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Soong

Soong (sŏng) [key], Mandarin Song, Chinese family, prominent in public affairs. Soong Yao-ju or Charles Jones Soong, 1866–1918, graduated from Vanderbilt Univ. and, after returning to China (1886), was a Methodist missionary in Shanghai. He resigned from mission work in 1892 and thereafter was a successful merchant. Soong Tzu-wen, better known as T. V. Soong, 1894–1971, his most distinguished son, was educated at Harvard and later (1917–23) engaged in private business in China. He occupied several official positions in the Kuomintang government, including governor of the Central Bank of China and minister of finance (1928–31, 1932–33); minister of foreign affairs (1942–45); and president of the Executive Yüan (1945–47). After failing to reconcile Communist and Nationalist governments in 1949, he moved to the United States. The three daughters of C. J. Soong were also prominent. Soong Ai-ling, 1890–1973, graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. She married K'ung Hsiang-hsi and engaged in child welfare work. Soong Ch'ing-ling or Song Qingling, 1892–1981, also graduated from Wesleyan College. She early became prominent in revolutionary politics, and in 1914 she married Sun Yat-sen in Japan. After Sun's death (1925) she was elected (1926) to the Kuomintang central executive committee. After the expulsion (1927) of the Communists, she resigned and went abroad. The outbreak (1937) of the Sino-Japanese War reconciled her with the Kuomintang, until 1946. From 1949 until her death she served as vice chairman of the government of the People's Republic of China. In 1951 she was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize, and in 1953 a collection of her writings, Struggle for New China, was published. Soong Mei-ling, c.1897–2003, graduated from Wellesley College. She married Chiang Kai-shek in 1927. She was a member of the Legislative Yüan (1930–32) and secretary-general of the Chinese Aeronautical Affairs Commission (1936–38). In 1945 she became a member of the central executive committee of the Kuomintang. Through numerous articles, broadcasts, and travel to the United States she sought to enlist American support for the Chinese Nationalists against the Communists. She lived in the United States after Chiang's death (1975).

See E. Hahn, The Soong Sisters (1941, repr. 1970); S. Seagrave, The Soong Dynasty (1985); L. T. Li, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (2006); H. Pakula, The Last Empress: Madame Chiang Kai-shek and the Birth of Modern China (2009).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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