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Li Kwoh-Ting’s residence

Li Kwoh-Ting’s residence hidden in Lane 2, Tai’an Street, Taipei City, witnessed the warm and sincere relationship between Li Kwoh-Ting and his wife Song Jing-Xiong for 25 years. In 1997, Song Jing-Xiong, who had accompanied Li Kwoh-Ting for 60 years, passed away, and thus the old house seemed a little lonely. Four years later, Li’s colorful life of 92 years came to an end. The former residence has now become a municipal historic site of Taipei City, and reopened to the public after renovation, so that more people can experience the touching stories of Li’s diligent studies, deliberations on behalf of our country, and devotedness to his wife.

In 1946, the Chief Executive Office of Taiwan Province changed the address of Li Kwoh-Ting’s former residence to No. 3, Lane 2, Tai’an Street, Taipei City; during the Japanese occupation period, this house was the official residence of the Communications Department of the Governor-General’s Office, and the address was No. 150-3, Saiwaicho, Taipei City.

After Japan occupied Taiwan, it has successively implemented several city and street correction plans, that is, through urban planning methods, to improve traffic, sanitation, architectural appearance and other issues. At the beginning of the Japanese occupation era, most of the people who came to Taiwan temporarily lived in the government offices of the Qing Dynasty. With the development of colonial rule, Taipei City built outwards from the Taiwan Soutokufu as the center. Before the 1930s, today’s Ren’ai Road, Xuzhou Road, Jinan Road and Hangzhou South Road was successively completed. At that time, these roads were all part of Saiwaicho. This was the most rapidly developing residential area from 1935 to 1945. Due to the location of many schools and official residences, it is also called “School Street” and “Official Residence Street.”

The former residence of Li Kwoh-Ting was completed around 1935 (the tenth year of Showa), located near three main government buildings and five official residences, all of which were later occupied by senior officials of the Communications Department of the Governor-General’s Office, who were in charge of Taiwan Post and Telecommunications; after 1937, (the twelfth year of Showa), the three ministers of the Ministry of Communications have successively lived in No.150-3 Saiwaicho.

On October 25, 1945, after the restoration of Taiwan, the Chief Executive Office of Taiwan Province established the Taiwan Provincial Receiving Committee, under which was Nissan Settlement Committee. Saiwaicho official residence was also included, five buildings of which were successively allocated to the civil servants of Secretariat of the Chief Executive Office and their families for use.

In 1954, Chen Han-Ping, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Finance, became the Minister of Finance of the Taiwan Provincial Government, and was allocated No. 3, Lane 2, Tai’an Street as a dormitory by the Taiwan Provincial Government. In 1960, he repatriated as the Deputy of the Ministry of Finance and the next year became the Director of Central Trust of China. He continued to live in the residence until 1961, when the house was handed over to Li Kwoh-Ting for use.

After the War of Resistance Against Japan began, Li Kwoh-Ting and his wife Song Jing-Xiong moved residence a total of 13 times due to wartime needs. In one year, they moved a record four times, which caused much hardship for the newlyweds. Li and Song met at Nanjing Jinling College. At that time, Li, aged 23, taught at the school, while Song majored in biology. On December 15, 1937, the two held a simple wedding ceremony in Wuchang. Just two days before the wedding, the Japanese army occupied Li’s hometown, Nanjing. He gave up the letter of appointment from Wuhan University at the time and joined the air defense force. Due to the war, countless Chinese intellectuals traveled from the coast to inland regions, opening their eyes to a completely different world.

In December 1948, Li Kwoh-Ting’s boss, Zhou Mao-Bo, general manager of CSBC Corporation Taiwan, arranged for Song Jing-Xiong, who had been teaching at Shanghai Girls’ High School, to move to Taiwan. A few months after coming to Taiwan, Li and Song moved into the company’s dormitory at No. 3, Lane 44, Linyi Street, Taipei City. Although Song was from a prominent family in Shucheng County, Anhui Province, she built a small chicken coop in the backyard in order to supplement the family’s income. It has been converted into a 4-story apartment, but the Japanese-style dormitory at No. 1 in the alley next door still maintains its original appearance.

In 1972, Li and Song moved into their house on Tai’an Street. Li’s study was full of books and materials. Sometimes he would continue writing at the round table in the dining room as piles of books overflowed the small desk in the study.

Li Kwoh-Ting’s interests encompasses many fields. On the fifth floor of the National Taiwan University Library, there are some newspaper clippings donated by Li that have been organized different themes and categories in order to outline the context and developments of events and concepts. Next to the phone in Li’s former residence, there are many small notes that he wrote down in order to coordinate things. Song, who majored in biology, used flowers and trees to decorate the old Japanese house more elegantly, built a small greenhouse in the yard, and personally took care of orchids.

Many senior government officials of that time period lived near the former residence of Li Kwoh-Ting. In 1959, due to the relocation of the Taiwan Provincial Government to Zhongxing New Village, the Taiwan Provincial Government entrusted the Land Bank to sell the relevant land. The former residence of Li Kwoh-Ting was purchased by the Bank of Taiwan. In 1989, the Executive Yuan approved the Ministry of Finance to manage paid- appropriation to the National Property Bureau.

After Li’s death in 2001, the Department of Cultural Affairs Taipei Government and a number of individuals in the private sector hoped to preserve the former residence permanently. After the review and approval procedures, on January 20, 2003, the Taipei City Government officially announced that Li Kwoh-Ting’s former residence was designated as a municipal historic site of Taipei City. In late 2007, the Taipei City Government applied to the National Property Bureau and was approved for the allocation of the historical site. This residence was opened to public since May 31, 2010.