A pioneer in many areas, Tcheng Yu-hsiu was one of the most distinguished female in China.
She was: the first female lawyer and judge, the first female unofficial diplomatic envoy, the first female who got a Doctor's degree in Chinese history.
Born in Shenzhen in the late 19th century, a period when China experienced dramatic political instability, Tcheng Yu-hsiu participated in several world-shaking historic events . As a politician, she was one of the revolutionaries involved in the attempted assassination of military official and politician Yuan Shih-k'ai, commonly reviled in Chinese history for taking advantage of both the Ch'ing imperial court and the Republicans.
Tcheng Yu-hsiu advocated women having their own voices and choices in marriage, and wrote it into the Republic of China's law.
Unlike traditional Chinese girls, she was rebellious and dared to break the rules ever since her childhood. At age 6, she refused to bind foots against her parents' will. At age 13, she even made bond to undo the engagement with the son of an official arranged by her parents, which caused a stir at that time.
Later she went abroad to study in Japan, Singapore and France successively. With a Master degree of Laws in Paris University, she joined French Association of Laws, becoming the first Chinese member. Her elegance and knowledgeable speeches won her the admiration of Paris people.
Her autobiography, My Revolutionary Years (1944), published while her husband Wei Tao-ming was Ambassador to the United States, is revered as one of the best first hand accounts of modern Chinese history and has been translated into many languages.
The couple settled in American at their old ages and Tcheng Yu-hsiu passed away at the age of 64, ending her legendary life.