Although the lack of dedication partly accounted for the defeat of China in all battles in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, some army and naval officers did display valour, either actively or passively. The following is to keep a brief record of these deeds.

Pyongyang, Korea, 15 September 1894

Zuo Baogui

He led 3,500 soldiers defending the Hyongmu Gate () in the north part of the walled city of Pyongyang (capital of today's North Korea). He met his fate on 15 September 1894, while commanding his men up on the ramparts of the city wall. He was wearing his yellow court robe (huang ma gua), apparently to show his loyalty and determination.

Reputed to be "the bravest of all [Chinese generals]," Zuo was frequently cited in contemporary Japanese war reports and depicted in war prints.

One Chinese short story written by Zhenyong around the 1930s has him captured by the Japanese. Refusing to surrender, he gave himself up to fate -- so the short story goes.

"Korea's oldest city, Pyongyang was founded, according to legend, in 1122 B.C." -- Columbia Encyclopedia

Yellow Sea, 17 September 1894
Deng Shichang

Lin Yongsheng

Deng, captain of the 2,300-ton cruiser Chih Yuan, and his crew's fate was sealed when their vessel was hit by a torpedo during the world-famous Battle of the Yellow Sea, the first full-scale confrontation between two national fleets of ironclads in modern times.

Lin's 2,850-ton cruiser, Ching Yuan, and the entire crew also met their fate in the same afternoon.

Weihaiwei, Shandong Province, 1894-1895
They sealed
their own fate
Ding Yuchang, Admiral of the Peiyang (North Ocean) Fleet
Liu Buchan, Captain of the battleship Ting Yuan
Lin Taizeng , Captain of the battleship Chen Yuan
Yang Yonglin , Acting Captain of Chen Yuan
Zhang Wenxuan , Commander of the land forces on Liugongdao Island

It may be noted that all of the highest-ranking naval officers -- the Admiral and the captains of the two battleships -- held themselves responsible, in the ultimate way.


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From the Gardener: Louis Chor. Canada, December 1997. Revised October 2016