Log In

Shao-yi Tang Edit Profile

also known as T’ang Shao-i

public official

Mr. Tang Shao-yi was a Chinese civil servant who started his career working at Korean Maritime Customs and then for the national government, at the Board of Foreign Affairs and Board of Communications of China.


Mr. Tang Shao-yi was born in Fang-yu Hsien, Guangdong province, China in 1860.


In 1873 Mr. Tang was sent to America among the first group of Chinese students to study there with government support. He remained in the United States for seven years. He attended the Columbia University, New York but he returned to China before his graduation upon the order of the government which was sceptical about the real usefulness of the Western education.


Mr. Tang was appointed assistant in charge of the Korean Maritime Customs in 1882, one year after his return from America. Later he attracted the attention of Yuan Shih-kai and was appointed secretary to the Imperial Resident in Korea.

After the China-Japanese War Mr. Tong was Consul-General in Korea. Shortly afterwards he was employed on the staff of the Peiyang Railway Administration. In the winter of 1900 Mr. Tang was with Yuan Shih-feai in Shantung it was the year of the Boxer rising and Mr. Tang cooperated with Yuan Shih-kai in the suppression of the disturbances. In March 1902 he was appointed Customs Taotai of Tientsin. In October 1904 he was appointed special commissioner to Tibet. He visited India as China’s envoy to negotiate the Tibet convention, which was subsequently completed at Peking in November 1905.

In December 1905 Mr. Tang was appointed Junior vice president of the Board of Foreign Affairs. Shortly afterwards he was made Director-General of the Shanghai-Nanking Railway and the Lu-Han Railway. In May 1906 he was made Comptoller-General of the Revenue Council in Peking. In January 1907 he became Senior Vice-President of the Board of Communications. At the same time he continued to act as Vice-President of the Board of Foreign Affairs.

In April 1907 Mr. Tang was appointed first Governor of Fengtien upon the reorganization of the government of Manchuria when Hsu Shih-chang was Viceroy of Manchuria. In July of 1908 he was sent as a special envoy to America to thank the United States government for waiving part of the Boxer indemnity. In July of 1908 he resigned the governorship of Fengtien.

In August 1910, Mr. Tang was expectant Vice-President of the Board of Communications and soon afterwards was asked to act for the President but he resigned his office in the following spring. On the dismissal of Sheng Hsuan-huai on October 27, 1911 Mr. Tang was appointed President of the Board of Communications.

On December 7, Yuan appointed Mr. Tang to head the revolutionary leaders for peace at Shanghai. On December 27, he resigned from this position.

Mr. Tang was appointed Prime Minister under the Republican government in February 1912. This position he held until June 1912. Subsequently he became High Advisor to President Yuan. He denounced Yuan Shih-kai in 1915 when the latter aspired to be Emperor and worked against his imperial plan.

After the death of Yuan Shih-kai in June 1916 Li Yuan-hung became President who appointed Tuan Chi-jui to be Prime Minister. Mr. Tang was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs. But he did not assume office on account of opposition in Peking. He was officially relieved of the portfolio in September 1916.

In May 1918 Mr. Tang was elected by this Parliament as one of the seven directors of the Canton Military government. In February 1919 he was appointed by the Canton government to head the southern delegation to the conference held at Shanghai for the settlement of China’s internal trouble which commenced in 1917. In October 1919 he resigned from this mission.

In May 1920 a dissention occurred between the directors of the Canton government as a result of which Mr. Tang and other Kuomingtang directors had to leave Canton. However, in December 1920 they regained their position at Canton.

In April 1921 the Canton Parliament elected Dr. Sun Yat-sen President. Mr. Tang became Minister of Finance. In August 1922 the First Parliament was reconvoked in Peking. Subsequently President Li Yuan-hung appointed Mr. Tang Prime-Minister. In the meantime Sun Yatsen’s party was ousted from Canton by General Chen Chiung-ming. Mr. Tang returned to Shanghai but did not proceed to Peking to assume office.

When the Chihli party was defeated in the internal civil war which began in September 1924, Mr. Tang was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Provisional Cabinet formed in Peking by the Anfu-Fengtien party. Mr. Tang, however, declined the appointment and resided in Shanghai.