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.

Li Yuk-tong (Li Yutang) 李煜堂

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr. Li Yuk-tong was born in 1850, at Tai Shan, Kwangtung Province. He went to America when quite young, and later acquired considerable commercial experience there. This he used later to good advantage; and succeeded in amassing a considerable fortune. Upon … more

Yung Tsoong-king (Rong Zongjin) 榮宗錦

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr Yung Tsoong-king, who is known to many as the Flour King of China, was born in Wusih, Kiangsu Province, in 1873. As a youth, he was not interested in books, but devoted his time to agriculture. At the age of … more

Sung Han-chang (Song Hanzhang) 宋漢章

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr. Sung Han-chang was born on April 6th, 1872, in the Kienming District of Fukien Province, —where his father was engaged in the salt business. He studied in his native city until 1889, when he joined the Chinese Telegraph Administration as … more

C.C. Nieh (Nie Qijie) 聶其杰

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr. C.C. Nieh was born in Changsha, Hunan, in 1880. His father, His Excellency the late Nieh Chih-kuei, served as Taotai of Shanghai and Governor of the Kiangsu and Chekiang Provinces. He was the first man to build iron-clad ships and … more

H.Y. Moh (Mu Ouchu) 穆藕初

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Mr. H.Y. Moh was born, in 1876, in the humble home of his father, a Shanghai merchant. His youth was spent in private schools. When he was fourteen, he began to work in his father’s cotton store. At the age of … more

Chang Cha (Zhang Cha) 張詧

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Honorable Chang Cha, a native of Shiting, Nantungchow, was educated in the old Chinese school. As a young man, he took a great interest in business, and at that time the value of commerce to the nation was not as well … more

Young Sze-kan (Yang Shukan) 楊庶堪

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. His Excellency Young Sze-Kan, a native of Pa Hsien, Szechuan Province, was born in 1880. As a youth, he distinguished himself by his ability as a student; and, at the age of nineteen, passed the scholastic examinations with high honors. Having … more

Lin Chien-chang (Lin Jianzhang) 林建章

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. Admiral Lin Chien-chang is a native of Ming Hou Hsien, Fukien Province. Under the Manchu regimé he served in the Imperial Chinese Navy: having command, first, of a torpedo boat and, later, of various battleships. He was one of the first … more

Woo Kwang-hsin (Wu Guangxin) 吳光新

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. General Woo Kwang-hsin, a native of Hsuchowfu, Kiangsu Province, was born in 1881. He received his early education under private tuition, and was an apt scholar. At the age of nineteen, he graduated from the Peiyang Military School; and soon afterward … more

Pan Fu 潘復

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925. His Excellency Pan Fu was born at Tsinan, Shantung Province, in 1871, of a literary and influential family. He was educated in regular Confucian schools, and became a Chu-jen, or Provincial graduate, when but twenty years of age. Shortly before the … more