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Sun Yat-sen

(1866—1925) Chinese Kuomintang statesman

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(b. 12 Nov. 1866, d. 12 Mar. 1925).

President of the Republic of China 1911–12, 1917–18, 1921–5 Born into a peasant family in southern China (Guandong province), fifteen miles from Macao, he joined his brother in Hawaii, where he was educated. He graduated from the Hong Kong College of Medicine in 1892. Appalled by the corruption and the weakness of China which led to its disastrous performance in the Sino‐Japanese War of 1894–5, he plotted an uprising in Guangzhou (Canton), but was discovered and fled to Japan. There, he founded the Revolutionary Alliance in 1905, based on the Three Principles of the People: nationalism, democracy, people's livelihood. From exile, he organized a number of unsuccessful uprisings in 1907 and 1908, but in 1911 he was able to return to China after the successful Wuchang Revolution.

Although he was elected President of the Republic of China in Nanjing (Nanking), he resigned almost immediately to make way for Yuan Shikai. The two men were soon at odds, which forced Sun into exile once again. In 1914, he married Song Qingling. He returned to China after Yuan's death in 1916. He struggled hard to reunite and develop the revolutionary movement and establish his authority over the various warlords on whose support he depended. After forming a series of short‐lived governments, in 1921 he set up a National Government in Guangzhou (Canton), but again he lacked the support necessary to widen his base. At last, he changed tactics. With help from Comintern, he reorganized the Guomindang, and extended his Three Principles by the Three Policies: alliances with the Communist Party, the Soviet Union, and the workers and peasants. He set up the pivotal Whampoa Military Academy under Chiang Kai‐shek, which trained the future leaders of the Nationalist movement. In 1924, he was elected president for life of the Guomindang. Though success came to Sun only in the last two years of his life, this sufficed to make him be remembered as the ‘Father’ of the Chinese Republic. His significance also came from his posthumous importance, when his legacy was fashioned in opposite directions to legitimize both Communists and Nationalists.

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