Biography of Sun Yat Sen

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:History

Document 1

Sun Yat-Sen was born on December the 12th, 1866 to Sun Dacheng and Madame Yang. His birthplace was in a little-known village of Cuiheng in Xiangshan County. It is recorded that after he had completed his primary education, Sun moved to Honolulu in the State of Hawaii. He amassed great wealth and lived a comfortable life. This was as a result of continued support from his elder brother, Sun Mei. He began seeking education at an early age of 10. His elder brother accorded him financial assistance throughout his schooling. This went further as Sun Mei played a major role in the overthrow of the Manchus (Sharman, 1968). During the prolonged stay at Honolulu, Sun enrolled at Lolani School where he acquired basics in English, Mathematics, British history, Christianity and science. Originally considered as a dwarf in speaking English, Sun picked up the language and received awards for academic excellence from the then King Kalakaua. He finally graduated in 1882. Full of determination, he quickly enrolled at Oahu College notably for a semester. Sooner than anticipated, Sun was sent back home in China subject to the increasing fears by his brother that he was beginning to embrace Christianity. Returning to China in 1883 at the age of 17, Sun soon met his childhood friend, Lu Haodong, in a temple in Cuiheng village. The worshippers in the temple paid respect and worshipped Beiji, Emperor-God. Dissatisfied by with the traditional healing methods, Sun and his friend went rampage inside the temple and bringing down the statue. This elated anger from the villagers.

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With the fear of incurring the wrath of the villagers, they both escaped from China mainland to Hongkong. He proceeded to enrol at the Government central School. He also pursued medical course in Guangzhou. Hager who was a missionary from America under the Congregational Church of the United States. Surprisingly, he had defied his brother’s stance concerning Christianity. While in Hongkong, he attended the Tsai church which had been founded by the London Missionary Society. Subsequently, he continued his study of medicine at Hongkong College of Medicine. Sun was regarded as a revolutionist. This prompted Sun to file a petition to Qing which presented his ideas of transforming China. His effort to personally present the petition to Qing was given little attention. Following the rejection of his ideas, Sun irrevocably focused towards the revolution.

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This also prompted his return to Hawaii where he instituted ‘Revive China Society’, whose main objective was to lead Chinese people towards greatness. Members of this organisation consisted majorly those from the low social classes of the Chinese community. He made new Japanese friends who he worked with. His Japanese accomplices received motivation from the fear of Western Imperialism. As if not satisfied, Sun met a diplomat from the Philippine Republic. During their time together, Sun helped him acquire weapons from Japan at the helm of Revolution in the Philippines and their engagement with the Americans. Sun's engagement in this war was aimed at the hope of the Filipinos gaining their freedom in order to use it as a stepping stone for engaging in a subsequent revolution back in China. He also had the mission of equal treatment of the Chinese people beginning with the equal distribution of land.

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It is important to note that one major contribution of Sun Yat-Sen was the introduction of the ‘Three Principles of the People’. These principles entailed democracy, nationalism and welfare (Crozier, 1928). The popularity of Sun extended beyond borders through Malaysia and Singapore. His tour of Singapore enabled him to come across some Chinese merchants. By 1907, he instituted the Shennanguan uprising directed towards Qing. However, this uprising failed. It is recorded that it only lasted for 7 days. The Xhinai Revolution in 1911 broke out when Sun was in the United States. It was notable that Sun missed the revolution that had brought to an end the imperial period of Chinese history. In order to increase the chances of getting rid of Yuan Shi-Kai, Sun Yat-sen sought assistance from the international communists. He also made an approach to the Communist Party of China for support.

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The efforts of Sun were recognised by the leader of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin who commissioned advisers to assist Sun in establishing a military academy. Chiang Kai-Shek was appointed to lead the new National Revolutionary Army. Sun plans concerning the Northern Expedition proceeded unopposed even though the commander was sceptical about the newly formed alliance with the Soviets. Despite the continuing deteriorating heath of Sun, he continued to travel countrywide in order to discuss the future of China. The death of Sun Yat-Sen came in March 1925 from cancer of the liver. He was barely 58 years old when he succumbed to the illness. He first received a Buddhist burial even though he was a Christian. Sensibly, the premature demise of Sun ensured that his legacy both in the Republic of Taiwan and mainland China remained it the minds of the public.

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Routledge, 2017. Schiffrin, Harold.  Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution. Univ of California Press, 2010. Bergère, Marie-Claire, and Janet Lloyd. Fleming H. Revell Company, 1912. Bard, Solomon, ed.  Voices from the past: Hong Kong, 1842-1918. Hong Kong University Press, 2002.  Sun Yat-sen; his life and its meaning: a critical biography. Vol. Stanford University Press, 1968.

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