Remaking the memory of Zhang Xueliang—the Young Marshall—and Republican China across the Taiwan Straits

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Zhang Xueliang, the Young Marshall, was the son of the Manchurian warlord Zhang Zuolin, and commander of the Northeastern Peace Preservation Force from the late 1920s. He allied with Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalists but opposed Chiang's military strategy towards Japan and the Chinese Communists. In 1936 in Xi'an, after secret negotiations with the Communists, Zhang therefore captured Chiang Kai-shek and compelled him to negotiate an alliance against Japan. After the Xi'an Incident, Zhang was arrested and held in custody by the Nationalists, before being relocated to Taiwan in 1949. There he remained under house arrest until 1991, when he moved to Hawai'i and died at the age of 100 in 2001.

This paper explores the terrains of memory that Zhang Xueliang inhabits on both sides of the Straits. It argues that his legacy suited the ideological interests of the PRC Party-state in obvious ways during the course of the KMT government under Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan from 2008 to 2016. He also has an ideal place in the commercialisation of memory in mainland China as Red Tourism and in the efforts on Taiwan to establish the concept of Blue Tourism. The paper further suggests that these divergent emphases in attempts at memorialisation point to a substantive schism in the significance accorded to Zhang. Those differences are so great that state-sponsored efforts to construct a common terrain of historical memory across the Taiwan Straits may have widened its fractures.

About the Speaker

Mark Harrison is Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Tasmania. He is an adjunct director of the Australian Centre on China in the World at the Australian National University. His works concerns the politics of culture and the culture of politics in the Chinese-speaking world with a emphasis on Taiwan.

After the Seminar

To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by a dinner with the guest speaker at 6:15pm. The location of the restaurant will be announced at the seminar. All are welcome, though those who attend will need to pay for their own food and drinks. As reservations must be made at the restaurant, please RSVP by noon of the day before the seminar to jasmine.lin@anu.edu.au
 
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute, the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University.