Sun Fo (20 October 1891-), son of Sun Yat-sen. After holding the presidency of the Legislative Yuan from June 1932 to November 1948, he served as president of the Executive Yuan for four months. He then retired from public life and lived abroad in France and the United States before going to Taiwan.
A native of Kwangtung, Sun Fo was born in Hsiangshan hsien, later renamed Chungshan hsien in honor of his illustrious father, Sun Yatsen. Early in 1896 Sun Fo, then only six sui, and a younger sister born in 1896 left China with their mother to join their father in Hawaü. Sun Fo received his primary and secondary education in Honolulu. He was graduated from a Catholic institution, St. Louis College, in 1910, and in 1908-10 he also worked on a Chinese-language newspaper, the Liberty News. In 1911 he went to the United States and enrolled at the University of California. When news of the 1911 revolution and of Sun Yat-sen's return to China reached Sun Fo, he left the United States for China in hopes of joining the republican government. His father had other ideas, however, and he sent Sun Fo back to his studies in America. After being graduated from the University of California in 1916, Sun Fo went to New York, where he received an M.A. in economics from Columbia University in 1917. Then he hurried back to China to join the military government at Canton.
Sun Fo worked for a time in 1917-18 as a secretary in the offices of the rump parliament at Canton and in the ministry of foreign affairs. When Sun Yat-sen, having lost control of the Canton government to the Kwangsi clique, left Canton for Shanghai in May 1918, Sun Fo remained in Canton. In 1919 he became associate editor of the English-language newspaper Canton Times. The following year, however, he moved to Hong Kong.
After Sun Yat-sen was restored to power at Canton through the military efforts of Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.), he appointed Ch'en governor of Kwangtung. Ch'en, eager to display himself as an able administrator and as an advocate of local autonomy within the province, entrusted Sun Fo with the task of formulating a set of regulations for a Canton municipal council. When these regulations were promulgated on 15 February 1921, Ch'en appointed Sun Fo mayor of Canton. He held this post from 1921 to 1925, except for a short break in 1922 because of Ch'en Chiung-ming's revolt against Sun Yat-sen. The immediate problems facing the municipal council were the building of roads, the widening of streets, the construction of a sewage system, and the introduction of modern public utilities. The uncertainties of the political situation and the antipathy of property owners to these projects made Sun's task doubly difficult. Despite many obstructions, he prepared the way for the transformation of the old Chinese city of Canton into the greatest modern metropolis in southern China. In October 1923 Sun Fo was named to the provisional central executive committee of the Kuomintang. It was assigned to draft a constitution, new party regulations, and a manifesto ; to oversee the creation of new party branches on the provincial and local levels; and to plan a party congress. At the First National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in January 1924, Sun explicated the proposed constitution and served on the committee which examined reports on the development of Kuomintang activities in various localities.
Sun Yat-sen left Canton for north China in November 1924. When news of his serious illness reached Canton, Sun Fo hurried to his side, arriving in Peking on 2 February 1925. Sun Fo was among those who witnessed the signing of Sun Yat-sen's two wills on 1 1 March. He returned to Canton after his father's funeral. When the National Government was established at Canton on 1 July, he was elected to the 16-man National Government Council. At the Second National Congress of the Kuomintang in January 1926, he received membership in the Central Executive Committee. At this time, he was regarded by Communists as a rightist. In May, he began his third term as mayor of Canton and became commissioner of reconstruction and acting governor of Kwangtung. He also became a member of the Kuomintang Political Council. Later that year, he was named to head the newly established ministry of communications.
Despite numerous difficulties and setbacks, the National Government in Canton consolidated its position and in July 1926 launched the Northern Expedition, with Chiang Kai-shek as commander in chief of the National Revolutionary Army. After the first stage of the Northern Expedition ended with the capture of Wuhan, the National Government dispatched Hsu Ch'ien, T. V. Soong, Eugene Ch'en (qq.v.), Soviet adviser Borodin, and Sun Fo to Wuhan to investigate the possibility of moving the government there. On 1 3 December, three days after the group reached Wuhan, it established the provisional joint session of the Central Executive Committee and the National Government Council, which proclaimed itself supreme party and government authority for the time being. Its decision to move the seat of government to Wuhan was opposed strongly by Chiang Kai-shek and his conservative supporters. On 10-16 March 1927 the third plenum of the second Central Executive Committee met at Wuhan and formally established the National Government there. Sun Fo became one of the key figures in the Wuhan regime. He was a member of the five-man Standing Committee of the Government Council, director of the party youth ministry, a member of the Central Executive Committee's Standing Committee, a member of the presidium of the Central Political Council, and a member of the Military Council.
Chiang Kai-shek and his supporters organized a rival government at Nanking in April 1927 and worked to suppress Communists in areas under their control. After Feng Yu-hsiang (q.v.) shifted the balance of power in China by giving his support to Chiang Kai-shek, the Wuhan regime began a purge of Communists in July. This action opened the way for the reunification of the Kuomintang. In the ensuing negotiations, Sun Fo and T'an Yen-k'ai (q.v.) represented the Wuhan faction. Chiang Kai-shek announced his retirement in August, and a unified National Government was established in Nanking on 20 September 1927. Sun Fo served briefly as minister of finance before becoming minister of reconstruction on 3 January 1928. After Chiang Kai-shek resumed power on 9 January, Sun decided to join C. C. Wu (Wu Ch'ao-shu) and Hu Hanmin on a trip to India, Egypt, Turkey, and such European countries as France, Germany, Italy, and England. This group left China at the end of January and returned in August. When the new National Government was established at Nanking in October 1928, Sun Fo became a member of the State Council, minister of railways, and vice president of the Examination Yuan. In 1929 he established the China National Aviation Corporation, China's first civil aviation company. He left Nanking in May 1931 after 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. Sun attended the conference at Canton that led to the formation on 28 May 1931 of an opposition national government at Canton. Among the other participants in the conference were Wang Ching-wei, Eugene Ch'en, T'ang Shao-yi, Ch'en Chi-t'ang, and Li Tsung-jen. Civil war was averted by the Japanese attack on Mukden in September. In the ensuing negotiations, Sun Fo acted as a representative of Canton. Hu Han-min was released; the feuding party factions were reunited; and Chiang Kai-shek temporarily retired from office.
In the December 1931 reorganization of the National Government at Nanking, Sun Fo was made president of the Executive Yuan. Because he and his cabinet failed to win the support of such important men as the Shanghai bankers and T. V. Soong, he resigned on 25 January 1932. In June of that year he was appointed president of the Legislative Yuan, a post he held until November 1948. It thus was under his direction that the task of drafting modern laws for the republic was carried out. From January 1933 to May 1936 the Legislative Yuan worked on a draft constitution which became known as the 5 May constitution. His high position in the National Government notwithstanding, Sun Fo was among those Kuomintang leaders who opposed Chiang Kai-shek's policies and who advocated immediate and determined resistance to Japanese invasion, the securing of assistance from the Soviet Union, and reconciliation with the Chinese Communists. After the Sian Incident (see Chiang Kai-shek; Chang Hsuehliang) and the formation ofa united front against the Japanese, he was chosen to represent China in secret negotiations with Bogomoloff, the Russian ambassador. These talks, which began in March 1937, resulted in the signing of a Sino-Soviet non-aggression pact in August of that year. Sun was sent to Moscow in January 1938 and April 1939 as a special envoy of Chiang Kai-shek. Both times he obtained substantial loans from Stalin, and on the second trip he signed a Sino-Soviet commercial treaty. In the early years of the Sino-Japanese war, Sun Fo often lectured on the world situation. A collection of his addresses was published in the autumn of 1942 as Ch'ien-tu, and an English version was published in the United States in 1944 under the title China Looks Forward. In November 1946, after the war ended and the National Government returned to Nanking from the wartime capital of Chungking, the Kuomintang convened the National Assembly. On 25 December it adopted a constitution, thus ending the Kuomintang's 20-year monopoly on political power in the National Government. The promulgation of this constitution on 1 January 1947 marked the culmination of Sun Fo's career in the Legislative Yuan. Pending the holding of elections, a coalition government was formed in April 1 947. Sun Fo was appointed to the newly created post of vice president. He held this office until April 1948, when he was defeated in the race for the vice presidency by Li Tsung-jen. On 17 May, he was elected president of the Legislative Yuan. The Chinese Communists made rapid progress in their campaign for control of the mainland, and in November 1948 Sun Fo was called upon to head the Executive Yuan and form a cabinet. In February 1949, a month after Li Tsung-jen became acting President, Sun Fo moved the Executive Yuan to Canton to express his disapproval of Li's attempts to negotiate with the Chinese Communists. Sun resigned in March, and Ho Ying-ch'in succeeded him.
After 1949, Sun Fo lived for a time in France and then moved to the United States. In October 1964 he went to Taiwan, where he became a senior adviser to the presidential office in December 1965. He received a substantive post as president of the Examination Yuan in May 1966.
Sun Fo was married to Sukying (Kwai Jun-chun). They had two sons and two daughters.