Reading into the Past

Reading into the Past is a selection of English-language materials relevant to the China Story originally published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In reprinting these essays we intend to not only preserve them and make them more easily accessible, but also to augment the modern day China Story by providing perspectives from the past on critical issues that continue to be debated. More than mere curios, Reading into the Past illuminates and contextualises the present.

Sun Yat-sen (Sun Wen) 孫文

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in 1925. His excellency Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (Sun Wen), the founder of the Chinese Republic, was born in Kwantung Province in 1866. He received his preliminary education in the Anglican Mission College of Kwantung, and then studied in Honolulu and, later, at the … more

Introduction by Admiral Tsai Ting Kan

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in 1925. The ancient Chinese recognised only three legitimate avenues to fame: Action, which benefits mankind: Virtue, which elevates mankind: Words, which enlighten mankind. If perchance a man’s name has been handed down to posterity contrary to these standards, he has not acquired … more

Introduction by His Excellency Chang Chien

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in 1925. God created human beings to be not only known but friendly to one another. People, of all nationalities, are scattered in all parts of the world more or less strange to us. We cannot remain isolated from the balance of the … more

Publishers’ Note

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in 1925. Because of the growing demand for a more intimate understanding of those Chinese who have contributed to the development and progress of the Chinese Republic, the publishers have undertaken to present photographs and biographies, printed both in Chinese and English, of … more

A Brief Introduction – Biographies of Prominent Chinese

Biographies of Prominent Chinese was most likely published in early 1925, not long after the death of Sun Yat Sen in March of that year [1]. Containing the biographies of 200 elite men, it is a comprehensive ‘who’s who’ of the early years of the Republic of China (From 1911 to 1949 in Mainland China … more

“China’s Sorrow”

The author reflects on the problems related to the flooding of the Yellow River (known as "China's Sorrow") and urges the Chinese government to address the issue of the conservancy of the river.

Scientific Education in China

China lacks good primary and secondary schools and the West should help by establishing primary institutions and maintaining museums and libraries, the author argues. China should learn from Japan's education system.

The Sick Traveller

The author of this poem was travelling on the Tibetan Border when he was taken seriously ill, and was at death’s door. Subsequently he penned the following verses, which he has sent us to be published anonymously. –Ed.   In this land of snowy mountain, grassy down, and limestone crag, Foaming torrent, pine-clad valley, flat … more

Art Exhibition in Shanghai

The anonymous author uses this report on an exhibition of Shanghai-based foreign artists to lament the dearth of cultural facilities in 'by far the most important city in the Orient'.