Biography in English

Huang Fu (8 March 1880-6 December 1936), government official, was a friend and adviser of Chiang Kai-shek and Feng Yü-hsiang. In the early 1920's he held such posts in Peking as acting foreign minister and minister of education. From 3 to 24 November 1924 he functioned as premier, president, and minister of interior. He served the National Government as minister of foreign affairs (1928) and as chairman of the Peiping political affairs council (1933-35).

Paikuanchen, Shaohsing, Chekiang province, was the birthplace of Huang Fu. His father, Huang Wen-chih, came from a once-prosperous family in Chiahsing, Chekiang. He had been forced to leave Chiahsing during the Taiping Rebellion and had gone to live with an uncle in Paikuanchen. Huang Wen-chih, a man of scholarly accomplishments and a hou-pu chouhsien [expectant magistrate], died in Hanghsien in 1886. His widow, nee Lu, thereupon moved with her four sons (of whom Huang Fu, then seven sui, was the second) to Hangchow, where she sent Huang Fu to a charity-supported local school, the Cheng-meng i-shu, for a classical primary education. When Huang was 17 sui (1896), he took the provincial examinations and received an invitation to study under the Hangchow prefect. Because he had to help support his family, he was forced to refuse the invitation.

During the Hundred Days Reform period of 1898 Huang came upon Liang Ch'i-ch'ao's essay "Shang wu lun" [on the martial spirit] and was so strongly affected by it that he began to consider a military career. In 1903, when teaching literature and mathematics in the Anchi hsien school, he took the entrance examinations for the newly established Chekiang Military School. Because he doubted his abilities, he used the name Huang Fu. He ranked first on the list of successful candidates and in 1904 embarked upon his new studies at Hangchow. Thereafter, he went by the name Huang Fu. In 1905 Huang was sent by the provincial government to Japan for advanced study. He matriculated at the Shimbu Gakko [military preparatory school] and joined the T'ung-menghui. His enthusiasm for the revolutionary cause led him to organize a group of some 25 Chinese military students in Japan which included Li Lieh-chim, Yen Hsi-shan, and Chang Ch'un. During his stay in Tokyo, Huang collaborated with Chiang Kai-shek and others in publishing the periodical Wü-hsueh tsa-chih [military studies magazine]. He contributed articles to Chinese and Japanese publications under the pen names Ming-ch'ih and K'u-k'uei.

After Huang completed his course of study at the Shimbu Gakko in 1908, he went to the Military Survey Academy in Tokyo. After being graduated with honors in 1910, he returned to China and became a topographer in the military advisory bureau at Peking. He also translated a Japanese book on the 1904 battle of Port Arthur into Chinese under the title Jou-taü [bullets of flesh].

At the time of the Wuchang revolt in October 1911, Huang Fu was participating in military maneuvers near Shanhaikuan, charged with the care of foreign guests. The Peking government sent him to Shanghai as a "military investigator." He promptly resigned and joined the staff of Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.). When Ch'en assumed office as Shanghai tutuh [military governor], Huang became his chief of staff. He also organized the 2nd Division (later designated the 23rd Division) and became its commander. That unit participated in the capture of Nanking by the revolutionaries in December. Among its regimental commanders was Chiang Kai-shek, Huang's associate of Tokyo days. Huang, Ch'en, and Chiang became sworn brothers at this time.

After the provisional government was established at Nanking in January 1912, Huang became superintendent of the base headquarters of the northern expeditionary forces. In February, he was transferred to the headquarters of the newly appointed Kiangsu military governor, Ch'eng Te-ch'uan. His first task was to disband the northern expeditionary forces.

At the end of 1912 Huang was ordered to go abroad for further military study. He and Chang Ch'im were to join Ch'en Ch'i-mei in Japan and proceed to Europe. In mid-March, Ch'en changed his mind about the trip and was already in communication with Huang when, on 20 March, the revolutionary leader Sung Chiao-jen (q.v.) was assassinated by agents of Yuan Shih-k'ai. Ch'en Ch'i-mei then cancelled all plans for a European trip. Sun Yat-sen returned to Shanghai from Japan, and he, Ch'en Ch'i-mei, and Huang Hsing joined in opposition to Yuan Shih-k'ai. Although Huang Hsing counseled delay because of the strength of Yuan's forces, the so-called second revolution began in May. Ch'en's forces failed in an attempt to take the Shanghai arsenal; in mid- August, they were compelled to evacuate the Woosung fort. After Yuan Shih-k'ai ordered the arrest of Huang Hsing and other revolutionaries, Huang Fu fled to Japan in August. He was joined there by Ch'en Ch'i-mei. Ch'en Ch'i-mei and Huang Fu soon came to a parting of ways over the question of tactics. When Ch'en in January 1914 proposed going to Manchuria to carry on revolutionary activities, Huang argued strongly with him, holding that it would only mean the dissipation of scarce resources, without benefit to anyone. Because Ch'en did not heed his advice, Huang set forth his ideas in a letter to his old comrade and boarded a ship for Singapore; he did not communicate with Ch'en for three months. In June, Sun Yat-sen endeavored to strengthen his position by organizing, in Japan, the Chung-kuo ko-ming-tang, with Ch'en Ch'i-mei as director of general affairs. However, his requirement that members swear personal allegiance to him created dissension among his followers. Among the dissenters was Huang Fu, who broke with Sun's group and never rejoined it.

In 1914, using the pen name Yi-t'ai, Huang published an analysis of the conflict in Europe in the Singapore Kuo-mmjih-pao on 9-12 August. He forecast that Germany and Austria would be defeated and stated that China should seize the opportunity to recover Tsingtao. At that time, the Japanese were moving to occupy the German concession in Shantung. In the spring of 1915, he went by way of Japan to the United States, where he took up residence in Oakland, California. He visited a number of West Coast cities and participated in meetings at the American headquarters of the Kuomintang. After the outbreak of the rebellion against Yuan Shih-k'ai in the southwest, Huang went by Japanese freighter to Hong Kong in December 1915. In response to the summons of revolutionary comrades, he went to Shanghai in January 1916 to help plan military action in Chekiang and to assume the post of military commissioner for the revolutionary troops in that province. His efforts were crowned with success in mid-April when Chekiang declared independence. After the death of Yuan Shihk'ai in June, Huang made a short trip to Peking as a representative of the Chekiang military government.

On 14 August 1917 the Peking government, then dominated by Tuan Ch'i-jui (q-v.), formally announced its decision to enter the First World War on the side of the Allies. Huang Fu reiterated his belief that China should seize the opportunity to recover Tsingtao and urged Wang Ta-hsieh, the foreign minister, to take appropriate action. Wang refused his request, saying that no such action could be taken so long as national unity was lacking. Soon afterwards, Huang went to live in Tientsin, where he busied himself with study and writing. At Tientsin, he made the acquaintance of such important political figures as Chang Yao-tseng and Hsü Shih-ch'ang fq.v.). In collaboration with Chang, he organized the National Peace Association and helped spread the "peace movement" to Shanghai, with the purpose of frustrating Tuan Ch'i-jui's program of unifying the country by military force. In 1918 and 1919 he published two of his most important works: Ou-chan chih chiao-hsun yü Chung-kuo chih chiang-lai [lessons of the European war and the future of China] and Chan-hou chih shih-chieh [the postwar world] .

Late in 1919 Huang Fu gave a series of nine lectures in Tientsin which later were published as Chan-hou chih hsin-chieh [the postwar new world]. Hsti Shih-ch'ang, who held the presidency from 1918 to 1922, in 1920 commissioned Huang to write a book for him and gave him the title of consultant in the presidential office. Hsü also made him director of the Chinese economic investigation bureau. The book was published in 1920 as Ou-chan hou Chungkuo, ching-chi yü chiao-yü [China after the European war: economics and education]. That Huang had written it was not disclosed until his death.

In February 1921 Huang was sent on a semi-official mission to the United States and Europe to study economic conditions. He reached New York in early summer. When the Washington Conference was scheduled, he and Yuan T'ung-li (q.v.) wrote an article entitled "Hua-sheng-tun hui-i fa-ch'i chih nei-jung chih chiang-lai chih ch'ü-shih" [the beginning of the Washington Conference and its future tendencies], which was published in the Shanghai Hsin-wen-pao at the beginning of September. The Peking authorities promptly made him an adviser to the Chinese delegation, then already in Washington. When the conference opened in November, Huang served as Hsü Shihch'ang's personal representative at the meeting. However, on 7 December, Huang resigned from the Chinese delegation, and shortly afterwards he left for Europe. After a brief stopover in London, he traveled in France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and Germany collecting cartographic materials and surveying military affairs. In the autumn of 1922 he returned to Tientsin.

In September 1922 Huang Fu was appointed by Li Yuan-hung (q.v.), who had assumed the presidency at Peking, to organize and direct a finance commission. In November, he was appointed high commissioner of a national conference on finance. His friend Chang Shao-tseng formed a new cabinet in December, and Huang became acting foreign minister two months later. After the Peking government's envoys to foreign countries, long unpaid, submitted their resignations, Huang resigned on 22 March 1923. His resignation was accepted ten days later, when it became obvious that he would not reconsider his decision. He then agreed to serve as a member of the foreign affairs committee.

During the 1922-24 period, Huang lectured at Peking University and National Normal University on military institutions, world political geography, and world politics; he became known as a vigorous and learned speaker. In September 1923 he was appointed minister of education. He left office when the entire cabinet resigned in January 1924, but was returned to the post in September, when W. W. Yen (Yen Hui-ch'ing, q.v.) formed a new cabinet. Huang had become a close associate of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) and had lectured to the officers at Feng's headquarters near Peking. In mid- October 1924 Feng secretly sent an agent from Langfang to Peking to contact Huang. On 18 October, Huang sent Feng a message which said "this is the juncture to determine to save the country." After Huang met with Feng at Kuoliying on 21 October, Feng and Sun Yueh turned against Wu P'ei-fu and Ts'ao K'un (qq.v.) and occupied Peking on 23 October. Huang then returned to Peking. He was the only member of the W. W. Yen cabinet who had collaborated with Feng in the coup. After the resignation of the Yen cabinet at the end of the month, he assumed the post of acting premier. And when Ts'ao K'un, under detention, resigned on 3 November, Huang announced that he was performing presidential functions ad interim. He also assumed the burdens of another post, that of minister of interior. When Feng forcibly ousted P'u-yi (q.v.) from his palace and stripped him of most of his perquisites, Huang Fu legitimized the action by adding a unilateral "amendment" to the Articles of Favorable Treatment of 1912. In mid- November 1924 Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.) assumed the post of provisional chief executive, and on 24 November, the Huang Fu cabinet was dissolved. Huang became a member, and then vice chairman, of a new financial rehabilitation commission.

In October 1925 Huang was made a delegate to the customs tariff conference in Peking. He was appointed ambassador to Germany, but was unable to proceed to his new post because the work of the customs tariff conference was unfinished and because he was acting as a political intermediary between Tuan Ch'i-jui and Feng Yti-hsiang. In January 1926 the tariff conference began to hold sessions again. Huang tried, without success, to convince the Japanese that China and Japan should aid each other and that Japan ought to be the first of the treaty powers to renounce its tariff privileges. When the Kuominchim evacuated Peking in April, Huang retired to Tientsin.

By October 1926 Northern Expedition forces had reached the Yangtze. In November, Feng Yü-hsiang wrote to Huang asking advice regarding his future course of action. Later that month, Chiang Kai-shek sent a message and then sent Chang Ch'tin to Huang, arking him to join the Nationalists. Huang finally agreed and left Tientsin for Nanchang in early January. Shortly afterwards, for the first time in more than ten years, he met with Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang left for the critical party meetings at W^uhan on 11 January 1927, and Huang followed. The right wing faction of the Kuomintang suffered setbacks at the W^uhan conferences. Huang departed about two weeks later to reside temporarily at Lushan. He was invited to join the Kuomintang, with Chiang Kai-shek as one of his sponsors, but declined. Huang held a number of strategy discussions with Chiang and other Kuomintang officials, proposing, among other things, alliance with Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan. Of immediate importance to Chiang Kai-shek was the situation at Shanghai {see Sun Ch'uan-fang). Huang was sent to Shanghai with the mission of doing all he could to achieve Nationalist victory. Shanghai was captured on 22 March 1927.

The break between the right and left wings of the Kuomintang occurred in mid-April 1927, and Chiang Kai-shek established his opposition government at Nanking. Feng Yü-hsiang now held the balance of power between Chiang Kai-shek at Nanking and Wang Ching-wei at Wuhan. Huang Fu and Ku Chung-hsiu acted as Nanking's representatives to Feng and Yen Hsi-shan. Huang also participated in the conference held by Feng Yü-hsiang and Chiang Kai-shek at Hsuchow from 19 to 21 June, after which Feng chose to side with Chiang against the Wuhan regime. Feng's telegram of 2J June announcing his decision to the Wuhan authorities was drafted by Huang Fu. On 7 July 1927 Huang took office as mayor of Shanghai. In accordance with plans made by Sun Yat-sen, the boundaries of Shanghai had been extended and it had been designated a special municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the National Government. Huang began the task of creating a legal and administrative framework for the new municipality, but he resigned a few days after Chiang Kai-shek retired from office on 12 August.

In February 1928, Chiang Kai-shek having resumed control of the National Government, Huang Fu was made a member of the State Council and minister of foreign affairs. He inherited the task of settling claims made as a result of the incident at Nanking of March 1927 [see Chiang Kai-sheky when a number of foreigners had been killed and foreign property had been destroyed by Nationalist forces. He brought the matter to a successful conclusion in April. In the meantime, Huang had sent an envoy to Tokyo to dissuade the Japanese from interfering with the advance of the Northern Expedition forces. However, the Japanese sent troops to Shantung in April which clashed with Nationalist troops at Tsinan on 3 May. Chiang Kai-shek and Huang Fu, who were in Tsinan at the time, immediately returned to Nanking. Huang's protests to the Japanese and appeals to the League of Nations for intervention were unsuccessful. On 21 May, he went to Shanghai and wired his resignation to Nanking. Huang retired to Mokanshan, a Chekiang mountain resort, and lived in seclusion for three years. He declined offers of diplomatic posts in London and Berlin and refused to assume office as vice chairman of the Hwai River conservancy board in June 1929, although he took part in the ceremonies to inaugurate the board. Huang studied Buddhism and became interested in the cultural and economic problems of the Mokanshan villagers. Ch'en Kuo-fu (q.v.), then the acting director of the organization department of the Kuomintang, frequently intruded upon Huang's pastoral existence to seek advice on party organization. In October 1930, when the bloody fighting between the troops of the National Government and those of the northern coalition (see Feng Yü-hsiang; Yen Hsi-shan) came to an end, Huang's "Prayer for Peace" was published as an editorial in all Shanghai newspapers. In April 1931 he was appointed to the Peiping cultural guidance committee, but he again refused to leave Mokanshan.

After the Japanese Kwantung Army began its advance in the north with the Mukden Incident of 18 September 1931, Huang Fu found it impossible to remain apart from political life in China. He went to Shanghai and helped organize the New China Reconstruction Society as a forum for the discussion of public affairs. The society soon began to publish a monthly, the Fu-hsing yueh-k'an. Huang did not forget the people of Mokanshan, however; he established the Mokan Elementary School and organized the Mokan Countryside Improvement Association in March 1933. Huang's resumption of public activity led to his appointment in May 1933 as chairman of the Peiping political affairs council, which had jurisdiction over the five northern provinces of China. The Japanese had begun to work toward the establishment of an autonomous regime in those same provinces, and Huang soon was called upon to negotiate with them. The result of his efforts was the Tangku Truce of 3 1 May, which many Chinese regarded as being tantamount to surrender. Huang Fu, for his part in the matter, was attacked as a "pro-Japanese traitor." In the meantime, Feng Yü-hsiang, who also had descended from a mountain retreat to meet the Japanese threat to China, had appointed himself commander in chief of what he called the People's Allied Anti-Japanese Army and had begun to assemble troops. Huang Fu and Sung Che-yuan (q.v.), acting as representatives of the National Government, finally persuaded Feng to abandon his plans; Feng disbanded his army in August and returned to his mountain retreat at T'ai-shan. At the time of his retirement, the north China railway lines resumed operations. After going to Nanking to report on his mission, Huang visited Feng at T'ai-shan in October.

Huang Fu returned to Peiping and energetically applied himself to strengthening the political affairs council. He refused an invitation from Ch'en Ming-shu (q.v.) to join the Fukien revolt against Chiang Kai-shek and declined offers from Chiang of higher posts in the National Government. In April 1934 he went to Nanchang and met with Chiang, who was directing the fifth campaign against the Chinese Communists. After returning north in September, he concluded negotiations for the restoration of postal service with Manchuria^ then Manchoukuo—in December. Popular dissatisfaction with Huang increased, and impassioned nationalists charged that the working arrangements he had reached with the Japanesesponsored regime in the Northeast constituted defacto recognition of Manchoukuo. Huang was appointed minister of interior, but he remained in Peiping.

In January 1935 a new crisis arose in north China with the Japanese occupation of Kuyuan in eastern Chahar. Although a new compromise agreement was signed, Japanese political, military, and economic pressure continued to increase. Huang Fu requested sick leave and returned to Mokanshan. The Peiping political affairs council was abolished on 28 August. Huang resigned as minister of interior on 10 September; he had not assumed the duties of that office. He participated in political discussions at Nanking in early December and then went to Shanghai. In February 1936 he returned to Mokanshan. Huang Fu, who had suffered from a liver ailment for some time, became quite ill in the spring of 1936. In August, he was taken to a Shanghai hospital, where his illness was diagnosed as cancer of the liver. The following month, he was made an alternate member of the State Council. He died in Shanghai on 6 December 1936.

Huang Fu married twice. His first marriage, in 1898, ended in divorce in 1910. About 1912 he married Shen Yi-yun. Huang was survived by his second wife and by two married daughters, Hsi-wen and Hsi-chih.

In 1937 a collection of commemorative articles and messages was published under the title Huang Ying-pai hsien-sheng ku-chin kan-i-lu [collection of articles in memory of Huang Fu]. Shen Yi-yun, who later moved to the United States, wrote a biographical article entitled "Huang Ying-pai hsien-sheng chia-chuan." A detailed chronological biography of Huang Fu was prepared by Shen Yün-lung under the title "Huang Ying-pai hsien-sheng nien-p'u ch'u-k'ao."

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