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Sun Yat-sen Born Nov. 12, 1866 in Guangdong province, 1879 Studies medicine in Hawaii, 1895 Leads first insurrection against Qing dynasty, 1905 Develops "Three Principles of the People", 1911 Qing dynasty is overthrown, 1913 Kuomintang, the party he founded, wins national election but is soon expelled from parliament, 1925 Dies March 12 in Beijing At his political base in Canton, 1917 Recognized by Chinese everywhere as their country's modern founder, the physician-turned-nationalist failed in his dream of unification.

In the turbulent and tangled history of modern China, Sun Yat-sen holds a unique place. Claimed as a personal inspiration and political guide by the most bitterly opposed political parties, he is known to millions as "the Father of the Chinese Revolution." Yet his own life was a constant scramble for livelihood and influence, he spent much of his time in exile, and almost none of his cherished schemes came near to fruition. The twin strands of inspiration and failure define the relationship between his life and the history of his country.

The contest for leadership of China after Sun Yat-sen's death had several contenders but one clear favorite: Chiang Kai-shek.

Born in 1866 to a farming family in southeast China, not far from Macao and Hong Kong, Sun received a few years of local schooling in traditional Chinese texts. At 13 he moved to Hawaii, where his elder brother had emigrated. Three years of study in a Honolulu boarding school run by the Church of England were followed by more than a decade in Hong Kong, where Sun was baptized a Christian and gained certificates of proficiency in medicine and surgery. He practiced medicine briefly in Hong Kong in 1893.

Yet Sun was not typical of the rising class of Westernized Chinese intent on their own professional advancement within the swiftly changing tides of late 19th century imperialism and colonialism. He was a Chinese patriot of a more traditional kind, an admirer of rebels who had pitted their lives against the ruling Manchu dynasty (or Qing) and was at home within the conspiratorial worlds of Chinese secret societies. His head was filled with dreams of strengthening China from within by drawing on its natural resources in conjunction with new technologies, and he tried to interest powerful officials in his schemes for economic development.

By 1894, however, China was sliding into chaos as the Manchu dynasty weakened and Japan defeated China in a brief and humiliating war. The main prize of victory for the Japanese was the island of Taiwan, which was ceded by China and made a Japanese colony. Sensing the time was ripe for an uprising, Sun returned to Hawaii, where he used his earlier contacts, along with some of his new friends in Hong Kong, to form an underground society dedicated to reviving China. 

Sun returned to Hong Kong in 1895 and attempted to lead an insurrection in southeast China. He failed. At the Chinese government's request, the British banned Sun from Hong Kong. For a time, Japan became his base for new revolutionary activities. After he was banned there, he lived in various countries in Southeast Asia. He also traveled widely in Europe, Canada and the United States, seeking funds for future uprisings, all of which failed because of faulty planning and lack of adequate weapons.

By 1905, Sun began to develop a more coherent set of guiding principles. These became, in turn, the ideology of a broader-based revolutionary society that he founded at the same time. In this new ideology, which he termed the "Three Principles of the People," Sun sought to combine the fundamental aspects of nationalism, democracy and socialism. Over the years, Sun developed these ideas into a comprehensive plan for restoring economic and moral strength to his country, first by expelling the Manchu's and then by curbing the foreign powers. He also hoped to free Chinese from graver forms of social exploitation by building central government that would counter the rampant forces of capitalism in industry and of powerful landlords in the countryside.

It was Sun's view that, in the early stages of China's regeneration, a rigorously structured central party, dedicated in loyalty to him personally as absolute leader, should control the country. But through a carefully calibrated period of "tutelage," the Chinese people would be introduced to the principles and practices of representative government, until finally the tutelage would end and China could emerge as a strong, full-fledged democracy.

Sun Yat-sen had extraordinary tenacity and great persuasive powers. During his long years of exile he was able to keep acquiring funds especially from overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia and North America--and to hold his own against political rivals, within and outside his organization, who held different views of China's destiny. Thus, when the Manchu dynasty at last collapsed in 1911, in some measure because of the ceaseless pressure exerted by Sun and his revolutionary followers, he was named provisional President of the new Chinese republic. But Sun was shrewd enough to see that he lacked adequate military strength to hold China together, and he made the bold decision to transform his revolutionary organization into a mainstream political party.

The Nationalist Party (or Kuomintang) won more seats than any of its rivals in China's first-ever national elections in early 1913. But Sun and his party still could not curb the emerging powers of the new military and political strongmen. Late in the year he was forced once more into exile, and Kuomintang members were expelled from parliament.

The last decade of Sun's life was spent trying to establish a more effective political and military base of operations. He was aided by a dedicated group of followers who strongly believed in his vision for China and by his second wife, Soong Ching-ling, whom he married in 1914 while in exile in Japan. Some 26 years younger than her husband, Soong had an American college degree and came from a wealthy cosmopolitan family. She was also highly intelligent and politically radical.

After 1916, when they returned to China from Japan, the two were constantly shuttling between Shanghai and Canton (now Guangzhou), the cities that seemed to offer them the best potential political bases. By 1923 they had settled on Canton, where Sun assembled a viable government supported by local military figures and by members of the old parliament. There were also new allies, like the young military officer Chiang Kai-shek, who was later to marry Soong's younger sister.

But most important of Sun's new allies were agents from the Communist International in Moscow, who had been instrumental in founding the Chinese Communist Party in the summer of 1921.

Two years later, these agents persuaded Sun that if his Kuomintang nationalists would ally with the communists, whose numbers were still small, they could tap into the enormous latent energies of China's peasants and industrial workers, who were just beginning to emerge on the political landscape. Apparently convinced that his organization could control the communists within its ranks, Sun agreed to a formula by which individual communists could enter the Kuomintang as members. In return, the Soviet Union provided Sun with military advisers, arms, ammunition and technical help in strengthening his political organization.

Sun's goal was to use these new military forces to expand his Canton base so that he could break the hold of individual military leaders in south China and eventually link up with sympathetic forces in north China, thus creating a new, reunified government. He was greatly encouraged by an invitation from powerful northern militarists in 1924 to meet with them to discuss future reunification moves. Though ill and tired, Sun undertook the journey, stopping off briefly in Japan on the way. Arriving in Beijing, he was so weak that he had to be taken to his guesthouse in an ambulance. Doctors speedily found that he had inoperable liver cancer. He died in Beijing in March 1925.

Sun's corpse quickly became a complex political symbol. His body was preserved and kept at a temple on the outskirts of Beijing. Crowds of ordinary people and a mixture of generals and political figures came to pay homage. In an innovative use of new media techniques, phonograph records of Sun's political speeches were played on loudspeakers and film clips of his public appearances in Canton were flashed on a screen. Three-and-a-half years after Sun's death, Chiang Kai-shek was at last able to lead the reunification army from the south into Beijing. But Chiang purged the communists from the Kuomintang, starting a process of confrontation and civil war that was to continue for the next 20 years.

As victors, the Kuomintang reclaimed Sun. They built him an immense mausoleum near their new capital of Nanjing and sent his body across China by railway in an impressive mourning cortge, making his burial an event of political enshrinement. Sun's writings thereafter became the central ideology of the Kuomintang on the mainland and later in Taiwan. The communists, after their victory over nationalist forces in 1949, also claimed Sun for themselves, citing his insistence that a communist alliance was essential to the political development of China.

So it is to this day, in both China and Taiwan, that Sun's strong personality and oddly mixed political fortunes remain a central part of the national memories of revolution and transformation. The doctor was never able to heal the divisions among his people, but they remain united in their reverence for his efforts.


Chiang who died in 1975 was born into a moderately prosperous merchant and farmer family in the coastal province of Chekiang. He prepared for a military career first (1906) at the Paoting Military Academy in North China and subsequently (1907-11) in Japan. 

From 1909 to 1911 he served in the Japanese army, whose Spartan ideals he admired and adopted. More influential were the youthful compatriots he met in Tokyo; plotting to rid China of its alien Manchu dynasty, they converted Chiang to republicanism and made him a revolutionary.

In 1911, upon hearing of revolutionary outbreaks in China, Chiang returned home and helped in the sporadic fighting that led to the overthrow of the Manchus. He then participated in the struggles of China's republican and other revolutionaries in 1913-16 against the Manchus and China's new president and would-be emperor, Yan Shih-k'ai. 

After these excursions into public life, Chiang lapsed into obscurity. For two years (1916-17) he lived in Shanghai, where he apparently belonged to the Green Gang (Ch'ing-pang), a secret society involved in financial manipulations. 

When Sun Yat-sen established (1917) the Guangzhou government, Chiang served as his military aide. In 1923 he was sent by Sun to the USSR to study military organization and to seek aid for the Guangzhou regime. On his return he was appointed commandant of the newly established (1924) Whampoa Military Academy; he grew more prominent in the Kuomintang after the death (1925) of Sun Yat-sen.

In 1918 he reentered public life by joining Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang. Thus began the close association with Sun on which Chiang was to build his power. Sun's chief concern was to reunify China, which the downfall of Yan had left divided among warring military satraps. Having wrested power from China's alien dynasty, the revolutionists had lost it to indigenous warlords; unless they could defeat these warlords, they would have struggled for nothing. 

Shortly after Sun Yat-sen had begun to reorganize the Nationalist Party along Soviet lines, Chiang visited the Soviet Union in 1923 to study Soviet institutions, especially the Red Army. 

Back in China after four months, he became commandant of a military academy, established on the Soviet model, at Whampoa near Canton. Soviet advisers poured into Canton, and at this time the Chinese Communists were admitted into the Nationalist Party. 

The Chinese Communists quickly gained strength, especially after Sun's death in 1925, and tensions developed between them and the more conservative elements among the Nationalists. Chiang, who, with the Whampoa army behind him, was the strongest of Sun's heirs, met this threat with consummate shrewdness. By alternate shows of force and of leniency, he attempted to stem the Communists' growing influence without losing Soviet support. Moscow supported him until 1927, when, in a bloody coup of his own, he finally broke with the Communists, expelling them from the Nationalist Party and suppressing the labor unions they had organized. 

Meanwhile, Chiang had gone far toward reunifying the country. Commander in chief of the revolutionary army since 1925, he had launched a massive Nationalist campaign against the northern warlords in the following year. This drive ended only in 1928, when his forces entered Peking, the capital. A new central government under the Nationalists, with Chiang at its head, was then established at Nanking, farther south. 

In 1926 Chiang launched the Northern Expedition, leading the victorious Nationalist army into Hankou, Shanghai, and Nanjing. Chiang followed Sun Yat-sen's policy of cooperation with the Chinese Communists and acceptance of Russian aid until 1927, when he dramatically reversed himself and initiated the long civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communists. 

By the end of 1927, Chiang controlled the Kuomintang, and in 1928 he became head of the Nationalist government at Nanjing and generalissimo of all Chinese Nationalist forces. Thereafter, under various titles and offices, he exercised virtually uninterrupted power as leader of the Nationalist government.

In October 1930 Chiang became Christian, apparently at the instance of the powerful westernized Soong family, whose youngest daughter, Mei-ling, had become his second wife. As head of the new Nationalist government, Chiang stood committed to a program of social reform, but most of it remained on paper, partly because his control of the country remained precarious. In the first place, the provincial warlords, whom he had neutralized rather than crushed, still disputed his authority. 

The Communists posed another threat, having withdrawn to rural strongholds and formed their own army and government. In addition, Chiang faced certain war with Japan, which, after seizing Manchuria (Northeast Provinces) in 1931, showed designs upon China proper. 

Chiang decided not to resist the coming Japanese invasion until after he had crushed the Communists, a decision that aroused many protests, especially since a complete victory over the Communists continued to elude him. To give the nation more moral cohesion, Chiang revived the state cult of Confucius and in 1934 launched a campaign, the so-called New Life Movement, to inculcate Confucian morals. 

In 1936 Gen. Chang Hseh-liang siezed him at Xi'an, to force him to terminate the civil war against the Communists in order to establish a united front against the encroaching Japanese. Despite the resultant truce, Chiang's release, and the 1937 outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the agreement between Nationalists and Communists soon broke down.

War with Japan broke out in 1937, and Chiang was compelled during the Sian Incident (q.v.) to end his military campaigns against the Communists and form an alliance with them against the Japanese invaders. For more than four years China fought alone until it was joined by the Allies, who with the exception of the Soviet Union declared war on Japan in 1941. China's reward was an honored place among the victors as one of the Big Four. 

But internally Chiang's government showed signs of decay, which multiplied as it resumed the struggle against the Communists after the Japanese surrendered to the United States in 1945. 

By 1940 Chiang's best troops were being used against the Communists in the northwest. After the Japanese took Nanjing and Hankou, Chiang moved his capital to Chongqing. As the Sino-Japanese War merged with World War II, Chiang's international prestige increased. 

He attended the Cairo Conference (1943) with Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He and his wife, Soong Mei-ling were the international symbols of China at war, but Chiang was bitterly criticized by Allied officers, notably Joseph W. Stilwell, and argument raged over his internal policies and his conduct of the war. 

Civil war recommenced in 1946; by 1949 Chiang had lost continental China to the Communists, and the People's Republic of China was established. Chiang moved to Taiwan with the remnants of his Nationalist forces, established a relatively benign dictatorship with other Nationalist leaders over the island, and attempted to harass the Communists across the Formosa Strait. 

The chastened Chiang reformed the ranks of the once-corrupt Nationalist Party, and with the help of generous American aid he succeeded in the next two decades in setting Taiwan on the road to modern economic development.

After the war ended Chiang failed to achieve a settlement with the Communists, and civil war continued. In 1948 Chiang became the first president elected under a new, liberalized constitution. He soon resigned, however, and his moderate vice president, General Li Tsung-jn, attempted to negotiate a truce with the Communists. 

The talks failed, and in 1949 Chiang resumed leadership of the Kuomintang to oppose the Communists, who were sweeping into South China in strong military force and reducing the territories held by the Nationalists. 

In 1955 the United States signed an agreement with Chiang's Nationalist government on Taiwan guaranteeing its defense. 

Beginning in 1972, however, the value of this agreement and the future of Chiang's government were seriously called in question by the growing rapprochement between the United States and the People's Republic of China. Chiang did not live to see the United States finally break diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 in order to establish full relations with the People's Republic of China. After his death in 1975 he was succeeded temporarily by Yen Chia-kan (C.K. Yen), who was in 1978 replaced by Chiang's son Chiang Ching-kuo. 

Republic of China (TAIWAN):

The earliest Chinese settlements on Taiwan began in the 7th century, chiefly from the mainland provinces of Fujian and Guangdong. The island was reached in 1590 by the Portuguese, who named it Formosa [beautiful].

In 1624 the Dutch founded forts in the south at present Tainan, while the Spanish established bases in the north. The Dutch, however, succeeded in expelling the Spaniards in 1641 and assumed control of the entire island. They in turn were forced to abandon Taiwan in 1662, when Koxinga, a general of the Ming dynasty of China who had to flee from the Manchus, seized the island and established an independent kingdom. 

However, the island fell to the Manchus in 1683. Chinese immigration increased, and the aboriginal population was gradually pushed into the interior. Japan, attracted by the island's strategic and economic importance, acquired Taiwan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki (1895) after the First Sino-Japanese War. Japan exploited the island for the benefit of the Japanese home economy and tried to establish Japanese as the language of the island. The island was scarcely used, however, for Japanese colonization. 

Under Japan, Taiwan's economy was modernized and industrialized, railroads were built, and the large cities expanded. During World War II, Taiwan was heavily bombed by U.S. planes. In accordance with the Cairo declaration of 1943 and the Potsdam Conference of 1945, Taiwan was returned to China as a province after the war. 

In 1949, as the Chinese Communists gained complete control of the mainland, the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek and the remnants of his army took refuge on the island. The Chinese Communists planned an invasion of Taiwan in 1950, but it was thwarted when President Truman ordered the U.S. 7th Fleet to patrol Taiwan Strait.

Japan renounced all claims to Taiwan and the Pescadores in the peace treaty of 1951, but Taiwan's territorial status remained a major issue among the great powers. In 1953, President Eisenhower announced the lifting of the blockade of Taiwan by the U.S. navy. 

In 1955, following repeated attacks by the People's Republic of China against the Nationalist-held islands of Quemoy and Matsu, the United States entered into a mutual security treaty with the Nationalists in which the U.S. promised to defend Taiwan from outside attack. 

In 1958 there was continuous, intensive shelling of Quemoy and Matsu, and an invasion was again threatened. China reiterated its demands to the island, but the United States reasserted its determination to defend Taiwan, although it stressed that there was no commitment to help the Nationalist government return to the mainland. By the spring of 1959 bombardment of the islands had diminished, but no agreement had been reached. 

At that time, the Nationalist army was trained and equipped by the United States and there was also a sizable navy and modern air force. In support of Chiang's repeated declaration to free China from the Communists, Taiwan long served as a base for espionage and guerrilla forays into the Chinese mainland and for reconnaissance flights over China. 

Internally, the Nationalist government implemented land reforms, which improved the lot of the peasants by allowing tenants to purchase their own land; much of it was bought by the government from big landlords and sold to tenant farmers under lenient terms. 

With U.S. economic aid, Taiwan enjoyed spectacular economic growth after 1950. The aid program was so successful that it became superfluous and was terminated after 1965. Chiang Kai-shek, elected to his fifth six-year term as president in 1972, was criticized for dictatorial methods. 

Between a native Taiwanese movement for independence and the continuing threat from China, the position of the Nationalist government was far from secure in the 1960s and 70s. Chiang died in 1975 and was replaced as president in 1978 by his son, ChiangChing-kuo. 

China's seat in the United Nations was taken away from the Republic of China and given to the People's Republic in 1971. Taiwan's international position continued to weaken in the early 1970s as the United States sought to improve relations with the People's Republic of China and as more large countries, such as Canada and Japan, moved to recognize the mainland government. 

The United States established formal diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China on Jan. 1, 1979, which necessitated the cutting of its defense ties with Taiwan. To compensate, the United States passed (1979) the Taiwan Relations Act, which allows for the sale of defensive arms to Taiwan. 

Taiwan was also expelled (1980) from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in favor of the People's Republic of China. Official social and economic contact is maintained with the United States through the American Institute on Taiwan and the Coordination Council for North American Affairs. 

Republic of China - The Island:

Dr. Sun Yat-sen founded the Republic of China (ROC), Asia's first constitutional democracy, on January 1, 1912. During the first two decades of its existence, the ROC suffered from internal turmoil as rival military regimes competed for power. In 1927, the nation was unified after feuding warlords were defeated in the Northern Expedition launched by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Before long, however, the Japanese invasion of China prompted the Chinese to launch the eight-year War of Resistance against Japan in 1937. Japan was defeated in 1945 with the help of the Allied nations. Despite this victory, the Republic was threatened yet again, this time by the growing power of the Chinese communists, who provoked a civil war and, with the support of the Soviet Union, ultimately gained control of the Chinese mainland, forcing the ROC government to relocate to Taiwan and set up a provisional capital in Taipei.

The Republic of China government today exercises de facto control over the island of Taiwan and surrounding island groups, known collectively as the Taiwan area. Areas under the jurisdiction of the ROC government include Taiwan proper, Penghu (the Pescadore Islands), Kinmen (Quemoy), Matsu, and dozens of other small islands.

Taiwan is situated in the Pacific Ocean about 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland. Located about midway between Korea and Japan to the north and Hong Kong and the Philippines to the south, Taiwan is a natural gateway for travelers to Asia.

Taiwan and the adjacent islands have an area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers (14,000 square miles). The main island of Taiwan, slightly smaller than the Netherlands, is about 394 kilo meters (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) at its broadest point.

Taiwan is largely mountainous. The Central Range, with a length of 270 kilometers (168 miles) from north to south, and a width of about 80 kilometers (50 miles) near the middle, forms the island's backbone and occupies almost half of its total land area. Other important physiographic divisions include dormant volcanic mountains, foothills, tablelands, terraces, coastal plains and basins. The highest point on Taiwan is Mount Jade, towering 3,952 meters (12,966 feet) above sea level. An estimated 30 percent of the island is arable.

Taiwan's climate is subtropical in the north and tropical in the south, with temperatures ranging from about 28 degrees Celsius in July to 14 degrees Celsius in January. Summers, which last from May through September, are usually hot and humid with daytime temperatures from 27 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees Celsius. Winters, from December through February, are short and mild. Snow falls only on the island's higher mountains. Rainfall varies greatly according to season, location, and altitude. The average rainfall is about ,515 mm per year.


General Chiang Kai-shek

Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石 pinyin: Jiǎng Jish) (October 31, 1887- April 5, 1975), in short by the Americans as "Gimo", was the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) (or Nationalist Party of ! China). He was President of the Republic of China from 1948 until his death.

Born Chiang Chou-tai (蔣周秦), also called Chiang Chung-cheng (蔣中正), in Fenghua County (奉化縣), Zhejiang to Chiang Zhaocong (蔣肇聰) and Wang Caiyu (王采玉). "Kai-shek" is his courtesy name in a Cantonese Romanization. He was first married to Mao Fumei (毛福梅), an arranged marriage. After primary education in China he spent two years at a Japanese military academy (1908-1910). Chiang returned to China in 1910 and became prominent in the movement to overthrow the Qing Dynasty.

A disciple and brother-in-law of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang and his new wife, Soong May-ling, held the unwavering support of the United States China Lobby during and after World War II which saw in them the hope of a Christian and democratic China. Chiang Kai-shek's policies were far from Christian or democratic, but this remained unknown to the US public due to strong state-imposed censorship in China and self-imposed censorship in the US during the war years and after. The US supported Chiang Kai-shek against the Japanese invaders in WWII and afterwards against the Communist Party of China Red Army led by Mao Zedong in the civil! war for control of China.


Rise to power

After the takeover of the Republican government by Yuan Shikai, Chiang became Sun Yat-sen's protg and divided his time between exile in Japan and haven in Shanghai's foreign concession areas. In Shanghai, Chiang also cultivated ties with the criminal underworld dominated by the notorious Green Gang and later served as an officer in he army of the Cantonese Warlord, Ch'en Chiung-ming. In 1923 Sun Yat-sen moved his base of operations to Guangzhou, and, with the help of the Comintern, undertook a reform of the Kuomintang and established a revolutionary government. That same year, Sun sent Chiang Kai-shek to spend three months in Moscow studying the Soviet political and military system. Chiang returned to Guangzhou and in 1924 was made Commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy. The early years at Whampoa allowed Chiang to cultivate a cadre of young officers loyal to him and by 1925! Chiang's proto-army was scoring victories against local rivals in Guangdong province.

After Sun Yat-sen's death in 1925 Chiang was embroiled in a power struggle with left-leaning elements of the KMT over Sun's legacy.

Chiang's political maneuvering led him to become Commander-in-Chief of the National Revolutionary Forces. In July 1926, Chiang launched the successful Northern Expedition, a military campaign to defeat the warlords controlling northern China and unify the country under the KMT. Chiang Kai-Shek gained nominal control of China, but his party was "too weak to lead and too strong to overthrow".

In January 1927, allied with the Chinese Communists and Soviet Agent Michael Borodin, KMT leftists moved the civilian government from Guangzhou to Wuhan in central China. After conquering Shanghai and Nanjing in March, Chiang decided to break with the leftists. On April 12 Chiang began a swift and brutal attack on thousands of suspected Communists in the area he controlled. He then established his own KMT government in Nanjing , supported by his conservatives allies. The communists and other leftists were purged from the KMT.

Wartime leader of China

In 1928, having consolidated power, Chiang was named "Chairman of the National Government," a post he held until 1932 and later from 1943 until 1948, when, under a new Constitution passed in 1947, he was elected by the National Assembly to be President.

Chiang's strategy during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) (a theatre of World War II) opposed the strategies of both Mao Zedong and the United States. The US regarded Chiang as an important ally able to help shorten the war by engaging the Japanese occupiers in China. Chiang, in contrast, used powerful associates such as H. H. Kung in ! Hong Kong to build the ROC army for certain conflict with the communist forces after the end of WWII. This fact was not understood well in the US. The US liaison officer, General Joseph Stilwell, correctly apprehended Chiang's strategy was to accumulate munitions for future civil war rather than fight the Japanese, but Stilwell was unable to convince Roosevelt of this and precious Lend-Lease armaments continued to be allocated to the Kuomintan! g.

Chiang resigned as President (and Vice President Li Tsung-jen became Acting President) on January 21, 1949, as KMT forces suffered massive losses against the communists in the Chinese Civil War. On early morning December 10, 1949, CPC troops laid siege to last KMT occupied city in mainland China of Chengdu where Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-Kuo directed the defense at the Chengdu Central Military Academy. The aeroplane May-ling evacuated them to Taiwan on the same day; they would never return to mainland China.

Presidency in Taiwan

Chiang moved his government to Taipei, Taiwan where he resumed his duties as president on March 1, 1950. Chiang was reelected President of the ROC on May 20, 1954 and later on in 1960, 1966, and 1972. In this position he continued to claim sovereignty over all of China.

Chiang died in Taipei in 1975 at the age of 88 and was interred at Tzuhu in Taoyuan. This tombsite is considered "temporary" in respect to Chiang's vow to return the mainland.

He was succeeded as President by Vice-President Yen Chia-jin. However, real power passed to his son Chiang Ching-kuo who was Premier and became President after Yen's term ended three years later. Chiang has another son, Chiang Wei-kuo (蔣緯國).


Chiang Kai-Shek remains a largely unpopular figure on Taiwan because of his authoritarian rule of the island. Since the 1990s, his picture has tended to disappear from public buildings, coins, and money, and in sharp contrast to Sun Yat-Sen and his son Chiang Ching-Kuo, his memory is rarely invoked by current political parties, including the Kuomintang.

Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, in Taoyuan and serving Taipei, is named after him.

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