Chinese Women through Chinese Eyes

By Li Yu-Ning | Go to book overview

6
Chinese Women's Fight for Freedome

Sung Ch'ing-ling

SUNG CH'ING-LING ( 1883-1981), also known as Soong Ching Ling, was a controversial celebrity throughout most of her long life. As widow of Sun Yat-sen ( 1866-1925), who was esteemed as the leader of the 1911 Revolution and the founder of the Chinese Republic by both the Nationalist and Communist parties, she enjoyed an eminence that gave her a high degree of security in times of rapid and unpredictable political change. But, like her two sisters, Ai-ling and Mei-ling, she attained public prominence without ever holding real political power.

In 1927, when Sung Ch'ing-ling's brother-in-law Chiang Kai-shek ( 1887-1975) rose to national leadership and suppressed the Communist Party, she openly declared that he had violated Sun Yat-sen's political principles and his policy of cooperation with the Communists. This was the beginning of the public differences between the Sung sisters, which reflected conflicting convictions and ambitions and which were to continue throughout their lives. In the 1930s, she lent her support to the China League for Civil Rights and the National Salvation Association, both of which opposed Chiang's Nationalist government. During the period of the united front against the Japanese in the second Sino-Japanese War, she joined the Chiang government in Chungking. But after the war and during the civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists that followed, as the honorary chairperson of the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang she engaged in a wide range of activities in support of the Communist Party.

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