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China's Russian Princess, the Silent Wife of Chiang Ching-kuo



Mark O'Neill


Julian M. Stargardt


20 October 2021 (Wednesday)


6:30 - 8:00 PM



G/F Seminar Room, Main Library, HKU

2/F Multi-purpose Area, Main Library, HKU




About the Book 


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“China’s Russian Princess the Silent Wife of Chiang Ching-kuo” describes the extraordinary life of Faina Vakhreva, wife of Chiang Ching-kuo, son of Chiang Kai-shek. A factory worker in the Soviet Union from a modest family, she had to adapt to life in China’s First Family: learn Mandarin: and how to be a good Chinese wife and mother. With her family, she lived through the devastation of the Sino-Japanese war, the civil war and then the move to Taiwan.

It is an inspiring story of love, heroism and determination to overcome great difficulties.


 About the Speaker 


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A resident of Hong Kong, Mark O’Neill has written 12 books on Chinese and Hong Kong history and society. Seven of them have editions in Chinese and English. Please see webpage:


About the Moderator


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A scholar, independent neutral, risk advisor, author, and former United Nations Country Head of Legal (VNSU), Mr Stargardt's experience includes public and private sectors, IT, media and academia. 

He is a Life Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), a Senior Research Associate of the University of Sussex Centre for World Environmental History, a Guest Lecturer at City University’s LL.M. and J.D. programmes, a Member of the Advisory Board of the Global Studies Master’s Programme at Baptist University and a Member of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC). 

Mr Stargardt has been involved in ADR since the mid-1970s. His clients include major corporations and start-ups. As an independent neutral, he advises on risk, risk mitigation, global change and dispute resolution. He is active in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) including mediation, arbitration, advising on, negotiating, mediating and adjudicating commercial, maritime, international, environmental, constitutional, human rights, administrative, high-net-worth family, public-private and public matters. 

Mr Stargardt is a member of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), a past member of the HKIAC’s Hong Kong International Mediation Council’s executive committee (HKIMC) and the HKIAC's mediation rules rewrite committee. He is a consultant at ADR International; past chairman of the HKIAC's commercial mediation group, introduced the HKIAC’s commercial mediation scheme, a past member of the HKIAC's mediation council board, and the editorial board of Asian Dispute Review, Asia's premier ADR journal. In addition to his other work, Mr Stargardt participates in legislative drafting, geographical and historical scholarship and does pro bono work. 

Mr. Stargardt’s interdisciplinary postgraduate research was on public international law, the laws of war, conflict resolution, refugee law, environmental law and the law of the sea, with interdisciplinary research on the impact of war on the environment, public health and infrastructure. He has worked in polar and  high alpine research. He has a graduate certificate in principled negotiation and mediation. His work, including pro bono work, also includes geography, history, human rights and advancing the study and practice of ADR, serving as a judge in international moot competitions such as the ICC-DoJ Mediation Moot, the YIMC Moots and the Vis East Moot, at which the Vis Foundation awarded him the coveted ‘Star Arbitrator’ Award.

Mr Stargardt researches and writes on law, history, global change, geography, trade and economics. Among other works, he is the author of ‘Citizenship’ volume 7 of Halsbury's Laws of Hong Kong; and a co-author of Butterworths Hong Kong Company Law Handbook. He is the author of other books, which are currently in preparation for publication.