Sun Yat-Sen and the French, 1900-1908

Sun Yat-Sen and the French, 1900-1908

Sun Yat-Sen and the French, 1900-1908

Sun Yat-Sen and the French, 1900-1908

Excerpt

In the following pages it is argued that during a critical period in his career, Sun Yat-sen sought to create a separate state in southwest China which would have been dependent upon French aid and guidance. Sun was supported in his attempt by the most overtly expansionist elements of the French political System, both in metropolitan France and in Indochina.

The materials upon which this analysis is based consist primarily of original accounts by direct participants in the events. Most of those materials are in Kuomintang (KMT) archives on Taiwan, although French reports in L’Archives d’Outre Mer and French Army accounts at Vincennes are also important. The facts outlined in those materials often differ radically from those in customary sources upon which many historians of the Chinese revolution have drawn. Sun and his immediate followers were directly involved in conspiring to create a revolution, and while they were concerned with creating useful symbols, they were much less concerned than those who were to write the semi-official histories of their activities. Sun and his followers were relatively untroubled by issues which later historians of the revolution felt obliged to conceal or minimize.

Sun was almost always accompanied in his Asian peregrinations during the years studied here by one or more of his close supporters, Teng Mu-han, Hu Han-min and Wang Ching-wei. Feng Tzu-yu was also sometimes a member of this inner circle, but was relatively uninvolved in the activities relating to the French. These men were ail overseas students and confirmed modernists. Hu Han-min and Teng Mu-han, in particular, left in the Kuomintang archives a number of handwritten manuscripts, their own accounts of their travels with Sun in Southeast Asia from 1900 to 1908. These manuscripts have provided materials and perspectives on Sun’s activities from 1900 to 1908 which have never been admitted into later, more orthodox compilations.

As an example of the process by which the importance of these manuscripts was minimized, let us examine an incident involving Teng Mu-han. Teng was a close comrade of Sun in the earlier years and was the major historian of the revolutionary groups in Vietnam. Teng was also the earliest secretary of the Kuomintang’s archives and compiled many of the materials later published by others. In the KMT archives there are several related manuscripts written by Teng . . .

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