Gao Youming was born on the 13th march, 1886 in the village of
Gaojiabaozi, near the town of WangQiao in Jingyang County, Shaanxi.
His father, Gao Yilong, was a farmer and a doctor. He had a fiercely
non-conformist spirit and left his hometown after offending a tyrannic
nobleman by defending somebody for an injustice.
The family was so poor that they could not afford a teacher for
Gao Youming. So, at the age of 12 he became a boy school attendant
to Bo Huimin, the son of Bo Sen, a rich man from Jingyang County.
He later studied at Hongdao School in Sanyuan County.
Gao had very strong anti-Qing dynasty beliefs, which came to light
through meeting radical friends when he was young. He came in contact
with Jing Wumu from his hometown and through him got to know other
radical youths, such as Xiong Kewu, Dan Maoxin, etc, while on a
business trip to Sichuan in 1903.
In the winter of 1905, the secretary of the Shaanxi bransch of
the Chinese Revolutionary League (Tung Meng Hui), Jing Wumu, returned
to Shaanxi at the order of Sun Yat-sen, to establish the Shaanxi
Revolutionary League. Jing Wumu introduced Gao Youming to the league
and invited him to join.
In the spring of 1906 the first full-members session of the Shaanxi
Revolutionary League was held at Beiji Palace in Sanyuan County.
Jing Wumu proposed an alliance with the Huidang Party and the Knight-Errants
to fight against the Qing Dynasty. Some Revolutionary League members
were prejudiced against the Huidang party and thought it scornful
to associate with them. Jing's motion was not passed. Gao Youming
strongly supported Jing's proposal and diligently tried to put Jing's
beliefs into practice. He introduced Jing to the leader of the Huidang
Party, Wu Xubo, so that they could get to know each other. After
negotiations between Jing Wumu, Gou Xiren, Gao Youming and Wu Xubo,
an alliance was eventually formed with the Huidang Party.
In October 1907 the cadre men of the Revolutionary League, Jing
Wumu, Gao Youming together with Wu Xubo held a secret meeting at
the Yellow Emperor's mausoleum. They put together a concrete proposal
to "wipe out the autocratic regime and establish a republic."
This formed the basis of the alliance's anti-Qing Dynasty policy.
In autumn 1908 at the meeting to set-up the Shaanxi bransch of the
Revolutionary League, they finally passed the proposal to bring
the Knight-Errants into the alliance against the Qing court. This
was a major step in the anti-Qing struggle in Shaanxi.
Meanwhile, Gao Youming persuaded Bo Xiaoyu, Wu Xizhen, etc, to
join the Revolutionary League. He arranged for the meeting to take
place in secret in the garden of Bo Xiaoyu's home in west Jingyang
County. A lot of important activities took place there and Gao Youming
presided over the revolutionary work in the garden of Bo's home.
In spring 1910 Jing Wumu returned to Shaanxi from Shanghai at the
order of Sun Yat-sen. He lived in Bo's garden for more than 20 days,
during which time he drafted the constitution and the program and
discussed the overall plan for the anti'Qing struggle. During the
revolution of 1911 in Shaanxi this became known as the pivotal "meeting
in the garden of Bo's family ". In the meeting they recommended
that Jing Wumu, Zou Ziliang and Song Xiangchen should be generally
responsible for meeting affairs, Gao Youming for printing, weapon
manufacture and production and buying of medicines, etc. He did
a lot of work towards the process of arranging and holding meetings.
He said: "we can achieve success provided that we are fearless
of death, we are just, patient and not tempted by wealth and honor."
Soon after, the Shaanxi Revolutionary League sent the engineer,
Wen Ziqiang, to Shaanxi for teaching the technology of bomb-making.
Gao made bombs and other weapons in the Tongrun equipment factory
in Chunhua County in preparation for the uprising. After that, Xiong
Kewu changed his name to Liu Yifeng and came to Shaanxi to inspect
and encourage the work. The most difficult thing was that there
was no source of munitions in Northwest China, and it was very difficult
to get them from outside. So Gao went with Xiong Kewu to Shanghai
to study the technology of smokeless dynamite.
This was at the same time that Wu Yuzhang, Dan Maoxin, Jing Wumu
and Xiong Kewu were getting together to arrange the Guangzhou uprising.
Gao immediately returned to Shaanxi to commence the activities.
In February 1911, Gao Youming, together with Bo Xiaoyu and others
went to Shanghai via Hankou to continue their research into bomb
manufacture. They had a close connection with Yu Youren, Song Jiaoren,
Chen Qimei, Tan Renfeng and other important figures of the Revolutionary
League in the middle Yangtze River valley.
On 22nd October 1911 the Xi'an uprising broke out and the military
government was established. Gao Youming was given the title of ordnance
officer, responsible for making landmines and bombs. He led the
bomb teams that went to all the battle fields in both the East and
West of the country and contributed to protecting the newly born
revolutionary regime. He was honored as the initiator among ordnance
manufacturers in Shaanxi. In order to praise and encourage his achievements
Sun Yat-sen wrote "Bo Ai" (means Philanthropism) to him
as a present.
When the Maintain the Nation order stable Army (Jingguo Army) arose
and developed, Gao was appointed as section chief of the ordnance
department at the headquarters of the Maintain the Nation order
stable Army and section chief of the ordnance department of Hu Jingyi's
No.4 Road Army. He suffered a lot in order to plan for providing
munitions and medical supplies to the Army.
In 1924 Hu Jingyi formed a secret alliance with Sun Yue and Feng
Yuxiang to start the world famous "Beijing Revolution"
and to build up the National Army. They invited Sun Yat-sen by cable
to North China to preside over national affairs. Then Gao was the
section chief of the ordnance department of No.2 National Army and
director of the munitions bureau. He was really Hu's right hand
On 12th March 1925 Sun Yat-sen died of illness. Hu Jingyi died
later of disease. Gao Youming found the country was becoming split,
so he left Henan for Shaanxi and finally settled down in Xi'an.When
General Yang Hucheng stayed in Shaanxi Gao was invited to be the
Before and after the affairs of 9.18 Gao Youming raised funds,
out of patriotic enthusiasm, with his friends Du Yinsan, Nan Hanchen,
Du Bincheng, Kou Xia, Shao Lizi and Han Wangchen to establish the
"Xi'an Integrated Three Acid factory", "Xi'an Afang
Palace Cinema" and the "Xijing General merchandise Company"
in the hope of developing national industry, commerce and culture.
The Integrated Three Acid Factory became a mass producer in 1933,
not only satisfying the needs for three acids (sulphuric, nitric
and hydrochloric) of the ordnance department of No.17 Road Army,
but also offering it to Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia border area governments
at a special discount of 30%. Also, following General Yang Hucheng's
inspiration, Gao took the Bell Tower stall as cover to rescue "underground"
Before and after the anti-Japanese war Gao sympathized with the
national united frontline of the anti-Japanese war led by the CCP.
He supported them, actively advocating General Zhang Xueliang and
Yang Hucheng's proposal of remonstration, agreeing to stopping the
civil war and becoming unified in the fight against the Japanese
invaders, and peacefully settling the Xi'an incident. He took advantage
of his social connections and offered the communist Fan Zhongli,
who was involved in the anti-Japanese activities and in the campaign
to save the dying country, much help and support. He brought Fan
to visit Jing Meijiu, Zhangji and other renowned persons and propagated
the Communists' policy a united anti-Japanese front. He took care
of and gave financial support to the progressive magazine called
In the winter of 1947 the anniversary party of the Chinese Revolutionary
League was established. In a letter it said: "Old comrade Youming
is enormously popular and has made contributions to the party and
to the nation". He was awarded the No.2 certificate of the
Shaanxi Revolutionary League. Li Jishen, the chairman of the revolutionary
committee of the Chinese national party corresponded with Gao Youming
by letter during the spring of 1948 and made an appointment with
the old members of the Revolutionary League in Shaanxi to be anti
civil war and to strive for democracy. Welcome the liberation of
Xi'an. But the gentleman became seriously ill and was bedridden
for a long time due to overwork. On 22nd May 1951, at the age of
66, he died of illness. （Zhang yingchao）
"Who's Who in modern Shaanxi"（the first volume）
Compiled by the Seminar of CCP's history of Shaanxi
Published by Northwest University in 1988
《陕西近现代名人录》《高又明》英译文 高 森翻译