened, was invited to become President in 1912. Later that year, the United League together with four smaller organisations formed the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party). But Dr Sun’s struggle was not over yet as the Kuomintang battled regional warlords to consolidate control over the country.