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Hu Hanmin Edit Profile

politician , revolutionary

Hu Hanmin was a republican revolutionary, military governor of Guangdong; president of the legislature, chairman of the Guomindang.


Born to a semiofficial family in Panyu near Guangzhou, Guangdong.


Hanmin mastered the Chinese classics at a relatively young age. For four years from 1898 to 1902 he worked as a reporter for Guangzhou's Linghai Daily. During this period, he sadly watched China s worsening social, economic, and political conditions. The Hundred Day Reform and the coup that annulled it, foreign powers' carving out their respective spheres of influence, the Boxer debacle, and China's further humiliation by the 1901 Protocol signed between China and eight invading powers further sent China to the pit of suffering. In 1902 and again in 1904 Hu traveled to Japan to seek new learning and to make contacts with like-minded people for bringing his country out of turmoil.


It was during his second sojourn in Japan when Hu launched his 30-plus years of a revolutionary career. In 1905 he joined the Chinese United League serving as an editor for its publication People Journal. As the chief of both Southeast Asia and South China divisions of the Chinese United League, Hu was actively involved in fund-raising and strategic planning for a series of armed uprisings aimed at toppling the Qing regime from 1907 to 1911. In November 1911 he was instrumental in securing Guangdong for the revolutionary camp and was subsequently elected the first military governor of the province. He occupied the post until mid-1913, except for the months he served as the chief of staff of the office of Provisional President Sun Yat-sen. Together with Chen Jiongming, the deputy governor, Hu wanted to turn Guangdong into a model province by introducing various reform programs. However, their goal was denied as Yuan Shikai, Sun s successor, betrayed the republic. In the summer of 1913 Yuan ruthlessly suppressed the former revolutionaries when the latter decided to take up arms against him. After Yuan's fall from disgrace in June 1916, China came under warlords' control and Hu rallied to Sun Yat-sen’s support for the campaign against power usurpers. He voted for Sun's proposal to accept members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) into the Sun-led Guomindang (GMD) and to collaborate with the Communist International (Comintern). However, Hu later realized the gulf of difference between the two parties with regards to revolutionary objectives and ultimate goals, and became convinced that the CCP was a tool of the Moscow-controlled Comintern that wanted to influence the Chinese revolution. Together with Jiang Jieshi and GMD old guards, Hu dealt a severe blow to the Communists then considered insurgents and rebels by the Nanjing government founded in April 1927 for which he served as chairman.

Subsequent to the completion of the Northern Expedition in December 1928, the Nanjing regime installed the five-branch government in accordance with Sun's design. As the first president of the legislative branch, or Ufa yuan, Hu vigorously pushed for legislative reform bringing China's law in line with international practice. He was especially concerned with extra-territoriality enjoyed by foreign powers and wanted to bring an end to it by enacting and amending Chinese law wherever necessary, for foreign powers insisted on China's legal reform before they would relinquish the privilege.

Meanwhile, Hu and Jiang developed serious disagreements over a number of issues including adoption of a provisional constitution during the stage of political tutelage of the GMD rule of China. In introducing a constitution Jiang hoped to attain greater popular support for the Nanjing regime and his leadership. Hu was opposed to the move for he considered its adoption against Sun's teachings on the process of revolution. He insisted on GMD dictatorship during the period of political tutelary power that would last for six years. In February 1931 Jiang had Hu placed under house detention. Shortly after the outbreak of the Mukden Incident in September of the same year, Hu was set free for the sake of national solidarity in the face of the Japanese invasion.

During the subsequent years Hu took up residence in Hong Kong where he headed an anti-Jiang coalition that blamed Jiang for China's continual loss of territory to Japan and people's bitter livelihood. Hu networked with prominent leaders who shared his stand for an immediate war of resistance against Japan and an attack on Jiang’s “nonresistance policy.” Hu covertly

founded a new party, also named the GMD, aimed at replacing the existing one, considered deviating far from Sun's teachings and under Jiang s control. For the new organization Hu was able to build up a network throughout major cities in China and among overseas Chinese communities. However, the ever-growing Japanese threat and aggression in the 1930s pulled various factions together. This was evidenced by a Hu-Jiang reconciliation and Hu's election as chairman of the GMD, with Jiang as his deputy, by the party fifth congress that convened in December 1935. Before traveling north to Nanjing to assume the post, Hu died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage in May 1936.


Hu's political philosophy was that one's individual rights are a function of one's membership in a nation.