Chang Kai Shek's Cave at Fragrant Springs park

In 1936 Chang Kai Shek, a powerful southern warlord and leader of the Guomindang (also known as KMT, Kuomintang, or the National Peoples Party) came to Xian for a conference with the northern warlords. Chang stayed at a guest house at Fragrant Springs, a park not far from Xian city.

What followed is sometimes known as the 'Xian Incident'. The conference ended disastrously and at Fragrant Springs an attempt was made to take Chang prisoner. He fled the guest house and (so it is believed) hid in the cave known today as Chang Kai Shek's cave. Chang was captured, but was later released after agreeing terms.

Chang Kai Shek's cave is actually little more that a scoop high up on a outcrop. An iron chain is now provided to assist tourists who want to climb up to the cave. Naturally, the author, as a keen mountaineer (and show-off) ignored the chain and climbed the rock.

When the communists came to power Chang Kai Shek and the Kuomintang regime were forced to flee to Taiwan. At the time this photograph was taken Taiwan was still controlled by the Guomindang regime, and was not the democratic state we now know.

In the eyes of Mainland Chinese, Taiwan is an integral part of China, and over the years a great deal has been made of Chang Kai Shek's ignominious capture at Fragrant Springs. The bedroom Chang Kai Shek spent the night is preserved and we were shown the bed which he (apparently) had to vacate in such a hurry.

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