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[PROFILE] Charlie Soong His 3 Daughters - China's first westernised millionaire

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  • madchinaman
    DUKE S FIRST INTERNATIONAL STUDENT http://www.duke.edu/TSA/life_at_Duke/trivia.htm The first international student for Duke was Charlie Soong who later became
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 8, 2002

      The first international student for Duke was Charlie Soong who later
      became the patriarch of the "Soong Dynasty" in the pre-communist era
      of China. Also known as Yao-Ju Soong in Chinese, he enrolled in
      Trinity College, then still in Randolph County, from 1880 to1881
      under the sponsorship of Julian S. Carr, but later transferred to
      Vanderbilt University and graduated from there.



      Soong, wealthy Chinese family that played an influential role in the
      government of the Republic of China. Charlie Soong (1866-1918), the
      family father, was a Methodist missionary who became a successful

      A friend and early supporter of Kuomintang (KMT) founder Sun Yat-sen,
      he financed Sun's revolutionary activities that led to the overthrow
      of the Qing dynasty. Charlie's eldest daughter, Soong Ai-ling (1890?-
      1973), married Kung Hsiang-hsi, called H. H. Kung (1881-1967), a
      wealthy banker.

      Like Charlie, Kung was an early supporter of Sun Yat-sen, and also of
      military leader Chiang Kai-shek, who gained control of the KMT after
      Sun's death in 1925.

      Kung long served in the KMT government as industry and finance
      minister. Charlie's second daughter, Soong Ching-ling (1892-1981),
      married Sun Yat-sen in 1914. She became an active critic of the KMT
      after her husband's death, when the new KMT leader, Ching-ling's
      brother-in-law Chiang Kai-shek, began purging members of the Chinese
      Communist Party (CCP) from the KMT. Ching-ling believed the KMT had
      abandoned Sun's original aims of cooperating with the CCP to rid
      China of imperialists.

      After the CCP won control of mainland China from the KMT in 1949,
      Ching-ling remained in China and held high honorific office in the
      Communist government. Charlie's eldest son, T. V. Soong (1894-1977),
      founded the Central Bank of China in 1924 and helped finance the KMT
      party. He served in the KMT government as minister of finance and
      foreign affairs.

      Charlie's youngest daughter, Soong Mei-ling (1897- ), married Chiang
      Kai-shek. Mei-ling became a prominent figure on the international
      scene during and after World War II (1939-1945), when she acted as
      special emissary for her husband. Charlie Soong and all his children
      attended colleges in the United States.


      A Famous Hakka Family: Soong (2)

      In 1886 Charlie Soong returned to China. He was twenty three years
      old. He did not immediately return to his parents but went to
      Shanghai to
      report for duty as a preacher to Dr Young J. Allan, who was in charge
      all the Chinese mission of the Methodist Church in China.

      Charlie asked permission to visit his parents in Hainan Island and
      request was refused by Dr Allen on the ground that he could only
      allow him
      to travel there on the coming Chinese New Year and not before that.
      Charlie was not happy with Dr Allen and he applied for a transfer to
      Japan. His application was rejected and he had to work under the
      supervision of Dr Allen.

      Charlie was posted to a town called Wusong which was at the mouth
      Huangpu River which emptied into Yangtze River. His job was to preach
      to a
      small congregation of converted Methodist Chinese and to teach their
      children at the denomination school. As the students in the school
      not understand his Hakka dialect he had to teach them in English. One
      his students later was to become a well known educationist and he was
      Hu Shih.

      Several months later after he had mastered the Shanghaiese dialect
      was posted hinterland to Kunshan which was about 70 kilometers west of
      Shanghai. He was total stranger in his own country as the people in
      Kunshan disliked him. They called him a "Jia Yang Gui Ze" (fake
      devil), without a pigtail. He was very unhappy working in Kunshan.

      One day, while on leave and walking in the streets of Shanghai, he
      his old friend Niu Shan-Zhou who was one of the two boys frequented
      uncle's shop in Boston. Charlie told him about his miserable life in
      China. Niu Shan-Zhou told him that he was lonely and needed a wife.
      Niu introduced his 19 years old sister-in-law to Charlie.

      In July 1887 Charlie Soong got married to Miss Ni Hui-Xian who was
      christian and a descendant of Su Kuang-Ki who was one of the earlier
      converted christian in China in the early 1600's. Su Kuang-Ki was a
      of Jesuit Matteo Ricci who arrived in China at the end of the Ming
      Dynasty (1368AD to 1644AD).

      After their marriage they lived at Kunshan. Charlie's salary was
      only $15 per month. However, he received a large dowry as his
      father-in-law was very wealthy. Charlie and Mrs Soong had six
      three boys and three girls; Zi-Wen (Paul T.V. Soong), Ai-Ling
      (Madame H.H.Kung), Rosamonde Qing-Ling (Madame Sun Yat-Sen), Mei-Ling
      (Madame Chiang Kai-Shik), Zi-Liang and Zi-An.

      In 1892 Charlie Soong quit his job as a preacher. He became an
      agent for
      foreign machinery company in Shanghai. He learned how to install the
      equipment for flour and cotton mills. He partnered with a Mr Sun and
      estalished a flour mill. Later he founded a publishing house which
      was to
      become the famous Shang Wu Publishing Company in


      charlie soong (1866-1918)

      Soong Yao-ju, also called Charles Jones Soong the family to father,
      was the Methodist missionary who became successful merchant.

      Charlie Soong left very new China to go for the United States of
      America, where it studied and if it converted the religion catholic.
      When returning to China it opens an publishing company, Sino-American
      Press (Hua-Mei Shu) and starts to print bibles at low prices, was one
      of the responsible ones for the democratization of the Biblical text.
      It sent the three children, still very new, to study for the United
      States of America, for, such as it, to receive an education catholic
      occidental person. Later it sends also for the United States its
      three children, T. V. , T. L. and T. A.Soong. Charlie Soong and Sun
      Yat-sen become friends and in 1894 both start to conspire in Shangai
      in favor of the revolution. Charlie Soong became in one of the
      charter members of the clandestine movement of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen.


      Soong family fortunes reveal hand of fate
      By Rosanne Lin, Shanghai Star. 2002-08-08

      Western philosophers are obsessed with the concept of "free will".
      After all, if people's actions were exclusively controlled by some
      unknown puppet master on high, how to meter out justice and blame?
      How to explain dropping megatons of bombs on some desolate part of
      the world to punish the evil and liberate the innocent - freeing them
      up to work as employees of large American oil companies and other
      multinational energy interests.

      So to ensure justice for all, early Christian thinkers struggled to
      reconcile the reality of a harsh world with their belief in an
      omnipotent and loving God.

      St. Augustine explained the contradiction by arguing that man had
      free will but God allowed choice - man proposes, God disposes.

      The Chinese language also addresses this issue with a similar saying -
      mou shi zai ren, cheng shi zai tian - or the planning lies with man,
      the outcome with Heaven.

      Charlie Soong, the father of the three Soong sisters - Ai-ling who
      loved money, Mei-ling who loved power and Ching-ling who loved China -
      provides an interesting study in this subject.

      Charlie Soong's life is unusual. His success was necessary to propel
      his daughters to prominence in modern Chinese history, but at many
      points in his life, Charlie Soong was either blessed or incredibly

      Charlie's real name was Han Chiao-shun, and his family operated a
      junk off Hainan Island, trading along the coast of China and
      throughout Asia-Pacific. His roots were humble indeed.

      In 1878, Charlie, while aboard a trading junk, met a relative from
      Guangdong Province who convinced the boy to follow him to America.
      Eventually landing in Boston, Charlie went to work in his relative's
      store. There he met two wealthy students from Shanghai who would have
      a notable impact on the Soong family fortunes - introducing Charlie
      to his wife, the daughter of a prominent Shanghai family, helping
      Charlie build connections in Washington and raising funds for Sun Yat-
      sen's revolution.

      However, their immediate impact on Charlie's life in the winter of
      1878-79, was to encourage him to seek further education. When
      Charlie's relative refused to sponsor him, Charlie ran off and stowed
      away on the "Albert Gallatin" in the Boston harbour.

      Reflecting on the times, Charlie as a young Chinese boy was
      remarkably lucky, the captain, Eric Gabrielson, was a devoted
      Christian and an unusually decent man. He made Charlie the ship boy
      and a paid crew member of the Revenue Service of the US Treasury
      Department. An odd first contact, considering the Soong family's
      later relationship with this branch of the American government and
      the Treasury Department's beloved 1940s rhyme - "Sing a Song of Six

      Gabrielson, concerned for the boy's education, introduced him to his
      Methodist friends in Wilmington, North Carolina, in particular a
      Reverend Thomas Page Ricaud who played an important role in helping
      Charlie reach his educational goals. Interestingly, Ching-ling took
      Ricaud's daughter's name as her English name - Rosamond.

      This contact lead Charlie to the man who would have the greatest
      impact on his life - Julian S Carr. Carr not only funded Charlie's
      early education, but supported Charlie's business pursuits and Sun
      Yat-sen's revolution. Bringing Dr Sun, Charlie and Charlies's
      offspring - the three sisters - to heady heights of success and
      notoriety. Can anyone be this lucky?



      The Soong Dynasty
      by Sterling Seagrave
      Finally! A history of China which actually makes sense.

      Too often 20th century Chinese history seems a set of facts and
      figures which don't add up. The Chinese revolution of 1911 began on
      October 10...when the leader of the revolution, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, was
      in Denver, Colorado? Upon his return, Dr. Sun was proclaimed ruler of
      a democratic China...for a month? How did Yuan Shi-kai seize power
      away from him? Where did Chiang Kai-shek come from? What was the
      Whampoa Military Academy about? And what about the alliance between
      the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the
      early 1920s - followed by a purge of CCP members in 1927?

      The Soong Dynasty
      By Sterling Seagrave
      Perennial Library, Harper & Row
      532 pages

      "When May-ling dined with the Roosevelts, the President asked how she
      and the Generalissimo would deal with a wartime strike of coal
      miners. Everyone at the table gasped when May-ling silently drew a
      long lacaquered nail across her throat. Roosevelt laughed hollowly
      and - catching Eleanor's attention - asked, 'Did you see that?'
      Eleanor privately remarked, 'She can talk beautifully about
      democracy, but she does not know how to live democracy.'"

      Author Sterling Seagrave fills in the blanks. And he often fills them
      in with this tid-bit: gangsters.

      Gangsters helped fund the rise of Charlie Soong, an American-educated
      missionary who became wealthy through a self-made publishing firm.
      Gangsters helped along Sun Yat-sen, the spiritual leader of both
      Chinas. And Chiang Kai-shek was a gangster.

      The most gut-wrenching part of the book is the depths to which the
      Soongs, and Chiang (who married a Soong), sank in their effort to
      maintain power in the 1930s and '40s: who they killed and how, what
      they stole, how they piled up millions, possibly billions of dollars
      (U.S. aid, too), while the people of China withered and died. All of
      this is written in a very easy-to-read, novelistic style, with well-
      documented footnotes. One minor problem is that author Seagrave
      obviously doesn't like the Soongs and lets us know at every
      opportunity. Sometimes hideous events can just be described; we don't
      have to be told that they're hideous.

      Late in the book, the author writes of T.V., Charlie Soong's son, "As
      in many of T.V.'s enterprises, only the dorsal fin was visible." This
      seems an apt metaphor not only for Chinese culture in general
      (where "face" is so important, and thus unpleasantness is often never
      revealed), but Chinese history as well. Most of the time we just get
      the facts: the dorsal fin. Author Seagrave lets us see the whole

      --December 8, 1992


      The Soong Sisters

      The story that follows has been told over and over in Wesleyan
      circles--embroidered in mystery, obscured in fiction and conflicting
      news accounts, endowed with the golden hue of legend. But the story
      is not as well known by the present generation, as the last of the
      three Soong sisters has lived a quiet and private life in recent
      years, much different from the days when she and her siblings became
      China's most powerful women--making headlines around the world. So
      here, we will tell the story again.

      China's Soong Sisters at Wesleyan
      By Barbara A. Brannon, Wesleyan Magazine, Fall 1997

      The young girl seemed even smaller, standing next to the hulking
      steamship at the Shanghai docks. She was only fourteen, and she had
      just bid a brave farewell to her parents. Ai-ling Soong was off to
      spend the next four years of her life at Wesleyan College in Macon,
      Georgia. In an age when college was still a relatively rare
      experience even for Western women, Ai-ling would be the first Chinese
      woman to be educated in the United States.

      The first "Soong" in America

      A quarter of a century earlier, her father, Charlie Soong, had also
      left China for America — but under vastly different circumstances.
      Then a Hainan merchant's son known as Han Chiao-shun, Charlie left an
      apprenticeship in the East Indies to join his uncle on a voyage to
      the West. During a few months in Boston, employed in his uncle's tea-
      shop, Charlie set his sights on obtaining an education in America.

      The shopkeeper's life did not appeal to Charlie, and in January 1879
      he shipped aboard a Coast Guard cutter plying the Eastern seaboard.
      The ship's captain, a staunch Methodist, took the boy under his
      tutelage, and Charlie learned the precepts of Christianity. It was
      also under Captain Gabrielson's influence, Sterling Seagrave
      surmises, that "Chiao-shun" was transmuted to "Charles Sun."

      In the Coast Guard's service, Charlie followed Gabrielson to
      Wilmington, North Carolina. There, in November 1880, Charlie attended
      revival services at the Fifth Street Methodist Church. It was a
      fateful occasion — for Charlie professed his faith in Christ as
      savior. The Wilmington Star carried the unusual news: "This morning
      the ordinance of Baptism will be administered... a Chinese convert
      will be one of the subjects of the solemn right [sic], being probably
      the first `Celestial' that has ever submitted to the ordinance of
      Baptism in North Carolina" (quoted in Seagrave, 27).

      Charlie found a new life and a new identity: upon baptism, his name
      was anglicized to Charles Jones Soon (the "g" was added later). He
      announced his wish to be trained in the Christian tradition so that
      he could return to his native country as a missionary. Both Charlie
      and the church could see the advantages: Charlie would get an
      American education, and the Methodists would gain a powerful witness
      among the Chinese people they were fervently seeking to convert.

      The Wilmington Methodists helped Charlie gain admission to Trinity
      College (later Duke University) and introduced him to tobacco and
      textile magnate Julian S. Carr. "General" Carr underwrote Charlie's
      education at Duke and Vanderbilt. He remained a lifelong friend and
      supporter even after Charlie's return to China.

      In 1886, Charlie returned to China to begin missionary work, spending
      some time in Shanghai and rural Kunshan under the direction of
      pioneer Methodist missionary Dr. Young J. Allen. It was during
      Charlie Soong's days of missionary service and teaching that he met
      Ni Kwei-tseng, the daughter of a Chinese Episcopalian family. Miss Ni
      herself was educated in the Western tradition in Shanghai. She was an
      excellent counterpart to Charlie, whose Americanized speech and
      mannerisms made him an anomaly in his native country. Her marriage to
      Soong brought him status within the community and opened up to him
      new possibilities for accomplishing his dreams for the "new China."

      During the late 1880s, Charlie grew more influential in his
      ministerial role as well as more prosperous in a business sideline he
      had launched: the selling and printing of Bibles in Chinese. Charlie
      devised ways of publishing Bibles, using local materials, at an even
      lower cost than they could be supplied by the American Bible Society.
      Before long, he was taking on job printing as well, and was amassing
      a good profit.

      And none too soon — for Charlie and Kwei-tseng had started their
      family. Their first child was born in 1890. They named her Ai-ling
      ("pleasant mood"), but she was also known by the Christian name
      Nancy, after General Carr's wife. A second daughter, Ching-ling
      ("happy mood") was born in 1892 and was called Rosamond — after the
      daughter of the Wilmington minister.

      Charlie's business ventures prospered as his family grew. Son Tse-ven
      (styled T.V. in the Western form) was born in 1894; third daughter
      May-ling ("beautiful mood") was born in 1897. Two more boys followed,
      Tse-liang (T.L.) and Tse-an (T.A.). The daughters began their
      education at Shanghai's exclusive McTyeire School for Girls, founded
      in 1892 by Dr. Allen and an 1864 Wesleyan alumna, Laura Haygood. Ai-
      ling started school at age five and Ching-ling at seven.

      By the turn of the century, Charlie had become extremely wealthy. He
      had also begun a surreptitious involvement with the revolutionary
      movement spurred by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Revolutionary sentiment was
      growing against the old dynastic rule, and Charlie was right in the
      midst of it.

      A ten-thousand-mile journey to school
      The political climate in China became increasingly dangerous
      following the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. Charlie foresaw the need to
      send his children to safety as well as to provide for their higher
      education. He asked the advice of his missionary friend William Burke
      for an appropriate college for Ai-ling. Burke, whose family had
      connections to Macon's Mulberry Street United Methodist Church,
      highly recommended Wesleyan College, where his friend Judge DuPont
      Guerry was then president. Charlie arranged for Ai-ling to enroll as
      a sub-freshman in 1904.

      That summer, Ai-ling, for safety reasons traveling under a Portuguese
      passport, undertook the long Pacific crossing under the protection of
      William and Addie Burke. But Mrs. Burke became fatally ill with
      typhoid, and the couple left Ai-ling in the care of another
      missionary, Anna Lanius, to see her safely to America. When the ship
      arrived in San Francisco, Ai-ling was detained for nineteen days
      until she could obtain clearance to make the rest of the trip by
      train to Georgia. (For more on this adventure, see Seagrave, pp. 104–

      Ai-ling was described as precocious, a serious and determined student
      who was clever with finances and business. Ching-ling and May-ling
      joined their older sister at Wesleyan in the fall of 1908 — Ching-
      ling because she was college-age, and May-ling because, the story has
      it, she insisted she have her way and be allowed to accompany her
      older sister, though she was only ten. (Mounting tension in China,
      too, probably had a good deal to do with Charlie's decision to allow
      her wish.) During the summer before their arrival at Wesleyan, Ching-
      ling and May-ling spent time being tutored in missionary families in
      Summit, New Jersey, and Demorest, Georgia (at Piedmont College).

      Upon coming to Macon, May-ling was entrusted to the care of President
      W. N. Ainsworth's household, while Ching-ling enrolled as a regular
      college student. The 1908 school term marked the only year that all
      three sisters were at Wesleyan at the same time. Their signatures —
      in Chinese and English — appear together in the college's
      Matriculation Book for 1908–09.

      Margie Burks tutored the young May-ling at Wesleyan College.

      May-ling was privately tutored by two older Wesleyan students: "Miss
      Margie" Burks, daughter of Wesleyan's professor of English, and "Miss
      Lucy" Lester. Whereas Ching-ling was quiet and profound, May-ling had
      the reputation for being mischievous and sharp-witted.

      May-ling's quick quips are often recounted, as in this Seagrave

      "In a day when lipstick and rouge were regarded as shameful, [May-
      ling] was once caught wearing Chinese flour makeup and lip rouge.

      `Why, May-ling,' exclaimed an older student, `I believe your face is

      `Yes,' snapped May-ling, `China painted.' '' (114).

      On another occasion, one of May-ling's tutors asked her to recount a
      history lesson on Sherman's march through Georgia. The teacher was
      quite unprepared for her response: "Pardon me, I am a southerner, and
      that subject is very painful to me. May I omit it?'"

      May-ling's repartee was undimmed upon her visit to campus in 1943.
      Miss Jennie Loyall, it is said, told Madame Chiang that the college
      was keeping a Soong scrapbook.

      "Oh, you must scrap it soon," she shot back (Wesleyan Alumnae
      Magazine, November 1965).

      Ching-ling, however, is remembered for her wholehearted devotion to
      her country. When dynastic control of China was finally overthrown in
      1911, Ching-ling tore down the old banner of the Chinese dragon from
      her wall and vehemently replaced it with the new flag her father had
      sent her. Ching-ling wrote several impassioned essays for the student
      magazine on the subject of the Chinese Revolution.

      Ai-ling received her A.B. in the Wesleyan class of 1909 and promptly
      returned to Shanghai, where she secured a post as secretary to Sun
      Yat-sen. Ching-ling graduated in 1913 and returned to China as well.
      When Ai-ling resigned her position with Sun in 1914 to marry future
      finance minister H. H. Kung, Ching-ling took over Ai-ling's
      job. "Ching-ling believed as did no one else in [Sun's] revolution,"
      wrote Seagrave (136). Defying her father's orders, Ching-ling eloped
      with Sun in October 1915. Charlie Soong viewed the marriage between
      his old friend and his young daughter as a betrayal, and the union
      remained a source of contention in the Soong family.

      May-ling's only remaining sibling in the United States after Ching-
      ling's departure was her brother T.V. at Harvard. After spending her
      freshman year, 1912–13, at Wesleyan, May-ling transferred to
      Wellesley College, to be closer to T.V. She earned her bachelor's
      degree from Wellesley in 1917.

      Upon May-ling's return to China, she met Chiang Kai-shek, a rising
      star in China's military. Though already married, Chiang proposed
      marriage to May-ling. He persisted in his suit, eventually winning
      Mrs. Soong's blessing for marriage to her daughter, on the conditions
      that he divorce his present wife — and that he convert to

      One loved money, one loved power, and one loved China
      Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, the three Soong
      sisters exerted increasing influence alongside their husbands or, in
      Ching-ling's case, carrying on her late husband's work. Ai-ling and
      May-ling supported the right-wing politics that emerged with the
      leadership of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, while Ching-ling
      continued to serve as the voice of the left. Their differing
      political views kept them estranged throughout most of their lives.

      Soong Ai-ling is best remembered for her shrewdness in financial
      matters. Ching-ling was, and still is, revered as "the mother of
      China"; Jay Chang writes that "she was the first consort of a
      political leader anywhere in the world to act as `first lady'" (37).
      May-ling is best known as ambassador for China (and later, Taiwan) to
      the Western world. May-ling, who celebrated her 100th birthday in
      March 1997, is the only one of the Soong sisters still living.

      Continuing ties with Wesleyan
      Over the years, Wesleyan and its most famous alumnae have kept in
      contact. The Soong sisters corresponded with many of their Wesleyan
      friends, including Margie Burks, Jenny Daughtry, Jennie Loyall
      (Manget), Mary Gray Munroe Cobey, and Freda Nadler. One letter from
      Ching-ling to Professor of English Margaret Hall Hazard survives in
      Wesleyan's archives because Hazard just happened to have the letter
      in her purse at the time her Macon home burned!

      Many Wesleyan alumnae have memories of their famous sisters. Wesleyan
      assistant dean and registrar Pat Hardeman '68 is one of many to have
      traveled to the Shanghai home of Madame Sun (now maintained as a
      historic site). "I felt a thrill — a chill down my spine — to see the
      photographs of old Wesleyan there in Ching-ling's Shanghai house,"
      said Hardeman.

      Ann Maria Domingos '39, a cousin of Margie Burks, has very special
      memories of the Soong sisters — including one she wears on
      occasion. "May-ling gave Miss Margie two imperial jade rings,"
      explained Domingos as she pointed out the one she inherited from her
      cousin. "Margie [pronounced with a hard "g"] was a particular friend
      of May-ling's, and they corresponded and visited often after Margie
      went to teach Spanish at the University of Florida."

      The college has hosted scores of visitors wishing to see the Soong
      memorabilia in the Willet Library's Georgia Room. Wesleyan staff have
      also provided background information, documents, and photos for such
      projects as NHK (Japan Broadcasting Company)'s 1994 special The Soong
      Sisters: The Glamorous Family that Dominated China and a 1996 TV
      Ontario documentary.

      Ai-ling visited Wesleyan in 1932, and May-ling came back in 1943 and
      1965. In 1995, Wesleyan hosted a traveling exhibition of artifacts
      pertaining to the life of Soong Ching-ling, who died in 1981, having
      never revisited her alma mater.

      On June 26, 1943, close to the end of a three-month diplomatic tour
      of the United States, May-ling visited Wesleyan after a long hiatus.
      The college presented the honorary Doctor of Laws to Madame Chiang
      and to her two absent sisters. On that exciting occasion, Linda
      Anderson Lane, Annie Gantt Anderson, and Alice Burden Domingos all
      assisted with arrangements; Octavia Burden Stewart handled the
      flowers. Eugenia Rawls '34 was among the alumnae present.

      In this 1965 photo, Madame Chiang is seated on a sofa at Wesleyan
      beside her onetime tutor, Lucy Lester.

      Madame Chiang had a rare opportunity to visit with her teachers
      Margie Burks, Lucy Lester, Newell Mason, and Margaret Hall Hazard.
      President Ainsworth was no longer living, but his widow had the honor
      of bestowing the doctoral hood on Madame Chiang. Not least among May-
      ling's activities on the visit, according to the Wesleyan Alumnae
      Magazine of August 1943, was an impromptu trip to "the Pharm" on
      College Hill.

      The sisters have directly or indirectly been responsible for the
      establishment of several scholarship funds at Wesleyan. The DuPont
      Guerry Scholarship, which is still awarded by Wesleyan today, was
      established by a gift from Ai-ling Soong herself. The May-ling Soong
      Chiang Scholarship, to be awarded to Chinese students, was
      established at Wesleyan in March 1944 by the Methodist Laymen of the
      South Georgia Conference. This fund has continued to the present,
      with scholarships being awarded to Chinese students from time to
      time. At the time of Madame Chiang's 1943 visit, short-term
      scholarships were also given in honor of the other two sisters, but
      these funds do not survive to the present. And, most recently, an
      anonymous $6 million gift to the college in honor and memory of the
      sisters will be used largely for endowed scholarship support,
      building a stronger future for the college as well as an enduring
      memorial to the Soong family.

      A neverending story
      The three sisters have played influential roles in the politics,
      economy, and history of modern China. Their education at Wesleyan
      prepared each of them for an important destiny. The legacy of the
      Soong sisters is still felt the world over--and the memories of this
      trio of sisters live on, at Wesleyan and around the globe.

      Wesleyan hosts the U.S. premiere of The Soong Sisters

      The Chinese word for "movie" is dianying--literally, "electric
      shadows." The shadows in Macon's historic Douglass Theatre were
      electric with excitement the evening of November 11 as Wesleyan
      College students and alumnae had the chance to see some of their most
      famous sisters portrayed on the silver screen.

      It was the first time in half a century that Macon had hosted a
      motion picture premiere--and a first for Wesleyan. The college had
      been invited by Golden Harvest Films to be the site of the first U.S.
      showing of the Hong Kong-made movie, The Soong Sisters.

      Director Mabel Cheung Yuen-ting and several other Hong Kong guests
      joined President Bell and nearly five hundred audience members (at
      two showings) for the gala event, which was scheduled as a part of
      the annual Wesleyan Herstory Week.

      The film, which depicts the lives of Soong E-ling (Madame H. H.
      Kung), Soong Ching-ling (Madame Sun Yat-sen) and Soong May-ling
      (Madame Chiang Kai-shek), opened in Asia in the summer of 1997.

      After the house lights dimmed in the beautifully renovated theatre
      (which was built in 1921 and reopened in January 1997), Vice
      President for Institutional Advancement Gena Franklin and President
      Nora Bell welcomed the audience and introduced special guests. Macon
      Mayor Jim Marshall presented the key to the city to director Mabel
      Cheung, who told the eager moviegoers a little about her experience
      in making the film.

      "I cannot think of a more appropriate place for this film to open,
      than here, where the sisters all went to college," said Cheung to a
      capacity crowd.

      The orange silk ceremonial robe was given by Madame Chiang to Jenny
      Loyall Manget and in turn donated to Wesleyan College.

      Hong-Kong born Cheung had not learned the full history of the sisters
      in school, but discovered their story later in books. Like Cheung
      herself, the Soong sisters were part of a China in transition. After
      being educated in the West, "[t]hey returned and tried to change the
      fate of their country and the fate of women, only to find history a
      force stronger than they were," said Cheung.

      Cheung did a masterful job of bringing their complex lives to the
      screen, concentrating on the human side--their love stories--rather
      than attempting to present a documentary detailing every fact of
      history. "From this end to that end there is a story," begins the
      lyrical opening of The Soong Sisters. "From this story to that there
      is no end . . . ." The haunting beauty of this imaginative passage
      echoes visually and verbally through the film, which is nonetheless
      spiced with power, wit, and humor as well.

      The Soong Sisters, which took three years to research and three-and-a-
      half months to film on locations in China and Japan, is one of the
      most expensive ever made in Hong Kong. The People's Liberation Army
      provided period tanks, vehicles and aircraft and over 2,000 extras
      for the battle scenes.

      The film stars as the sisters Michelle Yeoh, who has co-starred in
      action films such as Supercop with Jackie Chan; Maggie Cheung, who
      has won Best Actress at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards, the Hong Kong
      Film Awards, and the Turin Film Festival; and Vivian Wu, whose recent
      credits include The Joy Luck Club, Heaven and Earth, and The Last

      The Soong Sisters was co-produced by Cheung's partner Alex Law, who
      also wrote the screenplay. Costumes were designed by Academy Award-
      winning Emi Wada (whose credits include Kurosawa's Ran), and the
      original score was composed by Golden Globe Award-winning composer
      Kitaro and Randy Miller.

      The Macon audience had the privilege of seeing the long version of
      the subtitled film, which included scenes not shown in Asia. Several
      viewers commented that the movie was so beautiful and compelling,
      they quickly forgot they were watching a foreign film. They had the
      chance to express their appreciation and admiration to the director
      at a reception--with Chinese foods, of course--following the premiere.

      The following evening, Cheung led a special convocation lecture and
      discussion on the making of the film and on her experiences--
      including dealing with Chinese censors--as a filmmaker in Hong Kong.

      A number of the Wesleyan alumnae who were present had met Madame
      Chiang Kai-shek or recalled family stories about the three women. But
      for the present generation of Wesleyan students, the film was the
      first time they had encountered more than a passing mention of the
      famous Soong sisters.

      It was an occasion they--and Macon--will not soon forget. For those
      who did not have the chance to take part in this historic occasion,
      the film should soon make its theatrical debut throughout the
      country, including plans for its return for a longer run in Macon.

      In addition to information from Wesleyan's own archives, much of this
      detail is taken from Sterling Seagrave's The Soong Dynasty (Harper &
      Row, 1985). Though Seagrave's book has been highly controversial,
      especially in its analysis of later activities of the Soong family,
      it is generally regarded as the most thoroughgoing source for
      background information. Readers may also want to consult Emily Hahn's
      classic, The Soong Sisters (Doubleday, 1942), Elmer T. Clark's The
      Chiangs of China (Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1943), Jung Chang's Mme Sun Yat-
      sen (Penguin, 1986), and Cornelia Spencer's Three Sisters (John Day,
      1939)--though these are but a few of the many works, fanciful and
      factual, about the Soongs.

      A Selected Bibliography of Sources on the Soong Family

      Epstein, Israel. Woman in World History: Soong Ching-Ling
      (Continental Enterprises, 1993).

      Chang, Jung, with Jon Halliday. Mme Sun Yat-sen (Harmondsworth,
      England: Penguin, 1986). Lives of Modern Women series. Biography for
      the general reader; good photographs.

      Seagrave, Sterling. The Soong Dynasty. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.
      The most comprehensive biography yet undertaken of Charlie Soong and
      his descendants. Thorough in documentation, though often critical and
      sensationalist; written partly as corrective to Emily Hahn's 1942

      "Soong Family." In Biographical Dictionary of Republican China (New
      York and London: Columbia University Press, 1970).

      "A Scholar Comes Home." Wesleyan Alumnae Magazine, Nov. 1965, pp. 5-
      12. A full account of Madame Chiang's visit to Wesleyan in the fall
      of 1965. Madame Chiang spoke at Convocation, attended by Senator
      Richard B. Russell.

      Clark, Elmer T. The Chiangs of China (Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury,
      1943). A very laudatory biography written by a Methodist minister.
      But probably the most accurate historical record of the Soongs' early
      years. Contains many photos not reproduced elsewhere.

      The Wesleyan Alumnae 19:3 (August 1943). Special edition of quarterly
      alumnae magazine devoted to feature articles on Madame Chiang's June
      1943 visit to Wesleyan. Also contains transcriptions of portions of
      the ceremony, many photos, and reprints of news accounts from the
      Atlanta Journal & Constitution, the Christian Index, the Macon
      Telegraph, and the Winder News.

      Hahn, Emily. The Soong Sisters (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1942).
      For almost half a century, the standard Western biography of the
      Soong family. Hahn was a friend of the family and tells the story
      from a partisan perspective; the book was also written at a time when
      American advocacy of the Soongs was at its height.

      "The Chinese Sisters Soong Came to Wesleyan." Wesleyan Alumnae
      Magazine, Feb. 1941. A four-page article full of historical detail
      and photographs.


      The American educated children of Charlie Soong, who rose from cabin
      boy to financier through the generosity of a North Carolina couple
      who "adopted" him in the late 19th century, became the most powerful
      members of the KMT government. Eldest daughter Ching-ling married
      Sun Yat-sen, youngest daughter May-ling married Chiang Kai-shek, son
      T.V. became KMT Finance Minister and was succeeded in that position
      by H.H. Kung, husband of Ai-ling, Charlie Soong's middle daughter
      (and considered by many the brains of the family).


      Madame Chiang

      Author: Ralph Zuljan
      Contributor(s): Jennifer Wilding
      Published on: April 1, 2002

      Related Subject(s): Presidents' spouses -- China -- Biography ,
      Chiang, May-ling Soong, 1897-

      Once upon a time there were three sisters. One loved money, one loved
      China, and one loved power...
      The eldest Soong sister, Ai-ling, loved money, she became the wife of
      the banker H.H. Kung. The second Soong sister, Ching-ling, loved
      China, she became the wife of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. The third Soong
      sister, Mei-ling, loved power. She was Madame Chiang, media darling
      and the power behind the Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek.

      The Soong family played an enormous role in the Chinese revolt
      against the Manchu dynasty and in subsequent events. The father,
      Charlie Soong was an American educated Methodist minister who
      acquired a huge fortune in China publishing Bibles and then in
      commercial publishing. His fortune was instrumental in financing the
      Nationalist revolution. This participation was the reason his
      children were educated in the United States, he knew dangerous times
      were coming and he wanted them as far away as possible.

      Mei-ling was born in 1897, fourth of six children. As a very little
      girl she was chubby, spoiled and ruled her family with a reign of
      terror. She always got her own way. At eight years of age she was
      sent to America to begin formal schooling. She was young, but her
      elder sisters and one brother were already there, and it seemed to
      Charlie Soong to be the safest thing to do. Mei-ling was very well
      liked by her schoolmates throughout her academic career. She returned
      to China in 1917 with a degree in English Literature, ten years later
      she married Chiang Kai-shek.

      It is difficult to know the truth of the Chaings marriage. Some
      biographers describe it as one of the great love matches of all time,
      others describe it as a marriage of convenience. It is certain that
      Chiang was not as faithful as one might expect a professed Christian
      to be (he fathered at least one illegitimate son during his marriage)
      and it is equally certain that Mei-ling became immensely powerful.
      The Chiangs never had children.

      Throughout the Second World War Madame Chiang acted as her husband's
      translator and secretary. She prepared daily précis of the English
      language news for him and interpreted social nuances of Western
      behavior that often baffled and infuriated the Chinese who were
      thrown into close contact with Allied military and diplomats. Her
      husband benefited greatly from her linguistic skills and political

      Madame Chiang traveled extensively, with her husband and on her own,
      working to unify China. She was popular at home, having a vast
      knowledge of Chinese languages, literature and traditions, but her
      greatest admirers were the foreigners with whom she came into
      contact. She was a consummate politician, but never hesitated to play
      both ends against the middle to reach her goals. One such admirer was
      General Stilwell. He and Chiang Kai-shek loathed each other, but he
      found Madame Chiang sweet, reasonable, and sympathetic. She worked
      hard to foster this impression (although she cordially disliked him),
      her goal was to have China recognized as a great power and her
      husband a war leader on a level with Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.
      Stilwell had the ear of the Big Three at events such as the Cairo
      Conference of 1943. Perhaps if Madame Chiang had been less
      disinterested in the defeat of Germany as the first priority she may
      have succeeded. As is was, China's troubles in the war and with the
      Communists at home continued to be a distant second to the troubles
      of the Western Allies.

      Madame's behavior at the Conference seriously jeopardized her case.
      She was personally popular, but her habit of rewriting speeches and
      retranslating the official interpretation made her a liability rather
      than as asset. This was a source of irritation to all Westerners who
      dealt with Madame Chiang in the war arena. And deal they did. She was
      so prominent in the war effort that Stilwell recommended, only half
      jokingly, that she be appointed Minister of Defense.

      It was in America, however, that Madame Chiang really shone. She was
      so popular during her wartime tours of the US that she became a folk
      hero. Everywhere she went she was wildly acclaimed, her public
      speeches were attended by crowds of up to 30,000 people and the media
      adored her. She was so well regarded that she made the cover of Time
      magazine for the second time (the first had been with her husband
      as "Man and Wife of the Year"), was the model for "Dragon Lady", a
      sort of Air Force fairy godmother in a popular comic strip, and
      appears in a stained glass window in a Massena, New York church
      as "the First Lady of Christendom".

      The tours of the United States were not all popular acclaim and radio
      broadcasts. Madame Chiang was on the fund-and-sympathy raising
      circuit, she worked hard and did well. Her good looks and Western
      demeanor emphasized similarities rather than differences between two
      cultures. To fail to admire Madame Chiang was almost an admission of
      being a Communist sympathizer.

      One of her triumphs was squeezing a number airplanes out of
      Roosevelt. The other was her address to Congress on February 18,
      1943, only the second woman and the first Chinese to do so. Madame
      Chiang's appeal for help against the Japanese was so moving she
      received a four minute standing ovation. The emotional tidal wave was
      a concern to senior politicians, it was rumored that the bestowal of
      the airplanes was an effort to persuade her to end her trip to

      Madame Chiang also wrote a great number of books and articles,
      primarily for the American market. She remained in the forefront of
      the fight against Communism until the Nationalist retreat to Taiwan.
      In 1965 she returned to the United States to plead for war materiel
      with which to retake Mainland China, but received no aid.

      When Chiang Kai-shek died Mei-ling again returned to the United
      States. She lives in New York, where she observed her hundredth
      birthday by opening an exhibit of her own paintings


      The Represented History: Discursiveness and Authenticity

      Mable Cheung Yuen-Ting's historical epic The Soong Sisters attempts
      to offer the audience a panoramic view of modern Chinese history from
      1900 to 1949 through the recreation of the lives of the legendary
      Soong sisters.

      In depicting the childhood lives of the Soong sisters, the film
      includes a scene in which the Soong sisters, led by the equally
      legendary father Charlie Soong, are singing and dancing in a snowy

      This happy moment between father and three daughters can be seen as a
      metaphor applicable to both the Soong sisters and the director
      herself. On the one hand, the snow-covered labyrinth resembles the
      historical stage on which the three sisters will perform. On the
      other hand, woman director Mable Cheung's effort to overcome the
      obstacle of time and to reconstruct the past through moving images
      may be read as a brave intrusion into the labyrinth of history.

      Much to this reviewer's regret, however, Mable Cheung's journey fails
      to demonstrate certain necessary suspicion of the possibility of re-
      embracing the "real" picture of the past. The film's narrative is
      built upon the optimistic belief that visual representation could re-
      picture the complete landscape of the past, which makes the film
      falls short of post-Foucaultian reflexivity on history's discursive

      As a matter of fact, there are certain elements in the film that
      might lead to the acknowledgement of history as a particular kind of
      discourse. The film's points of view shift back and forth between
      personal voices and omniscient voice, making it possible for the film
      to re-present history from multi-perspectives.

      The changes of time and space and the shifts of scenes as well as
      narrative emphasis are often achieved through the switches of points
      of view. The marriage between Soong Ailing and Kong Xiangxi, a
      descendant of the Confucius family, is introduced through Soong
      Ailing's voice-over of the letter to her two younger sisters, then
      students of the Wesleyan Female College of the United States.

      Similarly, Soong Qingling's marriage with Sun Yat-Sen is also
      initiated by her voice-over of the letter to Soong Meiling, the
      youngest among the three sisters, which adds a subjective layer to
      the succeeding scenes. Soong Qingling's unusual romance with the
      father of modern Chinese revolutions seems to inspire Soong Meiling,
      who in the letter to Soong Qingling vows to marry a great hero.

      The scenes immediately after this swear show the progress of the
      relationship between Soong Meiling and Chiang Kai-Shek, which
      eventually leads to the marriage between the two in December 1927.
      Although the whole story appears to be told in an "objective" tone,
      the intrusion of Soong Meiling's personal voice partially weakens its
      realistic nature.

      The relative blurring of time and space and the building of
      melodramatic scenes also point to the fact that history is by and
      large a constructed discourse. Except for a few captions that
      indicate the names of some cities and countries, the film seems to be
      intentionally vague about the locale of the represented events.

      The repeated scene of the Soong sisters playing at the Echoing Wall
      downplays the fact that the Soong family since Charlie Soong had
      built a strong political and economic base in the foreign settlements
      of Shanghai.

      In visualizing the changing scenes of modern Chinese history,
      director Mable Cheung uses few long shot or full shot to indicate the
      locales. Instead, close shots and shots of interior scenes dominate
      the whole film, which weakens the principle of "realness" the
      audience usually expects for a historical epic.

      China's transition from the Qing Dynasty to the Republic as well as
      the birth of the Chiang Kai-Shek era are represented by two highly
      constructed scenes of people holding Sun Yat-Sen's and Chiang Kai-
      Shek's head portraits and marching down the steps. Similar to the
      famous "Odessa Steps" sequence of Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin,
      the contrast between the emotionless mass and the sea of the head
      portraits points not to a realistic representation of history, but to
      a subjective reflection on the past.

      The key issue does not lie in the film's weakening of the "authentic"
      representation of history. As a matter of fact, history writing, no
      matter how it is mediated, either through the verbal or through the
      visual, cannot escape from its "meta-ness."

      It is a particular kind of discourse carefully woven by human
      subjects and carries what Stuart Hall calls the characteristics
      of "encoding." The post-Foucaultian subversive reading of history
      writing does not try to hide the fact that discourse intrudes into
      the reconstruction of history.

      Instead, it is meant to unravel the complicated relationship between
      power and knowledge behind discourse. In other words, historical
      consciousness of the fin-de-ciecle does not pursue the "authenticity"
      of representation. Instead, it tries to build a dialogic relation
      between the past and the present.

      With necessary suspicion of any truth claim, it also tries to
      deconstruct the "objectiveness" of history writing. Although The
      Soong Sisters is punctuated by personal voices in its attempt to
      reconstruct the past, which might have enabled the director to
      challenge the logic of "Grand History," the film appears to be more
      interested in re-iterating the textbook-based version of modern
      Chinese history.

      In indulging itself in the false consciousness of "objectively"
      representing history, the film seems to accord with the narrative
      confidence prevalent in mainland China's "Main Melody" films.

      The Soong Sisters gives little room to building a dialogic and
      reflexive relationship with history. Instead of unraveling the
      discursive nature of history writing, the film seems to be certain
      about the possibility of re-embracing the authentic and the absolute.

      On the one hand, because of its constant switches of perspectives,
      the film would have suggested a multiple interpretation of history.
      On the other hand, the certainty about an "authentic" representation
      points to the singularity of history writing. This basic
      contradiction explains why the film fails to deliver convincing
      messages on both aspects.

      Whereas the complexity of modern Chinese history is to a large extent
      simplified because of the film's concern for individuals, the
      exploration of the inner world of the three sisters remains
      inadequate due to the film's eagerness to present an "authentic"
      picture of modern Chinese history.


      The Soong Family:

      The Soongs were a parvenu Shanghai family. Charlie Jones Soong/Soong
      Yau Ju was born, in 1875, to impoverished parents on South China's
      Haninan Island. Yau Ju Soong was adopted by an "uncle" and taken to
      Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A., to labor in a tea and silk shop. Yau
      Ju ran away to seek an education.

      First, he was ship's boy under a Captain Gabrialson, the master of
      the Bostonian ship on which Soong had stowed away. It was Gabrialson
      who introduced "Charlie" to evangelical religion. He was later
      baptized Charles James Soong. Charles Jones Soong died May 3, 1918
      (see below). Soong Yau Ju was the father of am important family.

      He was been educated, in the United States, in the American
      fundamentalist Bible culture. He returned to Shanghai as a Southern
      Methodist. He was to be a missionary, but made more money printing

      He became a multi-millionaire as a merchant, aided, in part, by his
      adoptive American father, tobacco magnate, Julian S. Carr, of Durham,
      North Carolina. Back in Shanghai, Charles married the daughter of one
      of China's most powerful Tongs. He fathered six children, the most
      famous were his three daughters--Ai-ling, Ching-ling and Mei-ling. He
      had a sons: T.V., T.L., and T.A.

      The girls attended Methodist Mctyeire School in Yuyuan Lu, and
      studied at Wesleyan College for Women in the United States. T.V.,
      their brother, went to Harvard and Columbia. Using Anglicized
      initials, for the boys, rather than one's Chinese name was considered
      fashionable in Shanghai.

      A frequent visitor to the Soong family's home was Sun Yat-sen. Sun
      Yat-sen wanted to marry Ching-ling Soong, even though he was close to
      the same age as her father, and was already married to another woman
      (see photo above).

      Sun Yat-sen was the man who brought the Qing Dynasty (or Manchus) to
      an end. Sun was born to a peasant family near Macau. He studied
      medicine in Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Between 1918 and 1924 he lived
      at 7 Xiangshan Lu, in Shanghai, with his wife Ching-ling Soong. He
      died in 1924 in Beijing. His widow then lived at 1843 Huanihai Zhong
      Lu. Madame Soong died in 1981. She is buried next to her parents in
      their plot in the Wanguo Cemetary.

      Mei-Ling Soong
      Wife of Chiang Kai-shek
      Ai-Ling married Dr. H. H. Kung, a member of a Shanghai banking family
      and a descendant of Confucious. Dr. King became the Minister of
      Finance in the Guomindang government. Their extended family became a
      major financial force in New York, San Francisco, and Dallas, Texas.

      The Soongs were a upwardly mobile family. Eventually Mei-Ling would
      be "first Lady" of China, when she married Chaing Kai-shek 1927. Her
      husband-to-be was 13 years older than her. He divorced his first
      wife, and agreed to convert to Methodism to win Mei-Ling Soong's
      hand. Chiang Kai-shek's son by his first wife, Chiang Ching-kuo, was
      later made leader of Taiwan.

      It was said that Mei-Ling Soong was a greedy woman, and she amassed a
      huge fortune by manipulating government bonds, speculating in silver
      and currency, and siphoning American aid to China, whenever possible
      (Johnson, Nancy.Shanghai Hong Kong: Odyssey Publications, Ltd.1999).
      By the time the Communists took power they had millions of dollars in
      United States banks.

      A saying goes:

      "Ai-ling loved money, Mei-ling loved power, and Ching-ling loved

      This was because Ching-Ling was the only sister to remain in China. A
      photograph of the wedding of Chiang Kai-shek and Mei-ling Soong
      follow in this account (part 2).

      Charles Soong's three biological sons were among the richest people
      in the world. T.V. Soong, was not only prime minister of nationalist
      China, but later became a millionaire by taking advantage of an
      artificially controlled government currency exchange rate. Before,
      during, and after World War II, T.V. Soong converted U.S. foreign aid
      money and Christian missionary, charitable contributions, primarily
      from the United States, into millions of dollars on the Chinese
      foreign currency market--at a profit as high as 2000:1.

      Charlie Soong's other two sons, T.L. and T.A. Soong began family
      finance dynasties in New York and San Francisco, respectively.

      It was rumored that Charlie Soong was murdered by a slow poison.
      (Bengtson, David. Past Lives of Famous People: Journeys of the Soul.
      Woodside, CA.:Bluestar Communications, 1997).


      THE SOONG DYNASTY. By Sterling Seagrave. Copyright 1985 by Harper
      and Row. 532 pages.

      The Soong dynasty is barely more than a century old. Yet its
      legends, scope, power, and influence are (the legends) and were (the
      rest) so broad that it can be hard to believe how far they rose and
      how, essentially, they blew much of everything they had by sheer
      greed and corruption that grossly infected the second generation.
      They truly were, as I will say, the Platinum Celestials. But
      thinking they could have the world and more, they overreached and
      didn't cover themselves properly in case the whole scheme unraveled
      like a bad sweater.

      It all started with their father, Charlie Soong. A runaway, who came
      to America at the age of nine, he was able to go to college through a
      sponsorship by Julian Carr, a Southern businessman. Charlie
      graduated and began selling Bibles. He also became a revolutionary
      who was dedicated to overthrowing the corrupt, venal and evil Manchu
      (Ching) Dynasty that still ruled China, albeit by a thread. By 1887
      he was back in China; he also married Ni Kwei-Tseng that year. Not
      only did her dowry help them get started but her mind and drive
      rivaled his. Their children were doubly gifted and were able to use
      their twin benefits to maximum use.

      Six children were born to Charlie and "Mammy" Soong. In order, three
      girls and then three boys, they are Ai-Ling, Ching-Ling, May-ling,
      T.V., T.L., and T.A. While all figured prominently in the rise of
      the Soong dynasty, the sisters and T.V. occupied the most visible and
      obvious roles. Ai-Ling married H.H. Kung, Finance Minister under Sun
      Yat-Sen; her children, especially Jeannette, were in finance also but
      wore the hats of goodwill ambassadors for China.

      Ching-Ling married Sun Yat-Sen himself and later broke with the rest
      of her family over their greed and distortion of her late husband's
      ideals. May-Ling became the First Lady of Nationalist China; she
      married Chiang Kai-Shek, the infamous "Peanut" who let his own
      delusions and falsehoods lead, eventually, to the banishment of the
      KMT to Taiwan by Mao Zedong and the CCP.

      T.V. married a Shanghai debutante named Lo-Yi Chang; as Prime
      Minister and the controller of nationalist China's purse strings he
      may have held the greatest degree of influence. T.L. and T.A. were
      both financiers who married into Chinese American banker families.
      Interestingly, none of the daughters were their husbands' first

      Behind all of them was Big-Eared Tu, the boss of the Green Gang and
      the children's godfather. He was a major force that helped both
      establish and maintain both Chiang Kai-Shek and the Soongs in their
      positions of influence. But being influential was one thing. Being
      corrupt and selfish was another.

      Granted, China had always been a nation of tremendous wealth
      concentrated in relatively few hands with the masses of peasants
      stuck in grinding, ceaseless poverty. But in the late 19th and 20th
      centuries more people were being educated and exposed to more of the
      world than ever before in the Middle Kingdom's history (and a very
      old history it is).

      The abuses and amassing of wealth were so gross that many were driven
      over the years into the arms of the Communists and their propaganda.
      This would have been avoided by responsible governing and lack of
      hubris by Chiang and the Nationalists. Ha Ha.

      I will not go into the KMT government and its incompetence from the
      late 1920's until it lost the Civil War in 1949. That is too
      exhaustive and long. I will conclude with the lesson that having the
      opportunities to alter circumstances is only half of the battle.
      Working for the right results is the other half. And here the Soong
      second generation was lacking.

      When people chose Mao the alternative had to be seen as worse. And
      everyone knew Mao was bad news from the beginning. So much for
      choices; Chiang and our delusional China Lobby (the Luces, the
      Chennaults, etc.) are still hurting us today by their incompetent
      legacy from 55 years ago. Lying and falsifications got us into this
      predicament. We are still trying to extricate ourselves with Beijing
      and many of its citizens.

      Sterling Seagrave knows his subjects and their nation well. This
      book is an interesting read for its family subject and its national
      one. Though it was published nearly twenty years ago it is still
      relevant in regard to learning about the past and looking toward the
      future. It is the type of book I will read a second time. Enjoy it!


      Madame Chiang Kai-shek
      Week of August 14, 2000

      Mayling Soong, who became Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, is the Wellesley
      Person of the Week.

      One of the most influential women of the twentieth century, Mayling
      Soong was born in March, 1897, in Shanghai. Her father
      Yaoju "Charlie" Soong, was a Methodist minister and businessman, who
      spent some 15 years during the latter part of the 19th century in the
      United States, where he earned a certificate in theology at
      Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Her mother, Kwei Twang Nyi,
      was a devout Christian and strict disciplinarian.

      The fourth of six children, Soong came to the United States in 1908,
      living near the campus of the Wesleyan College for Women, in Macon,
      GA, where her sister was a student. She was tutored by Wesleyan
      students, and attended school in Demorest, GA. She was an excellent
      student, who picked up English, which she spoke with a Georgia
      accent, quickly.

      In 1913, Mayling entered Wellesley College, where she majored in
      English Literature and minored in philosophy. In her senior year, she
      was named a Durant Scholar, Wellesley's highest academic distinction.
      She was a member of the Tau Zeta Epsilon society and was a casual
      tennis player and swimmer during her Wellesley years. She boarded
      with a Wellesley family her first year, and lived in the Wood Cottage
      and Tower Court, on campus, from her sophomore year through her
      senior year. She was outgoing and popular, and according to a
      friend, "There always seemed to be some nice Chinese boy or other on
      the doorstep of Wood."

      Following her graduation from Wellesley College in 1917, she returned
      to China, where she honed her fluency in spoken Chinese, and studied
      the classics and literature of China. She did social work for the
      Y.W.C.A. in Shanghai and was appointed to be a member of Shanghai's
      Child Labor Commission.

      Mayling met Chiang Kai-shek in 1920. He was eleven years her elder,
      and a Buddhist. Although he was already married, Chiang proposed
      marriage to Mayling, much to the objection of Mayling's mother. He
      eventually won Mrs. Soong's blessing for marriage to her daughter by
      providing proof of his divorce, and after committing to convert to
      Christianity. He told his future mother-in-law that he couldn't
      convert immediately, because religion needed to be gradually
      absorbed, not swallowed like a pill. He was baptised in 1929. A
      rising star in the Chinese military, he became Generalissimo Chiang
      Kai-shek, the leader of the Nationalist Party, and engaged in a
      struggle with communist factions which would continue for the rest of
      his life.

      Madame Chiang initiated China's New Life Movement in 1934, with the
      goal of the "physical, eduacational and moral rebirth of the Chinese
      nation", based on traditional Chinese values. In 1936, she assumed
      the role of Secretary General of the Chinese Commission on
      Aeronautical Affairs. She said, " Of all of the inventions that have
      helped to unify China, perhaps the airplane is the most outstanding.
      Its ability to annihilate distance has been in direct proportion to
      its achievements in assisting to annihilate suspicion and

      Madame Chiang Kai-shek was her husband's English translator,
      secretary, advisor and an influential propogandist for the
      Nationalist cause. She distinguished herself as a skilled negotiator
      during the "Xi'an Incident". Following the refusal of Nationalist
      forces in Sian, China, to engage communist forces in December, 1936,
      Chiang Kai-shek went to Sian, where he was "arrested" by military
      subordinates. Madame Chiang Kai-shek flew to Sian and successfully
      negotiated the Generalissimo's release, on Christmas Day.

      In February, 1943, Madame Chiang became the first Chinese national,
      and the second woman, to ever address a joint session of the U.S.
      House and Senate, making the case for strong U.S. support of China in
      its war with Japan. She came to Wellesley College the next month, her
      first visit to her alma mater following her graduation in 1917. In a
      nationally broadcast speech, Madame Chiang addressed assembled
      students and faculty in Alumnae Hall.

      In 1949, when communist forces gained control of China's major
      cities, Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland, and declared Taipei,
      Taiwan to be the temporary capital of China, where he was elected
      president. Madame Chiang continued to play a prominent international
      role. She was the honorary chair of the American Bureau for Medical
      Aid to China, a Patron of the International Red Cross Committee,
      honorary chair of the British United Aid to China Fund, and First
      Honorary Member of the Bill of Rights Commemorative Society. Through
      the late 1960's she was included among America's 10 most admired
      President Chiang Kai-shek died during his fifth term, in 1975.
      Following her husband's death, Madame Chiang returned to the U.S.,
      residing in Lattington, NY.

      Her many published works include This Is Our China (1940), Sian: a
      coup d'Etat (1941) and The Sure Victory (1955). Among the
      institutions to grant Madame Chiang honorary degrees are Boston
      University, Hahnemann Medical College, Loyola University, University
      of Michigan, and Wellesley College.

      Madame Chiang Kai-shek is 103 years old and lives in New York City.

      Written by Mur Wolf


      Soong FAMILY,

      Soong also spelled SUNG, Pinyin SONG, influential Chinese family that
      was heavily involved in the political fortunes of China during the
      20th century. Among its best-known members were Charlie, the founder
      of the family, and his children T.V. Soong, financier and politician;
      Soong Mei-ling, who became Madame Chiang Kai-shek; and Soong Ch'ing-
      ling (qq.v.), who married Sun Yat-sen.

      Charlie Soong (1866-1918), also called Charles Jones Soon, was born
      Han Chiao-shun and was reared until he was nine in Wen-ch'ang, a port
      on the eastern coast of the island of Hainan. After a three-year
      apprenticeship in the East Indies, he spent eight years in the United
      States. He was educated and trained by the Methodists for missionary
      work among the Chinese. In 1886 he returned to China. He married in
      1887; the following year he joined a secret society dedicated to the<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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