The Reporter and the Warlords: An Australian at Large in China's Republican Revolution

The Reporter and the Warlords: An Australian at Large in China's Republican Revolution

The Reporter and the Warlords: An Australian at Large in China's Republican Revolution

The Reporter and the Warlords: An Australian at Large in China's Republican Revolution

Synopsis

Full of intrigue and swashbuckling adventure, the story of an Australian journalist who was at the heart of the most turbulent period in Chinese history

Set against the turbulent background of China in the first half of the 20th Century, this reads like a romantic novel- but it's a true story. The reporter is the intrepid Australian journalist, Will Donald, who arrived in Hong Kong in 1903 and by 1908 was managing editor of the China Mail. As a freelance journalist based in Shanghai, Donald then became advisor to a number of influential public figures, including Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek, entangling himself in their power struggles. He participated in the armed struggle to overthrow the last emperor of China and then wrote proclamations for Sun Yat-Sen, who ultimately became Provisional President of the Republic of China. Will Donald's most intriguing alliance was with the swashbuckling Manchurian warlord and morphine-addicted womanizer, Zhang Xueliang. The lives of these two extraordinary men became entwined over the decades and provide a compelling narrative. The role of both Australian and American advisors in these events has a particularly modern resonance.

Excerpt

May, 1903. Looking out over Hong Hom Bay from the deck of the steamship that brought him here from Melbourne, he has arrived at a different world, his vessel sitting in a floating forest. Tall wooden sail masts, intricately rigged with ropes and crossed with square yards, nod lazily to the blunt masts of steamers and tripod masts on light grey warships. Squat junks with fabric sails bob around the bay among thin sampans loaded with families and their worldly belongings huddled under small awnings. Across the bay, he can see heights draped in green, stately houses here and there on the steep, lush sides almost to the summit. A small city lies prostrate at its base.

He turns his gaze to the shore and takes in what he can with one gulp of a newspaperman’s eye. Behind the austere customs offices and warehouses lining Kowloon’s waterfront, shanty dwellings cluster and rugged rocky hills rise to a craggy peak. Further behind stretch the blue mountains of Kwangtung, and the vast empire of the Manchus about which Will Donald knows almost nothing.

The rush of berthing SS Changsha completed, a gangway is lowered. Sandy-haired with a prominent nose, of medium build and wiry, Donald disembarks into the swarming dark-haired humanity he was watching from the deck. He knew it would be approaching summer this side of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.