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Secret escape slide for Taiwan’s former leader draws in the crowds – just don’t ask for a go

By Helen Davidson and Chi Hui Lin

27 Aug 2023 · 3 min read

informed Summary

  1. The Grand Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, has secret tunnels built in the 1970s as escape routes for Chiang Kai-shek, the then leader of the Republic of China, and visiting dignitaries. The tunnels were designed to provide an escape route in case of a Chinese attack or during the cold war.

Over the years there have been many rumours about the secret tunnels under Taipei’s Grand Hotel. Some say they were secret passageways to the presidential office five kilometres away. Others say they led to the Songshan airport or a secret military base. Now, the rumours are that the tunnels will shelter VIPs should the city come under attack from China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The tunnels were built in the 1970s, as part of a major renovation of the hotel, amid the twin fears of the cold war and a Chinese attack. They were designed to provide an escape for Chiang Kai-shek, the ageing authoritarian leader of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s formal name) and any world dignitaries who happen to be visiting. Construction was completed in 1973, just two years before Chiang’s death.

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