Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Wang Jingwei

Wang Jingwei (汪精衛) (1883 - November 1944), or Wang Ching-wei in Wade-Giles, was a member of the left wing of the Kuomintang and is most noted from breaking with Chiang Kai-Shek and forming a Japanese supported collaborationist government in Nanjing. He is therefore deemed as one of most infamous "Traitors of the Han people" (漢奸).

Born in Sanshui (三水), Guangdong, Wang went to Japan as an international student sponsored by the Qing Empire government in 1903 and joined Tongmeng Hui in 1905. He was jailed for plotting an assassination of Regent Zaifeng (載灃), from 1910 until the Wuchang Uprising the next year.

In the early 1920s Wang held several posts in Sun Yat-sen's Revolutionary Government in Guangzhou, but following Suns death in 1925 he faced a powerful challenge for leadership of the KMT.

During the Northern Expedition, Wang was the leading figure in the left-leaning faction of the KMT that called for continued cooperation with the Communist Party of China and the Comintern and for a halt in the Northern Expedition. Wangs faction, which had set up a new KMT capital at Wuhan was opposed by Chiang Kai-shek, who was in the midst of a bloody purge of Communists in Shanghai and was calling for a push north. Lacking the military or financial resources to resist the increasingly powerful Chiang, the Wang faction collapsed and Chiang Kai-shek continued his purge.

In 1930, Wang tried another abortive coup against Chiang, this time with the aid of Feng Y-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan. After this failure, Wang reconciled with Chiang's Nanjing government in the early 1930s and held prominent posts for most of the decade, and accompanied the government on its retreat to Chongqing during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). In late 1938, Wang left Chongqing and eventually ended up in Shanghai, ostensibly to negotiate with the Japanese invaders. In March of 1940, however, he agreed to become head of state of the Japanese puppet Central China government based in Nanjing serving as the Head of Legislative Yuan and National Government Chairman (行政院長兼國府主席) until his death four years later in Nagoya.

For his role in World War II, Wang has been vilified by most post-World-War-II Chinese historians.

See also: History of the Republic of China