This article is excerpted fromBiographies of Prominent Chinesepublished in Shanghai in c.1925.
His excellency Sun Pao-chi was born in Hangkow, Chekiang Province, in 1866. Owing to his father’s influence, he started his political career in the Ministry of Justice, with the title of Chu Shih. In 1895, he was summoned, by the Viceroy of Chihli, to a Peiyang post, and three years later, with his name included in the list of candidates for ministers to foreign countries, he was received in Imperial Audience. In the winter of that year, he accompanied His Excellency Li Hung-chang to Shantung to superintend the construction of a seaport at the mouth of the Yellow River. In 1900, just after the Boxer uprising, he was appointed Telegraph Commissioner of the Privy Council in Sian.
In 1902, he was appointed Minister to France; and at the expiration of his term, was called back to become Governor of the Metropolitan District, with the double duty of reorganizing the official systems. The following year, he was appointed Minister to Germany; and a year later was appointed Director of the Tsinpu Railway. He then served as Governor of Shantung; which post he held up to the time of the Wuchang Revolution, when he tendered his resignation, owing to sickness. In 1912, the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs was offered to him. In the following year, he served as acting Premier; but shortly afterward he was transferred to the post of Director of the Audit Bureau. In 1916, he was appointed Minister of Finance, and later, Director of Customs; until 1923, when he was made Premier.
Mr. Sun is a scholar of great ambition, and is well acquainted with world affairs. During the Sino-Japanese War, every-one in the capital advocated war, while he suggested giving Korea independence. As soon as the defeat of Pinchang was reported, he petitioned the government with the plea that peace be made with Japan in order to safeguard the gateway of North China, and, withal, preserve the very foundation of the Chinese Navy. However, his suggestion was not accepted by the party in power,—thus putting his life in danger. Later, when serving in the Peiyang Official Circle, he started the “Man of Ability Institution”, and organized the first military school to promote education.
When in France, he was active in diplomatic connections, and studied thoroughly all foreign reforms. He was an officer for the people during his governorship in Shantung. By economy and honesty, he ruled the province in peace and order. It is through him that the mining rights, within thirty Li of the Shantung Railway, and of five other mines, were cancelled according to the Treaty of Kiaochow. After the Revoltuion, learning that the Ching régime could no longer exist, he memorialised the Emperor to abdicate for his own protection. Following this, the Provisional Government was organized. In Mr. Sun’s province, neutrality was observed for the welfare of the people.
One of his diplomatic victories was the exchange of notes with Russia to have her recognize Chinese sovereignty of Outer Mongolia,—which is part of the Chinese territory. This was carried out according to the spirit of the treaty, when Mongolia was restored to China. While acting as Minister of Finance, the government instituted the moratorium policy, which he opposed so strongly, that his resignation was accepted.
Mr. Sun has been in official circles for thirty years, and has a wide reputation for his honesty, integrity, and ability. He is always generous in philanthropic contributions. Though very influential, he does not consider political parties, and thus his subordinates are selected impartially.
In 1922, he was appointed Director of the Government Famine Relief Bureau. He is also President of the Han Yeh Ping Iron and Coal Works, and of the China Merchants Steam Navigation Co. He has received the First Class Chiaho and Wenhu decorations, and the Third Order of Merit.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors,Biographies of Prominent Chinese(Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 11.