Born Mar. 19, 1858, in Nanhai District, Kuangtung Province; died Mar. 31, 1927, in Ch’ingtao. Chinese scholar; leader of the Chinese Reform Movement of the late 19th century.
K’ang Yu-wei came from a shenshih family. In 1887 he wrote Ta fung shu (Book on the Great Commonwealth), which expounded his Utopian socialist theory and criticized not only contemporary Chinese feudal society, but also the bourgeois order of the Western world. K’ang Yu-wei advocated the abolition of private property and the creation of a society based on universal equality. In the spring of 1895 he became head of an organized bourgeois-landowner reform movement in China. He wrote a memorandum to the emperor expressing a plan of reforms that outlined the country’s industrial, commercial, and cultural development.
He founded the Ch’ianghsiuohuo Reform Club (Society for National Strengthening) in August 1895 and the Paokuohuo Reform Party (Society to Preserve the Nation) in April 1898. During the period of One Hundred Days of Reform (June 11-Sept. 21, 1898), K’ang Yu-wei and his followers promulgated approximately 60 reform measures in the name of Emperor Kuangsü.
After the defeat of the Reform Party, K’ang Yu-wei left the country. Abroad, he headed the constitutional-monarchist organization Paohuanghuo (Save the Emperor Association) and opposed the revolutionary movement headed by Sun Yat-sen.
S. L. TIKHVINSKII