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KMT Gen. Zhang's former Taiwan residence renovated, opened to public
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21:24, December 12, 2008

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The late Kuomintang (KMT) General Zhang Xueliang's former residence in Hsinchu County, Taiwan, was officially opened to the public after renovation Friday on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the Xi'an Incident.

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou attended the ceremony.

"General Zhang was a key person in the history of modern China, having impact on both the mainland and Taiwan. Many mainland tourists are interested in his living here," said Cheng Yung-chin, director of the Hsinchu County.

"We hope the opening of his former residence will attract more mainland tourists," Cheng said.

Zhang was known as a Chinese patriot. On Dec. 12, 1936, the Xi'an incident took place when the KMT Generals Zhang and Yang Hucheng took Chiang Kai-shek hostage and demanded that he stop the civil war and unite with the Communist Party in a national war against Japanese aggression.

Imprisoned by Chiang after the incident, Zhang spent decades under house arrest in Taiwan where he lived with his wife Zhao Yidi. He lived in the residence in Wufong Town, Hsinchu County, from 1946 to 1957.

"General Zhang was a very nice person. He used to have snacks and play games along the river with us," said Jhao Jheng-Guei, a retired teacher whose father was once in charge of watching over Zhang under house arrest.

Zhang left Taiwan in 1993 -- the first time in 44 years -- to visit relatives in the U.S. In 1995 he and his wife settled in Hawaii. The general died in Hawaii at the age of 101 on Oct. 14,2001.

His residence was washed way by a landslide in 1963. The county government restored it this July.

Deep in the mountains, Zhang's restored 150-square-meter cottage was decorated with his old furniture and more than 500 pictures donated by his two nieces. A bronze statue of Zhang and his wife sits outside the cottage.


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