Biography in English

Ch'eng Ch'ien (1882-), Hunanese general, served Sun Yat-sen in many military campaigns. Later, he became commander of the Sixth Army of the National Revolutionary Army (1926) and of the Fourth Route armies (1927). He later held such positions as chief of the general staff (1935), commander of the First War Area (1937), and governor of Honan (1938). In 1948 he became governor of Hunan. His defection in 1949 made Nationalist defense of Canton hopeless and hastened the final military collapse of the Nationalists.

A native of Liling hsien, Hunan province, Ch'eng Ch'ien was born into a rural family of scholarly background. As a boy he had a traditional education in the Chinese classics, and about 1 900 he went to the provincial capital, Changsha, to study at the Yueh-lu Academy. After the abolition of the imperial examination system in 1905, modern schools of various types were established. Ch'eng then enrolled in the Hunan provincial military academy, where his success as a cadet earned him a government scholarship for study in Japan.

Ch'eng Ch'ien went to Japan about 1906 and enrolled at the Shikan Gakko [military academy] in Tokyo, where he studied in the artillery department. There he came into contact with other Chinese military students who were sympathetic to the anti-Manchu revolutionary cause, including Li Ken-yuan, Li Lieh-chün, and T'ang Chi-yao (qq.v.). Ch'eng then joined the T'ung-meng-hui and became an active propagandist among the Chinese students in Japan.

After being graduated from the military academy, Ch'eng Ch'ien returned to China in 1910 and served as staff officer in the Sixth Brigade of the army commanded by Wu Luchen, which was then stationed in the suburbs of Peking. When the revolt at Wuchang broke out in October 1911, Ch'eng Ch'ien made his way there to join the revolutionaries. He was assigned to command the artillery unit at Hanyang and helped Huang Hsing (q.v.) in the defense of that city in November. Ch'eng then returned to his native province of Hunan and served as head of the military division of the government.

In July 1913 T'an Yen-k'ai (q.v.), the Hunan tutuh [military governor], joined the so-called second revolution against Yuan Shih-k'ai, and Ch'eng Ch'ien, who was director of the military affairs bureau of the province, was active in the campaign. The Hunan revolutionary forces were defeated early in August, however, and Ch'eng Ch'ien fled to Shanghai. Then he joined Li Ken-yuan and others in crossing to Japan. Sun Yat-sen and most of his followers had taken refuge in Japan by that time. By 1913 Ch'eng Ch'ien had greatly advanced his position within the revolutionary party. When Sun Yat-sen in June 1914 planned the reorganization of the Kuomintang into the Chung-hua ko-ming-tang, Ch'eng attended the meetings held for discussion of the issue. Huang Hsing led the opposition to this move and did not subscribe to the new party. Ch'eng Ch'ien was among those who did not join the new party because to do so required an oath of personal loyalty to Sun. He was also reported to have joined the European Affairs Research Society, originally a group within the Kuomintang composed of men who did not support Sun's 1914 reorganization plan.

Although many of Sun Yat-sen's veteran followers declined to join the new party, for practical purposes Sun's leadership of the revolutionary movement was still respected. Thus, late in 1915 when Yuan Shih-kai's monarchical aspirations had come into the open and a new campaign against Yuan was brewing, Ch'eng Ch'ien and others were sent back to China by Sun to promote the anti-Yuan campaign. Ch'eng went first to Shanghai, where he contacted members of the Min-i-she, a Hunanese revolutionary group, regarding plans for an uprising in Hunan. Meanwhile, Li Lieh-chün had gone to Yunnan to join the anti- Yuan campaign launched by Ts'ai O (q.v.) and T'ang Chi-yao, and Ch'eng Ch'ien hastened to join him.

On arrival in Yunnan, Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed by the military command to the post of Hunan pacification commissioner and was given command of a battalion. He led his troops across Kweichow and entered Hunan late in April 1916. He soon found support in the southwestern areas of Hunan and became commander in chief of the Hunan National Protection Army (the designation of national protection army was used by all forces in the anti-Yuan campaign of this period) . The revolutionaries eventually captured Changsha, but Chao Heng-t'i and other local leaders invited T'an Yen-k'ai, the former tutuh, to return to Hunan to assume control of the situation. Ch'eng Ch'ien left for Shanghai.

When Sun Yat-sen launched the "constitution protection movement" and assumed the post of Generalissimo of the southern revolutionary government at Canton in August 1917, he ordered Ch'eng Ch'ien to return to Hunan to gain the support of that province. Ch'eng was successful in enlisting the services of some Hunanese armed forces, and was supported by Kwangsi troops which had been sent by Lu Jung-t'ing (q.v.), the Kwangsi leader who was then the power behind the southern government. This coalition made rapid progress and came to control all of Hunan for a period. Early in 1918, however, the northern government sent an overwhelming force to end southern power in the province. The southerners were defeated, the Kwangsi army withdrew from Hunan, and Ch'eng Ch'ien led his remnant forces to the southern part of the province. Eventually, in the spring of 1919, Ch'eng Ch'ien had to leave his men and take refuge with a Yunnanese army stationed at Shaokuan in northern Kwangtung which was led by his old schoolmate Li Kenyuan. In 1920 Li Ken-yuan left his army, and Ch'eng Ch'ien accompanied him to Shanghai. In May 1921 Sun Yat-sen became president extraordinary of the southern government at Canton. Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.) was minister of war, but since Ch'en was then preoccupied with his own army, Ch'eng Ch'ien, as vice minister, directed the affairs of the ministry. On the eve of Ch'en Chiung-ming's move against Sun Yat-sen in June 1922, Ch'eng Ch'ien attempted to dissuade Ch'en and his subordinates from that step. When Ch'en Chiung-ming's men attacked Sun's headquarters early on the morning of 16 June 1922, Ch'eng Ch'ien accompanied Sun on his escape to the gunboat. Later, on Sun's orders, Ch'eng Ch'ien, together with Li Lieh-chün and others, worked to organize the Kwangtung, Hunan, Yunnan, and Kwangsi troops that were loyal to Sun for a concerted drive to expel Ch'en Chiung-ming from Canton. This move enabled Sun to return to Canton early in 1923.

In September 1924, Sun Yat-sen launched his northern expedition from Shao-kuan in northern Kwangtung. T'an Yen-k'ai, commander of the Hunan National Construction Army (national construction army was the designation used for the southern government's armies at this period), was also the commander in chief of the expedition. The main route to be taken was through Kiangsi. In November, Kanchow was captured. Meanwhile, Sun Yat-sen appointed Ch'eng Ch'ien commander of the forces to attack Hupeh, and Ch'eng began reassembling his former subordinates in Hunan to form an army.

Sun Yat-sen then went to Peking, where he died in March 1925. The Kwangsi and Yunnan forces led by Liu Chen-huan an Yang Hsi-min attempted to gain control of Canton, and the various other armies were recalled by the government to quell that revolt. The National Government was organized by the Kuomintang at Canton on 1 July 1925, and Ch'eng Ch'ien was elected to its 16-member government council. In January 1926, Ch'eng Ch'ien's army was reorganized as the Sixth Army of the National Revolutionary Army (the other five armies having been organized in August 1 925) . Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed commander of the Sixth Army, and Lin Po-ch'u (q.v.), a leading Communist, was assigned to that army as party representative. The Sixth Army took part in the launching of the Northern Expedition in July 1926, serving as a reserve army for the Fourth Army. Later, it was sent into Kiangsi to fight against Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.), and finally, on 24 March 1927, it entered Nanking.

During the confusion of the takeover of Nanking by the Nationalists, there was looting in the foreign resident areas. British and American gunboats anchored at Nanking shelled the city, and the Nationalists returned fire. Ch'eng Ch'ien's presence prevented further deterioration of the situation. It was later alleged that Communist elements in the political department of the Sixth Army had caused the incidents on orders from Moscow in order to create Sinoforeign friction. This allegation was based chiefly on the fact that Lin Po-ch'u, who was a relative of Ch'eng Ch'ien by marriage, was the party representative to the Sixth Army. Lin was a ranking member of the Chinese Communist party, and there were known Communist cadres on his staff. "" At this time Ch'eng Ch'ien was considered to be pro-Communist. After the capture of Nanking, he went to Wuhan to report to the government and Kuomintang headquarters there. On arrival, Ch'eng clearly indicated his stand by becoming a member of the standing committee of the military council at Wuhan. Ch'eng telegraphed orders to his army to remain at Nanking, but the orders were intercepted, and Chiang Kai-shek managed to block action by Ch'eng's troops. Nanking and Wuhan soon settled their differences, and Wuhan began to purge the Communists in July 1927. A special committee of the Kuomintang was organized in September of that year to promote the unity of the party, and Ch'eng Ch'ien was a member nominated by the Wuhan side.

T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.), the other Hunanese military leader, who had become the leading army commander in Wuhan, remained independent of Nanking's control. The Nanking government ordered punitive measures against T'ang, and Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed commander in chief of the Fourth Route armies, taking over T'ang's command. Ch'eng was also named chairman of a specially created Hunan- Hupeh provisional political committee. Thus, he was nominally in command of the two provinces of Hupeh and Hunan. However, his plans for consolidation of power over this region soon were shattered. In March 1928 the Kuomintang created the Wuhan branch of the Central Political Council with Li Tsung-jen (q.v.) as its chairman. Ch'eng Ch'ien was only a member of that council, although he remained chairman of the Hunan provincial government. On 21 May 1928 Li Tsung-jen suddenly placed Ch'eng Ch'ien under arrest on charges of taking part in illegal activities. Ch'eng was suspended from his membership on the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang, to which he had been elected at the Second National Congress in 1926. He remained under house arrest from 1928 until 1932. During this period, Ch'eng Ch'ien spent much of his time writing poetry. In 1932, when the Kuomintang was reunited after the Nanking-Canton break of 1931, Lin Sen was elected Chairman of the National Government and Ch'eng Ch'ien became a member of the State Council. In December 1935, Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed chief of the general staff, and once again emerged as a prominent military figure. This appointment was made following the Fifth National Congress of the Kuomintang (November 1935). When the Sino-Japanese war broke out in July 1937, Ch'eng Ch'ien, still chief of the general staff, was appointed to command the First War Area. General Chu Teh (q.v.), commander in chief of the Chinese Communist forces, was his nominal deputy. Ch'eng established his headquarters at Chengchow to direct operations along the Peiping-Hankow rail line. In March 1938, to ensure appropriate coordination of military and civil affairs during the crisis, he was named governor of Honan province. After the battle of Hsuchow, Japanese forces pressed forward into Honan. In June 1938, Ch'eng Ch'ien ordered the breaching of the Yellow River dikes for nearly 400 feet, an action which produced a serious flood, but which did hold up the Japanese advance through the Honan plain.

Early in 1939 Ch'eng Ch'ien was transferred to become director of the Generalissimo's headquarters at Sian. On the abolition of this headquarters in September that year, Ch'eng was appointed the director ofthe Generalissimo's headquarters at T'ienshui. In May 1940 Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed deputy chief of the general staff, a post he held until the Japanese surrender in 1945.

After the war, Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed director of the Generalissimo's headquarters at Wuhan in May 1946. This organ was redesignated the Wuhan headquarters of the Chairman of the National Government, and Ch'eng remained its director. In the spring of 1947, he was transferred to the post of pacification commissioner at Changsha. In 1948, when China held its first elections for president and vice president under its newly adopted constitution, Ch'eng Ch'ien was a candidate for the vice presidency. Among the six contenders for the position, Ch'eng, Li Tsung-jen, and Sun Fo received the most votes on the first two ballots. Ch'eng then withdrew and threw his support to Li Tsung-jen, who defeated Sun Fo on the fourth ballot.

In late 1948 Ch'eng Ch'ien was appointed provincial governor of Hunan. The Communists were advancing rapidly over the mainland of China. Ch'eng had shown leftist sympathies in the past, and the personal influence exerted on him by Lin Po-ch'u, a veteran member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist party, was stated to be considerable. Toward the end of 1 948, Ch'eng staunchly advocated making peace with the Communists. He was reported to be in constant consultation with Pai Ch'ung-hsi (q.v.), who was the bandit-suppression commander in chief in central China, with headquarters at Wuhan. In January 1949, Chang Ch'ün and Huang Shao-hung (qq.v.) flew from Nanking to Hankow and then to Changsha for talks with Pai Chung-hsi and Ch'eng Ch'ien, respectively. Ch'eng Ch'ien appeared to be one of the Chinese Nationalist leaders who advocated the retirement of Chiang Kai-shek to permit peace talks with the Communists.

Chiang Kai-shek retired on 21 January 1949, and Li Tsung-jen became acting President of China. The peace delegation which Li Tsungjen sent to Peking was not able to reach agreement with the Communists. Li then planned to make a final stand in south China. The National Government was moved to Canton, and it was hoped that Ch'eng Ch'ien would provide an effective outer defense for the southern city. When taking a trip from Nanking to Kwangsi early in 1949, Li Tsung-jen made a special visit to Changsha to consult Ch'eng Ch'ien and to attempt to secure a firm pledge of support. Apparently, Ch'eng had decided to throw in his lot with the Communists. On 3 August 1949, as the Communist armies moved south from the Yangtze, he publicly declared his surrender to the Communists. That move made the defense of Canton hopeless and hastened the complete collapse of Nationalist control of south China.

Ch'eng Ch'ien attended the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference held at Peking in September 1949. In the new government organized the following month, Ch'eng became a member of the Central People's Government Council, vice chairman of the Central-South Military and Administrative Committee, a vice chairman of the People's Revolutionary Military Council, and a member of the First National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. In 1952 he was again appointed governor of Hunan. He was elected a deputy to both the First and Second National People's congresses in 1954 and 1959, and was a vice chairman of the Second Congress. He was elected governor of Hunan in 1956. He became a vice chairman of the National Defense Council, the successor to the People's Revolutionary Military Council, a member of the standing committee of the Third Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and a vice chairman of the Sino-Soviet Friendship Association. He was also a vice chairman of the Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee.

Ch'eng Ch'ien had more scholarly accomplishments than many of his contemporary military officers; perhaps this made him a bit of an egotist. Some Chinese observers regarded Ch'eng as being stubborn and irritable, although his association with Sun Yat-sen appears to have been satisfactory and equable. Ch'eng also had a reputation for hedonism. His apparently smooth adjustment to the new political situation after 1949 is generally attributed to his being a prominent native of Hunan, the home province of Mao Tse-tung and many other senior leaders of the Communist party. That Ch'eng Ch'ien was permitted to remain as governor of Hunan under the Communists suggests that the post was not a locus of genuine political power but rather was given him as an expression of tribute to the advanced years and personal prestige of one of Hunan's most prominent sons. Ch'eng Ching-yi H. Ching-yi m »te

Biography in Chinese

程潜 字:颂云























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