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Soong Ching-ling

Soong Ch'ing-ling (Simplified Chinese 宋庆龄, Traditional Chinese 宋慶齡, pinyin: Sng Qnglng; January 27; 1893-1981) was one of the Soong sisters -three sisters whose husbands were amongst China's most significant political figures of the early 20th century. Also known as Madame Sun Yat-sen, she was described as the "one who loved China". Her Christian name was Rosamond.

She was born to the wealthy businessman and missionary Charlie Soong in Kunshan, Jiangsu, attended high school in Shanghai, and graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, United States.

She married Sun Yat-sen in Japan on October 25, 1915 after he divorced Lu Muzhen. Ching-ling's parents greatly opposed the marriage, as Dr. Sun was 26 years her senior. After Sun's death in 1925, she was elected to the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee in 1926. However, she exiled herself to Moscow after the expulsion of the Communists from the KMT in 1927.

Although she reconciled with the KMT during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), she sided with the Communists in the Chinese Civil War. She did not join the party but rather was part of the united front heading up the Revolutionary Committee of the Kuomintang.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, she became the Vice Chair of the People's Republic of China (now translated as "Vice President"), Head of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association and Honorary President of the All-China Women's Federation. In 1951 she was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize, and in 1953 a collection of her writings, Struggle for New China, was published.

In 1981, shortly before her death, she was admitted to the Communist Party and was named Honorary President of the People's Republic of China.

Unlike her younger sister Soong May-ling, who sided with her husband Chiang Kai-shek and fled to Taiwan, Soong Ching-ling is greatly revered in mainland China.

See also: History of the Republic of China

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