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Prof. Peter Chen-main Wang's Talk on Chiang Kai-shek’s Faith in Christianity

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Happy new year and welcome back to the Spring semester. Please note that we have an upcoming lecture in our EAS Colloquium Series on January 24. The lecture is cosponsored by the Center for Buddhist Studies and the Department of East Asian Studies.


Title: Chiang Kai-shek’s faith in Christianity: The Trial of the Stilwell Incident

Speaker: Prof. Peter Chen-main Wang


Student Union Agave Room

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm


Chiang Kai-shek’s faith in Christianity has long been a controversial issue. Some have held that his faith was genuine while others have claimed that it was merely a posture to win the hand of Soong Mei-ling and later to curry favor with the Americans. Now that the Hoover Institution has released Chiang Kai-shek’s diaries, historians are in a better position to explore this long ignored part of Chiang’s life. I will examine Chiang’s faith as it developed during the Stilwell Incident, the most serious crisis of US–China military cooperation during World War II. While facing American pressure to turn his military command over to General Joseph W. Stilwell, US military representative in China, Chiang’s diaries reveal how he relied on his faith and his interpretation of the Bible, and how he applied his understanding of the Bible to his political decision making. An examination of Chiang’s diaries during this crisis will help us understand his practical relationship with Christianity, which in turn will provide insights into Chiang’s inner tensions and strategies in dealing with the Stilwell Incident.




Adjunct Professor of History, Fujen Catholic University Professor Emeritus of Graduate Institute of History, National Central University

Peter Chen-main Wang received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1984. He retired from the post of the Distinguished Professor of Graduate Institute of History, National Central University, Taiwan, in 2018. His fields of study include history of Christianity in China, US-China diplomatic history, and Ming-Qing transitional period. He has published 6 books and edited 12 books, including: The Life and Career of Hung Ch’eng-ch’ou (1593-1665): Public Service in a Time of Dynastic Change (AAS monograph, 1999) and Contextualization of Christianity in China: An Evaluation in Modern Perspective (Monumenta Serica Institute, 2007).