Chiang Wei-shui

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Chiang Wei-shui
Chiang Wei-shui.jpg
Simplified Chinese 蒋渭水
Traditional Chinese 蔣渭水

Chiang Wei-shui (February 8, 1891—August 5, 1931) was a founder of the Taiwanese Cultural Association and the Taiwanese People's Party. He is seen as one of the most important figures in Taiwan's resistance movement against Japanese rule.

He once wrote a short essay on Taiwan called Bedside Examination (臨床講義) about how the patient (Taiwan) suffered from severe culture malnutrition. Written in the form of a medical examination, it is his most famous work.

Biography[edit]

Chiang was born in Yilan during the Qing Dynasty rule. At the age of 10 he began to study with Confucian scholar Zhang Maocai. In 1915 he graduated from the Taiwan Medical College, now the National Taiwan University College of Medicine.

He founded the Da'an Hospital in Dadaocheng, a district in Taipei, and invited fellow intellectuals to the hospital to discuss contemporary affairs. In 1920 he began participating in the movement to found the Taiwan Assembly. In 1921 he helped found the Taiwan Cultural Association. He was imprisoned for four months in 1923 and again in 1925 for his opposition to the colonial government. In total, he was imprisoned more than ten times.

In 1927, the Taiwan Cultural Association split because of an internal ideological division between rightists and leftists. Chiang went on to help found the Taiwan People's Party on a platform of unity. The Taiwan People's Party was the first legal party to be founded in Taiwan. Chiang was also involved with the Taiwanese Worker's League (台灣工友總聯盟) and the Taiwanese Farmer's Association (台灣農民協會). He came under criticism from rightists in the government. When Cai Peihuo (蔡培火), Ye Rongzhong (葉榮鐘) and others prepared for the formation of the Taiwan Local Self-Government League (台灣地方自治聯盟), Chiang expelled them. The Taiwan People's Party contacted the League of Nations several times to protest Japanese issuance of special permits for opium sale as well as the Wushe Incident.

The Taiwanese People's Party's political philosophy was the Three Principles of the People, but Xie Chunmu (謝春木) and others pushed for a revolutionary line. In 1931, the colonial administration forced the dissolution of the party. Chiang died of typhoid that same year, at the age of 40 (41 by traditional Chinese reckoning).

Writing in the 1970s in the context of the nativist and Tangwai movements, Democratic Progressive Party legislator Huang Huangxiong described Chiang as Taiwan's Sun Yat-sen.

His grave is located in Taipei Public Cemetery No. 6, on Chongde St., near Liuzhangli Station.

Legacy[edit]

A 12.9 km freeway tunnel passing under Xueshan (Snow Mountain) to link Taipei with Yilan was opened in 2006.[1] It marked the completion of Taiwan's latest freeway, which was subsequently named the Chiang Wei-shui Freeway in a move that pleased all sides of the political spectrum in Taiwan.

Currently, his likeness is featured on the 10 NT coin in Taiwan[2] .

External links[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Taipei-Ilan freeway named in honor of democracy pioneer". Taipei Times. 2006. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  2. ^ "Announcement: issue a NT$10 coin in memory of Mr. Chiang Wei-shui on on 5th August 2010". Central Bank of Republic of China(Taiwan). 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-29.