BALLYMENA WEEKLY TELEGRAPH. MARCH 21, 1925.
SUN YAT-SEN IS REALLY DEAD NOW.
HIS LONDON KIDNAPPING.
FRIENDSHIP WITH DR. CANTLIE.
HONG KONG, Thursday – Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, whose death was reported on May 14, 1924, is really dead now, according to a Pekin telegram. He had long been suffering from cancer.
Sun Yat-Sen was one of the most remarkable men in modern China. When the great Chinese rebellion broke out, and the Manchu dynasty, after 267 years of grievous misrule, came to an end, Sun Yat-Sen, who had spent his life – mostly out of China – in plotting against the foreign tyranny that oppressed his people, came at once to the front, and was elected first President of the Chinese Republic.
Like his father, he was a Christian – of a sort. An English lady associated with his father’s mission was interested in the youth, and he was well grounded in English. Sun Yat-Sen became connected with a hospital of the Anglo-American Mission at Canton, then under the direction of Dr. Kerr. At 20 years of age he migrated to the British colony of Hong Kong, and there entered the newly opened College of Medicine, becoming the first graduate. Of more consequence to him than his medical studies was the friendship then formed with Dr. (now Sir) James Cantlie, Dean of the College, who from that time became his devoted admirer and supporter.
Equipped as a doctor, Sun Yat-Sen started practice at Macao, but the young Chinese M.D. was meant for political, not medical service. He went to Canton, and there became an active Revolutionary propagandist, and took part in an abortive scheme to capture the arsenal. Of the eighteen leaders in that project all except Sun Yat-Sen were beheaded, and China becoming too hot for him, he fled to American territory in Honolulu. For a long term of years thereafter he lived abroad in San Francisco and other parts of the States, with visits to England and France, studying systems of constitutional government with the intent to apply them some day in China.
On one of his visits to London he was kidnapped by Chinese emissaries and imprisoned in the Chinese Legation. He arrived here on October 1, 1896. On the eleventh day of his sojourn he was walking near the Chinese Legation when he was met by a fellow-countryman. Presently two men came out of the large house near, which Sun Yat-Sen did not know to be the Legation, and invited him to enter, and before he could reply they pushed him through the doorway. Thence he was hustled to the top of the house, and he was told he would be deported to China. Luckily the wife of one of the English servants at the Legation became aware of what had happened, and she, knowing that Dr. Cantlie was Sun’s friend, sent him a note to inform him that Sun was in custody, and if not immediately liberated would be sent back to China, and there would be decapitated. Dr. Cantlie failed to get any assistance from Scotland Yard, but in the end the facts reached the Marquis of Salisbury, who insisted on the captive’s instant release.
Though there was an offer of something like £100,000 for his capture, Sun Yat-Sen made his way back to the Far East, and by the aid of disguises carried on his propaganda with success. When the rebellion of 1911 was accomplished Sun Yat-Sen was elected Provisional President of the new Republic, but after a short time retired in favour of Yuan Shi-Kai. After the death of Yuan Shi-Kai a succession of factional disputes, including Monarchist attempts, took place, and the Parliamentarian camps split into North and South. The Northern Government was that recognised by the Powers; but the Southern Parliament claimed to be the direct successor of the Provisional Constitution of 1911 and of the original Parliament, and Sun Yat-Sen’s energies were devoted to leading the Southern or Cantonese cause against Pekin. In the spring of 1921 he set up the Parliament in Southern China. This Parliament was dissolved in the summer of 1922, and Sun Yat-Sen fled to Shanghai.
Returning to Canton he again secured control of the city, but then came into conflict with the Powers. He demanded that a proportion of the Customs duties levied in the Southern centres should be paid to the de facto Government in Canton and not to the de jure Government of Pekin. These requests were naturally refused by the foreign Powers and by the authorities in control of the Customs, and when Sun Yat-Sen announced his intention of seizing the Canton Customs, European troops landed on the Bund and took possession of the Custom House.
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