Biography in English

Chu Chih-hsin (12 October 1885-21 September 1920), anti-Manchu revolutionary and protege of Sun Yat-sen, was active as a T'ung-meng-hui propagandist and as an organizer of anti- Manchu uprisings in Kwangtung. He later helped to organize resistance to Yuan Shih-k'ai. A leading figure in developing and popularizing Sun Yat-sen's political and social ideas, he founded the Chien-she ta-chih [reconstruction magazine].

Although his family's native place was Hsiaoshan, Chekiang, Chu Chih-hsin was born in P_anyü hsien, Kwangtung. He was the son of Chu Ti-ch'a, a scholar who had served in the secretariat of Chang Chih-tung (ECCP, I, 27-32) when Chang was viceroy of the Liang- Kuang provinces from 1884 to 1889. Chu Ti-ch'a had moved to Kwangtung, where he was a legal secretary, personally employed by officials of the imperial civil service. Chu Chihhsin's mother was the daughter of Wang Ku-an, the famous scholar under whom Chu Ti-ch'a had studied. Wang Ku-an was an uncle of Wang Ching-wei, and, therefore, Chu Chih-hsin's mother was Wang Ching-wei's cousin. Although the Chu family was not wealthy, Chu Chih-hsin received a conventional education in the Chinese classics and studied mathematics with his maternal uncle, Wang Chung-chi. Chu then attended a semi-modern school, the Chiaochung hsueh-t'ang, where he continued to study mathematics and undertook, as a related subject, the study of the ancient Chinese calendar. In 1904, at the age of 19 sui, Chu passed an examination for admission to the preparatory department of Peking University. He also ranked first among 41 candidates who took the Kwangtung provincial examination for the selection of students to study in Japan. In Tokyo, he became closely associated with several other students from Kwangtung who were to become his comrades in anti-Manchu revolutionary activities: Hu Han-min, Ku Ying-fen (q.v.), Li Wen-fan, and Wang Ching-wei. At the time, his colleagues in Japan failed to understand Chu's persistent refusal to cut off his queue. Later, when his career as an active revolutionary began, they appreciated his foresight; Chu's queue made him less conspicuous and thus enhanced his freedom of action.

In 1905 Chu Chih-hsin was a member of the original group to join the T'ung-meng-hui when it was organized by Sun Yat-sen and Huang Hsing (q.v.). Later that year, when the Min-pao [people's journal] began publication as the official organ of the T'ung-meng-hui, Chu became a frequent contributor. Under the pen name Che-shen, he wrote for the inaugural issue of the journal a forceful article arguing the impossibility of achieving constitutional government in China while the country remained under Manchu rule, "Lun Man-chou sui yu li-hsien erh pu neng." Only with the overthrow of the Manchu regime, Chu asserted, would the Han Chinese have the opportunity to attain true constitutionalism. Chu Chih-hsin's Min-pao statement was a direct challenge to the tenets of the constitutional monarchist group, formulated by K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (qq.v.) and published in the Hsin-min ts'ung-pao [new people's miscellany].

During the early Min-pao period, Chu Chih-hsin also gained notice for his recognition of the interaction of political and economic factors in accelerating the process of social change in modern China. In June 1906, writing under the pen name Hsien-chieh, he stressed the need for carrying out social as well as political revolution in an article entitled "Lun she-hui ko-ming tang yu cheng-chih ko-ming ping-hsing. ' ' This article supported Sun Yat-sen's economic platform, which specifically advocated nationalization of land ownership in China, and rejected the criticisms of the economic principles of Sun's program made by Liang Ch'i-ch'ao and others. Chu Chih-hsin was also responsible for the earliest recorded introduction of a portion of the Communist Manifesto into China. In an article entitled "Short Biographies of German Social Revolutionaries," which appeared in the second and third issues of the Min-pao in 1906, he introduced Karl Marx as a "scientific socialist" and translated the ten-point program of the Communist Manifesto. Chu at that time believed that the Chinese revolutionaries could learn more from the German socialist movement than from any other non-Chinese reform effort. Pressure by the Japanese authorities forced the T'ung-meng-hui to suspend most of its activities in Japan by the end of 1907, and many members of the society returned to the mainland to work clandestinely for the overthrow of the Manchu rule. After returning to south China to teach school at Canton, Chu Chih-hsin gradually was drawn into the practical tasks ofplanning and preparing revolutionary uprisings. Because he still wore a queue and the mandarin gowns left by his father, he was able to escape notice. He first took part in an uprising in December 1908 when the revolutionaries, attempting to take advantage of the death of the empress dowager and the Kuang-hsu emperor in November of that year, sought to win over military forces in the Canton area for a concerted attack on Manchu authority. This plot was betrayed, and the uprising failed.

The 1908 plan provided the basis for new revolutionary activities in 1909. Ni Ying-t'ien, an army officer, was assigned the task of inciting the men of the army to rebel, and an uprising was planned for 10 February 1910. On the eve of the coup, Ni spent the night at Chu Chih-hsin's house to make final arrangements. The next day, Ni's recruits attacked the arsenal, seized some arms, and turned toward Canton city. On 12 February, however, Niv Ying-t'ien was killed, and his men were scattered. Chu Chih-hsin had raised a supporting force, but had no opportunity to use it. Because he had retained his queue, Chu was able to evade the attention of the Ch'ing officials. On the recommendation of Tsou Lu (q.v.), he took a teaching position at the Kwangtung-Kwangsi Language School.

Chu Chih-hsin demonstrated his valor as a revolutionary activist in April 1911, when the T'ung-meng-hui made its most ambitious military move up to that time. The leader of this Canton uprising was Huang Hsing. Chu served as Huang's chief assistant in planning the attack and in selecting men for the assault. On 27 April 1911 the Huang-hua-kang insurrection took place. Huang Hsing and Chu Chih-hsin attempted to capture the governor general's yamen, and Chu suffered chest wounds in the ensuing hand-to-hand fighting. After the insurgents had been defeated, Chu fled from Canton to Hong Kong. Although the insurrection failed, it served to heighten the unrest which culminated in the successful uprising at Wuchang in October 1911.

After the Wuchang revolt broke out, Chu Chih-hsin worked among the militia in areas near Canton to persuade them to rise in support of the republican revolutionaries. After the establishment of the republic, Chu served in 1912 as director of the audit bureau in the provincial administration of Hu Han-min in Kwangtung. He then cut off his queue. Yuan Shih-k'ai soon afterward sought to gain political and military dominance in China and began to suppress the activities of the republican revolutionaries. Late in 1913, after the defeat of the so-called second revolution by Yuan's forces, Chu Chih-hsin joined the general exodus of revolutionaries to Japan. There he worked with Sun and his immediate entourage, including Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.), Hu Han-min, Liao Chung-k'ai, and Tai Chi-t'ao, in reorganizing the Kuomintang into the Chung-hua ko-mingtang, which was inaugurated in June 1914. Chu was associated with Hu Han-min and Tai Chit'ao in editing the party's new propaganda organ, the Alin-kuo tsa-chih [republican magazine]. During the 1913-14 period in exile in Japan, Chu developed a close intellectual association with Tai Chi-t'ao and began his friendship with Chiang Kai-shek.

Sun Yat-sen dispatched a number of his lieutenants to China to organize armed resistance to Yuan Shih-k'ai. Chu Chih-hsin and Teng K'eng (q.v.) were assigned to their native province of Kwangtung to induce quasi-bandit groups known as min-ping [militia men] to rise against Yuan's power, then being imposed in Kwangtung through the agency of the notorious Lung Chi-kuang (q.v.). Chu was active in the southwestern part of the province and staged two minor uprisings in October and November 1914. Although his irregular forces were no match for those of Lung Chi-kuang, he became increasingly adept at persuading and inciting quasi-bandit forces to serve the revolutionary cause.

In December 1915 Ts'ai O (q.v.) led his forces from Yunnan into Szechwan, and Li Lieh-chun (q.v.) launched a thrust against Lung Chi-kuang in Kwangtung. Chu Chih-hsin seized this opportunity to begin new military operations early in 1916. An attempt to seize Canton was halted by Lung Chi-kuang's superior artillery, but Chu then launched an offensive against the fortress at Humen, which controlled the approaches to Canton on the Pearl River. In June 1916, however, Yuan Shih-k'ai's death at Peking brought the military campaigns in the south to a halt.

From mid-1917 to mid-1918 Chu Chih-hsin, Hu Han-min, and Wang Ching-wei were members of Sun Yat-sen's personal entourage in the so-called constitution protection regime at Canton. Chu, Ch'en Chiung-ming, and Hsu Ch'ung-chih were the men designated to develop a loyal Cantonese army to bolster Sun's military position. In March 1918 Chu was sent by Sun on a mission to Tokyo in an effort to enlist Japan's support for the constitution protection movement. In the early summer of 1918, Sun Yat-sen relinquished his title of generalissimo in the Canton regime and left for Shanghai. Chu Chih-hsin joined Sun Yat-sen at Shanghai and became a leading figure in developing and popularizing Sun's political and social ideas. Chu resolved to abandon military activities and to devote himself exclusively to social reform. Writing to Chiang Kai-shek, Chu stated in the summer of 1918 that "after observing conditions in China, I am convinced that it is necessary to make ideological reforms. I have decided to devote my energies from now on to such reforms and will no longer concern myself with military affairs." In August 1919, together with Tai Chi-t'ao, Chu established the Chien-she tsa-chih [reconstruction magazine], the journal in which much of the ideology of the Kuomintang was formulated, expounded, and discussed. During the last period of his life at Shanghai, Chu Chih-hsin, writing in the Chien-she tsa-chih and other periodicals, attained a national reputation. Although he had been trained in the classical style and had a flair for elegant Chinese prose, he became an enthusiastic supporter of the literary reform efforts of Ch'en Tu-hsiu and Hu Shih (qq.v.) and began to write in the vernacular. He was well versed in Japanese and read English with some facility. After noting the interest shown by Chinese intellectuals in the Russian Revolution, he began to study Russian.

Chu and other Kuomintang intellectuals conducted a vigorous academic debate with Hu Shih on the ancient Chinese ching-t'ien system, a sort of early commune. Hu Shih doubted the existence of the system, while Chu and his colleagues in Sun Yat-sen's entourage believed in it and supported it. Of greater political significance was Chu Chih-hsin's growing emphasis on the importance of rallying mass support for social and economic programs designed to spur modernization in China. In later years, after Chu Chih-hsin's death in 1920, other leading figures in the Kuomintang, including Sun Yat-sen, became increasingly aware of the potential political influence of the Chinese masses, a crucial change in attitude that was an important prerequisite to the 1924 reorganization of the Kuomintang and to the attempt to collaborate with the Communists.

After the First World War, Chu planned a trip to the United States. However, early in 1920 some Chinese students in the United States sent messages to the Peking government and to provincial authorities in China which, in Chu's view, promoted the cause of militarism. Because Chu believed that the students in America had not profited by their stay there and because he wanted to learn more about Russia, he then planned a European trip. However, military affairs in south China prevented him from going. In June 1920 Sun Yat-sen sent Chu to Fukien to persuade Ch'en Chiung-ming to move his forces back to Kwangtung and to reestablish a territorial base in the Canton area. Chu then accompanied Ch'en on his successful thrust toward Canton. When they were approaching that city, Chu was assigned the mission of arranging the surrender of the fortress at Humen. Although Chu's negotiations were successful, a local misunderstanding led to skirmishing, in the course of which he was fatally wounded. He died on 21 September 1920 at the age of 36 sui. Chu Chih-hsin's untimely death shocked Sun Yat-sen and his comrades in the Kuomintang.

On coming south to Canton after Ch'en Chiung-ming had expelled the Kwangsi generals in October, Sun declared that "although the Kwangsi clique has been expelled, we have paid too great a price in the sacrifice of Chu Chih-hsin." Writing to Chiang Kai-shek, Sun lamented, "Chu Chih-hsin's sudden death is like the loss of my right and left hands. There are now few left in our party who know military strategy so well or are as trustworthy as he." On another occasion Sun told comrades, "Yingshih [Ch'en Ch'i-mei, q.v.] had revolutionary zeal and courage, but was lacking in knowledge and scholarly accomplishment. Chih-hsin had the revolutionary spirit of Ying-shih, but his knowledge surpassed that of Ying-shih." Largely through the efforts of Wang Chingwei, Chu Chih-hsin was honored by the establishment of a school bearing his name at Canton. Originally co-educational but later converted into a secondary institution for girls, the Chihhsin Memorial Middle School was located opposite the Huang-hua-kang mausoleum. Its campus was considered the most beautiful in the city. Chu Chih-hsin's widow was the principal of the school, and Wang Ching-wei taught there for a time.

The most comprehensive edition of Chu's collected essays, the Chu Chih-hsin chi [the works of Chu Chih-hsin], contains many of his Min-pao and Chien-she tsa-chih articles with notes by Wang Ching-wei, Shao Yuan-ch'ung, and Tai Chi-t'ao. The Chu Chih-hsin wen-ts'un [collection of Chu Chih-hsin's essays], compiled by Shao Yuan-ch'ung, is a less extensive collection.

Biography in Chinese

All rights reserved@ENP-China