Emeritus Professor John Y. Wong


Biographical Details

Professor Wong is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in the UK. His life-long research on British imperialism is showcased in his Deadly Dreams: Opium, Imperialism, and the 'Arrow' War (1856-1860) in China (Cambridge hardback 1998, Paperback 2003 and 2008). An updated and greatly expanded Chinese version will be published in 2019.

His 'Limits of Naval Power: British Gunboat Diplomacy in China from the Nemesis to the Amethyst, 1839-1949', War and Society, v. 8, no. 2 (October 2000), pp. 93-120, is anthologised in Andrew Lambert (ed.), Naval History 1850-present (Aldershot, England; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2007), vol. 1, pp. 13-40. (This anthology is part of a series entitled International Library of Essays on Military History, edited by Jeremy Black.)

His concern for China's fate will crystallise in his forthcoming four-volume tome on the founder of Modern China Sun Yatsen (1866-1925) in a rapidly Globalising world (1800-2024). This project is gradually built up on the basis of his independent studies, the latest of which being entitled Sun Yatsen before the Age of Thirty. Written in Chinese and published in Hong Kong at the height of the centennial celebrations in 2011 of the October 1911 Chinese National Revolution led by Sun Yatsen, it took China by storm. The influential Phoenix TV devoted the entire 8 minutes of a book-review program to it on 13 October 2011. Then feeling that he had not had enough of his say, the reviewer devoted another 8 minutes to it the next day. Chapter by chapter the reviewer pointed out how the book exposed the way orthodox Chinese historians had faked a Father of the Nation. Numerous Chinese-language bloggers relayed the review, probably as a silent protest against their drowning in fake milk, dying at the hands of fake doctors, feasting on fake birds-nests, etc,

Despite all this, the censors granted permission for a Beijing edition of the book, which was published in March 2012. Not a word had been changed without Professor Wong's permission - a sign of progress indeed - and Professor Wong used the opportunity to fine-tune his work further. The two editions made a total print run of 8,500.

The links to this two-part TV book review are:





































2009 2011 2012  2015 2016
   Book cover    
2016 2016 2016  2018  2018

Publications for John Wong


Wong, J. (2016). From the Opium Wars to the 1911 Revolution, published in Taiwan on 16 November 2016

Wong, J. (2016).  Sun Yaten’s Revolution: The Bible and the Book of Changes (in Chinese) published 4 September 2016

Wong, J. (2016).  Sun Yaten’s Revolution: The Bible and the Book of Changes (in Taiwanese) published 4 October 2016

Wong, J. (2016). The Historian as a Detective (in Chinese). Hong Kong: China Press, 2016, xiv + 713 pp.


Wong, J. (2015). Sun Yatsen's Revolution: The Bible and the Yijing (in Chinese). Hong Kong: China Press, 2015 vii + 571 pp.


Wong, J. (2013). An Analysis of English-language Press Opinion on the 1895 Uprising and the 1911 Revolution.  In Wang Xiauqiu (Eds.), The 1911 Revolution and the World: Proceedings of the Centenary Conference held at Peking University, (pp. 42-50). Beijing: Peking University Press.

Wong, J. (2013). Contemporary Relevance of Recent Western Scholarship on the Opium Wars. Journal of Tsinghua University (Philosophy and Social Sciences), 28(1), 84-93.

Wong, J. (2013). My research on Sun Yatsen. Shanghai Evening News.

Wong, J. (2013). Sun Yatsen's Knowldege and Practice of Classical Chinese Learning.Chinese Classics, 11, 185-199.

Wong, J. (2013). The Gulf Between East and West in Taiping Rebellion Research.  In Stephen R Platt (Eds.), Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War, (pp. 5-22). Taipei, Taiwan: Acropolis.

Wong, J. (2013). The Mission of a University. Rites and Music, 1, 85-109.


Wong, J. (2012). Father of the Republic, Sun Yatsen: Micro-research, Macro-interpretation. In Fang-Shang Lu (Eds.), Lecture Series on the Republic of China: A Centennial History, (pp. 2-20). Taipei, Taiwan: Academia Historica.

Wong, J. (2012). How did Sun Yatsen escape from Guangzhou after the aborted Guangzhou Uprising on 1859?  In Pan Xuanhiu, Huang Xianqiang, Chen Dinghui (Eds.), The 1911 Revolution: Sun Yatsen and his Fellow Revolutionaries, (pp. 21-36). Singapore: Sun Yat Sen Museum (Nanyang Memorial Hall), Singapore.


Wong, J. (2011). San shi sui qian de Sun Zhongshan : Cuiheng, Tandao, Xianggang, 1866-1895 (Sun Yatsen before the Age of Thirty: Cuiheng, Tandao, Xianggang, 1866-1895). Hong Kong: Chunghwa Book Company (Hong Kong), xii + 713 pp.

Wong, J. (2011). The British Model in Sun Yat-sen's Vision of Modernization for China.  In Lee Lai To and Lee Hock Guan (Eds.), Sun Yat-Sen, Nanyang and the 1911 Revolution, (pp. 17-27). Pasir Panjang, Singapore: ISEAS Publishing (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies).


Wong, J. (2009). The "Periphery-Centre" Paradigm as Applied Politically to Hong Kong-Beijing Relations. Paradigms and Perspectives in Hong Kong Studies, Hong Kong: Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong.

Wong, J. (2009). The Importance of Studying Sun Yatsen's Childhood and Youth, and the Difficulties in Conducting Serious Research on Them. Proceedings of the Sun Yatsen International Conference to Mark the 140th Anniversary of Sun Yatsens Birth, (pp. 1125-1146). China: Social Sciences Academic Press.

Wong, J. (2009). Was Sun Yatsen Hakka or Cantonese? Chinese Culture Quarterly, 7(1), 101-191.

Wong, J. (2009). Yeh Ming-Chen: Viceroy of Liang Kuang 1852-8. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


Wong, J. (2008). The Myths about Sun Yatsen's Revolutionary Activities in Macao, 1892-1894. Chinese Culture Quarterly, 6(2), 104-171.


Wong, J. (2007). Limits of Naval Power: British Gunboat Diplomacy in China from the Nemisis to the Amethyst, 1839-1949.  In Andrew Lambert (Eds.), <i>Naval History 1850-Present

Volume 1</i>.  (pp. 13-40). United Kingdom: Ashgate.

Wong, J. (2007). London and the Chinese Revolution: Exploring the London Origins of Sun Yatsen's Three Principles 1896-1897. Taibei: Lian Jing Books, xiii + 580 pp.

Wong, J. (2007). Reinventing China: British Attempts to Remake the Middle Kingdom in Its Own Image, 1856-1900. Chinese Culture Quarterly, 5(3), 156-211.

Wong, J. (2007). Sun Yatsen's Political Thinking. China: Lian Jing Books.

Wong, J. (2007). The Friendship between Sun Yatsen and Minakata Kumagusu in London, 1897.  In Sun Yatsen Study Institute of Japan (Eds.), Sun Yatsen and Minakata Kumagusu, (pp. 24-54). Tokyo: Kyuhko Shoin.


Wong, J. (2006). Modern China in a Globalizing World: Commissioner Ye's Archive as a Force of Globalization. Chinese Culture Quarterly, 4(3), 218-265.

Wong, J. (2006). Was Sun Yatsen Ever an Inmate of Hong Kong's Victoria Jail. Chinese Culture Quarterly, 4(1), 291-324.


Wong, J. (2005). How Britain made Sun Yatsen a Revolutionary Leader for China.  In Lin Jiayou and Li Ming (Eds.), Put China in the Proper World Perspective, (pp. 333-371). Tianjin: Guji Publishing House.

Wong, J. (2005). On Dikotter's "Narcotic Culture" and others. Academia Sinica. Institute of Modern History. Bulletin, March 2005.

Wong, J. (2005). Sun Yatsen and the British, 1883-1925. Taipei: Xuesheng shuju, xiv + 296 pp.


Wong, J. (2004). British Influence On Sun Yatsen'S Decision To Revolutionise China, 1895 - 1896.  In Lin Jiayou and Li Ming (Eds.), Sun Yatsen and the World, (pp. 250-414). Hangchun, China: The People's Press of Siquan.

Wong, J. (2004). Exploring Yeh Mingchen's Historical Image, with a comparison with that of Lin Zexu. Chinese Culture Quarterly, 2(1), 86-129.


Wong, J. (2003). Historical Memory and Political Culture: The Ballad about Commissioner Yeh in Modern Chinese History. War and Society, 21(1), 15-39.


Wong, J. (2002). An Analysis of Australia-China Relations in the 1940s. China in 1949, China: The People's Press of Siquan.

Wong, J. (2002). Sun Yatsen's Three Principles. The 1911 Revolution, Beijing: Central Archival Publishers,.


Wong, J. (1998). Deadly Dreams: Opium and the Arrow War (1856-1860) in China. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Wong, J. (1998). The Cession of Hong Kong. Taipei, Taiwan: Academia Historica.


Wong, J. (1986). The Origins of an Heroic Image: Sun Yat-sen in London, 1896-1897. USA: Oxford University Press.


Wong, J. (1983). Anglo-Chinese Relations 1839-1860 (Oriental Documents VII). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

In 2014, Professor wrote the centerpiece, entitled ‘It takes two hands to clap: Australia-China relations, from opium to ore’ for the Sydney Theatre Company’s play Kryptonite, staged in September/October 2014. He also gave a public lecture, conjointly with Professor Jocelyn Chey on 28 October 2014, to the Australian Institute of Internationals Relations on the explosive situation in Hong Kong, dubbed the Umbrella Movement.