Soong sisters

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The Soong Sisters (Traditional Chinese: 宋家姐妹, pinyin: Sòngjiā Jiěmèi, or 宋氏三姐妹) were three Hakka Chinese women who were, along with their husbands, amongst China's most significant political figures of the early 20th century. They each played a major role in influencing their husbands, which, along with their own positions of power, ultimately changed the course of Chinese history.

Their father was American-educated Methodist minister Charlie Soong, who made a fortune in banking and printing. Their mother was Ni Kwei-tseng, 倪桂珍, whose mother Lady Xu was a descendant of Ming Dynasty mathematician and Jesuit Xu Guangqi.[1] Their three brothers were all high ranking officials in the Republic of China government, one of whom was T. V. Soong, 宋子文.

Contents

History

Throughout their lifetimes, each one of the sisters followed her own belief in terms of supporting the Kuomintang (KMT) or the Communist Party of China. In the 1930s, Soong Ai-ling and her sister Mei-ling were the two richest women in China at the time.[2] Both of them supported the Nationalists, while Soong Ching-ling later sided with the CPC.

In 1937 when the Second Sino-Japanese war broke out, all three of them got together after a 10 year separation in an effort to unite the KMT and CPC against the Imperial Japanese army. Soong Ai-ling devoted herself to social work such as helping wounded soldiers, refugees and orphans. She donated five ambulances and 37 trucks to the army in Shanghai and the air force, along with 500 leather uniforms.[2]

When the Japanese occupied Nanjing and Wuhan, the three sisters moved to Hong Kong. In 1940, they returned to Chongqing and established the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives, which opened job opportunities for people through weaving, sewing and other crafts. The sisters frequently visited schools, hospitals, orphanages, air raid shelters and aided war torn communities along the way.[2] While both parties failed to unite at the most critical time in the 1940s, the sisters made a valiant effort in financing and assisting in all national activities.

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