Wang Jingwei

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Wang Jingwei (traditional Chinese: 汪精衛; simplified Chinese: 汪精卫; pinyin: Wāng Jīngwèi; Wade-Giles: Wang Ching-wei) (May 4, 1883 – November 10, 1944), alternate name Wang Zhaoming (traditional Chinese: 汪兆銘), was a Chinese politician. He was initially known as a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang (KMT), but he was staunchly anti-Communist, and his politics veered sharply to the right later in his career. A close associate of Sun Yat-sen, Wang is most noted for disagreements with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his formation of a Japanese-supported collaborationist government in Nanjing. For this role he has often been labeled as a Hanjian. His name in China is also now a term used to refer to a traitor, similar to "Benedict Arnold" for Americans or "Quisling" for Norwegians.


Rise to prominence

Born in Sanshui, Guangdong, but of Zhejiang origin, Wang went to Japan as an international student sponsored by the Qing government in 1903, and joined the Tongmenghui in 1905. As a young man, Wang came to blame the Qing dynasty for holding China back, and making it too weak to fight off exploitation by Western Imperialist powers. While in Japan, Wang became a close confidant of Sun Yat-Sen, and would later go on to become one of the most important members of the early Kuomintang.[1]

Early career

In the years leading up to the 1911 Revolution, Wang was active in opposing the Qing. Wang gained prominence during this period as an excellent public speaker and a staunch advocate of Chinese nationalism. He was jailed for plotting an assassination of the regent, the 2nd Prince Chun, and readily admitted his guilt at trial. He remained in jail from 1910 until the Wuchang Uprising the next year, and became something of a national hero upon his release.[2]

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