Tai-Chun Kuo

Research Fellow

Tai-chun Kuo is a research fellow at Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Previously, she was a visiting lecturer at the Center for East Asian Studies, Stanford University (2003) and an associate professor at the Graduate Institute of American Studies, Tamkang University (Taiwan, 1997–2000). She served as press secretary to the Republic of China (ROC) president (1990–95), deputy director–general of the First Bureau of the Presidential Office (1989–97), and director of the ROC Government Information Office in Boston (1987–88).

In addition to research, since 2003, she has assisted the Hoover Institution Archives to develop its Modern China Archives and Special Collections, which includes the archives of the Kuomintang (Nationalist) party, the diaries of Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo, personal papers of T. V. Soong, H. H. K’ung, and other leading Chinese individuals.

Her major publications include T. V. Soong in Modern Chinese History, China’s Quest for Unification, National Security, and Modernization; Watching Communist China, 1949-79: A Methodological Review of China Studies in the United States of America and Taiwan; and The Power and Personality of Mao Tse-tung.

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Recent Commentary

Taiwan’s Voice of Experience

by Tai-Chun Kuo, William Ratliffvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

If China wants an example of progress, it need only look across the Taiwan Strait.

Great Wall of China
Analysis and Commentary

Will the Nile flow into the Yellow River?

by Tai-Chun Kuo, Ramon H. Myersvia San Jose Mercury News
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chinese leaders have hinted at political reforms several times, showing that Beijing understands the need for change. Could China be the next Egypt...?

A Turning Point for Taiwan

by Tai-Chun Kuovia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 10, 2009

Newly released volumes of the Chiang Kai-shek diaries illuminate a pivotal moment: the generalissimo’s turning away from a command economy. By Tai-chun Kuo.

T.V. Soong in Modern Chinese History

T.V. Soong in Modern Chinese History

by Tai-Chun Kuo, Hsiao-ting Linvia Analysis
Wednesday, March 1, 2006

In April 2004, the Hoover Institution opened nineteen boxes of the restricted personal papers of T. V. Soong, a leading official in the nationalist government from the late 1920s to 1949, along with two thousand documents donated by the Soong family. At the same time the Hoover Institution and the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, agreed to preserve those records and make them available for researchers. In late 2005 Chiang Kai-shek’s family placed his diaries and those of Chiang Ching-kuo in the Hoover Archives.

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Vinegar Joe and the Generalissimo

by Tai-Chun Kuo, Hsiao-ting Lin, Ramon H. Myersvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, July 30, 2005

During World War II, personal relations between Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist leader, and General Joseph Stilwell, America’s top military adviser to China, grew famously acrimonious. The strained relationship, some have argued, may have had dire consequences for the Nationalists, who lost the Chinese civil war to the Communists in 1949.

Newly opened documents in the Hoover Institution Archives of T. V. Soong, one of Chiang’s closest aides, shed new light on the matter. Chiang, the documents show, considered firing Stilwell as early as 1942—and had the blessing of top American officials to do so—but ultimately chose not to. Had Stilwell been replaced, might history have been different? Tai-Chun Kuo, Hsiao-Ting Lin, and Ramon H. Myers consider one of history’s most intriguing “what-ifs.”

SIDEBAR: A New Window on Modern Chinese History

The Modern China Archives and Special Collections

by Ramon H. Myers, Tai-Chun Kuovia Analysis
Monday, February 7, 2005

In 1899, twenty-five-year-old Herbert Hoover and his wife, Lou Henry, were living in Tientsin, China, where he was the comanager of the Kaiping mines. It was there that Hoover first began to study Chinese language and history. In 1907 Hoover helped Stanford University historian Payson Treat buy books about China, especially its history, and in 1913 Hoover donated six hundred such books, some very rare, to Stanford University. In 1919 Hoover’s interest in foreign affairs inspired him to establish the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. After World War II with luck and good timing, Chinese and non-Chinese public servants, military officers, engineers, journalists, scholars, and the like began donating their private papers and other materials to the Hoover Institution, where they were to be preserved and made available to interested readers. The papers of T. V. Soong are one of many preeminent collections. Americans involved in China, such as General Albert Wedemeyer and General Joseph Stilwell, also donated their papers to the Hoover Archives.

In 2003 the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace signed an agreement with the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party of the Republic of China (ROC), to help preserve the vast historical records held in that party’s archives in Taipei, Taiwan. As the longest-enduring political party in Asia, the KMT was China’s premier revolutionary party until it was defeated in 1949 by Communist Party forces and forced to relocate in Taiwan. The historic Hoover agreement provides for microfilming the official party records, which will stay in Taiwan, along with a preservation copy. A use copy will be made available in the Hoover Archives.

When Chinese in the United States and Taiwan, including the National Women’s League in Taipei, learned of the KMT-Hoover cooperative project, they too agreed to have their materials preserved in the archives. (The Soong family began donating its materials to the Hoover Institution Archives in 1973, followed by additional papers in April 1980 and again in the spring of 2004.)

Those donations helped create the Modern China Archives and Special Collections. These special collections are now being integrated with the China-related material accumulated since 1919. (Trade press materials, such as published vernacular Chinese books and serials, were transferred from the Hoover Archives to the Stanford University Libraries in 2002.)