Suffering from the label of hanjian (traitors to China), many descendants of Wang Jingwei and his associates have long chosen to remain silent. We are grateful that the following individuals, who had direct contact with Wang Jingwei, have agreed to share their remembrances of Wang Jingwei and the time period in which he lived. We hope that our Website wangjingwei.org will encourage more people to come forward to bear witness to history and to speak about a time that younger generations can barely imagine.
Wang Wenxing in her 20s
Originally named Wang Xing after Zeng Xing, Wang Wenxing’s courtesy name was Zhongwen. First daughter of Wang Jingwei and Chen Bijun, Wang Wenxing was born in 1914 in Toulouse, France. In 1939, she married Ho Mang Hang. She and her family moved to Hong Kong in 1948 where she pursued a teaching career. To make working life easier, she changed her name to Chorfu. After retiring, she moved with her husband to the US in 1984 where she died on September 13, 2015. She wrote the following essay on February 7, 2002:
“Last night Meng Si encouraged me to write whatever was on my mind without hesitation, to express whatever was in my heart. So I started to remember, to leave behind a few traces.
I was born prematurely during the war in France. We rode in a horse-drawn carriage and the roads were very rough.
At that time during the European war, traffic was very congested. In December during such cold weather, it was very difficult for new born babies to endure. My father went to the shop and carried firewood home, to light the fire for me and my mother! The doctor even said, she would grow up to be weak in health, it might be better not to raise her. But my grandmother (Chen Bijun’s mother) was already living in France with my parents at the time, and said, let me try raising her. Whether she will survive depends on nature’s will, but I cannot let her die without helping. Therefore, she took care of me. Using an eyedropper, she fed me milk, drop by drop. I started to grow slowly, and after a year, I was like any other children of the same age. I became ill easily; my grandmother loved me especially.
My father was not ashamed of me; he accepted that I was a sickly child and still loved me. But my mother was very strict. I would cry easily over small things. Mother hated crying, but the more she scolded me the more I would cry. That is why my mother did not love me when I was young. On the other hand, my older brother was very strong and brave, and frequently protected and defended me, that’s why my cousins would not bully me in front of my older brother.
After I started school I was very mischievous and lazy; I was often not able to recite my lessons and was punished to stand. I even stole peanuts from the teacher’s desk and scattered peanut skins on the teacher’s messy hair, making my classmates laugh!
My results in school were mediocre. I was a little better in composition, but was most afraid of arithmetic. I liked to write small essays, submitting them occasionally for publication, which was one of my favorite things.
During the summer holidays I was most afraid of having my school reports in my parents’ hands. One time, the report was in my mother’s hand; I bowed low with my heart beating, and was afraid to lift my head up, because I received a “C”, which was merely a passing mark. I was ashamed and afraid, my mother staring at me without a word. Tears kept rolling down my face, I ran into the study and hid under the bookcase. My father quietly ran in and held my face with both hands, comforting me. I mumbled, “I am stupid and lazy…” Father said softly, “Whether or not you are clever or stupid, I love you the same.” After this, no matter what troubled me, I would think of my father’s sad face, sympathetic but unable to help, and swallow my own pain and hide my own sadness; I would start to smile and not cause sadness to Father.”
Originally named Wenjie, Ho Mang Hang came from Zhongshan, Guangdong. His wife Wenxing was Wang Jingwei and Chen Bijun’s second child and first daughter. Ho Mang Hang’s father, He Yucai (Xiufeng), was a seal carver and collector of seals. His mother, Li Peizhen (Lingshuang), was the daughter of a wealthy merchant family from Guangdong. Many members of the Li family participated in activities that led to the revolution and culminated in the end of the Qing Dynasty. A close friendship between the Ho and Wang families soon developed, resulting in Ho Mang Hang being invited while still a child to join the Wang family summer classical literature class. After Ho Mang Hang and Wang Wenxing were married, Ho became Chen Bijun’s secretary. Whenever Chen Bijun traveled to Guangdong to take care of political matters, Ho Mang Hang was responsible for secret telegrams between her and Wang Jingwei. Throughout Wang Jingwei’s final 254 days at Nagoya, Ho Mang Hang remained at his side, which left a deep impression on him. In the end, because of Ho’s close relationship with Wang Jingwei and Chen Bijun, he spent two and one-half years at Nanjing’s Tiger Bridge Prison.
Ho moved with his wife and child to Hong Kong in 1948, and when he retired in 1984, he emigrated with his wife to the United States. Thereafter he devoted his energies to collecting archival material to allow others to know the real Wang Jingwei. Read more about Ho Mang Hang’s contributions to the re-evaluation of Wang Jingwei. In the 1990s, Ho began what would later become his unpublished memoir entitled《雲煙散憶》Yunyan sanyi (Cloud, Smoke, Scattered Memories) with chapters 〈黨部的狙擊〉 Dangbu de juji (The Attack of 1935), 〈西行〉 Xixing (Westward Travels), 〈兇殺〉 Xiongsha (Assassination), and 〈星沈〉 Xingchen (Fallen Star), recounting his personal experiences with Wang Jingwei. Ho passed away in New York City on January 2, 2016.
Also read Questions and Answers between Ho and Chief Writer Hsiao-pei Yen.
In “Mr. Wang Jingwei’s Vision of ‘Winning through Peace’” Chen Gongbo’s son Kan Chen remembers the speech he gave at his middle school in 1942 based on Wang Jingwei’s private talk about his ideals for the Peach Movement. In 2013, Kan Chen published his father’s poetry collection, followed by an enlarged edition in 2015.
Kan Chen has led a full and blessed life. Born in Hong Kong in 1928, Kan graduated from Pui Ching Elementary School in Hong Kong and continued his studies at Datong High School in Shanghai and Tsinghua University in Beijing, whereupon Kan emigrated to the United States where he received a doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT in 1954. Kan met his life partner Lillian on the first day of his arrival in Cambridge. They married in 1953 and raised four children, while moving from Boston to Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor and finally the San Francisco Bay Area. After working in US industry for 17 years, Kan served as a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1971 at the University of Michigan, where he led many interdisciplinary educational and research programs over 24 years. After retiring from Michigan in 1995, he consulted for both the US Government and private industry in the area of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). For his pioneering work in ITS for the US, and based on his academic position, having turned ITS from international competition to international cooperation, paving the way for annual ITS World Congresses beginning in 1994, he is often praised as “the Father of ITS”. He has also initiated and led several cooperative research projects between US and China. Kan has written a dozen technical books. He was elected to be a Fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
The eldest son of General Zhu Peide (1888-1937, General 1st Rank of the National Revolutionary Army, also Chairman of Jiangxi Provincial Government.) Zhu Weiliang traveled to Germany to study science, at his father’s encouragement: “After the war, what China needs are engineers, not military men.” After the Second World War, Zhu emigrated to the US, where he pursued a career as an engineer at General Electric.
At the invitation of the Wang Jingwei Irrevocable Trust, Zhu Weiliang wrote his remembrances of Wang Jingwei. This is the letter he sent to Wang Jingwei’s granddaughter Cindy Ho:
“Wang Jingwei was a true patriot and a man of great courage and high principles — as the young man who, willing to give up his life for the nation, attempted to assassinate the Manchu Prince Regent to start the Revolution, and as the elder statesman who, willing to suffer the risk to his legacy, took on the challenge of trying to achieve a just peace for his beloved nation. Individually, he was also the most gracious person I have ever had the good fortune of knowing — as shown by his instinctive response to my greeting the first time we met (while he was still bearing pains from the bullet in his back from an assassin in 1935), and by our later interactions. I should add that my admiration of him started at an early age when my 6th-grade class read his famous poem composed in the jail while waiting for execution. Such admiration was further deepened later by my father when we talked about historical events of the young republic in which Mr. Wang had important leadership roles.”
Chan Cheong-Choo photographed with Wang Wenxing, ca. 1930
Younger brother of Chen Bijun, Chan Cheong-Choo was married to Zhu Zhixin’s oldest daughter Zhu Si. Born and raised in Malaysia, Chan traveled to France at age eight with Wang Jingwei and Chen Bijun. Decades later, Chan served as head of the Aviation Department and headmaster of the Aviation School under Wang’s Nanjing government, and subsequently left these posts to become a member of the Military Affairs committee and headmaster of the Central University. In 1978, Chan wrote Memoirs of the Citizen of Early XX Century China, in which he documented his recollections of the relationship between Wang Jingwei and Chen Bijun and other personal experiences related to the Peace Movement and Nanjing government.