Who were Lea’s Companion?
 
        “ To free a nation from error is to enlighten the individual, and only to the degree that the individual will be receptive of truth can a nation be free from that vanity which ends with national ruin.”
        “ Instead of disarmament of nations becoming possible through increased civilization, it becomes more and more impossible as science increases the number of inventions.”
        “ As an individual can form no conception of personal death, so neither can nations.”
                                                                                                               -  Homer Lea
 
        In a fiction drama, there are always good and bad guys. You frequently only see who they are, hero or enemy, because they were created just for that play. In history, we can see more about the character beyond that drama’s time frame. Homer Lea and Dr. Sun Yat Sen, they are our protagonists. Lea’ wife, Ethel, and Captain O’Banion both play equally important roles. However, we see characters like Kang Yu Wei is a bad guy in this drama, primarily because his corruption. He is considered a great man in other area, because he contributed to the reforms of China. Yung Wing is another example. He made a huge contribution to modern education for the Chinese people. however, in the Red Dragon scheme he was selfish. Liang Chi Chao did help bring Lea into the limelight, as well as expand Lea’s military schools, but he did not help to convince his master, Kang Yu Wei, to cooperate with Lea and Sun to save China. Laing was Kang’s follower. So, ultimately, it depends on how you see the person! Would you be willing to see his the many facets to the individual, good or bad, or would you simply determine who he is by his last act?
 
Ethel Bryant Lea 1875-1934
        Ethel is Lea’s assistance, typist, secretary, nurse, companion, and wife. Their relationship began when she accepted Lea’s offer to type his first book, The Vermilion Pencil. She learned a lot from Lea’s writing and Lea learned that she was the one who made it possible for him to do his work. With Ethel’s hard work and tremendous passion for Lea, she actually prolongs Lea’s life. After the revolution, Ethel had done an enormous amount of clerical work for the new Chinese government. Thus she was invited back to China for her secretarial work after Lea passed away. However, she felt she would be more serviceable here. She continued her husband’s efforts to help Dr. Sun and others, including General Huang Xing, when he later came to United States. Unfortunately, upon his death, Lea did not have enough money left for Ethel and she had to get a job to support herself. She lived in Los Angeles and moved to live close to her two sons in New York City until she passed away.
  
Dr. Sun Yat Sen 1866 -1925
           Lea and Sun came together for the final confrontation, the 1911 Chinese Revolution. Sun admired Lea’s political thoughts and his military genius. Lea knew Dr. Sun would be a great Chinese leader and would have done anything to help him. Unfortunately, the new Republic government could not survive without foreign recognition and financial support. Dr. Sun feared that Yuan Shikai, the northern military strong man, would assassinate him. He was exiled to Japan once again. Sun felt the abdication was the biggest mistake of his life. The Chinese rejected Yuan when he made himself monarch. Sun started a second revolution. He passed away while on his way north in an effort to unify his country.
 
Captain O’Banion, Ansel  E. 1876-1966
           Somehow, someone in the War Department recognized that O’Banion was a right choice for Lea’s right hand man. He was honest, dashing, courageous, and had scout experience for battle. With his training, the Chinese soldiers were bright, disciplined and intelligent. They accomplished the goal of overthrowing the corrupted Manchu government. He and his gang were responsible for smuggling the Chinese soldiers out and a great number sons of the viceroy into America to seek an education. Thus, he was found guilty of smuggling, a violation of the Chinese Exclusion Act, and he was sentenced to jail. O’Banion hoped that Lea would someday bring him to China to further his expertise of training a strong Chinese army, but the wish was never came true. He lived with his family in Sierra Madre, California for the rest of his life. He seldom went back to Chinatown.
 
           Kang Yu Wei and Yung Wing, one could have been the next Chinese leader.
 
            Yung Wing (1828-1912) - He was the first Chinese to graduate from America (Yale university). He was responsible for the first wave of 120 Chinese students came to America in 1872, to seek modern education (a program called Chinese Educational Mission Students)
sent by the Manchu government. In addition, he served as the Chinese Deputy Minister in Washington in 1878. He was once considered a potential Chinese leader, instead of Sun Yat Sen. Since his involvement with the Taiping Rebellion, he had contacts with the reform and revolution secret societies throughout his life. He criticized the Manchu government and worked with the Chinese Empire Reform Association.
            After the reform movement failed, he fled Shanghai to Hong Kong. Yung was with Dr. Sun on his way to Japan. His friendship with Dr. Sun was brief. He believed he would be the next Chinese leader with the support from the Red Dragon scheme. Indeed, he was the only choice after the conspirators denounced Kang’s corruption. Nevertheless, the major conspirator W.W. Allen, revealed Yung would not have adequate connections with the present secret societies in China, since he had been absent from China for more than eight years. He was also nearing eighty-years old. Yung thought one of his two sons would replace him, but his sons (mixed Amer-asian) had grown-up in America. Instead, he planned a business venture for his sons in China with the potential financial support from the Red Dragon, which caused even more irritation for Allen. Dr. Sun was the last one introduced by Homer Lea into the Red Dragon scheme.
 
           Kang Yu Wei (1859-1927) - He was once the emperor’s teacher. After his 100 Days Reform Movement failed, Kang Yu Wei and his follower Liang Chi Chao escaped to Japan where Dr. Sun Yat Sen was in exile. With the Japanese government support, Sun would approach Kang for a similar goal to save China. Kang refused to meet Sun, because his gentry and loyalty were to the emperor. Instead Liang Chi Chao met up with Sun. At one point they came to an agreement that Sun would be the president and Liang the Vice President. Kang was furious and sent Liang to Hawaii. Kang was then rejected by the Japanese government and went into exile in Singapore.
         Liang was torn between revolution with Sun and royalist cause with his mentor, Kang. Kang’s peaceful reform ideas were well received by the Chinese aboard. Supports and donations poured to his royalist society. Sun was the underdog. Until the emperor was poisoned to death and the empress dowager passed away a day later, Kang’s idea of saving the emperor and reforming China was not working. The Chinese flocked to support Dr. Sun.
         At the end he refused to work with Sun and gave his financial support to him. Instead, he used all the donation money for his own purpose. Liang was then on his own. Kang had a reputation as a great intellectual scholar, and a great reformist. Lea answered to Kang’s challenge for a peaceful reform, a peaceful and bloodless revolution.
 
         Charles Beach Boothe (1851-1913) - A business man and mayor who became a supporter of the Chinese Revolution. Boothe’s South Pasadena mansion had once been the Chinese revolution and financial headquarters. Boothe knew Lea through his son. He came up with a business venture to finance the Chinese Revolution. In return, his firm would gain a monopoly over banking, coal, and railroad operations in mainland China. Four major conspirators, including Boothe’s childhood friend W.W. Allen, Homer Lea, and Yung Wing had created the secret ‘ Red Dragon’ scheme. Red Dragon supported three potential Chinese leaders, Kang Yu Wei, Yung Wing and Sun Yat Sen.
          Perhaps Boothe learned the real meaning of a revolution from Lea. Making a fortune was no longer his main goal; he was already rich. The Red Dragon never materialized due to lack of the support of major financial bankers as well as the tycoon, JP Morgan. After the scheme failed, Boothe still managed to get financial support from the meat and produce industry and other resources. He would have liked to see the revolution happen as a result of his own efforts. Dr. Sun was thankful and respected him, though the outcome of the Red Dragon scheme was not fruitful. He would have been proud to be remembered as a major player in the history of a revolution alongside Homer Lea.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
          
Charles Boothe                   Yung Wing                       Kang Yu Wei                   Liang Chi Chao
 
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About the author of this website                                                Roger Yung
         Roger Yung or Yung Leung Kin was born in Zhong Shan, Guangdong, China, where Dr. Sun Yat Sen was born. He can read and write Chinese, speak Cantonese and a little Mandarin. He examined documents both in English and Chinese during his research for this project. Roger was a photojournalist and a photo feature writer for the China Mail, a past local sister English newspaper of today’s South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. To advance his interest in photography, he came to study at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California where he graduated with a major in film. He currently works as a crime lab photographer in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and writes historical screenplays. He was a member of the Alameda Writers Group in Glendale, California. He interested in the American Civil Wars and modern Chinese History.
 
Acknowledgments
           I would like to thank those wonderful people who have given me their best efforts to assist me for the research of this website and my screenplay. Others have helped proof-read and gave me their support and encouragement.
 
David Piff, William Greene, and Gloria Legaspi - Archives Specialist, National                  
                     Archives and Records Administration, Pacific Region, California.
Carol Leadenham, Brad Bauer, and Lisa Nguyen - Hoover Institution Archives & Library,
                    Stanford University, California.    
Jean Paule - College Archivist, Occidental College, California.
Mike Shea - Reference Librarian, South Pasadena Public Library, California.
Kimberly McKinney - Librarian, Santa Monica Public Library, California.
Debbie Henderson, and Gerard Brane - Associate Librarian, Archival Collection,
                     Sierra Madre Public Library, California.
Gilbert Hom, and Eugene Moy - Chinese Historical Society of Southern California,
                     Chinatown, Los Angeles.
Janet Aird - Freelance feature writer, San Gabriel, California.
Yoshi Ogata - Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Photographer, thanks for the Japanese
                      translation and photographs.
Suji Lee - thanks for her proof-reading and support.
George Hou, and Dr. Paul Colman - for their continued support and encouragement.
 
 
Links  
          This website is perhaps the first one entirely dedicated to our unsung hero, Homer Lea. I list here first four websites for you to know more about Dr. Sun Yat Sen and the places where Lea stayed before.
 
Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Singapore
 
Nanjing Museum for the Site of Chinese Modern History
 
Sun Yat Sen, his Hawaii roots
 
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Museum, Hong Kong
 
Yung Wing Project
 
National Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Taiwan
 
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