On Dec. 12, 1936, Chiang was leading a war against Communists in the ancient capital of Xian. Tipped off about an attempt to capture him, he climbed over the wall of his compound wearing only pajamas but was soon caught and detained for two weeks.
Wei Shigang, head of the Xian Incident Memorial, told the state-run Xinhua news agency it was an historic event.
"The incident is widely believed to be a milestone that facilitated the cooperation between the Communists and Kuomintang and contributed to China's reunification movement," he said.
Professor Li Yunfeng at Northwest China University said the peaceful capture of Chiang also marked a sign of maturity for the Chinese Communist Party.
Commemorative events were staged Tuesday in various cities, including Xian, Beijing, Shenyang and Nanjing, the report said.