Ng Choy (Wu Tingfang)
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
|Premier of State Council of the Republic of China|
23 May 1917 - 28 May 1917
|Ambassador of Qing Empire to the United States|
8 March 1908 - 12 August 1909
23 November 1896 - 12 July 1902
|Chinese Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong|
|Sir John Pope Hennessy|
|Born||30 July 1842|
Malacca, Straits Settlements
|Died||23 June 1922 (aged 79)|
Canton, Kwangtung, Republic of China
|Political party||Republican Party|
|Alma mater||St. Paul's College|
University College London
Wu Tingfang (Chinese: , also known as Ng Choy or Ng Achoy (Chinese: ; pinyin: ); 30 July 1842 – 23 June 1922) was a Chinese diplomat and politician who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and briefly as Acting Premier during the early years of the Republic of China.
Wu was born in the Straits Settlement, now modern day Malacca in 1842 and was sent to China in 1846 to be schooled. He studied at the Anglican St. Paul's College, in Hong Kong where he learned to read and write in English. After serving as an interpreter in the Magistrate's Court from 1861 to 1874, he married Ho Miu-ling (sister of Sir Kai Ho) in 1864.
He studied law in the United Kingdom at University College London and was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn (1876). Wu became the first ethnic Chinese barrister in history. After being called to the bar in England, he returned to Hong Kong in 1877 to practise law. He was admitted as a barrister in Hong Kong in a ceremony that May before Chief Justice John Smale who observed:
I am glad to see a Chinaman running in the race the most highly intellectual in the world. I am glad to see that a Chinaman ... has become a member of the English Bar. In England every office becomes open to talent without favour or affection. A distinguished American statesman [J P Benjamin QC] has become, and now is an ornament of the English bar, and all the Bar will gladly hail the time when a Chinaman shall distinguish himself as much as the eminent counsel to whom I refer. I have seen stranger things happen.:262
He served under the Qing dynasty as Minister to the United States, Spain, and Peru from 1896 to 1902 and from 1907 to 1909, having started out as legal adviser and interpreter to powerful diplomat and viceroy Li Hongzhang.:491 As the minister, he lectured widely about Chinese culture and history, in part working to counter discrimination against Chinese emigrants by increasing foreign appreciation of their background.  To further this end, he wrote America, Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat in English in 1914.
Wu is mentioned several times in the diaries of Sir Ernest Satow who was British Envoy in China, 1900-06. For example, on 21 November 1903: "Wu Tingfang came in the afternoon, and stopped talking for an hour and a half about his commercial code and connected subjects. His idea is to draft also a new criminal code, and put both into force at the outset in the open ports."
Wu had an opportunity to implement his ideas about Chinese law reform between 1903-1906, when he (together with Shen Jiaben) were put in charge of reforming the Qing imperial code. His efforts included modernising the criminal code and abolish inhumane methods of capital punishment such as death by a thousand cuts, decapitation and posthumous execution, and use of torture in interrogations. He also reformed the governmental structure for the administration of justice, ending the traditional combined approach. Sun Yat-sen praised Wu's contributions, saying that he began a "new epoch" for Chinese criminal law.
He supported the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and negotiated on the revolutionaries' behalf in Shanghai. He served briefly in early 1912 as Minister of Justice for the Nanjing Provisional Government, where he argued strongly for an independent judiciary, based on his experience studying law and travelling overseas. After this brief posting, Wu became Minister of Foreign Affairs for the ROC. He served briefly in 1917 as Acting Premier of the Republic of China.
He joined Sun Yat-sen's Constitutional Protection Movement and became a member of its governing committee. He advised Sun against becoming the "extraordinary president" but stuck with Sun after the election. He then served as Sun's foreign minister and as acting president when Sun was absent. He died shortly after Chen Jiongming rebelled against Sun in 1922.
Wu was a vegetarian who consumed eggs and milk (ovo-lacto vegetarian). He believed that a non-flesh diet would prolong his life and he would live over a hundred years. Wu abstained from alcohol and tobacco after reading Mary Foote Henderson's book The Aristocracy of Health. He gave speeches on vegetarianism and authored an article "How I Expect to Live Long", published in November 1909 for the Ladies' Home Journal.
Wu founded the Society for Cautious Diet and Hygiene (Shenshi Weisheng Hui) around 1910 in Shanghai. His public lectures on dieting were influential. Wu and his Society argued for the public to eat more wheat. The Society introduced a Western styled bakery to the Shanghainese that offered home delivered wheat flour bread.
Wu's tomb was moved to Yuexiu Hill in Guangzhou in 1988, where it forms an ensemble with the tomb of his son Wu Chaoshu and the memorial tablet bearing an inscription by Sun Yat-sen dedicated to Wu Tingfang.
|Legislative Council of Hong Kong|
Hugh Bold Gibb
| Unofficial Member
|New office|| Senior Chinese Unofficial Member
Title next held byWong Shing
| Premier of the Republic of China
23-25 May 1917