Chen Qingyun

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Ch'en Ch'ing-yun
Related People

Biography in English

Ch'en Ch'ing-yun 陳慶雲 Alt. Chan Hing-wan Ch'en Ch'ing-yun (1897-), known as Chan Hing-wan, pioneer aviator, assisted Sun Yat-sen in his military campaigns and trained many Chinese pilots. He became a member of teh National Aeronautics Commission (1934) and commandant of the Central Aviation Academy (1936). In 1949 he went to live in the United States.

Because he went to Japan at the age of three with his parents and received his early education in Yokohama, Chan Hing-wan was considered an overseas Chinese. However, he was born in Kwangtung province. Through his family connections in Japan, he became interested in the political movement led by Sun Yat-sen. In 1916 Sun Yat-sen's followers in the United States gave enthusiastic support to the idea of training a group of pilots in that country. That plan was based largely on a proposal of Lin Sen (q.v.), who at that time was delegated by Sun Yat-sen to direct the activities of their party in the Americas. The first group of Chinese students selected, 20 in all, included Chan Hingwan. Chan apparently was accepted on the recommendation of the party branch in Japan and doubtless had special endorsement from either Sun Yat-sen or Liao Chung-k'ai. On arrival in the United States, Chan enrolled at the Curtiss Flying School in Buffalo, New York, and completed a training course there.

He returned to China in 1917. Sun Yat-sen was then in Shanghai, and Chan at once associated himself with Sun's cause. When Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) led his Kwangtung Army into Fukien in 1918, Chan Hing-wan was sent to Japan to purchase aircraft at Osaka. He bought an old Curtiss biplane and flew it to Changchow in Fukien. There, he became head of Ch'en Chiung-ming's air squadron. Sun Yat-sen then decided to establish a new national government at Canton and to use Kwangtung as a military base for a campaign to unify China. He urged Ch'en Chiung-ming to return with his army to Kwangtung and wrest control of that province from the Kwangsi armies. Chan Hing-wan was sent to Hong Kong to enlist support for this campaign ; on that trip he purchased an American airplane in Macao. He then flew the plane to Canton and attempted to use it to throw the Kwangsi forces into panic by dropping crude bombs and by buzzing their headquarters. After the temporary consolidation of a base at Canton, Sun Yat-sen established an aviation bureau in his headquarters. Two flying squadrons were formed. One was commanded by Chan Hing-wan; the other, by Chang Huich'ang (1898-), who had been born in the United States.

After the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, Chiang Kai-shek established an aviation academy in Kwangtung under the direction of Chang Hui-chang. Chan Hing-wan was appointed instructor at the academy, where his students included Mao Pang-ch'u (P. T. Mow, 1904-) and Wang Shu-ming (1904-), both of whom became leading figures in Chinese military aviation. In 1928 the Kwangtung air force, in an attempt to arouse public interest in aviation, sponsored two long-distance flights. Chan Hing-wan was one of the pilots who participated in a flight over the route Canton-Swatow-Foochow-Hangchow- Nanking-Changsha-Wuchow-Canton. (For details of the other flight see Huang Kuang-jui.) At a time when airfields in China were crude and weather reports were non-existent, these long-distance flights were viewed as being spectacular achievements.

In 1929 Chan Hing-wan was named commandant of the Boca Tigris fort near Canton. In 1931 he became a member of the Kwangtung provincial government council and, concurrently, director of the provincial public security bureau. In 1934 Chan left Kwangtung and took up new responsibilities. In that year the National Government at Nanking reorganized the aviation bureau of the ministry of war into the National Aeronautics Commission. Chan was a senior member of the commission. In 1936 he was appointed commandant of the Central Aviation Academy at Hangchow. In the retreat of the government after the Japanese invasion in 1937, Chan moved with the academy to Kunming in Yunnan province. The National Government then made plans to mobilize financial support from overseas Chinese for the purchase of aircraft for the war effort. Chan was named to a senior post in the organization created for that purpose, and in 1938 he left China for a year-long trip to solicit funds from Chinese living in North and South America. On his return he was appointed vice director of the overseas department of the central party headquarters of the Kuomintang. He held that position from 1941 to 1944, and then was named director in 1945. He resigned his position in 1949 and left China to take up residence in the United States.

Chan Hing-wan's career as a Kuomintang official was comparatively uneventful. His rise in that party was due entirely to his early association with Sun Yat-sen. His chief claim to notice rests on his early exploits as a flyer at a time when Chinese aviation was in a most elementary state and when its progress depended largely on such hardy men as Chan Hing-wan. Chan married Huang Hsiu-hsia, and he had one son and four daughters, all of whom studied in the United States.

Biography in Chinese

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