Eventually, after the death of the Dictator (1916) he became one of the Cantonese group of politicians which waged continual warfare against the party in power at Peking.
It consists of Puatis (or Cantonese), Hakkas ("strangers") and Tankas.
Inspired by his semi-European training, with bitter resentment against the Manchus, whom he regarded as responsible for China's humiliation at the hands of Japan, he first raised the standard of rebellion and of Cantonese independence in 1895; but the coup failed and Dr. Sun was compelled to seek safety in exile.
His action was applauded by Young China at the time as evidence of patriotic self-abnegation, but events proved that it was chiefly inspired by recognition of the fact that he and the Cantonese group of politicians who had joined him as leaders of the Republican movement, did not yet carry sufficient weight to justify them in attempting to form a national government.
In April 1921, a special session of the Southern (Canton) Parliament elected him to be President of the Chinese Republic, his supporters declaring the Canton " Military Government " to be the only lawfully constituted government in the country; but the influence of these Cantonese " Constitutionalists " over the other southern provinces had then become almost insignificant, and the " Military Government," prohibited by the Foreign Powers from interfering with the revenues of the Maritime Customs, was confronted by financial problems of a kind which threatened not only its reforming activities but its continued existence.