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Taiwan government says late leader Chiang Kai-shek medal up for auction not original
Collector and scholar Chuk Hong Ming displays the medal "Order of Blue Sky and White Sun" which was awarded to political and military leader of 20th-century China Chiang Kai-shek (seen on screen) during a media preview in Hong Kong on August 21, 2012. The medal, given to Chiang Kai-shek in 1930 and of an estimated value of 3 to 5 million HKD (386,757 USD to 644,595 USD), is to be auctioned by Spink & Son in Hong Kong on August 24. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez

HONG KONG (AP).- A medal awarded to late Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek is going up for auction in Hong Kong, even though Taiwan's defense ministry says it's not the original.

The Order of Blue Sky and White Sun medal is going on the block Friday. It's expected to fetch 3-5 million Hong Kong dollars ($387,000-$645,000).

Auction house Spink says Chiang was awarded the medal in 1930 by his Nationalist government, which ruled much of China while fighting a civil war with the Communists. In 1949, the defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan and set up a rival regime.

Taiwan's defense ministry said last week, after Spink announced plans for the auction, that Chiang was laid to rest in a mausoleum with the medal when he died in 1975.

But at a press preview on Tuesday for the sale, collector and scholar Chuk Hong-ming said Chiang was buried with a duplicate medal.

"Before 1995, it was the usual practice to give a new set of the medals to a general who passed away for burial," he said.

The auction house says it's the first time the medal has ever gone up for auction.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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August 22, 2012

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