Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
By the time Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island of Formosa (now Taiwan), Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong had already declared the birth of the People's Republic of China in Beijing. Because of Chiang's repressive and corrupt rule, Nationalist resistance to Mao fizzled and Chiang's island exile never ended. His son, however, began reforms that turned the island into a thriving democracy. But the history of Chiang's flight makes the question of whether Taiwan will ever be reunited with the rest of China one of the most emotional and explosive issues in U.S.-China relations. An excerpt from The Post of Dec. 11, 1949:
Taipeh, Formosa, Dec. 10 (AP). --
Chiang Kai-shek flew to Formosa tonight from the chaotic mainland, where a Yunnan Province revolt was stripping the Nationalists of their last major footholds.
Large-scale organized resistance on the mainland is ending. A new era of Nationalist guerrilla warfare is at hand.
Today's developments apparently marked the end of organized warfare in China after 22 years.
Chiang laid his plans for guerrilla warfare before he left Chengtu. When he left, Chengtu streets were filled with soldiers of Gen. Hu Tsung-nan's 350,000-man army. They were withdrawing to the mountains beyond, there to take up the burden of guerrilla warfare in western China.
The headquarters for the Nationalist operation will be Sichang in mountainous Sikang province, 200 miles southwest of Chengtu.
Some of the soldiers rode in trucks, but for the rest it was a weary, plodding march.
The Communists were behind them. The last reports to Chengtu put them still 50 miles from the city.
Press reports in Hongkong said the Communists now were only 6 miles away. This might refer to guerrillas or vanguards. ...
Authorities seemed confident they could hold Formosa from three to six months without United States aid.
Hongkong, Dec. 10 (AP). --
South China's Yunnan province went over to the Reds today and apparently the only shots fired were aimed at a plane carrying Americans from Kunming, the capital.
The plane, a Skymaster under lease to Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault's Civil Air Transport, was struck by one bullet but the 57 passengers aboard were unhurt.
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