Along with the 79th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (also known as the July 7th Incident), on July 7th the Humanities Research Center of National Cheng Chi University held a book launch party for a new book series entitled Mr. Chiang Kai-shek in the War of Resistance against Japan. Recently, the study on Chiang Kai-shek has been an important issue of modern Chinese history for scholars both in Taiwan and China. By publishing this book series, NCCU showed its vital role in the study of modern Chinese history. The public could also understand more about the history of the War of Resistance against Japan.
Many years ago, Academia Historica published a scanned version of Chiang Kai-shek’s Chronological Event Transcripts. However, many scholars said that this collection was not easy to use since Chiang’s handwriting was illegible and without punctuation, and there were some marks or notes on original documents. Therefore, last year, the Humanities Research Center was authorized by Academia Historica and cooperated with Moses W. Li Medical Education Foundation to start this publication project—reediting Chiang Kai-shek’s Chronological Event Transcripts and publishing a new series.
According to the Humanities Research Center, Chiang paid much attention to preserving and arranging documents, and thus ordered his aides to edit Chronological Event Transcripts from 1927 to 1949 for him. Based on Chiang’s diaries, the original collection had about 300 volumes covering lots of vital events in the history of modern China. In addition to Chiang’s diaries, his speeches, official telegrams, dispatches or some important diplomatic memorandums or treaties were also included in the collection.
In order to complete a new edition, the Humanities Research Center invited many domestic scholars, who did the study of modern Chinese history, to edit and revise documents and renamed the title of each book in chronological order. There were 13 volumes of the new series of Chiang Kai-shek’s Chronological Event Transcripts. This series depicted how Chiang led China during the War of Resistance against Japan.
Republishing this book series, on the one hand, could make more readers understand history of this period and encourage people to cultivate in studies of Chiang Kai-shek and modern China. On the other hand, this also met the current trend of digitalization of archives. The Humanities Research Center said that they might publish this series in e-book or establish an online database in the future.
Dr. Edward H. Chow, the president of NCCU, attended the book launch party too. In his talking, Chow pointed out that when China faced the political uncertainty, Chiang decided to nurture more human resources to build the country. Thus, in 1927, the Central School of Governance was founded by the Nanjing Nationalist Government of China in Nanjing. This school was the predecessor of National Cheng Chi University. NCCU’s mottos, Harmony, Independence, Balance and Preeminence, symbolized perseverance of Chinese people. For NCCU, to republish these important documents was meaningful and an honor. With efforts of NCCU, Academia Historica, and the Culture Communication Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang Party History Museum, studies of Chiang Kai-shek and modern China will be valued more by the world. NCCU will continue to play its leading role in both fields in the world.
On the day of 79th anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident, Ms. Hsiu-chu Hung, the chairperson of the Kuomintang (KMT), expressed her sorrow to this incident. In Hung’s opinion, although it might be “politically incorrect” to discuss the history of War of Resistance against Japan and legacy of Chiang under present political circumstance, history of these years should not be forgotten or ignored by all citizens.
Mr. Ying-jeou Ma, the former President of Republic of China, also mentioned in his talking that the War of Resistance against Japan was the biggest war in the history of Chinese people because of large numbers of wounded and dead. According to official statistics, wounded officers and soldiers were more than 3.2 millions, and 268 generals were dead. During this war period, there were about 40 thousand battles which caused more than 20 million people injured or dead. Even though China’s weapons could not fully compete with Japan’s, Chinese people never gave up. After the victory of the War of Resistance against Japan, the Chinese Civil War between the KMT and the Communist Party of China (CPC) broke up soon. So many years had passed. Finally, both sides now could face history of this period squarely. Ma thanked NCCU’s efforts to review and reevaluate the history of the War of Resistance against Japan.
Besides military performances, Ma also highly praised Chiang’s diligence in keeping diaries for 57 years. Since 1915, Chiang began to keep his diary and stopped this habit in 1972 due to his illness. Ma believed that this must be a really rare example among leaders in the world. These precious diaries should be kept carefully for future generations and research.
On the same day of July 7th, the Humanities Research Center also held an academic symposium. Some scholars in the field of modern Chinese history were invited to discuss the importance of Chiang’s records on the War of Resistance against Japan and give advice for future research.