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Liang Qingshen

From Adventism in China Digital Image Repository. Accessed April 3, 2020. www.adventistminchina.org.

Liang Qingshen (1899–1999) and Liao Biyun (1906–1992)

By Bruce W. Lo

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Bruce W. Lo is the ESDA assistant editor for the Chinese Union Mission.

First Published: March 30, 2023

Liáng Qìngshēn (梁慶燊), also known as Leung Hing Sun in older church publications which used the Wade-Giles romanization system, was one of the most-respected Adventist teachers and school administrators in southern China and a much-loved church pastor and evangelist in Southeast Asia. He was best remembered for his role as the president of South China Training Institute1 (now Hong Kong Adventist College), guiding it through those difficult years of the Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

Family Background

Liáng Qìngshēn, whose childhood name was Liáng Kěyí (梁可儀), was born on December 28, 1899, in the city of Foshan (佛山), Guangdong province, in Southern China. His ancestors were from Panyu (番禺) originally but had migrated to Foshan earlier. His father Liang Renzhao (梁壬昭) was the manager of a pharmacy store in Foshan for many years. His mother, Madam Fok (霍, pinyin Huò), was from Wuhua (五华). There were two sons born into the Liang family: Liang Qingshen and Liang Qinglun (梁慶倫), with Liang Qingshen being the elder of the two.2

In a personal memoir written in the 1980s, Liang Qingshen recalled,

I was brought up in a traditional Chinese family that worshiped many gods and idols. As a child my mother taught me how to offer daily incense to the guardian gods of our home, the water providing gods, the god of prosperity, the mercy goddess of Guan Yin, the god of military general Gwen, as well as the departed members of our family ancestors. This was the accepted practice of many Chinese households at that time because it was the general belief that one must pay proper respect to these different gods in order to obtain their blessings and protection.3

To determine an “appropriate” time for Liang Qingshen to start his academic study, his mother consulted many fortune tellers to find the “lucky date.” She was advised that her son should begin study at an older age. As a result, he did not start his formal schooling until he was eight years old. On the day he began his formal schooling, a formal initiation ceremony was held at his home. Liang Qingshen put on a Manchurian robe and bowed to pay homage to the gods of heaven and earth, to Confucius the god of learning, to his ancestors, to his new teacher/tutor(s), and to his parents. After that, a school room was established at the home of a family friend, Wú Jiǎnshān's (吳儉山), whose son was also a student. So, the two families, Liang and Wu, jointly employed a teacher to teach their sons. In those days it was customary for the parents of the students to take turns providing accommodation for the tutors and space for the teaching classrooms. Therefore, the actual school location changed several times between the Wu’s and the Liang’s homes. The names of their first two teachers were Liang Zizhen (梁子貞) and Long Shaoshan (龍少山).4

In the autumn of 1911, when Liang Qingshen was only 11 years old, his father passed away. The family relocated their residence, while Liang Qingshen went to stay with his cousin and fellow student, Zhou Louxian (周洛賢) at the school library. The idea was for the two young persons to do their homework together and learn from each other. Those familiar with the history of China would recognize that 1911 was the year of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命), which led to the overthrow of the Qing (清) dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China (中華民國) in 1912. That was a period of time when increasing numbers of Chinese, particularly among the educated youth, became more interested in Western democratic concepts, including Christianity. In 1914 Liang Qingshen’s mother thought it was time for her son to go to larger cities to look for employment opportunities. Her first thought was to send him to Canton (now Guangzhou) and Hong Kong.5

Conversion to Adventism

At about that time in 1914, one of Liang's long-time friends, Guo Zhuoming (郭卓明), became interested in Christianity and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Keen to share his newfound faith, Guo visited Liang in Canton many times and invited Liang to attend church services on Sabbath. That winter, there was a special regional meeting of the Adventist Mission in Canton. Liang Qingshen got to meet many Adventist workers of the church, as well as several foreign missionaries who encouraged him to go and study at the Shanghai San Yu School.6

In 1915, after taking over as the superintendent of the Canton Adventist Mission, A. L. Ham opened a ministerial training school in Nanguan (南関), Canton. Liang Qingshen and eleven other youth, twelve in total, became the first group of students to attend the school. They were later nicknamed the "Twelve Disciples" of Pastor A. L. Ham.7

In the same year, the Seventh-day Adventist Mission annual meeting was held in Foshan, on the campus of the Adventist Hospital, called the Xiaoleyuan (小樂園) Hospital, which may literally be translated as the "Little Paradise" Hospital. It was in the newly built baptismal font in the hospital chapel that Liang Qingshen took the formal step of being baptized into the Adventist faith by John P. Anderson.8

Entering Denominational Work

The building program at Dongshan 東山, Guangzhou, was completed in 1918. The ministerial training school moved from Nanguan to Dongshan. It was in Dongshan that Liang Qingshen graduated from the training school. In 1919 S. L. Frost started the Shanghai Missionary College. Liang and one of his classmates, Li Daming (李達明), went to Shanghai to study at the college for two years. After graduation in 1922, both returned to Guangzhou to enter into church service. Liang Qingshen became a teacher at the Bethel Girls' School. Ida Thompson, the pioneer who started the school in 1903, was the principal at that time. Officially Liang Qingshen may be regarded as the last teacher to be employed by the girls’ school, because in 1922, Bethel Girls' School was merged with the Yick Chi Boys' School to become a co-ed school, called the Sam Yuk Middle School.9

Liang's friend, Guo Zhuoming, was also employed by the church as a minister. Guo particularly took time to visit Leung's mother, Madam Fok, and took her to Sabbath church services. Not long after, Madam Fok was baptized and joined the Adventist Church. Unfortunately, her health started to fail, and in August 1924, she passed away. At the time of her death, Liang Qingshen was attending summer school in Shanghai and was not able to be by her side. When he returned, a memorial service was held. Liang wrote a poem to express his sorrow and his fond memory of his mother. The original text of the poem is recorded in his own memoir “Remembering the Past.”10

Marriage

As mentioned above, the Bethel Girls' School and the Yick Chi Boys' School were merged in 1922 in Dongshan to become a co-ed school. It was called Sam Yuk Middle School. In 1928 it was renamed South China Theology Training Institute (神道訓綀院). The prefix "South China" was added to distinguish it from the one near Shanghai. In 1931 Liang Qingshen was promoted to principal of the institute. At the end of that year, he married Miao Bik Gwun (缪碧筠, pinyin Liao Biyun), who was a nursing matron at the Guangzhou Sanitarium and Hospital.11

Miao was born on April 3, 1906, into a family with eight children in the town of Wuhua (五華), Guangdong. In 1913 her father moved the whole family to Northern Borneo to conduct business and start a rubber tree plantation. Unfortunately, within a few years, he passed away, leaving his wife and eight children. Her mother, Mrs. Miao senior, was a devout Christian and a capable woman. She had Bible studies from some of the Adventist evangelists, and soon six members of her household were baptized into the Adventist faith.12

Daughter, Miao Bik Gwun, attended the Singapore Adventist Bible College, as well as both the Sam Yuk Middle School and the Chiaotaotseng College. Liang Qingshen was her teacher at Sam Yuk Middle School. He recommended her to take up nurses training at the Shanghai Sanitarium and Hospital, which she did. After graduation she returned in 1931 to Guangzhou to join the nursing staff of Guangzhou Sanitarium and Hospital. She was soon promoted as the matron in that hospital. At the end of that year, Miao Bik Gwun and Liang Qingshen were united in marriage in Guangzhou.13

Wartime Leadership

In 1935 the Theological Training Institute was again renamed Canton Training Institute (廣州三育研究社) and moved to Sam Yuk Road in Dongshan. During the Sino-Japanese War, the school moved to Shatin, Hong Kong, for two years, 1937-1939. Liang Qingshen was nominally released from the position of principal so that he could stay in Hong Kong to supervise the construction of the new campus at Clear Water Bay, Sai Kung. It was there that the school was renamed South China Training Institute (華南三育研究社).14

In 1939 the school moved to its permanent address at Clear Water Bay Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong. Once again Liang Qingshen took up the principalship of the school. But within a few years, the Pacific War broke out, and once again the school had to disband in 1941, the year in which Liang Qingshen was formally ordained to the ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 15

Under Liang Qingshen 's leadership, the school re-opened in 1942 in Laolung 老隆, Guangdong, a town along the eastern tributary of the Pearl River 東江. To begin with, an old wooden house was rented for the school. Liang then led an intensive building and recruitment program to rebuild the school. A new boys' dormitory and several teachers' living quarters were completed on the nearby hill, which they called the "Gospel Hill." Additional teachers were recruited, so the teaching staff was strengthened even though it was during the war years. 16

At the height of the war, at one stage, the school campus served as the refuge for four different organizational units of the Seventh-day Adventist Church: the South China Training Institute, the South China Union Mission, the Wei On Hospital (from Wai Chow, Guangdong), and the Hakka Mission. All four administrative units were located on the school campus to escape the military rampage.17

Another story that surfaced during those years showed the bravery of Principal Leung. To counter the advances of the Japanese army, the commander of the Chinese resistance army demanded the use of the school chapel to be a military base. But Liang Qingshen risked his own life and stood up against the commander’s demand and would not allow the military to defile the church. The Lord must have heard Liang's prayers; the normally stubborn commander did not insist on his demand anymore.18 After his retirement many years later, in the 1980s, Liang Qingshen wrote a lengthy article in which he recounted many stories on how he and the school were spared destruction by the warring militaries.19

After the war, Liang Qingshen brought the school back to Dongshan, Guangzhou, for another year to allow the campus at Clear Water Bay to be rebuilt after the damage done by the Japanese military and various local bandits. During the academic year 1946 to 1947, in addition to regular school duties in Guangzhou, Liang traveled frequently to Hong Kong to supervise the reconstruction of the Clear Water Bay campus. And in the summer of 1947, South China Training Institute officially moved back to its permanent home at 1000 Clear Water Bay Road, Sai Kung, Hong Kong. The school continued to prosper under the leadership of Liang Qingshen. 20

Pastor Liang, or “Institute Principal Leung” (梁社長), as he was often affectionately known, will always be remembered as the one who led the South China Training Institute (華南三育研究社) through those difficult war years. It was under his leadership that the institute continued to grow and prosper.21

He was both loved and revered by his students and the staff who worked under him. Liang Qingshen always dressed in the formal tradition of a Chinese robe, and to many of his students, he may be remembered as a stern leader. However, for those who knew him well and were close to him, they knew him to be a kind, loving, and caring leader.22 Once, a student from a poor family could not afford to buy his own shoes. Liang Qingshen took him into town and used his own money to purchase a pair of new shoes for that student.23

Liang Qingshen continued in the position of principal until 1952, rendering a total of over thirty years of valuable service to the primary Adventist training institution in Southern China. His students are found all over the world, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and the United States, holding or had held many important responsibilities both within and outside the Adventist Church. 24

In Southeast Asia

In 1952 Pastor and Mrs. Liang were called to serve in evangelistic ministry in the Southeast Asia Mission. They began their ministry at the Chinese Jesselton/Api (亜庇) Seventh-day Adventist Church. Jesselton, which was the administrative center of North Borneo, is now known as Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah, Malaysia. They remained there for about ten years. In 1962 they moved to the Kuching (古晉) Church in Sarawak, Malaysia, and pastored the church for two years. In total the Liangs ministered to the church folks in Southeast Asia for 12 years.25 He traveled extensively to conduct evangelistic efforts well beyond his local churches.

Retirement

In 1964, after 31 years of serving as an educator/administrator for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southern China and 12 years as a pastor/evangelist in Southeast Asia, Liang Qingshen formally retired from denominational work. He and his wife went to Australia to attend the graduation of their son, John Liang, who completed his study from the University of Sydney Medical School. They decided to remain in Australia for another year.26

In 1966 Pastor and Mrs. Liang migrated to the United States and chose to make their home in the Loma Linda area to be close to their two daughters. Even in his retirement years, Pastor Liang continued to do research and authored a number of articles that were published in the church magazine, The Last Day Shepherd's Calls.27

In 1987 Pastor and Mrs. Liang, accompanied by their son and daughters, returned to Hong Kong and Canton to visit Liang’s former places of service in China. They also visited Liang’s hometowns of Foshan and Wuhua, his mother's birthplace. Liang Qingshen returned to Hong Kong two years later in 1989. He was one of the honored guests at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the South China Training Institute (now Hong Kong Adventist College). He then proceeded to Guangzhou to meet up with former friends to celebrate his 90th birthday.28

Mrs. Liang, Miao Bik Gwun, passed away on January 4, 1992, at the age of 86 in Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. Seven years later Liang Qingshen also passed away on February 11, 1999, at the age of 99 in Loma Linda, California. Both were interned at the Montecito Memorial Park, Cotton, California, U.S.A. Together they had three children: Dorothy Leung Zane, a medical secretary and nurse; John Leung, a medical doctor; and Doreen Leung Lien, also a registered nurse. 29

The contributions of Liang Qingshen to the educational and pastoral ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southern China and Southeast Asia will always be remembered by the folks in those areas.

Sources

Chow, Bert. “Remembering Two Early Pioneer Educators in South China Sam Yuk Schools.” In South China Reflections. Edited by Dorothy Zane & Bert Chow, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A.: 1990, 49-51 (in Chinese).

Liang Qingshen Collection (Leung Hing Sun Collection), Collection of Chinese articles on “Sermons, Doctrinal Issues, Answers to Difficult Questions.” Written by Liang Qingshen. Published in The Last Days Shepherd’s Calls 末世牧聲, 1950s to 1960s. Physical copies available at The Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage, Hong Kong Adventist College Library, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, China.

Liáng Qìngshēn (Leung, Hing Sun). “Remembering the Past 往事回憶.” Autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1970s (4 pages in Chinese).

Liang Qingshen (Leung Hing Sun). Letter to Mr. Chan Zhimou and Mrs. Chan-Kang Shiufang 志謀紹芳賢伉儷, January 28, 1975 (1 page in Chinese).

Liáng Qìngshēn (Leung, Hing Sun). “God’s Guiding Hands in My Life 神的手在我生命中”, a handwritten article by Liang Qingshen, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A., in the 1980s (9 pages in Chinese).

Li, Shirley Ho. “Life Sketches of Leung Hing Sun”, unpublished manuscript, 1999, (1 page in Chinese) available Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage Online Collection.

Li, Shirley Ho. “Leung Hing Sun.” In Chinese SDA History. Edited by Samuel Young. Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002 (2 pages In Chinese).

Lo, Bruce W. “Biography of Leung Hing Sun.” In Adventism in China, accessed June 12, 2020. https://www.adventisminchina.org/individuals/2-nationals/leunghs .

Zane, Dorothy. “A Lifetime of Memories.” In South China Reflections. Edited by Dorothy Zane & Bert Chow, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A.: 1990, 182-187.

Zhang, Chuiyu. “Remembering Two Teachers: Pastor Leung Hing Sun and He Weiru.” In South China Reflections. Edited by Dorothy Zane, Ben Chow, and Daniel Lee. Alhambra, CA: North America Sam Yuk Alumni Association, 1990, 84-87 (in Chinese).

Notes

  1. South China Training Institute was the oldest and longest continually operating Seventh-day Adventist educational institution in China, which began as the Bethel Girls’ School established by Ida Thompson.

  2. Liang Qingshen (Leung, Hing Sun), “Remembering the Past 往事回憶”, autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1970s.

  3. Liáng Qìngshēn (Leung, Hing Sun), “God’s Guiding Hands in My Life 神的手在我生命中”, handwritten article by Liang Qingshen, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1980s.

  4. Liang Qingshen (Leung, Hing Sun), “Remembering the Past 往事回憶”, autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1970s.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Liang Qingshen (Leung, Hing Sun), “Remembering the Past 往事回憶”, autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1970s; Bruce W. Lo, “Biography of Leung Hing Sun,” in Adventism in China, accessed June 12, 2020, https://www.adventisminchina.org/individuals/2-nationals/leunghs; Shirley Ho Li, “Leung Hing Sun,” in Chinese SDA History, edited by Samuel Young (Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002), 582-583.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Liáng Qìngshēn (Leung, Hing Sun), “Remembering the Past 往事回憶,” autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A. in the 1970s.

  11. Shirley Ho Li, “Leung Hing Sun,” in Chinese SDA History, edited by Samuel Young (Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002), 582-583.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Ibid.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Ibid.

  19. Liáng Qìngshēn (Leung, Hing Sun), “God’s Guiding Hands in My Life 神的手在我生命中,” handwritten article by Liang Qingshen, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A., in the 1980s.

  20. Shirley Ho Li, “Leung Hing Sun,” in Chinese SDA History, edited by Samuel Young (Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002), 582-583.

  21. Ibid.

  22. Zhang, Chuiyu, “Remembering Two Teachers: Pastor Leung Hing Sun and He Weiru,” in South China Reflections, edited by Dorothy Zane, Ben Chow, and Daniel Lee (Alhambra, CA: North America Sam Yuk Alumni Association, 1990), 84-87.

  23. Shirley Ho Li, “Leung Hing Sun,” in Chinese SDA History, edited by Samuel Young (Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002), 582-583.

  24. Ibid.

  25. Liang Qingshen (Leung, Hing Sun), “Remembering the Past 往事回憶,” autobiography dictated by Liang Qingshen, recorded by Henry Luke at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A., in the 1970s.

  26. Shirley Ho Li, “Life Sketches of Leung Hing Sun,” unpublished manuscript, 1999, (1 page in Chinese) available Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage Online Collection.

  27. Liang Qingshen Collection (Leung Hing Sun Collection), a collection of Chinese articles on “Sermons, Doctrinal Issues, Answers to Difficult Questions,” written by Liang Qingshen published in The Last Days Shepherd’s Calls 末世牧聲, 1950s to 1960s, physical copies available at The Center for Chinese Adventist Heritage, Hong Kong Adventist College Library, Sai Kung, Hong Kong, China.

  28. Shirley Ho Li, “Leung Hing Sun,” in Chinese SDA History, edited by Samuel Young (Hong Kong, China: Chinese Union Mission, 2002), 582-583.

  29. Zane, Dorothy Leung, interviewed by Bruce Lo, at Loma Linda, California, U.S.A., June 25, 2022.

×

Lo, Bruce W. "Liang Qingshen (1899–1999) and Liao Biyun (1906–1992)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 30, 2023. Accessed May 25, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=G8I2.

Lo, Bruce W. "Liang Qingshen (1899–1999) and Liao Biyun (1906–1992)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 30, 2023. Date of access May 25, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=G8I2.

Lo, Bruce W. (2023, March 30). Liang Qingshen (1899–1999) and Liao Biyun (1906–1992). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 25, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=G8I2.