Exhibition commemorates China's honorary president

Yang Meiping
"The Struggle For New China" exhibition tells Soong Ching Ling's life story while also marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Yang Meiping
Exhibition commemorates China's honorary president
Dong Jun / SHINE

A visitor passes a portrait of Soong Ching Ling on display at “The Struggle For New China” exhibition, which opened in Shanghai on Wednesday. 

An exhibition opened at the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center on Wednesday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and inspire people with the life story of Soong Ching Ling, honorary president of the country.

Soong was born and grew up in a business and missionary family in Shanghai. She studied at Wesleyan College in the US before meeting Sun Yat-sen, leader of China’s 1911 Revolution and founder of the Kuomintang. The two were married in 1915.

Soong assisted Sun in his revolutionary efforts. After he died in 1925, she continued to play an important role in China’s social and political development.

After Japan invaded China, she established the China Defense League in Hong Kong in 1938, which drummed up support for China’s fight against Japan and provided help for children in war-affected areas.

The league was later moved to Shanghai and renamed the China Welfare Institute, which has set up several institutions, including a children’s palace, a children’s theater, nurseries, kindergartens and a maternal and child health hospital.

She also helped many foreign journalists to report on China in the 1930s.

The CWI has maintained a variety of exchanges and cooperative relationships with foundations and organizations around the world.

Soong died in 1981 and was buried in Shanghai beside her parents.

The exhibition is named after a book written by Soong — “The Struggle For New China” — which was first published in 1952 in English and Chinese and in Japanese the following year.

It has more than 400 exhibits, including books, letter, photos and clothes, provided by six memorials in honor of Soong in Beijing and Shanghai. More than 100 of them are on display in Shanghai for the first time.

Exhibition commemorates China's honorary president
Dong Jun / SHINE

A gold ring seal marked with the characters of Song’s first name of Ching Ling in Chinese.

Exhibition commemorates China's honorary president
Dong Jun / SHINE

A gold ring seal marked “SCL,” the initials of of Soong Ching Ling.

They include two gold ring seals. One is marked with the characters of her first name in Chinese, while the other has “SCL,” her initials. They were used for stamping receipts for anti-Japanese war fundraisers. Many people who had taken part in the fundraising were proud to get her signature and seals.

Other exhibits include the first issue of “China Constructs,” a magazine established by Soong and gifts from leaders of other countries and other foreign friends.

Exhibition commemorates China's honorary president
Yang Meiping / SHINE

Huang Huanbi, widow of Israel Epstein, the Polish-born Chinese author and journalist who served as editor of the “China Constructs” magazine, visited the exhibition on Wednesday.

Huang Huanbi, widow of Israel Epstein, the Polish-born Chinese author and journalist who had served as editor of the magazine, later known as “China Today,” attended the opening ceremony.

“The exhibition has a very complete narrative of Madame Soong’s life and her contributions to our country,” she said. “I’m so honored to have joined ‘China Constructs’ in 1960 and worked for it for my whole career. The exhibition brings me back to those days, when Soong kept such a watchful eye on the operation of the magazine that she invited a lot of talent to join us and wrote essays for it every year. She read the magazine very careful and would write to us even when we made spelling mistakes.”

The exhibition will run through October 15.

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