Dr Wu Lien Teh (1879–1960) is best known as a returned/re-emigrated overseas Chinese medical doctor who contributed considerably to the building of China’s modern public health and medical education systems. Among the numerous books and articles he published, the absolute majority of them deal with medical topics. However, he was also the author of a number of journal articles addressing non-medical topics. In this blog essay, I will examine a group of three essays he published in the 1930s in the Shanghai-based English journal The China Critic, recording his visits to Tang Jia Wan (Guangdong), Xiamen, and Xi’an. I would argue that Wu is not only a well-trained and -published medical doctor and scientist but also a good literary writer with a patriotic heart, a defining feature of many Chinese elites active in the late Qing and republican period.
China from Empire to Republic is an ongoing Gale publishing programme aiming to digitise China-related primary source collections from libraries and archives around the world. Two collections have been released in this programme so far: Missionary, Sinology and Literary Periodicals (1817–1949) and the recent Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China (1854–1949). While the dominant topics covered in these two collections are Chinese diplomacy, foreign relations, economy, politics, Christianity, sinology, education, imperialism, and globalisation, we must not overlook another important topic – ‘overseas Chinese’ or the Chinese diaspora.
Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙aka. 孫中山 or 孫文; 1866–1925) was a Chinese revolutionary and leader of a series of armed uprisings that led to the downfall of China’s last imperial dynasty (the Qing) in 1911 and the founding of the Republic of China in 1912. November 12 this year marked his 150th birthday.
Searching for his name (“Sun Yat-sen” or “Sun Wen”) in Gale’s China from Empire to Republic: Missionary, Sinology and Literary Periodicals – a unique collection of 17 English-language periodicals published in and about China – offers the researcher a significant quantity of material about this individual. Over two-thirds of the 300-plus search results are from The China Critic and Tienhsia Monthly – periodicals run by Chinese intellectuals. His activities and ideas also attracted the attention of Westerner- or missionary-established periodicals such as The Chinese Recorder, West China Missionary News, and The China Yearbook.
Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843–1929) was a legendary British diplomat. He played a key role in Anglo-Japanese and -Chinese relations, particularly in Bakumatsu and Meiji Era Japan, and in China after the Boxer Rebellion. He also served in Siam (present-day Thailand), Uruguay, and Morocco, and represented Britain at the Second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. Satow passed away eighty-seven years ago on August 26, 1929.
I was checking through the transcript of Diaries and Travel Journals of Ernest Satow (a British diplomat who made his career in China and Japan) the other day when I came across the name of “Thomas Watters”. Satow met and had dinner with him on November 4, 1883 during the former’s holiday leave in London.