Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 1 News List

A sad life ends for Chiang Fang-liang

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

This photo dated March 15, 1985, shows Faina Chiang Fang-liang, left, with her husband, former president Chiang Ching-kuo.

PHOTO: AFP

Taiwan's Soviet-born former first lady Faina Chiang Fang-liang (蔣方良), widow of the late president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), died of pulmonary and cardiac failure in Taipei Veterans General Hospital at 12:40pm yesterday. She was 88.

"At 11:45am today, Chiang experienced a sudden drop in blood pressure and ventricular fibrillation. The medical team's efforts at resuscitation unfortunately failed," said Lee Shou-tung (李壽東), the hospital's chief of surgery.

Lee said that Chiang checked into the hospital on Oct. 6, displaying inflammation of the oesophagus and acute asthma. Her condition had stabilized after treatment.

In addition to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Chiang had also battled with diabetes and a heart condition over a long period.

Once the news of her death broke, a number of senior government officials and representatives of political parties visited Chiang's family to express their condolences.

In the afternoon, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) visited the hospital to express sympathy to family members there.

"Though Chiang was born in Siberia, she displayed the virtues of a traditional Chinese woman -- she was a good mother and a good wife who always put her family before everything else," Chen said.

Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) said Chiang's "admirable, womanly character" would be long remembered.

Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who served as Chiang Ching-kuo's English secretary, also visited Chiang's family at the hospital.

People First Party (PFP) Chair-man James Soong (宋楚瑜), who also served as Chiang Ching-kuo's English secretary, sent PFP Vice Chairman Chang Chao-hsiung (張昭雄) to meet Chiang's family in his absence. Soong is in San Francisco.

In a statement, Soong said that Chiang's "quiet and sparing lifestyle" was to be commended. He also telephoned Chiang's family in Taiwan to express his condolences.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan (連戰), after visiting Chiang's family at the hospital, said that the KMT would do its best to assist them with funeral arrangements.

After his own visit to the hospital, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said the Executive Yuan would provide assistance for the funeral and burial.

The Ministry of National Defense is understood to have set aside space for her in the military mausoleum on Wuzhishan to the northwest of Taipei, next to the plot where her husband's body will be moved from his current, temporary resting place.

The remains of Chiang Ching-kuo and his father, former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), are stored in separate mausoleums at Tzuhu in Taoyuan County.

In January, Chiang Fang-liang asked the defense ministry to have the two late KMT presidents buried at the Wuzhishan site.

Construction of the site will not be completed until June next year, meaning that Chiang will not be able to be buried there until that time.

Also see story:

Chiang Fang-liang remembered

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