Hu Han-min 胡漢民 Orig. Hu Yen-kuan 胡衍鸛 Alt. Hu Yen-hung 胡衍鴻 T. Chan-t'ang 展堂 H. Pu-k'uei shih-chu 不匱室主 Hu Han-min (9 December 1879-12 May 1936), revolutionary leader and close associate of Sun Yat-sen, was the first republican governor of Kwangtung. In 1924 he became the topranking member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang and one of the seven members of the Central Political Council. He was president of the Legislative Yuan (September 1928-February 1931). His arrest in 1931 precipitated the successionist movement at Canton.
The ancestral home of Hu Han-min's family was Luling hsien, Kiangsi province. His paternal grandfather, Hu Hsieh-san, had moved to Kwangtung as a private secretary to an official of the imperial civil service and had decided to establish a new family home there. At the time of Hu's birth, his father, Hu Wen-chao, was employed as a legal secretary to various prefects and district officials, with the result that the family moved frequently to different parts of Kwangtung. Hu Wen-chao's wife, nee Wen, was the daughter of a scholarly family from P'inghsiang hsien in Kiangsi. Hu Han-min was born in P'anyü hsien, the district of which Canton is the chief city. He was the fourth of seven children, with two elder brothers, two younger brothers, one elder sister, and one younger sister. Only three of the children survived to adulthood: the eldest brother, the younger sister, and Hu Han-min himself. By the age of 11 sui, Hu had completed his basic reading of the Chinese classics and had shown talent as an essayist. His father died in the autumn of 1891 when the boy was only 13 sui, and his mother died two years later. To help support the family, Hu and his elder brother Hu Ch'ing-jui became tutors in 1894. Hu Han-min was then only 16 sui, and many of his pupils were older than he.
The defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-95 aroused the youth of China and prepared them for acceptance of revolutionary ideas. At that time, Hu was reading Chinese historical writings. He was particularly impressed by the works of the great seventeenth-century Ming loyalists and patriots Ku Yen-wu (ECCP, I, 421-26) and Wang Fu-chih (ECCP, n, 817-19) and came to resent the Manchu dynasty. The young Hu learned of Sun Yat-sen from Chinese Christians at Canton.
After learning more about the anti-Manchu revolutionary movement, Hu determined to go to Japan to join it. To raise money for the trip, he went to work for a Canton newspaper in 1898 and soon gained a reputation as an able writer. He also decided to take the imperial examinations as a substitute for wealthy men who desired degrees which they were unable to obtain through their own efforts. To carry out this plan, he had to become a degree-holder. Accordingly, in 1900 Hu took and passed the provincial examinations for the degree of chü-jen. He then put his plan into action and raised the funds he needed.
Hu Han-min went to Japan early in 1902 and enrolled in the normal department of the Kobun Institute in Tokyo. He had been there only a few months, however, when an incident involving Wu Chih-hui (q.v.) and Ts'ai Chun, the Chinese minister to Japan, disrupted his schooling. In July 1902 the Chinese embassy refused to recommend Ts'ai O (q.v.) and two other Chinese students for study at a Japanese military school. Wu Chih-hui led a movement to protest this refusal. Hu Han-min was one of the leaders of the campaign and was forced to withdraw from school as a result.
Hu returned to Canton at the end of 1902 and worked on the Canton newspaper Ling-hai pao as an editor. He engaged in a war of words with another Canton paper, the Yang-ch'eng pao, which supported the monarchist cause of K'ang Yu-wei (q.v.). Hu's activities soon attracted the attention of the authorities, and he was listed as an active revolutionary. He therefore left Canton and went to Kwangsi, where he served as an instructor at the Wuchow Middle School. He was popular with the students, and he disseminated revolutionary ideas. Many of these Wuchow students later participated in the revolution of 1911 and supported Sun Yat-sen's nationalist cause.
In 1904 Hu Han-min, who had just married Ch'en Shu-tzu, went to Japan a second time, traveling with a group of students which included Wang Ching-wei (q.v.) Hu and Wang became close friends; both of them enrolled at Tokyo Law College in the autumn of 1904. The following summer, Hu returned to Canton for the summer vacation. When he went back to Japan, he took his wife, his younger sister, and Liao Chung-k'ai (q.v.) with him. On 20 August 1905 the T'ung-meng-hui was established in Tokyo. Hu and Liao arrived in Tokyo ten days later. They immediately joined the new revolutionary organization. Wang Chingwei headed one of the three major conimittees of the T'ung-meng-hui, and Hu became a member of the committee. Soon afterwards, Sun Yat-sen named Hu secretary of the party headquarters.
Hu Han-min's earliest contributions to the revolutionary movement were his writings in the Min-pao [people's journal], the official organ of the T'ung-meng-hui, which began publication in Tokyo in November 1905. He first used the name Han-min in signing these articles. Hu also continued to study at Tokyo Law College; he was graduated in 1906. The inauguration of the T'ung-meng-hui raised the hopes of its members for revolutionary action. In 1906 many of its members returned to China and participated in unsuccessful uprisings. Sun Yat-sen visited French Indo-China and Malaya, and branches of the revolutionary party were organized in those areas.
After the Peking government demanded Sun Yat-sen's expulsion from Japan, he left for Indo- China in March 1907. Accompanied by Hu Han-min, Wang Ching-wei, and others, he went to Hanoi to establish a new base from which to direct operations planned for the southern provinces of Kwangtung, Kwangsi, and Yunnan. He and his followers also began to train a small revolutionary force and arranged for supplies of arms and ammunition to be sent to them from the T'ung-meng-hui office in Japan. In April 1907 Hu Han-min was sent to Hong Kong to help foment uprisings in eastern Kwangtung. Insurrections near Swatow in May and at Huichou (Waichow) in June were crushed by government troops. Another unsuccessful uprising took place in September at Ch'inchow (Yamchow) in western Kwangtung.
Late in September 1907 Hu Han-min returned to Hanoi. In December, a revolt broke out on the Kwangsi border, and Sun Yat-sen, accompanied by Huang Hsing (q.v.) and Hu Han-min, hastened from Hanoi to join an insurgent group which had succeeded in capturing the frontier outpost at Chen-nan-kuan. But imperial government forces commanded by Lu Jung-t'ing (q.v.) drove the revolutionaries out after a day, and they were forced to retire into French territory. Sun, Hu, and Huang then returned to Hanoi. The French authorities had been persuaded by the Peking government to expel Sun from Indo-China. In March 1908 he was forced to leave Hanoi for Singapore, where he planned to raise funds for munitions to send to Huang Hsing, who again entered Kwangsi to organize uprisings, and to Hu Han-min, who remained at Hanoi. To escape detection by the French authorities, particularly after the unsuccessful revolts at Ch'inchow and Hokow, Hu lived on the top floor of a tailor shop in Hanoi which the revolutionaries used as their headquarters and for two months did not venture into the street.
Hu Han-min left Hanoi and went to Singapore in July 1908 to join Sun Yat-sen. By that time the fortunes of the revolutionary organization were at a low ebb. Repeated military failures in south China had disheartened the remnant revolutionary forces in Malaya and had seriously damaged the prestige of the T'ungmeng-hui among the overseas Chinese of Southeast Asia. The Chinese communities there became reluctant to contribute to Sun Yat-sen's cause. Sun and his followers nevertheless attempted to expand the T'ung-meng-hui organization in Southeast Asia and to enlist support wherever possible. Sun Yat-sen established a new general branch of the T'ung-menghui at Singapore to control activities in Southeast Asia and appointed Hu Han-min its director. A newspaper, the Chung-hsing jih-pao, was also established at Singapore, and Hu and Wang Ching-wei became two of its most forceful contributors. In the campaign to raise funds, the revolutionaries found a capable supporter in Teng Tse-ju (q.v.), who was to become a close friend of Hu Han-min. The T'ung-meng-hui also extended its activities to Siam, where a devoted supporter was Hsiao Fo-ch'eng (q.v.). Sun Yat-sen then decided to leave for Europe with the intention of obtaining a loan in France. In Mav 1909 he established a new south China bureau of the T'ung-meng-hui at Hong Kong to plan revolutionary activities in the southern provinces. It was then that Ch'en Chiung-ming and Tsou Lu (qq.v.) joined the revolutionary movement through the introduction of Chu Chih-hsin q.v.), another close associate'of Sun Yat-sen. Hu Han-min was named chief of the south China bureau of the T'ung-meng-hui, and Wang Ching-wei was appointed secretary. Wang, however, had become discouraged by the repeated failures of the revolutionary movement and had resolved to assassinate the Manchu prince regent. Because he was secretly making plans toward that goal, he contributed little to the bureau's work. Hu attempted to dissuade him. The immediate objective of the bureau was to foment a revolt in the ranks of the New Army at Canton. Working with Hu at Hong Kong was Chao Sheng (1881-1911; T. Pohsien), a former regimental officer in the New Army who had been relieved of his command on suspicion of revolutionary sympathies. Because the plans for the uprising became known, it was staged two weeks ahead of schedule, on 12 February 1910, but it ended in failure. Hu Han-min, together with Huang Hsing and Chao Sheng, left Hong Kong in }vlarch for Singapore to raise funds for renewed action. Hu arrived in Singapore on 28 March 1910 and a few days later received news of Wang Ching-wei's arrest at Peking following his unsuccessful attack on the life of the Manchu prince regent. Hu assumed that Wang Ching-wei would be executed and was greatly upset about the fate of his friend. When he learned that Wang had received a life sentence, Hu Han-min joined with Ch'en Pi-chün (q.v.), who later married Wang, in an attempt to rescue him. Hu even thought of going to Peking himself, but Ch'en Pi-chün checked that obviously fruitless venture. Sun Yat-sen arrived in Singapore from Europe in July 1910. He then proceeded to Penang, where he called a strategy conference on 13 November. The group in attendance at Penang included Hu Han-min, Huang Hsing, Chao Sheng, Teng Tse-ju, and leaders of the overseas Chinese community in Malaya. Plans were made for an all-out attack at Canton. Because of the restrictions placed on his movements by government and colonial authorities in Southeast Asia, Sun returned to Europe to raise funds. Huang Hsing and Chao Sheng went to Hong Kong to make preparations for the uprising. Hu Han-min joined them in March 1911.
On the afternoon of 27 April 1911 the Huang-hua-kang uprising, personally led by Huang Hsing, was launched in Canton. That evening, Hu Han-min, Chao Sheng, Ch'en Pi-chün, and more than 200 other revolutionaries who had been unable to go to Canton earlier, took the night boat from Hong Kong to Canton. On arrival the following morning they found that the insurrection had already failed. Hu returned to Hong Kong that night. Although unsuccessful, the Huang-hua-kang uprising aroused nation-wide attention and led to the Wuchang revolt of 10 October 1911. After the uprising at Wuchang, revolutionaries in other parts of China rose against the Manchus. In Kwangtung, Ch'en Chiung-ming, Chu Chih-hsin, a cousin of Hu Han-min named Hu I-sheng, and other supporters of the revolutionary cause gathered forces to march on Canton. Hu Han-min was then in Hanoi. On hearing the news, he returned to Hong Kong, leading a number of Chinese youths from overseas who had volunteered for military service. The imperial authorities at Canton capitulated. At a public meeting on 9 November 1911 Hu Han-min was elected, in absentia, tutuh [military governor] of the Kwangtung provisional government. He arrived at Canton on 12 November to assume the post, and Ch'en Chiung-ming was elected his deputy. Sun Yat-sen, returning from abroad, reached Hong Kong on 21 December 1911 on his way to Shanghai. The Kwangtung leaders had decided to invite Sun to form his government at Canton; accordingly, Hu Han-min and Liao Chung-k'ai went to Hong Kong to greet Sun and to convey their proposal to him. Sun Yat-sen vetoed the plan, however, and called upon Hu Han-min to go north with him. Hu accompanied Sun to Shanghai, sending Liao Chung-k'ai back to Canton and delegating governmental authority at Canton to Ch'en Chiung-ming.
Sun Yat-sen and Hu Han-min arrived at Shanghai on 25 December 1911. They were met by Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.), who had been elected military governor of Shanghai. Huang Hsing and Wang Ching-wei, who had been released from prison at Peking, also welcomed them. On 29 December 1911 Sun Yat-sen was elected provisional president of the Republic of China. When he assumed office at Nanking on 1 January 1912, he named Hu Han-min his chief secretary. Before going to Nanking, Hu had raised some China $700,000 among the Kwangtung residents of Shanghai to help finance the new government.
In February 1912 Sun Yat-sen relinquished the provisional presidency to Yuan Shih-k'ai (q.v.). At the end of April, Hu Han-min returned to Canton and resumed his duties as tutuh of Kwangtung. By 1913 Yuan Shih-k'ai had launched his campaign to suppress the Kuomintang, the successor to the T'ung-menghui. In June 1913 Yuan appointed Ch'en Chiung-ming to succeed Hu as Kwangtung tutuh. Earlier, Li Lieh-chün (q.v.) had been dismissed as governor of Kiangsi. The Kuomintang leaders then launched a campaign against Yuan Shih-k'ai which became known as the second revolution. The well-trained Peiyang forces were too strong for the republican revolutionaries, and the campaign was suppressed quickly. Sun Yat-sen and many of his political supporters, including Hu Han-min, were forced to flee to Japan.
In 1915, when Yuan Shih-k'ai's monarchical aspirations became apparent. Sun Yat-sen and his supporters launched a new campaign against him. Hu Han-min spent the greater part of the year in the Philippines raising funds for the campaign. By early 1916 Ch'en Ch'i-mei had returned to Shanghai to direct operations in that area. Hu Han-min, after spending a short period in Tokyo following his visit to the Philippines, soon arrived in Shanghai to join Ch'en. When Ch'en Ch'i-mei was assassinated in May 1916, Hu Han-min was living in the same house and was on the upper floor of the building when the murder was committed. After Yuan Shih-k'ai died in June 1916, Li Yuan-hung (q.v.) succeeded to the presidency at Peking. In September 1916 Hu Han-min visited Peking on behalf of Sun Yat-sen to discuss national problems with Li Yuan-hung and Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), the premier. A more important goal of Hu's trip, however, was to promote unity among members of the revolutionary party in north China, particularly those who were members of the Parliament. The rebellion of the northern group of military governors against Li Yuan-hung in May 1917 and the forcible dissolution of the Parliament in June led to the movement launched by Sun Yat-sen for "protection of the constitution." With the support of the navy, a rump parliament met at Canton in July 1917 and established a military government headed by Sun Yat-sen. Hu Han-min was named minister of communications in that government. However, Kwangtung province was then under the control of the Kwangsi military faction headed by Lu Jung-t'ing and Ts'en Ch'un-hsuan (q.v.), and Sun found it impossible to exercise real authority. In May 1918 he left Canton for Shanghai.
Hu Han-min followed Sun to Shanghai. For the next two years he devoted himself to disseminating Sun's ideas on national reconstruction and to popularizing Sun's political and social co
cepts. In August 1919, together with Chu Chih-hsin, Liao Chung-k'ai, and Tai Chi-t'ao (q.v.), Hu Han-min established the Chien-she tsa-chih [reconstruction magazine] and published many of his more systematic articles on political theory, including socialism, in it. Although Sun Yat-sen and most of his disciples had never accepted Marxism, some of his close followers, notably Hu Han-min and Tai Chi-t'ao, defended some of its concepts from the conservative and nationalist standpoint. Hu and Tai both believed that China's most important political problem was how to become a strong and independent national state. By underplaying the element of class struggle and accenting the nationalist implications of the Leninist theory of imperialism, they argued that Marxism-Leninism might serve as an acceptable doctrinal base for their nationalist political program. They accepted the materialist conception of history and the ideal of equal distribution of wealth, and they suggested that similar theories were to be found in the writings of the ancient Chinese philosophers. During this period, Hu Han-min also attempted to assess Chinese history, philosophy, and institutions in the light of historical materialism. His "Materialistic Study of the History of Chinese Philosophy," which appeared in the third issue of the Chien-she tsa-chih in October 1919, attempted to find precedents for Marxism-Leninism in traditional Chinese thought. In the fifth issue of the journal (December 1919), Hu Han-min published a lengthy article entitled "A Criticism of the Criticism of Historical Materialism." This article was a point-by-point rebuttal of the article by Li Ta-chao (q.v.) entitled "My Views on Marxism" in the 19 May special issue on Marxism oi Hsiti ch'ing-nien [new youth]. When Sun Yat-sen returned to office in Canton on 5 May 1921, Hu Han-min was appointed chief counselor, head of the civil affairs bureau, and head of the political department of the government. After a successful campaign against the Kwangsi leaders, who fled westward to their own province. Sun Yat-sen in 1922 turned again to his cherished plan for a northern expedition against the Peking government. That plan was vigorously opposed by Ch'en Chiung-ming, who took action against Sun in June 1922 and forced him to take refuge on a gunboat in the Pearl River.
At the time of Ch'en Chiung-ming's coup, Hu Han-min was at Sun Yat-sen's field headquarters at Shaokuan in northern Kwangtung. An advance unit of the northern expedition had already entered Kiangsi and captured Kanchow. On hearing of the coup, Hu Han-min, who was in tactical command at the field headquarters, decided to bring the men back from Kanchow to march on Canton against Ch'en Chiungming. Ch'en had won over a portion of the Kwangtung troops and soon defeated another portion in an engagement near Shaokuan. The units of the Kwangtung army which remained loyal to Sun Yat-sen were commanded by Hsü Ch'ung-chih (q.v.); Hunan, Kiangsi, and Yunnan armies also supported Sun. It was decided that Hu Han-min and Hsü Ch'ung-chih should lead the Kwangtung units into Fukien while Li Lieh-chün led the other units into Hunan with the objective of reaching Kwangsi. Hu Han-min came to a peaceful arrangement with a local army commander in Fukien which enabled Hsü Ch'ung-chih to bring his army into Fukien for rest and regrouping. When in Fukien, Hu Han-min heard of Sun Yat-sen's safe arrival in Shanghai and hastened to join him there.
In September 1922 Sun Yat-sen called a meeting of the Kuomintang members in Shanghai at which he announced his intention to reorganize the party and named a committee to study the problem. In November, the committee elected Hu Han-min and Wang Ching-wei to draft a declaration on party reform. That document was published on 1 January 1923. With the help of Yunnan and Kwangsi armies. Sun's forces were successful in ousting Ch'en Chiung-ming from Canton in February 1923, and Sun reestablished the military government; Hu Han-min relinquished the governorship and became chief counselor in Sun Yat-sen's office.
When the First National Congress of the Kuomintang met at Canton in January 1924 under the personal direction of Sun Yat-sen, one major objective was to reorganize the party on Leninist lines. At that congress, Hu Han-min was elected top-ranking member of the Central Executive Committee. When the Whampoa Military Academy was established in May 1924, Hu was appointed one of its political instructors. In July 1924 he became one of the seven members of the Central Political Council of the Kuomintang.
In September 1924 Sun Yat-sen again turned to planning a northern expedition and moved his headquarters to Shaokuan. Hu Han-min was ordered to remain at Canton to act on behalf of Sun and was named governor of Kwangtung province once again. As soon as Hu assumed these duties, he had to confront the armed defiance of the Canton Merchant Corps, supported by conservative British interests in Shameen and Hong Kong and by Ch'en Chiung-ming. Hu Han-min deployed all the armed forces available at Canton under the command of the garrison commander, Chiang Kai-shek. By mid-October, the uprising had been quelled.
The death of Sun Yat-sen in March 1925 had far-reaching consequences for the Kuomintang and for China. The most pressing problem confronting Hu Han-min at Canton was the threat of revolt by the Yunnan and Kwangsi armies of Yang Hsi-min and Liu Chen-huan. Hu Han-min handled the issue with the same firmness he had shown in dealing with the Canton merchants corps. After consultation with Hsü Ch'ung-chih and Chiang Kai-shek, Hu determined to use force against the unruly troops. Michael Borodin, the Russian adviser to the Central Political Council, strongly opposed such action. Hu Han-min overruled Borodin's protest and vindicated his judgment by suppressing the revolt in two weeks during May 1925.
The Kuomintang leaders then confronted the thorny succession problem. The major aspirants were generally assumed to be Hu Han-min, Wang Ching-wei, and Liao Chung-k'ai, in that order. All were T'ung-meng-hui veterans who had been associated with Sun Yat-sen for many years and who had enjoyed his personal confidence. However, it was obvious that no single individual could hope to occupy Sun Yat-sen's position and command the same obedience from his associates. The Central Political Council, with Hu Han-min as de facto chairman, held a series of meetings in July 1925 and decided on the organization of a new national government. That government was officially inaugurated on 1 July 1925, with a government committee of 1 6 members. Five of these formed the standing committee: Hu Han-min, Wang Ching-wei, Liao Chung-k'ai, Hsü Ch'ung-chih, and T'an Yen-k'ai (q.v.). Wang Ching-wei was elected chairman of the government, and Hu was named minister of foreign affairs. This development led to a rift between Hu and Wang.
On 30 August 1925 the still unsetded foundations of the new Kuomintang leadership were shaken when Liao Chung-k'ai, who had been elected minister of finance, was assassinated. The mystery surrounding Liao's death has never been penetrated. However, Hu Hanmin's cousin Hu I-sheng, himself a veteran revolutionary, was thought to be a principal figure behind the planning of the murder because he had publicly denounced Liao Chung-k'ai for his pro-Communist views. Hu I-sheng fled the city. Although Hu Han-min was absolved from complicity in the crime, he was obliged to retire from active political life. The Kuomintang sent him on a mission to the Soviet Union to study party organization and political and economic conditions. Hu left Canton on 22 August 1925 and reached Moscow on 18 October, where he was accorded a civil reception and was given the opportunity to make several speeches. In February 1926 he attended the Third Congress of the Comintern and presented an application from the Kuomintang for membership in that organization. That act led to an interview with Stalin, but the matter of Kuomintang admission was tabled. While Hu Han-min was in the Soviet Union, the Kuomintang held its Second National Congress at Canton in January 1926. That meeting was dominated by Wang Ching-wei, and a substantial group of Wang's supporters were elected to the central apparatus of the party. Hu Han-min was reelected to the Central Executive Committee and the Central Political Council. He also was made a member of the standing committee of the Central Executive Committee and director of the workers department of the central party headquarters. Hu Han-min returned to China in April 1926, but remained inactive in Shanghai until the spring of 1927. Then, after the anti- Communist Kuomintang leaders broke with the Kuomintang regime at Wuhan and established a national government at Nanking on 18 April 1927, Hu was elected chairman of that government. His first official act was to order the arrest of Borodin and nearly 200 members of the Chinese Communist party, including Ch'en Tu-hsiu (q.v.), its general secretary. Hu held the chairmanship for only four months, however; he left Nanking for Shanghai in August 1927. By that time the Wuhan leaders had also taken action against the Communists. In September, the two factions of the Kuomintang reunited. In January 1928 Hu Han-min left China on a trip to Europe, accompanied by his daughter, Hu Mu-lan. Sun Fo (q.v.), and C. C. Wu (Wu Ch'ao-shu, q.v.) also traveled with him. On the way, the party stopped at Singapore to attend receptions given them by the local Chinese community. On his way to one of the receptions on 8 February, C. C. Wu was wounded when an attempt was made to kill him. It was later discovered that the assassins, allegedly Communist agents, had intended to kill Hu Han-min, who had been prevented from attending the reception by another engagement. Hu Han-min then traveled to Turkey. He had great admiration for that country's modernization programs, directed by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk). In Ankara, he had a long discussion with Ismet (Inonu), the prime minister. Hu was greatly impressed by the achievements of the Turkish republic. He also visited France, Germany, Italy, England, and other European countries before returning to China in August 1928.
Hu Han-min arrived at Nanking in September 1928, The following month, when the new National Government was established, he was appointed president of the Legislative Yuan, one of the five principal organs of government. After the collapse of the 1930 revolt against Nanking led by Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.), Wang Ching-wei, and Yen Hsi-shan (the so-called enlarged conference movement), the National Government decided to convoke a national assembly and adopt a provisional constitution. These had been among the demands made by the enlarged conference rebels, and they possessed some political appeal. Hu Han-min, however, held strong views on political development in China and adamantly opposed the creation of a constitution. Hu's stand, derived from the concepts of Sun Yat-sen, was that a single-party dictatorship under the Kuomintang and a period of political tutelage were necessary. After tutelage had been effective, a constitutional era could be inaugurated. His uncompromising stand brought him into open conflict with Chiang Kai-shek.
Hu resigned the presidency of the Legislative Yuan on 28 February 1931. Almost immediately, he was placed under house arrest by Chiang Kai-shek and sent to T'angshan near Nanking. Hu's confinement precipitated another major crisis in the Kuomintang. On 30 April, four senior members of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang issued a statement impeaching Chiang Kai-shek for the illegal arrest of Hu Han-min. The four were: Lin Sen, who had succeeded Hu as president of the Legislative Yuan; Ku Ying-fen (q.v.), who had joined the T'ung-meng-hui at its inception in 1905; and Hsiao Fo-ch'eng and Teng Tse-ju, the two overseas Chinese leaders who were old and close friends of Hu. Military officers in Kwangtung, led by Ch'en Chi-t'ang (q.v.), immediately announced their support of the statement. Kuomintang leaders who were opposed to the authority exercised by Chiang Kai-shek assembled at Canton on 27 May 1931 in an extraordinary conference of members of successive central committees of the party. Among the prominent Kuomintang leaders present were Wang Ching-wei, Sun Fo, T'ang Shao-yi, Eugene Ch'en, Ch'en Chi-t'ang, and Li Tsung-jen.
The extraordinary conference led to the formation on 28 May 1931 of an opposition national government at Canton. Civil war threatened. The situation was saved by the national crisis precipitated by the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September 1931. In the face of that grave threat the leaders at Nanking and Canton held peace talks. Hu Han-min was released, and the feuding party and government factions were reunited. After his release, Hu Han-min paid a visit to Canton in late November 1931, partly to attend to funeral arrangements for his friend Ku Ying-fen, who had died in October. Hu then took up residence in Hong Kong. Although the secessionist government at Canton had been abolished, new organs were created through which the provinces of Kwangtung and Kwangsi continued to maintain a state of virtual autonomy. These organs were the Southwest Executive Headquarters of the Kuomintang and the Southwest Political Council. Although Hu Han-min remained in Hong Kong, he gave moral support to the leaders of the southern provinces, Ch'en Chi-t'ang and Li Tsung-jen, whose course of action sometimes was incompatible with Nanking's policies and orders. In February 1933 Hu Han-min founded the San-min-chu-i-yueh-k'an [Three People's Principles monthly], in which he published many of his writings on the political thought of Sun Yat-sen. Hu considered himself the inheritor and legitimate interpreter of Sun's political legacy, and he had edited a five-volume collection of Sun's writings, the Tsung-li ch'uan-chi, which had been published in 1930. In March 1933, when Wang Ching-wei passed through Hong Kong on his way back to China from France, he called on Hu Han-min and tried to persuade him of the validity of some of his views on the national situation. However, this meeting of the two former friends, which proved to be the last, was not a success.
In November 1933, when Ch'en Ming-shu and Li Chi-shen (qq.v.), with the support of the Nineteenth Route Army, staged the Fukien revolt and organized a short-lived people's government at Foochow, Hu's name was linked with the movement. Hu set the record straight by joining the leaders at Canton in a message to the Fukien insurgents which condemned their action. He also issued a personal statement on the general political situation which, while condemning the Fukien uprising, stated in categorical terms his disapproval of Chiang Kai-shek's policies and associates. In June 1935 Hu Han-min left Hong Kong on a trip to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and France. He left France toward the end of 1935 and arrived in Hong Kong on 19 January 1936. In the meantime, the Fifth National Congress of the Kuomintang, held at Nanking in November 1935, had reelected him to the Central Executive Committee. Two veteran Kuomintang leaders, Chü Cheng and Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang (qq.v.), were sent to Hong Kong in early 1936 to invite Hu to return to Nanking and be welcomed into the central organization of the party. Hu replied that he would do so later in the spring. He went to Canton, where he died of apoplexy on 12 May 1936, at the age of 56. He was given a state funeral and was buried on 13 July 1936 in the northeastern suburb of Canton. He was survived by his wife, Ch'en Shu-tzu, and his daughter, Hu Mu-lan, who had been his traveling companion on most of his trips outside China after 1925. The most complete account of Hu Han-min's career is Chiang Yung-ching's Hu Han-min hsien-sheng nien-p'u-kao [chronological biography of Hu Han-min], published in Taipei in 1961.