Watch CBS News

Taiwan's Chiang Kai-shek

Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek (1971)
Taiwan’s Chiang Kai-shek (1971) | 60 Minutes Archive 18:32

In 1967, Morley Safer was the first American television correspondent to report from Communist China. He had snuck into the country on a tourist visa, and when he returned, he filed "Morley Safer's Red China Diary" for CBS News. Four years later, he returned to look at the China next door — the island of Taiwan.

At the time, Taiwan had been ruled by Chinese nationalist Chiang Kai-shek since 1949, when the Republic of China lost the mainland to the Chinese Communist Party during the Chinese Civil War. In his report for 60 Minutes, Safer made pointed comparisons between the two Chinas:

"The 22 years of exile have been fruitful ones for the people of Chiang," Safer said. "There is no question that the 14 million people of Taiwan, to put it in its simplest terms, are better off than the 700 million on the mainland. Simple arithmetic has a lot to do with it. And so has the energy and inventiveness of the people themselves."

Safer also interviewed Chiang, who refused to answer any questions about the possibility of coming to terms with Communist China. 

Chiang died four years after Safer's report aired.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.