Phan Boi Chau

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Phan Bội Châu
BirthplaceSa Nam, Nghệ An, Vietnam
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phan Boi Chau


Born Dec. 26, 1867, in Nam Dan District, Nghe An Province; died Oct. 29, 1940, in Hué. Vietnamese political figure, writer, and publicist; ideologist of the revolutionary-democratic wing of the national liberation movement in Vietnam in the early 20th century.

The son of a village schoolteacher, Phan Boi Chau began his literary career at an early age. His writings include caustic political pamphlets against French domination in Indochina. In the late 19th century he took part in the anti-French can vuong movement, an armed struggle conducted against French domination in order to restore the Vietnamese monarchy. He believed that individual acts of terrorism were permissible and that the segments of society with the greatest political strength were the intelligentsia and the military. In 1904 in Quang Nam Province (central Vietnam) he secretly founded the first political organization in the history of Vietnam, the Association for the Restoration of Vietnam.

Phan Boi Chau met several times with Sun Yat-sen and other representatives of the revolutionary camp of Chinese emigres in Japan. Gradually abandoning his monarchist ideals, he adopted a revolutionary-democratic position. In February 1912 he founded in China, where many Vietnamese political émigrés were living, the Association for the Rebirth of Vietnam. It replaced the Association for the Restoration of Vietnam, which had disbanded by then. Phan Boi Chau was made general secretary of the new association, which existed until 1924. Arrested in southern China by Chinese militarists in 1914, he remained in prison until 1917. In June 1925 he was arrested by the French secret police in Shanghai, taken to Vietnam, and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor. He was, however, released in December 1925 under the pressure of public opinion. Thereafter he lived in Hué, to which he was restricted.

Phan Boi Chau had a great interest in Soviet Russia and strove to grasp the significance of the October Revolution. He regarded his literary work as an extension of his political activity. Remaining primarily within the framework of classical genres, he produced the verse epistle Letter From Across the Sea, Written in Blood (1906), the historical novel The Sincere History of Trung Quang (1921), and the narrative poem Medicine for Simple Folk (1927). He summarized his career in his memoirs, Years in the Life of Phan Boi Chau (1939). Phan Boi Chau is revered in Vietnam as a great patriot.


Mkhitarian, S. A. Rabochii klass i natsional’no-osvoboditel’noe dvizhenie vo V’etname. Moscow, 1967.
Nha yeu nu oc va nha van Phan Boi Chau. Hanoi, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Returns to Viet Nam: Liang Qichao and Phan Boi Chau
In the middle of the 1920s, was it really "the venerable voices of Phan Chu Trinh, in public lectures, and Phan Boi Chau, speaking in his defence during his trial", that "woke many Vietnamese from the mental somnolence induced by living under French rule" (p.
The nationalist forerunner Phan Chau Trinh (1872-1926; also known as Phan Chu Trinh) is just barely known to the non-Vietnamese public, usually being relegated to a role in the shadow of the well-known wouldbe revolutionary Phan Boi Chau. The semi-official anthology Vietnamese literature (Hanoi: Red River 1982) mentions him rather disapprovingly as a promoter of bourgeois reform who naively believed that Vietnam might gain from the French colonial civilizing mission.
Phan Boi Chau, un des premiers representants du mouvement national et anticolonialiste, (31) demande la liberation complete de la societe tonkinoise et analyse pour la premiere fois en detail les sources de mecontentement du peuple, les injustices dont les Francais sont coupables (32).
Phan Boi Chau, the great Vietnamese patriot, lived in Hue during those years, confined under house arrest by a French colonial court order.
Though De Tham's area of control was limited, it was, in the words of nationalist leader Phan Boi Chau (1867-1940), "like a little island of freedom after the loss of our country." (39) De Tham's autonomous area existed until he was eventually killed by a French-hired assassin in 1913.
(32) In this vein, the eminent anticolonialist of the early twentieth century, (Mr.) Phan Boi Chau, composed a drama about the Tr[]ng sisters in which they were skillfully appropriated to promote the movement for national independence.
Phan Chau Trinh, as Vinh Sinh points out in his extended and extremely useful introduction, has long existed in the shadow of his contemporary Phan Boi Chau. Phan Boi Chau's relentless revolutionary activism had greater appeal to subsequent generations of Vietnamese looking back on the early anticolonial struggles.
Overturned Chariot: The Autobiography of Phan Boi Chau. Translated by Vinh Sinh and Nicholas Wickenden.
Cu'o'ng De is a well-known figure in the narrative of Vietnamese nationalism, but he is usually overshadowed by Phan Boi Chau, with whom he was associated for a number of years, or else by the activities of the Japanese who were his patrons for much of his life.
Phan Boi Chau, the most famous Vietnamese anti-colonialist at the time, began sending Vietnamese youths to Japan to study modern ideas.