China Only Yesterday, 1850-1950: A Century of Change

By Emily Hahn | Go to book overview

Chapter Nineteen

Yuan's death left China almost completely disintegrated, broken into bits each of which was under the rule of a war lord. Yet, though he had debased the representative government by using it as a tool for his ends, a form of it remained which saved Peking from immediate civil war when the Vice-President, Li Yuan-hung, slipped into the Presidency in accordance with the rules. The war lords paused to take stock of the situation, and stayed their hands not because they expected the weak Li to put up any resistance, but for fear of each other. In the pause President Li reconvened parliament.

The Sun Yat-sen contingent found it possible to return from Japan, though it was still necessary to stay out of Peking's reach. Canton was their only safe foothold apart from Shanghai, where Sun had a house in the French Concession, and it was in Canton that they made plans to start once more on the long-delayed task of unification. During the long exile two men in Sun's coterie had risen to the top as his most trusted lieutenants, Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei, though at the time Yuan died Wang was under a temporary cloud and had gone off to France to meditate on his sins. As for Sun's old friend Charles Soong, their relationship had suffered change and strain over a delicate family affair. Soong's three daughters had spent most of their childhood and adolescence at school in America. The two elder girls, Eling and Chingling, were now back in the East, though Meiling remained at Wellesley to finish her university course. In Japan Eling, the eldest, worked as Sun's secretary for a time before she married Kung Hsiang-hsi, scion of a rich Shansi family. The Kungs claim descent from Confucius, but Kung Hsiang-hsi was a Christian and had cast in his lot with republicanism. The young couple returned to Shansi, leaving Sun

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China Only Yesterday, 1850-1950: A Century of Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 4
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Chapter One 11
  • Chapter Two 28
  • Chapter Three 41
  • Chapter Four 55
  • Chapter Five 71
  • Chapter Six 88
  • Chapter Seven 107
  • Chapter Eight 125
  • Chapter Nine 146
  • Chapter Ten 162
  • Chapter Eleven 183
  • Chapter Twelve 199
  • Chapter Thirteen 217
  • Chapter Fourteen 237
  • Chapter Fifteen 253
  • Chapter Sixteen 278
  • Chapter Seventeen 295
  • Chapter Eighteen 314
  • Chapter Nineteen 332
  • Chapter Twenty 353
  • Chapter Twenty-One 368
  • Chapter Twenty-Two 383
  • Glossary 403
  • Bibliography 407
  • Index 411
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