In January 1936, when Chiang Ching-kuo was studying in the Soviet Union, he had one of his friends give his mother a letter which was also published in the Russian newspaper Pravda. In the letter, he complained about the way his father had treated his mother.
Chiang Ching-kuo said that despite people saying that Chiang Kai-shek upheld the Confucian virtues of filial piety, propriety, justice, honesty and honor, this was merely deception. In the letter, Chiang Ching-kuo also asked his mother if she remembered how Chiang Kai-shek had hit her, pulled her hair, pulled her down a flight of stairs and beat Chiang Ching-kuo’s grandmother to death, and then answered his own rhetorical question: “Wasn’t that Chiang Kai-shek? This is who he really is, this is how he expressed his filial piety and decorum.”
If we look back at Chiang Kai-shek’s marriages, we will see that the “happy marriage” and “happy family life” he had with Soong were gained in exchange for the “happy family lives” of his first three wives.
Chiang is recognized as a dictator all around the world and to have a memorial for a dictator in democratic Taiwan is a disgrace. I am not sure if those who are glorifying the laughable marriages of this dictator are doing it to mock Taiwanese or whether it is just a lame attempt at satire.
Lee Hsiao-feng is a professor in the Graduate School of Taiwanese Culture at the National Taipei University of Education.
Translated by Drew Cameron