Biography in English

Ku Meng-yü (1889-), German-trained economist and professor at Peking University who joined the Kuomintang in the 1920's. He was a political associate of Wang Ching-wei until 1933. After 1949 he participated in the socalled third force movement in Hong Kong. He went to the United States in the mid-1950's, where he reentered academic life.

The son of Ku Chia-hsiang, a writer and artist, Ku Meng-yü was born in Wanp'ing, Chihli (Hopei). After receiving a traditional education in the Chinese classics, he studied at the Imperial University of Peking from 1903 to 1906, specializing in German language and literature. In 1906 he received a government grant for advanced study in Germany. He studied at the University of Leipzig from 1906 to 1908 and at Berlin University from 1908 to 1911. After returning to Peking in 1911, Ku accepted an appointment as an assistant professor of economics at the university (which was renamed Peking University after the republic was established in 1912). He became a full professor in 1915 and chairman of the economics department in 1918. He was among the young intellectuals who contributed articles to the magazine Hsin ch'ing-nien [new youth] and who were prominent in the May Fourth Movement of 1919 {see Ch'en Tu-hsiu). In 1924 Ku Meng-yü reportedly joined the Shih-ch'ien she, a Kuomintang affiliate in Peking. About 1925 he left Peking and went to Canton. At the Second National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in January 1926, he was elected to the Central Executive Committee by a vote of 222 to 34. He became identified with the faction of the Kuomintang led by Wang Ching-wei (q.v.), which supported the policy of collaboration with the Communists begun in 1924. After returning to Peking, he participated in the incident of 18 March (for details, see Feng Yü-hsiang). On 19 March, Tuan Ch'ijui ordered the arrest of Ku Meng-yü, Hsü Ch'ien, Li Shih-tseng, and Yi P'ei-chi, charging that they had instigated the incident and had disseminated Communist propaganda. Ku and his associates were shielded from arrest by the Kuominchün commander of the Peking garrison, Lu Chung-lin. Ku and a party which included Eugene Ch'en and the Soviet adviser Borodin left Peking and went to Urga (Ulan Bator), arriving there on 3 April, traveling by way of Vladivostok.

In the spring of 1926 the left wing of the Kuomintang found itself without a leader, for Wang Ching-wei resigned his posts after the incident of 20 March, when Chiang Kai-shek declared martial law in Canton and arrested a number of Communists without consulting him. Soon afterwards, Wang left for Europe. Chiang Kai-shek then was able to move toward domination of the party and the government. On 15 May, the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang acted on Chiang's proposals to curtail Communist influence in the party. Mao Tse-tung, who had been acting head of the propaganda department, was replaced by Ku Meng-yü.

In July 1926 the Northern Expedition forces began to move northward, and by 10 October the Wuhan cities had been captured. A month later, the National Government was moved from Canton to Wuhan. Ku Meng-yü served on the joint council which was established to run the government until the main body of party and government leaders arrived in Wuhan to take control. Other members of the council were Hsü Ch'ien, Sun Fo, Eugene Ch'en, Teng Yenta, and the Communists Wu Yü-chang and Lin Po-ch'ü. A split in the Kuomintang was imminent, for Chiang Kai-shek and his right wing faction favored Nanchang, and later Nanking, as the seat of the government. When the Central Executive Committee met at Wuhan in March 1927, the left-wing faction dominated the proceedings. Chiang Kai-shek's authority was diminished by the establishment of a sevenman presidium of the Central Political Council and the revival of the Military Council. Ku Meng-yü was elected to both bodies and was confirmed as head of the propaganda department. In April, Wang Ching-wei returned from Europe to assume control of the Wuhan regime, and Chiang Kai-shek established a rival government at Nanking. Ku Meng-yü remained at Wuhan and supported Wang's decision of 15 July to break with the Communists in the interests of Kuomintang reunification.

On 29 August 1927, eight days after Chiang Kai-shek retired from office, Ku Meng-yü and other Wuhan leaders accompanied Wang Chingwei to a conference with Li Tsung-jen (q.v.) at Lushan, Kiangsi. A result of this meeting was the 1 1 September conference, held in Shanghai, at which representatives from the various factions of the Kuomintang drew up an agreement for party unity. Four days later they created the Special Central Committee of the Kuomintang to function as an interim government. Ku Meng-yü, w^ho shared Wang Chingwei's objections to the composition of the committee, returned to Wuhan and joined with T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.) in forming the Wuhan branch ofthe Political Council, which denounced the Special Central Committee as an illegal body. In late October, Li Tsung-jen led a punitive expedition against the Wuhan dissidents and forced Ku and T'ang to abandon Wuhan. Ku then went to Canton, where he worked with Ch'en Kung-po and Kan Naikuang (qq.v.) in making preparations for the 17 November coup of Chang Fa-k'uei (q.v.). After taking control of Canton, Chang declared opposition to the Special Central Committee. This effort soon collapsed, however, and Wang Ching-wei, having failed to undermine Nanking's authority, left for France on 17 December. His departure brought Ku Meng-yü's political career to a halt.

In the winter of 1928 Ku Meng-yü, Ch'en Kung-po, and other members of the Kuomintang left wing who were in Shanghai organized the Kuomintang kai-tsu t'ung-chih hui [society of comrades for Kuomintang reorganization], sometimes known as the Reorganizationist faction. In the spring of 1929 they established the Min-hsin chou-k'an [public opinion weekly], in which they exhorted the Kuomintang to return to the spirit of the 1924 reorganization. In response, the Kuomintang headquarters in Nanking decided to convene a third party congress from which most of the left-wing members would be excluded. On 12 March 1929 Ku Meng-yü joined Wang Ching-wei, who had returned to China, and 12 other prominent members of the party in issuing a manifesto which declared the meeting to be illegal. Three days later, the congress convened. Its members voted to removed Ku Meng-yü from the Central Executive Committee and to expel Ch'en Kung-po from the party. The Reorganizationist faction responded to this action by initiating a search for military allies who would join with it in attempting to overthrow the Nanking regime.

In the spring of 1930 Wang Ching-wei formed an anti-Chiang Kai-shek alliance with Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan (qq.v.). Preparations were made for the so-called enlarged conference of the Kuomintang, which would include representatives of the Reorganizationist faction, the Yen-Feng coalition, the Western Hills faction, and other dissident groups. The conference, which began on 7 August at Peiping, established a national government, headed by Yen Hsi-shan, and a Kuomintang organization, headed by Wang Ching-wei. Ku Meng-yü was appointed to direct the propaganda department of the new party organization. After the movement collapsed in September 1930, Ku Meng-yü disappeared from public view for more than a year.

After Wang Ching-wei became president of the Executive Yuan i;i January 1932, he appointed Ku Meng-yü to his cabinet as minister of railways. He held this post until August, when Wang and the entire cabinet resigned. The National Government refused ^Vang's resignation and granted him a leave of absence. As a result, most of the cabinet members withdrew their resignations, but Ku insisted on resigning.

Little is known about Ku Meng-yü's activities during the middle and late 1930's. After the Sino-Japanese war broke out, he moved to Chungking with the National Government. When Wang Ching-wei established a Japanesesponsored regime at Nanking in 1939, Ku chose not to join him and remained in Chungking. From 1941 to 1943 he held the presidency of National Central University. However, he generally remained aloof from politics. Civil war between the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists began soon after the victory over the Japanese. In May 1948 Ku Meng-yü rejected an offer to serve in the cabinet of W^ong Wen-hao (q.v.) as vice president of the Executive Yuan. According to Ku, he refused the post because he believed that the cabinet's chief function would be to undertake peace negotiations with the Communists and that the undertaking would surely fail because of the intransigence of the Communists and the divided counsel among the Nationalist leaders. In 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek and his associates moved to Taiwan and the Chinese Communists took full control of the mainland, Ku went to Hong Kong. His past opposition to Chiang Kai-shek and his aloofness from wartime and postwar politics were deemed political assets by anti- Communist and anti-Chiang Kai-shek politicians and intellectuals in Hong Kong who tried to form the so-called third force movement. Ku Meng-yü and Chang Fa-k'uei reportedly became leaders in this attempt to give the Chinese people an option to choose neither the nationalism of Chiang Kai-shek nor the ideology of the Chinese Communists. The movement aroused some interest in 1950, but faded away when the United States came to the support of Chiang Kai-shek's government in Taiwan. In the mid-1950's Ku Meng-yu went to the United States and estabhshed residence in Berkeley, CaUfornia. Beginning in 1'959, he was a consuhant to an agricuhural project and a language and cultural project on the People's Republic of China which was sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California. Thus, after many years of political involvement, much of which was distasteful to him, Ku Meng-yü returned to his chosen career as an academic.

Biography in Chinese















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