Museum resurrects Chiang Kai-shek

Guangdong has rewritten a small part of history by installing a model of nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek in a museum in recognition of his contribution to the Chinese republic during Sun Yat-sen's time in power in Guangzhou.

The Memorial Museum of Generalissimo Sun Yat-sen's Mansion reopened on May 1 after two months of refurbishment to unveil new figures of Chiang and Hu Hanmin, another of Sun's lieutenants, joining models of Sun, wife Soong Qing-ling and Liao Zhong-kai, another revolutionary leader.

A ruddy-faced young Chiang, striking a pensive pose and barely recognisable without his signature moustache, stands at a corner of his writing desk in a room on the second floor of the mansion, which now serves as a base for patriotic youth education.

'His face is too ruddy. It should be pale since he was from Zhejiang. We have to get the manufacturer to improve on the colour,' official Zhang Yu said.

Ms Zhang said the museum wanted to make an objective portrayal of the two periods in 1917-18 and 1923-1924 when Sun was in power, and that required putting Chiang in the room where he worked with Sun.

'We hope that children who come here will know what Chiang Kai-shek did during those periods. What he did later ... they can find out from textbooks and from their elders,' she said.

Ms Zhang said the museum spent thousands of yuan on each figure. She said limited funds meant the museum had to start with only the essential figures of Sun, Soong and Liao.

Historian Yuan Weishi applauded the restoration of Chiang as progressive, even though he felt details about the nationalist leader's actions were insufficient or not properly highlighted.

'These are details we can't find in textbooks,' he said. 'During the war between the Communist Party and the Kuomintang he was the enemy and a war criminal, but his leadership of the anti-Japan war cannot be obliterated.'