Changing China

Giant on the move

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Chiang knew he’d lose to Mao



War is the last thing on the minds of Taiwan’s leaders these days as the island government moves to make friends with rival China. Even in far more hostile times, Taiwan’s KMT leadership had privately given up dreams of using force to take control of the mainland, according to documents that are now available for public viewing.


A public opening in May of the forested Back Cihu compound outside Taipei teaches 400 eager visitors per day how the island-based Republic of China government aimed to strike back at the Communist People’s Republic of China, but it ultimately abandoned the idea.


As the county now in charge of Back Cihu worked toward opening the site and its historical treasures to visitors, it came across documents left over from strongman Chiang Kai-shek, detailing schemes to retake China in the 1950s through the early 1970s. Visitors can see some of the records at Back Cihu, which features five buildings and a tunnel that would have housed the government if Beijing ever attacked central Taipei.


“The material on display allows the public to see the tense atmosphere of the 1950s,” a statement from the county government says. “(After the 1960s) the scale of Chiang’s plan to take back the mainland was gradually reduced, and in July 1972 put away in the office of a vice defence minister.”