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Chang Ch'ün

Chang Ch'ün (張群, a.k.a. Chang Chun, Chang Yueh-chun, pinyin: Zhāng Qún) (May 9, 1889 - December 4, 1990) was premier of the Republic of China from 1947-1948. A close associate of Chiang Kai-shek, he served as secretary general of the National Security Council and as governor of Szechwan during World War II.

Biography

In 1907 he was a military cadet in Japan, where he was a classmate of Chiang Kai-shek. They were both went on to serve in the Takata regiment of the Niigata army before returning to China to serve under Sun Yat-sen in his revolution which overthrew the Qing monarchy in 1911. This period was to form the basis of the lifelong friendship between the two men.

Following the establishment of the Republic of China, Chang held several posts, including mayor of Shanghai, governor of Hupeh province and foreign minister. After World War II, he negotiated as a member of the Committee of Three, with General George Marshall and Chou En-lai, and briefly headed the first coalition government as president of the Executive Yuan, a position also known as premier of the Republic of China.

A few years after the transfer of the capital from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, he became chief of staff and secretary general to the president. His work was chiefly concerned with foreign affairs, particularly relations with Japan. Among his duties were representing the president to many foreign nations, including the Second Vatican Council in 1965. In 1972, at the age of 83, he played a large role in the difficult negotiations regarding Japan's switch of diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China.

Zhou Enlai (left) and Chang Ch'ün (right) during the Committee of Three talks in 1946.

A member of the board of the National Palace Museum, he was a renowned calligrapher, friend of great artists, such as Chang Dai-chien, and a keen collector. He died at the age of 101, of heart and kidney failure, at Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, on December 4, 1990.

He was survived by his daughter, Mrs. Yalan Chang Lew, widow of the Ambassador Yu-Tang Daniel Lew, and sons Dr Philip Chi-Cheng Chang, former finance minister and governor of the Central Bank of China, and Dr. Theodore Chi-chung Chang, former minister of the Mandarin Baptist Church of Pasadena, California.

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Preceded by
Chiang Kai-shek
Premier of the Republic of China
1947–1948
Succeeded by
Wong Wen-hao
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