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Gold Shipped to Taiwan in 1949 Helped Stabilize ROC on Taiwan

icon2011/04/06
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Gold Shipped to Taiwan in 1949 Helped Stabilize ROC on Taiwan

 

Source: China Times          April 6, 2011

 

Before the ROC central government relocated to Taiwan in 1949, millions of taels of gold were secretly moved from the Mainland to Taiwan on the order of Chiang Kai-shek. Shao Ming-huang, director of the KMT Party History Institute, said that the gold had played an important role in maintaining the stability of the ROC government on Taiwan, repelling the military attacks from the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation Army, and stabilizing Taiwan’s economic and monetary situations at that time. Shao even described the gold as “life-preserving money” as it allowed the ROC government to continue its rule on Taiwan.      

 

2011 marks the 100th year of the founding of the Republic of China. Shao said that the secret dossiers related to history of the gold shipments from the Mainland to Taiwan were important historical materials at a turning point in cross-Strait relations, adding that Chiang Kai-shek adopted “an extraordinary measure at an exceptional time.” Shao suggested that the Central Bank, the Bank of Taiwan, and relevant government agencies make public as soon as possible the top-secret official gold dossiers in order to reveal the historical truth and allow the public to understand how the gold affected the development of Taiwan over the past sixty years.         

 

Shao said that a large amount of gold was moved from the then Bank of China in Shanghai to Taiwan while another portion of the gold was moved to Xiamen, adding that Chiang Kai-shek’s decision to move the gold to safety was entirely reasonable  in consideration of the political and military situations at that time.    

 

Shao said that Chiang Kai-shek had appointed his son Chiang Ching-kuo, Chen Cheng, then Taiwan provincial governor, and Chou Hung-tao, then a close aide to Chiang Kai-shek, to conduct the secret mission in shipping the gold bullion from the Mainland to Taiwan.

 

Shao noted that nobody knew exactly how much gold was moved to Taiwan and people held different views on how the gold affected Taiwan’s politics, economy and military.  

 

Chiang Kai-shek took a leave of absence as ROC President on January 21, 1949 He resumed office on March 1,1950 in Taiwanbefore some of the gold was moved to Taiwan. However, acting President Li Zongren wanted the gold to be moved back to the Mainland. According to Chiang Kai-shek’s diary, after the Executive Yuan office was relocated to Guangzhou in May 1949, Li Zongren and General Bai Chongxi had invited Chen Cheng, then Taiwan provincial governor, to come to Guangzhou to attend a government fiscal meeting, but Chiang Kai-shek stopped Chen Cheng from doing that.     

 

Shao said that the ROC government had appropriated 800,000 taels (1 tael: 37.5 grams) of gold to serve as the basis for monetary reform. Chiang Kai-shek wrote in his diary, “This was why the most important policies could be implemented. I feel encouraged.”   

 

Shao said that the gold was important to Taiwan as it helped stabilize the government’s finances by covering the expenditures of the government personnel, both civil and military, and their families, totaling 2 million, who moved to Taiwan with the central Government, as well as the huge budget (including manpower, weapons, and equipment) for the ROC military still fighting in the Mainland during the last year of the civil war with the Chinese Communist forces.

 

Shao said that in addition to repelling military attacks from the Chinese Communist People’s Liberation army, Chiang Kai-shek also had to face the diplomatic betrayal by the Truman Administration. Without the support of the gold bullion that was shipped secretly from the Mainland, the ROC government would have been unable to weather the storm before the US adjusted its policy and resumed its aid to Taiwan when the Korean War broke out in 1950.

 

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