Hsiao-ting Lin

Curator, Modern China Collection / Research Fellow

Hsiao-ting Lin is a research fellow and curator of the Modern China collection at the Hoover Institution, for which he collects material on China and Taiwan, as well as China-related materials in other East Asian countries. He holds a BA in political science from National Taiwan University (1994) and an MA in international law and diplomacy from National Chengchi University in Taiwan (1997). He received his DPhil in oriental studies in 2003 from the University of Oxford, where he also held an appointment as tutorial fellow in modern Chinese history. In 2003–4, Lin was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, he was awarded the Kiriyama Distinguished Fellowship by the Center for the Pacific Rim, University of San Francisco. In 2005–7, he was a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he participated in Hoover’s Modern China Archives and Special Collections project. In April 2008, Lin was elected a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland for his contributions to the studies of modern China’s history.

Lin’s academic interests include ethnopolitics and minority issues in greater China, border strategies and defenses in modern China, political institutions and the bureaucratic system of the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang), and US-Taiwan military and political relations during the Cold War. He has published extensively on modern Chinese and Taiwanese politics, history, and ethnic minorities, including Accidental State: Chiang Kai-shek, the United States, and the Making of Taiwan (Harvard University Press, 2016); Modern China’s Ethnic Frontiers: A Journey to the West (Routledge, 2011); Breaking with the Past: The Kuomintang Central Reform Committee on Taiwan, 1950–52 (Hoover Press, 2007); Tibet and Nationalist China’s Frontier: Intrigues and Ethnopolitics, 1928–49 (UBC Press, 2006), nominated as the best study in the humanities at the 2007 International Convention of Asia Scholars; and over a hundred journal articles, book chapters, edited volumes, reviews, opinion pieces, and translations. He is currently at work on a manuscript that reevaluates Taiwan’s relations with China and the United States during the presidency of Harry Truman to that of Jimmy Carter.

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Recent Commentary

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