Biography in English

Lin Sen (1868-1 August 1943), anti-Manchu revolutionary and a veteran leader of the Kuomintang, was the Chairman of the National Government from 1932 to 1943.

Minhsien (later Minhou hsien), Fukien, w-as the birthplace of Lin Sen. His father, a businessman, moved the family to Foochow when Lin Sen was three sui. After receiving a traditional education in the Chinese classics, the young Lin entered a missionary school in 1877. In 1881 he enrolled at Anglo-Chinese College, a Methodist institution in Foochow. After graduation in 1883, he went to Taiwan, where he was employed by the Taipei Telegraph Office from 1884 to 1895. During this period, he returned to Foochow four times: in 1888 he went home to see his parents; in 1890 he got married; in 1892 he visited his wife, who had not accompanied him to Taipei and who was ill; and in 1895 he left Taiwan when it was ceded to the Japanese. In 1898 Lin went to Taiwan once again. By this time he had been converted to the anti-Manchu revolutionary cause, and he wanted to explore the possibility of wresting Taiwan from the Japanese and using it as a revolutionary base. However, he abandoned the project as impractical and returned to China in 1899.

Lin Sen went to Shanghai in 1902 and found employment with the Chinese Maritime Customs. Soon afterwards, he joined with other Fukienese in founding the Fukien Students Association, an anti-Manchu revolutionary group which came to have branch organizations in Fukien. Most of the members of this association joined the T'ung-meng-hui soon after its founding in 1905.

In 1909 Lin Sen was transferred to the customs station at Kiukiang. With the help of such supporters as ^Vu T'ieh-ch'eng (q.v.), he organized reading rooms to disseminate anti-Manchu literature and worked to win the support of officers and soldiers in the Newly Created Army. After the Wuchang revolt of October 1911 touched off the revolution, he helped persuade the Kiukiang military commander to support the revolutionaries and contributed greatly to the defection of the imperial naval forces (most of the naval officers were Fukienese) on the Yangtze. ^Vhen a republican government was established at Kiukiang, he was elected chief of civil affairs, but he refused to assume office. He then went to Nanking as a member of the Kiangsi delegation to the assembly that elected Sun Yat-sen provisional president of the republic.

In 1912 Lin Sen was elected to the Senate at Peking, and he soon became its chairman. By early 1913 Yuan Shih-k'ai had begun to take action against the newly organized Kuomintang, and Lin Sen, realizing that the revolutionaries could not remain in Peking for long, secured a passport for travel abroad. After the collapse of the so-called second revolution. Yuan dissolved the Parliament in November 1913 and declared the Kuomintang an illegal organization. Because he possessed a passport, Lin Sen experienced no difficulty in leaving Peking in December and taking a ship to Japan on the first leg of a trip to the United States. In Japan he called on Sun Yat-sen, who was reorganizing the Kuomintang as the Chung-hua ko-ming-tang, and signed a pledge of personal obedience to him. When Sun learned of Lin's destination, he gave Lin a copy of the code he planned to use for future communications to take with him to the United States.

Lin then went to Hawaü, where he toured the islands for several months. When Feng Tzu-yu (q.v.) stopped in Honolulu on his way to the United States to assume direction of party affairs, he met with Lin and asked him to come to San Francisco. About two months later, Lin left Hawaü to join Feng. Before leaving, he recommended that his Kuomintang associates in Hawaü invite ^Vu T'ieh-ch'eng to aid them in publishing their party newspaper. By the time Lin arrived in San Francisco, Feng Tzu-yu had become acting chairman of the American branch of the Kuomintang, registered in the United States as the Chinese Nationalist league. Lin became acting vice chairman, and at the end of 1914 he was elected chairman, with Feng as vice chairman.

One of Lin Sen's major achievements in the United States was raising funds to finance the campaigns against Yuan Shih-k'ai in China. As chairman of the American Kuomintang's fund-raising organ, he toured the major cities of the United States and also went to Cuba. By the time of Yuan Shih-k'ai's death in June 1916, more than a million Japanese yen had been sent to Sun Yat-sen in Tokyo. Lin also initiated a program to train pilots for a Chinese air force. The first group of students selected for this program included Chan Hing-wan (Ch'en Ch'ing-yun) and Huang Kuang-jui iqq.v.h Lin Sen returned to China in 1916 and went to Peking, where the Parliament was reconvened. In 1917 the issue of China's participation in the First World War caused a parliamentary crisis, and Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), the premier, dissolved the Parliament. This action resulted in the so-called constitution protection movement. A rump parliament, with Lin Sen as the speaker of its senate, convened at Canton and established a military government, with Sun Yat-sen as its commander in chief. Lin Sen remained in Canton until March 1919, by which time the government had been reorganized {see T'ang Chi-yao; Lu Jungt'ing) and Sun Yat-sen had resigned from office and had gone to Shanghai. Lin then went to Shanghai with W'xi T'ing-fang (q.v.). He returned to Canton with Sun Yat-sen in 1921. When the rump parliament elected Sun president extraordinary, Lin, as speaker of the senate, presented Sun with the election certificate and seal of office at the inauguration ceremony on 5 May 1921.

After Ch'en Chiung-ming 'q-v.j took control of Canton on 16 June 1922, Sun Yat-sen went to Shanghai once again. Hsü Ch'ung-chih (q.v.) led his East Route Anti-Rebel Army into Fukien and captured Foochow in October. Lin Sen then became governor of Fukien, assuming office on 10 November. After Sun Yat-sen returned to Canton and resumed control of the southern government early in 1923, Lin Sen was ordered to Canton to assume charge of the construction of a monument to the 72 martyrs of the 1911 uprising at Huanghua-kang. In July, he became minister of construction. Sun Yat-sen was proceeding with plans to reorganize the Kuomintang, and Lin Sen became a member of the nine-member provisional executive committee when it was established on 25 October. At the First National Congress of the Kuomintang, which was convened in January 1924, Lin Sen was one of twenty-four men elected to full membership on the Central Executive Committee. He also became the director of the overseas department in the central party headquarters. After the death of Sun Yat-sen in March 1925 and the establishment of the National Government at Canton in July 1925, Lin Sen was elected to the 16-member State Council in the new government. At this time, Lin was in Peking, where he was closely associated with Tsou Lu (q.v.) in directing party activities in north China. In November, ten anti-Communist members of the Central Executive Committee, including Lin, held a meeting in the Western Hills near Peking. The Second National Congress of the Kuomintang, which met in January 1926, adopted a resolution calling for disciplinary action against the Western Hills group and threatening to dismiss its members from the party if they continued to work against the Kuomintang-Communist alliance. The Western Hills leaders convened an opposition second congress at Shanghai in April and elected an opposition central executive committee headed by Lin Sen. The situation was complicated by the 1927 split between the left-wing faction of the party led by Wang Ching-wei at Wuhan and the faction led by Chiang Kai-shek at Nanking. In September 1927 party unity was restored with the formation of a special committee composed of members of the Wuhan, Nanking, and Shanghai (Western Hills) factions. Lin Sen was the chief representative of the Shanghai faction on this committee. By this time, he and Teng Tse-ju (q.v.) had been appointed to supervise the construction of the memorial to Sun Yat-sen at Nanking.

When the National Government at Nanking was reorganized in October 1928 and the fiveyuan system was initiated, Lin Sen became a member of the new State Council and vice president of the Legislative Yuan, which was headed by Hu Han-min (q.v.;. By this time, he also had become a member of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang. In 1930 he became a member of the committee established to compile and edit Kuomintang historical materials. That winter, he embarked on a tour of the Philippines, Australia, the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia to inspect overseas branches of the Kuomintang and to solicit funds for the construction of a central party headquarters. On 28 February 1931 Chiang Kai-shek placed Hu Han-min under arrest and appointed the absent Lin president of the Legislative Yuan, with Shao Yuan-ch'ung (q.v.j as vice president. On 30 April, Lin joined with three other members of the Kuomintang Central Supervisory Committee—Hsiao Fo-ch'eng, Ku Ying-fen fqq.v.), and Teng Tse-ju—in proposing the impeachment of Chiang Kai-shek. This proposal resulted in the establishment of an opposition government at Canton. In addition to the four signers of the impeachment statement, supporters of the new regime included Ch'en Chi-t'ang, ^Vang Ching-wei, Sun Fo, Eugene Ch'en, and T'ang Shao-yi i^qq.v.). Impending civil war was averted by the Mukden Incident of 18 September 1931, for the Japanese invasion restored unity to the Kuomintang. Lin Sen returned to Nanking in October from his trip abroad. In the governmental reorganization that took place soon after his arrival, he was elected Chairman of the National Government, a post he held until his death in 1943. Although he was the titular chief of state, he had few practical responsibilities and little power.

On 10 May 1943, while driving from his office in the wartime capital of Chungking to his residence, Lin had an automobile accident. Although shaken severely in the collision, he went to the government headquarters on 12 May to greet the new Norwegian minister to China. He suffered a stroke that day, and he died in Chungking on 1 August 1943. The National Government later honored him by changing the name of Minhou hsien to Lin-sen hsien.

The political scientist Ch'ien Tuan-sheng (q.v.) aptly summarized Lin Sen's later career: "Lin Sen was politically insignificant, but it is no exaggeration to say that seldom has a head of state in Republican China been so honored and loved by his countrymen. Physically he was of a dignified and stately demeanor. Politically he had been a veteran of the Kuomintang and active in parliamentary life. He had simple tastes, no personal ambitions, and practiced no nepotism, a thing from which Chinese politicians in power are seldom immune. He observed not only the letter of the law but its spirit as well. He never tried to assert the powers that were denied to him by the Organic Law of December 1931. But he was not passive. He had truly national interests at heart, and he was never hesitant to argue for them at the party's Political Council of which he was a member. Above all, he worked for national unity before the war began and for victory after it had come. He was a truly good president. If his benign influence was not more widely and deeply felt, it was only because his wise counsel was not as seriously sought as it should have been."

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