Chang Mo-chun (4 October 1883-30 January 1965), feminist, educator, and poet, was the first principal of the Shen-chou Girls School, principal of the Kiangsu First Girls Normal School, and was a member of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang and of the Legislative and Executive yuans in China and in Taiwan.
Born into a gentry family in Hsianghsiang, Hunan, Chang Mo-chun grew up in an environment which provided her with a solid background in classical Chinese literature and a keen interest in contemporary political affairs. Both of her parents were scholars. Her father, Chang Po-ch'un, was a Hanlin scholar and official. Her mother, Ho I-hsiao, was a poet whose work was esteemed by T'an Yen-k'ai, the veteran governor of Hunan, who was himself a Hanlin scholar well-versed in poetry and classical literature. After receiving her early education at home under her mother's direction, Chang Mo-chun attended middle school at Nanking, where her father was serving as education commissioner under Tuan-fang, governor-general of Liangkiang during the last years of the Ch'ing period. While at Nanking, she also taught at the primary school attached to the Chin-ling yangcheng hsueh-t'ang and at the same time studied English at the Hui-wen Girls School. She became interested in political ideas through reading Ko-ming chün [revolutionary army] by Tsoujung (ECCP, II, 769) and Jen-hsueh [study in benevolence] by T'an Ssu-t'ung (ECCP, II, 702-5). The young Chang Mo-chun was influenced also by the progressive views of her father, who, though serving as an official of the imperial government, was sympathetic to the new ideas of nationalism. From Nanking, Chang Mo-chun went to Shanghai to attend the Wu-pen Girls School. There she read nationalistic journals such as Hsin Hu-nan [new Hunan journal], Tung-t''ing po [Tung-t'ing journal], and Che-chiangch'ao [the tides of Chekiang] and came into contact with members of the anti-Manchu movement. On the recommendation of Huang Hsing (q.v.), she joined the T'ung-meng-hui and was soon drawn into the secret work of the society in planning for revolution in Kiangsu and Chekiang. During this period she was associated with Ch'iu Chin (ECCP, I, 169-71), Chao Sheng (T. Po-hsien; 1881-1911), and other anti-Manchu revolutionary activists. After being graduated at the top of her class from the Wu-pen Girls School, Chang Mo-chun taught at the Kiangsu provincial Ts'ui-min Girls School and studied English at the Laura Haygood Normal School in Soochow with a view to continuing her education in the United States. Her political associates, however, persuaded her to remain in China: her contacts through her father with officials of the Ch'ing government provided an important channel for obtaining information useful to the revolutionary cause.
When the Wuchang revolt broke out in October 1911, Chang Mo-chim and her father played active roles in bringing about Soochow's declaration of independence from Manchu rule. Chang Po-ch'un served as general counsel in the office of Ch'eng Te-ch'uan, who became the military governor of Kiangsu, and Chang Mochun drafted and edited propaganda materials. She was also responsible for the Ta Han Pao [the great Han journal] of Kiangsu, published at Soochow, which carried her forceful and influential editorials.
Chang Mo-chim continued to be active in politics during the first years of the republican period. With a group of women associates, she organized the Society of Shen-chou [Chinese] Women for the Support of the Republic. Chang was elected director, and raised funds for the new provisional government which had been established in Nanking at the beginning of 1912—activities that gained the attention of Sun Yat-sen. Following the reorganization of the T'ung-meng-hui into the Kuomintang, Chang was appointed to work in the party's Shanghai headquarters as chief of the correspondence section. At the same time, Chang Mo-chun and the Society of Shen-chou Women played an active part in pressing for the recognition of women's rights and for the improvement of 6T women's education. To gain publicity, the group turned to journalism and launched the Shen-chou jih-pao [Shenchow daily]. The society also founded the Shen-chou Girls School, one of the pioneer private girls' schools in Shanghai. Chang was appointed the first principal in the fall of 1914, and she contributed greatly to building up its enrollment and expanding its faculty. In the years following, Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang, Yeh Sheng-t'ao, Hsieh Liu-i, and other prominent men taught there at her invitation. In 1918 the ministry of education sent Chang Mo-chun abroad to study Western educational methods. She went first to the United States. After inspecting schools and women's colleges in various places, she took the opportunity to study at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was elected president of the Chinese students' association in New York. At the end of the First World War, she went to Europe and, in the summer of 1919, toured England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland, paying special attention to social conditions and women's education. This trip was recorded in her Ou-Mei chiao-yü k'ao-ch'a lu [investigation of education in Europe and America]. On her way back to China she also visited Southeast Asia. Arriving in Shanghai in the winter of 1920, she resumed her duties as principal of the Shen-chou Girls School. Shortly thereafter the Kiangsu provincial government appointed her to head the Kiangsu First Girls Normal School. In the years following, until her resignation in 1927, Chang Mo-chim gained distinction for the school by improving the academic program, enlarging classes and the amount of equipment, and securing the services of prominent people as instructors. In an attempt to combat illiteracy, Chang Mo-chim, together with her friend Chu Ch'i-hui, the first wife of Hsiung Hsi-ling, launched a program of popular education by setting up special schools over a wide area and by offering evening instruction at her school for women and for children out of school. She also continued to work in the field of journalism, supervising the Shen-chou jih-pao and editing the weekly woman's section of the Shanghai Shih-pao [Shanghai times].
Chang Mo-chun's independence and devotion to her career during these years discouraged male admirers. In 1924, however, she married Shao Yuan-ch'ung (q.v.), the personable and intelligent confidential secretary to Sun Yat-sen. The marriage, which took place in September 1924 in Shanghai, with Yu Yu-jen officiating at the ceremony and Tai Chi-t'ao present as a matchmaker, attracted widespread attention and approval in China: Chang and her husband had similar backgrounds, combining Chinese classical training with advanced studies in the United States.
Chang Mo-chün remained active politically after her marriage. In 1927, when Shao Yuanch'ung was mayor of Hangchow, she served as director of the municipal education bureau and also as an education member of the Shanghai branch of the Central Political Council. The following year, they moved to Nanking to join the new National Government. Chang Mochün became, successively, a member of the special examinations committee of the Examination Yuan (1929), a member of the Legislative Yuan (1930), and, in the spring of 1931, an honorary editor on the Kuomintang party history compilation committee. In 1931 she was also a member of the examinations committee of the Examination Yuan.
From 1933 to 1935 Chang Mo-chün served on the supervisory committee of the Nanking municipal headquarters of the Kuomintang; then she was elected to membership on the Central Supervisory Committee of the party. In the spring of 1935, she and her husband made an extended trip through the northwest of China, visiting Shansi, Shensi, Kansu, Tsinghai, and Ninghsia. Their record of the trip, Hsi-pei lan-sheng [viewing the grandeur ofthe northwest], was published shortly afterward.
In December 1936, Shao Yuan-ch'ung, accompanying Chiang Kai-shek to Sian for conferences with Chang Hsueh-liang and Yang Hu-ch'eng (qq.v.), was shot and killed by snipers during a coup in which Chiang was captured. Shocked by the sudden loss of her husband, Chang Mo-chün withdrew from public life and returned to her mother's home in Hunan, where she devoted herself to caring for her children, studying poetry, and perfecting her calligraphy. In 1940 the National Government invited her to Chungking to serve in the Examination Yuan. Two years later, she was sent to inspect Kuomintang activities in Hunan province. Toward the end of the Sino-Japanese war, she served on the standing committee of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang, on the Central Political Council, and on the codification committee of the Examination Yuan. During the postwar period, Chang Mo-chün was a member of the Examination Yuan in Nanking and an honorary editor of the national history institute. Following the Communist accession to power on the mainland, she went to Taiwan, where she was a member of the Examination Yuan and, concurrently, a member of the Central Supervisory Committee and the central appraisal committee of the Kuomintang. There her private life was saddened by the sudden death of her son, who died shortly after reaching adulthood. In 1957 she donated to the Government of the Republic of China in Taiwan more than 100 pieces of antique jade from her collection. Chang Mo-chün died at Taipei on 30 January 1965. She was survived by a daughter, Shao Ying-to, and one grandson.