Biography in English

Wang Cheng-t'ing (25 July 1882-21 May 1961), known as C. T. Wang, minister of foreign affairs and one-time acting premier of the Peking government in the early 1920's. He served as minister of foreign affairs in the National Government in 1928-31. In 1937-38 he was ambassador to the United States. Fenghua, Chekiang, was the birthplace of C. T. Wang. His father had become a Methodist minister in suburban Shanghai shortly before his birth. The young Wang received his early education at local Fenghua schools and then at missionary schools in Shanghai. In 1895, at the age of 13, he entered Anglo-Chinese College at Tientsin, and the following year he matriculated at the preparatory school of Peiyang University. At the time of the Boxer Uprising in 1900 he left his studies to teach at Anglo- Chinese College and then went to Hunan, where he taught in the Provincial High School at Changsha until 1905. He then went to Japan to study, and while in Tokyo he served as secretary of the Chinese YMCA.

In July 1907 C. T. Wang went to the United States, where he enrolled at the University of Michigan. The following year, he transferred to Yale University. He served as president of the Chinese Students' Alliance and as traveling secretary in charge of religious work among Chinese students in the United States. At the time of his graduation from Yale in 1910, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After a year of graduate study, he returned to China in June 1911.

Upon arrival at Shanghai, Wang accepted a position as secretary of the local YMCA. One of his chief functions was to help students returning from abroad to find employment. Soon, however, his life was changed by the revolution of 1911. After the Wuchang revolt of JO October, a republican regime was established at Wuchang with Li Yuan-hung (q.v.) at its head. The revolutionary Hu Ying was appointed chief of the regime's department of diplomatic affairs. Because Hu lacked knowledge in this field and spoke no foreign language, he sent an agent to Shanghai to obtain the services of an interpreter-assistant. Li Tenghui (T. H. Lee), a Yale alumnus who was serving as principal of Futan College in Shanghai, recommended C. T. Wang, who accepted the appointment. Wang arrived at Wuhan in late November, when the imperial forces recaptured Hanyang and threatened Wuchang. Because of the fluctuating political situation, Wang's appointment was changed, and he became a representative of Hupeh to the conference held at Hankow to organize a provisional national government. On 2 December, he was elected to a committee charged with drafting an organizational outline for the government. He was one of the signers of the resulting Organizational Law when it was adopted on 3 December. Soon afterwards, he and Hu Ying were designated representatives of the Wuchang regime to accompany T'ang Shao-yi (q.v.), then serving as head of an imperial delegation, to Shanghai for negotiations with Wu T'ing-fang (q.v.), representing the southern revolutionaries.

After Yuan Shih-k'ai succeeded Sun Yat-sen as provisional president of the republican government, C. T. Wang served at Peking as vice chairman of the Senate, under Lin Sen (q.v.). On 29 March 1912 Wang was appointed vice minister of industry and commerce by T'ang Shao-yi, the premier. Because Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.) remained in Shanghai and did not assume the ministership, Wang was appointed acting minister of industry and commerce in May. He outlined his policies on 13 May to the cabinet, but before he could put any programs into effect, T'ang Shao-yi resigned the premiership in June. In mid-July Wang also resigned and went to Shanghai. He returned to Peking in April 1913 to serve as vice speaker of the Senate, under Chang Chi (q.v.), and as chairman of the committee for review of the constitutional convention. He also became the Kuomintang's representative at Peking and director of the Peking headquarters of the national railway development administration, Ktf* then headed by Sun Yat-sen. Wang remained in Peking until the Kuomintang was outlawed after the so-called second revolution of 1913 (see Li Lieh-chun). He then went to Shanghai, where he became general secretary of the national committee of the YMCA and governor of the Eighty-first District (China and Hong Kong) of the Rotary International.

With the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in June 1916 and the accession of Li Yuan-hung (q.v.) to the presidency, the Parliament was reconvened at Peking. Wang again served as vice speaker of the Senate, holding that post until June 1917, when the Parliament was dissolved. He then went to Canton, where he served as vice speaker of the rump parliament which established a military government at Canton, with Sun Yat-sen at its head. After that government's reorganization in April 1918 and Sun Yat-sen's withdrawal to Shanghai, Wang and two other representatives of the Canton regime were sent to the United States to seek diplomatic recognition and financial aid. While in the United States, Wang was designated to represent the Canton government on China's delegation, headed by Lu Cheng-hsiang (q.v.), to the Paris Peace Conference. C. T. Wang and V. K. Wellington Koo (Ku Wei-chim, q.v.) played prominent roles in the presentation of the case for the return of Shantung to China and in the decision not to sign the Treaty of Versailles because it provided for the transfer to Japan of Germany's treaty rights in Shantung. Upon his return to China in February 1920, C. T. Wang established residence in Shanghai. In 1920-21 he established a brokerage house, an import-export company, and the Hua Feng Cotton Mill at Woosung. He was appointed president of China College at Peking in 1921, and he retained that chiefly honorary post until the 1940's. About this time, he become an ardent advocate of the sinification of the various Christian clerical hierarchies in China. In 1921 he reentered political life as a member of the Chinese delegation to the Washington Conference. The Nine-Power treaty of February 1922 and the settlement of the Shantung issue were measures of the success of the Chinese delegation, which was headed by Sao-ke Alfred Sze (Shih Chao-chi, q.v.) and which also included Wellington Koo. Wang returned to China in March 1922 to become head of the Shantung Rehabilitation Commission. In June, he was made China's chief representative on a Sino-Japanese commission charged with handling problems in connection with the transfer of political authority in Shantung. He also served as commissioner for takeover of the Kiaochow- Tsinan railway and as commissioner of the Tsingtao commercial port.

At the end of November 1922 C. T. Wang succeeded Wellington Koo as minister of foreign affairs at Peking. Early in December, he went briefly to Tsingtao to complete arrangements for the creation of a Chinese administration there. From mid-December .1922 to mid- January 1923 Wang served as acting premier at Peking. He relinquished that post to Chang Shao-tseng and refused Chang's offer of the justice portfolio in the new cabinet. In March 1923 the Peking government gave him responsibility for handling Sino-Soviet relations. After extensive negotiations with Soviet envoy Leo M. Karakhan beginning in September 1923, two agreements were signed in March 1 924. Among the provisions were the immediate establishment of Sino-Soviet diplomatic relations and the setting up of a provisional administration for the Chinese Eastern Railway. Because the agreements contained no provisions for the cancellation of Soviet-Mongol treaties or the withdrawal of Red Army forces from Outer Mongolia, the Chinese cabinet refused to ratify the agreements. Wellington Koo, then foreign minister, repudiated Wang's signature and dismissed him. Ironically enough, Koo signed an agreement with similar provisions on 31 May.

Wang left Peking in March 1924 to become managing director of the Liuhokou Mining Company in Honan. He was recalled to Peking by Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) at the time of Feng's October 1924 coup. Wang served in the interim cabinet of Huang Fu (q.v.) as minister of foreign affairs and minister of finance, resigning on 24 November after Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.) assumed office as provisional chief executive. Wang was politically inactive until the spring of 1925, when he again was given responsibility for Sino-Soviet diplomatic relations. He also was appointed a delegate to the special tariff conference which ended in March 1926 with a preliminary agreement guaranteeing China tariff autonomy by 1 January 1929. In the Peking cabinet reorganization of 31 December 1925 Wang again became minister of foreign affairs, and he held that post until 4 March 1926. That September, having also shed his Sino-Soviet responsibilities, he returned to private life in Shanghai.

In Shanghai, Wang became chairman of the board of directors of the Liuhokou Mining Company, chairman of the Chinese Ratepayers Association of Shanghai, president of the National Highways Association, and chairman of the Far Eastern Olympics. In August 1927, on Feng Yü-hsiang's recommendation, he was made managing director of the Lunghai railway administration. It was also through Feng that Wang established ties with Chiang Kai-shek and the National Government at Nanking. In 1928 Wang became a member and then chairman of the Central Political Council's foreign affairs committee. He succeeded Huang Fu as minister of foreign affairs in June. By March 1929 he had reached a settlement of the May Third Incident at Tsinan (see Ho Yao-tsu) in 1928; and in June 1929 Japan formally recognized the National Government at Nanking. Also in June 1929 a crisis arose as a result of Nationalist moves against Soviet interests in Manchuria. A Chinese search of Soviet consular premises at Harbin and arrests of consular personnel at the end of May were followed by Soviet diplomatic protests. On 1 1 June, Wang offered to have an investigation made. On 10 July, however, the Nationalists seized the Chinese Eastern Railway and Soviet shipping interests on the Sungari River. Wang issued a statement asserting that the National Government did not intend to solve the problem of the Chinese Eastern Railway by force, that it had assumed temporary administrative control of the railway because the Soviet administrators had abandoned their duties, and that it hoped to maintain friendly relations with the Soviet Union. Soviet military pressure eventually forced the National Government to sign the Khabarovsk Protocol of 22 December 1929, restoring the status quo ante with regard to Soviet rights and interests in the Chinese Eastern Railway and in navigation of the Sungari River.

C. T. Wang was foreign minister from June 1928 until September 1931, during which time he effected more than 40 important treaties and agreements. By mid- 1930 he had negotiated the restitution of Weihaiwei by Great Britain, an agreement with France regarding Tonkin, tariff agreements with Japan and 12 other countries, and commercial treaties with Greece, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. His aims were tariff autonomy and the elimination of other inequities in China's position with reference to other nations. Despite these achievements, popular opinion turned against him after the Japanese invasion of Mukden in September 1931. Student opinion in particular blamed him for the National Government's policy of nonresistance and for its failure to persuade the League of Nations to take forceful action. On 28 September, a large group of students invaded Wang's office, demanded an immediate declaration of war against Japan, assaulted Wang, and wrecked the premises. Foreign office personnel intervened, removed Wang to a gunboat, and took him to Shanghai for hospitalization. On 30 September, the National Government announced his resignation. After his recovery, C. T. Wang did not take an active part in politics for a time, although he retained his membership in the State Council, the Central Political Council, and the Central Committee of the Kuomintang. In August 1936 he was appointed ambassador to the United States. He did not reach Washington until May 1937, by which time the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war had put a new complexion on his mission. He retained that post until September 1938, when he was succeeded by Hu Shih. Wang then went to Hong Kong, where he helped the Bank of Communications shift some of its capital and property to Manila. About six months later, he moved to Chungking, where he spent the rest of the war in virtual retirement. In late 1944 he was appointed chairman of the Executive Yuan's war crimes investigation commission, and after the Japanese surrendered he served at Shanghai in that capacity. He also became a member of the Shanghai Municipal Council and the Legislative Yuan.

C. T. Wang's wife died in 1944, and in 1946 he married a daughter of Sir Shouson Chow (Chou Ch'ang-ling, q.v.). When the Chinese Communists won control of the mainland in 1949, Wang did not follow the National Government to Taiwan. In 1952 he established residence in Hong Kong, where he served as chairman of the board of directors of the Pacific Insurance Company. He died at Hong Kong on 21 May 1961.

Biography in Chinese



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