Vision and Determination

Wang Jingwei photographed in 1910

Wang Jingwei photographed in 1910

Wang Jingwei wrote in “Autobiographical Sketch” (Oriental Magazine, January 1934):

“I believe my speeches and essays represent my biography most truthfully… My determination for revolution has never changed. Yet, my attitudes toward people and events have changed throughout the years, and I am always outspoken about the reasons behind the changes. As for whether these reasons are right or wrong, I invite people of the present and the future to make their own comments.”

A founder of the Wang Jingwei Trust, Ho Mang Hang, said, “To understand him [Wang Jingwei] as a person, as well as his political thinking and aspirations, it is necessary to read his poetry and essays, especially “Determination for Revolution” and the poem “A recount of my vision and sentiments,” which are essential reading for those who wish to explore Wang Jingwei, both as a person and his deeds.”

As an aide to readers of Wang’s work today, Ho Mang Hang recited “Determination for Revolution” and “A recount of my vision and sentiments” in Cantonese and added his own explanations so that present and future generations will better understand and appreciate this seminal work.

When Wang Jingwei was arrested for attempting to assassinate the Prince Regent Zai Feng in 1910, three of his essays were found sewn into the lining of his coat. One of these was “Determination for Revolution,” which had been published a few months earlier in Minbao. During his interrogation, Wang proclaimed, “These essays were first written with ink, now I want to write them in blood.” Thirty years later, in the conclusion of “After the Telegram of 29 December 1938 (yandian)” Wang again mentioned “Determination for Revolution” and restated his pledge to use what remained of his self as a contribution to the Peace Movement. In a poem written in 1941, he referred to “cooking rice” as a metaphor for revolution, which was first explained in the final paragraph of “Determination for Revolution”:

“The courage to not fear death is achieved with strength, while the courage to not hide from trouble is achieved with single-minded virtue. Both kinds of courage are needed. To use cooking rice as a metaphor, firewood is needed to heat the cauldron that contains the rice. When the firewood starts to burn, it creates a roaring fire. In a blink of an eye, the firewood turns to ashes. Although physically gone, the expanded heat that the firewood creates is an essential element to cooking rice. The cauldron is also useful; it is not eroded by water and fire cannot melt it. With fire and water burning, the cauldron would not change when the rice is cooked, even though it suffers from the pain of heat. Revolutionaries! Are we prepared to be firewood or cauldron? That depends on each or our personalities, each of our best efforts. Using cooked rice as a metaphor for the outcome of the Revolution, those 400 million fellow Chinese who await for the Revolution to soothe their suffering are like hungry people who are waiting to be fed. Revolutionaries, whether you use your bodies as firewood or cauldron, when the rice is cooked, we can share it with the 400 million fellow Chinese!”

In 1947, while he was imprisoned for twelve years as a “cultural hanjian” (traitor to China) the great scholar Long Yusheng wrote “Determination for Revolution” on five pieces of paper glued together. At the beginning of this long scroll, Long offered an assessment of his good friend:

“Wang’s learning came from the tradition of Wang Yangming and carried on the tradition of Mencius. This sentiment and his will remained the same through the four or five decades [of Wang’s life]. From aggression [in youth] to persistence [in later years], he put aside what most people treasure: how his reputation would be affected. In spite of much difficulty, he died with his firm belief. His benevolence and humble will persist as the sun and the stars.”

“Determination for Revolution” illustrates Wang’s revolutionary principles and describes how the revolutionaries’s intent stems from Mencius’s view of innate ethical disposition: compassion for the pain and suffering, death and insult imposed on his fellowmen. The insignificant self would spare no effort to shoulder the world’s burdens until death. Such tenacity is unafraid of death; it does not dissipate amid riches and glory; it remains unmoved by poverty and lowliness, unbent under force. Unafraid of trouble, untempted by fame and fortune, the revolutionaries are bent on sharing the fruits of the Revolution with their fellow countrymen. Wang Jingwei used Mencius’s 「惻隱之心」 concept of compassion and Wang Yangming’s idea of 「良知」 innate benevolence as guidance for his personal conduct throughout his life.

Download〈革命之決心〉Geming de juexin “Determination for Revolution”

〈革命之決心〉Geming de juexin “Determination for Revolution”(1)

Determination for Revolution (1)

〈革命之決心〉Geming de juexin “Determination for Revolution”(2)

Determination for Revolution (2)

〈革命之決心〉Geming de juexin “Determination for Revolution”(3)

Determination for Revolution (3)

In 1910, while in prison for an attempt on the Prince Regent Zaifeng’s life, Wang Jingwei wrote the poem〈述懷〉 (“A recount of my vision and sentiments”) which describes his education and upbringing and the emotional journey of sacrificing his life for the Revolution. His 1934 “Autobiographical Sketch” is an expression of his viewpoints and arguments with a special mention of this poem. Similar to 〈革命之決心〉 “Determination for Revolution,” “A recount of my vision and sentiments” reveals Wang’s ideas and for the Revolution.

形骸有死生.性情有哀樂.此生何所為.此情何所託.嗟余幼孤露.學殖苦磽确.蓼莪懷辛酸.菜根甘澹泊.心欲依墳塋.身欲棲巖壑.憂患來薄人.其勢疾如撲.一朝出門去.萬里驚寥落.感時積磊塊.頓欲忘疏略.鋒鋩未淬厲.持以試盤錯.蒼茫越關山.暮色照行橐.瘴雨黯蠻荒.寒雲蔽窮朔.山川氣悽愴.華採亦銷鑠.愀然不敢顧.俯仰有餘怍.遂令新亭淚.一灑已千斛.回頭望故鄉.中情自惕若.尚憶牽衣時.謬把歸期約.蕭條庭前樹.上有慈烏啄.孤姪襁褓中.視我眸灼灼.兒乎其已喻.使我心如斫.沈沈此一別.賸有夢魂噩.哀哉衆生病.欲救無良藥.歌哭亦徒爾.搔爬苦不着.針砭不見血.痿痺何由作.驅車易水傍.嗚咽聲如昨.漸離不可見.燕市成荒寞.悲風天際來.驚塵暗城郭.萬象刺心目.痛苦甚炮烙.恨如九鼎壓.命似一毛擢.大椎飛博浪.比戶十日索.初心雖不遂.死所亦已獲.此時神明靜.蕭然臨湯鑊.九死誠不辭.所失但軀殼.悠悠檻穽中.師友嗟已邈.我書如我師.對越凜矩矱.昨夜我師言.孺子頗不惡.但有一事劣.昧昧无由覺.如何習靜久.輒爾心躍躍.有如寒潭深.潛虯自騰轢.又如秋飆動.鷙鳥聳以愕.百感紛相乘.至道終隔膜.悚息聞師言.愧汗駭如濯.平生慕慷慨.養氣殊未學.哀樂過劇烈.精氣潛摧剝.餘生何足論.魂魄亦已弱.痌瘝耿在抱.涵泳歸沖漠.琅琅讀西銘.清響動寥廓.

汪精衛在〈自述〉中申述他的主張與議論時,曾特別提到此詩。與〈革命之決心〉一文一樣,〈述懷〉充份表露了早期汪精衛的革命理念與心跡。請點此寧聽:
〈述懷〉Shuhuai (“A recount of my vision and sentiments”)

“A recount of my vision and sentiments”