ICS Luncheon invited Dr. Steven K. Luk, a historian and retired bilingual publisher, to deliver a talk titled “Ghee Kung Tong, the Chinese Free Mason of the World and Its Participation in Politics in Republican China” on 15 January 2020.
Dr. Luk was formerly the Director, General Manager and Editor-in-Chief of The Commercial Press (H.K.) Ltd. (1992–1998 & 2008–2013) and Director of The Chinese University Press (1998–2007). He held numerous civic and advisory positions in Hong Kong’s publishing and educational sectors prior to his retirement in 2013. He now resides in the Bay Area, California, and has just published a book on modern Chinese history entitled Dr. Sun Yat-sen and the Overseas Chinese in America: The Ghee Kung Tong & Republican Chinese Politics 孫中山與美洲華僑：洪門致公堂與民國政治 (Commercial Press, HK, July 2019).
Taking advantage of his research on Ghee Kung Tong, Dr. Luk shared with the audience the history about the official Chinese immigration to the US and the rise of Ghee Kung Tong (GKT, Triads) as an overall protector of the Chinese labourers during the Gold Rush and the railroad construction. The GKT also began to get involved in Chinese home politics around 1903. Competition for their support became a bone of contention between Kang-Liang’s pro-Manchu and Sun Yat-sen’s anti-Manchu groups among Chinese communities. Sun’s republicanism won over most of these tongs around 1910.