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Tse Tsan-tai

Tse Tsan-tai (Chinese: 謝纘泰 or 謝贊泰; pinyin: Xiè Zàntài; Wade–Giles: Hsieh Tsan-t'ai; 16 May 1872 – 4 April 1938), courtesy name Sing-on (聖安), art-named Hong-yu (康如), was one of the earliest Chinese revolutionaries of the late Qing Dynasty. Tse was the first Chinese to fly an airship, China in 1899. His book The Chinese Republic: Secret History of the Revolution (中華民國革命秘史), published in 1924 by the South China Morning Post, of which he was co-founder, is an important source of studies on the anti-Qing revolution.


  • Early Life 1
  • As a revolutionary 2
  • After the revolution 3
  • References 4

Early Life

Born in Sydney, New South Wales, to a patriotic Chinese, Tse Yat-cheong (謝日昌), Tse Tsan-tai was baptised James See on 1 November, 1879. In 1887, Tse moved to Hong Kong with his family and was educated at the Government Central School (now the Queen's College). [1] Later, Tse worked as a secretary in the Public Works Department of the Government of Hong Kong for nearly 10 years.

As a revolutionary

The Situation in the Far East (1899)

On March 13, 1892, Tse, together with Yeung Ku-wan and others, started the Furen Literary Society [2] in Pak Tse Lane, Sheung Wan, with the guiding principle of "Ducit Amor Patriae" (盡心愛國 in Chinese, literally "Love your country with all your heart"). The society released books and papers discussing the future of China and advocating the overthrow of the Qing government and the establishment of a republic in China. The Furen Literary Society was merged into the Hong Kong Chapter of the Revive China Society in 1895, with Yeung and Sun Yat-sen as the president and secretary of the society respectively. When Yeung and Sun fled overseas after the unsuccessful First Guangzhou Uprising, Tse remained in Hong Kong.

After Yeung was assassinated by Qing agents in 1901, Tse strove for his burial in the Hong Kong Cemetery, albeit with a nameless gravestone. Determined to avenge his friend, Tse, together with his father, his brother, Hung Chuen-fook (洪全福) and the Triad, plotted another uprising in Canton. They called for the establishment of the State of Great Ming Heavenly Kingdom (大明順天國), a democratic state with an elected sage and talent as the president, and persuaded Yung Wing to serve as the provisional president of the state. According to plan, they would destroy the Emperor's Temple (萬壽宮) with explosives on 28 January 1903, killing all the officials there, and then occupy the city of Canton. Despite the financial sponsorship from Li Ki-tong (李紀堂), the plot was leaked to the Qing government by a betraying informant.

As a newspaper person, Tse wrote the first declaration of the Revive China Society, with an open letter to Guangxu Emperor in English. He also published The Situation in the Far East (時局全圖) to warn the patriots against the Western powers' ambition to partition China. In November 1903, Tse co-founded the South China Morning Post with Alfred Cunningham.[3]

After the revolution

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Tse was not involved in the Republic of China Government. He died on 4 April 1938 and was buried in Hong Kong.


  1. ^ Ann Curthoys and Marilen Lake (2006) Connected Worlds - History in Transnational Perspective
  2. ^ Harold Z. Schiffrin, 1968 "Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution", University of California Press, p.47
  3. ^ South China Morning Post history
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