"The present scheme of Tuan Chi-jui appears to be the completion of his Master's scheme with the assistance of the Japanese. Though his soul was loaded with great iniquities, Yuan Shih-kai was too astute to lend himself to the furtherance of Japanese aims in China. This is reserved for a mind whose ignorance and stubbornness is interpreted as strength by fools and knaves."
Eugene Chen, "Selling China: A Secret Compact", Peking Gazette, Friday, May 18, 1917.
P.S. The following is an excerpt from the internet site authored by Yuan-tsung ("First Pearl") Chen, the wife of Jack Chen, the son of Eugene Chen (please note the photo of Jack). This excerpt is followed by two fuller biographies of Eugene Chen, the Afro-Chinese Foreign Minister of China under Sun Yat-sen.
RETURN TO THE MIDDLE KINGDOM: ONE FAMILY, THREE REVOLUTIONARIES, AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN CHINA, is published by Union Square Press of Sterling Publishing .
This is an epic story of China’s rebirth as a nation in modern times. As Eugene Chen (my late father-in-law) said in my book, the Chinese people and civilization “had witnessed the rise and fall of empires in the valleys of the Nile and Euphrates…” Where are those empires? But in a sense, the Chinese Empire is still alive and kicking. Few nations have that kind of long continuity. Even fewer can say that their boundaries are hardly less than they have ever been. How come? Well, there is some clue in my book.
Actually my story does not begin with Eugene, but with his father Ah Chen, the first revolutionary of the Chen family. Ah Chen was a landless peasant, and could barely keep himself from dying of hunger, but he dared to dream. In 1850 he joined the Taiping Rebellion; inspired by Christian ideas, he strove with his comrades to establish God’s Kingdom on earth. When the Rebellion was crushed in 1864 by the Manchu Court of Qing Dynasty, Ah Chen refused to hole up in a back country and to be buried alive. He immigrated to Trinidad, then a British colony.
The second revolutionary of the Chen family was Eugene Chen whose Chinese name was Chen Youren, Ah Chen’s eldest son, born in 1878. He finished his education on scholarship and became the first Chinese lawyer in Trinidad. In late 1911, inspired by a speech by Sun Yatsen, the man who led the 1911 Revolution overthrowing the last Manchu Dynasty, Eugene decided to fight for his long-suffering homeland. All he had with him was his remarkable courage, which led him to set off for China, despite not having any knowledge of the maelstrom of Chinese politics that he was about to plunge into.
Thus Eugene embarked on an incredible journey of adventure. He took on warlords, would-be emperor, prime ministers, colonialists. Twice he was imprisoned and twice he escaped from the firing squad. Indeed, Eugene played a leading role, as Sun Yatsen’s closest aid, in preserving the Republic of China. Then he made so bold as to challenge the Allied Powers, led by President Woodrow Wilson, at the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Versailles was the Olympus of its time, and the gods were holding court there and deciding the fate of nations. But Eugene stole their thunder and turned their Holy Mount upside down. This was a true-life story of David versus Goliath.
In 1925 Sun Yatsen died of cancer, and in 1926 Eugene’s wife Aisy also died of cancer. It was at this time, Eugene and Soong Chingling, widow of Sun Yatsen, fell in love. That was the year before the United Front of the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) and the Communist Party broke up. Eugene’s love affair with Soong Chingling blossomed under an overcast sky with dark clouds rolling fiercely over their head.
In July of 1927, Eugene ignored the tempting overtures of Chiang Kaishek, the man most responsible for the split. He went with Soong Chingling to Russia on a revolution mission, hoping to get Moscow’s agreement to resuscitate the United Front, minus Chiang Kaishek.
In Moscow, Eugene and his children were royally received, banqueting in the Sugar Palace and watching ballet in the former imperial box, while at the same time they were stabbed in the back: Stalin planned to recognize Chiang Kaishek’s government at Nanjing, letting down the left-wing Kuomintang who refused to collaborate with Chiang, and leaving the Chinese Communist Party without support.
It was during Eugene’s last talk with Stalin that he fully realized how the dictator intended to use him and Chingling in a most demeaning manner in order to appease Chiang Kaishek. Outraged, Eugene went into self-exile in Paris. Since he and Soong Chingling could not go back to Chinatogether and resume their work there, they were forced to go their separate ways. This was a love story taking place in an enormous revolution, tinged with pain mixed with exaltation of an ancient Greek tragedy.
Now let me turn to the third revolutionary of the Chen family Jack, Eugene’s younger son (and my late husband). After his mother’s death, Jack left London for China to join his father in early February of 1927. The United Front was crumbling, and the right-wing Kuomintang generals began to purge the communists. Jack stumbled into Mao Zedong, then a lanky young man with thick, disheveled hair like an unruly peasant lad, and Zhou Enlai, young, handsome, debonair, with a taste for French literature and the beauty of Parisian women.
The two atheists were on the firing line. Jack, a devout Roman Catholic and out of Christian charity, sheltered them. The three young men became friends, and thus began Jack’s journey of Marxist adventure. In serving the revolution, he roamed through nearly all the major metropolises in this world: London, Shanghai, Peking, Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Washington, Berlin and so on. He was my Don Quixote, reaching for the unreachable. When I married him in 1958 and then during the violent purge, the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), I became his female Sancho Panza, doing all the errands that he was not able to do because of his lack of knowledge of the Chinese language and his being arrested by the Red Guards, the hit men of the purge.
In 1969, the Red Guards evicted us from our home and threw us into a slum house. My new neighbors included people who were from what could be described as “the lower depths”, such as a former prostitute, a semi-reformed thief, a beggar-turned-janitor, a cleaning woman who doubled as a bed playmate to her employer, an old witch who practiced black magic. Because many of them fell under the category of urban proletariat, they were more trusted by the Red Guards and had easier access to highly confidential documents which the Red Guards, in the confusion of anarchy and lawlessness, had stolen from the Party archives. Thus my new neighbors provided information necessary for our survival.
With their information as well as that from other sources, I helped Jack decide when to do what. I smuggled out Jack’s letters to his American brother-in-law, Jay Leyda, who was arranging a lecture tour for him in the USA. I managed to meet with Zhou Enlai, the prime minister, at a decisive moment that would finally get us off the Red Guards’ death row.
Writing from a special vantage point, as one of the Chen family and also a participant in the narrative I narrate, I am able to illuminate the historical events and fill quite a few gaps in the history of one of the most vital periods of modern China.
By blending the biographies of the three Chen men with history the way I did, I believe I can make the characters and places come alive, and dramatize the facts with details and anecdotes. The book reads like an intriguing history fused with an extraordinary three-generation family saga.
Jack Chen, Yanan base camp, China, 1938
CHINA'S DYNAMIC STATESMAN (1878-1944)
EUGENE CHEN, four times Foreign Minister of Chinese government one of the most dynamic political figures of the twentieth-century, was born of Negro-Chinese-Spanish parentage in British West Indies. His family name was Akam.
Education for the law in England, he returned to Trinidad where but because of minor disagreements with the island he decided to cast his lot with the Chinese and left for where he became legal adviser to the Ministry of Communications 1912.
Two years later he founded The Peking Gazette, and being a polemist and fighter who knew but one tactic, a vigorous and attack, he selected as his chief target the strongest foe possible: the North China Daily News, chief spokesman of British interests in the Far East, the defender of capital, and the prestige and power Britain had built up in that region. At that commerce was centered in Shanghai, then a so-called settlement, but this commerce was chiefly for Britain's to some extent that of Japan, then an ally of Financial power was centered in the British Hong Kong Bank. As a result of his onslaughts, Chen was arrested in 1916 and thrown into a narrow cell with five lice-covered However because he was still a British subject and because extraterritoriality yet existed in China, he asserted that he was being illegally held and was released, apparently because of this, in 1917.
Undaunted, he now entered the enemy's stronghold, Shanghai, where he joined Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of Nationalist China, and became his personal adviser and private secretary, a position he held until Sun Yat-sen's death in 1925. He also founded The Shanghai Gazette, in which he renewed his attacks on British interests and was again thrown into prison, but was later freed.
In 1919 he was a delegate to the Versailles Conference where he formulated China's demands in clear, unmistakable terms. He demanded, among other things, the abolition of concession territories, insisting that all such be placed under a mixed Chinese and foreign administration with Chinese predominant. This demand later paved the way for China's victory over the extraterritorial powers formerly held by the white governments.
In 1922 he founded the Ming Pao, or People's Tribune, and became chief adviser to the Southern Government of China. In an effort to build up Chinese commerce, not for the benefit of the whites and the Japanese, but the Chinese, he led a strike and a boycott principally against British interests. He asked the Chinese not to speak English and not to use English ships nor to buy and sell British-made goods. This had such effect that in 1926 the British yielded and asked for a conference in which most of Chen's demands were granted and out of which came the Chen-O'Malley Agreement in which Britain returned to China the rich port of Hankow.
In 1927, while Foreign Minister, he was instrumental in preventing war between China on one hand and Britain and the United States on the other. White people had been mobbed by the Chinese in Nanking and from southern China had come terrible rumors of the violation of white women. The result was a great outcry for military intervention and the world "stood at the eve of a war in which the Russian-Asiatic and the capitalistic-western powers would clash." President Coolidge had already dispatched American marines to the scene, but Chen stepped into the breach and in an eloquent note to the white powers expressed China's willingness for peace. He said that he was willing to have the disturbances thoroughly investigated, asking only that the verdict, whether it be for or against China, be just. This frankness had such an effect on President Coolidge that he recalled the marines and in a public address declared for peace to the great discontent of the interests who wanted war in order to gain greater power in China.
The same year, however, due largely to European intrigue there was a split between the Nanking and the Wuhan governments and Chen retired to France, but returned in 1931 to become Foreign Minister of the Canton Government.
While in China Chen married Miss Chang Tsing-ying, daughter of Chang Chen-kiang, head of the Cheking Provincial Government.
The New York Times in its obituary of Chen (May 21, 1944) says:
Eugene Chen, British-born Chinese publisher and politician, was four times Foreign Minister in various Chinese Governments and twice was a refugee when his political fortunes were at low ebb.
An early member of the Kuomintang and one of the first to support Sun Yat Sen, Mr. Chen was at times a bitter enemy of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and on other occasions was outwardly his ally. However, since 1941 he had been in Shanghai, apparently harbored by the Japanese, with whom he had on several occasions in the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties conducted involved negotiations.
When Chiang Kai-shek was friendly with the Soviet Union Mr. Chen was Foreign Minister of the Russian-dominated Hankow Government, unofficially run by Borodin and Bluecher. In 1927, after the collapse of the Hankow Government, Mr. Chen fled to Russia when Borodin staged his famous "retreat across the Gobi Desert," and with him went other Chinese leaders with left-wing tendencies.
Eugene Chen 陈友仁 (1878-1944), born in San Fernando, Trinidad, was known in his youth as Eugene Bernard Achan. He was an Overseas Chinese lawyer who in the 1920s became Sun Yat-sen's foreign minister known for his success in promoting Sun's anti-imperialist foreign policies.
 Early years: an Overseas Chinese discovers China
Chen's father, Chen Guangquan, a member of a Cantonese Hakka family, was known as Joseph Chen or Achan. After taking part in the Taiping Rebellion against the Manchu dynasty, he and his wife fled to the French West Indies, where the French authorities required them to accept the Catholic faith as a condition of immigration. Eugene was the oldest of their three sons. After attending Catholic schools in Trinidad, Eugene Chen qualified as a barrister, and became known as one of the most highly skilled solicitors in the islands. The family did not speak Chinese at home, and since there were no Chinese schools, he also did not learn to read Chinese. It was later said of him that his library was filled with Dickens, Shakespeare, Scott, and legal books, that he "spoke English as a scholar"; "except for his color, neither his living nor his habits were Chinese." 
Chen eventually left the island to live in London, where he heard Sun Yat-sen speak at a rally against the Manchu government in China. Sun persuaded him to come to China and contribute his legal knowledge to the new Republic in 1912. Chen took the Trans-Siberian Railroad, and shared the journey with Wu Lien-te, a physician born in Malaysia. Learning that Chen had no Chinese name, Wu suggested "Youren" as the equivalent of "Eugene."
After Sun was forced to flee to Japan in 1913, Chen remained in Peking, where he began a second career in journalism. Chen edited the bilingual Peking Gazette 1915-1917, then founded the Shanghai Gazette, the first of what Sun envisioned as a network of newspapers across China. Chen had given up his initial support for Yuan Shikai and became a strong critic of the government, accusing it of "selling China."  In 1918, Chen joined Sun in Canton to support the southern government, which he helped to represent at the Paris Peace Conference, where he resisted Japanese and British plans for China. In 1922, Chen became Sun's closest adviser on foreign affairs, and developed a leftist stance of anti-imperialist nationalism and support of Sun's alliance with the Soviet Union.
 Chen's revolutionary diplomacy
Chen's diplomacy led one historian to call him "arguably China's most important diplomat of the 1920s and instrumental in the rights recovery movement."  Chen welcomed Sun's alliance with the Soviet Union, and worked harmoniously with Michael Borodin, the chief Soviet advisor in the reorganization of the Nationalist Party at Canton. After Sun's death in 1925, Chen was elected to the Central Executive Committee and appointed Foreign Minister. Over the next two years, Chen lodged vigorous and articulate protests over continued imperialist policies with the American and British governments, as well as negotiating with the British authorities over the massive labor strikes in Hong Kong. When Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition appeared on the verge of unifying the country, Chen joined the rival Nationalist government at Wuhan. In January 1927, the Nationalists at Wuhan forcibly took control over the foreign concession there, and when violent crowds also took the foreign concession at Kiukiang, foreign warships gathered at Shanghai. Chen's negotiations with the British led to confirmation of Chinese control of the two concessions and this success was hailed as the start of a new revolutionary foreign policy. The situation soon reversed. The foreign powers retaliated for the deadly xenophobic attacks on foreigners by elements of the National Revolutionary Army in Nanking, and Chiang Kai-shek launched White Terror attacks on leftists in Shanghai. Chen sent Borodin, his sons Percy and Jack Chen, and the American leftist journalist Anna Louise Strong in an automotive convoy across Central Asia to Moscow. He, his daughters Si-lan and Yolanda,Mme. Sun Yat-sen, and the American journalist Rayna Prohme traveled from Shanghai to Vladivostok, and once again by Trans-Siberian Railway to Moscow.
Life in Moscow was not easy, however. After an initial warm public reception, Stalin showed little tolerance for living symbols of the Soviet failure in China. Chen and Mme. Sun were frustrated in their attempts to establish a leftist Chinese front, and soon left Moscow. After a period of exile in Europe and brief service with governments in China which challenged the Nanking government, Chen was finally expelled from the Guomindang for serving as Foreign Minister in the Fukien Rebellion of 1934. He again took refuge in Europe, but returned to Hong Kong after the outbreak of the war with Japan. He was taken to Shanghai in the spring of 1942 in hopes of persuading him to support the Japanese puppet government, but he remained loudly critical of that "pack of liars" until his death in May, 1944, at the age of 66.
 Chen's family
In 1899, Chen married Agatha Alphosin Ganteaume (1878-1926), a French creole natural daughter of good family. They had eight children, four of whom survived childhood: Percy (1901-1986), a lawyer, worked with his father for many years; (Sylvia) Silan (1905-1996), an internationally known dancer, married the American film historian Jay Leyda; Yolanda (1913- ); and Jack (1908-1995), who made an international reputation as a journalistic cartoonist during the Sino-Japanese War, and who wrote A Year In Upper Felicity, an account of his experience in the countryside during the Cultural Revolution. In 1958 Jack married Chen Yuan-tsung.
After the death of Alphosin in 1926, Chen and Chang Li Ying, or Georgette Chen were married in 1930 and remained together until his death in 1944.
Eugene Chen: revolutionary and iron-fist diplomat
Feb 3 – Eugene Chen: Lawyer, Statesman and Revolutionary
Today marks the start of Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit. In honor of this holiday, today’s profile is of Eugene Chen, born in
Born Eugene Barnard Acham (he later took on the name of Chen), to immigrant shopkeepers, he was educated at St. Mary’s College, Port-of-Spain,
After being admitted to the Bar,
Time Magazine called Eugene Chen, “The brains of the Chinese Revolution." Some say that “he blended Marxism, Confucianism and Communism to support his personal agenda for
Eugene Chen died in