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Chiang Ching-kuo ( ; POJ: ChiúⁿKeng-kok; Shanghai/Ningbo dialect: [tɕiã.tɕiŋ.koʔ]) (April 27,1 1910 – January 13, 1988), Kuomintang (KMT) politician and leader, was the son of President Chiang Kai-shek and held numerous posts in the government of the Republic of Chinamarker (ROC). He succeeded his father to power, serving as Premier of the Republic of China from 1972 to 1978, and President of the Republic of China from 1978 until his death in 1988. Under his tenure, the government of the Republic of China, while authoritarian, became more open and tolerant of political dissent. Towards the end of his life, Chiang relaxed government controls on the press and speech and put native Taiwanese in positions of power, including his successor Lee Teng-hui.

Early life

The son of President Chiang Kai-shek and his first wife Mao Fumei, Chiang Ching-kuo was born in Fenghuamarker, Zhejiangmarker, with the courtesy name of Jiànfēng (建豐). He had an adopted brother, Chiang Wei-kuo. Ching-kuo literally means Longitude of country, while Wei-kuo means parallel of country: in other words Chiang Kai-shek's sons were destined (according to their father) to govern the longitude and latitude of the whole country.

Young Chiang Ching-kuo had a peaceful relationship with his mother and grandmother, who was Buddhist and very religious, and a problematic one with his strict father. Deeply involved in politics, Chiang Kai-shek appeared to his son as an authoritarian figure and sometimes indifferent to his problems. In letters, Chiang Kai-shek repeatedly asked Chiang Ching-kuo to keep improving his calligraphy, an important art in ancient China.

From 1916 til 1919, Chiang Ching-kuo attended the "Grammar School" in Wushan in Hsikou. Beginning in 1920 he was tutored by Ku Ch'ing-Lien, later substituted by Wang On-Sheng, who was hired by the father to teach Ching-kuo the four books, considered the base of Chinese culture. On June 4, 1921, Ching-kuo's grandmother died; an emotional loss compensated for by the father finally taking care of his sons.

That year, the Chiang family moved to Shanghai, together with Chiang Ching-Kuo's stepmother, the woman who has been historically known as "Shanghai mother". During this period, Chiang Kai-shek concluded that Chiang Ching-kuo was a son to be taught, while Chiang Wei-Kuo a son to be loved.

During his time in Shanghai, his father supervised his education by asking his teachable son to write a weekly letter containing 200-300 Chinese characters.His father also underlined the importance of classical books and of learning English.On March 20, 1924, he was already able to propose to his famous father an interesting and well structured proposal concerning the ground organization for the rural population in Hsikou. Chiang Ching-kuo planned to provide free education in order to allow people to read and to write at least 1000 characters. With his own words:

I have a suggestion to make about the Wushan School, though I am not sure whether you can agree to it or not. My suggestions is that the school establishes a night school for the common people who cannot afford to go to the school. My school has established a night school with great success. I can tell you something about the night school:Name: Wuschua School for the Common PeopleTuition fee: Free of charge with stationery suppliedClass hours: 7 pm to 9 pmAge limit: 14 or olderSchooling protocol: 16 or 20 weeks.At the time of the graduation, the trainees will be able to write simple letters and keep simple accounts. They will be issued a diploma if they pass the examinations, The textbooks they use were published by the Commercial Press and are entitled "One thousand characters for the common people". I do not know whether you will accept my suggestion. If a night school is established at Wushan, it will greatly benefit the local people.


The answer to this letter, from the father Chiang Kai-shek was negative and justified by saying that the people in rural areas were not interested in education.In early 1925, Chiang Ching-kuo entered the Shanghai's Pudong high-school, but immediately after Chiang Kai-shek decided to send him to Beijing because of the violent and continuous riots in Shanghai.In Beijing he attended the school organized by a friend of his father, Wu Chih-hiu, a renowned scholar and linguist. The school combined a classical and a modern approach to education. In Beijing, Chiang Ching-kuo started to identify himself as a progressive revolutionary. In the same period of time, he started participating to the social life inside the young communist community. The ideaof studying in Moscow now seized his imagination. Within the help program provided by the Soviet Union to the countries of east Asia there was a training school that later becamethe Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. The participants to the university were selected by the CPSU and KMT members, with a participation of CCP Central committee .Chiang Ching-kuo asked his teacher Wu Chih-hui to name him as a KMT candidate.Wu Chih-hui did not try to dissuade the son of Chiang Kai-shek from his plans. The same Wu Chih-hui will become in few months a important member of the anti-communist Western Hills Group in the KMT, which would help to realize the purge of the communist and the break with Moscow. On the summer 1925, Chiang Ching-kuo traveled to Whampoa to discuss his Moscow's plans with his father.Chiang Kai-shek was at the beginning not keen on sending his son to the USSR. After a discussion with Ch'en kuo-fu, he agree to send his son to Moscow. In a 1996 interview, Ch'en's brother, Li-fu claimed that the reason behind Chiang Kai-shek acceptance was the need to have at that time the Soviet support.

Moscow

In 1925, Chiang Ching-Kuo went to Moscowmarker to study communism on his own volition; his father agreed, since it seemed a sensible thing to do at the time because the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China were allied in the First United Front in preparation for the Northern Expedition. Moreover, the elder Chiang was an student of Sun Yat-sen, father of the Republic of Chinamarker, who had strongly believed in the principles of socialism.

In Moscow, he was given the Russian name Nikolai Vladimirovich Elizarov (Николай Владимирович Елизаров) and put under the tutelage of Karl Radek at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East. He was noted for having an exceptional grasp of international politics. His classmates included other children of influential Chinese families, most notably the future Chinese Communist party leader, Deng Xiaoping. In Moscow, Chiang became an enthusiastic student of Communist ideology, particularly Trotskyism. Following the Great Purge, Joseph Stalin privately met with Chiang and ordered him to denounce Trotskyism. Chiang even applied to be a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, although his request was denied.

In April 1927, however, Chiang Kai-Shek purged the KMT leftists and Communists from the Central Government and expelled his Sovietmarker advisers. Following this event, Chiang Ching-kuo wrote an editorial, harshly criticizing his father's actions, though there is the clear possibility that he has been forced to write it. In fact, some years before many of his Trotskyist friends had been killed by the Russian secret police. It is possible in this context, that Chiang Ching-kuo has been left "alive" to be used later on by Stalin within the Sino-Soviet relationship. The Soviet government then sent Chiang Ching-kuo to work in the Ural Heavy Machinery Plant, a steel factory in the Uralsmarker, Yekaterinburgmarker, where he met Faina Ipat'evna Vakhreva, a native Belarusian. They married on March 15, 1935, and she would later become known as Chiang Fang-liang. In December of that year, a son, Hsiao-wen was born. A daughter, Hsiao-chang, was born the next year.

Stalin allowed Chiang Ching-kuo to return to China with his Belarusian wife and two children in April 1937 after living in the USSR for 12 years. By then, the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists under Mao Zedong had signed a ceasefire forming the Second United Front to fight the Japanese invasion of China, which began in July. Stalin hoped the Chinese would keep Japan from invading of the Soviet Pacific coast, and he hoped to form an anti-Japanese alliance with the senior Chiang.

Chiang Ching-Kuo was appointed as a specialist in remote districts of Jiangximarker where he was credited with training of cadres and fighting corruption, opium consumption, and illiteracy. During this time (the late 1930s), he first met Wang Sheng, with whom he would remain close for the next 50 years.

Back in China, Chiang and his wife eventually had two more sons, Hsiao-wu, born in Chungking, and Hsiao-yung, born in Shanghai. Out of his affair with Chang Ya-juo, Chiang also had two twin sons in 1941: Chang Hsiao-tz'u and Chang Hsiao-yen. (Note the identical generation name of Hsiao between all sons, legitimate or not.)

Shanghai

During the Chinese Civil War, Chiang Ching-kuo briefly served as a liaison administrator in Shanghai and tried to crack down the corruption and hyperinflation that plagued the city. He was determined to do this because of the fears arising from the Nationalists' increasing lack of popularity during the Civil War. He was given the task to arrest dishonest businessmen who hoarded supplies for profit during the inflationary spiral. To assuage the business community, he explained that his team would only go after big war profiteers. His efforts were beginning to show results until he went after the family of his stepmother Soong Mei-ling. Soong told Ching-kuo's father Chiang Kai-shek to force Ching-kuo to back off. Although Ching-kuo backed off, Soong Mei-ling and Ching-kuo remained on so so terms perhaps for the rest of their lives.

Political career in Taiwan

Chiang Ching-kuo followed his father and the retreating Nationalist forces to Taiwanmarker after the Nationalists lost control of mainland China to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War. On December 8, 1949, the capital was moved from Nanjingmarker to Taipeimarker. Early in the morning on December 10, 1949, Communist troops laid siege to Chengdumarker, the last KMT controlled city on mainland China, where Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo directed the defense at the Chengdu Central Military Academy. The aircraft May-ling evacuated them to Taiwan on the same day; they would never return to mainland China.

In 1950, Chiang's father appointed him director of the secret police, which he remained until 1965. Chiang orchestrated the controversial court-martial and arrest of General Sun Li-jen, in August 1955, for allegedly plotting a coup d'état against his father. General Sun (no relation to Sun Yat-Sen, founder of the Republic of China) was a popular Chinese war hero from the Burma Campaign against the Japanese and remained under house arrest until Chiang Ching-kuo's death in 1988. Chiang Ching-kuo's activities as director of the secret police have been widely criticized as heralding an era of human rights abuses in Taiwan even to this date.

From 1955 to 1960, Chiang administered the construction and completion of Taiwan's highway system. Chiang's father elevated him to high office when he was appointed as the ROC Defense Minister in 1965, where he remained until 1969. He was the nation's Vice Premier between 1969 and 1972, during which he survived an assassination attempt while visiting the U.S. in 1970. Afterwards, he was the nation's Premier between 1972 and 1978. In Chiang Kai-shek's final years, he gradually gave more responsibilities to his son. Chiang Kai-shek died in April 1975, and was succeeded to the presidency by Yen Chia-kan while Chiang Ching-kuo succeeded to the leadership of the Kuomintang (opting to take the title "Chairman" rather than the elder Chiang's title of "Director-General").

Presidency

Chiang was officially elected President of the Republic of China by the National Assembly after the end of the term of President Yen Chia-kan on May 20, 1978. He was reelected to another term in 1984. At that time, the National Assembly consisted mostly of "thousand year" legislators who had been elected in 1947-48 before the fall of mainland China.

Chiang maintained many of his father's autocratic policies during the early years of his term in office. He continued to rule Taiwan as a military state under martial law, as it had been since the Nationalists re-established its capital on Taiwan, in anticipation of an imminent invasion by the People's Republic of Chinamarker.

Chiang launched the "Fourteen Major Construction Projects" and "Ten Major Construction Projects and the Twelve New Development Projects" contributing to the "Taiwan miracle." Among his accomplishments were accelerating the process of modernization to give Taiwan a 13% growth rate, $4,600 per capita income, and the world's second largest foreign exchange reserves.

However, in December 1978, U.S. President, Jimmy Carter made the shocking announcement that the United States would no longer recognize the ROC as the legitimate government of China. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States would continue to sell weapons to Taiwan. However, the TRA was purposely vague in any promise of defending Taiwan in the event of an invasion. But the United States would now end all official contact with the Chiang's government and withdraw its troops from the island. Carter was so eager to make the announcement that the American ambassador had to wake Chiang up in the middle of the night to inform him of the decision.

In an effort of bringing more Taiwan-born citizens into government services, Chiang Ching-kuo "exiled" his over-ambitious chief of General Political Warfare Department, General Wang Sheng, to Paraguaymarker as an ambassador (November 1983), and hand-picked Lee Teng-hui as vice-president of the Republic of China (formally elected May 1984), first-in-the-line of succession to the presidency.

In 1987, Chiang ended martial law and allowed family visits to the Mainland China. His administration saw a gradual loosening of political controls and opponents of the Nationalists were no longer forbidden to hold meetings or publish papers. Opposition political parties, though still illegal, were allowed to form. When the Democratic Progressive Party was established in 1986, President Chiang decided against dissolving the group or persecuting its leaders, but its candidates officially ran in elections as independents in the Tangwai movement.

Death and legacy

Chiang died of heart failure and hemorrhage in Taipeimarker at the age of 78. Like his father, he was interred temporarily in Daxi (Tahsi) Township, Taoyuan County, but in a separate mausoleum in Touliao, a mile down the road from his father's burial place. The hope was to have both buried at their birthplace in Fenghua once mainland China was recovered. In January 2004, Chiang Fang-liang asked that both father and son be buried at Wuchih Mountain Military Cemetery in Hsichihmarker, Taipei County. The state funeral ceremony was initially planned for Spring 2005, but was eventually delayed to winter 2005. It may be further delayed due to the recent death of Chiang Ching-kuo's oldest daughter-in-law, who had served as the de-facto head of the household since Chiang Fang-liang's death in 2004. Chiang Fang-liang and Soong May-ling had agreed in 1997 that the former leaders be first buried, but still be moved to mainland China.

Unlike his father Chiang Kai-shek, Chiang Ching-kuo built himself a folksy reputation and remains a generally known figure especially among some of the Taiwanese electorate. His memory and image is frequently invoked by the Kuomintang, which is unable to base their electoral campaign on Chiang's successor as President and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui because of Lee's ironic support of Taiwan for Taiwanese. Chiang Ching-kuo admitted he was a "Taiwanese" after fleeing from mainland China.

Among the Tangwai and later the Pan-Green Coalition, opinions toward Chiang Ching-kuo are more reserved. While long-time supporters of political liberalization do give Chiang Ching-kuo credit for relaxing authoritarian rule, they point out that Taiwan was still quite authoritarian in the early years of his rule. Nonetheless, as with Pan-Blue followers, many still think rather highly of him for his efforts and openness in domestic developments.

Under President Chen Shui-bian, pictures of Chiang Ching-kuo and his father have gradually disappeared from public buildings. The AIDC, the ROC's air defense company, has nicknamed its AIDC F-CK Indigenous Defense Fighter the Ching Kuo in his memory.

All of his legitimate children studied abroad and two of his children married in the United Statesmarker. Only two remain living: John Chiang is a prominent KMT politician and Chiang Hsiao-chang and her children and grandchildren reside in the United States.

See also



Notes

  1. Many sources, even Taiwanese official ones, give March 18, 1910 as his birthday, but this actually refers to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar


References

  • Taylor, Jay. The Generalissimo's Son: Chiang Ching-Kuo and the Revolutions in China and Taiwan. ISBN 0-674-00287-3


External links








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