Biography in English

Hsü Shih-ying T. Ching-jen 11^ tit ^ Hsü Shih-ying (1872-13 October 1964), official in the Ch'ing, Peiyang, and National governments whose most important posts were those of premier (December 1925-March 1926) and Chinese ambassador to Japan (February 1936- January 1938). He was also known for his famine-relief activities.

Chiupu (Chihteh), Anhwei, was the birthplace of Hsü Shih-)-ing. He received his primary education at a local school established by his clan, where he was the youngest of ten students. When he was 12, his father sent him to study under a tutor, T'ung Wen-ch'ü, in Wangchiang hsien. Hsti studied under T'ung for 12 years and established himself as a classical scholar by passing the examinations for the chü-jen and pakung degrees. In 1897 he was appointed to the Board of Punishments at Peking, with the rank of seventh grade junior metropolitan official.

Hsü reported for duty in Peking in May 1898, shortly before the beginning of the Hundred Days Reform {see K'ang Yu-wei). He became assistant departmental keeper of drafts in the Chekiang division of the Board of Punishments, working under Liu Kuang-ti. Hsü and Liu soon became friends. Liu, however, was among the reformers who were executed in 1898 after the Hundred Days Reform ended with the empress dow-ager's coup against the Kuang-hsu emperor. Hsü developed a distaste for the work of the Board of Punishments, and although he was promoted to departmental keeper of drafts in the Chihli division, he left Peking in the spring of 1900 and went to Szechwan, where his father's friend Chou Fu was provincial treasurer. Hsü hoped to obtain a post as a hsien magistrate. He nearly drowned when the junk on which he was traveling sank in the Yangtze rapids, and he arrived in Chengtu in June only to be advised that, although he could be a hsien magistrate if he chose, the rapid spread of the Boxer Uprising would create better opportunities for him in Peking. He accepted this advice and began the long journey back to Peking.

When he reaclred Hankow^, Hsü learned that the Eight-Power international expedition was nearing Peking and that the empress dowager and the Kuang-hsu emperor had fled the capital. He then went to his home in Anhwei. About a month later he received a telegram informing him that the Board of Punishments needed personnel and asking him to proceed promptly to Sian. Hsü arrived at Sian in October. In addition to his job as departmental keeper of drafts in the Chihli division, he received the equivalent post for Szechwan, where some 4,0C0 cases w^ere outstanding. He won a reputation as an able official by clearing up all of these cases before the imperial government returned to Peking in 1902. He was promoted to the rank of sixth grade assistant in 1902.

Because Hsü failed to pass the 1903 special examinations for the chin-shih degree, he continued to work in the Board of Punishments. In October 1 905 the Bureau of Police Affairs was organized, and Hsü became senior assistant in the bureau's administrative section. He also continued to handle special cases for the Board of Punishments. By the end of 1906 he had become a fourth grade official.

When Hsü Shih-ch'ang (q.v.) became viceroy of the newly established Three Eastern Provinces of Manchuria in April 1907, he requested the services of Hsü Shih-ying in setting up the needed legal organs in the Northeast. Hsü Shih-ying was named to the high court at Mukden and was assigned to formulate proposals for judicial organization. In the autumn of 1908 he became associate chief justice of that court. At Mukden, Hsü came to know the Japanese consul, Hirota Koki, and the vice consul, Arita Hachiro. Their friendship with Hsü was to become important in Sino-Japanese relations.

In 1910 Hsü accompanied Hsü Ch'ien (q.v.) on a mission to Europe and the United States to study judicial structures and prison conditions. He attended the Eighth International Congress on Prison Reform, held at Washington, D.C. The mission returned to China in the spring of 191 1. That November, Hsü Shih-ying was appointed judicial commissioner of Shansi, then under the governorship of Chang Hsi-luan. A few months later, he became provincial treasurer. Hsü joined Chang in urging the Manchu court to give way to the early establishment of the republic. In 1912, after the republic had been established, Chang was appointed tutuh [military governor] of Chihli i^Hopei; province. On his recommendation, Hsü was made chief justice of the Supreme Court at Peking in Alay. In July, Hsü became minister ofjustice in the cabinet of Lu Cheng-hsiang, and Chang Tsung-hsiang (q.v.) succeeded him as chief justice.

Hsü Shih-ying, Hsü Ch'ien, Ch'en Lu, and Ch'en Chin-t'ao had organized the Kuo-min kung-chin hui, one of the many small political parties that had sprung up after the Wuchang revolt of October 1911. In August 1912 the Kuo-min kung-chin hui and two other parties were merged with the T'ung-meng-hui to become the Kuomintang. However, when Kuomintang leader Sung Chiao-jen (q.v.) was assassinated in March 1913 by adherents of Yuan Shih-k'ai, Hsü Shih-ying refused to permit the Kuomintang at Shanghai to establish a special court to try the case, insisting that the local court had jurisdiction. The case became a political rather than a judicial cause, and one of the alleged killers, Ving Kuei-hsing, was assassinated in January 1914 after escaping from jail.

In September 1913 Hsü was replaced as minister of justice by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (q.v.), a member of the Progressive party, which was supporting Yuan against the Kuomintang in the so-called second revolution. Hsü was appointed civil governor of Fengtien in November, and on 4 January 1914 Yuan Shih-k'ai named him to the newly established Political Council, which had been formed to replace the Parliament (dissolved on 10 January). After Hsü helped draft a new constitution, he became civil governor of Fukien on 3 May. After the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in 1916, Tuan Ch'i-jui fq.v.y formed a cabinet on 30 June in which Hsü was minister of interior. However, on 12 July Hsü was replaced by Sung Heng-i and was named minister of communications. In 1917 he was forced to resign after being implicated in a bribery case which concerned the purchase of rolling-stock for the Tientsin- Pukow railway. He was brought before a Peking court, but was acquitted of the charges. In 1918 he became managing director of the Hua Yi Bank, a Sino-Italian enterprise. Hsü returned to public office in September 1921 as civil governor and director general of famine relief for Anhwei. However, he was forced to resign because of public opposition. In November 1922 he was named minister of justice in Wang Ta-hsieh's cabinet, but the cabinet was dissolved before Hsü reached Peking. He became director of the bureau of aeronautics in February 1923, but was relieved of that post when Ts'ao K'un became president in November. Hsü spent much of the next year representing Tuan Ch'i-jui in negotiations between Sun Yat-sen and the northern factions of Tuan and Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) for the formation of a tripartite alliance against Ts'ao K'un and Wu P'ei-fu in Peking. Hsü Shu-cheng (q.v.) also represented Tuan at these meetings. Hsü Shihying met with Sun Yat-sen at Shaokuan on 4 October 1 924 and reached a tentative agreement. Shortly after Hsü returned to Tientsin, Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) staged a coup against AVu P'ei-fu, occupying Peking and forcing Ts'ao K'un from the presidency, and Tuan Ch'i-jui emerged from retirement at Tientsin to assume leadership of the new provisional government. On 2 November, Sun Yat-sen announced that he had accepted an invitation to go to Peking and participate in negotiations for a new government. On 24 November, Hsü Shih-ying, now Tuan Ch'i-jui's confidential political strategist, received the post of secretary general in Tuan's government. By the time Sun Yat-sen arrived at Tientsin on 4 December, Tuan's cabinet had forniulated principles to govern the oi'ganization of the projected Rehabilitation Conference which he could not accept, and he had announced a "minimum program" for the Kuomintang which Tuan could not accept. On 4 December, Hsü, as secretary general of the conference's preparatory committee, and Yeh Kung-cho went to Tientsin to confer with Sun, but no agreement was reached. Sun left Tientsin for Peking on 31 December. The conference, with Hsü serving as its secretary general, convened on 1 February 1925, but Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang refused to participate in it. Sun died in Peking on 12 March.

On 26 December 1925 Tuan Ch'i-jui appointed Hsü Shih-ying premier. Hsü's Kuomintang-oriented cabinet included Kuomintang member Yü Yu-jen (q.v.) as minister of interior, C. T. W'ang (W^ang Cheng-t'ing) as minister of foreign affairs, Ch'en Chin-t'ao as minister of finance, and Chia Te-yao as minister of war. Hsü, to enlist Kuomintang support for Tuan, drafted a telegram for Tuan's signature in which he was to announce the handing over of his authority to Yü Yu-jen as of 16 January 1926. The telegram was not issued. Some of Tuan's supporters rose against Hsü, and he was forced to flee to the Legation Quarter for safety. Yü Yu-jen refused to take up the post of minister of interior.

By this time, Feng Yü-hsiang was in retreat before the forces of Chang Tso-lin, and Tuan's hold on power at Peking was becoming shaky. Hsü Shih-ying returned to office, but he submitted his resignation on 15 February 1926. Tuan granted him a leave of absence and appointed Chia Te-yao acting premier. On 4 March he accepted the resignations of Hsü and his cabinet, and about a month later his regime fell.

Hsü soon went to Shanghai and helped organize the Kiangsu-Chekiang-Anhwei Joint Society to oppose Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.) and to support local autonomy. For security reasons, the society's headquarters was established in the International Settlement. In early January 1927 Sun issued orders for the arrest of Hsü and his group and requested the foreign authorities to halt his activities. Hsü went to Hong Kong for safety, but returned to Shanghai in March, after Sun's forces had been defeated.

In the spring of 1928 the National Government gave Hsü a modest appointment as chairman of a relief committee for Chihli and Shantung. He became chairman of the National Famine Relief Commission in January 1930, and he also served as chairman of the National Government's financial affairs commission. Relief matters, notably in connection with the Yangtze flood of 1931, kept him busy and necessitated frequent travel during the next five years. In 1932 he formed the Shanghai War Zone Refugee Relief Association to give relief to persons afflicted by the fighting between Japanese and Chinese forces in January. In February 1936, when the National Government was making a new attempt to settle the problem of north China, Hsü Shih-ying was sent to Tokyo as ambassador. Arita Hachiro became Japan's foreign minister in April 1936, and Hirota Koki, his predecessor in that post, became premier. Hsü had only a secondary role to play in the Sino-Japanese negotiations. He renewed the friendship that he had established with Arita and Hirota at Mukden some 30 years earlier. After the signing in November of the Anti-Comintern -agreement between Japan and Germany, Arita spoke to Hsü and implied that China's participation in the pact would be welcomed. Hsü, on instructions from Nanking, gave China's refusal. After the Sian Incident [see Chiang Kai-shek j in December, the National Government's Japan policy became rigid and resistant. In March 1937 Hsü was called to Nanking for consultation with Wang Ch'ung-hui (q.v.), who had become foreign minister. Hsü was still consulting with Wang about ways to improve Sino-Japanese relations when the Lukouchiao Incident of 7 July began the Sino-Japanese war. Hsü hurriedly returned to Tokyo and called on Hirota in an attempt to ensure the preservation of Chinese rights in the settlement of the north China "incident." Hirota responded by requesting non-interference by the National Government, and Japanese aggression continued. When China signed a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union in August, Hsü undertook to explain this "purely pacific instrument" to Hirota, informing him that China was "ready to conclude a similar treaty with Japan if Japan wishes." War was not declared, but peace was not forthcoming. The intervention of the League of Nations, the attempted mediation of German Ambassador to China Oskar Trautmann, and the efforts of Hsü Shih-ying at Tokyo were equally fruitless. Hsü was recalled from Japan in January 1938. After arriving in Wuhan, he predicted that China would win the war. In June, he was appointed to the People's Political Council, created by the National Government to rally support for the struggle against the Japanese. He also became acting chairman of the National Famine Relief Commission and chairman of the Air-Raid Salvage Committee. He was confirmed as chairman of the Famine Relief Commission in December 1944. Hsü, who had tried to refuse the Tokyo ambassadorship on the grounds of advancing years, neither sought nor received major political appointments. In February 1945 he was given the title of senior adviser to the National Government. From April 1947 to March 1949 Hsu served the National Government as member of the State Council and as chairman of the IVJongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission. In the summer of 1950 he went to Taiwan, where he was named high adviser in the presidential office. After the alleged discovery in August 1955 of espionage activities among the subordinates of Sun Li-jen, Hsü was appointed to the commission charged with investigating the matter. He lived quietly in Taiwan and died in Taipei, at the age of 91, on 13 October 1964.

Hsü and his wife, Shen Yi-jen, had three sons and two daughters.

Biography in Chinese


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