Chinese revolutionary. A hero of the 1911 Chinese revolution, he was branded a traitor for his collaboration with the Japanese during World War II and his political vacillation.
Born in Canton, Wang Ching-wei was educated at the Tokyo College of Law in Japan, where he joined the revolutionary party of Sun Yat-sen. He returned to China in 1910 and joined a plot to assassinate the prince regent, which failed. Faced with the death sentence, Wang Ching-wei so impressed the regent with his courage that the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment; he was released in 1911 following the establishment of the republic.
Wang Ching-wei then served as a principal assistant to Sun Yat-sen (1911–25) and, after his death, became the new chairman of the government. However, the right wing of the Kuomintang favoured Chiang Kai-shek, who set up his own regime in Nanking. In response, the left-wing faction of the Kuomintang, in alliance with the communists, formed a rival regime headed by Wang Chei-wei in Wuhan. In 1932 Wang Chei-wei achieved a reconciliation with Chiang Kai-shek and the nationalists and became president of the administrative council. Nonetheless his political allegiances continued to fluctuate; in 1938 he left the Nationalist government over his support for a peace settlement with Japan, and fled to Hanoi. Two years later he was installed by the Japanese as head of a puppet regime in Nanking and made several fruitless attempts to persuade the Kuomintang to stop fighting the Japanese. He remained in this post until his death in 1944.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Second World War.