W. H. Donald
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1903 to 1910

    • May 1903 : Donald arrives in Hong Kong to begin work with the China Mail.
    • 1905: His scoop report on the Russo-Japanese war informs several Western newspapers.
    • 1905: He becomes an informal adviser to the Viceroy of neighbouring province, Canton.
    • 1908: Seeing other journalists receive medals for their "pro-Japanese" reports of the Russo/Japanese war, Donald lobbies for a similar honour - and gets it from Tokyo.
    • 1908: He quits as Managing Editor of China Mail and continues to write for a variety of journals including the Manchester Guardian, New York Herald and Australian newspapers. His reputation as a Far Eastern reporter rivals that of felow Australian Dr. George Morrison of the London Times.
    • Meanwhile: His decision "not" to learn Chinese, his undisguised dislike of Chinese food and a frank aversion to "saving face" oddly work in his favour.
    • 1908: Donald writes an invaluable history of the press in China and Hong Kong. 
    • 1910/11: His first observations of Sun Yat-sen's future contesting 'heirs': Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei. In 1910, Wang attempts to kill the Prince Regent - and narrowly avoids execution.

1911 - 1920

    • 1911: Donald moves to Shanghai where he befriends 'Charlie' Soong, father to a "dynasty" that will dominate national politics for 2 decades, straddling the 1920s, 30s & 40s.
    • Meanwhile: Don becomes a family 'uncle' to the Soong children, especially to his favourite, Soong Mei-ling (the future Mme. Chiang Kai-shek).
    • 1911: Events on the "double 10" (October 10) precipitate a premature revolt by the followers of Dr. Sun Yat-sen against the Manchu (Qing) dynasty. Dr. Sun rushes back to China from abroad. Don participates in the fighting, with friend and mentor, Roy Scott Anderson.
    • 1911/12: He writes 'several proclamations' for Dr Sun, who becomes a very short-term provisional President of the Republic. Dr. Sun hands the reins of power to military strongman Yuan Shih-kei (d. 1916), a born-again 'republican' with a secret yen to be Emperor. Don's fellow countryman, Dr. G. Morrison, becomes adviser to President Yuan. 
    • 1911/12 - 1920: Don edits a key economic monthly, Far Eastern Review, based in Shanghai.
    • 1915: He reportedly leaks Japan's infamous 21 Demands upon China to the Western press (the "or else" implications not being fully realised until 1937 - the beginning of world War Two).
    • 1917: in concert with American Minister (Paul Reinsch) and others, Don urges Chinese participation in the Great War (1914-18) to help thwart Japanese territorial ambitions in the East.
    • Meanwhile: (1916-27) China's "warlord era" shatters the nation. Dr. Sun (d. 1925), still dominant in the south, plans to set up a military college under protege Chiang Kai-shek. It will lead to a military "Northern Expedition" to fulfil Sun's dream of a united and independent China.
    • Meanwhile (1918): US intelligence and the British Foreign Office have approached Donald for "any information on Far Eastern Affairs.".
    • 1919: The Far Eastern Review (presumably shaped by editor Donald) runs a very long editorial sympathetic to the May 4 movement (1919). "May 4" is (among other things) China's greatest mass push for democracy since the 1911 revolution.
    • 1920: Don resigns from the Far Eastern Review when publisher George Rea pushes a pro-Japanese line for the journal.

A Chinese life  Pages 1 - 2

Don Who?!Death in ShanghaiWorld views DonA Chinese life ...Don - the BookDon - the PlayScholarlyHomeChinese researchOn the AuthorTOPPersonals 

Copyright, Frank Bren 2001. Photographs of Mr. Donald and friends are reproduced by kind permission of the Donald family (Australia) and Ansie Lee Sperry (USA). For all enquiries, please contact the Manager via frankmondial@lycos.com . Oh, and many thanks for visiting this site.