Cover of Transpacific Reform and Revolution by Zhongping Chen
Transpacific Reform and Revolution
The Chinese in North America, 1898-1918
Zhongping Chen


July 2023
404 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503636248
Ebook ISBN: 9781503636255

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The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the turbulent end of China's imperial system, violent revolutionary movements, and the fraught establishment of a republican government. During these decades of reform and revolution, millions of far-flung "overseas Chinese" remained connected to Chinese domestic movements.

This book uses rich archival sources and a new network approach to examine how reform and revolution in North American Chinatowns influenced political change in China and the transpacific Chinese diaspora from 1898 to 1918. Historian Zhongping Chen focuses on the transnational activities of Kang Youwei, Sun Yat-sen, and other politicians, especially their mobilization of the Chinese in North America to join reformist or revolutionary parties in patriotic fights for a Western-style constitutional monarchy or republic in China. These new reformist and revolutionary parties, including the first Chinese women's political organization, led transpacific movements against American anti-Chinese racism in 1905 and supported constitutional reform and the Republican Revolution in China around 1911, achieving transpacific expansion through innovative use of cross-cultural political ideologies and intertwined institutional and interpersonal networks. Through network analysis of the origins, interrelations, and influences of Chinese reform and revolution in North America, this book makes a significant contribution to modern Chinese history, Asian American and Asian Canadian history, and Chinese diasporic scholarship.

About the author

Zhongping Chen is Professor of History at the University of Victoria.

"Zhongping Chen has written the most authoritative and excellent work in English on the dynamics of the radical transpacific movements led by Kang Youwei and Sun Yat-sen, challenging misperceptions and misinformation about this period."

—Sue Fawn Chung, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

"Long overdue, this deeply researched book embeds Kang Youwei and Sun Yatsen's North American journeys in the dynamic networks of overseas Chinese who mobilized amid the fall of the Qing dynasty. Using an authoritative array of Chinese-language records, Zhongping Chen adeptly corrects longstanding myths and recovers into historical visibility the patriotic activists who campaigned to save their homeland."

—Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Texas at Austin

"Zhongping Chen uses network analysis to shed dramatic new light on how the North American Chinese diaspora interacted with the republican movement in China to help topple the fading Qing dynasty. A new landmark of history and methods in the understanding of the critical post-1911 period in Chinese political life."

—Mark Granovetter, Stanford University

"As an esteemed scholar renowned for his expertise in Chinese history, Chen's inaugural book on Chinese Canadian history erects a new landmark within this scholarly domain: it points out a transnational direction, offers a transnationally selected, extensive amount of source materials, illuminates the gender aspect, adds new methodology, and corrects errors of earlier historians."

—Letian Wang, BC Studies