K. C. Wu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wu Guozhen
K. C. Wu 1950s 2.jpg
Wu ca. 1950
3rd Chairman of Taiwan Provincial Government
In office
Preceded byChen Cheng
Succeeded byYu Hung-chun
Mayor of Shanghai
In office
August 1945–May 1949
Mayor of Chongqing
In office
Personal details
Born(1903-10-21)October 21, 1903
Qing dynasty China
DiedJune 6, 1984(1984-06-06) (aged 80)
Savannah, Georgia, United States
NationalityRepublic of China
Other political
Kuomintang (expelled in 1954)
K. C. Wu
Traditional Chinese吳國楨
Simplified Chinese吴国桢

K. C. Wu (Chinese: 吳國楨) (October 21, 1903 – June 6, 1984) was a Chinese political figure and historian. Among other offices, he served as Mayor of Shanghai and as Chairman of the Taiwan Provincial Government.

Early life[edit]

Wu was born in Central China and grew up in Beijing, where his father served in the military. He studied at both Tianjin Nankai High School, where Zhou Enlai was a classmate, and at Tsinghua University. In 1923, he earned a master's degree in economics from Grinnell College and, in 1926, a doctoral degree in political science from Princeton University.

Early career and personal life[edit]

After returning to China in 1926, Wu began a career in government service, first as a tax collector in Hankou (today part of Wuhan) for Xia Douyin, a local warlord. In 1931, he married Edith Huang, daughter of Gene T. Huang. They eventually had four children: Eileen Wu, Edith Wu, H.K. Wu and Sherman Wu.[1] In 1932, he became mayor of Hankou. When the Yangtze River appeared ready to flood in 1936, Wu oversaw the construction of a huge dike system which saved the city.[2]

Wu with John M. Cabot (centre), US Consul General in Shanghai in 1948

With the fall of Hankou to Japanese forces in October 1938 during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Wu and his family fled to Chongqing. In 1939, Chiang Kai-shek appointed him as mayor of Chongqing, a position he held until 1942. He served as vice minister of Foreign Affairs from 1943 to 1945, interacting with Zhou Enlai as part of the united front against the Japanese. After the end of World War II in 1945, K.C. Wu became mayor of Shanghai, serving in that role until the Chinese Communists conquered the city in 1949.[2] While mayor of Shanghai, Wu met the Chicago Tribune's Robert McCormick and his wife Maryland. As the situation in Shanghai became less stable, Wu sent his two daughters to live with the McCormicks in Illinois.[3]

Activities after leaving mainland China[edit]

Following the relocation of the Nationalist government to Taipei, Wu served as Governor of Taiwan from 1949 to 1953. Wu attempted to bring a greater degree of self-governance to the Taiwanese people, allowing for the election of certain local officials by popular vote. Wu also brought critics of Chen Yi into the government, and attempted to cut back on police brutality. Wu was opposed by many conservative members of the Nationalist government, including Chiang Ching-kuo and Chen Cheng.

Wu's conflict with the younger Chiang worsened. Wu submitted his resignation to the elder Chiang but it was rejected. In April 1952, an alleged assassination targeting Wu was suspected. In April 1953, he (successfully) resigned from his position as governor and on 24 May 1953 he hastily left Taiwan on a "lecture tour". Wu's family left for the United States, except one son who was not permitted to leave by the Chiangs. In 1954, a wave of accusations appeared in Taiwan alleging Wu's corruption. At the same time, the Chiangs moved to dismiss Wu's associates from government. They also formally expelled Wu from the Kuomintang.[4] Following his son's departure from Taiwan, Wu began to speak out against what he saw were serious problems with the Kuomintang government. That same year, Wu wrote an article in Look magazine entitled "Your Money is Building a Police State in Taiwan".[5] The war of words between Wu and Chiang's regime escalated further, including a resolution against him by the ROC's National Assembly. Later in 1954, a war of words also erupted between Wu and Hu Shih, who was also in the United States at the time.

At that time, the United States was attempting to forge an alliance with the Taiwan Central Government in order to secure a strong military chain to keep communism at bay. Thus, the idea of fighting the police state was low on the United States agenda. Following a lack of American response to his writings, K.C. Wu lived in the United States where he served as professor of Chinese history at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. During his time in the United States, he wrote various works, including a detailed analysis on Chinese culture in the context of mythology and early history in his book The Chinese Heritage.

Wu is remembered mainly for his vital role in the formation of a liberal modern Taiwan and his anti-communist beliefs typical of a member of Kuomintang, but he is also remembered for his outspoken anti-Kuomintang rhetoric and turbulent disagreements with the more Russian-styled Chiang Ching-kuo.


  1. ^ "Obituaries: Edith Huang Wu"; Savannah Morning News, August 25, 2002. ("Lowcountry NOW: Obituaries - Obituaries for August 25, 2002 08/25/02". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-10-25.)
  2. ^ a b "Man on the Dike". Time. 7 Aug 1950. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2006.
  3. ^ "Guest Bedrooms". Archived from the original on 2006-10-18. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  4. ^ Han Cheung (12 March 2017). "Taiwan in Time: War of words across the Pacific". Taipei Times. p. 8. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  5. ^ Kerr, George H. (1965). Formosa Betrayed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. OCLC 242620. OL 5948105M.

Further reading[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Chongqing
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mayor of Shanghai
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of Taiwan
Succeeded by