This article is excerpted fromBiographies of Prominent Chinesepublished in Shanghai in c.1925.
His Excellency Liang Shih-yi was born in Kwantung Province. He passed the Metropolitan literary examinations, and was subsequently given the rank of Ministerial Senior Secretary. In 1906, Mr. Liang was appointed Secretary to His Excellency Tong Shao-yi, and was sent with him to India on a special mission. One year later, upon his return, he was appointed Chief of the Railway Department of the Board of Communications and Director-General of Imperial Railways. At the same time he served as Assistant Director of the Bank of Communications. In July 1909, Mr. Liang was promoted to be Senior Councillor of the Board of Communications.
In February 1911, Mr. Liang resigned his position as Director of Railways and Assistant Director of the Bank of Communications. He served, in November 1911, as Vice-President of the Board of Communications; in December of the same year, as Acting Minister of the Imperial Chinese Posts; and in January 1912, as Acting Minister of Communications. He was appointed Chief Secretary of the President’s office, after the abdication of the Manchus, when His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai was elected President of the Republic of China. From May to September 1913, while still retaining the position of Chief Secretary to the President, Mr. Liang served as Acting Minister of Finance.
After the dissolution of the First Parliament by a mandate issued by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai, the Council of State was established as the legislative body. Mr. Liang became a member of it. Later he was appointed Director-General of the Customs Administration, which post he held until after the overthrow of Yuan Shih-kai’s monarchical movement, in 1916. During that time, he, concurrently, held the office of Director-General of the Bureau of Taxes.
Mr. Liang played an important part in a movement originated by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai, in 1916, to establish himself as Emperor of China. When the movement collapsed, in the summer of 1916, Mr. Liang went to Hongkong and retired from public life. In the spring of 1918, he visited Japan where he spent some time in making connections with influential financiers and statesmen, of that country, with the idea of furthering the industrial development of China. Soon after his return to Hongkong, he was invited to visit Peking. As he was one of the participants in the monarchical movement, his arrest had been ordered by mandate; but prior to his arrival in Peking he was pardoned.
When he first came to Peking he had many ideas regarding the Constitutional Government in the South; but, because of certain antagonism to the opening of negotiations for peace with that Government, he was obliged to remain silent.
He was one of the promoters of the Anfu Party. This party was active during the election of members to Parliament, in 1917. Upon the organization of this Party, Mr. Liang made a trip to Hongkong; and upon his return he was elected Speaker of the Senate. In March 1920, he was appointed Director-General of the Domestic Loan Administration. In September 1921, he was awarded the First Class Tashou Paokuang Chiaho.
With the influence of Marshal Chang Tso-lin, in December 1921 Mr. Liang was appointed Premier. However this appointment was opposed by certain members of the Chihli Party, and on January 25th, 1922, he resigned.
Mr. Liang is considered the most influential leader of the Chaotung Party. He is also an able financier. During late years he has made his residence in Hongkong, where he has devoted his time to commercial enterprises. In 1924 he made a tour of the world, attending the British Empire Exhibition in England and visiting many important cities in America.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors,Biographies of Prominent Chinese(Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 17.