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45 Assassination In the Republican Revolutionary Movement Edward S. Krebs Moat textbook discussions of the Republican revolutionary movement mention two or three dramatic assassination episodes directed against the Manchu government. Wu Yuen's iS-EtA. death by bis own bomb In 1905 as he attempted to kill five officials at the Peking railroad station and Wang Ching-wei's ji^^plan to rekindle the flame of revolution by bombing the Manchu regent Tsai-fengS,^» in 1910 are among the standard stories of revolutionary bravery. However , these are usually presented as Isolated examples of Individual heroics In the anti-Manchu movement. Studies on various aspects of the revolutionary movement have called attention to other assassination activity and suggested some reasons why this tactic appealed to Chinese revolutionaries. My own work on the T'ung-jneng hui activist, and later anarchist, LIu Ssu-fu^(|^/[0 has led me to conclude that assassination was used more often and with more significant effect than has been generally acknowledged. Not only did assassination attempts inspire radicals and elicit sympathy from wider circles before 1911, but successful assassinations in 1911-1912 appear to have affected the timing of transfers of power in Peking and in at least one province, Kwangtung. Tables 1 and 2, which follow the introduction, present basic Information on planned assassinations. As the tables show, assassination activity was concentrated in two phases, 46 1903-1907 and 1910-1912, which coincided with surges in other forms of revolutionary activity. Although the two phases share some Important characteristics, there was a olear difference between them in both organization and effectiveness, A "solitary heroic" style predominated in 1903-1907» »ven though some assassination corps were organized; and only one attempt succeeded. By contrast, a sophisticated use of assassination corps developed during 1910-1912, producing a high rate of auooess. AS the data are outlined in the tables, I will elaborate only on selected aspects of the individual episodes and concentrate on themes that have received little attention elsewhere. During the early years of the decade assassination lore from both Chinese tradition and modern Europe was worked into a rationale for use of the tactic. Embodying an embryonic concept of class struggle, this rationale helped to motivate the early assassins. All but one of them failed, however; their preference for solitary heroics reflected their own needs as much as those of the movement. When the movement faltered between 1907 and 1910, essayists called for renewed self-sacrifice in assassination missions as the best way to regain momentum. Wang Ching-wei became both advocate and exemplar of this idea. His and other assassination corps carried out group efforts featuring discipline gnd effective action. Finally, as shown in the cases with which this discussion concludes, assassination episodes directly affected the course of events during the months of struggle after the Wuchang uprising. Table 1. Assassination Activity, 1903-1907 Time 1903 1904 1904 Place Tokyo Membership Huang Hsing, Yang Tu-sheng, et al. Tientsin Yang Tu-sheng, Chang Chi e¿ al. Changsha Huang Hsing, Ch'en T 'ien-hua, Chang Chi et_ al. 1906 Shanghai Wan Fu-hua ^. (Nov. 19) 1904Peking 1905 1905 Peking (Sep. 24) 1907 Yang Tu-sheng , Wu Yueh, e_t al^. Wu Yüeh Liu Ssu-fu 1907 Anking, Hsu Hsi-lin & Anhui, S Ch 'iu Chin Shaohsing, Chekiang Organization &_ Goals First assassination corps formed by members of Society for the Education of a Militant People Planned to make attacks in Peking Planned "Changsha Revolt" , to begin with mass assassination of officials gathered to celebrate empress dowager's birthday, Nov. 16 Solo attack, with pistol, on Wang Chih-ch'un, ex-governor of Kwangsi, who was pro-Russian Northern Assassination Corps ; planned attacks at Peking Attack on five imperial commissioners, with bomb, at Peking railroad station Planned to assassinate Li Chun, commander of naval forces in Kwangtung, with bomb In two supposedly concerted risings in lower Yangtze, Hsu was to assassinate governor En-ming; Chi 1U to lead rising from Shaohsing school where she was a teacher Results No attempts; other activities shown below were by same people or associates No attempts Discovered in advance by Ch* ing authorities; plotters had to disperse , and most escaped Wan ' s...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3257
Print ISSN
0884-3236
Pages
pp. 45-80
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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