Sun Yat-sen’s Last Words

David Strand

in An Unfinished Republic

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267367
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948747 | DOI:
Sun Yat-sen’s Last Words

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Some political leader's speeches were given then, as now, in person to much smaller groups of party members, activists, contributors, journalists, and the curious. The image of the political leader in modern China begins with Kang Youwei at Songyun'an speaking to a few thousand literati and leads to a variety of set-piece scenes. These include Sun Yat-sen on a tour of the Chinese diaspora, protest leaders speaking to crowds in the 1905 anti-American boycott movement and during the railway recovery movements of the first decade of the century, and popular movements of the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s. So powerful in China was the image of the leader speaking directly to the assembled crowd that at least one Chinese student of public speaking insisted that only a speech made while literally “facing the masses” could really be called oratory. Chinese republicanism was forged, broken, and recast in unifying small thoughts of opinion and sentiment.

Keywords: Kang Youwei; Songyun; diaspora; opinion; sentiment

Chapter.  20974 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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