Chiang Kai-shek’s Great-Grandson’s Election Win Means Much To Taiwan’s Future

Chiang Kai-shek’s Great-Grandson’s Election Win Means Much To Taiwan’s Future

But there is much more to the win of the young (43) Chiang and his Chinese Nationalist (KMT) Party over the candidate of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. Even before he has taken office at city hall, Chiang is being promoted as the next president of Taiwan when incumbent Tsai Ing-wen must by law step down in 2024.

Where most of the KMT embrace the “one nation, two systems” policy that opponents fear will lead to Taiwan being absorbed by China, young Chiang in January, 2020 denounced the policy and embraced the stance of President Tsai that China must recognize the independence of Taiwan and the values of freedom and democracy held dear by Taiwanese.

Chiang-Wan-an’s grandfather, Chiang Ching-kuo, served as Taiwan’s president from 1978 to 1988.* The lawmaker’s father John Chiang is a past vice premier and foreign minister of Taiwan.

*Related (Notes for Myself):

Chiang Ching-kuo: The Great Dictator?

It cannot be denied that Chiang made significant contributions to Taiwan, especially in terms of economic development. Moreover, during the last few years of his rule, Chiang did plant the seeds for the democratization and development of Taiwan after his death. Lee, who succeeded Chiang as president, was the person who gave these seeds the water and nutrients they needed to blossom.

But it is also very important to point out that Chiang’s efforts began relatively late in life. He was so sick that he knew his days were numbered. He also knew perfectly well that he had no suitable heir-apparent.

Furthermore, it cannot be denied that Chiang’s reign was an era of military dictatorship and White Terror. In fact, even when Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) was still president, Chiang Ching-kuo was already the executor of the senior Chiang’s reign of terror.

Chiang Ching-kuo’s Wikipedia:

After the Japanese surrender, Ching-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 Chiang family and their ROC government to retreat to Taiwan. 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 as part of the White Terror. He then became Minister of Defense (1965–1969), Vice-Premier (1969–1972) and Premier (1972–1978). After his father’s death in 1975, he took leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) as chairman, and was elected president in 1978 and again in 1984.

On 15 July 1987, Chiang finally ended martial law and allowed family visits to the mainland. The ban on tourism to Hong Kong and Macau was also lifted. 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.