This is the first in a short series of posts about revolutionary activity happening in and around Guangzhou in modern Chinese history and the important people who took part in the events. First, I’ll cover the main conflicts and later go into more detail about the leaders. I hope you enjoy!
The first uprising, part of the Xinhai Revolution, was fighting against the rule of the corrupt and hated Qing Dynasty. Ultimately, it was a failure. Started by the Revive China Society and led by the folk hero Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the movement was destroyed before it gained any steam since details of the revolutionaries’ plans to capture Guangzhou in a single campaign were leaked to the Qing government. The leaders of the movement, who were hiding in Hong Kong, were forbidden by the colonial government from crossing into China for 5 years after it was put under pressure from the Qing.
Sun Yat-sen went into exile in places like Japan, the US, Canada, and Britain where he managed to spread awareness and raise funds for another attempt later on. The other major leader of the group, Yeung Kui-wan, was assassinated by Qing agents in Hong Kong in 1901. His family, concerned that the Qing would come back to desecrate his remains, refused to put his name on his tomb. Instead, they put the numbers “6348” to mark his resting place.
While this incident had minimal impact in the short term, it had serious repercussions down the road. The revolutionary spirit of Sun Yat-sen and Yeung Kui-wan had begun to spread in south China and it helped to grow both men’s legends, leading to more support and an increasing public outrage at the way the Qing handled civil unrest. Also, the flag designed for the battle in Guangzhou would later go on to be used as a part of the flag of the Republic of China.