Yeh Kung-cho (Ye Gongchuo) 葉恭綽

This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.

Yeh Kung-cho

His Excellency Yeh Kung-cho was born in Kwangtung Province in 1882. He received his early education at home under private tuition: and then went to Peking, where he studied at the Government University. After his graduation, he taught in various schools in Hupeh Province. His executive ability was brought to the attention of officials in Peking; and he was called to the Capital, where he was given an official position in the Board of Communications. He showed unusual ability: and his promotions were rapid. He was one of several officials who put forth various plans to have control of the Peking-Hankow Railway returned to the Chinese Government.

After the outbreak of the revolution, in 1911, he left the government service. Later, he was appointed a councillor to the commission which was formed to conduct peace negotiations between the north and the south. He was also a delegate to prepare for the organization of the Provisional Government in Nanking.

After the establishment of the Republic, he was appointed Chief of the Railway Department in the Ministry of Communications: and he served, concurrently, as a member of the Finance Committee. When His Excellency Liang Shih-yi organized the National Railway Association, Mr. Yeh was elected Vice-President of it. He was made Chairman of a committee appointed to decide the technical terms to be used by all Railways in China: and he served for a time as Chairman of the Commission for the standardization of railway statistics and accounts. In this work he was assisted by Dr. C.C. Wang, former Managing Director of the Peking-Hankow Railway and later, Managing Director of the Chinese Eastern Railway.

In July 1913, Mr. Yeh was appointed Vice-Minister of Communications. In 1915, when his patron, His Excellency Liang Shih-yi, lost the favor of the President, Mr. Yeh resigned. After the death of President Yuan Shih-kai, he served as Secretary under the late President Feng Kuo-chang, who was then Vice-President, having headquarters at Nanking.

In the summer of 1917, when General Chang Hsun attempted to restore the Emperor to the Throne, Mr. Yeh assisted Marshal Tuan Chi-jui in the management of transportation affairs for the republican army which was engaged in overthrowing the monarchical movement. When peace was restored, Mr. Yeh was appointed Minister of Communications in the Cabinet formed by Marshal Tuan Chi-jui. He held this post until the winter of 1918: when he resigned.

In 1920, Mr. Yeh was asked to serve as Principal of the Railway College. The following year, when the Cabinet was reorganized under His Excellency Liang Shih-yi, he was again appointed Minister of Communications. However, because of political disagreements, he did nto hold this post long: and he soon retired to private life.

In 1923, Mr. Yeh was appointed Minister of Finance in the Constitutionalist Government: which had been organized at Canton under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In November 1924, after the coup d’état by General Feng Yu-hsiang, by which the Chihli Party was forced out of power, Mr. Yeh accepted the portfolio of Minister of Communications in the Provisional Government at Peking, which was directed by Marshal Tuan Chi-jui, as Chief Executive.

Yeh Kung-cho text


A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 41.