Biography in English

Yu Yu-jen (11 April 1879-10 November 1964), scholar, T'ung-meng-hui revolutionary, poet, journalist, army commander, government official, and calligrapher. He first gained prominence as the editor of such anti-Manchu newspapers as the Alin-li pao. From 1930 until his death in 1964 he was president of the Control Yuan.

Sanyuan, Shensi, was the birthplace of Yü Yu-jen. The Yü family had tilled the land in Sanyuan and in the neighboring hsien of Chingyang for generations, but a series of natural calamities in the nineteenth century had made farming increasingly difficult. Yü's father, Yü Pao-wen (T. Hsin-san), had been obliged to leave home for Szechwan province to seek a better living. He returned to Shensi in 1878 to marry, and Yü Yu-jen was born in the following year. After the birth of his first son, Yü Pao-wen went back to Szechwan. In 1881, when Yü Yu-jen was only three sui, his mother died. Thereafter he was raised by an aunt in a nearby village, where he received his early education in a school established by an elderly scholar. In 1889, at 11 sui, Yü Yu-jen was taken back to Sanyuan, where he studied the Chinese classical curriculum under a local teacher and received initial instruction in calligraphy. That year his father returned home to Shensi and remarried, but the young Yü continued to live with his aunt. His father was belatedly acquiring an education, and father and son often studied together in the evenings. To help the family, the boy worked part time in a local firecracker shop.

In 1895, at 17 sui, Yü Yu-jen placed first in the examinations for the sheng-yuan degree. Three years later he was appointed a salaried licentiate. The Shensi provincial commissioner of education, Yeh Erh-kai, was so impressed with Yü's intellectual promise that he presented him with a copy of the diaries of the scholardiplomat Hsueh Fu-ch'eng (ECCP, I, 331-32). This work, which recorded Hsueh's impressions of Europe in 1890-94, stimulated Yü's interest in world affairs. Also in 1898 Yü married Kao Chung-lin. In 1903, at the age of 25 sui, he passed the chü-jen examinations. By this time, however, Yü had become alarmed at the ineffectiveness of Manchu rule and attracted to the cause of republican revolution. Heretical thoughts found expression in his writings, notably in a collection of poems published at this time. In 1904, while Yü Yu-jen was preparing for the metropolitan examinations, his criticisms were reported to the Ch'ing court. The Peking authorities issued an order for his arrest and rescinded his chü-jen degree. Yü then fled to Shanghai, a political refugee at the age of 26 sui.

Upon arrival at Shanghai, Yü was fortunate enough to secure the attention of the educator Ma Liang (q.v.), who enrolled him at the Aurora Academy under the pseudonym Liu Hsueh-yu. In 1905 Ma Liang resigned as principal of that academy because of frictions with European Jesuit priests. He and Yen Fu (q.v.) then established the Futan Academy, with Yü serving on the committee which prepared its inauguration. Yü also took part in the organization of the Chung-kuo kunghsueh, established to accommodate Chinese students who were returning from Japan in protest against restrictions on political activity imposed by the Japanese government. Yü taught Chinese at both institutions, while he studied French at the Futan Academy. After the banning of the newspaper Su Pao {see Chang Ping-lin) in 1903, the republican revolutionaries were left without a medium for distribution of their views in Shanghai. Yü Yu-jen determined to continue the work that had been begun by the editors of the Su Pao, and he started a career in political journalism which, though only a few years in duration, ensured him a place of honor in the annals of the T'ung-meng-hui. In the summer of 1906 he went to Japan to study the Japanese press and to meet with T'ung-meng-hui leaders. In Japan, Yü also had his first contact with Sun Yat-sen and joined the T'ung-meng-hui. For the remainder of his life he remained a faithful supporter of Sun's republican ideals. Yü returned to Shanghai early in 1907, and in April he launched his first newspaper, the Shen-chou jih-pao. The paper's revolutionary stand was asserted in its first issue, which omitted the year of the reigning Ch'ing emperor from its dating system. Early in 1908 its premises were destroyed by a fire started from an adjoining building. Because of disagreements among the shareholders about establishing new offices, Yü decided to go his separate way and establish a new paper. Late in 1908 he received word of the illness of his father and made a secret trip to Shensi to see him. His father died while Yü was on his way back to Shanghai. Yü Yu-jen's career as revolutionary journalist continued unabated. In May 1909 he launched the Min-hu pao, which took an even more radically anti-Manchu stance than its predecessor. In August the Ch'ing government had Yü jailed for a month by the authorities of the International Settlement, and the Minhu pao was shut down. After his release in September, Yü organized a third newspaper, the Min-yu pao, which began publication at the beginning of October. In November he was arrested again when the Japanese consular authorities protested over an editorial which attacked the Japanese demand for rights to build a railroad from Chinchow to Tsitsihar in Manchuria. He was released only when he agreed to suspend publication of the Min-yu pao. Yü then made another brief trip to Japan. He returned to Shanghai early in 1910 to plan the establishment of a fourth newspaper to support the cause of republican revolution. After some delay, the Min-li pao [people's strength] began publication on 1 1 October 1910. It was the most successful of Yü's journalistic ventures. For a time it was virtually the official organ of the revolutionary movement led by Sun Yat-sen, and ranking T'ung-menghui members, notably Ch'en Ch'i-mei, Sung Chiao-jen (qq.v.), and Ma Chün-wu, were associated with its editorial staff. After the failure of the Huang-hua-kang uprising at Canton in April 1911, a central China bureau of the T'ung-meng-hui was established in July; and the Alin-li pao offices in the International Settlement of Shanghai served as an important communications and planning center. After the Wuchang revolt of October 1911, the Min-li pao continued to play a major role in presenting the republican case. In November, Sun Yat-sen, then on his way back to China, sent the paper a cable from Paris in which he outlined his proposals for structuring the new government. In this message Sun suggested that either Li Yuan-hung or Yuan Shih-k'ai (qq.v.) might be considered for the presidency of the republic. In publishing the cable in the Min-li pao, Yü Yu-jen commented that it revealed Sun's noble character in not striving to win the presidency for himself He then confirmed the paper's support for Sun as the man best suited for the post.

Sun Yat-sen assumed office as provisional president on 1 January 1912. In organizing his new government at Nanking, Sun named Yü Yu-jen to be vice minister of communications. When Sun resjgned from the presidency early in 1912, Yü returned to Shanghai. During his absence, Chang Shih-chao (q.v.) had assumed editorial charge of the Min-li pao and had advocated the need for reorganization of the revolutionary party. Yü Yu-jen appeared to side with Chang in this reappraisal of party politics in China; and their proposals evoked vigorous opposition from Wu Chih-hui (q.v.) and other leaders. Meanwhile, another journal, the Min-ch'uan pao, edited by Tai Chi-t'ao (q.v.), had been established at Shanghai late in 1911, and it soon began to overshadow the Min-li pao. Early in 1913 Yü Yu-jen's plans to go abroad to study the press in Europe were frustrated by the shooting of his close friend Sung Chiao-jen. Yü attended to Sung during his dying hours and later took charge of the funeral arrangements. After the failure of the so-called second revolution [see Li Lieh-chün), the position of Sun Yat-sen and his supporters in China became untenable due to the opposition of Yuan Shihk'ai. The Min-li pao suspended publication on 4 September 1913, and Yü fled to Japan. He returned to Shanghai in 1914 but found that the environment was still too hostile to permit resumption of active journalism. He thus organized the Min-li Book Company to provide cover for continuation of the Kuomintang campaign against Yuan Shih-k'ai. During the next few years, Yü moved chiefly among scholars, book sellers, and collectors. He also undertook some academic research and wrote poetry. But his attention was never deflected from the contemporary political scene, and poems written by Yü during these years reflect his anxiety about the drab prospects of the republican cause. - In August 1918 Yü Yu-jen left Shanghai to return to northwest China. This move was prompted by an invitation from leaders of the republican forces in Shensi, which had been reorganized as the Ching-kuo chün [national pacification army]. Yü became commander in chief of this force. Although he had had no previous military training or experience, he did his best to strengthen the Shensi forces. His task was complicated by internecine rivalries among the republican leaders of the province. For four years the Ching-kuo chün conducted roving campaigns in Shensi designed to undermine the superior power of militarists allied with the Peiyang government at Peking. By 1922, however, Yü's position in Shensi had become untenable, and the Ching-kuo chün had to be disbanded. Yü himself fled to Szechwan and then traveled down the Yangtze to Shanghai. He reached that city in August 1922. There he was reunited with Sun Yat-sen, also a leader in distress, who had just returned to Shanghai following Ch'en Chiung-ming's revolt at Canton.

After the republican forces established a new government at Canton early in 1923, Sun Yat-sen moved forward with plans for reorganization of the Kuomintang, construction of an alliance with the Communists, and development of military forces. In the same year, Yü Yu-jen became president of Shanghai University, a new institution designed to inspire young Chinese to join the Kuomintang and to support its programs. Yü's position there was largely nominal, however, and Shanghai University during the 1924-25 period came to be controlled by the Chinese Communists. Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai, Teng Chung-hsia, Yün Tai-ying (qq.v.), and other prominent Communists served on its faculty, and the institution trained many young cadres who served as political workers during the Northern Expedition. Yü himself attended the First National Congress of the reorganized Kuomintang at Canton in January 1924, and he was elected to the Central Executive Committee. When Sun Yat-sen made his final journey to north China, he named Yü to organize a Peking political committee to supervise Kuomintang affairs in that area. Early in 1925 Yü traveled to Mukden for discussions with Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) and thus was not present when Sun died at Peking in March. During this period, the Kuominchün of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.), who had shown some inclination to support the Kuomintang and the Nationalist-Communist alliance based at Canton, was threatened by a combination of Chihli and Fengtien forces. Feng himself expressed interest in joining the Kuomintang and went to the Soviet Union for consultation. Yü Yu-jen, who in July 1925 had been elected a member of the State Council of the National Government at Canton, went to Russia in the spring of 1926 to confer with Feng in Moscow. Yü then returned to China by way of Siberia and Outer Mongolia. On the way, he met Feng again, and together they reached Wuyuan in Suiyuan province on 14 September 1926. There Feng's officers had assembled to greet him; and Feng formally accepted membership in the Kuomintang. When Feng resumed command of the Kuominchün, Yü Yu-jen, as a member of the Central Executive Committee of that party, presented the Kuomintang flag, an action which symbolized the formal incorporation of Feng's armies into the Nationalist military forces.

Yü Yu-jen then assumed office as commander of the Kuominchün units in Shensi and governor of that province. But he quickly recognized that there was much friction among the army commanders in that area and that the measure of official deference accorded him far exceeded his practical authority. By the spring of 1927 Feng Yü-hsiang had consolidated control over northern Honan province and held a key strategic position in the intramural conflict between the contending Kuomintang regimes then based at Wuhan and at Nanking. In June 1927 Wang Ching-wei (q.v.) and other Kuomintang leaders from Wuhan went to Chengchow for what proved to be abortive discussions with Feng. Yü Yu-jen then estimated that his personal position was vulnerable at best and dangerous at worst, and he returned to Wuhan with the Wang Ching-wei group. When the feuding Kuomintang factions were able to resolve their differences in early 1928, Yü resumed his official posts as member both of the Central Executive Committee of the party and of the State Council of the National Government.

In July 1928 Yü was named to head the newly created board of audit, then directly subordinate to the National Government at Nanking. In December 1930, at the first plenum of the fourth Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang, Yü was elected president of the Control Yuan of the National Government. He officially assumed that post in February 1931 and held it until his death more than 30 years later. The former board of audit then was reorganized as the ministry of audit and placed under the jurisdiction of the Control Yuan. That Yuan, part of the five-yuan system of government designed by Sun Yat-sen, to a large extent inherited the functions of the former censorate system under the imperial dynasties. Its primary responsibilities were the impeachment of public functionaries and the auditing of public funds. Yü Yu-jen did much to formulate procedures and regulations to make the control system effective, but he did not succeed in getting the National Government to invest the Control Yuan with unquestioned general authority either to impeach public officials or to punish those found guilty of malpractices. Yü also advocated the appointment of regional offices of the Control Yuan. Practical difficulties prevented this system from being implemented immediately; but, as an alternative, members of the Control Yuan were assigned circuit duty to inspect conditions in various parts of China.

While the National Government functioned at Nanking before the Sino-Japanese war, the Control Yuan gained prominence in several cases involving senior government officials. In January 1933 Yi P'ei-chi (q.v.) was impeached in connection with a scandal involving the theft of so-called national treasures: art objects in the Palace Museum at Peiping. Later in 1933 Ku Meng-yü (q.v.), then minister of railways, was impeached for alleged irregularities connected with the purchase of materials. The Ku Meng-yü affair led to .sharp conflict between the Control Yuan and the Executive Yuan, headed by Wang Ching-wei, over procedural measures relating to exercise of the impeachment power. Wang sternly criticized Yü Yu-jen for releasing details of the case before a decision had been reached.

During the Sino-Japanese war, Yü Yu-jen moved with the National Government to Chungking. There he was generally regarded as a party elder, along with Lin Sen, Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang (qq.v.), and other veterans of the T'ung-meng-hui period. Yü continued to hold responsibilities as head of the Control Yuan, and after 1940 inspectors from that yuan were sent to various areas of China under National Government control. In 1941 Yü Yu-jen made a trip to inspect conditions in his native Shensi and adjacent Kansu; in 1946 he made a trip to Sinkiang. In the spring of 1948, Yü, then 70, was defeated in the competition for candidacy to run for the office of vice president of the Republic of China. In June, however, he was reelected to the presidency of the Control Yuan. In 1949, as Communist military offensives gained momentum, Yü moved southward with the government from Nanking to Canton. In November he flew to Taiwan.

Early in 1950, as the National Government moved to reconstitute itself at Taipei, the Control Yuan brought impeachment proceedings against Li Tsung-jen (q.v.) on charges of misconduct for remaining abroad while nominally president of the Republic of China. (Li, who had become acting President in January 1949, had gone to the United States.) Li was removed from his position, and Chiang Kai-shek was reelected President in March 1950. During later years in Taiwan, the Control Yuan again came into conflict with the Executive Yuan. In 1957 the yuan requested O. K. Yui (Yü Hung-chün, q.v.), president of the Executive Yuan, to appear before it to explain certain activities of the government. When Yui refused to accede to the request, the Control Yuan in December 1957 instituted impeachment proceedings against him. Several charges were made, including abuse of power and failure to permit the Control Yuan to inspect the records of the Central Bank of China, of which Yui was ex officio governor. The dispute, which reflected intramural jealousies and frictions within the Kuomintang, led to an official reprimand to Yui by the committee for disciplinary action against public functionaries, an organ under the Judicial Yuan. Yü Yu-jen served as a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang from 1 924 until 1 950, when he was elected to membership in the Central Appraisal Committee, which replaced the former Central Supervisory Committee. During the final years of his life in Taiwan, Yü Yu-jen was one of the genial oldsters of the Kuomintang, widely known for his calligraphy, poetry, and flowing white beard. Throughout his adult life Yü was known for his excellence in the so-called grass (ts'ao-shu) calligraphy, a style which he developed into something approaching a science. He was also popular because of his accessibility to seekers of samples of his flowing calligraphy. Yü also had a life-long interest in Chinese poetry, which he composed in the classical style. In 1941, while in Chungking, he had inaugurated the custom of observing as Poets Day the fifth day of the fifth moon in the lunar calendar, an occasion traditionally celebrated in China as the Dragon Boat Festival to honor the ancient Chou dynasty patriot-poet Ch'ü Yuan. In Taiwan, Yü annually took charge of the observance of Poets Day; and in 1964 he was voted Chinese poet laureate. Yü was hospitalized at Taipei in August 1964 and, after three months of unsuccessful treatment, he died on 10 November, at the age of 85. Yü Yu-jen was survived by three sons and four daughters. The first two sons were at his bedside when he died. The eldest son, Yü Wang-te (1910-), studied in England, Germany, and France. He later served in the diplomatic service. After the Second World War, Yü Wang-te was Chinese Nationalist minister to a number of nations of Latin America: Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador. He later returned to Taiwan to serve as adviser to the ministry of foreign affairs (1957) and adviser to the Executive Yuan (1958). George T. Yu, a grandson of Yü Yu-jen, studied in the United States and later taught political science at the University of Illinois. He was co-author of The Chinese Anarchist Movement (1961) and author of Party Politics in Republican China: the Kuomintang, 1912-1924 (1966).

Biography in Chinese

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