Eugene Chen

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Eugene Chen

On July 2, 1878 Eugene Bernard Acham was born in San Fernando, Trinidad to parents Chen Guangquan and Mary Longchallon. His father fled to Trinidad from China where he met Chen’s mother Mary. According to author J.A. Rodgers, Chen is of African – Chinese – Spanish heritage. He received his education from St. Mary’s College, Port of Spain, Trinidad. He then received his law degree in London, England and was admitted to the London Bar Association. He used his education to help him build a successful law practice in Trinidad. In 1899 Chen married Agatha Alphonsin Ganteaume, a black woman of French Creole descent. Due to Chen’s success as a lawyer he was able to build wealth; but he soon lost his wealth due to financial troubles. He fled Trinidad for Peking, China to become the legal advisor to the Ministry of Communications.

Eugene Acham changed his last name to Chen when he fled Trinidad for China. Chen was able to start three newspapers, The Peking Gazette, The Shanghai Gazette and People’s Tribune. His next step was to become the legal advisor to Sun Yat Sen and the Chinese Foreign Minister. He served as legal advisor until the minister’s death in 1925. From 1926 – 1934 he served as Foreign Minister for three Chinese governments, as well as led a boycott against British commercial interest. The result of the boycott led to the signing of the Chen-O’Malley Agreement, which allowed Hong Kong to become Chinese property again. Chen was later arrested for his newspaper articles denouncing the German, French and British control over China. Because he was considered a British citizen, he was released from jail.

Chen is regarded is the brains, and soul of the Chinese revolution. Chen was now living on Moscow, Russia and initially was welcomed to live. He soon began working with Russians in build a Chinese Communist party, but was stopped and exiled. He returned to Hong Kong in 1944 where he remarried and settled.  He remained at the forefront of the fight for the freedom and equality of his people until his death. Mr. Eugene Chen, we proudly stand on your shoulders.

J.A. Ward.

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