Childhood & Early Life
Sun Yat-Sen was born on 12 November 1866 to in a peasant family in the Village of Cuiheng Xiangshan County near Macau. After completing primary education Sun moved to Honolulu to live with his elder brother Sun Mei, who had become a wealthy merchant there. With his brother’s financial support Sun Yat gave up his professional career and devoted himself to the revolutionary activities. Initially not capable of speaking the English language, Sun Yat studied English, mathematics and science at the Iolani School in 1882 and received a prize for his outstanding performance in English. After receiving the citizenship of America he enrolled in Oahu College and graduated from there.
From the very beginning, Sun Yat was highly influenced by Abraham Lincoln’s idea of republicanism; government of the people, by the people, for the people. Based upon the same he formulated his three principles of the people widely known as nationalism, socialism and sovereignty. Later in life he drafted two books which echo these ideas; The Vital Problem of China (1917) and International Development of China (1921). He harshly criticized the colonialism and discarded the idea of Marxism declaring that the goal the Three Principles of People is to generate socialism and anarchy in the society.
Meanwhile he came back to China in 1883 for sometime and what he saw in a backward China deeply moved him, making him scornful towards Chinese religious beliefs. Fearing a rage among his fellow village people he deserted to Hong Kong where he converted to Christianity and was baptized by an American Missionary. There, he studied English at the Anglican Diocesan Home and was moved to the Central School of Hong Kong in 1884. Sun further studied medicine and earned a license of medical practice from the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese in 1892. He married a village girl Lu Muzhen with whom he had three children, including two daughters.
Sun stepped into revolutionary activities when the Qing government adopted an extremely conservative approach in promoting advanced techniques and education in China. He gave up his medical practice to contribute to the transformation of China into a western style constitutional power. Sun established the Revive China Society in 1894 as his first step towards a full fledges revolutionary activity in order to bring forth a Republic China. Sun was given an exile for nineteen years after a coup he plotted failed in 1895. During the period, he traveled to Europe, the United States, Japan and Canada raising fund for his revolutionary activities and joined dissident Chinese group in Japan, where he spent the maximum years of the exile. After spending almost ten years in Japan, he went to the United States.
On 10 October 1911, a military rebellion at Wunchang ended over thousand years of monarchy in China. Sun Yat returned to china and was elected as the provisional President of the Republic of China in a meeting of representatives from provinces on 29 December 1911. January 1, 1912 became the first day of the first Year of the Republic; thus making a calendar system that is still used in many parts of China. Sun’s revolution had seen a series of defeats before the establishment of the Republic of China and with the new found success of the revolution, Sun became known as the National Father of Modern China. His Method and Strategies of Establishing the Country came in 1919, suggesting his idea to promote peace, freedom and equality in China.
Republic of China
After assuming the power, Sun Yat-Sen called for the leaders of all provinces to elect new senators in order to establish the National Assembly of the Republic of China. Once the Assembly was formed, the provisional law of the Republic became the basic law of the nation. In 1913 Sun led a futile coup against Yuan, the head of the Beiyang Army, whom he had promised the presidency of the New Republic if he helped him abolish the Qing Emperor. Failing his promise, Yuan had declared himself the new emperor to Sun’s disdain. However, his dictatorship came to an end in 1916 and he was forced to step down from the throne. After the failed coup of 1913, Sun escaped to Japan where he reorganized the Kuomintang. On 25 October, 1915 Sun married to Soong ching-ling without divorcing his first wife Lu Muzhen, despite furious resistance from the Chinese community.
Militarist Government in China
During 1910’s the Chinese people saw the country divided by military leaders without locating a central government. Enraged by the division, Sun returned to China in 1917 and established a military government in Guangzhou, Southern China in 1921 to fight for its unification. He was elected as President and generalissimo of the military government.
According to a speech delivered by him in Hong Kong in 1923, it was the corruption and disorder of China and a stable government of Hong Kong that created a revolutionary within him. He described his Three Principles of the People as the basic guidelines for a stable government. The part of his famous speech in Hong Kong made its presence into the National Anthem of the republic of China. Sun Yat established the Whampoa Military Academy near Guangzhou in order to combat military forces. However, the legitimacy of the militarist government was questioned and opposed by the Beiyang Government on the basis of constitution and its policies.
Sun Yat-sen was reelected as the president of the Kuomintang on 10 October 1919 and remained in his position until 12 March 1925. Having failed in his initial efforts, Sun embarked on consolidating alliance with Chinese communists and adopted a policy of Active Corporation. He viewed the Military forces as the only weapon to unify China and establish a democracy in the country.
North Expedition & Death
In his later life, Sun actively participated in organizing seminars and gave extensive speech calling upon Chinese people to discuss the future of the country despite his worsening health. After delivering a speech in North on 10 November 1924 Sun gave another famous speech in Japan on 28th of the month and initiated a peace talk with the Northern leaders on the unification of China. Though he did not live to see his country unified for he died of Liver cancer on 12 March 1925 in a hospital in Beijing.
Soong Ching-ling repudiate the communists and became the Vice President of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and served till 1981. Before her death in late 1981, she came in charge of the presidency of the Republic of China for sometime.
Known as a Chinese nationalist and proto-socialist Sun Yat –sen is revered as the Forerunner of the Chinese Revolution, who lived and died for a cause. His name is mentioned in the preface to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China as an honor to him.