Han Liwu 杭立武

Based on: Erwin Wickert (ed.), John Rabe. Der gute Deutsche von Nanking. Stuttgart 1997
John Copper. Historical Dictionary of Taiwan (Republic of China). 4th Edition. Lanham 2015

Last updated: 30/05/2023

Han in 1947, public domain

Han Liwu (Lih-wu) was born in 1903 in the province of Anhui. As a prominent member of the Kuomintang, he helped organizing the evacuation of the Chinese Government from Nanjing to Chongqing in November 1937. On 25 November 1937, Rabe was asked by Han to assist in the transportation of valuable cultural goods out of the city. Rabe lent a truck to Han that he had received on his birthday to support this plan. 15.000 cases of “Curios”, as Rabe called them, had to be brought to safety. Many of them would be lost during World War Two.

Three days later, on 28 November, Han was elected as Chinese co-director of the International Committee.

Han left Nanjing in the late evening of 2 December with 14.000 crates. He had to leave 1.000 crates behind because of a lack of cargo space and vehicles. To honour Han, Rabe held a small farewell dinner before his departure.

Towards the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, Han also assisted in the retreat of the Chinese Republic to Taiwan and the shipment of cultural treasures from Beijing to Taipei. After having been Minister of Education, he was ambassador to several Asian and European countries until 1972. He died in 1991, having served the Republic for nearly 40 years, in Taipei.

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