Phan Boi Chau

(redirected from Phan Giai San)
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.