Chen Tianhua 1875-1905

A native of Xinhua in Hunan province, Chen was the son of an unsuccessful scholar and worked as a pedlar before studying at various of the colleges of 'new learning' in the late 1890s. In 1903 he travelled to Japan on a government scholarship. He became immersed in radical politics soon after reaching Japan, and wrote his best known works Soul-searching and Alarm Bells. He returned to China after seven months to help found an anti-Qing revolutionary group in Changsha. He was twice forced to flee to Japan after the closure of his journal Liyu Bao and the exposure of a planned insurrection. In 1905 he was party to the founding of Sun Yat-sen's revolutionary group Tongmeng Hui. He drowned himself in a Tokyo bay in protest against Japan's new restrictions on the activities of Chinese students imposed in December 1905.