Not quite Chinese (Taipei Times review of Russia’s Chinese Princess)

The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times:

“Though Chiang was born in Siberia, she displayed the virtues of a traditional Chinese woman,” said then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) following the death of Chiang Fang-liang (蔣方良) in 2004. “She was a good mother and a good wife who always put her family first.”

Leaving aside the Confucian morals, there are two striking features about Chen’s statement.

Firstly, Chiang Fang-liang was born about as far from Siberia as possible within the former Russian Empire. The only time she ventured east of the Ural mountains was on a train to Vladisvostok. From there, she proceeded by steamer to Shanghai, never to see Russia again. It was April 1937, a few weeks before her 21st birthday.

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