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Sun Yat-sen

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Sun Yat-sen
Sun in the 1910s
Provisional President of the Republic of China
In office
1 January 1912 – 10 March 1912
Vice PresidentLi Yuanhong
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byYuan Shikai
Premier of the Kuomintang
In office
10 October 1919 – 12 March 1925
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byZhang Renjie (as Chairman)
Personal details
Sun Te-ming (孫德明)

(1866-11-12)12 November 1866
Cuiheng Village, Hsiangshan County, Kwangtung Province, Qing Empire
Died12 March 1925(1925-03-12) (aged 58)
Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, Republic of China
Resting placeSun Yat-sen Mausoleum
Political partyKuomintang
Other political
(m. 1885; div. 1915)
(m. 1905; a. 1906)
(m. 1915)
Children4, including Sun Fo
EducationUniversity of Hong Kong (MD)
OccupationPolitician, writer, physician
Signature (Chinese)孫文, Sun's signature in Chinese, from a piece of calligraphy in the National Palace Museum
Military service
Branch/serviceRepublic of China Army
Years of service1917–1925
RankGrand marshal
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese孫中山
Simplified Chinese孙中山
Sun Jih-hsin
Traditional Chinese孫日新
Simplified Chinese孙日新
Sun Yat-sen
Traditional Chinese孫逸仙
Simplified Chinese孙逸仙
Sun Wen
Traditional Chinese孫文
Simplified Chinese孙文
Sun Tsai-chih
(courtesy name)
Traditional Chinese孫載之
Simplified Chinese孙载之
Sun Te-ming
Traditional Chinese孫德明
Simplified Chinese孙德明
Japanese name

Sun Yat-sen[a] (/ˈsʌn ˌjætˈsɛn/, traditional Chinese: 孫逸仙; simplified Chinese: 孙逸仙; pinyin: Sūn Yìxiān, 12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925),[1][2][3] better known in China as Sun Zhongshan[b] (traditional Chinese: 孫中山; simplified Chinese: 孙中山), was a Chinese revolutionary, statesman, and political philosopher who served as the first provisional president of the Republic of China and the first leader of the Kuomintang. He is called the "Father of the Nation" in the present-day Republic of China (Taiwan) and the "Forerunner of the Revolution" in the People's Republic of China for his instrumental role in the overthrowing of the Qing dynasty during the 1911 Revolution. Sun is unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for being widely revered by both the Communist Party in mainland China and the Kuomintang in Taiwan.[4]

Educated overseas, Sun is considered to be one of the greatest and most important leaders of modern China, but his political life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. After the success of the revolution in 1911, he quickly resigned as president of the newly founded Republic of China and relinquished the position to Yuan Shikai. He soon went to exile in Japan for safety but returned to form and found a revolutionary government in Southern China, as a challenge to the warlords who controlled much of the nation. In 1923, he invited representatives of the Communist International to Canton (Guangzhou) to reorganize his party and formed a brittle alliance with the Chinese Communist Party. He did not live to see his party unify the country under his successor, Chiang Kai-shek, in the Northern Expedition. He died in Beijing of gallbladder cancer in 1925.[5]

Sun's chief legacy is his political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People: Mínzú (民族主義; Mínzúzhǔyì) or nationalism (independence from foreign domination), Mínquán (民權主義; Mínquánzhǔyì) or "rights of the people" (also translated as "democracy"), and Mínshēng (民生主義; Mínshēngzhǔyì) or people's livelihood (sometimes translated as "communitarianism" or "welfarism").[6][7][8]


Silver coin: 1 yuan – Sun Yat Sen, 1927

Sun's genealogical name was Sun Deming (Syūn Dāk-mìhng; 孫德明).[2][9] As a child, his pet name [zh] was Tai Tseung (Dai-jeuhng; 帝象).[2] In school, the teacher gave him the name Sun Wen (Cantonese: Syūn Màhn; 孫文), which was used by Sun for most of his life. Sun's courtesy name was Zaizhi (Jai-jī; 載之), and his baptized name was Rixin (Yaht-sān; 日新).[10] While at school in Hong Kong under British rule, he got the art name Yat-sen (Chinese: 逸仙; pinyin: Yìxiān).[11] Sun Zhongshan (孫中山; Cantonese: syūn jūng sāan, romanized Chung Shan), the most popular of his Chinese names in China, is derived from his Japanese name Kikori Nakayama (中山樵 Nakayama Kikori), the pseudonym given to him by Tōten Miyazaki when he was in hiding in Japan.[2] His birthplace city was renamed Zhongshan in his honour probably shortly after his death in 1925 and uses that name. Zhongshan is one of the few cities named after people in China and has remained as the official name of the city during Communist rule.

Early years[edit]

Birthplace and early life[edit]

Sun Te-ming was born on 12 November 1866 to Sun Dacheng and Madame Yang.[3] His birthplace was the village of Cuiheng, Xiangshan County (now Zhongshan City), Canton Province (now Guangdong).[3] He had a cultural background of Hakka[12][13] and Cantonese. His father owned very little land and worked as a tailor in Macau and as a journeyman and a porter.[14] After finishing primary education and meeting childhood friend Lu Haodong,[2] he moved to Honolulu in the Kingdom of Hawaii, where he lived a comfortable life of modest wealth supported by his elder brother Sun Mei.[15][16][17][18]


At the age of 10, in Hawaii, Sun began his schooling.[2] He went to secondary school in Hawaii.[19] By age 13 in 1878, after receiving a few years of local schooling, Sun went to live with his elder brother, Sun Mei (孫眉) in Honolulu.[2] Sun Mei financed Sun Yat-sen's education and would later be a major contributor for the overthrow of the Manchus (Qing dynasty).[15][16][17][18]

Sun Yat-sen with his family in 1901.
Sun Yat-sen (back row, fourth from right) and his family

During his stay in Honolulu, Sun Yat-sen went to ʻIolani School, where he studied English, British history, mathematics, science, and Christianity.[2] Although he was originally unable to speak English, Sun Yat-sen quickly picked up the language, received a prize for academic achievement from King David Kalākaua, and graduated in 1882.[20] He then attended Oahu College (now known as Punahou School) for one semester.[2][21] In 1883, he was sent home to China, as his brother was becoming worried that Sun was beginning to embrace Christianity.[2]

When he returned to China in 1883 at age 17, Sun met up with his childhood friend Lu Haodong again at Beijidian (北極殿), a temple in Cuiheng.[2] They saw many villagers worshipping the Beiji (literally North Pole) Emperor-God in the temple and were dissatisfied with their ancient folk healing methods.[2] Both of them broke the effigy, incurring the wrath of fellow villagers, and escaped to Hong Kong.[2][22] After arriving there in November 1883, he studied at the Diocesan Home and Orphanage on Eastern Street (now the Diocesan Boys' School),[23][24] and from 15 April 1884 to his graduation in 1886, he was at The Government Central School on Gough Street (now Queen's College).[25][26]

In 1886, Sun studied medicine at the Guangzhou Boji Hospital under the Christian missionary John G. Kerr.[2] According to his book "Kidnapped in London", Sun in 1887 heard of the opening of the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese (the forerunner of the University of Hong Kong) and immediately decided to benefit from the "advantages it offered."[27] Ultimately, he earned the license of Christian practice as a medical doctor from there in 1892.[2][11] Notably, of his class of 12 students, Sun was one of only two who graduated.[28][29][30]

Religious views and Christian baptism[edit]

In the early 1880s, Sun Mei had sent his brother to ʻIolani School, which was under the supervision of the Church of Hawaii and directed by an Anglican prelate, Alfred Willis, with the language of instruction being English. At the school, the young Sun first came in contact with Christianity.

Sun was later baptized in Hong Kong (on 4 May 1884) by Rev. Charles Robert Hager[31][32][33] an American missionary of the Congregational Church of the United States (American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions) to his brother's disdain. The minister would also develop a friendship with Sun.[34][35] Sun attended To Tsai Church (道濟會堂), founded by the London Missionary Society in 1888,[36] while he studied medicine in Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. Sun pictured a revolution as similar to the salvation mission of the Christian church. His conversion to Christianity was related to his revolutionary ideals and push for advancement.[35]

Becoming a revolutionary[edit]

Four Bandits[edit]

Sun (second from left) and his friends the Four Bandits: Yeung Hok-ling (left), Chan Siu-bak (middle), Yau Lit (right), and Guan Jingliang (關景良, standing) at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, circa 1888

During the Qing-dynasty rebellion around 1888, Sun was in Hong Kong with a group of revolutionary thinkers, nicknamed the Four Bandits, at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese.[37]

From Furen Literary Society to Revive China Society[edit]

In 1891, Sun met revolutionary friends in Hong Kong including Yeung Ku-wan who was the leader and founder of the Furen Literary Society.[38] The group was spreading the idea of overthrowing the Qing. In 1894, Sun wrote an 8,000-character petition to Qing Viceroy Li Hongzhang presenting his ideas for modernizing China.[39][40][41] He traveled to Tianjin to personally present the petition to Li but was not granted an audience.[42] After that experience, Sun turned irrevocably toward revolution. He left China for Hawaii and founded the Revive China Society, which was committed to revolutionizing China's prosperity. It was the first Chinese nationalist revolutionary society.[43]: 31  Members were drawn mainly from Chinese expatriates, especially from the lower social classes. The same month in 1894, the Furen Literary Society was merged with the Hong Kong chapter of the Revive China Society.[38] Thereafter, Sun became the secretary of the newly merged Revive China Society, which Yeung Ku-wan headed as president.[44] They disguised their activities in Hong Kong under the running of a business under the name "Kuen Hang Club"[45]: 90  (乾亨行).

Heaven and Earth Society and overseas travels to seek financial support[edit]

A "Heaven and Earth Society" sect known as Tiandihui had been around for a long time.[46] The group has also been referred to as the "three cooperating organizations", as well as the triads.[46] Sun mainly used the group to leverage his overseas travels to gain further financial and resource support for his revolution.[46]

First Sino-Japanese War[edit]

In 1895, China suffered a serious defeat during the First Sino-Japanese War. There were two types of responses. One group of intellectuals contended that the Manchu Qing government could restore its legitimacy by successfully modernizing.[47] Stressing that overthrowing the Manchu would result in chaos and would lead to China being carved up by imperialists, intellectuals like Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao supported responding with initiatives like the Hundred Days' Reform.[47] In another faction, Sun Yat-sen and others like Zou Rong wanted a revolution to replace the dynastic system with a modern nation-state in the form of a republic.[47] The Hundred Days' reform turned out to be a failure by 1898.[48]

First uprising and exile[edit]

First Guangzhou Uprising[edit]

Plaque in London marking the site of a house at 4 Warwick Court, WC1, in which Sun Yat-sen lived in exile
Letter from Sun Yat-sen to James Cantlie announcing to him that he has assumed the Presidency of the Provisional Republican Government of China, dated 21 January 1912

In the second year of the establishment of the Revive China Society, on 26 October 1895, the group planned and launched the First Guangzhou uprising against the Qing in Guangzhou.[40] Yeung Ku-wan directed the uprising starting from Hong Kong.[44] However, plans were leaked out, and more than 70 members, including Lu Haodong, were captured by the Qing government. The uprising was a failure. Sun received financial support mostly from his brother, who sold most of his 12,000 acres of ranch and cattle in Hawaii.[15] Additionally, members of his family and relatives of Sun would take refuge at the home of his brother Sun Mei at Kamaole in Kula, Maui.[15][16][17][18][49]

Exile in Japan[edit]

While in exile in London in 1896, Sun raised money for his revolutionary party and to support uprisings in China. While the events leading up to it are unclear, Sun Yat-sen was detained at the Chinese Legation in London, where the Chinese secret service planned to smuggle him back to China to execute him for his revolutionary actions.[50] He was released after 12 days by the efforts of James Cantlie, The Globe, The Times, and the Foreign Office, which left Sun a hero in the United Kingdom.[note 1] James Cantlie, Sun's former teacher at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese, maintained a lifelong friendship with Sun and later wrote an early biography of him[52] Sun wrote a book in 1897 about his detention, "Kidnapped in London."[27]

Sun traveled by way of Canada to Japan to begin his exile there. He arrived in Yokohama on 16 August 1897 and met with the Japanese politician Tōten Miyazaki. Most Japanese who actively worked with Sun were motivated by a pan-Asian opposition to Western imperialism.[53] In Japan, Sun also met and befriended Mariano Ponce, a diplomat of the First Philippine Republic.[54]

During the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine–American War, Sun helped Ponce procure weapons that had been salvaged from the Imperial Japanese Army and ship the weapons to the Philippines. By helping the Philippine Republic, Sun hoped that the Filipinos would win their independence so that he could use its islands as a staging point of another revolution. However, as the war ended in July 1902, the United States emerged victorious from a bitter three-year war against the Republic. Therefore, the Filipino dream of independence vanished with Sun's hopes of allying with the Philippines in his revolution in China.[55]

From failed uprisings to revolution[edit]

Huizhou Uprising[edit]

On 22 October 1900, Sun ordered the launch of the Huizhou Uprising to attack Huizhou and provincial authorities in Guangdong.[56] That came five years after the failed Guangzhou Uprising. This time, Sun appealed to the triads for help.[57] The uprising was another failure. Miyazaki, who participated in the revolt with Sun, wrote an account of the revolutionary effort under the title "33-Year Dream" (三十三年之夢) in 1902.[58][59][60]

Getting support from Siamese Chinese[edit]

In 1903, Sun made a secret trip to Bangkok in which he sought funds for his cause in Southeast Asia. His loyal followers published newspapers, providing invaluable support to the dissemination of his revolutionary principles and ideals among Siamese Chinese in Siam. In Bangkok, Sun visited Yaowarat Road, in the city's Chinatown. On that street, Sun gave a speech claiming that Overseas Chinese were "the Mother of the Revolution." He also met the local Chinese merchant Seow Houtseng,[61] who sent financial support to him.

Sun's speech on Yaowarat Road was commemorated by the street later being named "Sun Yat Sen Street" or "Soi Sun Yat Sen" (Thai: ซอยซุนยัตเซ็น) in his honour.[62]

Getting support from American Chinese[edit]

According to Lee Yun-ping, chairman of the Chinese historical society, Sun needed a certificate to enter the United States since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 would have otherwise blocked him.[63]

In March 1904, while residing in Kula, Maui, Sun Yat-sen obtained a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth, issued by the Territory of Hawaii, stating that "he was born in the Hawaiian Islands on the 24th day of November, A.D. 1870."[64][65] He renounced it after it served its purpose to circumvent the Chinese Exclusion Act.[65] Official files of the United States show that Sun had United States nationality, moved to China with his family at age 4, and returned to Hawaii 10 years later.[66]

On 6 April 1904, on his first attempt to enter the United States, Sun Yat-sen landed in San Francisco. He was detained and faced with possible deportation.[63] Sun, represented by the law firm of Ralston & Siddons, based in Washington DC, filed an appeal with the Commissioner-General of Immigration on 26 April 1904. On 28 April 1904, the acting secretary of the Department of Commerce and Labor in a four-page decision contained in the case file, set aside the order of deportation and ordered the Commissioner of Immigration in San Francisco to "permit the said Sun Yat-sen to land." Sun was then freed to embark on his fundraising tour in the United States.[63]

Unifying forces of Tongmenghui in Tokyo[edit]

A letter with Sun's seal commencing the Tongmenghui in Hong Kong

In 1904, Sun Yat-sen came about with the goal "to expel the Tatar barbarians (specifically, the Manchu), to revive Zhonghua, to establish a Republic, and to distribute land equally among the people" (驅除韃虜, 恢復中華, 創立民國, 平均地權).[67] One of Sun's major legacies was the creation of his political philosophy of the Three Principles of the People. These Principles included the principle of nationalism (minzu, 民族), of democracy (minquan, 民權), and of welfare (minsheng, 民生).[67]

On 20 August 1905, Sun joined forces with revolutionary Chinese students studying in Tokyo to form the unified group Tongmenghui (United League), which sponsored uprisings in China.[67][68] By 1906 the number of Tongmenghui members reached 963.[67]

Getting support from Malayan Chinese[edit]

Interior of the Wan Qing Yuan featuring Sun's items and photos
The Sun Yat-sen Museum in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, where he planned the Xinhai Revolution.[69]

Sun's notability and popularity extended beyond the Greater China region, particularly to Nanyang (Southeast Asia), where a large concentration of overseas Chinese resided in Malaya (Malaysia and Singapore). In Singapore, he met the local Chinese merchants Teo Eng Hock (張永福), Tan Chor Nam (陳楚楠) and Lim Nee Soon (林義順), which mark the commencement of direct support from the Nanyang Chinese. The Singapore chapter of the Tongmenghui was established on 6 April 1906,[70] but some records claim the founding date to be end of 1905.[70] The villa used by Sun was known as Wan Qing Yuan.[70][71] Singapore then was the headquarters of the Tongmenghui.[70]

After founding the Tongmenghui, Sun advocated the establishment of the Chong Shing Yit Pao as the alliance's mouthpiece to promote revolutionary ideas. Later, he initiated the establishment of reading clubs across Singapore and Malaysia to disseminate revolutionary ideas by the lower class through public readings of newspaper stories. The United Chinese Library, founded on 8 August 1910, was one such reading club, first set up at leased property on the second floor of the Wan He Salt Traders in North Boat Quay.[72]

The first actual United Chinese Library building was built between 1908 and 1911 below Fort Canning, on 51 Armenian Street, commenced operations in 1912. The library was set up as a part of the 50 reading rooms by the Chinese republicans to serve as an information station and liaison point for the revolutionaries. In 1987, the library was moved to its present site at Cantonment Road.


On 1 December 1907, Sun led the Zhennanguan Uprising against the Qing at Friendship Pass, which is the border between Guangxi and Vietnam.[73] The uprising failed after seven days of fighting.[73][74] In 1907, there were a total of four failed uprisings, including Huanggang uprising, Huizhou seven women lake uprising and Qinzhou uprising.[70] In 1908, two more uprisings failed: the Qin-lian Uprising and Hekou Uprising.[70]

Anti-Sun factionalism[edit]

Because of the failures, Sun's leadership was challenged by elements from within the Tongmenghui who wished to remove him as leader. In Tokyo, members from the recently merged Restoration society raised doubts about Sun's credentials.[70] Tao Chengzhang and Zhang Binglin publicly denounced Sun in an open leaflet, "A declaration of Sun Yat-sen's Criminal Acts by the Revolutionaries in Southeast Asia",[70] which was printed and distributed in reformist newspapers like Nanyang Zonghui Bao.[70][75] The goal was to target Sun as a leader leading a revolt only for profiteering.[70]

The revolutionaries were polarized and split between pro-Sun and anti-Sun camps.[70] Sun publicly fought off comments about how he had something to gain financially from the revolution.[70] However, by 19 July 1910, the Tongmenghui headquarters had to relocate from Singapore to Penang to reduce the anti-Sun activities.[70] It was also in Penang that Sun and his supporters would launch the first Chinese "daily" newspaper, the Kwong Wah Yit Poh, in December 1910.[73]

1911 revolution[edit]

The Revolutionary Army of the Wuchang Uprising fighting in the Battle of Yangxia

To sponsor more uprisings, Sun made a personal plea for financial aid at the Penang conference, held on 13 November 1910 in Malaya.[76] The high-powered preparatory meeting of Sun's supporters was subsequently held in Ipoh, Singapore, at the villa of Teh Lay Seng, the chairman of the Tungmenghui, to raise funds for the Huanghuagang Uprising, also known as the Yellow Flower Mound Uprising.[77] The Ipoh leaders were Teh Lay Seng, Wong I Ek, Lee Guan Swee, and Lee Hau Cheong.[78] The leaders launched a major drive for donations across the Malay Peninsula[76] and raised HK$187,000.[76]

On 27 April 1911, the revolutionary Huang Xing led the Yellow Flower Mound Uprising against the Qing. The revolt failed and ended in disaster. The bodies of only 72 revolutionaries were identified of the 86 that were found.[79] The revolutionaries are remembered as martyrs.[79] Despite the failure of this uprising, which was due to a leek, it was successful in triggering off the trend of nation-wide revolts.[80]

On 10 October 1911, the military Wuchang Uprising took place and was led again by Huang Xing. The uprising expanded to the Xinhai Revolution, also known as the "Chinese Revolution", to overthrow the last emperor, Puyi.[81] Sun had no direct involvement in it, as he was in Denver, Colorado, and had spent much of the year in the United States in search of support from Chinese Americans. That made Huang be in charge of the revolution that ended over 2000 years of imperial rule in China. On 12 October, when Sun learned of the successful rebellion against the Qing emperor from press reports, he returned to China from the United States and was accompanied by his closest foreign advisor, the American "General" Homer Lea, an adventurer whom Sun had met in London when they attempted to arrange British financing for the future Chinese republic. Both sailed for China, arriving there on 21 December 1911.[82]

Republic of China with multiple governments[edit]

Provisional government[edit]

Portrait of Sun Yat-sen (1921) by Li Tiefu

On 29 December 1911, a meeting of representatives from provinces in Nanjing elected Sun as the provisional president.[83] 1 January 1912 was set as the epoch of the new republican calendar.[84] Li Yuanhong was made provisional vice-president, and Huang Xing became the minister of the army. A new provisional government for the Republic of China was created, along with a provisional constitution. Sun is credited for funding the revolutions and for keeping revolutionary spirit alive, even after a series of false starts. His successful merger of smaller revolutionary groups into a single coherent party provided a better base for those who shared revolutionary ideals. Under Sun's provisional government, several innovations were introduced, such as the aforementioned calendar system, and fashionable Zhongshan suits.

Beiyang government[edit]

Yuan Shikai, who was in control of the Beiyang Army, had been promised the position of president of the Republic of China if he could get the Qing court to abdicate.[85] On 12 February 1912, the Emperor did abdicate the throne.[84] Sun stepped down as president, and Yuan became the new provisional president in Beijing on 10 March 1912.[85] The provisional government did not have any military forces of its own. Its control over elements of the new army that had mutinied was limited, and significant forces still had not declared against the Qing.

Sun Yat-sen sent telegrams to the leaders of all provinces to request them to elect and to establish the National Assembly of the Republic of China in 1912.[86] In May 1912, the legislative assembly moved from Nanjing to Beijing, with its 120 members divided between members of the Tongmenghui and a republican party that supported Yuan Shikai.[87] Many revolutionary members were already alarmed by Yuan's ambitions and the northern-based Beiyang government.

New Nationalist party in 1912, failed Second Revolution and new exile[edit]

The Tongmenghui member Song Jiaoren quickly tried to control the assembly. He mobilized the old Tongmenghui at the core with the mergers of a number of new small parties to form a new political party, the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, commonly abbreviated as "KMT") on 25 August 1912 at Huguang Guild Hall, Beijing.[87] The 1912–1913 National assembly election was considered a huge success for the KMT, which won 269 of the 596 seats in the lower house and 123 of the 274 seats in the upper house.[85][87] In retaliation, the KMT leader Song Jiaoren was assassinated, almost certainly by a secret order of Yuan, on 20 March 1913.[85] The Second Revolution took place by Sun and KMT military forces trying to overthrow Yuan's forces of about 80,000 men in an armed conflict in July 1913.[88] The revolt against Yuan was unsuccessful. In August 1913, Sun fled to Japan, where he later enlisted financial aid by the politician and industrialist Fusanosuke Kuhara.[89]

Warlords chaos[edit]

In 1915, Yuan proclaimed the Empire of China with himself as Emperor of China. Sun took part in the National Protection War of the Constitutional Protection Movement and also supported bandit leaders like Bai Lang during the Bai Lang Rebellion, which marked the beginning of the Warlord Era. In 1915, Sun wrote to the Second International, a socialist-based organization in Paris, and asked it to send a team of specialists to help China set up the world's first socialist republic.[90] The same year, Sun received the Indian communist M.N. Roy as a guest.[91] There were then many theories and proposals of what China could be. In the political mess, both Sun Yat-sen and Xu Shichang were announced as president of the Republic of China.[92]

Alliance with Communist Party and Northern Expedition[edit]

Guangzhou militarist government[edit]

(L-R): Liao Zhongkai, Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Yat-sen and Soong Ching-ling at the founding of the Whampoa Military Academy in 1924

China had become divided among regional military leaders. Sun saw the danger and returned to China in 1916 to advocate Chinese reunification. In 1921, he started a self-proclaimed military government in Guangzhou and was elected Grand Marshal.[93] Between 1912 and 1927, three governments were set up in South China: the Provisional government in Nanjing (1912), the Military government in Guangzhou (1921–1925), and the National government in Guangzhou and later Wuhan (1925–1927).[94] The governments in the south were established to rival the Beiyang government in the north.[93] Yuan Shikai had banned the KMT. The short-lived Chinese Revolutionary Party was a temporary replacement for the KMT. On 10 October 1919, Sun resurrected the KMT with the new name Chung-kuo Kuomintang, or "Nationalist Party of China."[87]

First United Front[edit]

Sun Yat-sen (seated) and Chiang Kai-shek

Sun was now convinced that the only hope for a unified China lay in a military conquest from his base in the south, followed by a period of political tutelage [zh], which would culminate in the transition to democracy. To hasten the conquest of China, he began a policy of active co-operation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Sun and the Soviet Union's Adolph Joffe signed the Sun-Joffe Manifesto in January 1923.[4] Sun received help from the Comintern for his acceptance of communist members into his KMT. Sun received assistance from Soviet advisor Mikhail Borodin, whom Sun described as his "Lafayette".[95]: 54  The Russian revolutionary and socialist leader Vladimir Lenin praised Sun and his KMT for its ideology, principles, attempts at social reformation, and fight against foreign imperialism.[96][97][98] Sun also returned the praise by calling Lenin a "great man" and indicated that he wished to follow the same path as Lenin.[99] In 1923, after having been in contact with Lenin and other Moscow communists, Sun sent representatives to study the Red Army, and in turn, the Soviets sent representatives to help reorganize the KMT at Sun's request.[100]

With the Soviets' help, Sun was able to develop the military power needed for the Northern Expedition against the military at the north. He established the Whampoa Military Academy near Guangzhou with Chiang Kai-shek as the commandant of the National Revolutionary Army (NRA).[101] Other Whampoa leaders include Wang Jingwei and Hu Hanmin as political instructors. This full collaboration was called the First United Front.

Financial concerns[edit]

In 1924 Sun appointed his brother-in-law T. V. Soong to set up the first Chinese central bank, the Canton Central Bank.[102] To establish national capitalism and a banking system was a major objective for the KMT.[103] However, Sun met opposition by the Canton Merchant Volunteers Corps Uprising against him.

Final speeches[edit]

Sun (seated, right) and his wife Soong Ching-ling (seated next to him) in Kobe, Japan in 1924

In February 1923, Sun made a presentation to the Students' Union in Hong Kong University and declared that the corruption of China and the peace, order, and good government of Hong Kong had turned him into a revolutionary.[104][105] The same year, he delivered a speech in which he proclaimed his Three Principles of the People as the foundation of the country and the Five-Yuan Constitution as the guideline for the political system and bureaucracy. Part of the speech was made into the National Anthem of the Republic of China.

On 10 November 1924, Sun traveled north to Tianjin and delivered a speech to suggest a gathering for a "national conference" for the Chinese people. He called for the end of warlord rules and the abolition of all unequal treaties with the Western powers.[106] Two days later, he traveled to Beijing to discuss the future of the country despite his deteriorating health and the ongoing civil war of the warlords. Among the people whom he met was the Muslim warlord General Ma Fuxiang, who informed Sun that he would welcome Sun's leadership.[107] On 28 November 1924 Sun traveled to Japan and gave a speech on Pan-Asianism at Kobe, Japan.[108]

Illness and death[edit]

For many years, it was popularly believed that Sun died of liver cancer. On 26 January 1925, Sun underwent an exploratory laparotomy at Peking Union Medical College Hospital (PUMCH) to investigate a long-term illness. It was performed by the head of the Department of Surgery, Adrian S. Taylor, who stated that the procedure "revealed extensive involvement of the liver by carcinoma" and that Sun had only about ten days to live. Sun was hospitalized, and his condition was treated with radium.[109] Sun survived the initial ten-day period, and on 18 February, against the advice of doctors, he was transferred to the KMT headquarters and treated with traditional Chinese medicine. That was also unsuccessful, and he died on 12 March, at the age of 58.[110] Contemporary reports in The New York Times,[110] Time,[111] and the Chinese newspaper Qun Qiang Bao all reported the cause of death as liver cancer, based on Taylor's observation.[112] He also left a short political will (總理遺囑), penned by Wang Jingwei, which had a widespread influence in the subsequent development of the Republic of China and Taiwan.[113]

His body then was preserved in mineral oil[114] and taken to the Temple of Azure Clouds, a Buddhist shrine in the Western Hills a few miles outside Beijing.[115] A glass-covered steel coffin was sent by the Soviet Union to the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall at Temple of Azure Clouds as a permanent repository for the body but was ultimately declined by the family as unsuitable.[116] The body was embalmed for preservation by Peking Union Medical College who reportedly guaranteed its preservation for 150 years.[116]

In 1926, construction began on a majestic mausoleum at the foot of Purple Mountain in Nanjing, which was completed in the spring of 1929. On 1 June 1929, Sun's remains were moved from Beijing and interred in the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum.

By pure chance, in May 2016, an American pathologist, Rolf F. Barth, was visiting the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou when he noticed a faded copy of the original autopsy report on display. The autopsy was performed immediately after Sun's death by James Cash, a pathologist at PUMCH. Based on a tissue sample, Cash concluded that the cause of death was an adenocarcinoma in the gallbladder that had metastasized to the liver. In modern China, liver cancer is far more common than gallbladder cancer. Although the incidence rates for either one in 1925 are not known, if one assumes that they were similar at the time, the original diagnosis by Taylor was a reasonable conclusion. From the time of Sun's death to the appearance of Barth's report[109] in the Chinese Journal of Cancer in September 2016, Sun's true cause of death was not reported in any English-language publication. Even in Chinese-language sources, it appeared in only one non-medical online report in 2013.[109][117]


Power struggle[edit]

Chinese generals at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in 1928 after the Northern Expedition. From right: Cheng Jin (何成浚), Zhang Zuobao (張作寶), Chen Diaoyuan (陳調元), Chiang Kai-shek, Woo Tsin-hang, Yan Xishan, Ma Fuxiang, Ma Sida (馬四達), and Bai Chongxi.

After Sun's death, a power struggle between his young protégé Chiang Kai-shek and his old revolutionary comrade Wang Jingwei split the KMT. At stake in the struggle was the right to lay claim to Sun's ambiguous legacy. In 1927, Chiang married Soong Mei-ling, a sister of Sun's widow Soong Ching-ling, and he could now claim to be a brother-in-law of Sun. When the Communists and the Kuomintang split in 1927, which marked the start of the Chinese Civil War, each group claimed to be his true heirs, and the conflict that continued until World War II. Sun's widow, Soong Ching-ling, sided with the Communists during the Chinese Civil War and was critical of Chiang's regime since the Shanghai massacre in 1927. She served from 1949 to 1981 as vice-president (or vice-chairwoman) of the People's Republic of China and as honorary president shortly before her death in 1981.[118]

Personality cult[edit]

A personality cult in the Republic of China was centered on Sun and his successor, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. The cult was created after Sun Yat-sen died. Chinese Muslim generals and imams participated in the personality cult and the one-party state, with Muslim General Ma Bufang making people bow to Sun's portrait and listen to the national anthem during a Tibetan and Mongol religious ceremony for the Qinghai Lake God.[119] Quotes from the Qur'an and the Hadith were used by Hui Muslims to justify Chiang's rule over China.[120]

The Kuomintang's constitution designated Sun as the party president. After his death, the Kuomintang opted to keep that language in its constitution to honor his memory forever. The party has since been headed by a director-general (1927–1975) and a chairman (since 1975), who discharge the functions of the president.[citation needed]

Though took a stance against idolatry in life, Sun sometimes became worshiped as a god among people. For example, a KMT committee member Hsieh Kun-hong controversially referred to Sun as having "become immortal" after death under the posthumous name of "Great Merciful True Monarch" (Chinese: 偉慈真君) in 2021. Sun is already worshipped in the syncretic Vietnamese religion of Caodaism.[121]

Father of the Nation[edit]

Statue of Sun's Mausoleum in Nanjing, with a Kuomintang flag on the ceiling

Sun Yat-sen remains unique among 20th-century Chinese leaders for having a high reputation in both Mainland China and Taiwan. In Taiwan, he is seen as the Father of the Republic of China and is known by the posthumous name Father of the Nation, Mr. Sun Zhongshan (Chinese: 國父 孫中山先生, and the one-character space is a traditional homage symbol).[9]

Forerunner of revolution[edit]

Sun Yat-sen tribute in Tiananmen Square in front of the Monument to the People's Heroes, 2021

In Mainland China, Sun is seen as a Chinese nationalist, a proto-socialist, and the first president of a Republican China and is highly regarded as the Forerunner of the Revolution (革命先行者).[4] He is even mentioned by name in the preamble to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China. In recent years, the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has increasingly invoked Sun, partly as a way of bolstering Chinese nationalism in light of the Chinese economic reform and partly to increase connections with supporters of the Kuomintang on Taiwan, which the People's Republic of China sees as allies against Taiwan independence. Sun's tomb was one of the first stops made by the leaders of both the Kuomintang and the People First Party on their pan-blue visit to mainland China in 2005.[122] A massive portrait of Sun continues to appear in Tiananmen Square for May Day and National Day.

In 1956, Mao Zedong said, "Let us pay tribute to our great revolutionary forerunner, Dr. Sun Yat-sen!... he bequeathed to us much that is useful in the sphere of political thought."[123][124]

Xi Jinping incorporates Sun's legacy into his discourse on national rejuvenation.[125] Xi describes Sun as the first person to propose a method for Chinese revival, including adopting the first blueprint for China's modernization.[125]

New Three Principles of the People[edit]

Sun's Three Principles of the People has been reinterpreted by the Chinese Communist Party to argue that communism is a necessary conclusion of them and thus provide legitimacy for the government. This reinterpretation of the Three Principles of the People is commonly referred to as the New Three Principles of the People (Chinese: 新三民主義, also translated as Neo-tridemism), a word coined by Mao's 1940 essay On New Democracy in which he argued that the Communist Party is a better enforcer of the Three Principles of the People compared to the bourgeois Kuomintang and that the new three principles are about allying with the communists and the Russians (Soviets) and supporting the peasants and the workers.[126] Proponents of the New Three Principles of the People claim that Sun's book Three Principles of the People acknowledges that the principles of welfare is inherently socialistic and communistic.[127]

During the 90th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution in 2001, former CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin claimed that Sun supposedly advocated for the "New Three Principles of the People."[128][129] In 2001, Sun's granddaughter Lily Sun said that the Chinese Communists were distorting Sun's legacy. She again voiced her displeasure in 2002 in a private letter to Jiang about the distortion of history.[128] In 2008 Jiang Zemin was willing to offer US$10 million to sponsor a Xinhai Revolution anniversary celebration event. According to Ming Pao, she did not take the money because then she would not "have the freedom to properly communicate the Revolution."[128]

KMT emblem removal case[edit]

In 1981, Lily Sun took a trip to Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing. The emblem of the KMT had been removed from the top of his sacrificial hall at the time of her visit but was later restored. On another visit in May 2011, she was surprised to find the four-character "General Rules of Meetings" (會議通則), a document that Sun wrote in reference to Robert's Rules of Order had been removed from a stone carving.[128]

Founding father of the nation debate[edit]

In 1940, the Republic of China (ROC) government had bestowed the title of "father of the nation" on Sun. However, after 1949, as a result of the Chiang regime's arrival in Taiwan, his "father of the nation" designation continued only in Taiwan.[130]

Sun visited Taiwan briefly on only three occasions (in 1900, 1913, and 1918) or four by counting 1924, when his boat had stopped in Keelung Harbor, but he did not disembark.[130]

In November 2004, the Taiwanese Ministry of Education proposed that Sun was not the father of Taiwan. Instead, Sun was a foreigner from mainland China.[131] Taiwanese Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng and the Examination Yuan member Lin Yu-ti [zh], both of whom supported the proposal, had their portraits pelted with eggs in protest.[132] At a Sun Yat-sen statue in Kaohsiung, a 70-year-old retired soldier of the Republic of China committed suicide on Sun's birthday, 12 November, to protest the ministry's proposal.[131][132]


Economic development[edit]

Sun Yat-sen spent years in Hawaii as a student in the late 1870s and early 1880s and was highly impressed with the economic development that he saw there. He used the Kingdom of Hawaii as a model to develop his vision of a technologically modern, politically independent, actively anti-imperialist China.[133] Sun, an important pioneer of international development, proposed in the 1920s international institutions of the sort that appeared after World War II. He focused on China, with its vast potential and weak base of mostly local entrepreneurs.[134]

His key proposal was socialism. He proposed:

The State will take over all the large enterprises; we shall encourage and protect enterprises which may reasonably be entrusted to the people; the nation will possess equality with other nations; every Chinese will be equal to every other Chinese both politically and in his opportunities of economic advancement.[135]

He also proposed, "If we use existing foreign capital to build up a future communist society in China, half the work will bring double the results."[136][137][138] He also said, "It is my idea to make capitalism create socialism in China."[139][140]

Sun promoted the ideas of the economist Henry George and was influenced by Georgist ideas on land ownership and a land value tax.[141][142]


Sun supported natalism and had eugenic ideals.[143]: 41  He favored premarital health examinations, sterilization of those perceived as unfit, and other programs for socially engineering China's population.[143]: 41–42  In Sun's view, China had only endured Western invasions and colonial rule because of its large population.[143]: 41  Those views led him to oppose the use of birth control.[143]: 41 


Sun was a proponent of Pan-Asianism. He said that Asia was the "cradle of the world's oldest civilisation" and that "even the ancient civilisations of the West, of Greece and Rome, had their origins on Asiatic soil." He thought that it was only in recent times that Asians "gradually degenerated and become weak."[144] For Sun, "Pan-Asianism is based on the principle of the Rule of Right, and justifies the avenging of wrongs done to others." He advocated overthrowing the Western "Rule of Might" and "seeking a civilisation of peace and equality and the emancipation of all races."[145]


Lu Muzhen, Sun's first wife
Kaoru Otsuki, Sun's Japanese teenage wife
Fumiko, daughter of Sun and Kaoru

Sun Yat-sen was born to Sun Dacheng (孫達成) and his wife, Lady Yang (楊氏) on 12 November 1866.[146] At the time, his father was 53, and his mother was 38 years old. He had an older brother, Sun Dezhang (孫德彰), and an older sister, Sun Jinxing (孫金星), who died at the early age of 4. Another older brother, Sun Deyou (孫德祐), died at the age of 6. He also had an older sister, Sun Miaoqian (孫妙茜), and a younger sister, Sun Qiuqi (孫秋綺).[29]

At age 20, Sun had an arranged marriage with the fellow villager Lu Muzhen. She bore a son, Sun Fo, and two daughters, Sun Jinyuan (孫金媛) and Sun Jinwan (孫金婉).[29] Sun Fo was the grandfather of Leland Sun, who spent 37 years working in Hollywood as an actor and stuntman.[147] Sun Yat-sen was also the godfather of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger, an American author and poet who wrote under the name Cordwainer Smith.

Sun's first concubine, the Hong Kong-born Chen Cuifen, lived in Taiping, Perak (now in Malaysia) for 17 years. The couple adopted a local girl as their daughter. Cuifen subsequently relocated to China, where she died.[148]

During Sun's exile in Japan, he had relationships with two Japanese women: the 15-year-old Haru Asada, whom he took as a concubine up to her death in 1902, and another 15-year-old schoolgirl, Kaoru Otsuki, whom Sun married in 1905 and abandoned the next year while she was pregnant.[149] Otsuki later had their daughter, Fumiko, adopted by the Miyagawa family in Yokohama, who did not discover her parentage until 1951,[149] 26 years after Sun's death.

On 25 October 1915 in Japan, Sun married Soong Ching-ling, one of the Soong sisters.[29][150] Soong Ching-ling's father was the American-educated Methodist minister Charles Soong, who made a fortune in banking and in printing of Bibles. Although Charles had been a personal friend of Sun, he was enraged by Sun announcing his intention to marry Ching-ling because while Sun was a Christian, he kept two wives: Lu Muzhen and Kaoru Otsuki. Soong viewed Sun's actions as running directly against their shared religion.

Soong Ching-Ling's sister, Soong Mei-ling, later married Chiang Kai-shek.

Cultural references[edit]

Memorials and structures in Asia[edit]

Aerial perspective of Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, in central Singapore, taken in 2016

In most major Chinese cities, one of the main streets is Zhongshan Lu (中山路) to celebrate Sun's memory. There are also numerous parks, schools, and geographical features named after him. Xiangshan, Sun's hometown in Guangdong, was renamed Zhongshan in his honor, and there is a hall dedicated to his memory at the Temple of Azure Clouds in Beijing. There are also a series of Sun Yat-sen stamps.

Other references to Sun include the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung. Other structures include Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall subway station, Sun Yat-sen house in Nanjing, Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum in Hong Kong, Chung-Shan Building, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei and Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall in Singapore. Zhongshan Memorial Middle School has also been a name used by many schools. Zhongshan Park is also a common name used for a number of places named after him. The first highway in Taiwan is called the Sun Yat-sen expressway. Two ships are also named after him; the Chinese gunboat Chung Shan and the Chinese cruiser Yat Sen. The old Chinatown in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), India, has the prominent Sun Yat-sen Street.

In Russia, a village in Mikhaylovsky District of Primorsky Krai was named Sunyatsenskoe in honor of him. There are streets named after him in Astrakhan, Ufa and Aldan. There was a street that was named after Sun in the Russian city of Omsk until 2005, when it was renamed in honor of the recipient of the title Hero of Soviet Union Mikhail Ivanovich Leonov.[151][152][153][154]

In George Town, Penang, Malaysia, the Penang Philomatic Union had its premises at 120 Armenian Street in 1910, while Sun spent more than four months in Penang and convened the historic "Penang Conference" to launch the fundraising campaign for the Huanghuagang Uprising and founded the Kwong Wah Yit Poh. The house, which has been preserved as the Sun Yat-sen Museum (formerly called the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base), was visited by President-designate Hu Jintao in 2002. The Penang Philomatic Union subsequently moved to a bungalow at 65 Macalister Road, which has been preserved as the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Centre Penang.

As a dedication, the 1966 Chinese Cultural Renaissance was launched on Sun's birthday on 12 November.[155]

The Nanyang Wan Qing Yuan in Singapore have since been preserved and renamed as the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.[71] A Sun Yat-sen heritage trail was also launched on 20 November 2010 in Penang.[156]

Sun's Hawaiian birth certificate, which claimed that he was not born in China but in the United States, was on public display at the American Institute in Taiwan on US Independence Day on 4 July 2011.[157]

A street in Medan, Indonesia, is named "Jalan Sun Yat-Sen" in honor of him.[158]

A street named "Tôn Dật Tiên" (the Sino-Vietnamese name for Sun Yat-Sen) is located in Phú Mỹ Hưng Urban Area, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The "Trail of Dr. Sun Yat Sen and His Comrades in Ipoh"[159] was established in 2019, based on the book "Road to Revolution: Dr. Sun Yat Sen and His Comrades in Ipoh."[160]


Memorials and structures outside Asia[edit]

Sun Yat-Sen monument in Chinatown area of Los Angeles, California
Sun Yat-Sen sculpture by Joe Rosenthal at Riverdale Park in Toronto, Ontario

St. John's University, in New York City, has a facility built in 1973, the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall, which built to resemble a traditional Chinese building in honor of Sun.[161] Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, located in Vancouver, is the largest classical Chinese gardens outside Asia. The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park is in Chinatown, Honolulu.[162] On the island of Maui, the little Sun Yat-sen Park at Kamaole is near where his older brother had a ranch on the slopes of Haleakala in the Kula region.[16][17][18][49]

In Los Angeles, there is a seated statue of him in Central Plaza.[163] In Sacramento, California, there is a bronze statue of Sun in front of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Sacramento. Another statue of Sun, by Joe Rosenthal, can be found at Riverdale Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and there is another statue in Toronto's downtown Chinatown. There is also the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. In Chinatown, San Francisco is a 12-foot statue of Sun on Saint Mary's Square.[164]

In late 2011, the Chinese Youth Society of Melbourne, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, unveiled in a lion dance blessing ceremony a memorial statue of Sun outside the Chinese Museum in the city's Chinatown on the spot that its traditional Chinese New Year lion dance always ends.[165]

Sun Yat-Sen plaza in the Chinese Quarter of Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1993, Lily Sun, one of Sun Yat-sen's granddaughters, donated books, photographs, artwork and other memorabilia to the Kapiʻolani Community College library as part of the Sun Yat-sen Asian Collection.[166] During October and November every year the entire collection is shown.[166] In 1997, the Dr Sun Yat-sen Hawaii Foundation was formed online as a virtual library.[166] In 2006, the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Spirit called one of the hills that was explored "Zhongshan."[167]

In 2019, a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen by Lu Chun-Hsiung and Michael Kang was permanently installed in the northern plaza of Manhattan's Columbus Park.[168][169]

In popular culture[edit]


Dr. Sun Yat-sen[170] (中山逸仙; ZhōngShān yì xiān) is a 2011 Chinese-language western-style opera in three acts by the New York-based American composer Huang Ruo, who was born in China and is a graduate of Oberlin College's Conservatory as well as the Juilliard School. The libretto was written by Candace Mui-ngam Chong, a recent collaborator with playwright David Henry Hwang.[171] It was performed in Hong Kong in October 2011 and was given its North America premiere on 26 July 2014 at the Santa Fe Opera.

Television series and films[edit]

Sun Yat-sen's life is portrayed in various films, mainly The Soong Sisters and Road to Dawn. A fictionalized assassination attempt on his life was featured in Bodyguards and Assassins. He is also portrayed during his struggle to overthrow the Qing dynasty in Once Upon a Time in China II. The television series Towards the Republic features Ma Shaohua as Sun. In 1911, a film commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, Winston Chao played Sun.[172] In Space: Above and Beyond, one of the starships of the China Navy is named the Sun Yat-sen.[173]


In 2010, the theatrical play Yellow Flower on Slopes (斜路黃花) was created and performed.[174]

In 2011, the Mandopop group Zhongsan Road 100 (中山路100號) was known for singing the song "Our Father of the Nation" (我們國父).[175]


  • Kidnapped in London (1897)
  • The Outline of National Reconstruction/Chien Kuo Ta Kang (1918)
  • The Fundamentals of National Reconstruction/Jianguo fanglue (1924)
  • The Principle of Nationalism (1953)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In this Chinese name, the family name is Sun.
  2. ^ Also known by several other names.
    Sun's most common names in English and Chinese respectively are listed, but his common English name was originally derived from one of his less common Chinese names.
  1. ^ Contrary to a popular legend, Sun entered the Legation voluntarily although he was prevented from leaving. The Legation planned to execute him and to return his body to Beijing for ritual beheading. Cantlie, his former teacher, was refused a writ of habeas corpus because of the Legation's diplomatic immunity, but he began a campaign through The Times. Through diplomatic channels, the British Foreign Office persuaded the Legation to release Sun.[51]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Bergère, Marie-Claire (2000). Sun Yat-sen. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804740119. online free to borrow
  • Buck, Pearl S., The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-sen (1953) online, popular biography by famous writer
  • Chen, Stephen, and Robert Payne. Sun Yat Sen A Portrait (1946) online
  • Cheng, Chu-yuan ed. Sun Yat-sen's Doctrine In The Modern World (1989)
  • D'Elia, Paschal M. Sun Yat-sen. His Life and Its Meaning, a Critical Biography (1936)
  • Du, Yue. "Sun Yat-sen as Guofu: Competition over Nationalist Party Orthodoxy in the Second Sino-Japanese War." Modern China 45.2 (2019): 201–235.
  • Jansen, Marius B. The Japanese and Sun Yat-sen (1967) online
  • Kayloe, Tjio. The Unfinished Revolution: Sun Yat-Sen and the Struggle for Modern China (2017). excerpt
  • Khoo, Salma Nasution. Sun Yat Sen in Penang (Areca Books, 2008).
  • Lee, Lai To; Lee, Hock Guan, eds. (2011). Sun Yat-Sen, Nanyang and the 1911 Revolution. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 978-9814345460.
  • Linebarger, Paul M.A. Political Doctrines Of Sun Yat-sen (1937) online free
  • Martin, Bernard. Sun Yat-sen's vision for China (1966)
  • Restarick, Henry B., Sun Yat-sen, Liberator of China. (Yale UP, 1931)
  • Schiffrin, Harold Z. "The Enigma of Sun Yat-sen" in Mary Wright, ed., China in Revolution: The First Phase 1900-1913 (1968) pp 443–476.
  • Schiffrin, Harold Z. Sun Yat-sen: Reluctant Revolutionary (1980)
  • Schiffrin, Harold Z. Sun Yat-sen and the origins of the Chinese revolution (1968).
  • Shen, Stephen and Robert Payne. Sun Yat-Sen: A Portrait (1946) online free
  • Soong, Irma Tam. "Sun Yat-sen's Christian Schooling in Hawai'i." The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 31 (1997) online Archived 10 October 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  • Wilbur, Clarence Martin. Sun Yat-sen, frustrated patriot (Columbia University Press, 1976), a major scholarly biography online
  • Yu, George T. "The 1911 Revolution: Past, Present, and Future", Asian Survey, 31#10 (1991), pp. 895–904, online historiography

External links[edit]

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