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The "Young Marshal's" House.



The story of the "Young Marshal", - or Zhang Xue-ling -, is well known, and therefore I will just shortly sum up on him and his claim to fame.
He was originally one of the Manchu warlords up north in China, but he was also a great patriot, and joined Chiang Kai-shek's army without resisting during Chiang's great sweep north in order to break the necks of the warlords so that all of China again could be united under the control of the Chinese central government.

However, - the "Young Marshal" did not agree to Chiang Kai-shek's hesitant attitude towards the invading Japanese army. He hated the Japanese for having killed his father, - the "Old Marshal" -, and could not wait to launch a big attack on the Japanese invaders.  He considered Chiang as not aggressive enough, and conceived an idea of the Chinese army teaming up with the communist army, and then combined attacking the invaders. The "Young Marshal" had, - like so many others including the Americans -, been fooled by the communists, and believed that Mao was actually O.K.
But not Chiang.  He considered the Japanese a skin disease, while the communists were a heart disease, and therefore the most dangerous of the two was the communists. Time would show, that Chiang Kai-shek was right, like so many other times when he predicted the future very accurate.

Then in desperation the "Young Marshal" kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek in order to force him to team up with the communists, but the diplomatic skills of the "Young Marshal" apparently left a lot to be desired, and his stunt was certainly not well received in China.
There was a genuine fear that too much turmoil would be stirred up, and finally he released Chang Kai-shek unharmed after a couple of weeks.
Now, - if somebody kidnap the supreme commander of the army and leader of the country, -  and do it under wartime conditions -, one might expect that the punishment would be immediate execution.
But not so with the "Young Marshal".
Instead Chiang Kai-shek sentenced him to lifelong house arrest. Obviously Chiang-Kai-shek was aware of the fact that the "Young Marshal" was certainly not a traitor, but actually a great patriot, that just had other ideas of how the problems should be solved.

Hence the "Young Marshal" followed the army in house arrest through China during the remaining time of the war with Japan, - and later during the civil war with the communists, until the Chinese government and army arrived to safety in Taiwan.

Here, - in one of the best neighborhoods in Taipei -, the "Young Marshal" was provided with a big and splendid villa on the mountainside overlooking Taipei.
The house was originally part of a hotel, but in 1920 it was made a club for the Japanese military, and during WW II it also became the last R&R spot for kamikaze pilots before they went out on their last mission. In 1949 the house finally became the residence of the "Young Marshal".
His house arrest here was in fact not very strict.  He could go to church every Sunday, and often he visited another veteran and statesman from China, - his friend the calligrapher Yu Youren -, that lived nearby.  But he could NOT leave Taiwan.

His sentence to lifelong house arrest did eventually not last for life.  It was decided to make him a free man again when Chiang Kai-shek died, since it obviously did not make much sense the keep him there in his huge villa until his death.
After being released, the "Young Marshal" decided to move to USA, where he had family, and there he died in 2001 at an age of 101 years.
What a life - - - -
 
 


2012-08-032
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)

If you look for the "Young Marshal's" house in tourist books or folders you will look in vain. You have to look after "Marshal Zen Garden", and from the description of "Marshal Zen Garden" you see nothing about the history of the house.  Instead it is advertised as a fine restaurant, with a nice garden where you also have the possibility to enjoy a hot bath.

In Yu Youren's house we got a folder with a map to the houses of other famous people, - artists, writers and philosophers -, and there "Marshal Zen Garden" was mentioned, and Kit Yu insisted that it was in fact the "Young Marshal's" house.  I had my doubt about that, since the name "Marshal Zen Garden" sounded more like a buddhist inspired garden made by a Mr. Marshal.
Only way to find out was to go there, and when stepping out of the taxi, we saw the giant roof structure of a very big house below on the mountain side, - and right away I thought: This is NOT a prison where you punish people by putting them in house arrest. It is indeed a place to enjoy!
However, - when coming down the stairway from the road we were met by a life-size poster showing the "Young Marshal", and Taiwan's President, Mr. Chiang Chin-kuo smiling.
And around the corner you would find a bust of the "Young Marshal"!  Furthermore you could see life-size photos of the "Young Marshal" and his wife sitting in one of the rooms of the big house.

This was indeed the house where the "Young Marshal" spent many years of his life, - and what a beautiful "prison"!
But why refer to it as "Marshal Zen Garden"?????  There is nothing particular buddhist here, - and furthermore the "Young Marshal" was not a buddhist, but a christian, and therefore not likely to go deep into zen.

Anyway, - see for yourself.
 
 


2012-08-033
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


2012-08-035
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-036
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


2012-08-038
Kit Yu looking at a life-size poster of the "Young Marshal" to the left, - and President Chiang Chin-kuo to the right.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 
 


2012-08-034
General Zhang Xue-liang, - the "Young Marshal"
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-048
Figures of the "Young Marshal" and his wife  in their older years.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


2012-08-039
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-046
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-047
The "Young Marshals" house
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 
 


2012-08-043
The part of the house converted to a first class restaurant.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 
 


2012-08-043
The part of the house converted to a first class restaurant.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 
 


2012-08-044
Outside the "Young Marshal's" house.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-050
Outside the "Young Marshal's" house.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-052
View over Taipei from the "Young Marshal's" house.
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


2012-08-032
View from the "Young Marshals" house into "Hell Valley" below. (Peitou Hot Springs)
(Photography © Karsten Petersen)
 

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Page initiated:  Feb.12.2013
Page updated: Feb.14.2013