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CHINA: History and language - Chian kai-Shek and romanization



A major question in US-China relations is "Who sold China?". I am preparing a posting on the related question as to what Americans admired Chiang kai-Shek. Paul Simon's retort to Bill Ratliff can open the debate. Paul Simon says: "Well, some good points but awfully biased towards Chiang. Chiang was crooked long before he got to Chongqing. His brother-in-law* became the richest man in the world for a while in the 30's, and I doubt it was on his salary as finance minister. The sad truth is that the US has indeed backed some unsavory characters. I argue than in many ways Chiang was one of them.

I suspect Bill's affection for old fashioned romanization systems, Chiang Kai shek, and traditional characters do indeed make him the Yang, looking at the shining north bank/south slope (what Yang really means) of the nationalists. I agree that they had their points when ruling the mainland, but CKS himself was not an admirable character in many ways.

Regarding Romanization, the Pinyin system works great. But we must remember that it wasn't designed by or for foreigners; it was designed for people who already spoke Mandarin, to ease them into rudimentary literacy. So it sometimes seems a bit off to non-native speakers like us, though I doubt its a communist plot. Taiwan is moving to Pinyin, a sure sign of it's academic merits".

My question: Is this the brother of Mme. Chiang? She had more admirers that Chiang in the US. Was that a whitewash too?

Ronald Hilton - 12/24/01


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