valiant effort

Soong sisters

The Soong Sisters (宋家姐妹 pinyin: Sòngjiā Jiěmèi, or 宋氏三姐妹) were three women who were, along with their husbands, amongst China's most significant political figures of the early 20th century. They each played a major role in influencing their husbands, which, along with their own positions of power, ultimately changed the course of Chinese history. Of them, it was commonly said that "one loved money, one loved power and one loved China".


Throughout their lifetimes, each one of the sisters followed their own belief in terms of supporting the Nationalist or the Communist Party of China. In the 1930s, Soong Ai-ling and her sister Mei-ling were the two richest women in China at the time. Both of them supported the Nationalists, while Soong Ching-ling later sided with the CPC.

In 1937 when the Second Sino-Japanese war broke out, all three of them got together after a 10 year separation in an effort to unite the KMT and CPC against the Imperial Japanese army. Soong Ai-ling devoted herself to social work such as helping wounded soldiers, refugees and orphans. She donated five ambulances and 37 trucks to the army in Shanghai and the air force, along with 500 leather uniforms.

When the Japanese occupied Nanjing and Wuhan, the three sisters moved to Hong Kong. In the 1940, they returned to Chongqing and established the Chinese Industrial Association, which opened job opportunities for people through weaving, sewing and other crafts. The sisters frequently visited schools, hospitals, orphanages, air raid shelters and aided war torn communities along the way. While both parties failed to unite at the most critical time in the 1940s, the sisters made a valiant effort in financing and assisting in all national activities.

The three sisters

English name Chinese name Description
Soong Ai-ling Simplified Chinese:宋蔼龄
Traditional Chinese:宋藹齡
Pinyin:Sòng Àilíng
The eldest and the one who "loved money," was married to the richest man and finance minister of China, H.H. Kung.
Soong Ching-ling Simplified Chinese:宋庆龄
Traditional Chinese:宋慶齡
Pinyin:Sòng Qìnglíng
The one who "loved China," was married to Father of Modern China and first President of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen. She became joint President of the People's Republic of China with Dong Biwu from 1968 to 1972 and Honorary President in 1981, just before the passing of the Constitution of 1982.
Soong May-ling Simplified Chinese:宋美龄
Traditional Chinese:宋美齡
Pinyin:Sòng Méilíng
Youngest and the one who "loved power," was a prominent political leader in her own right, the wife and partner in power of the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) , Generalissimo of the Chinese armies, and later President, Chiang Kai-shek.


Cultural materials


In some literary works, there is a popular characterization said that:

Chinese quote English translation
Traditional Chinese: 一個愛錢、一個愛權、一個愛國
Simplified Chinese: 一个爱钱、一个爱权、一个爱国
Pinyin: yí ge aì qián, yí ge aì quán, yí ge aì guó
Jyutping: jat1 go3 oi3 cin4, jat1 go3 oi3 kyun4, jat1 go3 oi3 gwok3
One loves the money, one loves the power, and one loves the country.

In this characterization, Soong Ai-ling, who married a business tycoon, was described as a person who "loves the money", while Soong May-ling, who married the military leader, was described as who "loves the power", and Soong Ching-ling, who married the father of nation, was described as "loves the country", or, in other words, a patriotic person.


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