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Founding of the Chinese Revolutionary League in America.


The Zhongguo Tongmenghui (Chinese Revolutionary League) (1) of San Francisco, California, was nominally founded in spring 1910. In reality this group had already been in existence since spring 1909, when it used the name Shao'nian Xueshe (Young China Association). Its stated objective was to explore the fields of learning, but in reality it was an embryonic organization of the Chinese Revolutionary League. At that time members of the Baohuangdang (Protect the Emperor Party) (2) still possessed some economic power in the Chinese community Mindful that we were still a fledgling organization, we felt that it would be inappropriate for us to challenge them on a grand scale. Hence we took the name of Young China Association to specifically target our efforts toward the youth, while allowing our power to grow to the point when we could openly identify ourselves as the Chinese Revolutionary League. The four central figures in this association were: Li Shi'nan (Lee See Nam), (3) Huang Boyao (Wong Bock You), (4) Li Wang (Lee Wong), and myself, who were all local and native-born and traced our ancestries to Xinning County (name changed to Taishan after the founding of the Republic). We were also members of the Native Sons of the Golden State (NSGS), (5) with Wong Bock You and me being officers. Because of this we saw each other practically every night at the NSGS clubroom, where we could exchange views if necessary or merely chat about how issues of concern to NSGS itself and to Chinese overseas could be traced to China's weak political standing that led to the deterioration in the status of the Chinese overseas, so Americans could discriminate against us indiscriminately. After a while we began discussing China's political issues--the question of continuing support for the monarchy or revolution. At that time the Baohuangdang was not just hoodwinking the Chinese, but they were blatantly against revolution. We calculated that the Baohuangdang had reached the end of the road, yet we were apprehensive that the new revolutionary forces had not taken root among the Chinese.

At that time there was a Chee Kung Tong organization (corresponding to the Triad secret society in China) that could be said as to be representative of the revolutionary forces among the Chinese. Regrettably, the organization was steeped in superstitious and feudal thinking, which was not compatible with intellectuals who held modern attitudes. Thus even though relations were superficially harmonious, in reality the two groups were incompatible. It could be said that the founding of the Chee Kung Tong organ, the Chinese Free Press, was due to the influence of progressive ideas, yet even though the organization had many members, there was no one who was an ardent enough supporter of the group's mission to overthrow the Qing and restore the Ming dynasty to take on the newspaper's editorship. Instead Ou Jujia (6) from the Baohuangdang organ Mon Hing Yat Po had to be hired to serve concurrently at both papers. Ou Jujia soon secretly departed and the Chee Kung Tong had to ask Sun Yat-sen, who recommended Liu Chengyu (7) for the post. These developments show that the Chee Kung Tong at the time lacked capable people and that much work awaited our small group of American-born youth.


Since the spring of 1905, a number of native-born had begun to recognize the necessity of having an organization to maintain liaisons with one another. Wong Bock You and I were elected to do publicity for forming an organization of the native-born. When the Native Sons of the Golden States was founded, Wong Bock You and I were elected English secretary and Chinese secretary, respectively Wong Bock You was my close childhood friend, and we used to play together. As we grew older, we became classmates at a private traditional Chinese school and then at the English-language Oriental School (9) and the Chinese-language Daqing Academy He was the son of the owner of Wing Sun Mortuary. Soon after his father passed away, he assumed management of the business. He was also a Chee Kung Tong member, and therefore he had a wide range of acquaintances. After Wong Bock You and I were elected English and Chinese secretaries, we saw each other practically every night at NSGS headquarters, located on the second floor of a building on Clay Street. It was convenient to get to so that people could come and go as they wished. NSGS members were all young people, and their conversation topics varied widely. Some chatted about music; others talked about clothing and fashion. Others dwelt on the rules of English pronunciation and errors that occurred in transliterating foreign terms into Chinese. There were also those who discussed how the English-language press deliberately slanted articles about Chinese to give negative impressions. But the topic of conversation for Wong Bock You and me was mostly the current events in China published in the Chinese newspapers. Sometimes we also discussed editorials from Hong Kong and Shanghai newspapers.

News about the founding of the Chinese Revolutionary League had already spread among the Chinese in America during the winter of 1905. Soon afterward, the initial issue of Min Bao, the Revolutionary League's news organ (10) was being sold at the Chinese Free Press. The founding editorial of Min Bao expounded on Sun Yat-sen's political program, the Sanminzhuyi (three principles of the people). I was already elated with his two principles of minzu (nationalism) and minquan (democracy), but I was particularly attracted by his minsheng zhuyi (principle of people's livelihood).

Prior to this, I had not paid much attention to news items in the English-language press about workers' strikes demanding wage increases since the issues did not affect me and also because I did not understand the root causes of the problem. It was only after I finished reading this founding editorial that I understood that joint strikes and proposals and demands of socialist labor unions all had their objectives and were not merely deliberate attempts to foment trouble. Earlier I had read numerous books advocating revolution. I felt that even though the ideas put forth in Zhang Binglin's Bo Kang Youwei lun geming shu (Refutation of Kang Youwei's Views on Revolution) and Zou Rong's Geming jun (The Revolutionary Army) (11) were incisive, they still only covered the principles of nationalism and democracy. As for people's livelihood, it was a principle still not widely recognized at that time and was an original concept advocated by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

After the initial issue of Min Bao, the topics discussed in the evening conversations between Wong Bock You and me not only increased in number, but our understanding and faith in the revolution also increased. At that time as we discussed with fervor, we often wished that the Revolutionary League would send an emissary to America to preach the revolution so that we could have the opportunity to join and help advance the cause. But no such person appeared during the winter of 1905 or the spring of 1906.


Not long afterward, an unprecedented disaster hit San Francisco--the great earthquake that occurred on the morning of April 18, 1906, and the subsequent fire. All residences and businesses in Chinatown as well as non-Chinese residences were destroyed. The city did not begin to rebuild until several months afterward. NSGS also rented a room at the old site to resume activities. I also moved back to San Francisco from Oakland in the winter of 1906. During this period, Wong Bock You and I had few opportunities to meet since we were both busy making a living. But by 1907 both Wong Bock You and I, through our discussions, had gradually developed a better understanding of the principal issues of the revolution.

Upon my return to San Francisco I moved into a rear room at the International Chinese Business Directory of the World Company founded by Huang Jin (Wong Kin), an old friend. (12) The company was still preparing to open, and Wong invited me to write some publicity items. He said that he would remunerate me after the business officially began functioning. Meanwhile he would not charge me any rent for the room. I agreed and worked at the office daily for one or two hours. There were not many publicity items to write, but I found that quite a number of people came to the office to seek Wong King help. Among these were two that I came to know quite well and who later became key individuals in the early years of the Revolutionary League. One was Huang Yunsu (Wong Wan Sue) (13) and the other, Huang Chaowu (Wong Chew Ng, also known as Wong Wing Tuck). (14) They were both scholars who had passed the imperial examinations at the county level (xiucai).

But they had been influenced by the new ideological trends and voluntarily paid their own way to come to America for an education. After arriving in San Francisco, each was helped by friends and relatives and temporarily did not have to worry about living expenses; however, this was a situation that could not go on indefinitely, and they felt that they had to find some means of support on a long-term basis before they could continue with their studies. Probably at the suggestion of relatives and friends, they came to seek Wong Kin's help because the latter had a reputation of being like a roadside Earth god in that he was responsive to all requests. Wong Kin immediately agreed and willingly went about seeking help.

From then on, the duo would come to the office daily or every other day to find out from Wong Kin if there were any new developments. Every time they came, I would engage them in conversation on topics ranging from their individual circumstances to national issues such as the future of China. Within ten days, I had reached a good understanding of their characters and aspirations.

Wong Wan Sue's original intention after becoming a xiucai was to continue advancing along that path. After the imperial examinations were abolished, (15) he took and passed an examination to enter the fangyan xuetang (foreign language school). Afterward he transferred to the preparatory course for studying abroad so that after completion he could be sponsored by the government to study abroad. For some unknown reason, the course was halted part of the way through the semester. Wong then had to change course and raise funds to support his studying abroad. His motives were not mercenary, his personality sincere, his deportment cordial, and he was skillful in social interactions.

Wong Wan Sue had an objective in seeking Wong Kin. Not long after he arrived in San Francisco, he became cognizant of the fact that Chinatown did not have facilities to teach children the Chinese language. Therefore he proposed to Wong Kin that Chinatown should have a two-level primary school (16) to educate the progeny of Chinese in America. Once this school was established, he could be the principal, which would solve his financial problems in supporting his education in America.

Wong Chew Ng was also a xiucai. He had not studied at any school and did not have much empathy with the new wave of thinking. He was a scholar without character who was alleged to have had numerous addictions and quickly spent any money that got into his hands. He had borrowed money from many people. When the debtors pressed him for repayment, he was forced to indenture himself to go to Southeast Asia. After his arrival, he could not endure the harsh working conditions and had to reveal his background. Afterward a wealthy man surnamed Huang (Wong) from Xinning ransomed him and paid his passage to return to China. Although he said that his coming to America was to get an education using his own financial resources, he was already thirty-three years old and he still had to spend several years to learn English before he could even continue his education. I felt that his announced intention of being a self-supporting student was only a facade. His secret intention was to earn enough money to defray his living expenses, and he was not particularly concerned whether he could successfully enroll in school or complete his education.

After I knew the two better, I liked chatting with them. They both were also good conversationalists, and often we carried on for one to two hours covering a wide range of topics such as literature, politics, and China's future. We also discussed the current debate on the establishment of a constitutional monarchy versus revolutionary change in China. Wong Wan Sue felt that talk of establishing a constitutional monarchy sounded easy but would be difficult to implement since several prominent older officials and Manchu nobles were diehards, especially their leader the Empress Dowager. (17) They continued to rule merely to enjoy the pleasures of life in their declining years. What did they care about the strength of the nation or its future? Looking at the 1898 coup d'etat alone would be sufficient proof that it would be difficult to have a constitutional monarchy in China. As for revolution, even though it would be very difficult, recent news reports that there had been continued insurrection in spite of repeated defeats showed that it was the trend of political developments and people's wishes. In the end, the difficulties would be overcome and building a wealthy and strong nation would be assured. When I listened to his discourse, I invariably gave him an understanding smile.

The political views of Wong Chew Ng were basically similar, but he, on the other hand, liked literary works, and he especially liked to discuss the Buddhist canons. He probably had read quite a few Buddhist classics. I asked him why he liked Buddhist works so much, and he answered that the Buddhist classics had broken new ground in literature during the Six Dynasties when they wrote in a style mixing the classical and the vernacular. Many terms were now used by members of the literati, and one could apply them inappropriately if one was unfamiliar with the Buddhist classics and original intent of the terms.

I liked to be with these two new friends since there was always some conversation topic whenever we met each other, no matter whether it was mutual discussion and exploration of subjects or debating and correcting each other. Invariably we treated the topics like peeling the spring bamboo shoot, layer by layer, until we reached the deepest part of the core, then we laughed and stopped.

Of the two, I liked to be near Wong Wan Sue. When he first arrived in San Francisco, he lived temporarily with his friend, whose place was rather far from Chinatown, and transportation there was inconvenient. To go there and return required walking for the better part of an hour. Soon afterward he moved into the dormitories at the rear of the second floor of the Canton Bank building. (18) These quiet and clean living quarters were established for young bachelors, especially those attending school. Wong Wan Sue moved there in order to continue learning English. His move facilitated our seeing each other, and one could almost say we met each other practically once or twice daily.


At this time, I met two new NSGS members: Li Wang (Lee Wong) and Li Tang (Lee Tong), both American-born of Xinning ancestry. Lee Wong had been a member since 1905. I do not know when he went to China, but he returned from Hong Kong in the summer of 1907. Lee Tong was the son of Li Youkuan (Lee You Foon), owner of the Wo Lung Shoe Store. When he was seven or eight years old, his father sent him to China to attend school. Now that he had grown up, his father, who had grown old, planned to turn over management of the business to him. He returned to San Francisco in the spring of 1908. He joined NSGS, sponsored by Wong Bock You. Since I knew that both of them had come from Hong Kong, I sought opportunities to approach and chat with them and asked them about developments in China's revolution. They told of how the masses had enthusiastically purchased newspapers and publications, literary fiction, and operatic songs propagating revolutionary ideology. They also mentioned that there were discussions of revolution in teahouses and restaurants in Guangzhou and other big cities and towns. Lee Tong described the situation in even greater detail. He talked about revolutionary literature using Cantonese folk media such as new Cantonese opera, yue'ou [Cantonese ballads], nawin [southern tunes], and longzhou ge [dragon boat song] that were particularly influential among much of the population. Interesting lines and prominent characters from these works became conversation topics. In this manner, revolutionary ideology was imperceptibly implanted deeply in people's minds. Even if there were policemen at the scene, they dared not interfere, and exited pretending that they were deaf and dumb, ignoring the activities.

Although Lee Tong was new, NSGS members liked him, and he was soon elected Chinese secretary. NSGS members with some leisure time would habitually gather in the clubroom in the evenings to chat. Ever since Lee Tong became a member, the discussions became very lively whenever he was a participant. When he was absent, the discussion at times subsided into silence. Sometimes the members would suggest sending someone to invite Lee Tong to enliven the occasion, and usually it was Wong Bock You or I who received the assignment. However Lee Tong was a busy person since he'd only recently taken over Wo Lung Shoe Store from his father, and he had to concentrate on managing the business. That was why when I invited him to come to the NSGS clubroom to join the discussions, he would only come if he had some spare time. At other times he could not come and sometimes would say to me: "Don't go back. Why not stay here and chitchat? There are fewer people here and it is quieter and relatively more comfortable." We were willing, so sometimes we stayed in the store, or the three of us talked as we walked the less-frequented streets looking for a private room in a restaurant where we could converse while enjoying an evening snack.

At first we would only discuss interesting news items of the revolutionary movement. But gradually Lee Tong indicated that he often submitted short literary pieces on revolutionary themes to the newspapers. He also corresponded with writers supporting the revolutionary movement and knew Huang Luyi (19) quite well. From these hints we concluded that Lee Tong must be a member of the Revolutionary League. Even if he were not, he had close relations with some Revolutionary League members. Sometimes I could not hold back and asked him the question, "Are you a member of the Revolutionary League? Or maybe you have a close relationship with a Hong Kong Revolutionary League member?" But he invariably would give a vague answer. Sometimes he would ask a question in return, "Why are you asking?" I would then rejoin frankly, "It is simply that I wish to join the Revolutionary League. If the Revolutionary League wants to strive for the nation, then doesn't it have to accomplish this together with the people of the entire nation?" By that time we three had become fast friends seeing eye to eye in our discussions. There was no ill will because of secrecy and no offense taken at frankness. Sometimes a direct question would be countered by another question. A nonanswer often became the answer. It was understood without needing to say more and dismissed with a laugh. These gatherings for evening snacks continued for half a year, from summer to fall, when suddenly Lee Tong himself revealed the answer to the riddle.

One evening at the beginning of winter, Wong Bock You had gone to Wo Lung, where Lee Tong was going about his business. He bade us to wait while he completed his chores, and then the three of us went for an evening snack and chat. We did not have to wait long before he said: "I am now telling you. I am actually a Revolutionary League member. Earlier you had been interrogating me, but all I had to give you were vague answers. That was because we had only known each other a short time, and I did not know you intimately. Therefore I had to have a cautious attitude. Even though San Francisco is in America and there are no Qing government spies, there are the Baohuangdang members who have no reason to keep our presence a secret. At first I was rather suspicious of Won Hung Fei since you lived in a rear room at Wong Kin's International Chinese Business Directory of the World Company and wrote publicity items for him pro bono. I really suspected that you were a Baohuangdang member. But then I found out from other sources that during the last few years you had done the same for various associations and had not written even half a sentence in praise of the Baohuangdang, but on the other hand, you had frequently submitted essays supporting revolution for publication in the Chinese Free Press. Just this was enough proof that you are not a Baohuangdang member, and your actions during the last few months was sufficient proof that you are qualified to pursue revolutionary activities. If you had been in Hong Kong, I would have immediately sponsored you to join the Tongmenghui. Unfortunately this is not Hong Kong, and I am the only League member here. There is no organization here for me to sponsor you to join. The only course of action is to report to the Hong Kong organization your ardent sympathies for the revolution and to ask for instructions. Should you two be considered for admission to the Hong Kong organization, or should a new organization be created for you to join in San Francisco? Let us see what their decision will be. This is the reason I met with you tonight. Do you agree? If so, then I will proceed."

We were overjoyed after hearing Lee's words. We naturally agreed, but we also grumbled, asking why he had waited so long, which had caused us to make many conjectures during these several months for naught. Lee Tong laughingly said, "In order to assure reliable completion of a task, it is better to be slower and more cautious, and to be late rather than to make a mistake. Relations in the Revolutionary League are strict. Even sponsoring a person to join requires a better understanding of the individual over a minimum of several months to ascertain that he is not an evil person and is willing and earnest about joining the revolutionary movement. It is only then that the sponsor reveals his League membership. We should be cautious in these matters. San Francisco is overseas and the situation here is slightly better than that in China, but in order to accomplish our objective we have to be in China. Thus we should be careful. If by any chance we are careless, the individual's fate is a minor matter, but more important is that the League's activities may be exposed. When I joined in Hong Kong, the person administering the covenant oath admonished me in detail to be careful and cautious. That is why I am telling you all this. Please be careful in everything, and tonight's conversation should be kept confidential among the three of us. For the present you should not let even Wong Wan Sue know. He is after all a xiucai, so I will let him know when the time is ripe. But temporarily this should be kept secret from him."

That night's gathering for a snack was certainly vastly different from previous ones. We accepted his words in their entirety. By this time our relations to one another could be likened to the miscibility of water and milk. Without us being conscious of it, the hour grew late and lights were being extinguished. It was only then that we laughed loudly and exited.


Approximately two months after Lee Tong had written to the League in Hong Kong asking for instructions, in the summer of 1909, we began to ask whether he had heard from Hong Kong. His answer always was, "I am afraid it won't be so fast. It will take more than two months. If a letter should arrive, even if you don't look for me, I would go find you." One night when we had gone to Wo Lung as usual, he said, "You have come at the right time. The letter has arrived. Take a look!" He then let us read the reply from Hong Kong.

The letter was addressed to Comrade See Nom Lee and was sent by Li Haiyun (Lee Hoi Won). (20) The letter was even stamped with the square seal of the Hong Kong branch of the Revolutionary League. The writer of the letter was glad that some enthusiastic young people could be recruited for the League in such a short time in San Francisco. If there was a great number, a branch could be established, but if the numbers were limited, then one could start with a sub-branch. The letter also included copies of bylaws for branches and sub-branches, and a sample of a member's covenant. The letter ended giving the formal procedures for admitting new members and information on their obligations. The gist was that according to the League constitution, the signatures of the sponsor and the administrator of the oath must be affixed to the application of a new member in order for the individual to be admitted to the covenant, but since Lee was the only member in San Francisco, the procedure for admitting new members could be modified in that Lee could be both the sponsor and the administrator of the oath of covenant. New members could be the sponsors of other new members. The new members should be informed of their obligations after they had joined. League members everywhere all had the two obligations of propagandizing the revolution and raising funds for revolutionary activities. Currently the emphasis was still on propaganda. Those new members with the capability could start a newspaper to be a propaganda organ of the League. If the new members lacked the means to establish a newspaper, they could write articles publicizing the revolutionary movement and submitting them to friendly newspapers for publication. As for fundraising, headquarters would coordinate this effort once an implementation plan had been formulated.

The two of us read the letter carefully several times and felt that there was nothing said that would pose a problem, and so we voiced our approval. Lee Tong modestly said, "If you feel that there are any points that are inappropriate, you can point them out and we can work together to revise them. Otherwise, when more join in the future, it will be difficult to make changes. We felt that even though Lee's words sounded logical, how could we detect any inadequacies since the bylaws still had to be implemented? So we held to our previous opinions that the issue should be reopened when deficiencies were uncovered during the implementation phase.

Lee Tong also explained why he used the name Li Shi'nan (Lee See Nam) in the Chinese Revolutionary League. With a smile he remarked that it was because he liked to write short literary pieces with revolutionary themes and had used the nom de plume Shi'nan (See Nam). Friends who liked to join the discussion on the revolution thus addressed him as See Nam. So when he joined the Revolutionary League, he naturally chose to use the name Lee See Nam. When Lee reached that point in our conversation, his demeanor suddenly turned serious. "Is there anyone who is not attached to his family and property? Using a pseudonym may not provide complete protection, but it may be useful at times." I understood his point. He was suggesting that if we were apprehensive, we could join using pseudonyms. I immediately answered with a smile that I did not own any property and Hung Fei was my nora de plume. Using that name on the covenant should be all right. Wong Bock You also hastened to say, "Bock You is my real name. Let's use that name on the covenant."

At that moment I suddenly thought of a question and asked Lee Tong, "After we join the Revolutionary League, should we let people know of our membership?"

Lee Tong answered, "We should keep it a secret. We should not let people know at once that we have joined the Revolutionary League. At the same time we should observe the person to whom we are speaking. If his words show sincerity and earnestness, then we should persuade the individual to join the Revolutionary League so that everybody's words and actions are coordinated. Only in this manner will the revolution be successful."

We felt that his words were right, but I was still somewhat apprehensive and said, "It is appropriate not to let people know immediately that I am a Revolutionary League member. It is also appropriate to first observe whether a person's words show sincerity and earnestness before letting the individual know that I am a member. But we are always chatting among ourselves. We naturally will keep our topic of discussion a secret, but I am afraid that we will not be able to hoodwink those who are familiar with us. If they really want to know our secret, it would not be difficult to find someone to approach us. This individual would only need to spend two to three months observing us when we discuss the revolution. The individual can pretend to be sincere and earnest when we try to probe his intentions. Should such a person manage to penetrate our group, I am afraid that he will know all our secrets. I suggest that the Revolutionary League organization that we are forming should adopt another name that will preclude those contacting us frequently from becoming suspicious and starting to make wild guesses, which would not be so good for us. We are all young people. There is nothing wrong with young people meeting to discuss essays, poetry, songs, and short literary works. They can also discuss English translations, composition, and the meaning of terms. These are perfectly legitimate activities with a progressive meaning. Why not temporarily use Shao'nian Xueshe (Young China Association) for the public name of the Revolutionary League? This way we can first avoid attracting the animosity of closed-minded members of the Baohuangdang who would oppose us and spread derogatory rumors, and secondly we can enable progressive-thinking young people to get close to us. If there are those among them who are earnest and whose views regarding the revolution are identical or close to ours, we can sponsor them to join the Revolutionary League."

Wong Bock You agreed with my suggestion. He said, "This is a good idea: To the public we use the name Young China Association, thus preventing the Baohuangdang from conspiring against and harming us. From now on, when we sponsor new members, it will generally be young people whom we already know. We also will know fairly well whether their elders at home or relatives are associated closely with the Baohuangdang. Anyway, if the person administering the covenant oath is suspicious of the sincerity of the sponsored applicant or feels that his background is questionable, he can always reject his application." Lee Tong also agreed that it was a good idea to temporarily use the name Young China Association.

Next we discussed which site would be best for administering the covenant oath. Everyone agreed that since people were constantly entering and leaving and therefore actions could not be kept secret, the Wo Lung Shoe Store would be unsuitable, and so would the NSGS clubroom.

It was Wong Bock You who made the bold suggestion, "Why not go to the Wing Sun Mortuary late at night." Lee Tong and I both understood immediately. Other Chinese certainly would not dare venture near a mortuary late at night. So we both laughed and said, "Good. We are in agreement."

Wong Bock You continued and asked if Lee Wong could also join. We agreed since we all were familiar with Lee Wong's political views. Thereupon Wong Bock You accompanied Lee Wong to Wing Sun Mortuary late one night while Lee Tong brought along the sample covenant mailed from Hong Kong and placed it on a desk. Lee Wong, Wong Bock You, and I each made a copy of the covenant text and handed it to Lee Tong. He signed "Lee See Nam" in the spaces reserved for the sponsor and covenant oath administrator. We laughed and said to him, "You are now Lee See Nam and no longer Lee Tong." Continuing, we asked, "How is the oath administered?" He asked us to all stand up and, facing him, raise our right hands and each read aloud the covenant oath once.

He then instructed us using the information from Hong Kong: "Now that you are Revolutionary League members, the League expects you to concentrate on two activities: to raise funds to support revolutionary activities and the other is to propagandize the revolution. As for fundraising, when a working plan has been established, headquarters will coordinate the notification of all members and implementation. As for propaganda work, we should consider establishing newspapers. If this is unfeasible, then we should write more articles propagandizing the revolution and submit them to friendly publications." After he spoke, he shook hands with us, to express his close friendship with us.

We continued questioning him. "Is it true what we heard, that Revolutionary League members use secret code words and hand signals?" He replied that there were three code words and one hand signal, whereupon he demonstrated the hand signal and gave us the three code words together with their meanings. He also said, "Their use is necessary only inside China, not here, since if you wish to find out if a certain individual here is a League member, all we have to do is ask the administrator of the covenant oath. After all, there could not be several covenant oath administrators who did not know each other or communicate with each other." At that point, everybody laughed and parted.


During the days immediately following our joining the League, I visited Wong Bock You's Wing Sun Mortuary, to discuss plans to establish a newspaper. We all felt that it would be good if we could start a newspaper on the scale of the Chinese Free Press, but it would require between five or six thousand and ten thousand dollars of capital before it could even begin bare-bone operations. Our small group did not have the ability to raise such a large sum. We also considered the alternative of a newspaper that publishes every other day. Honolulu's Chinese newspapers were of that type, with some publishing every other day and others on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But Honolulu was a place with a relatively small Chinese population so that that mode of publication was suitable. However San Francisco already had four Chinese newspapers--Chinese Free Press of the Chee Kung Tong, The Chinese World of the Baohuangdang, as well as Chung Sai Yat Po and The New Era, which were not connected with any political party or clique. With so many newspapers on the market, a newspaper that published every other day would not only find it difficult to compete on the business end, but readers also would not take it seriously.

There were two other alternatives, monthly or periodic publication. At that time there was a monthly Radiator, which was published by a Christian group in San Francisco. Its objective was to propagate religious teachings, and its readers were mostly people associated with the Christian missions. We felt that we did not have to go that route. As for the monthly Min Bao, it was the official organ published by Revolutionary League headquarters to propagate awareness of the Sanminzhuyi. Since we did not possess that type of outstanding talent, and also we did not have the responsibility for propaganda work at League headquarters, we naturally did not need to follow it as a model.

After we went back and forth, the example set by Xin Shiji (New Century) (21) of Paris, France, appeared to be the only way to go. This publication set type in a 16-folio format and was distributed as a single large sheet, and it was up to the reader to cut and fasten the pages together for long-term storage. I felt that we could emulate the 16-folio format, but we should fasten the pages together as a publication because the great majority of Chinese readers were working class. They read the newspapers only when they found some leisure time after work. If pages were not fastened together, then the page sequences would be mixed up, thus causing inconvenience to the reader. That would have an adverse effect on the circulation.

At this point Wong Bock You indicated his agreement with the points I raised concerning the format. But he questioned whether a weekly could publish news, and even if one managed to publish news items, they would only be like the wilted flowers left from the previous day. He was afraid that the readers would not welcome old news. I then explained to Wong Bock You, "This is a question of the form of writing used in the articles. Once the form of writing was set, then we could determine what categories should be included, or how news items should be edited. My idea is as follows: About a third of the articles should be commentaries, another third, light and short literary pieces, and the remaining third, news items and accounts of events. Commentaries and light and short literary pieces naturally will be written to propagandize the revolution, and we need not worry that some pieces may not be pertinent. As for news items and accounts of events, we should establish a range of topics or criteria, and those items that do not fall within this range or criteria, such as the neighbor's cat giving birth to kittens, will naturally not be published. As for news of excessive demands for donations and taxes or harsh exactions that are oppressive on the impoverished masses, we do not have to publish each minute detail piecemeal, but before publication we should make an effort to rewrite the news as corresponding dispatches giving a logical account of the development of events from beginning to end. This way, even though what we publish may be rewritten from old news, the reader will feel that that he has an understanding of the overall development. Compare this with the daily newspapers that publish these news items earlier than we do but in piecemeal fashion. After reading them, the reader is left with only vague and discontinuous impressions that are difficult to piece together as a complete picture. These two concepts of editing and presenting the news give the reader different impressions. I feel that generally those readers with some degree of sophistication will want reports of events to be organized and complete and did not welcome items presented piecemeal. I am strongly in favor of starting a weekly publication for another reason also: No matter what we do, we should exploit our strengths and not our weaknesses. What are the strengths of us few individuals in the Young China Association? All of us can write and also translate articles. Our weakness is in our limited financial resources. At present only See Nam and you are more flexible and can put up or raise some money. Other than you, there are few others who can raise any funds. That is why under these circumstances, not only raising capital to start a daily newspaper is difficult, but raising funds to start even a weekly will also be difficult. But there is a way to circumvent this latter problem. Establishing a daily will require installation of printing equipment. Just purchasing lead type and printing presses will require investment in a large amount of fixed capital. If we start a weekly, then we only need to ask a friendly newspaper to do the printing and need not spend money on purchasing printing equipment. This alone will lighten our burden by quite an amount. This is really the sole reason why I proposed that we establish a weekly."


We discussed the above concepts on publishing a newspaper within eight to ten days after joining the Revolutionary League. After a number of meetings, we all concluded that this was the only way. There was no other way feasible for us. The key now was really raising the capital. After reflecting for some days, Lee See Nam and Wong Bock You finally agreed to start a weekly publication. But what should its name be? Wong Bock You suggested, "The publication can be named Meizhou Shao'nian [American Youth]. [Editor's Note: The English name was The Youth.] Since Young China Association is the name in public of our underground branch of the Chinese Revolutionary League, once any thinking person sees this, he will immediately associate it with the Young China Association. Surely it would make us even better known."

Wong Bock You further suggested, "The cover of the publication should have an eagle that grasps a flag in each of its two claws: One is the stars and stripes of the United States, and the other the Revolutionary League's flag depicting a white sun against a blue sky background. In this way, we show both our target audience and objectives in the pictorial design. This will prevent someone in the future reporting secretly to the United States government that we are engaged in some kind of conspiracy." I had known that the American government detested anarchists and their sympathizers and deported many of them. Thus we all agreed with Wong Bock You's suggestion.

With completion of the planning, we entered into the implementation phase. We applied among the three of us the principle of each contributing his best talent and let each person decide for himself or let others define his area of responsibility. I assumed responsibility for overall editorial duties and in addition wrote commentaries, rewrote news items, and selected articles for publication. Lee See Nam wrote or selected light and short literary pieces for the weekly. As for Wong Bock You, he translated articles and news items from English. He also purchased supplies and performed miscellaneous chores, as well as handling circulation of the publication. Delivery of the publication within San Francisco became the responsibility of Lee Wong.

Soon after this division of responsibilities, Wong Bock You asked a Caucasian artist to sketch a spirited rendering of the cover design. Lee See Nam also brushed on the design in his own calligraphy the four Chinese characters of the publication's name, Meizhou Shao'nian. It was then turned over to Wong Bock You to make the zinc plate so that it would be ready when we began publication. (22)

We felt there should be no problem in getting the Chinese Free Press to print The Youth weekly, but how much would it charge for the printing? Since this was still undetermined, Wong Bock You personally negotiated the details with the manager of the newspaper to obtain the lowest possible price. Finally a point was reached where the manager of the Chinese Free Press declared, "This final price only covers labor and materials, and if it was reduced any further, we will lose money." I now cannot recall the exact price, but at that time we were satisfied with it and did not dispute the amount. We located the weekly's combined editorial and circulation office in a big room on the second floor in the front part of the Canton Bank building. Here the postman could deliver mail and newspapers directly to the office without any intermediate steps. The room was spacious and rent reasonable; the location was well situated and transportation facilities convenient.

When the preparations had reached this stage, I urged Lee See Nam to report the developments to Hong Kong headquarters--our decision to start a Revolutionary League organ and the publication's name and office's address--and to ask them to inform League news organs in Hong Kong, Siam, Singapore, and Rangoon so that they could exchange newspapers with us at an early date. It was the only way that our weekly could have news items and accounts of events for us to select and publish. Lee See Nam was in accord with my proposal and agreed to send a letter to Hong Kong within one or two days.

At that point someone suggested that the first issue of The Youth weekly be published on July 4, the American Independence Day. We reasoned that this would further demonstrate our stand that we are American citizens urging revolution in China and thus preclude harassment by American authorities. We all felt that this was a good suggestion and decided we might as well publish a translation of the well-known essay of America's Independence Day, the Declaration of Independence, as one of the commentaries. It certainly was an excellent choice that matched our editorial policy. I therefore asked Wong Bock You to find a copy of that essay and translate it into Chinese. The translation was handed to Wong Chew Ng to smooth out the language. After Wong Chew Ng had edited it with his bold and concise style, the wording was not only compelling as an essay attacking an enemy of the people, but it was good enough to be recited aloud. It was highly praised by those who were familiar with literary works.


After the first issue of The Youth had been printed and assembled, it was sent to the newspaper office where, after Wong Bock You checked and accepted the lot, he sent Lee Wong out to deliver them. He also busied himself mailing newspapers outside the city Since I could not help with the circulation tasks, I brought several copies to Wo Lung Shoe Store to enjoy them together with Lee See Nam. Both of us did not utter a word, but concentrated on reading the newspaper in detail. We felt rather satisfied even though there were no outstanding compositions, but at least there were no unreadable articles.

We were a few young individuals who lacked experience in publishing. Even though we had written articles for others, they generally were written in a light vein and could be quickly composed. We felt little responsibility for the quality of these works since the responsibility was on the user, not the author. But it was different now writing and editing articles for The Youth. Naturally each writer was responsible for his work. And examining the situation superficially, it could be said that this was a publication established by young people to express and amuse themselves. But deep in our hearts we felt that this was a news organ of the Revolutionary League, and if it turned out well, it would be to the credit of the Revolutionary League. If it did not, then it would be our fault individually.

Just as Lee See Nam and I were feeling satisfied, Wong Bock You suddenly appeared also bringing several copies and we asked him, "Have all the newspapers been mailed? No one has come to place a subscription yet. How did you mail them?"

He answered, "I have recorded the addresses of all those friends we know are interested in the revolution. Today I mailed copies to those addresses, and I even marked on the wrappers a request to the recipient to introduce the paper to a wide circle. Let us see what the results will be. I think most of these will be effective."

Wong added, "I would like to publish an advertisement in the second issue asking readers of our publication to ask their relatives and friends to subscribe and also to send payment for an annual subscription at an early date so as to ease our cash flow." Lee See Nam thought that although this action should be taken, the timing might be premature. It could be delayed until the third issue. Wong Bock You did not raise any objections at this suggestion.

I suddenly had an idea, "Why not print a sheet depicting famous world personages or famous Chinese and foreign personages to give to all those who place a one-year subscription on The Youth weekly. I think that in this manner we can attract the attention of the general reader and increase the number of long term subscribers."

Lee See Nam and Wong Bock You both agreed that it was a good idea but raised two issues: "First, we don't know if that many portraits of famous people can be collected in a short time, and secondly, we have to consider our limited financial resources."

I responded, "Collecting portraits of famous people shouldn't be difficult. The first source is Shanghai's Guocui Xuebao (Journal of the Essence of Chinese Culture), (23) which has been published for several years. At the beginning of each monthly issue are included the portraits of two famous persons or scholars. This periodical is published by two Guangdongese, Huang Jie (24) and Deng Shi. (25) Ostensibly they are advocating preservation of national heritage, but in reality they are eulogizing patriots who resisted foreign invaders at the end of the Song and Ming dynasties. They have collected portraits of individuals of integrity who had these qualifications and published them at the beginning of the periodical. I feel that including these in our portraits of famous individuals fits in with the objectives of our paper.

"The second source is Shijie [World] Magazine from Paris. The editor appears to belong to the same organization as the editor of Xin Shiji [The New Century]. My copy of the magazine came from a pile of discarded paper at Wong Kin's Chinese Business Directory of the World Company. We all know that Wong Kin is a clerk in San Francisco's Post Office having responsibility for Chinese language mail. He belongs to the Baohuangdang and shows political bias. Any Baohuangdang publication, even though the label may not be correctly addressed, if it only includes the person's name, he will personally deliver the item to the addressee. If the incorrectly addressed publication was not published by the Baohuangdang, then he would decide that he would be unable to deliver it and would bring the item to his living quarters and cast it on a refuse pile. Anybody could title through the refuse to pick up reading material and even take some away. Wong Kin generally was unconcerned. It was from the refuse pile that I retrieved Xin Shiji and Shijie Magazine. I still have that issue of Shijie Magazine at home. It includes depictions of outstanding scientists and inventors, together with brief biographies. I feel that illustrations selected from that periodical also fit into our intention of publishing portraits of famous individuals of the world that I propose for The Youth weekly. I feel that if we advertise that anyone placing a one-year subscription will receive a copy of the portraits, it would increase our publication's circulation."

Lee See Nam agreed with my suggestion since the objective of publishing the newspaper was to have readers. "These portraits should at least attract some readers. We only have to increase our circulation by two to three hundred copies, and it will have been worth the effort. The important question is getting estimated costs for making the plate and for printing. If it does not exceed $50, then we should go ahead. Wong Bock You would be the best person to get the estimates."

After a month or two, copies of the portraits of famous world individuals were printed, and the advertisement appeared in the newspaper. Immediately people came to place long-term subscriptions and left with a copy of the portraits. Even those who were already subscribers asked for a copy. These included subscribers within and outside San Francisco. After giving away most of the copies, we were faced with the question of marketing the remainder. It so happened that on the 21st and 22nd day of the tenth moon in 1908, both the Empress Dowager and Emperor Guangxu passed away, and the throne was passed on to Emperor Xuantong, with Prince Zaifeng as regent. During the Qing dynasty, there had been only two regents. Rangoon's Tiannan Xinbao (26) cleverly wove these events into the beginning half of a couplet (27) and asked its readers to submit a matching remaining half of the couplet. The meaning in the published beginning half of the couplet was obvious, but composing a matching remaining half was rather difficult. I felt that we could publish that beginning half of the couplet in Youth to stimulate thoughtful people to rack their brains.

Couplet composition had been a popular diversion among Chinese literary circles in America. In San Francisco there were a number of duilian she [couplet societies] such as Feisheng She and Hanxiang She that held monthly meetings where the sponsor of the group would set a theme and ask members for entries composed around that theme. Each couplet that its author felt had literary merit could then be submitted paying a twenty-five cents fee. After enough couplets had been collected, they were sent to a huiguan president (28) who judged the literary merit of the submitted works and ranked them up to as many as fifty, 100, 150, or 200. The number of ranked couplets was some approximate proportion of the submitted entries. Those given higher rankings receive a greater sum of prize money, and those of lower rankings less. Unranked authors not only would not receive any prize money but would also forfeit his twenty-five cent fee. When the couplet society made public the complete ranked results, all the couplets and authors' names were always lithographed in regular kai script. The list also included the judge's critiques, the theme for the next competition and an invitation to all interested to participate. This page showing the ranked results, called duibang, was distributed to each society member regardless of whether or not the individual's couplet had been ranked and listed. The sheet was also posted in Chinatown streets to encourage those who had not participated to join the contest.

I had known that many Chinese liked to dabble with couplets. I thought that rather than having to exert mental efforts on mundane subject matters, it would be better to channel their thoughts toward Chinese national politics and the future of the Chinese people. Therefore I boldly published the item from Tiannan Xinbao in our publication, asking for the matching lower couplet, setting the deadline to a month. I also announced that all authors of couplets judged to have literary merit would be awarded a sheet depicting famous individuals of the world and a one-year subscription to Youth. At that time we all felt that our skills in the use of literary phrases and rhymes could not match that of Wong Wan Sue and Wong Chew Ng, who had had years of experience. However Wong Wan Sue was already busy in the Jinmen School, and besides, he had to attend English class in the evening; therefore, we as one nominated Wong Chew Ng and turned over all submitted entries to him to evaluate, although sometimes I also offered my opinion.

Actually the remaining half of that couplet was not easy to compose. Out of several hundred entries, more than half were clumsy efforts. There were not many that flowed naturally, with rhymes and categories correctly matching the beginning half of the couplet and yet also expressing some political ideas. Thus Wong Chew Ng was able to select only fifty entries. I could still remember the top-ranked selection, but unfortunately at that time I did not ask for the author's real name and thus missed an opportunity to meet him. But this contest showed that there were at least several hundred individuals who had received traditional education and literary training in poetry and composition, who dared to enter a contest sponsored by a revolutionary news organ. That was an achievement by itself.


Were there any accomplishments during the short nearly half a year from the first issue of Youth on July 4 to November, 1909? The answer is in the affirmative, and they could be considered as being in two categories.

First, insofar as San Francisco was concerned, The Youth was a news organ advocating revolution. It represented the Young China Association, an organization of a revolutionary nature. Therefore readers of The Youth could not help but ask if the Young China Association was the Revolutionary League. We had two different answers to that question. If the individual was someone we already knew and whose character and ideological bent we knew to be somewhat genuine without hypocrisy, our answer was that on the surface it was the Young China Association, but in essence it was actually the Revolutionary League. If the individual was someone we had not known previously, and his words and mannerisms did not appear to be sincere, then the answer would be that the Young China Association was the Young China Association, and that it was not related to the Revolutionary League. Sometimes we would insert jokingly that if the Revolutionary League could advocate revolution, couldn't the Young China Association do the same?

Many thoughtful youth of that time, after being encouraged by half a year of propaganda about the revolution, were thinking of joining and participating in the revolutionary movement but were baffled at being unable to find an entry point. That was the reason the question arose as to whether the Young China Association was the Revolutionary League. According to what I could remember, at the time some who were close to the Young China Association became members and because of this also became Revolutionary League members. Others who associated closely with the Young China Association but did not become members later joined the Revolutionary League in 1910. The total number was not large, even though we were very approachable. However, overriding this was our concern that we might mistakenly admit a person with bad intent, who would leak all our secrets. That was why, in the final analysis, even though we were amiable, we could not help but be very cautious and wary in our dealings with people.

Secondly, as for correspondence with other communities, soon after it began publishing, The Youth began to receive numerous letters from readers in locations such as Vancouver, BC; Chicago; and other Eastern cities. Some letters asked others to subscribe; some told of supporters in their area who wished to keep in touch with us. We answered the letters as we received them, although there were some that we did not answer.

We also received a letter from Dr. Sun Yat-sen mailed from the East saying that he had just arrived on the East Coast. He had met supporters of the revolutionary movement there and found out about our publication, which he felt was on the right path advocating revolution. He said that he would come to the West Coast in a few months, after finishing some business in the East.

Lu Xin (Loo Sun) of Honolulu's Liberty Press (29) wrote us that he had read quite a few issues of the newspaper and expressed his admiration for our frank commentaries. He asked how many individuals did we have that could pick up a brush and write? Could one of them come to work at Liberty Press? He explained that he was suffering from a stomach ailment and had to carry a heavy burden working alone; therefore he hoped for some help.

At the time I was having trouble making ends meet and was willing to consider joining Liberty Press. But I was worried that The Youth was still not on a firm enough footing, and I had intended to stay until the situation had stabilized before leaving. Lee See Nam and Wong Bock You agreed. I therefore wrote an answer saying that I had long intended to visit Honolulu, but at present I could not leave because The Youth was not yet on a firm footing. I would certainly come in response to the invitation several months later.


Around mid-October, Wong Bock You told me, "Deng Yiyun (Dang Yik Won) of Chung Sai told me to let you know that Deng Xiulong (Dang Sau Lung), manager of Kai Chee Bo, (30) a new Honolulu newspaper, has asked him to help find a chief editor. The monthly salary would be $50. Funds for traveling expenses and passage have already been remitted to him. If you are willing to go, you can go pick up the money." I immediately answered, "It would be meaningful to go to Honolulu, and I am willing, but we will have to consult among ourselves to see if the The Youth weekly newspaper office can let me go."

I thereupon went to Wo Lung Shoe Store to consult with Lee See Nam to see if he consented to my leaving. Lee said, "We do not know the editorial policy of that newspaper. What if you go there, and by chance it turns out to be a Baohuangdang news organ? How can a Revolutionary League member be helping the Baohuangdang newspaper to propagandize about protecting the emperor and establishing a constitutional government? That surely will be a bad joke."

I laughed and replied, "If a Revolutionary League member like me goes to a news organ of the Baohuangdang to help push for establishing of a constitutional government, then it would really be a bad joke. No wonder you had to remind me. Let me tell you, earlier, didn't Loo Sun of Honolulu's Liberty Press send us a letter inviting The Youth newspaper office to send him someone with writing ability? At that time I had intended to go, but I did not because first I did not have funds to travel, and secondly our newspaper Youth was not yet on a firm footing. But now The Youth has a firm foundation. We are receiving more and more submittals from supporters in each issue so that we do not have to worry about having enough articles. Therefore I can leave for Honolulu to fill Liberty Press's urgent need. Both Youth and Liberty Press are news organs of the Revolutionary League. Since the latter needed help, shouldn't we be sending someone? The problem at that time was that no travel funds were available; therefore I could not go. Now coincidentally Kai Chee Bo came seeking a journalist and had already remitted the passage money. It is just in time for me to take advantage of this opportunity to pick up the passage money and go to Honolulu to be chief editor at Kai Chee Bo. After one or two months, using some pretext such as charging interference with editorial prerogatives, I could resign and join Liberty Press. This way Liberty Press saves having to put out money for my passage and yet gains a worker who can write. Thus on the surface I am joining Honolulu's Kai Chee Bo, but in reality, I am going to join Liberty Press. I hope that you can understand what is on my mind."

Lee See Nam pondered for some time and appeared to understand what I meant. But he was still not assured and replied, "You said that you will be chief editor at Kai Chee Bo for one or two months and then use a pretext to leave. What I am afraid of is that you may not be able to find a pretext to extricate yourself. Then wouldn't you be trapped within Baohuangdang circles?"

I laughed and said, "The situation won't develop that way. In this world it is only difficult to find a mean of livelihood, but for certain there is no way to prevent a person to leave a job if he so decides. If I really cannot extricate myself from this situation, you can write me and call me to account, and you can even put an announcement in the newspaper expelling me from the Revolutionary League."

When I said this, it struck a personal problem that had been troubling me and I said, "As you know, currently I am living at the rear of Wong Kin's International Chinese Business Directory of the World Company. He does not require me to pay rent but I voluntarily write publicity items for him. But when we founded the newspaper The Youth with a clearly defined political stance, it aroused his fears since he is an ardent supporter of the Baohuangdang. What you do not know is that although he has an outwardly pleasant demeanor, he is ruthless. Right now I am afraid that he would ask me to move out. I would be in an extremely difficult situation. I can barely support myself without paying rent, but if I have to rent a room, then it will be difficult to support myself. If that situation occurs, how can I extend my palms to ask my comrades for help? When we started The Youth, there was a mutual agreement to share the volunteer work. Due to the fact that I could not find other work, that is why I only contribute my share of writing but did not contribute to the finances. I have long felt guilty, but I had no alternative. Fortunately now Kai Chee Bo wants to hire me, and it would be good to take advantage of this opportunity. I will first go to Honolulu and then a month or two later move my family there, thus cutting off my relations with Wong Kin so that he will not have a chance to make irresponsible comments about me. That really is killing two birds with one stone. Naturally my departure will cause The Youth to lose a key staff member. But then on the other hand, when I get to Liberty Press, won't that newspaper have gained a competent person? In all fairness, San Francisco was where I was born and raised, and I do not wish to leave. And how can I leave the comrades in Young China Association with whom I share the same hopes and aspirations? But I feel that the earlier I leave Wong Kin's place, then the better the chance of avoiding the unpleasant scenarios that I described. Do you still disagree with my decision to go to Honolulu?"

At this juncture, Lee See Nam began to understand the situation, and he laughingly said, "After you pick up the passage money, you should turn over a certain amount as your share of the printing cost for The Youth."

I answered, "I have not seen Dang Yik Won yet. If the traveling fund is ample, I will certainly give some money as my share of the printing costs for The Youth. What I am afraid of is that it will only be enough to cover the passage. Then I will be unable to pay my share of the printing costs. I am leaving home for the first time. Naturally I will have to bring along books, clothing, and bedding. Even though I will not have much baggage, I at least will have to buy a simple piece of luggage. I am afraid that there will not be much money left to pay my share of the printing costs. I hope that you can forgive me."

A few days later, I went to find Dang Yik Won at Chung Sai Yat Po. He said, "It is good that you are willing to go to Kai Chee Bo. The newspaper is now waiting for the editor to arrive. The manager is Dang Sau Lung, and the newspaper is politically nonpartisan; it only aims to broaden people's knowledge and does not discuss issues such as the revolution or preservation of the imperial system. Dang Sau Lung recently sent a letter in which he said that the newspaper is already publishing but with no one as chief editor, and he pressed me to find some one and have him come at an early date." As he spoke he handed me Dang Sau Lung's letter to read. At the same time he also gave me seventy-five silver dollars and said, "This is the travel expenses that he sent. Please count the amount and keep it. Please inform me what ship you intend to take, so that I can inform the newspaper to meet you on the ship upon arrival.

I found out that the $75 was just enough to cover a single first class passage from San Francisco to Honolulu. If I have to buy a trunk to hold my books, and then buy a piece of hand luggage for articles of clothing, the two items will be $20. I could not go to an unfamiliar city without having some spending money Also I had to leave some money to support my family After all these items, I only had enough money left for a third class passage to Honolulu. How could I have any money left for my share of the printing costs for The Youth?

I spoke with Wong Bock You about my predicament. He was sympathetic and said, "Looks like you can only take passage in the third-class hold. However the hold is very chaotic and if you do not know the situation, you may not even be able to get rice for your meal. Besides you have never taken the third-class hold. It is best to get the assistance of Lin Huayao (Walter U. Lum). (31) He knows many people and he may be able to find experienced NSGS members who can accompany you. By helping each other, then many things will be facilitated. If you are traveling alone in the third-class hold and you are unfamiliar with the situation there, it can be troublesome.

I followed Wong Bock You's advice and immediately looked for Walter Lure and told him that I was going to Honolulu but could afford only a third-class passage. I asked for his assistance in finding a traveling companion so that we might help one another and handle problems that might arise during the voyage. Walter Lum immediately agreed and said, "I will not only find you a good traveling companion on board the ship, I can also help you go to the Bureau of Immigration to obtain entrance and exit papers and purchase the third-class ticket. Also I will accompany you to the wharf on the ship's departure date and introduce you to fellow member Mr. Wong who will be on the same boat. You can set your mind at ease. I will do all this properly." In about a week, Walter Lum had completed all the tasks for me, and I left San Francisco for Honolulu on board the ship.


Soon after Wen Xiongfei's departure for Honolulu, Sun Yat-sen reached San Francisco in early 1910 and the Young China Association became openly identified with the Revolutionary League. Sun also urged that the weekly newspaper The Youth be changed to daily publication in order to be more effective in support of revolutionary activities. Reorganized as Young China Morning Paper, it began publication on August 19, 1910. The name was inspired by the example of the Young Turks Movement that had arisen around 1908 to revitalize Turkey. (32) The name also expressed the connection to its predecessor, The Youth. It was also a morning paper, as distinguished from its contemporaries that came out in the afternoon. For many decades Young China was an important component in the chain of Kuomintang party news organs established in the Americas.

As for Wen Xiongfei, he worked at Kai Chee Bo for about two months and as then resigned as planned to join Liberty News, where Loo Sun was chief editor and Sun Yat-sen's son Sun Fo (33) was translator. Wen soon succeeded to the chief-editorship and Loo left shortly afterward. (34) About ten days after the Huahuagang Uprising in 1911, Wen left for Shanghai as representative of the Hawaiian Chinese to bring donations to support the Revolution. (35)

During the first decade of the Republic, Wen was in government posts, variously on Provisional President Sun Yat-sen's secretarial staff, (36) deputy speaker in the Guangdong provisional legislature, senator in the national parliament, and secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce. It was during this period that Wen's mother (accompanied by her sixth and eighth daughters, Wen Zhuofan and Wen Zhengde) arrived in China to join Wen Xiongfei.

During this period the political situation in China was extremely unstable. While Wen was serving as senator, parliament was forced to dissolve in 1914 and in 1917. During the first hiatus he worked at inspecting Shaanxi mines for the Ministry for Coal, Oil, and Mines. By this time the central government had lapsed into ineffectiveness, and the land became dominated by rapacious and corrupted warlords. After ailing as a journalist in Shanghai, Wen went south to join his former leader Sun Yat-sen who was organizing a Kuomintang regime in Guangzhou in preparation for unifying the country. He became an emissary for the Guangzhou regime to persuade Guangxi warlord Lin Junting to help oust Sun's foes entrenched in southern Guangdong. However the mission failed, as the wily Lin was interested only in accepting Sun's supplies and funds but had no intention of dispatching any troops. (37) This was Wen's last appearance in politics.

Wen, who had come to China with high ideals, had been battered by the harsh realities of an unstable China for more than a decade. He became disillusioned with politics. While he was idle in Beijing in 1925 he found a mentor in Professor Chen Yuan (38) who encouraged him to enter the field of history. He began to be interested in the history of cultural exchanges between China and other lands and in the origin and development of the Chinese overseas.

In 1926 Xu Gongsui, with whom Wen had teamed to publish a newspaper earlier, became consul general in Singapore. Wen went at his invitation and did historical research at the Raffles Library. In 1929 his Nanyang Huaqiao tongshi (39) [General history of the Chinese in the Southern Ocean[ was published in Shanghai. This was one of the earliest works on this subject in Chinese during the Republican era. The Japanese attack on Shanghai in 1932, however, led to the destruction of the manuscript of a second volume that detailed the history of the European subjugation of Southeast Asia. Beginning in 1930 Won taught first in Ji'nan University (40) in Shanghai and then Catholic (Fu-jen) University (41) in Beijing. When the Japanese invaded Rehe (now part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region) in 1933, his mother insisted that he return to Shanghai.

It was difficult to find employment during the worldwide depression, and Sun Fo, his former colleague at Liberty Press and now in the national government, found him a position in the Legislative Yuan. He insisted on performing only professional tasks and not being drawn into politics. After the war ended, he taught the history of communications between China and the West, the history of Southeast Asia as well histories of the Ming and Qing periods for several years at Fuh Tan University. (42)

After the founding of the People's Republic, Wen was connected with middle schools in Wuzhou before his retirement in 1963, at which time he became a member of the Research Institute of Literature and History for the Guangxi Autonomous Re, on. There is little information on how he fared during the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution, which he spent in Guangxi. But during his final years he was plagued with cataracts, and he passed away from pneumonia in 1974 in Nanning, Guangxi, at age ninety.

Wen Xiongfei married three times. He married He Jingxiong (Ho Ging Hung) an American-born of Panyu ancestry, when he was living in San Francisco. She joined him in China but later they separated due to incompatibility. There were two daughters and one son (the surviving daughter was named Meisheng). In 1926 Wen married Li Lianqun, who was principal of a primary school in Wuzhou, Guangxi. The union resulted in two sons Guisheng (name later changed to Jin) and Pusheng. After Li died in Nanjing in 1935, Wen married Chen Hanru who gave birth to one daughter, Lingsheng. (43)

When Wen arrived in China he spoke only the Cantonese dialect, but he soon learned Putonghua. He developed a love for Chinese calligraphy, especially that of Kang Youwei. When he was in his fifties, he practiced his calligraphy daily and also encouraged his children to take up the art.

During his entire life, he only lived for a brief period in Guangdong. Unsettled political conditions forced Wen Xiongfei to relocate several times during his life. Thus documentation on his career was scattered all over China. During the Sino-Japanese War, he wrote numerous poems reflecting his thoughts on life and current events that were gathered into three manuscripts entrusted to his oldest surviving son, Wen Jin, for safekeeping. Unfortunately these were lost during the Cultural Revolution. He left detailed descriptions of different phases of his political career in ten memoirs (44) and an autobiography, all done when he was attached to the Research Institute of Literature and History for the Guangxi Autonomous Region. These writings comprised the basis for a chronology of his life compiled in 1982 by Wen Jin, who also wrote a short biography, first published around 1984. The chronology is translated and published as an appendix to this essay with annotations by the editor where appropriate.

Year Event

1885 Born in San Francisco, USA.
1893-1895 Attended private Chinese language school.
1896-1898 Attended Chinese Primary School in mornings to learn
 English and community-established Daqing Academy in
 afternoons for Chinese lessons.
1899-1902 Chinese typesetter at Chinese newspaper Mon Hing Yat Po.
1902-1906 Translator at Men Hing Yat Po; began auditing University
 of California classes.
1906 1907 Translator and assistant editor at Chinese Free Press.
1908 Editor at Youth Weekly.
1908-1911 Left San Francisco for Honolulu, where he became chief
 editor of Liberty Press: joined Tongmenghui.
1911-1912 Elected representative of Tongmenghui of Honolulu to
 return to China to participate in 1911 Revolution.
 Arrived in Shanghai; ended up in Nanjing as secretary on
 Sun Yet-sere presidential staff. Soon resigned to return
 to Guangdong: became deputy speaker of provincial
1913-1914 Senator in Senate in Belling.
1914-1915 Worked for Ministry for Coal, Oil, and Mines.
1916-1917 President Yuan Shikai dies; returned as legislator to
 reconvened parliament.
1917 1920 Became secretary in Ministry of Agriculture and
1921-1922 Founded newspaper Min Pao with Xu Gongsui.
1923-1924 Traveled between Hone Long, Guangzhou, and Beihai as
 liaison between Sun Yat-sen's regime and Guangxi warlord
 Li Junting.
1925-1926 Idle in Beijing.
1926-1927 Went abroad to Singapore where he did research in the
 Raffles Library on the history of the Chinese in
 Southeast Asia.
1928-1932 Compiled General History of the Chinese in Southeast
 Asia: in 1930 accepted teaching position at Ji'nan
 University in Shanghai (he was introduced by Liu Shimu,
 head of the Department on Overseas Chinese Affairs (47)
 in Southeast Asia at the university).
1932-1933 Lecturer in the History department of Furen University
 in Beijing.
1933 1937 Editor in editing and translations department of
 Legislative Yuan, Nanjing.
1938-1939 Due to outbreak of War of Resistance against Japan, took
 family to refuge in Teng County, Guangxi.
1939-1940 Returned as editor of editing and translation department
 in Legislative Yuan, Chongqing.
1940-1941 Diagnosed as having hypertension; returned to Teng
 County, Guangxi to recuperate.
1942-1946 Member of Legislative Yuan.
1946-1949 Professor in History department, Fudan University,
1950-1934 At Ningyuan Middle School Wuzhou, Guangxi.
1954-1963 At Womeng Middle School. Wuzhou, Guangxi
1961 Elected by Wuzhou Political Consultative Conference as
 Elder front 1911 to participate in Commemoration of
 Fiftieth anniversary of 1911 Revolution in Guangxi
 Autonomous Region.
1963 Resigned teaching position due to illness.
1963-1974 Member of Research Institute of Literature and History
 for Guangxi Autonomous Region.
Feb. 22, 1974 Passed away at age ninety in Nanning City Hospital
 Number One at 2 am.


Him Math Lai

Special Terms and Names of Individuals, Newspapers and Institutions




Catholic University, see Fu-jen University





Chinese Revolutionary League [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]







Deng Xiulong, see Dang Sau Lung

Deng Yiyun, see Dang Yik Won

Department of Cultural Activities on Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and the Americas [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Department of Cultural and Educational Activities on Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]









Furen University, see Fu-jen University






He Jingxiong, see Ho Ging Hung [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]



Huang Boyao, see Wong Bock You

Huang Chaowu, see Wong Chew Ng

Huang Jin, see Wong Kin


Huang Yunsu, see Wong Wan Sue


International Chinese Business Directory of the World [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]








Lee Gung Hop, see Lee See Nam

Lee Gut Tong, see Lee See Nam



Lee Tong, see Lee See Nam




Li Gongxia, see Lee See Nam

Li Haiyun, see Lee Hoi Won

Li Jitang, see Lee See Nam



Li Shiinan, see Lee See Nam

Li Tang, see Lee See Nam



Li Wang, see Lee Wong

Li Youkuan, see Lee You Foon




Lu Xin, see Loo Sun












Native Sons of the Golden State [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]




Qiu Shuyuan, see Khoo Seok Wan












Tiannan Xinbao, see Thian Nan Shin Po



Wen He, see Won Wo




Wen Xiongfei, see Won Hung Fei











Wong Wing Tuck, see Wong Chew Ng














Zhongguo Tongmenghui, see Chinese Revolutionary League

Titles of Books, Articles, and Manuscripts [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Academic Works (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe, 2001). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Education, Science & Technology (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe, 1999). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Media & Publications (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe, 1999). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Feng Ziyou, iMeizhou Zhigongtang yu Datong Bao,i Geming yishi, vol. 1 (Chongqing: 1939; reprinted Taipei: Taiwan Commercial Press, 1953). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Feng Ziyou, iNanyang ge di ge ming dangbao shul e,i Gemingyishi, vol. 4 (Shanghai: 1946; reprinted Taipei: Taiwan Commercial Press, 1965). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Feng Ziyou, iTanxiangshan Ziyou Xinbao xiaoshi,i Geming yishi, vol., 4. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Huang Qihuan, iHuang Boyao,i Huaqiao Xiehui Zonghui, ed., Huaqiao mingren zhuan (Taipei: Liming wenhua chubanshe, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Ji Xiaofeng, chief ed., Zhongguo gaodengxuexiao bianqian (Beijing: Huadong Shifan Daxue chubanshe, 1992). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Kang Youwei, iDa Nan-Bei Meizhou zhu Huashang lun Zhongguo zhi kexing lixian bu kexing geming shui (1902). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Li Rongxi, iLl Shi'nan,i Tan Sizhe, chief ed., Jiangmen Wuyi haiwai mingren zhuan, vol. 2 (Jiangmen: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1994). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Li Shaoling, Ou Jujia xiansheng zhuan (Taipei: Li Shaoling, 1960). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Mo Shujie, iLin Junting,i 109-113 in Minguo Guangvi renwu zhuan, vol. 1 (Nanning: Guangxi remnin chubanshe, 1983), ed. by Guangxi Xinhai Geming Shi Yanjiuhui. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Ni Bojiu, iHuang Yunsu,i Huaqiao Xiehui Zonghui, ed., Huaqiao mingren zhuan. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Ni Junming and Shen Jinfeng, eds., Guangdongjin-xiandai renwu cidian (Guangzhou: Guangdong keji chubanshe, 1992). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wang Delin, Gao Sheng et al, eds., Zhonghua liuxue mingren cidian (Changchun: Dongbei Shifan Daxue chubanshe, 1992). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Jin, "Wen Xiongfei zhuanlue," Zhu Jieqin, ed., Haiwai Huaren shehui kexuejia zhuanji (Guangzhou: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1991). Wen Jin, "Wen Xiongfei zhuzuoji nianbiao." (April 12, 1982). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, Nanyang Huaqiao tongshi (Shanghai: Dongfang yinshuguan, 1929). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei oral interview recorded by Li Zhi, June 1964, "Xinhai qian wo zai Tanxiangshan Tongmenghui he Zivou Xinbao gongzuo de huiyi," Huaqiao yu Xinhai Geming (Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1981) and Xinhai Geming huiyilu, vol. 8 (Beijing: Wenshi ziliao chubanshe, 1982). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei oral interview recorded by Li Zhi, October 1965, "Huiyi xinhai shi wo zai guiguo mzhong yiji zai Shanghai he Nanjing qinli, qinjian, qinwen de shi," Huaqiao yu Xinhai Geming and Xinhai Geming huiyilu, vol. 8 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Huiyi xinhai qian Zhongguo Tongmenghui zai Meiguo chengli de jingguo," in Guangdong wenshi ziliao, 25th collection (Guangzhou: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1979), also Huaqiao yu Xinhai Geming and Xinhai Geming huiyilu, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

WenXiongfei,"Minchu Guohui jianwen diandi." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Minchu wo daibiao Guangdong Sheng Linshi Yihui qu Beijing qingyuan kongsuo Guangdong dudu Chen Qiongming de shimo." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Sun Runyuji qi Xianzheng Taolunhui." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Sun xiansheng zai Guangdong jinxing geming huodong de youguan shiliao diandi." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Wo yundong Guangxi Zizhijun zongsiling Lin Junting guifu Sun xiansheng de jingguo." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Wo ziran huai'nian jingpei Sun Zhongshan xiansheng." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Xiongfei, "Yuan Shikai zenyang tigong Liang Shiyi zuzhi Gongmindang." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wen Zhengde, "Sun Zhongshan xiansheng zai Jiujinshan wo jia," Xinhai Geming huiyilu, vol. 8. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Wong Wan Sue, "Shao'nian Zhongguo Chenbao wushi zhounian jinian zayi," in The Young China Morning Paper, 50th Anniversary (1910-1950) (San Francisco: Young China Morning Paper, 1960), Sun Zhentao, ed. [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Zhang Binglin, "Bo Kang Youwei lun geming shu," (Shanghai: 1903). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]

Zhang Pinxing et al, eds., Zhonghua dangdai wenhua mingren dacidian (Beijing: Zhongguo guangbo dianshi chubanshe, 1992). [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.]



(1.) The Chinese Revolutionary League was a coalition of Chinese groups working for revolution in China. It was officially founded in Tokyo, Japan, on August 20, 1905. Sun Yat-sen was elected to head the organization.

(2.) The Baohuangdang was officially founded as Baohuanghui [Protect the Emperor Society] in Victoria, BC, on the 13th day of the 6th moon, 25th year in the Guangxu reign era (1899) by members of the Reform Movement led by Kang Youwei. Kang and his followers had fled abroad after the Hundred Days Reform had been crushed in China. It was the political rival of the Revolutionary Movement.

(3.) Li Shi'nan (Lee See Nam, 1886-1937), also known as Li Gongxia (Lee Gung Hop) and Li Jitang (Lee Gut Tong) or Li Tang (Lee Tong), of Taishan ancestry was born in San Francisco. When he was eight years old his father sent him to Taishan for a Chinese education. Lee became an active participant in the 1905 Anti-American Boycott. In 1906 he joined the Chinese Revolutionary League in Hong Kong and returned to America in 1908. Lee became the head of the San Francisco branch of the Revolutionary League when it was officially founded in 1910 and led the fundraising effort of the Revolutionary Treasury Lee went to China in 1921 to become one of Sun Yat-sen's secretaries. After Sun's death in 1925 Lee was involved in the planning and construction of Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. He passed away in Guangzhou. Reference Li Rongxi, "Li Shi'nan," in Tan Sizhe, chief ed., Jiangmen Wuyi haiwai mingren zhuan [Famous individuals of the five counties of Jiangmen], vol. 2 (Jiangmen: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1994), 84-87.

(4.) Huang Boyao (Wong Bock You, 1883-1965) was born in San Francisco. He met Sun Yat-sen in St. Louis in 1904 and the following year joined the Sun Yat-sen-led Xingzhong Hui [Revive China Society]. Wong became secretary of the San Francisco branch of the Chinese Revolutionary League in 1910. He was active opposing President Yuan Shikai who planned to become emperor. In 1916 he headed the US General Branch of the Kuomintang and helped establish a school to train aviators for the Kuomintang in China. That winter he went to China and was elected to represent the Chinese overseas in the National Parliament. His activities in the service of a foreign government led the US to strip him of his citizen ship. In 1943 he returned to America to become General Secretary of the Kuomintang General Branch. After World War II he returned to China to serve on the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission before coming to the US again in 1953 and was connected with the Young China, the Kuomintang party organ in San Francisco. Reference Huang Qihuan, "Huang Boyao," Huaqiao Xiehui Zonghui, ed., Huaqiao mingren zhuan [Biographies of notable overseas Chinese] (Taipei: Liming Wenhua chubanshe, 1984), cited hereafter as Biographies of Notable Overseas Chinese, 341-48.

(5.) Sue Fawn Chung, "The Chinese American Citizens' Alliance: An Effort in Assimilation, 1895-1965," Chinese America: History and Perspectives, 1988, 30-57. The Native Sons of the Golden State (NSGS) was originally founded in 1895 as an organization promoting the interests of American-born Chinese.

(6.) Ou Jujia (1858-1910) was a native of Guishan (now Huiyang). He studied under Reform Movement leader Kang Youwei. After the failure of the Hundred-Day Reform in 1898 he went to Japan where he expressed sympathy for the revolutionary cause and drew a rebuke from Kang Youwei, who sent him to San Francisco in 1902 to be chief editor of Mon Hing Yat Po. He doubled as chief editor of the Chinese Free Press when it began publishing Kuomintang historian Feng Ziyou claimed that Ou was ousted from the latter position because he conspired with the Baohuanghui to prevent Sun from landing in 1904 and also wrote an editorial attacking him. However according to Li Shaoling, Ou Jujia xiansheng zhuan [Biography of Mr. Ou Jujia] (Taipei: Li Shaoling, 1960), these events could not have happened, since Ou had left for Hong Kong in November 1903 due to his grandfather's passing. Later Ou served as chief editor for Singapore's Nanyang Zonghui Bao until 1907, when he returned to China.

(7.) Liu Chengyu (1876-1953) of Hubei ancestry was born in Panyu, Guangdong. In 1900 the Chinese government sent him to study in Japan, where he cofounded a Hubei students' periodical in 1902 calling for revolution in China. His activities led to cancellation of his government-sponsored status. In 1904 the Chinese Free Press sought a chief editor to replace Ou Jujia, and Sun Yat-sen recommended Liu, who arrived on a student's visa. After the 1911 revolution he returned to China and was variously a member of the Hubei provincial assembly, the national government's Control Yuan, and the National History Institute. Reference "Meizhou Zhigongtang yu Datong Bao" [The Chee Kung Tong of the Americas and the Chinese Free Press]; Feng Ziyou, Geming yishi [Anecdotal history of the revolution], vol. 1 (Chongqing: 1939; reprinted Taipei: Taiwan Commercial Press, 1953), hereafter cited as Feng, Anecdotal History of the Revolution, vol. 1, 136-164; Wang Delin, Gao Sheng et al, eds., Zhonghua liuxue mingren cidian [Dictionary of famous Chinese who studied abroad] (Changchun: Dongbei Shifan Daxue chubanshe, 1992), 165. Cloud Mountain (1997), a novel written by his great-granddaughter Aimee Liu was based on incidents in Liu's life with his wife Jennie Trescott Luis.

(8.) Sue Fawn Chung, "The Chinese American Citizens' Alliance." According to Chung, Native Sons of the Golden State (NSGS) was reorganized in 1904. No citation was given for the date, but the date was given in Y. C. Hong, A Brief History of the Chinese-American Citizens Alliance (San Francisco: Grand Lodge, C.A.C.A., 1955). This date may have been based on the recollections of old members since the organization's minutes were probably lost in the 1906 earthquake. The first election of the reorganized NSGS could very well have been held at the beginning of 1905. NSGS changed to its present name, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, in a 1915 convention so that Chinese Americans in other states could also establish lodges of the organization. Wen was involved in the reorganization rather than the founding of NSGS.

(9.) Victor Low, The Unimpressible Race: A Century of Educational Struggle by the Chinese in San Francisco (San Francisco: East/West Publishing Co., 1982), 93. The school was originally named Chinese Primary School. When it was rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake and fire, it was renamed Oriental School. The school that Won and Wong attended would have been the Chinese Primary School.

(10.) Min Bao was a news organ of the Chinese Revolutionary League. It was founded in Tokyo in June 1905 as Ershi shiji zhi Zhina [China in the twentieth century]. The name was changed to Min Bao in November. It began as a monthly but later was issued irregularly. It published until 1910 during which time Japanese authorities twice ordered it to cease publication. Reference Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Media & Publications, 234-35.

(11.) Zhang Binglin (1868-1936) was a supporter of the Reform Movement who fled to Taiwan and then Japan after the 1898 coup d'etat, which ended the Hundred-Day Reform. He was converted to the revolutionary cause. After his return to Shanghai in 1899, he became chief editor of Su Bao where in 1903 he published "Refutation of Kang Youwei's Views on Revolution," for which the Qing authorities suppressed the paper and jailed Zhang. (Zhang was rebutting Kang Youwei's open letter of 1902, "Da nan-bei Meizhou zhu Huashang lun Zhongguo zhi kexing lixian bu kexing geming shu" [Letter answering Chinese merchants in the Americas that only constitutional rule is feasible and revolution is not feasible for China]. Upon his release in 1906 Zhang became editor of the Revolutionary League organ Min Bao in Japan. Zhang was also a notable scholar in the Chinese classics. Reference Howard L. Boorman, chief ed., Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, vol. 1 (NYC: Columbia University Press, 1967), 92-98.

Zou Rong (1885-1905) went to study in Japan where he became a supporter of the revolutionary movement. He set forth his ideas of revolt against the Qing government in a pamphlet Geming Jun [The Revolutionary Army] (Shanghai: 1903), which was reviewed favorably in Su Bao. He was arrested and jailed and later died in jail. Reference Arthur W. Hummel, ed., Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), vol. 2 (Washington, DC: United States Printing Office, 1944), 769.

(12.) Huang Jin (Wong Kin) was one of the early Chinese hired by the US Post Office. In his job, Wong came into contact with mail from Chinese all over the world, and he conceived the idea of publishing an International Chinese Business Directory of the World to help direct mail to the correct addresses. According to his "Introducing and Explaining the Directory," the project was well along when the 1906 earthquake and fire destroyed his work and he had to start all over. The directory was finally published in 1913. Although it announced that a new edition would be scheduled every two years, so far as known, only one edition was ever published. Reference "Introducing and Explaining the Directory," Wong Kin, comp., International Chinese Business Directory of the World (San Francisco: International Chinese Business Directory of the World Co., 1913).

(13.) Huang Yunsu (Wong Wan Sue, 1881-1973) became editor of Young China when it began publishing on July 16, 1910. In 1911 he teamed with Sun Yat-sen as one of two teams sent across America to raise money lot the revolutionary treasury. After the founding of the Republic he returned to China to serve in various minor posts before returning to the US to attend George Washington University and then to receive a master's degree from Columbia University. He also helped to found the Kuomintang news organ Mun Hey in New York City. After returning to China in 1921 he served the Kuomintang government in various capacities including consul general in Honolulu (1929-1931) and San Francisco (1931-32), and minister to Mexico (1933-36) and to the Dominican Republic (1947-50). He became principal of the Los Angeles Chung Wah School in 1952. Later he retired to Sacramento, California. Reference Ni Bojiu, "Huang Yunsu," in Biographies of Notable Overseas Chinese, 297-303.

(14.) Huang Chaowu (Wong Chew Ng, Wong Wing Tuck) wrote the founding editorial in Young China blaming the plight of the Chinese overseas on misrule in China and calling for overthrow of the Qing Manchus. Soon afterward he died of gas poisoning while asleep in his room.

(15.) The centuries-old imperial examination system, which traditionally had been one of the paths to enter the bureaucracy, was abolished in 1905 as part of China's effort to modernize.

(16.) "Two-level" refers to beginning and upper grades in a primary school in the Chinese education system.

(17.) In 1898 the Empress Dowager and the ultra-conservatives led a coup d'etat that crushed the reform movement. They detained the reform-minded Emperor Guangxu and imprisoned or executed the reformers. Other members of the Reform Movement fled the country.

(18.) In 1908 the Canton Bank building was located at the corner of Clay and Kearny Streets.

(19.) Huang Luyi (1869-1926) was of Nanhai ancestry He was an editor for several newspapers during the pre-Republican period and often used various Cantonese folk song formats to propagate revolutionary ideology. Later he also participated in reforming the Cantonese opera. Reference Ni Junming and Shen Jinfeng, eds., Guangdong jin-xiandai renwu cidian [Biographical dictionary of famous individuals in recent and modern Guangong] (Guangzhou: Guangdong keji chubanshe, 1992), 464. Cited hereafter as Biographical Dictionary of Famous Individuals in Recent and Modern Guangdong.

(20.) Li Haiyun (1888-1936) was Li Shi'nan's cousin. He joined the Revolutionary League in early 1909 and was active raising funds for the revolution. When the Wuchang uprising occurred in 1911 and militia uprisings in Guangdong seized power for the revolutionaries, Li played an active role leading the militia in Siyi (Sze Yup). During the founding of the republic Li was a part of the Kuomintang regime, first serving in the military and then later as county magistrate and other civil posts. Reference "Li Haiyun Shilue" [Brief biography of Li Haiyun], 215-18 in Feng, Anecdotal History of the Revolution, vol. 1.

(21.) Xin Shiji was an anarchist .journal founded in Paris in 1907. The editor and one of the founders was Wu Zhihui (1864-1953), who had published anti-Manchu articles in Su Bao but managed to escape arrest. Wu eventually made his way to Paris in 1906. He returned to China after the founding of the Republic and became a member of the Kuomintang. Reference Howard L. Boorman, chief ed., Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, vol. 3 (NYC: Columbia University Press, 1970), 416-19.

(22.) Wen's recollection may be only partially correct. The only copies of the paper that the editor had seen were issues 32 and 33, dated Feb. 13 and 20, 1910, respectively in the California Historical Society collection and microfilmed by the Hoover Institution's East Asian Library. These issues show an eagle with both wings outspread, one claw planted on a ledge and the other claw on a globe of the world.

(23.) The Guocui Xuebao (1905-12) monthly was founded to preserve the Chinese cultural heritage in the face of the inrush of Western ideas, but was sympathetic to the revolution. Zhang Binglin, Liu Shifu, Huang Jie, and others contributed to the publication. Reference Fan Mingli, "Guocui Xuebao," Xinhai geming shiqi qihan jieshao [Introduction to periodicals during the period of the 1911 Revolution], vol. 2, 314-366

(24.) Huang Jie (1873-1935) of Shunde, Guangdong, ancestry studied under the Guangdong Confucian scholar Jian Chaoliang. In 1902 he wrote propaganda for the revolution in Shanghai's Zhengyi Tongbao (Journal of political arts). He was one of the founders of Guoxue Baocun Hui [Society for the preservation of the national heritage] and wrote numerous articles for Guocui Xuebao. During the Republic of China he was active in the academic field. He is best remembered as a poet. Reference Biographical Dictionary of Famous Individuals in Recent and Modern Guangdong, 432; Howard L. Boorman, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, vol. 2 (NYC: Columbia University Press, 1968), 187.

(25.) Deng Shi (1877-1951) of Shunde, Guangdong, ancestry was born in Shanghai. He became an advocate for preservation of China's national heritage and in 1905 led in the founding of Guoxue Baocun Hui and became the chief editor of Guocui Xuebao. Reference Biographical Dictionary of Famous Individuals in Recent and Modern Guangdong, 33.

(26.) Wen Xiongfei's memory may have been in error regarding the name of the newspaper. Feng Ziyou attributed the half-couplet to Tianmin, who published it in Rangoon's Revolutionary League organ Guanghua Ribao. According to Feng Tiannan Xinbao (Thian Nan Shin Po) was a pro-reform Singapore paper founded by Qiu Shuyuan (Khoo Seok Wan) in 1898. Reference "Nanyang ge di geming dangbao shulue" [Brief descriptions of revolutionary organs in Southeast Asia], in Feng, Anecdotal History of the Revolution, vol. 4 (Shanghai: 1946; reprinted Taipei: Taiwan Commercial Press, 1965), 145-153; Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Media & Publications, 85-86, 360-61.

(27.) Couplets (duilian) is a unique form of traditional Chinese literary composition evolved from the antithetical couplets of regulated verse in ancient Chinese poetry It gradually developed into a separate literary form during the Tang dynasty Duilian are composed in pairs with a beginning half on the right and a remaining half on the left. Corresponding characters on each half couplet are antithetical in nature, that is, a verb on a half-couplet must be matched with a similar class verb on the other, and a noun with a similar class noun. There are also strict rules governing the relation between the tones of corresponding characters in the upper and lower couplets. Duilian came to be composed on scrolls for display on occasions such as the lunar New Year and other festivals, wed dings, and funerals. Others were for display at temples, ancestral halls, and other locations. Composition of couplets around specific themes was also once a popular pastime among literary circles.

(28.) Beginning around the 1880s, all huiguan presidents in San Francisco were titled scholars recruited from China. Later, during the Republic of China, university graduates were also chosen as candidates. Gradually however, local leaders, usually businessmen, were selected to fill the offices. Huiguan are also variously known in English as district, locality, or native place associations in that the membership is determined by the geographical location of the individual's ancestral village of origin in China.

(29.) In 1907 Hawaiian Chinese News merged with Wah Ha Bo to begin publication as Man Sang Yat Po. The owners turned to the Revolutionary League news organ Min Bao in Tokyo for help, and Loo Sun was sent. Soon after Loo arrived in Honolulu, immigration authorities began to initiate deportation proceedings against him, alleging that newspaper editors were not among the classes exempted from the Chinese Exclusion Acts. An appeal to Washington, DC, resulted in a ruling that newspaper editors should be considered teachers and thus were eligible to enter the country: Loo soon found that the owners of the newspaper were less than enthusiastic in supporting his editorial attacks against Manchu rule in China. He then resigned to become chief editor of Liberty News established by local Revolutionary League members in 1908. Reference "Tanxiangshan Ziyou Xinbao xiaoshi" [Brief history of Liberty News], in Feng, Anecdotal History of the Revolution, vol. 4, 197-201.

(30.) In 1908 members of the Triad organization's Wo On Society,, Bow Leong Say, and Kwock On Society in Honolulu organized Kai Ming Bo, but when the paper began publishing, it bore the title of Kai Chee Shun Bo. This paper did not exhibit strong political stances on either the Baohuanghui or the Revolutionary League. Kai Chee Bo was reorganized as Hon Mun Bo upon the establishment of the Republic in 1912. Reference advertisement dated Apr. 24, 1908, in Sun Chung Kwock Bo, June 2, 1908; "Tanshan Huaqiao" [Chinese in Hawaii] section, 63-64, in Dormant Chang and Min Hin Li, eds., The Chinese of Hawaii (Honolulu: The Overseas Penman Club, 1929).

(31.) Walter U. Lum (1882-1961) was one of the group that reorganized NSGS (the present CACA) during the first decade of the twentieth century. He was also Wong Bock You's brother-in-law. Lure was a noted CACA leader. He was one of the founders of the Chinese Times, and was its manager for many years. Reference Mabel Lum Lew, "Walter Uriah Lum, Founder of the Chinese Times." Gum Saan Journal, July 1978.

(32.) Wong Wan Sue, "Shao'nian Zhongguo Chenbao wushi zhounian jianian zayi" [Reminiscences at the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Young China Morning Paper], in Sun Zhentao, ed., The Young China Morning Paper; 50th Anniversary (1910-1950) (San Francisco: Young China Morning Paper, 1960), 106-8.

(33.) Sun Fo (1891-1973), the son of Sun Yat-sen, was born in Zhongshan. In 1886 his mother took him and a sister to their father in Hawaii, where he received his primary and secondary education, graduating from St. Louis College in 1910. From 1908 to 1910 he also worked at Liberty Press in Honolulu. In 1911 he enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley and graduated in 1916, after which he obtained an MA at Columbia University in 1917. He then returned to China to join the military government at Guangzhou. Sun Fo occupied various offices in the Kuomintang regime as it launched a Northern Expedition to unify China and formed a national government in Nanjing. After the Communists established the People's Republic in 1949, Sun Fo went abroad to live first in France and then the US before moving to Taiwan in 1964. Reference Howard L. Boorman, ed., Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, vol. 3 (NYC: Columbia University Press, 1970), 165.

(34. Lu Xin (Loo Sun, 1885-1933) of Shunde ancestry joined the) Revolutionary League in 1905 when he was with Hong Kong's Zhongguo Ribao. He then went to school in Japan from whence he was sent to Honolulu to be the editor for Mon Sang Yat Po. He soon resigned to be editor of Liberty News. He left Honolulu in 1911 after handing the editorship over to Wen Xiongfei to become editor at Zhongguo ribao in Hong Kong. Reference Biographical Dictionary of Famous Individuals in Recent and Modern Guangdong, 59-60.

(35.) Oral interview of Wen Xiongfei recorded by Li Zhi in June 1964, "My experiences with the Tongmenghui and as editor at Liberty Press in Honolulu before the 1911 Revolution," in The Chinese Overseas and the 1911 Revolution, 232-251.

(36.) Oral interview of Wen Xiongfei recorded by Li Zhi in October, 1965, "Reminiscences of what I personally experienced, saw, and heard in 1911 while returning to China and in Shanghai and Nanjing," in The Chinese Overseas and the 1911 Revolution, 252-275.

(37.) Lin Junting (1876 1933) was an illiterate Guangxi peasant who became leader of a bandit band and then became a military commander under warlord Lu Rongting. He figured prominently in Guangxi politics during the early Republican years and even briefly became governor twice. In 1923 the Guangdong government led by Sun Yat-sen sent Wen Xiongfei to negotiate with him to evict hostile forces stationed in the Leizhou Peninsula in southern Guangdong, in exchange for which Lin was promised one hundred thousand rounds of ammunition, thirty thousand dollars, and the post of head of that military district. Lin agreed but took no action, and Wen's mission failed. In 1925 Li Zongren and Huang Shaoxiong, on their way to dominance in the province, defeated Ling forces decisively. Lin fled with a huge sum of money but later was allowed to retire to his native village. Reference Mo Shujie, "Lin Junting," in Guangxi Xinhai Gemiug Shi Yanjiuhui [Committee for research on the history of the 1911 revolution in Guangxil, eds., Minguo Guangxi renwu zhuan [Biographies of Guangxi individuals during the Republic], vol. 1 (Nanning: Guangxi renmin chubanshe, 1983), 109-113.

(38.) Chen Yuan (1880-1971) of Xinhui ancestry passed the imperial examinations to become a xiucai, that is, a scholar who had passed the imperial examinations at the county level. In 1910 he graduated from the Guanghua Medical School in Guangzhou. However he left medicine for history He served in the Parliament in Beijing and then several months as deputy minister of education. In 1922 he eschewed politics and devoted his career to teaching at various universities. He was an expert on the history of the Yuan dynasty, history of religions, history of communications between China and lands abroad, and study of historical documents. Reference Zhang Pinxing et al., eds., Zhonghua dangdai wenhua mingren dacidian [Biographical dictionary of notable contemporary Chinese in the cultural field] (Beijing: Zhongguo guangbo dianshi chubanshe, 1992), 512.

(39.) Nawang [Southern Ocean] was the term that Chinese used to refer to the countries and European colonies in Southeast Asia.

(40.) Ji'nan School, established An Nanjing by the Chinese government in response to the needs of the Chinese in Southeast Asia for a Chinese education for their progeny, opened for instruction in 1907. In 1923 the school moved to a Shanghai suburb, where in 1927 it was upgraded to a university During the Sino-Japanese War the university moved to the French Concession in Shanghai, and then in 1942 to Fujian. After the war ended, the school moved back to Shanghai only to close in 1948. In 1957 it was reestablished in Guangzhou. Before the Sino-Japanese conflict the university principally enrolled students from Southeast Asia, but after the war, the student body comprised Chinese from abroad, from Hong Kong and Macao, from Taiwan, as well as the children of returned overseas Chinese and families of overseas Chinese in China. Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Education, Science & Technology (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe, 1999), 118-119.

(41.) Furen (alternatively Catholic or Fu-jen) University was established in Beijing in 1925 by the American Benedictine Order. In 1933 the Society of the Divine Word took over the operations. In 1932 the university's colleges and departments were merged into other institutions of higher learning in Beijing. Reference Ji Xiaofeng, chief ed., Zhongguo gaodeng xuexiao bianqian [Changes in institutions of higher learning in China] (Beijing: Huadong Shifan Daxue chubanshe, 1992), cited hereafter as Institutions of Higher Learning in China, 1140-41.

(42.) Fudan (Fuh Tan) University was founded as Fuh Tan School in Shanghai in 1905 by a Chinese Jesuit named Ma Xiangbai. It became a private university in 1917. During the war, part of the university stayed in Shanghai and another part migrated to Chongqing, where it was nationalized in 1941. The university returned to Shanghai in 1946. Reference Institutions of Higher Learning in China, 373-387.

(43.) Information on Wen Xiongfei's career in China was based on the following sources: Wen Jin, "Wen Xiongfei zhuzuo ji nianbiao" [Chronology and written works of Wen Xiongfei] (Handwritten manuscript on Ji'nan University letterhead stationery, April 12, 1982); Wen Jim "Wen Xiongfei zhuanlue" [Short biography of Wen Xiongfei], Zhu Jieqin, ed., Haiwai Huaren shehui kexuejia zhuanji [Biographies of overseas Chinese social scientists] (Guangzhou: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1991), 23-27; and oral interview of Wen Zhengde, June 28, 1987.

(44.) Wen Xiongfei wrote the following memoirs:

1. "Huiyi xinhai qian Zhongguo Tongmenghui zai Meiguo chengli de jingguo" [Reminiscences of the founding of the Chinese Revolutionary League in the US before the 1911 Revolution]. See note 3 for publication information.

2. "Xinhai qian wo zai Tanxiangshan Tongmenghui he Ziyou Xinbao gongzuo de huiyi" [My experiences with the Tongmenghui and as editor at Liberty Press in Honolulu before the 1911 Revolution]. See note 3 for publication information.

3. "Huiyi xinhai shi wo zai guiguo tuzhong yiji zai Shanghai he Nanjing qinli, qinjian, qinwen de shi" [Reminiscences of what I personally experienced, saw, and heard in 1911 while returning to China and in Shanghai and Nanjing]. See note 3 for publication information.

4. Minchu wo daibiao Guangdong Sheng Linshi Yihui qu Beijing qingyuan kongsuo Guangdong dudu Chen Qiongming de shimo [The course of events during the early years of the Republic when I represented the Guangdong Provisional Legislature to petition Beijing accusing Governor General Chen Qiongming. Publication information not available.

5. Wo yundong Guangxi Zizhijun zongsiling Lin Junting guifu Sun xiansheng de jingguo [The course of events connected with lobbying Commander-in-Chief Lin Junting of the Guangxi Self-Governing Army to submit to Mr. Sun Yat-sen]. Publication information not available.

6. Sun xiansheng zai Guangdong jinxing geming huodong de youguan shiliao diandi [Miscellaneous historical materials connected with Mr. Sun Yat-sen carrying out the revolutionary activities in Guangdong]. Publication information not available.

7. Minchu Guohui jianwen diandi [A miscellany of what I saw and heard in the parliament during the early years of the Republic]. Publication information not available.

8. Sun Runyu ji qi Xianzheng Taolunhui [Sun Runyu and his Constitutional Rule Discussion Society]. Publication information not available.

9. Yuan Shikai zenyang tigong Liang Shiyi zuzhi Gongmindang [How Yuan Shikai suggested to Liang Shiyi to organize the Citizens' Party]. Publication information not available.

10. Wo ziran huai'nian jingpei Sun Zhongshan xiansheng [I naturally cherish the memory of and admire Mr Sun Yatsen]. Publication information not available.

11. Zizhuan [Autobiography]. Publication information not available.

(45.) The chronology was handwritten by Wen Jin on Ji'nan University stationary, April 12, 1982.

(46.) It was more likely that Wen Xiongfei began working at the weekly Mon Hing Po rather than the daily. See note 2.

(47.) In 1927 Ji'nan University established a Department of Cultural and Educational Activities on Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia. In 1930 the name was changed to Department of Cultural Activities on Overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and the Americas The department published periodicals and books pertaining chiefly to the history and society of Chinese in Southeast Asia.

Liu Shimu (1889-1952) of Xingning, Guangdong, ancestry headed the department from 1927 to 1933. During his youth he emigrated from China to Sumatra where he joined the Chinese Revolutionary League. He returned to China in 1912, after which he attended school in Japan. During the Silo-Japanese War he moved to Penang. In 1940 he was one of the founders of Singapore's South Seas Society. one of the earliest groups to study overseas Chinese history and society in Southeast Asia. He passed away in Penang. Reference Encyclopedia of Chinese Overseas, Volume of Academic Works (Beijing: Zhongguo Huaqiao chubanshe, 2001), 278-79.
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Title Annotation:Chinese Revolutionary League
Author:Xiongfei, Wen
Publication:Chinese America: History and Perspectives
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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