Chiang Ching-kuo (27 April 1910 – 13 January 1988) was a politician of the Republic of China. The eldest and only biological son of former president Chiang Kai-shek, he held numerous posts in the government of the Republic of China. He served as Premier of the Republic of China between 1972–78 and was the President of the Republic of China from 1978 until his death in 1988.
|President of the Republic of China|
20 May 1978 – 13 January 1988
|Vice President||Hsieh Tung-min|
|Preceded by||Yen Chia-kan|
|Succeeded by||Lee Teng-hui|
|Premier of the Republic of China|
29 May 1972 – 20 May 1978
|Vice Premier||Hsu Ching-chung|
|Preceded by||Yen Chia-kan|
|Succeeded by||Sun Yun-suan|
|Born||27 April 1910|
|Died||13 January 1988 77) (aged|
Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
|Resting place||Touliao Mausoleum, Daxi District, Taoyuan, Taiwan|
|Nationality||Republic of China|
|Spouse(s)||Chiang Fang-liang (m. 1935–1988)|
|Alma mater||Moscow Sun Yat-sen University|
|Allegiance||Republic of China|
|Branch/service||Republic of China Army|
"Chiang Ching-kuo" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Chiang Ching-kuo was sent as a teenager to study in the Soviet Union during the First United Front in 1925, when his father's Nationalist Party and the Chinese Communist Party were in alliance. He attended university there, but when the Chinese Nationalists violently broke with the Communists, Stalin sent him to work in a steel factory in the Ural Mountains. There he met and married Faina Vakhreva. When war between China and Japan was imminent in 1937, Stalin sent the couple to China. During the war his father gradually came to trust Ching-kuo and gave him more and more responsibilities, including administration. After the Japanese surrender, Chiang-kuo was given the job of ridding Shanghai of corruption, which he attacked with ruthless efficiency. The victory of the Communists in 1949 drove the Chiangs and their goverment to Taiwan. Chiang Ching-kuo was first given control of the secret police, a position he retained until 1965 and in which he used arbitrary arrests and torture to ensure tight control. He then became Minister of Defense 1965-1969, Vice-Premier, 1972-78, Premier, 1972-78. After his father's death in 1976 he took leadership of the Nationalist Party as Chairman, and was elected President of the Republic in 1978.
Under his tenure, the government of the Republic of China, while authoritarian, became more open and tolerant of political dissent. Chiang courted Taiwanese voters and reduced the preference for those who had come from the mainland after the war. Towards the end of his life, Chiang relaxed government controls on the media and speech and allowed Taiwanese Han into positions of power, including his successor Lee Teng-hui.
The son of Chiang Kai-shek and his first wife, Mao Fumei, Chiang Ching-kuo was born in Fenghua, Zhejiang, with the courtesy name of Jiànfēng (建豐). He had an adopted brother, Chiang Wei-kuo. "Ching" literally means "longitude" while "kuo" means "nation"; in his brother's name, "wei" literally means "parallel (of latitude)". The names are inspired by the references in Chinese classics such as the Guoyu, in which "to draw the longitudes and latitudes of the world" is used as a metaphor for a person with great abilities, especially in managing a country.
While the young Chiang Ching-kuo had a good relationship with his mother and grandmother (who were deeply rooted to their Buddhist faith), his relationship with his father was strict, utilitarian and often rocky. Chiang Kai-shek appeared to his son as an authoritarian figure, sometimes indifferent to his problems. Even in personal letters between the two, Chiang Kai-shek would sternly order his son to improve his Chinese calligraphy. From 1916 until 1919 Chiang Ching-kuo attended the "Grammar School" in Wushan in Hsikou. Then, in 1920, his father hired tutors to teach him the four books, considered the basis of all Chinese culture. On June 4, 1921, Ching-kuo's grandmother died. What might have been an immense emotional loss was compensated for when Chiang Kai-shek moved the family to Shanghai. Chiang Ching-kuo's stepmother, historically known as the Chiang family's "Shanghai Mother", went with them. During this period, Chiang Kai-shek concluded that Chiang Ching-kuo was a son to be taught, while Chiang Wei-kuo was a son to be loved.
During his time in Shanghai, Chiang Ching-kuo was supervised by his father and made to write a weekly letter of 200-300 Chinese characters. Chiang Kai-shek also underlined the importance of classical books and of learning English, two areas he was hardly proficient in himself. On March 20, 1924, Chiang Ching-kuo was able to present to his now-nationally famous father a proposal concerning the grass-roots organization of 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. In his own words:
I have a suggestion to make about the Wushan School, although I do not know if you can agree to it. My suggestion is that the school establish a night school for common people who cannot afford to go to the regular school. My school established a night school with great success. I can tell you something about the night school:
Name: Wuschua School for the Common People Tuition fee: Free of charge with stationery supplied Class hours: 7 pm to 9 pm Age limit: 14 or older Schooling 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 used were published by the Commercial Press and were 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.
In early 1925, Chiang entered Shanghai's Pudong College, but Chiang Kai-shek decided to send him on to Beijing because of warlord action and spontaneous student protests in Shanghai. In Beijing he attended the school organized by a friend of his father, Wu Zhihui, a renowned scholar and linguist. The school combined classical and modern approaches to education. While there, Ching-kuo started to identify himself as a progressive revolutionary and participated in the flourishing social scene inside the young Communist community. The idea of 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 became the Moscow Sun Yat-sen University. The participants to the university were selected by the CPSU and KMT members, with a participation of CPC Central Committee.
Chiang Ching-kuo asked Wu Zhihui to name him as a KMT candidate. Wu did not try to dissuade him, even though Wu was a key figure of the right-leaning and anti-Communist "Western Hills Group" of the KMT. In the summer of 1925, Chiang Ching-kuo traveled south to Whampoa Military Academy to discuss his plans for study in Moscow with his father. Chiang Kai-shek was not keen, but after a discussion with Chen Guofu he finally agreed. In a 1996 interview, Ch'en's brother, Chen Li-fu, recalled that Chiang Kai-shek accepted the plan because of the need to have Soviet support at a time when his hold over the KMT was tenuous.
With or without his father's enthusiastic approval, Chiang Ching-kuo went on to Moscow in late 1925. He stayed in the Soviet Union for nearly twelve years. While there, Chiang 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. 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. Soon Ching-kuo was an enthusiastic student of Communist ideology, particularly Trotskyism; though following the Great Purge, Joseph Stalin privately met with him and ordered him to publicly denounce Trotskyism. Chiang even applied to be a member of the All-Union Communist Party, although his request was denied.
In April 1927, however, Chiang Kai-shek purged KMT leftists, had Communists arrested or killed, and expelled his Soviet advisers. Chiang Ching-kuo responded from Moscow with an editorial that harshly criticized his father's actions but was nonetheless detained as a "guest" of the Soviet Union, a practical hostage. Debate still continues as to whether he was forced to write the editorial, but he had seen Trotskyist friends arrested and killed by the Soviet secret police. The Soviet government sent him to work in the Ural Heavy Machinery Plant, a steel factory in the Urals, Yekaterinburg (then Sverdlovsk), where he met Faina Ipat'evna Vakhreva, a native Belarusian. They married on 15 March 1935, and she would later take the Chinese name, Chiang Fang-liang. In December of that year, their son, Hsiao-wen was born.
Chiang Kai-shek refused to negotiate a prisoner swap for his son in exchange for a Chinese Communist Party leader. He wrote in his diary, "It is not worth it to sacrifice the interest of the country for the sake of my son." In 1937 he maintained that "I would rather have no offspring than sacrifice our nation's interests," since he had no intention of stopping the war against the Communists.
Return to China and the war
By then, the NRA under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communists under Mao Zedong had signed a ceasefire to create the Second United Front and fight the Japanese invasion of China, which began in July 1937. Stalin hoped the Chinese would keep Japan from invading the Soviet Pacific coast, and he hoped to form an anti-Japanese alliance with the senior Chiang.
On his return, his father assigned a tutor, Hsu Dau-lin, to assist with his readjustment to China. Chiang Ching-Kuo was appointed as a specialist in remote districts of Jiangxi where he was credited with training of cadres and fighting corruption, opium consumption, and illiteracy. Chiang Ching-kuo was appointed as commissioner of Gannan Prefecture (贛南) between 1939 and 1945; there he banned smoking, gambling and prostitution, studied governmental management, allowed for economic expansion and a change in social outlook. His efforts were hailed as a miracle in the political war in China, then coined as the "Gannan New Deal" (贛南新政). During his time in Gannan, from 1940 he implemented a "public information desk" where ordinary people could visit him if they had problems, and according to records, Chiang Ching-kuo received a total of 1,023 people during such sessions in 1942.
In regard to the ban on prostitution and closing of brothels, Chiang implemented a policy where former prostitutes became employed in factories. Due to the large number of refugees in Ganzhou as a result from the ongoing war, thousands of orphans lived on the street; in June 1942, Chiang Ching-kuo formally established the Chinese Children's Village (中華兒童新村) in the outskirts of Ganzhou, with facilities such as a nursery, kindergarten, primary school, hospital and gymnasium. During the last years of the 1930s, he met Wang Sheng, with whom he would remain close for the next 50 years.
Relationship with Chang Ya-juo and her death
Chiang met Chang Ya-juo when she was working at a training camp for enlistees and he was serving as the head of Gannan Prefecture during the war. The two had a relationship that brought twin sons: Chang Hsiao-tz'u and Chang Hsiao-yen, born in 1942. In August 1942, Chang felt sick at a dinner party and died the next day in a Guilin hospital. The circumstances of her death raised speculation that it was murder. Over the years, many of her relatives, including her sons and highly ranked ex-security personnel, insisted that KMT's security apparatus orchestrated her murder in order to keep a lid on CCK's marital affair, and to protect CCK's political career.
Jung Chang and Jon Halliday claim Chiang Kai-shek allowed the Communists to escape on the 1934-1935 Long March because he wanted Stalin to return Chiang Ching-kuo. This is contradicted by Chiang Kai-shek's diary, "It is not worth is to sacrifice the interest of the country for the sake of my son." He refused to negotiate for a prisoner swap, of his son in exchange of the Chinese Communist Party leader. Again in 1937 he stated about his son: "I would rather have no offspring than sacrifice our nation's interests." Chiang had absolutely no intention of stopping the war against the Communists. Chang and Halliday likewise claim that Chiang Ching-kuo was "kidnapped" in spite of the evidence that he went to study in the Soviet Union with his father's own approval.
Economic policies in Shanghai
After the Second Sino-Japanese War and during the Chinese Civil War, Chiang Ching-kuo briefly served as a liaison administrator in Shanghai, trying to eradicate 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. Given the task of arresting dishonest businessmen who hoarded supplies for profit during the inflationary spiral, he attempted to assuage the business community by explaining that his team would only go after big war profiteers.
Chiang Ching-kuo copied Soviet methods, which he learned during his stay in the Soviet Union, to start a social revolution by attacking middle class merchants. He also enforced low prices on all goods to raise support from the Proletariat.
As riots broke out and savings were ruined, bankrupting shopowners, Chiang Ching-kuo began to attack the wealthy, seizing assets and placing them under arrest. The son of the gangster Du Yuesheng was arrested by him. Ching-kuo ordered KMT agents to raid the Yangtze Development Corporation's warehouses, which was privately owned by H.H. Kung and his family, as the company was accused of hoarding supplies. H.H. Kung's wife was Soong Ai-ling, the sister of Soong Mei-ling who was Chiang Ching-kuo's stepmother. H.H. Kung's son David was arrested, and the Kungs responded by blackmailing the Chiangs, threatening to release information about them. He was eventually freed after negotiations, and Chiang Ching-kuo resigned, ending the terror on the Shanghainese merchants.
Political career in Taiwan
After the Nationalists lost control of mainland China to the Communists in the Chinese Civil War, Chiang Ching-kuo followed his father and the retreating Nationalist forces to Taiwan. On December 8, 1949, the Nationalist capital was moved from Chengdu to Taipei, and early on 10 December 1949, Communist troops laid siege to Chengdu, the last KMT-controlled city on mainland China. Here Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo directed the city's defense from the Chengdu Central Military Academy, before the aircraft May-ling evacuated them to Taiwan; they would never return to mainland China.
In 1950, Chiang's father appointed him director of the secret police, which he remained until 1965. An enemy of the Chiang family, Wu Kuo-chen, was kicked out of his position of governor of Taiwan by Chiang Ching-kuo and fled to America in 1953. Chiang Ching-kuo, educated in the Soviet Union, initiated Soviet-style military organization in the Republic of China Military, reorganizing and Sovietizing the political officer corps, surveillance, and KMT party activities were propagated throughout the military. Opposed to this was Sun Li-jen, who was educated at the American Virginia Military Institute.
Chiang orchestrated the controversial court-martial and arrest of General Sun Li-jen in August 1955, allegedly for plotting a coup d'état with the American CIA against his father. General Sun 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. Ching-kuo also approved the arbitrary arrest and torture of prisoners. Chiang Ching-kuo's activities as director of the secret police remained widely criticized as heralding a long era of human rights abuses in Taiwan.
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 from 1965 until 1969. He was the nation's Vice Premier between 1969 and 1972, during which he survived a 1970 assassination attempt while visiting the U.S. Afterwards he was appointed the nation's Premier between 1972-78. As Chiang Kai-shek entered his final years, he gradually gave more responsibilities to his son, and when he died in April 1975, Vice President Yen Chia-kan became president for the balance of Chiang Kai-shek's term, while Chiang Ching-kuo succeeded to the leadership of the KMT (he opted for the title "Chairman" rather than the elder Chiang's title of "Director-General").
Chiang Ching-kuo was officially elected President of the ROC by the National Assembly on May 20, 1978. He was reelected to another term in 1984. At that time, the National Assembly consisted mostly of "ten thousand year" legislators, men who had been elected in 1947-48 before the fall of mainland China and who would hold their seats indefinitely. During the early years of his term in office Chiang maintained many of his father's autocratic policies, continuing to rule Taiwan as a one-party dictatorship under martial law as before.
In a move he launched the "Ten Major Construction Projects" and the "Twelve New Development Projects" which contributed to the "Taiwan Miracle". Among his accomplishments was accelerating the process of economic modernization to give Taiwan a 13% growth rate, $4,600 per capita income, and the world's second largest foreign exchange reserves. On 16 December 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter announced 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, but the TRA was purposely vague in any promise of defending Taiwan in the event of an invasion. The United States would now end all official contact with the Chiang's government and withdraw its troops from the island.
In an effort to bring more Taiwan-born citizens into government services, Chiang Ching-kuo "exiled" his over-ambitious chief of General Political Warfare Department, General Wang Sheng, to Paraguay as an ambassador (November 1983), and hand-picked Lee Teng-hui as vice-president of the ROC (formally elected May 1984), first-in-the-line of succession to the presidency. Chiang emphatically declared that his successor would not be from the Chiang family in a Constitution Day speech on 25 December 1985:
On 15 July 1987, Chiang finally 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 political criticism papers.
Opposition political parties, though still formally illegal, were allowed to operate without harassment or arrest. When the Democratic Progressive Party was established on 28 September 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 Ching-kuo suddenly died in Taipei in 1988, aged 77, from heart failure and hemorrhage. He was interred temporarily in Daxi Township, Taoyuan County (now Daxi District, Taoyuan City), 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. Chinese music composer Hwang Yau-tai or Huang Youdi, Huang Yu-ti (黃友棣) wrote the Chiang Ching-kuo Memorial Song in 1988.
In January 2004, Chiang Fang-liang asked that both father and son be buried at Wuchih Mountain Military Cemetery in Hsichih, Taipei County (now New Taipei City). 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 Mei-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 reputation that remains generally close to the opposition Taiwanese electorate. Both his memory and image are frequently mentioned. Among the Tangwai and later the Pan-Green Coalition, opinions toward Chiang Ching-kuo are more reserved. Long-time supporters of political liberalization do give Chiang Ching-kuo credit for relaxing authoritarian KMT rule by abolishing martial law. He is recognized for his tireless efforts and openness in economic developments.
The Republic of China Air Force
The AIDC, the ROC's air defense company, has nicknamed its AIDC F-CK Indigenous Defense Fighter the Ching Kuo in his memory.
- 27 April 2010. 蔣經國先生百年誕辰紀念流通硬幣」 [Coin commemorating the 100th anniversary of Chiang Ching-kuo's birth]
- Wife: Faina Chiang Fang-liang, She and Mr. Chiang had 3 sons and 1 daughter.
- First son: Alan Chiang Hsiao-wen (14 December 1935 – 14 April 1989)
- First daughter: Chiang Hsiao-chang (1938–),married to Yu Yang-ho (俞揚和) until his death in 2010.
- Theodore Yu Tsu-sheng (俞祖聲)
- Second son: Alex Chiang Hsiao-wu (25 April 1945 – 1 July 1991)
- Alexandra Chiang Yo-lan (蔣友蘭)
- Johnathan Chiang Yo-sung (蔣友松), married in 2002.
- a daughter (May 2003–)
- Third son:Eddie Chiang Hsiao-yung (1 October 1948 – 22 December 1996)
- Mistress(lover): Chang Ya-juo (1913–1942), She and Mr. Chiang had 2 sons.
- Winston Chang Hsiao-tzu
- Chang Ching-sung (章勁松), married on November 2, 1999.
- Chang Yu-chu (章友菊, 1978–),
- John Chiang Hsiao-yen
- Winston Chang Hsiao-tzu
|Family of Chiang Ching-kuo|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chiang Ching-kuo.|
- Many sources, even Taiwanese official ones, give March 18, 1910 as his birthday, but this actually refers to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar
- letter of August 4, 1922
- Wang Shun-ch'i, unpublished article, 1995. The letter is in the Nanking archive
- Cline, Chiang Ching-kuo remembered, p. 148
- Aleksander Pantsov, "From Students to dissidents. The Chinese Troskyites in Soviet Russia (Part 1)", in issues & Studies, 30/3 (March 1994), Institute of international relations, Taipei, pp. 113-14
- Ch'en Li-fu, interview, Taipei, 29 May 1996.
- Hannah Pakula (2009). The last empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the birth of modern China. Simon and Schuster. p. 247. ISBN 1-4391-4893-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Taylor 2000 : 59.
- Fenby 2005 : 205.
- Taylor 2000: p. 74.
- Wu, Pei-shih (May 18, 2003). "Forgotten first lady served as model traditional wife". Taipei Times. Taipei, Taiwan. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Wang, Jaifeng; Hughes, Christopher (January 1998). "Cover Story — Love to Fang-Liang – the Chiang Family Album". Taiwan Panorama. Taipei, Taiwan. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- Taylor 2000.
- Laura Tyson Li (2007). Madame Chiang Kai-Shek: China's Eternal First Lady (reprint, illustrated ed.). Grove Press. p. 148. ISBN 0-8021-4322-9. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- Demick, Barbara (20 June 2003). "A Scion's Story Full of Twists". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Bradsher, Keith (11 January 2003). "Taiwan Lawmaker's Skill May Be Hereditary". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- 上海档案信息网 - 档案博览 (in Chinese). Shanghai Municipal Archives. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
- "A swan's little book of ire". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 October 2005. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- Hannah Pakula (2009). The last empress: Madame Chiang Kai-Shek and the birth of modern China. Simon and Schuster. p. 247. ISBN 1-4391-4893-7. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- Fenby 2005 : p. 485; accessed 28 June 2010.
- Fenby 2005, p. 486; accessed 28 June 2010.
- Peter R. Moody (1977). Opposition and dissent in contemporary China. Hoover Press. p. 302. ISBN 0-8179-6771-0. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
- Taylor 2000 : 195.
- Nançy Bernkopf Tucker (1983). Patterns in the dust: Chinese-American relations and the recognition controversy, 1949-1950. Columbia University Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-231-05362-2. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
- John W. Garver (1997). The Sino-American alliance: Nationalist China and American Cold War strategy in Asia. M.E. Sharpe. p. 243. ISBN 0-7656-0025-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
- Chuang, Jimmy (19 May 2012). "Would-be Chiang Ching-kuo assassin honored by Taipei University". Want China Times. Taipei. Archived from the original on 12 November 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Roy, Denny (2003). Taiwan: a political history. Cornell University Press. pp. 179–180. ISBN 0-8014-8805-2.
- Staff (26 December 1985). "Taiwan chief rules out chance family member will succeed him". The New York Times. AP. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- Chiang Ching-kuo (25 December 1985). Constitution to Determine His Successor (Speech). Constitution Day. Taipei, Taiwan. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- Jacobs, J. Bruce (2012). "Three: The Lee Teng-Hui presidency to early 1996". Democratizing Taiwan. Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. p. 72. ISBN 978-90-04-22154-3. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
On February 13, 1990 a group of National Assembly members proposed Lin Yang-kang for president and the following day Chiang Wego denied that his brother Chiang Ching-kuo had said, ″Members of the Chiang family cannot and will not run for president.″ Footnote 19: [...] Chiang Ching-kuo made this statement on 25 December 1985.
- ROC Government biography
- Remembering Chiang Ching-kuo
- 1981 GIO video: Hello, Mr. President-Chiang Ching-kuo and His People
- Kuomintang Official Website
| Minister of National Defence of the Republic of China
1965 – 1969
| Premier of the Republic of China
1972 – 1978
| Acting Vice President of the Republic of China
1975 – 1978
| President of the Republic of China
1978 – 1988
|Party political offices|
Director-General of the Kuomintang
| Chairman of the Kuomintang