In October 1911, a revolution in China overthrew the Qing Dynasty and ended more than two-thousand years of imperial monarchy.
After the revolution, the Republic of China was founded but warlords still controlled much of China.
The leader of this revolution was Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), and he served as the first president of the Republic of China.
The Chinese Communist Party persuaded Sun that if his Nationalist Party formed an alliance with the Communists, Sun would gain support from China’s peasants and industrial workers to help end the anarchy in China. Time Asia
But, by 1924, Sun Yat-sen’s health was not good. He was so sick he had to turn command of the Nationalist navy and army over to Hu Hanmin, who would later be a rival with Chiang Kai-shek for control of the Nationalists (Kuomintang) in the late 1920s.
The reason that Sun Yat-sen gave command of the navy and army to Hu Hanmin was because he wanted to go to the Baiyun Mountains of Guangzhou to recover from his illness.
However, Sun Yat-sen was invited to Beijing instead—the reason was to meet the warlord that controlled Beijing.
At the time, The Nationalists only held power in Southern China.
When he arrived by train, about 20-thousand people met him at the station.
The warlord had invited Sun Yat-sen to Beijing to talk about how to end the chaos and anarchy that still raged throughout much of China.
After arriving in Beijing, Sun Yat-sen saw a French doctor who gave him injections to help with his illness.
With his health getting worse, a nurse that worked at a German hospital was sent to his Beijing hotel to care for him.
His condition was so bad that at times he could not talk.
Since the Western medicine wasn’t improving his health, he was convinced by advisors to talk to an herbalist doctor, Ge Lianfu.
Sun Yat-sen told Ge Lianfu that he would give the Chinese medicine to the Western doctors to see if they could copy it.
Ge said he wasn’t sure if Chinese and Western medicine were interchangeable.
Since Sun was a trained Western doctor, he didn’t believe that Ge’s treatment was going to work. Ge Lianfu concluded that Sun had liver disease, but Sun didn’t trust the diagnosis.
While staying in the Beijing hotel, Sun was treated by doctors from the US, Germany, Russia and the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. However, the treatments didn’t help, and his condition worsened.
The western doctors concluded that he needed exploratory surgery. After they cut him open, they discovered liver disease as Ge Lianfu had diagnosed without surgery.
In fact, Sun was in the final stages of liver cancer. At the time, Western medicine had no treatment to deal with a disease that he must have had for years.
In 1916, Sun had often suffered from abdominal pain and the Western doctors treated him as if he had stomach trouble.
Later, it was discovered that the medical report of Sun’s condition was incomplete. Some of the samples and part of the report had been stolen and no one knows why.
During World War II, after the Japanese invaded China, Japanese troops occupied the hospital where Sun Yat-sen’s liver samples were kept.
Chinese representative requested the liver samples and the report be turned over to them.
Some of the liver samples were given to Dr. Tang Qiping, who worked at the Sino-Belgian Radium Institute in Shanghai.
Another man, Chu Minyi, forced Dr. Tang to give him those samples.
In 1946, Chu Minyi would go to prison as a traitor to China. He tried to use Sun Yat-sen’s liver samples to save himself. However, Chu was still executed by Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists.
Sun’s liver samples would be lost during the revolution between the Communists and Nationalists. Later, it would be discovered that the samples had been stolen again.
When the Nationalists launched their Northern Expedition to take China from the warlords, the warlord in Beijing, who met with Sun before his death, was their only ally.
When Sun died, his political advisor wrote, “If Dr. Sun Yat-sen had lived for a few years or even a few months longer, China’s situation would have changed completely.”
Soon after Sun’s death in 1925, the democratic government created by him after the 1911 revolution failed.
After a struggle, Chiang Kai-shek gained control of the Nationalists, and because he controlled the army. Chiang then gave orders to his troops to execute all the Communists starting the civil war that led to Mao’s famous Long March.
This film is in Mandarin with no English subtitles.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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