<div><div> <br> <h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>The Formative Years, 1866–1894</b></p> <br> <p>Sun Yat-sen was born into a very modest peasant family, raised in Hawaii by an elder brother with a flourishing shop, and educated in colleges in Hawaii and Hong Kong. He was not an intellectual. He was no more attached to the tradition of the Chinese literati nurtured by years of study of the Classics, than he was to the Western culture of Hawaii and Hong Kong, neither of which, at the end of the nineteenth century, represented that culture's finest flower. But neither was he an ignoramus. Caught between two intellectual worlds, he tried to make his own way. He spoke English and wrote Chinese, and he had read widely and had studied the rudiments of Western medicine. He derived his real education not from intellectual speculation but from the observation of the realities of his time.</p> <p>China was at this time in a perilous state as a result of having been forcibly opened up to foreigners and also owing to the decline of the ruling dynasty. But in Chinas treaty ports a new society and a new culture were in the process of emerging: foreign trade was booming and there was a lively foreign presence that stimulated a universal desire to get rich quickly; it was a triumph of pragmatism. This coastal civilization, which included not only the mainland communities but also those of the periphery (Hong Kong, Macao) and overseas, stood in contrast to the rural, bureaucratic, Confucian tradition of the provinces of inland China. Canton, Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Macao, where Sun lived during his formative years, were among the major centers of this new civilization. Sun himself appears to have been a pure product of it.</p> <p>The story of Sun's youth is thus not so much that of the schools he attended, the books he read, and the ideas that he mastered; rather, it is about the encounters he had, the friendships he made, and the links that he established. Sun became part of a whole series of social circles that were to remain loyal to him throughout his career, starting, of course, with his family circle and the village and provincial communities of Guangdong, continuing with the émigré community of Hawaii and the network of Chinese converts to Christianity and, through them, groups of missionaries, foreign protectors, and advisers, and leading as time passed to the Chinese elites of the treaty ports, and even to the secret society lodges.</p> <p>With consummate skill, Sun Yat-sen moved easily within this complex network of contacts that sometimes overlapped, sometimes clashed. But always, however, his humble birth and unorthodox education prevented him from moving into the world of the literati, the mandarins, and the gentry—still, for a man aspiring to a public role, the only world that counted in China. Perhaps the most humiliating snub occurred in 1894, when Sun was refused admittance by one of the most powerful imperial mandarins, Li Hongzhang (1823–1901), then governor-general of Zhili. Its effect upon this young Cantonese was either to commit him to the path of opposition from the periphery or to confirm him in that potentially novel and radical commitment.</p> <br> <p>CHINA IN CRISIS: THE ENFORCED OPENING-UP, DYNASTIC DECLINE, AND SOCIAL MALAISE</p> <p><i>The Enforced Opening-up</i></p> <p>Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the burgeoning capitalism of the West increasingly forced China to open up its markets to world commerce and integrate its empire in the international order planned and organized by the European powers. To better prevent conflicts and to preserve both peace and the supremacy of the empire, these powers set about destroying the traditional Chinese system that limited interaction among different peoples. With their immense technological progress in the fields of transport, armaments, and industrial production the Western powers could readily force China, however unwillingly, into the process of opening-up.</p> <p>The process was initiated with the First Opium War in 1839 and it continued during the next six decades, culminating in the international expedition to put down the Boxer rebellion in 1900–1901. There were many reasons why it took so long. The Western side was hampered not only by the limited scale of the technology initially employed, the aim being not to conquer China but to force it to trade with the European powers and recognize their existence, but also by the rivalry among the various powers. On the Chinese side, the opening-up process was slowed down both by the extreme coherence of the traditional system and by its surprising flexibility, which for several decades enabled it to survive the fatal blow dealt it by the Opium Wars.</p> <p>The treaties and conventions that brought the Opium Wars to an end (in Nanking in 1842, Tianjin in 1858, and Peking in 1860–61) gave the foreigners a collection of rights and privileges that for nearly a century provided them with a legal framework for their penetration of China. A number of cities were opened to them, where they acquired the right to reside, buy property, and engage in trade. Foreigners in these treaty ports benefited from the rights of extraterritoriality and were liable only to the jurisdiction of their respective consuls. The treaties also established free trade by canceling all forms of official and monopolistic organization on the Chinese side and establishing uniform and moderate customs dues (5 percent <i>ad valorem</i>) on imports. Foreign goods were also granted dispensation from internal taxation <i>{lijin)</i> in return for the payment of a modest transit tax upon entering Chinese territory. Finally, the treaties allowed missionaries to pursue their religious and social activities, initially only in the treaty ports but subsequently throughout the country.</p> <p>In practice, the privileges granted by the treaties were given ever broader interpretation. Thus, the concessions—originally simply zones of residence for foreigners in the treaty ports—soon assumed the right of self-government and became veritable foreign enclaves. From the point of view of international law, these privileges represented a grave infraction on the sovereignty of the Chinese empire in that it was deprived of its jurisdiction over part of its resident population and prevented from governing certain portions of its territory and establishing its own customs tariffs.</p> <br> <p><i>The Dynastic Decline</i></p> <p>The progressive foreign penetration revealed the weakness of the imperial power. It was embodied in a dynasty of Manchu origin, which the Chinese still regarded as foreign despite its having been altogether swamped by the Chinese culture. In the nineteenth century, this dynasty did not produce any great emperors of the caliber of those who had been the glory of China in the preceding century. Following the splendid economic growth of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, stagnation had set in and from the 1820's on crises multiplied. Besides the deflation and the commercial contraction that affected the most developed regions of eastern and southern China, there was an increasingly dangerous imbalance between population and agricultural production. In 1850 the population of China rose to 450 million, as a result of the exceptional demographic surge of the preceding centuries, while agricultural production, following the settlement and colonization of the southern and western regions and in the absence of any technological revolution, seemed incapable of further development. Popular feeling reflected these difficulties, and with foreign intervention abetting, discontent eventually erupted in vast rebellions, the most serious of which, the Taiping movement, spread quickly through southern and eastern China between 1851 and 1864. The dynasty seemed on the point of collapsing. But it recovered, thanks mainly to the energy and loyalty of a few Chinese high officials and military generals determined to save the Confucian culture and political order; thanks also to help from the Westerners, who preferred a stable, if weakened, power to uncontrollable rebels.</p> <p>The stay of execution that history afforded the Manchus coincided with the Tongzhi era (1862–75). In the cyclical concept of traditional Chinese history, this reign appears as a period of restoration <i>(zhongxing)</i> that temporarily interrupted the dynastic decline. The rulers of the Tongzhi era restored order and proceeded to rehabilitate the regions devastated and depopulated by the rebellions and their repression. They did not, however, launch any program of reform and modernization comparable to that of the Meiji period of Japan.</p> <p>The delay in confronting the Western challenge was to a large extent occasioned by the delay in perceiving it. Although the Opium Wars had forced China to open up to trade and diplomatic relations with the West, they had not shaken the mandarins' confidence in the superiority of the Confucian ideology and the sociopolitical system that stemmed from it. The Westerners were only one more species of barbarian, who, if they could not be repulsed, would simply have to be tolerated on the edges of the empire. They could be allowed both to manage their own affairs and to participate, with second-rank status, in the economic and administrative activities of the state and might thereby even accede to civilization (by definition, Chinese). In short, the mandarins in their ignorance of world affairs looked upon the system of treaties, which the foreigners regarded as a "charter of privileges," as nothing more than "a series of restrictive measures."</p> <p>Nonetheless, some mandarins were anxious to know more about the West—not that they conceded it the slightest intellectual or cultural superiority, but they could not help recognizing its military superiority. The progress of what might be called Chinese westernization was extremely slow. A program for sending Chinese students to the United States, introduced in 1870, was halted in 1875. The reports and memoranda written in the 1880's and the early 1890's by the first Chinese diplomats in Europe testify to the ignorance and bewilderment of these privileged observers. Public opinion—that is to say the opinion of the literati and the imperial officials—remained hostile to the opening-up and was critical of Sino-Western contacts. Efforts to adapt institutionally to the establishment of regular relations with the West remained extremely limited. The Office for the General Administration of Affairs concerning Various Countries (Zongli yamen), considered by the Westerners as a Ministry for Foreign Affairs, was in truth no more than a subsidiary and marginal cog in the Chinese administrative system.</p> <p>A few important regional leaders, either viceroys or provincial governors, did draw more pertinent conclusions from these early contacts with the West, and from i860 on adopted modernization policies, known as the Western Affairs Movement (Yangwu yundong). They were just as good Confucians as the court mandarins and were equally convinced of the superiority of Chinese culture, but they recognized the weakness of the imperial armies and appreciated the efficiency of modern weaponry. Borrowing the technology of the West would be a way of protecting the established order more successfully.</p> <p>This first, essentially conservative Chinese attempt at modernization was characterized by a lack of coherence and continuity, which in part also explained its failure. There was no organized plan for the setting up of arsenals and construction sites, and a viceroy's transfer to another province or his appointment to other duties was likely to jeopardize the development of whatever industries he had just established. The results of a whole decade of efforts were disappointing. Under the influence of Li Hongzhang, the modernization movement did spread during the 1870's to the mining, steel, textile, and modern transport industries, following the sensible idea that China could not strengthen its military might <i>(qiang)</i> without at the same time developing its wealth <i>(fu)</i>, that is to say without setting up the infrastructure indispensable for a modern economic surge. In 1885, Chinas defeat in the Sino-French war, born from French colonial expansion in Tonking, revealed the meagerness of the results achieved by the renovated modernization program but did not lead to any change in orientation or methods. Quite apart from the shortcomings of the strategy adopted, the causes of failure no doubt lay also in the instrumental concept that guided this modernization effort, which could be summed by the famous Chinese saying: Western knowledge for the practical application, Chinese learning for the essential principles <i>(xixue weiyong, zhongxue wei ti)</i>. The leaders of the Western Affairs Movement sought to adopt foreign techniques without in any way changing the values of the Chinese tradition.</p> <p>This semicommitment to modernity was not of a kind to inspire any politics of real change, so in the end the Western Affairs Movement had little real impact on the Chinese economy and society. If anything, the movement probably only strengthened the power of the major provincial governors, who controlled the embryo of modern production, and increased their autonomy in relation to the central government. So it was that even several decades after being opened up, China had changed hardly at all. The trappings of power had been restored. After the death of the emperor Tongzhi,5 the government in Peking was dominated by the conservative Manchu princes in his entourage and, increasingly, by his mother, the dowager empress Cixi who, having acted as regent in the name of her son, now, in the Guangxu period (1875–1908), ruled in the name of her nephew. The foreign presence remained confined to the south and east of the country, extending along the coast from Canton to Shanghai, and it was essentially commercial in character. For the imperial bureaucracy, an illusion of grandeur still survived. More surprisingly, the power of China continued to inspire a certain respect on the part of the witnesses and partial cause of its decline, the Westerners.</p> <br> <p><i>Social Malaise</i></p> <p>In truth, society had by no means recovered its stability. Between i860 and 1890, the general anxiety and malaise found expression in particular in a series of attacks upon missionaries. Though these were carried out by the xenophobic and superstitious masses and involved killing missionaries and looting and destroying orphanages, they were encouraged by the gentry. Along with feelings of racial humiliation and contempt for a doctrine that they considered to be unorthodox and likely to undermine the established order, many in the gentry, especially the local elites, felt that their prerogatives were being threatened by missionaries operating under the protection of the foreign powers. The imperial power was helpless. It did not dare to place its trust in either the popular xenophobia or the culturalist and patriotic reactions of the gentry. The policy of modernization to which it had been committed by a handful of high-ranking mandarins forced it to cooperate, up to a point, with the foreign powers, and besides, the uneven balance of military forces really left it no choice. The main effect of the popular anti-Christian and anti-foreigner current was thus to swell the ranks of the secret societies, opposed both to the established order and to the reigning dynasty. The local elites tended to organize themselves outside the bureaucratic framework and beyond its control, in order to protect their own interests and, increasingly, those of the country as a whole. But nowhere was the rift between the imperial authority and society deeper than in the treaty ports.</p> <br> <p><i>The Emergence of a Coastal Civilization</i></p> <p>The treaty system assured foreigners of a privileged position in the commercial development of the coastal regions. The modern sector then beginning to take shape in the ports resulted from foreign initiatives and remained largely under foreign control, but the Chinese merchants were widely associated with this process. The large coastal cities, then in full expansion, offered them many opportunities to grow rich. Those in the best position were the compradors, the intermediaries who made transactions between foreign firms and the Chinese public possible. By the second half of the nineteenth century the compradors had come to form a wealthy and highly respected group, in which the Cantonese played a dominant role. The cooperation between these merchants and the foreigners generated a westernization process that was dictated by the immediate circumstances. The compradors installed themselves in houses built and furnished in the European style that were provided for them by their employers. As occasion demanded to serve their prestige and interests, they abandoned their long, blue, silk robes for jackets and trousers that symbolized their extraterritorial status. To communicate with their foreign partners they used <i>pidgin</i>, a mixture of Anglo-Indian and Portuguese words set in Chinese constructions. A few converted to Christianity, though this was usually so as to consolidate their positions in professional circles. </div></div><br/> <i>(Continues...)</i> <!-- Copyright Notice --> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'>Excerpted from <b>Sun Yat-sen</b> by <b>MARIE-CLAIRE BERGÈRE, Janet Lloyd</b>. Copyright © 1994 Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris. Excerpted by permission of Stanford University Press. <br/>All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br/>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.</font><hr noshade size='1'></blockquote>