Ma Chaojun

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Ma Ch'ao-chün
Related People

Biography in English

Ma Ch'ao-chün (1885-), repubUcan 'revolutionary and follower of Sun Yat-sen who was a pioneer in the labor movement in China. He later held important administrative posts in both the Kuomintang and the National Government, and he served three terms as mayor of Nanking. After 1949, he lived in Taiwan.

The younger of two sons, Ma Ch'ao-chün was born into a poor family in Sunning (Toishan), Kwangtung. His father died when Ma was an infant, and Ma later had to herd cows and cut firewood to help earn money for the family. Nevertheless, he was able to start school at the age of eight sui. A few years later, his elder brother went to Canada and began sending money home for the support of Ma Ch'ao-chün and his mother, enabling Ma to devote all of his time to his education. He sat for the examinations for the sheng-yuan degree at the age of 15 sui and passed them, but he was excluded from the list of successful candidates because he refused to comply with the chief examiner's demands for money. Disgusted by this bribery attempt. Ma gave up the idea of becoming a scholar.

In 1900 Ma Ch'ao-chim became an apprentice at the Ma-hung-chi machinery workshop, which was located in a Kowloon dockyard. He spent his evenings studying Chinese and English at a school operated by the Shao-nien hsueh-she [juvenile institute], at which the chief instructor was Huang Shih-chung, the compiler of a history of the Taiping Rebellion, who interested Ma in revolutionary ideas. Ma completed his apprenticeship at the workshop in two years instead of the usual four, and he left Hong Kong for the United States in 1902.

After arriving in San Francisco, Ma Ch'aochün went to work at a dockyard and joined the Chih-kung-tang, which already had been converted into a revolutionary organization that advocated the overthrow of the Manchus. He learned about Sun Yat-sen from members of the Hsing-Chung-hui, and he met Sun in 1904. In the summer of 1905 he left San Francisco and went to Japan to rejoin Sun. The revolutionary leader personally inducted Ma into his new organization, the T'ungmeng-hui, and sent him to study political economy at Meiji University.

Late in 1906 Sun Yat-sen sent Ma Ch'aochün to Hong Kong to organize workers and mobilize support for the republican cause. Ma began by seeking out his former colleagues from the machinery shop. They were impressed by his experiences in America and his education in Japan, and, after listening to his urgings concerning the revolutionary movement and the organization of workers for self-advancement, they decided to form the nucleus of a workers' group. After working to organize laborers in Hong Kong for a few months, Ma went to Canton, where his organizing efforts were aided by Huang Huan-t'ing; to Wuhan, where he established a group at the Hanyang Arsenal; and to Shanghai, where he had some success in organizing industrial workers. He then returned to Canton and joined with the workers at the Shih-ching Arsenal in forming a secret organization which pledged support to Sun Yat-sen. Having awakened the industrial workers (most of whom were Cantonese) in these cities to the potential of organization and revolution, Ma returned to Hong Kong. However, he continued to make trips to Canton to advise the local leaders of the labor movement. In December 1907 he and some of his workers were summoned from Hong Kong by Sun Yat-sen to take part in the Chen-nan-kuan uprising. When it failed, Ma returned to Hong Kong and established the Chung Hsing Company, which engaged in the export of human hair and, more importantly, served as a meeting place for revolutionaries. Ma Ch'ao-chün and his Hong Kong workers shipped, arms to Canton for the uprising in April 1911 {see Huang Hsing). While engaged in arranging these shipments, he met Shen Yen-chen, whom he later married. Some of Ma's men took part in the insurrection, and a few of them were among the 72 "revolutionary martyrs" who were buried at Huang-hua-kang after the uprising failed.

After the Wuchang revolt of October 1911 began, Huang Hsing ordered Ma Ch'ao-chün to bring a workers' force to the Wuhan area and to rouse workers in other parts of the country. Ma formed a corps of 70 workers and led them to W^uhan by way of Shanghai. When they arrived on 10 November, Huang Hsing assigned them to the Hanyang Arsenal. Feng Kuochang (q.v.) and his forces attacked Hanyang strongly on 20 November, but Ma and his volunteers managed to hold the arsenal for five days before being forced to withdraw. When the republican government was established in 1912, Ma Ch'ao-chün became a member of the Parliament, but he left his post in 1913 when Yuan Shih-k'ai began to turn against the revolutionaries. At the time of the so-called second revolution in the summer of 1913, Kwangtung came under the control of Yuan's supporter Lung Chi-kuang (q.v.), and Ma responded by going to Canton and establishing the Hui-men Knitting Factory as a secret revolutionary base. Ma organized an assassination team, and in June 1914 a member of the team killed Lung's deputy Ma Tsun-fa. This act infuriated Lung, who intensified his search for the revolutionaries. Ma was forced to flee Canton. Late in 1914 he went to Japan, on orders from Sun Yat-sen. He studied aviation and, on completion of his course in 1916, joined the forces of Chü Cheng (q.v.) in Shantung. The anti-Yuan campaign ended with the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in June 1916, and Ma then spent several months giving flying exhibitions and raising money to establish an aviation school.

In 1917, having formed a military government at Canton, Sun Yat-sen summoned Ma Ch'ao-chün and ordered him to assume responsibility for the planning of a nation-wide labor movement. After securing Sun's approval of an eight-point plan. Ma began working to implement his proposals. By the end of 1917 a National Mechanics Union, with headquarters at Canton, had been established, and International Labor Day had been observed by the workers in Canton. In 1919 the Canton mechanical workers staged a strike, and in 1920 the Hong Kong workers followed suit. Ma helped organize both strikes.

When Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) brought the Kwangtung Army home from Fukien in 1920 to wrest control of the province from the Kwangsi warlords, Ma Ch'ao-chün led supporting guerrilla forces in the East River area against the rearguard troops of the Kwangsi armies. He was appointed a special assistant to Sun Fo (q.v.) when Sun became mayor of Canton in 1921, and the following year he was made a councillor in the municipal government. ^Vhen Ch'en Chiung-ming moved against Sun Yat-sen in mid- 1922, Ma mobilized workers to sabotage Ch'en's operations. He had to leave Canton when Ch'en issued an order for his arrest. In April 1923, after the ouster of Ch'en Chiung-ming from Canton, Ma was appointed deputy director of the Shih-ching Arsenal. After he successfully defended the arsenal against Ch'en Chiung-ming's army, he was promoted to director. The arsenal had suffered serious damage in 1922, but Ma soon restored it to normal operation. He left this post in 1924 and went to Shanghai to brief Kuomintang leaders and labor leaders on Sun Yat-sen's impending trip to Peking. He then joined Sun's entourage when it passed through Shanghai, and he accompanied Sun to Japan, Tientsin, and Peking. After Sun's death in March 1925, he returned to Canton.

By this time. Ma Ch'ao-chün had incurred the enmity of the Chinese Communists because of his consistent opposition to their cause. The National Mechanics Union and its affiliates reflected and supported Ma's beliefs. Thus, when the Communist-dominated National Labor Congress was held at Canton in 1925, Ma led a movement to boycott it. In one of the resolutions adopted at that congress, Ma was referred to as "a labor movement renegade." Moreover, Communist members of the Kuomintang presented a resolution at the Kuomintang's Second National Congress in 1926 calling for Ma's expulsion from the party, but the intervention of Teng Tse-ju and Hsaio Fo-ch'eng (qq.v.) prevented its passage.

After traveling to the Americas in 1926 to study the labor movement and to acquaint overseas Kuomintang members with the political situation in China, Ma Ch'ao-chün returned to China in 1927 and joined the National Government as director of its labor bureau. He became a member of the Kwangtung government council and director of the province's department of industry and agriculture in 1928, and he resigned from his National Government post that December. In 1929 he represented Chinese workers at the Twelfth International Labor Conference in Geneva. That year, for the first time, the Chinese delegation included representatives of business and labor as well as representatives of the government. Upon his return to China, Ma was elected to the Legislative Yuan and to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. He also was made director of the central training department of the Kuomintang. He became mayor of Nanking in November 1931 and a member of the Government Council in 1935.

Ma Ch'ao-chün accompanied the National Government to Chungking after the Sino- Japanese war began, and he served as deputy director of the Kuomintang's social affairs department in 1938-40. He then became deputy director of the party's organization department. When the National Government returned to Nanking in 1945, he was elected to another term as mayor. In 1949, when the Chinese Communists won the civil war for the mainland, he went to Taiwan. He became a member of the committee formed to consider party reorganization and an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek in 1950, and he was appointed a supervisor of the Central Bank of China in 1961.

Ma Ch'ao-chün's publications include Chungkuo lao-kung yün-tung wen-t'i [problems of the Chinese labor movement], which was published in 1927, and the first volume of Chung-kuo laokung yün-tung shih [a history of the Chinese labor movement]. He also served as chief editor of the five-volume Chung-kuo lao-kung yün-tung shih, which was published in Taipei in 1959.

Biography in Chinese



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