Biography in English

Yang Yung-t'ai (1880-25 October 1936), revolutionary propagandist, leader of the socalled Political Science Group, and one of the most influential bureaucrats in Chiang Kaishek's entourage in the early 1930's. From 1932 to 1936 he was secretary of Chiang's Nanchang headquarters. Soon after becoming governor of Hupeh in 1936, he was assassinated. Maoming, Kwangtung, was the birthplace of Yang Yung-t'ai. After attending the Canton High School and the Liang-Kwang Preparatory School, he enrolled in the law school of Peking Methodist University, the forerunner of Yenching University. Upon graduation, he went to Japan for advanced study. From the outset of his career he was interested in revolutionary politics and in journalism as an entry into political life. He returned to Canton shortly before the revolution of 1911 to become editor of a revolutionary daily, the Kwang-nan pao. After Kwangtung declared its independence in November 1911, Yang, as a member of the provincial assembly, helped organize the provincial republican government. He then went to Nanking as a Kwangtung delegate to the provisional National Assembly. In 1913 he was elected to the Senate as a Kuomintang member. At the time of the so-called second revolution {see Li Lieh-chün) in 1913, he collaborated with Ku Chung-hsiu in publishing the Ching-i Journal in Shanghai. The collapse of the second revolution and the dissolution of the Parliament by Yuan Shih-k'ai in January 1914 served only to strengthen Yang's anti-Yuan sentiments. After the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, such exiled revolutionaries in Japan as Li Ken-yuan, Li Lieh-chün, Huang Hsing, Ch'eng Ch'ien, and Hsiung K'o-wu (qq.v.) founded the Ou-shih yen-chiu-hui [European affairs research society], the forerunner of the Cheng-hsueh-hsi, or Political Science Group. Yang Yung-t'ai headed a Chinese branch of this society, with headquarters at Peking. In 1915 he joined with Ku Chung-hsiu and Hsü Fu-lin in founding the Chung-hua hsin-pao, a violently anti-Yuan newspaper which was published in Shanghai. When a military council was established at Chaoch'ing, Kwangtung, to serve as the legitimate government of China until Yuan Shih-k'ai retired, Yang became director of the financial bureau. Ts'en Ch'unhsuan (q.v.) served as acting head of the council, with Liang Ch'i-ch'ao as chief of the political committee and Li Ken-yuan as staff officer to the allied northern expeditionary forces and liaison officer in Shanghai. Li and Yang became close political associates at this time.

After Yuan Shih-k'ai died in June 1916, Yang Yung-t'ai returned to Peking to resume his seat in the Senate. He and Li Ken-yuan urged the election of either Ts'en Ch'un-hsuan or Lu Jung-t'ing (qq.v.) to the vice presidency so that both northern and southern interests would be represented in the government headed by Li Yuan-hung (q.v.). When Feng Kuochang (q.v.) became vice president, Li Kenyuan, Yang Yung-t'ai, and their associates organized the Political Science Group, with Li, Ku Chung-hsiu, Chang Yao-tseng, and Niu Yung-chien (q.v.) as its secretaries. When the Parliament was dissolved in 1917, Yang went to Canton to take part in the rump session which established the military government at Canton with Sun Yat-sen at its head. At this time, members of the Political Science Group were allied with Ts'en Ch'un-hsuan and the other southern militarists who caused the reorganization of the Canton regime in 1918. Supreme authority was given to a seven-man directorate which was headed by Ts'en. Sun Yat-sen withdrew from the government and went to Shanghai in May 1918, though he did not resign his directorship until August. Yang became Kwangtung commissioner of finance, and from May to October 1920 he served as civil governor of Kwangtung. He then was driven out of Canton by the forces of Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.). After a period of political inactivity, Yang returned to Peking in 1922 as a member of the Senate.

In 1925 Yang Yung-t'ai was appointed to membership in a new financial rehabilitation commission at Peking. That October, he was appointed a delegate to the customs tariff conference, which held sessions in 1926. One of his colleagues on the commission and the conference was Huang Fu (q.v.). It was through Huang's influence that Yang joined the National Government in 1929 as director of the general affairs department of the Hwai River Conservancy Commission. The following year, he won admittance to Chiang Kai-shek's personal entourage, becoming an adviser in the Generalissimo's headquarters. It was said that Yang had gained Chiang's favor by submitting thought-provoking memoranda on political affairs, especially on the suppression of Communists.

From 1932 to 1936 Yang Yung-t'ai exercised considerable power as chief secretary in the headquarters of the chairman of the Military Affairs Commission. These were the years of Chiang Kai-shek's campaigns against the Chinese Communists, particularly in Kiangsi. Beginning in 1933, Yang was stationed at Nanchang. The Nanchang headquarters was the administrative center for political, military, and party affairs in the provinces of Honan, Hupeh, Anhwei, and Kiangsi. Another member of the Political Science Group, Hsiung Shih-hui (q.v.), was chief of staff at the Nanchang headquarters, and he and Yang became active in promoting the New Life Movement {see Chiang Kai-shek). During this period, Yang and Hsiung were among the most influential bureaucrats in Chiang Kai-shek's entourage. They became deeply involved in factional intrigues within the Kuomintang, incurring the enmity of Hu Han-min (q.v.) and of the CC clique {see Ch'en Kuo-fu; Ch'en Li-fu). On 1 January 1936 Yang Yung-t'ai was appointed governor of Hupeh. He was an efficient administrator, and he immediately set to work on a project for bridging the Yangtze River at Wuhan. He was not a popular governor, however, for he was thought to favor the continuance of anti-Communist campaigns rather than the formation of a united front against the Japanese. On 25 October 1936, as he was returning home from a luncheon party at the American consulate, Yang was assassinated by a Szechwanese named Ch'en Hsi-chao. Although Ch'en said that he killed Yang because Yang supported a policy of appeasement toward Japan, the plot later was traced to Liu Lu-yin, a staunch supporter of Hu Han-min. Liu received a ten-year prison sentence. He was not confined to prison, although he was deprived of his freedom of movement in wartime Szechwan. Yang Yung-t'ai was survived by his wife, two concubines, a son, and six daughters.

Biography in Chinese

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