Biography in English

Ch'en Kuo-fu 陳果夫 Ch'en Kuo-fu (27 October 1892 - 25 August 1951) directed the organization department of the Kuomintang (1926-32; 1944) and created a closely knit organizational structure for the party. He was acting head of the Control Yuan (1928-32), governor of Kiangsu (1933-37), and he directed the department that selected personnel for the government (1939-45). In 1945 he became chairman of the Kuomintang Central Financial Committee. He and his brother, Ch'en Li-fu (q.v.), were known as the leaders of the right-wing CC clique.

A native of Wuhsing, Chekiang, Ch'en Kuofu was born to a gentry family that had lived in Wuhsing for generations. Family fortunes had suffered a setback during the Taiping Rebellion in the mid-nineteenth century, but his grandfather, Ch'en Chuang-ts'ang (d. 1892, T. Yenyu), had bettered the family's financial position through commercial activity. Ch'en Kuo-fu's father, Ch'en Ch'i-yeh (T. Ch'in-shih), was a scholar and a prominent citizen of Wuhsing. Ch'en Ch'i-yeh had two younger brothers: Ch'en Ch'i-mei (q.v.), who became a supporter of Sun Yat-sen and played an important role in the revolution of 1911, and Ch'en Ch'i-ts'ai (T. Ai-shih), an officer trained at the Shikan Gakko [military academy]. Ch'en Kuo-fu's later entry into political activities in China was influenced by his family background and connections.

Ch'en Kuo-fu received his early education at home from tutors, most of them members of his family. In 1905, on the urging of Ch'en Ch'its'ai, who was then in Hunan commanding a unit of the army which had been established as part of the Gh'ing government's military modernization program, he went to Changsha. There he entered the Ming-te School, whose principal was Hu Yuan-t'an. His uncle was transferred away from Hunan province in 1906, however, and Ch'en Kuo-fu returned home at his father's order.

After studying briefly at Nanking in the spring of 1907, Ch'en Kuo-fu returned to Chekiang to enroll in the military primary school at Hangchow, where he studied military science for the next four years. During this time he was much influenced by Ch'en Ch'i-mei. In the spring of 1911, Ch'en Kuo-fu formally joined the revolutionary T'ung-meng-hui. After graduation from the Hangchow school that spring, Ch'en enrolled at the Fourth Army Middle School at Nanking. While there he distributed revolutionary pamphlets and performed other tasks for his uncle. After the outbreak of the Wuchang revolt in October 1911, Ch'en hastened there to enlist in the revolutionary forces. Ch'en Ch'i-mei played a key role in directing the military coup which led to the capture of Shanghai by the revolutionary armies, and Ch'en Kuo-fu soon went to Shanghai to serve as aide to his uncle, who had become the military governor. He was assigned to recruit former schoolmates from Hangchow and Nanking to join the republican cause, and it was in the course of that work that he first met Chiang Kai-shek, who was also a protege of Ch'en Ch'i-mei. Although still young, Ch'en Kuo-fu had already begun to show signs of a frail constitution. He had planned to go to France in the autumn of 1912 under the work-study program, but he developed tuberculosis and was hospitalized at the Peking Union Medical College for two weeks. He returned to Shanghai to rest and then went to Japan in March 1913 to seek additional medical advice. When the so-called second revolution broke out in June of that year, he returned to Shanghai at the behest of Ch'en Ch'i-mei and played a minor role in the movement to dislodge Yuan Shih-k'ai from power. After the failure of that attempt, Ch'en was hospitalized in Shanghai for two months in the autumn of 1913. Most of the revolutionary leaders took refuge in Japan, but Ch'en Kuo-fu remained in Shanghai, where he learned German and undertook the study of cooperatives. In the spring of 1914 he married Chu Ming. _ In 1914 Sun Yat-sen, with the assistance of Ch'en Ch'i-mei, reorganized the revolutionary party into the Chung-hua ko-ming-tang, with headquarters in Japan. Sponsored by Ch'en Ch'i-ts'ai, Ch'en Kuo-fu joined the group. When Ch'en Ch'i-mei returned to China in 1915 to plan moves against Yuan Shih-k'ai, he established his base in the French concession of Shanghai. On 5 December 1915 Ch'en Ch'imei staged the spectacular but abortive Chao-ho gunboat affair in a bid to recapture Shanghai. Ch'en Kuo-fu participated in that effort and played a key role in alerting the conspirators of the approach of the French concession police. Ch'en's warning enabled Ch'en Ch'i-mei, Chiang Kai-shek, Wu Chung-hsin (q.v.), and others to escape from the French concession. The murder of Ch'en Ch'i-mei in May 1916 came as a great personal blow to both Ch'en Kuo-fu and Chiang Kai-shek, who had regarded him as mentor, benefactor, and political leader. In June 1916, Ch'en Kuo-fu returned to Wuhsing. There he devoted himself to the study of local history and to such avocations as the study of Chinese medicine, telepathy, and public speaking. In 1917 he became engrossed with the problem of the existence of ghosts and wrote an article on the subject.

During the next few years, Ch'en Kuo-fu spent most of his time in Shanghai, where he turned to commercial pursuits for both personal and political reasons. In March 1918, through the introduction of his father, he took the unusual step of becoming an over-age apprentice in an exchange company in Shanghai to learn native banking. This position also served as cover for his political activities. Then, in the autumn of 1920, a group of Sun Yat-sen's supporters in Shanghai established a stock and commodity exchange to raise funds for Sun's revolutionary enterprises in Kwangtung. Chang Jen-chieh (q.v.), noted for his business acumen, directed the exchange. He was assisted by Ch'en Kuofu, Chiang Kai-shek, Tai Chi-t'ao (q.v.), and others. Ch'en Kuo-fu first specialized in handling cotton stocks and later became assistant manager of a brokerage firm dealing with cotton yarn, gold, and silver. These speculative operations in Shanghai, designed partly to raise funds for political activities, were highly successful for a time, but a business recession in the spring of Ch'en Kuo-fu 1922 wiped out most of the financial gains. However, Gh'en Kuo-fu's business successes did enable him to supply his younger brother, Ch'en Li-fu, with funds to go to the United States for a modern education.

After the reorganization of the Kuomintang at Canton in 1924, Chiang Kai-shek was appointed by Sun Yat-sen to head the newly established Whampoa Military Academy. New cadets for the academy had to be recruited, and Chiang Kai-shek believed that there was no more convenient place for such recruitment than Shanghai and no more logical friend to handle the responsibility than Ch'en Kuo-fu. Recruitment was necessarily an operation which involved considerable personal risk. Ch'en Kuo-fu undertook the task with energy and determination. He and his associates succeeded in recruiting some 4,000 cadets from the three provinces of Kiangsu, Chekiang, and Anhwei. They were sent to Canton by ship, and, after their training at Whampoa, they formed the core of the first two Whampoa regiments, which unified Kwangtung province. He later recruited an additional 3,000 cadets from central and north China, and most of that group was enrolled in the third and fourth classes at Whampoa. Ch'en also handled the procurement of military supplies at Shanghai for the military forces at Canton. In 1926, Ch'en Kuo-fu was elected a member of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang. From this time, the beginning of his formal participation in the reorganized party, he regularly used the name Ch'en Kuo-fu ; previously, he had been known by his original name, Ch'en Tsu-t'ao. In the struggle for succession at Canton that followed the death of Sun Yat-sen, Chiang Kai-shek steadily strengthened his political position, which had been based primarily upon his military role at Whampoa. This development was accompanied by a split between the right and left wings of the Kuomintang, a conflict that was aggravated by the growth of Communist influence within the Kuomintang. The second plenum of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang on 17 May 1926 adopted a resolution, proposed by Chiang Kai-shek, barring Communist members of the Kuomintang from holding senior posts in the party. In the ensuing reorganization, Chang Jen-chieh became head of the Central Executive Committee, and Chiang Kai-shek replaced T'an P'ing-shan (q.v.) as head of the organization department. Ch'en Kuo-fu was named secretary of that key department. Two months later, after Chiang Kai-shek had been named commander in chief of the National Revolutionary Army, Ch'en Kuo-fu, on Chiang's recommendation, was appointed acting director of the organization department. During the critical period between July and December 1926 Ch'en Kuo-fu worked closely with Chang Jen-chieh in the organization department of the Kuomintang. In the summer of 1926 he set about reorganizing the Kwangtung provincial headquarters ofthe Kuomintang in an attempt to limit Communist influence. He was given concurrent membership on the central organization and financial committees of the Kuomintang as well as the position of secretary of the Central Political Council. And he was named to head the newly organized Political Training Institute, which was designed to train party workers. By the autumn of 1925, Borodin, the principal Russian adviser at Canton, had identified Ch'en and Chang Jen-chieh as members of the so-called new right wing of the Kuomintang. There was no doubt that Ch'en's presence considerably strengthened the conservative members of the party, who viewed the alliance with the Communists with disfavor. In December 1926 Ch'en Kuo-fu left Canton on a secret trip to Chiang Kai-shek's headquarters at Nanchang in Kiangsi. There he undertook the reorganization of the Kiangsi provincial headquarters of the Kuomintang, which previously had been dominated by the Communist Fang Chih-min (q.v.). In March 1927 Ch'en Kuo-fu went to Hankow, where the left wing of the party, in collaboration with the Communists, dominated both party and National Government posts. Because he was unable to influence the situation, Ch'en left Hankow on 22 March for Shanghai. There he joined with other conservative members of the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang, including Wu Chih-hui, Chang Jen-chieh, Li Shih-tseng, and Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei, to lay plans to counter the leftist offensive against their seniority and power in the Kuomintang. The so-called party purification movement, a purge of leftists and Communists, was launched at Shanghai in April. The same month, Chiang Kai-shek organized an opposition national government at Nanking, and Ch'en Kuo-fu continued to support Chiang. In July he became a member of the Central Political Council and acting head of the organization department of the Kuomintang. With Tai Chi-t'ao, Ting Wei-fen, and Yeh Ch'u- . ts'ang, he took part in preparations for the founding of a Central Political Institute to train party members for positions in the National Government. That institute was officially inaugurated on 8 August 1927, with Chiang Kai-shek as its president and Ch'en Kuo-fu as director of general affairs. Shortly thereafter, when Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retire from the political scene, Ch'en accompanied him to Shanghai. In the autumn of that year, when the Nanking and Wuhan factions of the Kuomintang undertook to repair the breach between them so that the Northern Expedition could be resumed, Chiang Kai-shek, with the aid of Ch'en and other supporters, resumed direction of affairs at Nanking.

In March 1928 Ch'en Kuo-fu was again named acting head of the organization department of the Kuomintang, since Chiang Kaishek, its nominal head, was occupied with the second phase of the Northern Expedition. In view of the growing prospects of attaining national unification, central planning was required to prepare the Kuomintang for its greatly expanded functions. At Ch'en Kuo-fu's direction, the central headquarters of the Kuomintang reduced its organs to four units : organization, training, propaganda, and mass movement. Previously there had been nine units: organization, propaganda, peasants, workers, youth, women, overseas affairs, merchants, and military personnel. The organization of lower echelon party headquarters also was simplified to conform to the central pattern. Under Ch'en's direction, cadres were assigned to all local organizations of the party, and a comprehensive registration of party members was conducted. For the first time, the Kuomintang established a closely knit organizational structure. Although Communists were excluded, the structure was based on the Leninist model.

When the new National Government was inaugurated at Nanking on 10 October 1928, Ch'en Kuo-fu was elected vice president of the Control Yuan. Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei, who had been elected president of the Control Yuan, decided not to take the position, and his successor, Chao Tai-wen, soon left Nanking to return to his native Shansi. Left in effective charge of the Control Yuan, Ch'en Kuo-fu resigned his post as acting head of the organization department of the party. He held the Control Yuan position until 1932 and was largely responsible for organizing and directing its operations during its formative period. In March 1929, when the Third National Congress met at Nanking, thanks to careful planning and organization by Ch'en Kuo-fu, it was packed with supporters of Chiang Kai-shek. Ch'en again was elected to serve as acting director of the party's organization department. In that capacity, he made a special trip to Peiping and other parts of north China to inspect Kuomintang affairs. In the summer of 1929, working together with Hu Hanmin, Tai Chi-t'ao, and Yeh Ch'u-ts'ang, Ch'en co-authored an important document on party principles and party virtues that was officially adopted by the central authorities of the Kuomintang.

The political organization developed at Nanking by Ch'en Kuo-fu and Ch'en Li-fu after 1928 did not fail to attract attention and soon became known as the CC clique. The initials, according to some observers, were originally used to designate the Central Club at Nanking, not the first letters of the Ch'en brothers' surname. Ch'en Kuo-fu himself firmly denied the existence of such an organization, stating that a man of his background would hardly employ the Western alphabet to label a Chinese group. However, the epithet was widely used in China, normally with the implication that the Ch'en brothers exercised undue personal authority in the central apparatus of the Kuomintang. In later years, the term CC clique was often employed by the Chinese Communists, the Japanese, and Western observers in criticizing the Kuomintang and the National Government. While it is doubtful that any formal organization existed, it is certain that Ch'en Kuo-fu and Ch'en Li-fu, as veteran party organization men close to Chiang Kai-shek, built up a sizeable personal following during the years after 1928. Ch'en Kuo-fu's next assignment was as governor of Kiangsu province, where he served from October 1933 until November 1937. During his four years in that post, Ch'en made a number of significant contributions to the provincial administration. Banditry was curbed public finance was improved by revamping the tax system and by strengthening the provincial banks; political control was tightened; and progress was made in education, public health, communications, and in suppressing the use of opium. Long interested in the value of native medicine, partly because of his frail constitution, Ch'en founded a new medical administration academy in Kiangsu in October 1934. While serving as governor of Kiangsu, Ch'en Kuo-fu also served as deputy chairman of the Hwai River Conservancy Commission. He encouraged river conservation work and the construction of dams to prevent floods and to facilitate shipping. Ch'en took pride in the development of Kiangsu during his governorship. He later wrote a full account of his experiences entitled Su-cheng hui-i [reminiscences of Kiangsu administration], published
in Taiwan in 1951. While serving in Kiangsu, Ch'en retained his position as a senior figure in the Kuomintang. At the Fifth National Congress in December 1935, he was elected a member of the Central Executive Committee and of its standing committee.

After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in the summer of 1937, Kiangsu became an important military theater. In November of that year, the invading Japanese forces made a westward thrust along the Shanghai-Nanking railway. When the Japanese threatened Chinkiang, the seat of the Kiangsu provincial government, Ch'en Kuo-fu moved his offices to Yangchow. At the end of November, the National Government, in accordance with its wartime policy of assigning military commanders as governors in front-line provinces, named Ku Chu-t'ung (q.v.) to replace Ch'en. Ch'en went to Changsha, following the westward trek of the National Government.

In January 1938 Ch'en was named dean of the Central Political Institute, which had moved to Chihchiang in western Hunan. In March he went to Hankow for the Extraordinary Conference of the Kuomintang that amended the party constitution to make Chiang Kai-shek tsung-ts'ai [party leader]. Ch'en then made the difficult overland trip to Chungking with the staff of the Central Political Institute. He resigned from his position as dean in March 1939, but continued to control the institution and to direct its programs.

In addition to his responsibilities at the Central Political Institute, Ch'en Kuo-fu took on new duties at Chungking in the summer of 1939. At that time he became director of the third department of Chiang Kai-shek's attendance office. Since that department was concerned with the selection of personnel for the government, Ch'en, acting directly under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to wield personal influence that could hardly be matched by any other official in the wartime capital. Ch'en held that keyposition for sixyears, until it was abolished in August 1945. He also served as a member of the Supreme National Defense Council, the highest organ of the National Government during the war. For a few months in 1944, he was responsible for the activities of the organization department of the Kuomintang.

Ch'en Kuo-fu suffered increasingly from tuberculosis. In 1943 and 1945 he underwent two major chest operations. During the early war years he was also afflicted with bouts of malaria and attacks of boils. At his initiative, a research center was established in the clinic of the Central Political Institute which successfully cured malaria with native medicines when quinine was in short supply.

Ch'en Kuo-fu engaged in many activities in Chungking. He had long been interested in the expansion of cooperatives as a method of easing China's economic problems. He was elected honorary president of the Chinese Cooperative Association when it was established in 1940 and helped indirectly to further the development of consumer cooperatives. He wrote cogently and frequently on this subject. In 1941 he completed a movie script entitled I-feng i-su [changing traditions and customs]. Because its purpose was to encourage the development of orthodox virtue in China, it placed greater emphasis on moralizing than on entertaining.

Ch'en Kuo-fu's sustained service to Chiang Kai-shek and to the Kuomintang again was rewarded in May 1945, when the party held its Sixth National Congress at Chungking. Ch'en was elected once more to membership on its Central Executive Committee and on its standing committee. At the Sixth Congress, the Kuomintang decided that, under the projected constitutional government, the party, instead of being supported by the state, should be made financially independent. Ch'en Kuo-fu was elected chairman of the party's Central Financial Committee and was assigned responsibility for developing financial resources to sustain and operate the Kuomintang. In the autumn of 1945 he was named chairman of the board of the Farmers Bank of China, an appointment designed to enable him to utilize the resources of that bank to assist the rural economy and the welfare of the peasantry in accordance with the economic principles set forth by Sun Yat-sen. To assist the Kuomintang financial development program, the party established or took control of a number of commercial enterprises, including newspapers, publishing houses, motion picture studios, and radio stations. In November 1946, Ch'en Kuo-fu was named chairman of the Central Cooperatives Bank, which essentially was a financial organ of the Kuomintang. Since Ch'en Kuo-fu's activities in the post- 1945 period shifted from party organization to party financing, there was considerable speculation about whether he and Ch'en Li-fu were accumulating personal fortunes through their privileged positions. The situation was a natural target for Communist attack, and Ch'en Po-ta (q.v.), in his 1949 book Chung-kuo ssu-ta chia-tsu [China's four big families], linked the Ch'en brothers not only with Chiang Kai-shek but also with Chiang's relatives by marriage, the financial magnates H. H. K'ung and T. V. Soong. Actually, Ch'en Kuo-fu had ceased to be a major political figure in China after the Sino- Japanese war. In December 1946 he was a member of the presidium of the National Assembly which adopted the new national constitution. Ch'en was also the moving spirit behind the founding at Nanking in July 1947 of a research institute for native Chinese medicine. But his physical condition was getting worse, and in September 1947 he underwent a third lung operation. His health deteriorated drastically in the summer of 1948, and in December of that year he left the mainland to go to Taiwan, where Chiang Kai-shek had already begun to organize a new base. It was a depressing period, and many of Ch'en Kuo-fu's old associates had died. Ch'en Pu-lei had committed suicide at Nanking in November 1948. Tai Chi-t'ao took the same course at Canton in February 1949. In 1950, as Ch'en's tuberculosis steadily worsened in Taiwan, Chang Jen-chieh, Kuomintang veteran and personal mentor of both Ch'en Kuo-fu and Chiang Kai-shek, died in New York in September. In August 1950 Ch'en Li-fu left Taiwan for Europe and the United States. Ch'en Kuo-fu gave up all political activities and moved his home from Taichung to Taipei to secure better medical care. He died there on 25 August 1951 at the age of 60 sui. On 15 September, Chiang Kai-shek issued an official eulogy paying tribute to Ch'en's long and devoted service to the Kuomintang cause. He was buried in Taiwan on 4 November 1951. His father, Ch'en Ch'i-yeh, outlived his eldest son by a decade; he died at Taipei on 15 March 1961.

During the two decades from 1925 to 1945, Ch'en Kuo-fu exerted a major influence upon the theory and practice of government in Nationalist China. His most notable contribution to the Kuomintang was made through its organization department, which was directed through much of this period by Ch'en Kuo-fu, Ch'en Li-fu, and Chu Chia-hua (q.v.). Ch'en Kuo-fu was generally regarded as being more astute and more influential in the Kuomintang than Ch'en Li-fu. Over the years, Ch'en Kuo-fu wrote extensively on various subjects, notably on the cooperative movement. He also wrote short stories and plays and composed songs; a collection of 44 of his songs was published in 1943. His collected works were published posthumously in 1952 in Taiwan under the title, Ch'en Kuo-fu hsien-sheng cKuan-chi [the complete works of Ch'en Kuo-fu].

Biography in Chinese

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