Phan Châu Trinh and His Political Writings
Vinh Sinh, editor & translator
SOSEA-49, 2009 , 152 pages, 4 illustrations.
Phan Châu Trinh (1872–1926) was the earliest proponent of democracy and popular rights in Vietnam. He favored a moderate approach to political change and advised Vietnam’s leaders to seek reform within the French colonial system rather than organize violent resistance. This collection of four of Phan’s essays, accompanied by Vinh Sinh’s masterly introduction, illuminates both this turbulent era and the courageous intelligence of the author.
“… a carefully assembled volume which is sure to become the standard English-language work on the life and thought of Phan Chau Trinh. ...Phan Chau Trinh and His Political Writings is a work that rewards the reader with insightful analysis and provocative questions.
“Impressive and inspiring, Vinh Sinh’s Phan Chau Trinh and His Political Writings should be read by anyone with an interest in the philosophical discourses of political and societal reform in colonial contexts, Vietnamese intellectual history, and the history of early 20th century reform movements in East and Southeast Asia. ... All readers will finish this volume with a fresh appreciation for the work of a frequently overlooked but inarguably important Vietnamese intellectual.” IIAS The Newsletter
Vinh Sinh, editor and translator, is a professor in the Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta. His major publications include: Overturned Chariot: The Autobiography of Phan Bội Châu, co-editor and co-translator (Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999); Phan Bội Châu and the Đông Du Movement, editor (New Haven, CT: Yale Center for International and Area Studies, 1987); Tokutomi Sohô: A Critical Biography (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1994); and The Future Japan, editor and co-translator of Tokutomi Sohô’s book Shôrai no Nihon (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1989), which won the Canada Council’s 1990 Canada-Japan Book Prize.
Phan Châu Trinh (1872–1926), born in Tay Loc, Quang Nam province, Vietnam, was a nationalist leader and reformer who worked for Vietnamese independence. He was the leading proponent of a movement to expel the French while also restructuring Vietnamese society. By 1906 his primary goal was modernization and economic development, from which he believed a Vietnamese democratic republic would gradually follow. In early 1908 Trinh was arrested in Hanoi during a crackdown on anticolonialist agitators, tried, and sentenced to life imprisonment on Poulo Condore (Con Son). In 1911 he was pardoned and released, and thereafter worked with the colonial regime for modernization. The French next subsidized his way to Paris, but early in World War I he was imprisoned again, this time for draft evasion and pro-German leanings. By the time he was released in 1915 he had lost French support. Trinh returned to Vietnam in 1924 and died of tuberculosis in 1926. His week-long national funeral ceremony testified to his broad popularity among all Vietnamese. (Source: www.britannica.com [November 2009])
Southeast Asia Program at Cornell University: