Exhibition to review Dr Sun Yat-sen's road to revolution
About 90 artefacts and historical photographs which reveal Dr Sun Yat-sen's road to revolution will be on display at the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum from tomorrow (September 17) to March 16, 2011.
Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Guangzhou Museum, "Revolution Once More: Dr Sun Yat-sen from Xing Zhong Hui to the Governments in Guangzhou" features exhibits on loan from the Guangzhou Museum as well as the Hong Kong Museum of History. The exhibition offers important insights into the 1911 Revolution and earlier uprisings, Dr Sun's establishment of governments in Guangzhou as well as the lives and deeds of comrades such as Huang Xing, Zhu Zhixin and Liao Zhongkai.
The exhibition was opened today (September 16) by the Assistant Director (Heritage and Museums) of the Leisure and Cultural Services, Dr Louis Ng Chi-wa, the Curator of the Guangzhou Museum, Dr Cheng Chujie, and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of History, Ms Esa Leung Kit-ling.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Ng noted that Dr Sun Yat-sen spent his adult life fighting for China. From the founding of the Xing Zhong Hui (Revive China Society) in 1894 up to his death in Beijing in 1925, Dr Sun Yat-sen encountered numerous setbacks and frustrations. He saw many of his revolutionary comrades sacrifice their lives for the cause, witnessed Yuan Shikai hijack the success of the 1911 Revolution, experienced the failures of the Second Revolution and the Movements for the Protection of the Constitution, and survived the mutiny led by Chen Jiongming. Yet with immense perseverance, he pursued his revolutionary ideals, searching for ways to save China and building a better future for its people.
"The year 2011 is the centenary of the 1911 Revolution. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department joins with the Guangzhou Museum to present this exhibition. We hope that while learning about the noble deeds of Dr Sun Yat-sen and his revolutionary comrades, visitors will also be touched by their persistence and determination in fighting for the nation and the people," Dr Ng said.
During his early days as a student, Dr Sun Yat-sen was a keen observer of national affairs. In June 1894, Dr Sun requested an opportunity to propose strategies for China's future prosperity to Li Hongzhang, the Commissioner of Trade for the Northern Ports and Governor-General of Zhili province, but Li did not receive him. In frustration with the imperial court, Dr Sun resolved to overthrow the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
On November 24, 1894, Dr Sun founded the Xing Zhong Hui in Honolulu with the motto "revive China and rescue the country from the dangerous situation" and it is remembered as the first organisation to advocate revolution in modern China. Despite the failure of the Guangzhou uprising in 1895 and the Huizhou uprising in 1900, Dr Sun still actively co-ordinated different revolutionary groups and advocated the establishment of one revolutionary organisation. On July 30, 1905, members of the Xing Zhong Hui, Hua Xing Hui (Society for the Revival of China) and Guang Fu Hui (Restoration Society) met in Tokyo and established a new society, the Tong Meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance), and Dr Sun was elected president.
The Tong Meng Hui promoted revolutionary ideas with newspapers and publications and supported armed uprisings through overseas donations and issuing bonds. It also actively sought connections with overseas Chinese, students, societies and soldiers in the New Army. This rapid networking laid the foundations for the nascent movement. Dr Sun had launched 10 armed uprisings which paved the way for the success of the Wuchang uprising on October 10, 1911. On January 1, 1912, Dr Sun was sworn in as the Provisional President of the Republic of China in Nanjing.
Afterwards, the provisional government held negotiations with Yuan Shikai, the former prime minister of the Qing court. In the mistaken belief that Yuan supported a constitutional republic, Dr Sun agreed to resign from his position as provisional president and recommend Yuan Shikai as his successor on April 1, 1912. However, Yuan Shikai pursued his plan to establish a dictatorship. He proclaimed himself president for life and accepted Japan's humiliating and extortionate "Twenty-One Demands". Dr Sun then reorganised the Tong Meng Hui into a new political party, the Nationalist Party, and united local armies to dethrone Yuan. The Second Revolution then began. In March 1916, Yuan was forced to abandon his plans to reinstall a monarchy, and in June he died in anger and frustration.
After Yuan Shikai's death, China was divided up among numerous warlords. To defend the republic and the "Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China", Dr Sun launched the Movement for the Protection of the Constitution and established three successive governments in Guangzhou where he was elected the Grand Marshal of the Navy and Army, the Extraordinary President, and the Army and Navy Grand Marshal of the Republic of China.
Learning painful lessons from the failures of the Movements for the Protection of the Constitution and the betrayal by Chen Jiongming, and understanding the critical importance of building up the party's own armed forces, Dr Sun was determined to set up the Army Officers' Academy of the Chinese Nationalist Party. With assistance from the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party, the Whampoa Military Academy opened on June 16, 1924, taking its name from its location on Changzhou Island in Whampoa, Guangzhou. At the time it was established, Dr Sun served as the honorary premier and Chiang Kai-shek was appointed commandant. The academy placed equal emphasis on training cadets in military and political affairs with the motto "Qin, Ai, Jing and Cheng" (strive for the best, earnest and sincere). Known for training exceptional officers, the academy was hailed as the "cradle of China's military talent".
At the invitation of the warlord Feng Yuxiang, Dr Sun went to Beijing in November 1924 to discuss national affairs. Before setting off for Beijing, Dr Sun addressed supporters in Guangzhou with the "Manifesto of the Northwards Journey", making clear that the aim of his visit was to abolish all unequal treaties and call a national meeting for China's unification. However, he was already ill when he reached Tianjin on December 4, and his condition had deteriorated significantly by the time he arrived in Beijing. He was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer soon afterwards and passed away on March 12, 1925, at the age of 59. His grand funeral was held in 1929 and he was laid to rest in the Dr Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing.
To tie in with the exhibition, a series of lectures, video shows and workshops will be held during the exhibition period. A free lecture entitled "He Xiangning and Liao Zhongkai" will be held on November 20 from 3pm to 5pm. To be conducted in Cantonese, the lecture will be given by Professor Wong Yin-lee, Department of History, Hong Kong Baptist University. Reservation is required.
The Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum is at 7 Castle Road, Mid-levels, Central, Hong Kong. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission fee is $10 with a half-price concession for full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
For details, please visit the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum's website at http://hk.drsunyatsen.museum or call 2367 6373.
Ends/Thursday, September 16, 2010
On November 24, 1894, Dr Sun Yat-sen founded the Xing Zhong Hui (Revive China Society) in Honolulu. Picture shows the Lee Chong's house, where Xing Zhong Hui members swore allegiance to the society. (This picture is provided by the Kuomintang Archives.)
This picture capturing Dr Sun Yat-sen, Soong Ching-ling and staff of the Grand Marshal's Office in the back garden was taken in March 1918. Under the plan of the southwestern warlords, the office of the Grand Marshal was removed from the government structure in April 1918 and replaced by the Seven Directors System. As one of the seven directors, Dr Sun found his influence waning, and in May he resigned from his position and returned to Shanghai. (The picture is provided by the Guangzhou Museum.)
The Whampoa Military Academy was the first modern military training institution in China. At the time it was established, Dr Sun Yat-sen served as the honorary premier, Chiang Kai-shek was appointed commandant, and Liao Zhongkai served as the Nationalist Party's representative. Picture shows Dr Sun reviewing cadets of the academy after the opening ceremony. (This picture is provided by N.C.N. Limited.)