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Discovering Overseas Chinese Intellectuals: Biographies of the Nanyang Chinese in a Journal in Modern China

Abstract: In the early 20th century, the overseas Chinese receiving China’s attention were mainly laborers and businessmen. Little attention was paid to the existence of the overseas Chinese intellectuals, especially those who were English-educated. In 1906, the Shanghai-based The World’s Chinese Students’ Journal introduced a group of prominent foreign-educated Chinese, including some Nanyang-born Chinese. This paper discusses the following questions: why were these overseas Chinese intellectuals introduced by the Journal? What were the similarities of these individuals as well as their relationships with China? and what are the characteristics of these biographical writings?

Keywords: Overseas Chinese intellectuals, The World’s Chinese Students’ Journal, biographical writing, Chinese periodical

Author: Wong Sin Kiong, Ph.D. in History (Indiana University, USA), currently with the Department of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore. Supervisor of Ph.D. students.  Publications include: China’s Anti-American Boycott Movement in 1905: A Study in Urban Protest, and Trans-regional and Cross-disciplinary History: New Perspectives on Modern China and Nanyang Chinese Studies (in Chinese).  Email: chswsk@nus.edu.sg