Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mao and Chiang heirs bridge gap

Chiang Kai-shek (L) and Mao Zedong in undated archive photograph
Chiang Kai-shek (L) and Mao Zedong had a complex relationship

The grandchildren of late Chinese leader Mao Zedong and his arch-rival for control of China, Chiang Kai-shek, have met for the first time.

Mao's granddaughter, Kong Dongmei, met John Chiang as she visited Taiwan as part of a delegation to promote cultural and educational ties.

Taiwan split from China as Chiang's Nationalist forces fled the victorious Communists in 1949.

The island has been self-governed since but China maintains its claim.

The civil war cost the lives of millions of people, and China continues to regard Taiwan as a renegade province.


The meeting between John Chiang and Ms Kong is seen as an indication of improving ties between China and Taiwan.

She is believed to be the first of Mao's offspring to visit the island.

John Chiang is the vice chairman of the Kuomintang, or Nationalist party, which hosted the delegation.

The two shook hands, exchanged greetings, but played down the significance of their meeting.

Mao's granddaughter told reporters she was impressed with Taiwan's advanced culture, education and creative industry, but did not mention its democracy.

A spokesman for Mr Chiang's office told the BBC's Cindy Sui in Taipei he thought it was natural that as relations between Taiwan and China improved, he would meet his grandfather's former enemies or their offspring sooner or later.

But many see the meeting as a reflection that ties between the two sides have vastly improved recently, despite Beijing still claiming the island as its territory.

This year, the first direct flights between China and Taiwan took off and a free-trade agreement is expected to be signed next year.

Print Sponsor

Taiwan's view on China anniversary
29 Sep 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan warns of China 'threat'
20 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan says China talks to resume
23 May 08 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Taiwan and China's military balance
06 Aug 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan presses China on missiles
16 Dec 03 |  News
Taiwan's president on China
23 Mar 08 |  World

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific