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Chiang Kai-shek

(1887-1975). Chinese head of state, military commander, and party leader. Born in Zhejiang Province; attended the Shimbu Gakkō, a military school in Tokyo, from 1908 to 1910. He joined the revolutionary United League in Japan and returned to China during the revolution of 1911. In 1918 Chiang joined Sun Yat-sen in Guangzhou and became a member of Sun's Nationalist Party, the Guomindang (KMT). Sun died in 1925, and Chiang gradually became the most powerful KMT leader. A civil war between the KMT and the communists started in 1946, and in 1949 Chiang and his government fled to Taiwan. Chiang led the KMT government there until his death. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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