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The Soong Sisters of China

This research paper is a summary biography of the Soong sisters and an assessment of their influence and importance in the history of modern China. The Soong sisters, Ai-ling (18901974), Ching-ling (1892-1981) and May-ling (1897-), individually and together with their blood relatives and in-laws, played in different ways influential and controversial roles in the affairs of twentieth century China. Their influence was built upon the rising wealth and power of their family headed by their father, Charlie Soong (1866-1918), before and during the rise to power of the Nationalists led by Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek. The sisters were carefully groomed to assume those roles. The influence of Ching-ling (Mme. Sun) peaked shortly after the death of Sun yat-sen in 1925, but she remained until her death a symbol of the Chinese revolution which had miscarried. Ai-ling and Mayling (as Mmes. Kung and Chiang Kai-shek, respectively), wielded significant power during the Nationalist period. They lived the remainder of their long lives in relative obscurity, except for brief periods when they were used to sustain the emigre regime in Taiwan. Their machinations and questionable methods of acquiring and maintain their influence, as well as their triumphs and their failures, can only be understood in the context of the turbulent course of 20th century Chinese history. By force of their distinctive personalities, they each left an indelible mark on the history of the period.

Origins, Upbringing and Personality Development

Although their personalities and the paths they were to follow as adults differed, the Soong sisters shared several common traits. They were unusually forceful, shrewd and ambitious, unique qualities for women to possess in a country that had only recently released young girls from the practice of footbinding. The most powerful formative influence on them was their father who "gave them everything they wanted . . ...

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The Soong Sisters of China. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:00, May 27, 2020, from