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Charlie Soong

Charles Jones Soong (宋嘉樹 Pinyin: SÚng Jiāshý) (February 1863, 1864 or 1866 - May 3, 1918), courtesy name Yaoru (耀如, hence his alternate name: Soong Yao-ju), was a Hakka Chinese who achieved prominence as a missionary and businessman. His children become some of the most prominent people in the early Republic of China. Originally, he romanized his surname to be Soon.

Soong, born Han Jiaozhun (韓教準) in Hainan as the third son of Han Hongyi (韓鴻翼), changed his surname after a sonless uncle adopted him while he worked in Boston since twelve. He converted to Christianity at fifteen, started studying Christian theology at sixteen or eighteen, and became a Methodist missionary in 1885. He graduated from Vanderbilt University. In January 1886, he moved to Shanghai, and married Ni Kwei-tseng (倪桂珍 Guizhen) later that year. Their children, in order of age, were:

Charlie Soong resigned his missionary position at 26 and started doing business in cigarettes and cotton. He was the owner of a printing firm: Meihua Printing Press (美華印書館), which printed Chinese Bibles. He was also the president of Fufeng Flour Company (福豐麵粉廠).

After meeting and befriending Sun Yat-sen and Lu Hao-tung in summer 1894 in Shanghai, Soong donated over 20,000 dollars to the Tongmenghui led by Sun. (His daughter Ch'ing-ling later married Sun.) He also secretly published anti-Qing revolutionary material along with his bibles.

Soong died of stomach cancer.

See also: History of the Republic of China