Pan Gongzhan

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
P'an Kung-chan
Related People

Biography in English

P'an Kung-chan (1895-), journalist and publisher who founded such newspapers as the Ch'en Pao and the Hsin Yeh Pao and who served the National Government as vice minister of information (1939-41) and director of the Executive Yuan's publications screening committee (1942-45). In 1950 he went to New York and became editor of the China Tribune. Wuhsing, Chekiang, was the native place of P'an Kung-chan. He was born into a family of moderate means in Ling-hu-chen, near the silk-producing center of Nanhsün. About 1901 he enrolled at a school where the curriculum included such modern subjects as English, mathematics, and physical education, as well as the Chinese classics. He later attended the First Middle School at Hangchow, where one of his classmates was Hsu Chih-mo (q.v.). In 1910, the year before the republican revolution, P'an went to Shanghai to matriculate at St. John's University. While studying literature at St. John's, he joined the Nan-she [southern society], a literary group which also was a peripheral organization of the T'ung-meng-hui. Membership in the Nan-she enabled P'an Kung-chan to become acquainted with such talented writers and revolutionaries as Liu Ya-tzu, Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang, and Su Man-shu (qq.v.). At the time of the May Fourth Movement of 1919, P'an Kung-chan was teaching at the Shih-pei Middle School in Shanghai. He participated in the mass meetings and strikes that were staged in Shanghai and became the editor of a daily newspaper published by the students' union of Shanghai. The T'ai-tung Book Company commissioned him to write a comprehensive history of the May Fourth Movement, and the resulting Hsueh-sheng chiu-kuo ch'uan-shih [complete history of national salvation by the students] was published in 1920. These activities established P'an Kung-chan's reputation as a writer, and Ch'en Pu-lei (q.v.), the chief editor of the newly established Shang Pao, invited him to become telegraph editor of that newspaper. P'an held that post from 1920 to 1925, and he continued to teach school. The Shang Pao had a conservative editorial policy, for its principal financial backers were such merchants' organizations as the Kuang-chou kung-so [Cantonese guild] and the Ning-po t'ung-hsiang hui [Ningponese guild]. Nevertheless, Ch'en Pu-lei and P'an Kung-chan published a number of articles and editorials which gave support to the Nationalist cause. In 1 925 P'an accepted an offer from the Shun Pao, one of the two oldest newspapers in Shanghai, to become its telegraph editor. He worked there until the summer of 1926, when he resigned because of the entrenched conservatism of the owner and most of the staff. In the meantime, the Shang Pao had been reporting with enthusiasm on the progress of the Northern Expedition. P'an accompanied Ch'en Pu-lei to Nanchang, the temporary headquarters of Chiang Kai-shek, in the autumn of 1926. They were received warmly by Chiang, who joined with Ch'en Kuo-fu (q.v.) in sponsoring their admission to the Kuomintang.

In the spring of 1927 P'an Kung-chan was appointed to membership in the Shanghai branch of the Central Political Council. For the next decade, he utilized his journalistic associations and talents and his familiarity with conditions in Shanghai to become an important party and municipal leader. From 1927 to 1937 he served the municipality of Shanghai as director of the bureau of social affairs, the bureau of education, and the bureau of agriculture, industry, and commerce. In these posts he made important contributions to social welfare, education, and the development of commerce. He represented Shanghai at the Third National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in Nanking in 1929. After the Shanghai hostilities between the Chinese and Japanese armies took place in 1932, P'an temporarily left politics to launch the Ch'en Pao [morning post], the Hsin Yeh Pao [new evening post], the Erh-t'ung Ch'en Pao [children's morning post], and the T'u-hua Ch'en Pao [pictorial morning post]. In 1935 he was elected to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. After the Sino-Japanese war broke out in July 1937, P'an Kung-chan edited a series of books about the war of resistance for the Commercial Press. The Japanese soon occupied Shanghai, and P'an went to Wuhan in the spring of 1938. He became a member of the Military Affairs Commission, and in October 1938 Chiang Kai-shek appointed him secretary general of the Hunan provincial government. He held the Hunan post for about a month. In November, Chang Chih-chung (q.v.), the governor of Hunan, made an error in judgment which led to the burning of Changsha. P'an then went to Chungking, the wartime capital of the National Government. From 1939 to 1942 he served as vice minister of information, doing propaganda work. In 1942 he became a member of the standing committee of the Kuomintang's Central Executive Committee. He also found time to serve as director of the Tu-li ch'u-pan she [independent publishing company] and the Cheng-chung Book Company, both of which were affiliated with the Kuomintang. In 1942-45 P'an was the director of the Executive Yuan's committee for the screening of publications, which was concerned with the censoring of potentially seditious books and magazines. Because P'an was required to adhere to the cultural and educational policies of the National Government in making his decisions, he inevitably offended such leftist writers as Kuo Mo-jo and T'ien Han (qq.v.). His censorship activities soon won him the enmity of the Chinese Communist party, which later branded him a "war criminal." At war's end, P'an Kung-chan returned to Shanghai to become the publisher of the Shun Pao, which had passed into the hands of collaborators during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. Ch'en Shun-yu, a younger brother of Ch'en Pu-lei, became chief editor of the Shun Pao late in 1945. From 1946 to 1949 P'an Kung-chan also served as chairman of the board of the Hsin Yeh Pao and vice chairman of the board of the Shang Pao. When the Shanghai-shih ts'en-i-hui [Shanghai municipal council] was inaugurated in 1946, P'an was elected its speaker. Because of the retrocession of the International Settlement and the French concession under the terms of the treaties of equality concluded between China and her principal Western allies, the council had jurisdiction over a very large area. Thus, the speakership was a job of high importance. P'an discharged his duties with efficiency and resourcefulness. Toward the end of 1948 it became clear that the Chinese Communist would win their struggle with the Nationalists for control of the mainland. In mid-November, P'an's close friend and colleague Ch'en Pu-lei committed suicide in Nanking because of the impending crisis. A few months later, in May 1949, the Chinese Communists reached the outskirts of Shanghai, forcing P'an to leave his home and career. He went to the United States, where he took up residence in New York in 1950. He became the editor of the China Tribune, a Kuomintang organ published in New York's Chinatown. Although he was staunchly loyal to the Nationalist cause, he occasionally wrote articles which were critical of the National Government in Taiwan. P'an Kung-chan was married to an accomplished painter, nee T'ang Yun-yu, who also was a native of Wuhsing, Chekiang.

Biography in Chinese


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