Kidnapping and Revolution - Greg Reynolds History 6B: Prof....

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Greg Reynolds History 6B: Prof. Di Wang 27 April 2009 The Kidnapping Conundrum: The Emergence of Sun Yat-sen’s Heroic Image In October of 1896 Sun Yat-sen walked into the Chinese Legation in London and quickly found himself held captive on the verge of deportation for trial by the imperial Qing authority. Sun Yat-sen would emerge from the media storm surrounding his abduction “an international figure.” 1 Although the true events of his kidnapping are debated, Sun was eventually freed by his English friends and spread the news of his seizure to stoke the coals of support for his revolutionary cause. Sun’s kidnapping has been portrayed to two extremes: one side claims an intentional plot designed by Sun to gain status and the other side argues for an event completely outside of his influence. Although both sides have their strengths, and a great deal of evidence, the most logical answer lies in between the extremes. In order to gain perspective on the effects of Sun’s kidnapping one must first understand the events preceding it. Sun Yat-sen arrived in London “having offended the Cantonese authorities, and fearing that [he] should be arrested and sent to Canton for execution.” 2 According to Sun’s account he crisscrossed to London after the Young China organization failed in a plan to take over Canton through an armed coup 3 . Sun makes no effort to cover his revolutionary ideals or his distaste for the Manchu rule as he stated: “the prime essence of the movement was the establishment of a form of 1 Harold Z. Schiffrin, Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 138. 2 Sun Yat-sen, Kidnapped in London (London: The China Society, 1969), 27. 3 Ibid., 23-24. 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
constitutional government to supplement the old-fashioned, corrupt, and worn-out system under which China is groaning.” 4 Sun arrived in London as a self-affirmed revolutionary who had already developed a name for himself in China as a member of “the Four Great Bandits.” Also, Sun’s position as a doctor in Canton helped bring him “into contact with a range of people from many levels of society thus widening his knowledge and his influence,” a resource that would serve him in later life. 5 Unfortunately for Sun Yat-sen the failure of this Canton coup dried up his welcome in China and left him with little influence outside personal friends in Japan, Hawaii and England. 6 Sun lost his hard earned Chinese network with the failure of his Canton takeover. As Harold Schiffrin puts it in Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution Sun “was finally taken seriously…in Peking” but limited by “the meager organizational resources at his command.” 7 Dr. Sun now faced the problem of flagging funding and a nonexistent support structure, which prevented him from completing his political goals. By the time he reached London, Sun had developed a political ideology and revolutionary mission but lacked the materials and connections to
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/07/2009 for the course HISTORY 6b taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.

Page1 / 11

Kidnapping and Revolution - Greg Reynolds History 6B: Prof....

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online