Who is Chiang Kai-shek?

One of Taiwan’s most notable leaders, and the focus of the tourist route, is Chiang Kai-shek. Chiang played a crucial role in the Chinese Civil War as the leader of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Kuomintang nationalist party. As the Chinese civil war turned in favor of the Chinese Communist Party, Chiang Kai-shek and the ROC military and refugees fled to the island of Taiwan. Chiang is credited for saving the ROC government from complete eradication. Taiwan would not exist as it does today without Chiang Kai-shek’s leadership during this period. As a result, many people argue that Chiang was a “saviour in the minds of the Taiwanese” as he was responsible for freeing the ethnically Han Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan from Japanese colonial rule along with saving them from communism. Perceptions of Chiang Kai-shek among Taiwan’s population are extremely polarized. The Kuomintang (KMT) party typically has a more sympathetic view of Chiang Kai-shek’s actions during his time as the leader of Taiwan. The KMT maintains that Chiang Kai-shek did what was necessary for saving the ROC from falling to communism and maintaining order during a time of intense political strife. In stark contrast to the positive depiction of Chiang Kai-shek by the KMT, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and other Pan-Green parties are more critical of his actions. Their supporters point out atrocities committed by Chiang’s regime, such as the White Terror and the 228 Incident, to further the narrative that he was a brutal dictator.

Tour Route