Huang Xing (Chinese:黄兴 October 25, 1874-October 31, 1916) was a prominent revolutionary leader, militarist and statesman of the Republic of China (1911-1949) and one of the founders of Kuomintang. His contribution to the Xinhai Revolution (1911), which ended China’s last feudalist empire —Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), was so historically significant that he was considered almost as renowned as Sun Yat-sen, with whom they were dubbed “Sun-Huang” during the revolution.
Born in the village of Gaotang, in Changsha, Hunan Province, Huang showed his talents at the age of 22 when he was in the prestigious Changsha Academy and received the Jinshi degree, or the presented scholar. In 1902, he was sent to Japan by Zhang Zhidong, the Viceroy of Huguang and the governor general of Hunan and Hubei provinces and surrounding areas. He developed an interest in military affairs and practiced horsemanship and shooting every morning while studying in Tokyo.
In April, 1903, Huang participated in the volunteer army composed of over 200 Chinese students in Japan, protesting against Russia’s hegemony in China’s northeast region. He then returned to China. On November 4, 1903, under the disguise of his 30th birthday party, Huang invited 20 revolutionists, including, Chen Tianhua, Song Jiaoren and Zhang Xingyan, to discuss the issue of setting up the Huaxing Society, an secret society aiming to overthrow the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They schemed to revolt against the Manchurian Empire when Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) celebrated her 70th birthday, and the rebellion was to be initiated in Hunan Province. However, the plan was leaked and Huang had to flee to Japan.
In Tokyo, Huang assisted Sun in setting up the United Allegiance Society (Tongmenghui), another underground revolutionary organization. Huang was then a prestigious revolutionist and his position in the society was next only to Sun. After the establishment of the society, Huang was responsible for inducting Chinese students in Japan to the society and training them in military arts. The secret organization had conducted several uprisings in China from 1907-1911, and the most famous was the Huanghuagang Uprising, also known as the “3.29 Guangzhou Uprising,” which took place on March 29. Over 100 revolutionists from the society attacked the government mansion of the Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi. Yet the uprising failed as 86 revolutionists were killed during the fight. After the uprising, the society members collected 72 remains and buried them in Huanghuagang, north of Guangzhou. As a memorial, the dead were named “72 Martyrs of Huanghuagang.” Huang lost two fingers of his right hand during the battle, so he was thus dubbed “Eight Fingered General.”
Huang’s revolutionary determination and efforts finally paid off in October 1911, when the victory ofXinhai Revolution declared the end of China’s last feudalist dynasty. In January 1912, the Nanjing Interim Government of the Republic of China (1911-1949) was set up and Huang was appointed as the general of army.
On August 25, the United Alliance Society was restructured intoKuomintang (KMT) and Huang was elected as its director. However, KMT’s growing influence in the government agitated Yuan Shikai, who had forced Sun to hand over his presidency in 1912. To tighten his grip in the government, Yuan assassinated Song, the chairman of KMT, whose prestige and political influence outweighed Yuan’s power in March 1913. After Song’s death, Yuan began to expel KMT from the government and moved the capital from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province to Beijing. Huang remained in Nanjing during Yuan’s purge and reorganized his army in an attempt to oppose Yuan. However, the army mutinied due to a shortage of money. Huang retreated to the concession area in Shanghai after his failed uprising.
In July 1914, Sun organized an army to oppose Yuan, which marked the beginning of theSecond Revolution. Huang joined the rebellion and tried to declare the independence of Jiangsu Province from Yuan, however, the revolution failed again. Huang fled to Japan with several highly-ranked KMT officials. However, after the Second Revolution, Sun and Huang had a split in their relation because of the different political views.
Huang then moved from Japan to U.S. In 1915, when Yuan declared himself as emperor, Huang supported Cai E to overthrow Yuan’s regime by raising funds for Cai’s army in Yunnan. In 1916, Huang returned to China after Yuan’s death and reconciled with Sun. In October 1916, Huang died in Shanghai. He was given a state funeral a year later and was buried on Yuelu Mountain, Changsha.