Tsou Lu (2 February 1884-13 February 1954), conservative Kuomintang leader who became chancellor of National Chung-shan University (1932-39) and leading authority on the 1911 revolution and the early history of the Kuomintang.
A native of Tap'u, Kwangtung, Tsou Lu was born into a poor Hakka family. His father reportedly was a tailor and a peddler. As the only child in the family, Tsou received his early education at private schools. In 1903, at the age of 19, he enrolled at the Han-shan shu-yuan, a semi-modern school at Ch'aochou. After a few years of both studying and teaching, he went to Canton in 1907 to enroll at the Kwangtung Fa-cheng hsueh-t'ang [college of law and government]. The nature of Tsou's early connection with the revolutionary movement is not entirely clear. In any event, he is said to have participated in the Huang-hua-kang uprising of 27 April 1911 (see Huang Hsing) and to have served on the staff of the ICo-pao, a revolutionary newspaper at Canton of which Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) was a leading sponsor. After the revolution began in October 1911, he took part in the capture of Anhwei and advance to Nanking. He then supervised the campaign which resulted in the withdrawal of Chang Hsün (q.v.) from the Kiangsu area. In 1913 Tsou Lu was elected to the Parliament at Peking, but he soon abandoned his seat in protest against Yuan Shih-k'ai's policies and returned to Canton. With the failure of the so-called second revolution (see Li Lieh-chün), he fled to Japan, where he enrolled at Waseda University. He also played an active role in reorganizing the Kuomintang as the Chunghua ko-ming-tang and helped edit the Min-kuo tsa-chih [republican magazine]. In 1915 he traveled to Southeast Asia to raise funds for Sun's cause. Late that year he returned to China, where he helped Chu Chih-hsin and Teng K'eng (qq.v.) organize local forces in Kwangtung. These forces joined Li Liehchün's units in the thrust against Lung Chikuang (q.v.) in 1916. In 1917 Sun Yat-sen, then at Canton, appointed Tsou military commander for the Ch'ao-mei (Chaochow-Meihsien) district in eastern Kwangtung and ordered him to bring the rebellious troops of Mo Ching-yu under control.
Military and administrative duties absorbed Tsou Lu's energies during the next few years as Sun Yat-sen attempted to consolidate a territorial base in south China. In 1920-21, as salt commissioner in Kwangtung-Kwangsi, Tsou was in charge of an important element in the public finance structure of those two key provinces. In 1921 his familiarity with local military leaders in Kwangsi helped him to win the allegiance of Liu Chen-huan, who had been a division commander under Lu Jung-t'ing (q.v.). During 1922 Tsou traveled to Peking and Shanghai on Kuomintang business. The following year, he became commissioner of finance of Kwangtung. At this point, Tsou began to return to his earlier interest in the educational field. He was assigned to amalgamate the Kwangtung Higher Normal School with two other institutions to form Kwangtung University (later National Chung-shan University). It was at this university that Sun Yat-sen in January-August 1924 delivered three series of lectures on the San-min chu-i [three principles of the people]. The transcript of these lectures — the final draft of Sun's great work — was edited and proofread by Tsou Lu before publication. At the First National Congress of the Kuomintang in 1924, Tsou Lu was elected director of the party's youth department and a member of the Central Executive Committee's standing committee. Because he was strongly opposed to radicalism and to the Kuomintang-Communist coalition, he made determined efforts to check Communist political infiltration of schools in the Canton area.
Tsou Lu went to Peking in 1925 to attend Sun Yat-sen in his final illness and to witness his will. After Sun's death, Tsou returned to Canton in May with other Kuomintang leaders. In September, the National Government at Canton ordered Tsou and Lin Sen (q.v.) to direct party activities in north China and to lead a "diplomatic delegation" to Peking for negotiations with the Peking government. Tsou and Lin soon decided to launch an anti-Communist campaign within the Kuomintang. In November they and eight other anti-Communist members of the Central Executive Committee held a meeting in the Western Hills near Peking. At this Western Hills conference, as it became known, they passed resolutions calling for the ouster of all Communists from the Kuomintang and the impeachment of Wang Ching-wei. In answer, the Second National Congress of the Kuomintang, meeting in January 1926, passed a resolution calling for disciplinary action against the Western Hills leaders and threatening their dismissal from the party if they did not desist. Far from being deterred by this resolution, the Western Hills leaders convened an opposition second congress at Shanghai and elected their own central executive committee in April. Tsou Lu remained in Shanghai throughout 1926, working on behalf of the Western Hills faction and compiling a history of the Kuomintang. In the early months of 1927 the Communist question further divided the Kuomintang, with opposition governments being established at Wuhan and Nanking. By September, the Communists had been expelled from the Kuomintang and plans had been made for the restoration of party unity through the formation of the Central Special Committee.
In January 1928 Tsou Lu embarked on a world tour which lasted for a year. He recorded his impressions in a volume entitled Erh-shih-chiu kuo yu-chi [travels in 29 countries]. After his return to China, he spent a year in Shanghai doing further research on Kuomintang history. In 1929 he visited Japan. He resumed political activities in 1930, when he returned to China to join the so-called enlarged conference movement (see Feng Yu-hsiang; Yen Hsi-shan; Wang Ching-wei). He prepared the draft constitution for the opposition government which was to be established at Peiping. This document was known as the Taiyuan constitution because it was completed at Yen Hsishan's headquarters in Taiyuan, Shansi. With the failure of the enlarged conference movement, Tsou Lu returned to south China. He soon joined another opposition government, this time at Canton. It took form as a result of Chiang Kai-shek's arrest of Hu Han-min (q.v.) in February 1931. Hsiao Fo-ch'eng, Ku Yingfen, Teng Tse-ju (qq.v.), and Lin Sen issued a statement proposing the impeachment of Chiang Kai-shek on 30 April, and they joined with such other dissident leaders as Sun Fo, Eugene Ch'en, T'ang Shao-yi, Ch'en Chi-t'ang (qq.v.), and Wang Ching-wei in establishing a government at the end of May. Tsou Lu served on the standing committee of the Southwest Political Council.
Civil war threatened until mid- September, when the Japanese attacked Mukden. The ensuing national crisis led the Nanking and Canton leaders to hold peace talks at Shanghai. Tsou participated in these negotiations, which led to the release of Hu Hanmin. Tsou Lu became chancellor of National Chung-shan University in 1932, and he held this post at Canton until 1940. Although he was named to the State Council in 1935, he increasingly turned away from politics to devote his attention to academic administration. In 1936, in recognition of his contributions to modern higher education in China, he was invited to Germany to attend the World University Education Conference and the five hundred-fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the University of Heidelberg. He received an honorary LL.D. degree from Heidelberg. During the Sino-Japanese war, Tsou Lu was relegated to the position of an elder statesman in the Kuomintang. At Chungking, he served on the Supreme National Defense Council; and at Nanking after the war, he was elected a commissioner of the Control Yuan. He left Canton for Taiwan shortly before the Chinese Communists entered Canton in October 1949. On 13 February 1954 he died in Taiwan, at the age of 70.
Tsou Lu's most lasting contributions probably were made in the areas of education and political history. In the 1930's he did much to develop National Chung-shan University into south China's most influential academic institution. His first-hand knowledge and diligent research combined to make him a leading authority on the 1911 revolution and the early history of the Kuomintang. His important works included Kuang-chou san-yueh erh-shih-chiu ko-ming shih [history of the 29 March revolt in Canton], the Chung-kuo kuo-min-tang shih-kao [draft history of the Kuomintang], and the Chung-kuo kuo-min-tang shih-lüeh [brief history of the Kuomintang].
Tsou Lu was survived by two wives, six sons, and three daughters. One of his sons, Tsou Tang, became a professor of political science at the University of Chicago.