This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
Mr. Wu Chien-lien was born at Hsing-ch’eng Hsien, Fengtien Province, in 1875. He was one of the first graduates of the Peking University, finishing the High Normal Course in 1907. Subsequently, Mr. Wu went to Japan; where he studied for one year. In 1919, he became Chairman of the Fengtien Provincial Council, and Director of the High Normal College of the same province.
Following the outbreak of the first revolution, in October 1911, a National Council was convoked at Nanking. Mr. Wu was a member of that Council, representing Fengtien Province. This Council, during its session at Nanking, from January 28th to April 4th, 1912, enacted the Provisional Constitution. During its second session, in Peking, from April 29th to December 28th, 1912, Mr. Wu was its President. The first Parliament was convoked in April 1913; and Mr. Wu, by election, became a member of the Lower House. Mr. Wu being a prominent member of the Kuomingtang, or Peoples’ Party, became a political refugee, after the dissolution of the First Parliament by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai.
In August 1916, when the First Parliament was reconvoked, Mr. Wu took his seat again in the Lower House. In 1917, shortly before the second dissolution of Parliament, Mr. Wu was elected Speaker of the House to succeed Tang Hua-lung, who had resigned. After the second dissolution of Parliament, which occurred in June 1917, Mr. Wu went to the South. In August 1917, the Extraordinary Parliament was convoked at Canton, with Mr. Wu as its President. In September 1917, the Peking Government issued a circular ordering the arrest of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and Mr. Wu; but they were never apprehended. From that time on, until 1922, Mr. Wu’s activities were closely connected with the movements of the First Parliament. He played an important part in the struggle for constitutional rule, against what the Kuomingtang Party considered the maladministration of the North.
In 1922, the First Parliament was, for the second time, reconvoked in Peking. Mr. Wu was still Speaker of the House. In that capacity he played a prominent part in effecting the enactment of the Permanent Constitution, and in the electing of Marshal Tsao Kun to the Presidency. In December 1923, due to a disagreement with other political men at the capital, and having lost his influence over the various leading parties, Mr. Wu left his seat in Parliament and went to Tientsin to retire to private life.
Mr. Wu was awarded the First Order of Merit, in October 1920, and the First Class Wenhu decoration, in January 1923.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 48.