Homer Lea, Sun Yat-sen, and the Xinhai Revolution
          "The Xinhai Revolution had nothing to do with Sun Yat-sen who was overseas when it happened. It was a rebellion by Qing soldiers stationed in Wuchang. Sun Yat-sen neither planned, financed, nor participated in it. So I wonder why he takes credit for the revolution's successes. In fact, all of Sun Yat-sen's attempts at revolution failed and he had to flee every time. Ironically, without his involvement, the Xinhai Revolution achieved what Sun Yat-sen tried to do but failed at every time. Because he was the most famous revolutionary at that time and had an established party backing, he managed to bask in the Wuchang glory and returned to stake a political role in the new republic........" -- by Mergen at the China History Forum on 4-19-2011. This is a very misleading general belief that many people are still wondering about; they do not know how important foreign financial and political support is for the success of a revolution within a new nation. Sun was a non-stop promoter and agitator for his uprisings and revolts from aboard. He was a skillful propagandist and a spokesman for the revolution. In order to sketch a substantial revolution plan with his close associates abroad and, in particular, seeking support from foreign governments and interested private parties for appropriation and fund raising, Sun remained in the United States while the Xinhai Revolution took place in Wuchang. He traveled to Europe to meet Lea for help in gaining foreign financial support and recognition, instead of coming back to China at once. We see it as a sign of Sun's lack of leadership qualities as the Xinhai Revolution had taken place inside China. Nevertheless, this criticism is ignorant, naive and unjustified but explainable.
           Sun and Lea shared a common goal and persistence which they would never give up, no matter what the outcome would be. Sun had failed every attempt at an uprising, from which he had learned and then proceeded with another until he finally succeed. Lea and Sun were the main architects behind the scenes of the Xinhai Revolution. Their persistent attitude and their common character had bound them together. Unlike Kang Yu-wei, Sun was a very trusting man. Therefore, Lea and Sun had developed a solid mutual trust and friendship after they both had learned from their frustration of frequent failures. Lea could never find such relationship and trust from Kang Yu-wei. Only Sun knew how much Homer Lea had done for the revolution. Sun rewarded Lea with a "Chief of Staff" title while they were in London on Lea's birthday. However, Homer Lea would have generously accepted a less important title, "Military Advisor," to avoid discontent with the other revolutionists who did not know much about him. After a press conference in Shanghai, Lea perfectly understood in this case that Sun would have less troubles and worked harmony with other revolutionists.
           "A rebellion by Qing soldiers stationed in Wuchang", could it have proved that there was such an outcome of "an army within an army" in which Homer Lea’s cadets did in fact infiltrate Qing's army. When the time had come, Qing's Imperial Army became the New Revolution Army! Remember General Huang Hsing had also said: "that the best force overthrowing the Manchu government was its own army". Did General Huang Hsing already have inside information about the Xinhai Revolution? Dr. Sun had once reported to Lea that the Admiral of the Imperial Navy had become their man. The Xinhai Revolution did not require a large number of soldiers, but Lea's intelligent soldiers became the higher ranking officers of the Imperial Army. Lea's cadets had set up a secret network of insurgents inside China as early as 1906 while working for Kang Yu-wei. From each angle you look at the Xinhai Revolution, it is a bloodless revolution which tells us that there was indeed a sophisticated, brilliant and clever plan behind the Xinhai Revolution which Lea and his associates should take credit for. Kang Yu-wei always denounced a revolution for a peaceful reform, because he believed thousands lives would be lost. Homer Lea had just answered Kang's perception with a bloodless revolution, and proved otherwise.
           The most frequent question I was asked about was "How could you prove that Lea's trained soldiers did go back to China and participate in the revolution?"  All of Lea's papers and documents related to the revolution were completely destroyed by Lea's wife, Ethel and Captain O'Banion to avoid falling into the wrong hands. With the information and location of the revolutionists revealed, many would be assassinated, while Sun's second revolution was on going. Their destruction of Lea's documents was not to avoid prosecution from the United States Government. We cannot prosecute a dead man! At the end, Lea had moved his residence several times, because their house had been broken into, not for valuable items, but for those important documents. We do have plenty of documents which proved that Captain O'Banion and his gang frequently smuggled young Chinese in and out the country through the border of Mexico. Captain O'Banion and his associate were found guilty of smuggling Chinese and violated the Exclusion Law. Therefore, they were sentenced to jail. In other words, we could say Captain O'Banion was in jail for the Xinhai Revolution. The Chinese should understand that how much they owe him.
Jackie Chan's 1911 Xinhai Revolution
        I was asked my opinion about how Homer Lea is portrayed in a recent Jackie Chan 1911 Xinhai Revolution movie. First I was surprised and very excited to learn that Homer Lea has finally gained the attention of a major Chinese motion picture. Immediately, I wanted to go to movie theaters around me, but found no such showing. This movie was made for a Chinese audience to celebrate the 100th Chinese Xinhai Revolution. Then, when I was shopping in Monterey Park, another large major Chinese Community outside of Chinatown in Los Angeles, I found this movie on DVD for sale. I started to watch the movie at home, and in particular, searching for the scenes that portrayed Homer Lea. There were four scenes about Homer Lea and Sun with dialogue. In the first scene, Homer Lea appeared with a Chinese subtitle "Homer Lea, American Military Expert", behind a large group of Chinese while Dr. Sun Yat-sen was giving a speech about the Chinese revolution inside a big auditorium in San Francisco. In the second scene, Dr. Sun went to look for Homer Lea and they met each other upstairs at Lea's residence. Sun was examining the latest fire arms and talking about how China would be divided by aggressive powerful nations while arguing that the Chinese Revolution is a must. Homer suggested that he would like to join his cause of the revolution. Sun appreciated his offer, but regretted that he would not have enough money to hire him. Homer Lea indicated that he planned to work for Sun, but not for money, because he was the leader of the Chinese people. Sun was very emotional and then they hugged each other. In the third scene, there were a group of revolutionists and Homer Lea was among them. The Xinhai Revolution had taken place in Wuchang. Lea requested that he would go to China with Sun. Sun acknowledged to everyone that he would go to Europe first to seek support and to stop any loan made to the Qing government. In the fourth scene, Sun was sitting alone in a long hallway waiting for the presidential election results which was proceeding by the members of deputies inside the big hall next to it. Homer Lea, in Chinese military uniform, holds a suitcase as he passes by. Sun asked Homer Lea when did he come here and told him that there was an election going on inside. Homer Lea dropped his case and said this was an important historical making. Homer went to see what was going on inside the conference hall and found that Sun had been elected for president. Homer Lea and all members came out to congratulate Sun.
        There were two other scenes in which Homer Lea is in the background. In one, he was in the second row next to Sun posing for a group photo of the presidency ceremony. In the other scene, Homer Lea attended Sun's inauguration.  The first two scenes were about what Sun wrote in his memoir in which he first saw Lea behind a group of people when he gave a speech and then he went to look for him later on. Sun did not indicate the location and time. Some historians place this event when Lea was in Japan while he was on his way back to the United States. Other historians suggest that this event took place in San Francisco before Sun and Lea finally worked together. So, these two scenes were very acceptable. Lea was in Europe while the Xinhai Revolution took place, so Lea should not be in the third scene when Sun was telling the revolutionists about going to Europe. However, it is possible that Sun had told Lea and his associates about his plan to Europe. In any case, this scene is telling the audience that Sun and Lea would be in Europe before going back to China. In the fourth scene, the Chinese subtitles interpret Sun asking Lea when did he come to China. In real life, Sun should already know when Lea was in China. In fact, they went to China together from Europe. However, in the English dialogue, Sun actually asked Lea when did you come 'here', not necessary 'China'. Apart from that, I like this scene very much, especially when Lea indicated that this was history making, and everyone congratulated Sun who became the first Chinese president. A scene in a historical movie is not necessary represented exactly as what happened, but illustrates that something had taken place similar to the actual event. In the first three scenes, I could not tell that Homer is a hunchback, because the actor's neck is long and I can only see his front. In the last scene, you see him limping as he passed by Sun and you can see his humpback. His height is about right and he is skinny. During all my research of Lea, I have never seen a photo of Lea with a short beard which was how Lea was portrayed in this film, but it does not mean Lea had never grown a beard in real life! There is also a scene in which Sun's associate mentions to Sun about how Lea would not cooperate or work with Yuan Shih-kai. I would like to thank Jackie's Chan's 1911 Xinhai Revolution movie which will bring us one step closer to recognizing, and honoring this extraordinary Chinese hero Homer Lea. Perhaps the next film will be a cooperative production between Hollywood and a Chinese film company, and we will be able to learn more about Lea's marvelous contribution to the Chinese Revolution and his fascinating personal history. We are also able to understand more about what Dr. Sun always said: "Overseas is the Mother of Revolution", and not just about fund raising.
       I had said before that about one percent of Chinese actually know who Homer Lea is! Today, I have to say that many more Chinese are getting to know Homer Lea and his associates. I also said that the Chinese would not forget, unless they do not know, anyone who had contributed his entire energy to protect the Chinese from discrimination and from being divided by the ambitious nations; he also assisted the Chinese people in overthrowing their corrupted Qing government which propelled China backwards. Many people asked me why Homer Lea was so dedicated in helping the Chinese!  In an article, "Homer Lea Tells of Training the Chinese," in the Los Angeles Herald newspaper on June 15, 1905, Lea says, "China is a country of enormous size and resources and inhabited by a people of as fine qualities as any race in history. Yet blinded by prejudice and influenced by demagogical arguments we are treating this people with an injustice that is monstrous. Where will you find their counterpart for patience, endurance, faithfulness to obligation, industry, obedience to law, and all the qualities that make for right living......, yet the exclusion laws of United States keep him out. It is only a question of time when China will throw off the yoke of tradition and conservation that keeps the country in its backward condition, and that is why I am bending all my energies to educating young men of that race who will go home and assist in reform movement that is sure to prevail ultimately." Today China is a powerful nation on earth!
The Grand Pacific Alliance
      On October 29, 2011, I was invited to join the Annual International Conference in San Francisco, "Rescuing Civilization From The Brink" by The Grand Pacific Alliance. Their main objective is about how the current economic breakdown crisis of the civilization will not allow any practical solution; for example, the implications of the Occupy Movement in the United States and the protests in Europe. It is therefore very fitting and timely to celebrate the accomplishment of the great Chinese patriot and Statesman, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a paragon of a truly creative human mind, who 100 years ago, succeeded in overthrowing thousands of years of rule of empire to establish a republic. Today, following in the footsteps of Dr. Sun and his predecessor in the fight against imperialism, our own American patriot, Abraham Lincoln, the solution and keystone for the future of the planet over next several generations lies in the trans-Pacific. Under Dr. Sun's banner of "Tian Xia Wei Gong", meaning the world belongs to all people, vast projects benefiting mankind would be generated by the cooperation of unselfish nations. Since the American "One Giant Step for Mankind" on the moon, we would find no more giant step, but in fighting wars.
      In the conference, I met Dr. Howard Chang, professor of SDSU, who was one of the ingenious engineers for the giant step, a crucial infrastructure project in China - The Three Gorges Dam project, giving an assessment presentation of this project and how the relative project could be simulated in the United States. I asked him that we could do the same project on the Mississippi river to avoid yearly flooding and gain hydro-electric energy, besides bringing people back to work like employment on the Hoover Dam in the thirties during the Great Depression. He pointed out that the United States have too many of these environmental issues which would jeopardize any project, any giant step. He also told me that next to The Three Gorges Dam, the Chinese are building a monument to commemorate the initial proposal for this project that came from Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Now I have to remind you that Dr. Sun was not only a skillful politician, but a great engineer. In his book, The International Development of China, Sun had outlined many giant industrial projects which would not only benefit the future of China, but other countries as well; for example new industrial cities, sea ports, highways, a massive railroad system linked to Europe through Middle Asia, the Modern Silk Road. A world in which China will play a very different role in the 21st Century, a far more central role, than could ever have been imagined in the past, a backward country. Perhaps Homer Lea knew all about that and he had proposed that the United States should help and work with China. Today, The Grand Pacific Alliance armed with the same ideology, the same principles to rescue America and the world from the current world economic breakdown crisis which could, perhaps lead to another world war.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Visits to Los Angeles - exhibition
        While the exhibition tour of "Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Visits to Los Angeles" was being held in a different location, on October 10, 2011, there was an unveiling of a Dr. Sun Yat-sen monument and plaques at the Oneonta Congregational Church, Charles Beach Boothe's former four acre estate, to commemorate a significant Chinese Revolution historical event in which Homer Lea, Charles Boothe and Sun Yat-sen, the members of the Red Dragon, prepared the final cause of the 1911 Chinese Revolution. There were prominent guests from Taiwan and China, and the Church Senior Pastor Doug Brandt made remarks about Sun who was also a Christian. The South Pasadena Mayor, Mike Ten, proudly pronounced that Charles B. Boothe, then also the mayor of South Pasadena and his mansion contributed a chapter of world history which occurred in his city. The Mayor of the City of San Marino, Allen Yung, presented a certificate of recognition, and the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, and the Mayor of the County of Los Angeles, Michael D. Antonovich, also sent certificates of proclamation, honoring the Sun Yat-sen Day Dedication. A member of the United States Senate, Dianne Feinstein, also sent a Letter of Recognition. After the appreciation remarks by Peter Ng to the Donors and Honored Guests, the unveiling ceremony took place in the front entrance of the old Charles Boothe mansion. A plaque was located at Boothe's private church in which Sun prayed for his countrymen and his revolution. Two other plaques were placed to commemorate Dr. Sun where he had planted a Magnolia tree, named "Overthrow the Qing" and the Sycamore tree, named "Chinese Republic". Dr. Pedro Chan discovered the tale of both trees with the assistance of the Church pastor.
       The closing ceremony of the exhibition, "Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Visits to Los Angeles" was well received at the UCLA Library Conference Center on December 9, 2011 and the last exhibition was held at the new Auditorium of Charles Young Research Library. UCLA is a major research institution for modern Chinese studies, with a prestigious Center for Chinese Studies and a rich collection in the East Asian Library. After the attendees were introduced by Dr. Hong Cheng, Deputy University Librarian Dr. Susan Parker made welcome remarks. Among the distinguished guests, there was the Chinese Deputy Consul General, Sun Weide and the Head of the East Asian Library, Su Chan, who also made remarks. Exhibition Organizer Dr. Pedro Chan then invited Dr. Susan Parker to declare the closing of the exhibition followed by a donation of books to the UCLA Library. Finally, there will be a lavish Closing Ceremony Banquet held by the Chinese Community at the Golden Dragon Restaurant, in Chinatown on December 26, 2011. We hope next year this exhibit will open in China, perhaps in the city of Guangzhou or Shanghai.
Photos: Unveiling ceremony took place in the front entrance of the old Charles B. Boothe’s mansion by the Donors and Honored Guests.  Alexandra Perebikovsky, moderator at the Grand Pacific Alliance Conference in San Francisco.  “Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Visits to Los Angeles” exhibition at Cerrito Public Library, Cerrito, California.
Saturday, December 10, 2011