Song Jiaoren

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Song.
Song Jiaoren
宋教仁
Sung Chiao-jen.jpg
President of Kuomintang
In office
1912–1913
Preceded by N/A (first president)
Succeeded by Sun Yat-sen
Vice President of Huaxinghui
In office
15 February 1904 – 30 July 1905
Preceded by N/A (party established)
Succeeded by N/A (merged with Tongmenghui)
Personal details
Born (1882-04-05)5 April 1882
Taoyuan, Hunan, Qing Dynasty
Died 22 March 1913(1913-03-22) (aged 30)
Shanghai, Jiangsu
Political party Huaxinghui
Tongmenghui
Kuomingtang

Song Jiaoren (Chinese: 宋教仁; pinyin: Sòng Jiàorén; Wade–Giles: Sung Chiao-jen; Given name at birth: Liàn 鍊; Courtesy name: Dùnchū 鈍初) (5 April 1882 – 22 March 1913) was a Chinese republican revolutionary, political leader and a founder of the Kuomintang (KMT). He was assassinated in 1913 after leading his Kuomintang party to victory in China's first democratic elections. Evidence strongly implied that China's provisional president, Yuan Shikai, was responsible for his assassination.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Song Jiaoren was born and educated in Hunan. When he was six years old, Song Jiaoren began his education at a private school. When Song was seventeen years old, he graduated and began enrollment at Taoyuan Zhangjiang College. Due to the influence of his teachers, Huang Shouyi and Qu Fangmei, Song made no effort to pursue the civil service examinations, and was interested mainly in world events and the counterculture of his time. Song received excellent grades in college.

In August 1902, the revolutionary Huang Xing met Song Jiaoren in Wuchang, and the two quickly became lifelong friends. Huang was soon forced to leave Wuchang due to his revolutionary activities, and returned to his hometown of Changsha. After Huang left, Song continued his organization of revolutionary groups in Hunan, especially in Changsha and Changde.

Later in 1902, Song was recruited to teach at the Wuchang Normal School, a prestigious private secondary school. Song arrived in Wuchang and began teaching in 1903. In Wuhan, Song became involved with various local revolutionary groups. The Wuchang Garden Hill Party especially appealed to him. Song often discussed politics and revolution with his students, many of whom were opposed to the idea of revolution.

Early Involvement in the Kuomintang[edit]

Because of his revolutionary activities Song was forced to flee China for Japan in 1904, where he studied western political thought and made contacts among the expatriate Chinese student population and Japanese Pan-Asianists. During this period, Song was a close friend of Japanese nationalist thinker Kita Ikki.

In 1905, together with Sun Yat-sen, Song helped found, and was a leading activist in, the Tongmenghui, which was an organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and the formation of a republic. Song returned to China in 1910 after the Xinhai Revolution; and, after the declaration of the Republic of China, Song helped transform the Tongmenghui into the Kuomintang (also known as the KMT or Chinese Nationalist Party). In 1911 Song traveled to Hong Kong to organize the Second Guangzhou Uprising.

Song spoke out against the increasing authoritarianism of China's provisional president, Yuan Shikai, and expressed concerns towards Yuan’s indications that he would like to restore a monarchical system to China with himself as emperor. In January 1, 1912, the Republic of China was established in Nanjing. Song was appointed to reform China's legal system, and he drafted a provisional constitution, the "Republic of China Interim Government Organization Act."

China's first election campaign[edit]

Song Jiaoren was only thirty years old when he was tasked by Sun Yat-sen to organize the Kuomintang for China's first democratic election campaign, in 1912. In the 1912 election campaign, Song proved to be a naturally skilled political organizer, but with an arrogant self-confidence that alienated many potential supporters. Following the election, the Kuomintang won 269 of 596 seats in China's House of Representatives, and the party won 123 of 274 seats in the Senate. Of the remaining seats, the majority were split between three rival parties, though over three hundred small parties competed in the election. After the election, Song was widely regarded as a prime candidate for the position of prime minister.[1]

One of Song's main political goals was to ensure that the powers and independence of China's elected assemblies be properly protected from the influence of the office of the president. Song's goals in curtailing the office of the president conflicted with the interests of China's provisional president, Yuan Shikai, who, by mid-1912, clearly dominated over the provisional cabinet that he had named and was showing signs of a desire to hold overweening executive power. During Song's travels through China in 1912, he had openly and vehemently expressed the desire to limit the powers of the president in terms that often appeared openly critical of Yuan's ambitions. When the results of the 1913 elections indicated a clear victory for the KMT, it appeared that Song would be in a position to exercise a dominant role in selecting the prime minister and cabinet, and the party could have proceeded to push for the election of a future president in a proper parliamentary setting.[1]

Assassination[edit]

While traveling with a group of colleagues to the Parliament in Beijing, Song Jiaoren was shot twice at close range by a lone gunman, Ying Kuicheng, at a Shanghai railway station on March 20, 1913, and died two days later in hospital. The trail of evidence led to the secretary of the cabinet and the provisional premier of Yuan Shikai's government (Zhao Bingjun). Although Yuan was considered by contemporary Chinese media sources the man most likely behind the assassination, the main conspirators investigated by authorities were either themselves assassinated or disappeared mysteriously. Because of the lack of evidence, Yuan was never officially implicated.[1]

Legacy[edit]

The political climate within China degenerated soon after Song Jiaoren's assassination, eventually leading to the failed "Second Revolution". Yuan Shikai ejected the Kuomintang from China's elected assemblies in 1913, dissolved parliament in 1914, declared himself emperor in 1915, and died in 1916. Following the failure of China's first democratic system to achieve a stable government, the country descended into more than a decade of warlordism.[2]

See also[edit]

Preceded by
none
President of the Kuomintang
1912–1913
Succeeded by
Sun Yat-sen
(Premier of the KMT)

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton and Company. (1999) pp. 275-277. ISBN 0-393-97351-4.
  2. ^ Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton and Company. (1999) pp. 277-283. ISBN 0-393-97351-4.

External links[edit]