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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s Brief Encounter with Love in Honolulu

Vol. 18 No. 1   6/1988    


Liang Ch’i-ch’ao’s Brief Encounter with Love in Honolulu


Kenneth K.S. Ch’en









Key words



     After the abortive reforms of 1898, Liang Ch’i-ch’ao escaped from the clutches of the Manchu authorities to flee to Japan, where he remained for over a year when he received an invitation from the overseas Chinese to go to America. He accepted the invitation and departed from Japan in December 1899. on his way to San Francisco, he stopped over in Hawaii to raise funds for the reformer’s cause. It was his bad luck that he arrived in Honolulu in the midst of a raging bubonic plague that led to severe restrictions on the movement of people out of the islands. It was therefore impossible for him to continue his trip to the American mainland as originally planned and he was forced to remain in Honolulu for about six mouths. 

    While he was in Honolulu, a local Chinese girl named Ho Hui-chen, long a secret admirer of Liang for his learning and his leadership in the reform movement, fell in love with him and was willing to marry him, even though he (liang) already had a wife in China. Liang for a period was also moved by emotions of love, but in the end he realized that his position and reputation would not permit him to succumb to his emotions. In two long letters to his wife Hui-hsien, he described his emotions toward Ho Hui0chen honestly, forth-rightly, and with remarkable candor. These two letters are translated here not because they are of significant historical importance, but because they provide valuable insight into the moral and ethical standards that governed the life and conduct of a famous Chinese public figure of modern China. 



Author: Kenneth K.S. Ch’en
Genre: Article
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