Biography in English

Ho Chien (10 April 1887-25 April 1956), Hunanese military leader, served as governor of Hunan from March 1929 to November 1937. The Tiling district of Hunan was the birthplace of Ho Chien. He attended the Chu-tzu Primary School in his native village and then entered the Hunan government school. After the revolution began in 1911, he joined the Nanking student corps. In 1912 he enrolled at the Second Army Preparatory School at Wuchang. He then went to north China to enter the third class at the Paoting MiUtary Academy. One of his classmates at Paoting was Pai Ch'ung-hsi iq.v.). Ho was graduated from the cavalry course in 1916. He then received field training with the 1st Hunan Division. In 1917 he became a platoon commander, and then he was made deputy commander of the 9th Company, 2nd Regiment, of that division. The Peiyang general Chang Ching-yao was appointed military governor of Hunan in 1918, and the Hunan forces were compelled to retreat to Pinhsien. Ho Chien was assigned to the Liuyang-Liling area with the mission of harassing the rearguard of the northern forces. In the following year, he expanded his force and divided it into two units. In 1920 Chao Heng-t'i and T'an Yen-k'ai (qq.v.; simultaneously attacked Chang Ching-yao and forced him from power. Wu Kuang-hsin, a relative of Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), was named governor of Hunan.

During the campaign against Chang Chingyao, Ho Chien was made commander of the cavalry regiment of the Hunan 1st Division. He then became commander of the 9th Regiment. In 1924 Ho accompanied T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.) to Loyang for a conference with Wu P'ei-fu. In May 1926, when T'ang Sheng-chih became commander of the Eighth Army of the National Revolutionary Army, Ho Chien received command of its 2nd Division. Ho participated in the military operations that led to the capture of Wuchang in October 1926. After the April 1927 split between the left-wing Kuomintang at Wuhan and Chiang Kaishek's faction at Nanking, T'ang Sheng-chih became commander of the Fourth Front Army, and Ho Chien was made commander of the Thirty-fifth Army of the Fourth Front Army. In the areas under Wuhan's jurisdiction, and especially in Hunan, members of the Communist-led workers and peasants movement confiscated land and killed landlords. Although Ho Chien pointed out the dangers of the radical program for redistributing land, Wang Chingwei and T'ang Sheng-chih accepted it on 22 April 1927. At the end of April, T'ang led his armies northward to attack the northern generals. Ho Chien's Thirty-fifth Army, with the exception of a few units ordered to remain in Hunan, was assigned to the expedition as a reserve force. Before leaving Wuhan, Ho Chien sent instructions to Hsü K'o-hsiang, the commander of the 33rd Regiment, and to the other commanding officers of the units remaining in Hunan.

On 19 May 1927 elements of the Thirty-fifth Army in Hunan clashed with the General Labor Union in Changsha. Ho Chien's residence was ransacked by the union's "inspection brigade," and his father was arrested. On 21 May, Hsü K'o-hsiang's 33rd Regiment took action against the union, the peasants' associations, and the Communists. By the next morning, Hsü had suppressed and disarmed the opposition forces. This action was called the Ma Jih Incident because the code name for 21 May was Ma Jih. T'ang Sheng-chih ordered that the rifles taken from the workers and peasants be returned to them. Ho Chien, who was then in Hsinyang, Honan, acceded to this demand. On 5 June, he informed Wuhan that his troops in Hunan had been instructed to await settlement of the affair by government investigators from Wuhan.

T'ang Sheng-chih returned to Changsha on 25 June 1927. His forces had been withdrawn from Honan after the conference between Wang Ching-wei and Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) at Chengchow. T'ang discovered that his subordinates and supporters in Hunan had become strongly anti-Communist, and his own attitude began to change. Ho Chien and his Thirtyfifth Army were sent to Wuhan. On 28 June, while Li P'in-hsien and his Eighth Army disarmed the picket corps of the Wuhan General Labor Union, units of Ho's army occupied the headquarters of labor unions in Hankow and Hanyang. On 15 July the political council at Wuhan passed a resolution expelling the Communists from the Kuomintang. Two days later, Li P'in-hsien and Ho Chien placed Hankow and Hanyang under military control and rapidly suppressed communists, workers, and peasants' organizations.

Chang Fa-k'uei, Chu P'ei-te (qq.v.), and T'ang Sheng-chih then deployed their forces against Nanking. By September 1927 Ho Chien and his troops had reached Anking, the provincial capital of Anhwei, and Liu Hsing's Thirty-sixth Army had arrived at Wuhu. On the recommendation of T'ang Sheng-chih, Ho Chien was appointed acting governor of Anhwei.

By this time, the Kuomintang leaders at Nanking and Wuhan were discussing reunification. On 20 October 1927, the Nanking authorities announced plans for an expedition against T'ang Sheng-chih and issued an order removing him from his official posts. A week later. Ho Chien, whose lines of communication were being threatened by Chu P'ei-te at Kiukiang, withdrew from Anking without a fight. Immediately, the city was occupied by the forces of Li Tsung-jen (q.v.). On 11 November, an emissary from the Nanking Military Affairs Commission met with Ho Chien at T'uanfeng, and Ho agreed to return to Wuhan and urge T'ang Sheng-chih to retire. The next day, because other commanders refused to accept his orders and because his front-line forces had failed to fight, T'ang announced his retirement. Nanking's forces reached Hankow on 15 November. Ho Chien, Liu Hsing, and Li P'in-hsien retreated to Hunan, where they attempted to consolidate their position. On 3 January 1928, after Li Tsung-jen at Nanking had expressed the hope that Chiang Kai-shek would resume office as commander in chief of the Nationalist armies, Ho and his colleagues telegraphed Chiang to urge him to return to his posts. However, this gesture did not save their position. Nanking forces led by Pai Ch'ung-hsi and Ch'eng Ch'ien advanced into Hunan and defeated the Hunan forces in a battle fought on 21-23 January. Changsha was occupied on 25 January, and Ho Chien retreated into western Hunan. On 23 May, the National Government appointed Lu Ti-p'ing governor of Hunan, and director of rural pacification. On 1 January 1929 he was appointed commander in chief of bandit suppression for Hunan and Kiangsi, with headquarters at Pinghsiang, Kiangsi. At the end of January, his forces occupied the Communist base at Chingkangshan. In the meantime, the struggle between Chiang Kai-shek and the Kwangsi faction, led by Pai Ch'ung-hsi, Huang Shao-hung (q.v.), and Li Tsung-jen, was coming to a climax. On 21 February 1929 the Wuhan branch of the Political Council, which was dominated by the Kwangsi generals, sent an army under Yeh Ch'i to Hunan to oust Lu Ti-p'ing. The council also announced the reorganization of the Hunan provincial government and appointed Ho Chien governor. The National Government temporarily acquiesced and designated Ho as acting provincial governor. He assumed office on 2 March 1929. He also took over Lu Ti-p'ing's post as director of rural pacification, and Yeh Ch'i became his deputy. Because the National Government then was mobilizing its forces, Ho asked to be relieved of his posts on 1 1 March. However, he maintained his connections with the Kwangsi leaders, and he was assigned an important command in the Kwangsi forces. After the National Government armies went into action against the Kwangsi forces in the Wuhan area. Ho Chien sent a message to Huang Shao-hung' on 29 March that indicated his abandonment of the Kwangsi cause. Ho also sent a representative to Nanking to announce his support of the National Government. He was appointed commander of the Fourth Route of the Punitive Army and was confirmed as governor of Hunan. By the end of April, Kwangsi's power in central China had been broken.

Ho Chien participated in the troop disbandment conference at Nanking in August 1929. The conference, however, served only to increase the resistance of regional commanders to National Government authority. In September, Chang Fa-k'uei, then at Ichang, Hupeh, demanded safe passage through western Hunan to join his allies in south China. Ho Chien, on instructions from Nanking, deployed troops to intercept Chang. However, when Ho discovered that Chang's field headquarters was at Shaoyang, a short distance southwest of the provincial capital, he allowed Chang to pass through western Hunan to Kwangsi without serious difficulty.

The National Government then directed its attention to meeting the threat to its power in Honan, where Feng Yü-hsiang's armies held control. T'ang Sheng-chih participated in the campaign against Feng's troops. In December 1929, however, T'ang announced that he would oppose the National Government and named Ho Chien as one of his supporters. After talking with Nanking's representative Liu Wen-tao, Ho decided to remain loyal to the National Government. Thus, T'ang Sheng-chih's move failed.

In 1930 Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan reached an agreement with the Kwangsi armies on a joint military action against the National Government. When the Kwangsi forces and Chang Fa-k'uei's army drove northward in late May, Ho Chien evacuated Hengyang and Shaoyang without a fight. Chiang Kai-shek ordered Ho into battle and sent reinforcements from Wuhan and Nanking. However, the Kwangsi forces captured Changsha on 3 June and Yochow on 6 June. A force from Kwangtung then cut off the Kwangsi rearguard. The Kwangsi forces turned back to extricate the rearguard but were defeated near Hengyang. Ho Chien occupied Changsha and then proceeded to Hengyang. Ho Chien was ordered to join the Kwangtung forces in a drive on Kwangsi. In July 1930, however, the Communist commander P'eng Te-huai (q.v.) advanced from the Hunan- Kwangsi border toward Changsha. Ho hastily returned to his capital. The Communist forces captured Yochow on 5 July and turned to surround Changsha. Although Ho deployed four regiments against them and recalled troops from southern Hunan, the Communists took Changsha on 27 July. The National Government sent forces commanded by Ho Ying-ch'in to Hunan, and American and Japanese gunboats attacked Changsha. The Communists finally evacuated the city on 5 August. Although Ho Chien was severely criticized for failing to prevent the occupation of Changsha, he continued to serve as governor of Hunan, and he became a member of the State Council. Ho's chief concern as governor of Hunan was the maintenance of public order. Relying principally on police power, he strengthened the local pao-chia system and brought local military groups, particularly the Ai-hu-t'uan, under the control of the provincial government. He also sponsored modest educational reforms and developed Hunan's road system.

By mid- 1933 Nationalist forces had encircled and blockaded the main Communist forces in southern Kiangsi. When a new campaign against the Communists was launched in October, Ho Chien received command of the West Route Army. The only strong Communist forces in Hunan were in the north and northwestern regions; Ho systematically set out to fight them, dividing his area of operations into four districts. When the Communists in the Kiangsi-Fukien base area broke through the Nationalist blockade in October 1934 to begin the Long March, Ho Chien, on orders from the National Government, led ten divisions to intercept the Communists as they passed through southern Hunan. However, he missed the rapidly moving Communists by one day. In 1935 Ho was appointed commander of the First Army of the so-called bandit-suppression forces, and he was elected to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. In 1936 he was made Changsha pacification director for a new campaign against the Communists. The Kwangtung-Kwangsi combine was eliminated as an independent political and military force, and Ho Chien lost much of his power, for he no longer was in a position to bargain with both the National Government and the Kwangsi- Kwangtung leaders. After the Sino-Japanese war broke out in July 1937, the National Government undertook a series of political reorganizations designed to centralize authority. On 20 November 1937, with the reorganization of several provincial governments in the Yangtze valley. Ho Chien was succeeded as governor of Hunan by Chiang Kai-shek's trusted lieutenant Chang Chih-chung (q.v.). Ho became minister of interior in the National Government (which then was located at Wuhan). He served as minister of interior for about 18 months, during which time the ministry produced important draft proposals for a new hsien system and for the mutual transfer of central and local government officials. In May 1939 he was made chairman of the pensions committee of the Military Affairs Commission. He held that post for about six years.

In 1945 Ho Chien resigned on grounds of illness and retired to Nanyueh, one of China's five sacred mountains, in his native Hunan. In the spring of 1949, as the Chinese Communists approached Changsha, Ho went to Hong Kong. He joined the National Government in Taiwan in the summer of 1950. He was appointed adviser on strategy and state policy in the office of President Chiang Kaishek. Ho Chien died in Taipei on 25 April 1956, only a year short of his seventieth birthday. Among the prominent Hunanese military officers of the republican period. Ho Chien was roughly of the same generation as Ho Yao-tsu, Lu Ti-p'ing, and T'ang Sheng-chih and several years junior to Chao Heng-t'i and Ch'eng Ch'ien. His ability as a political general was demonstrated by his success in maintaining himself as governor of Hunan from March 1929 to November 1937, a record surpassed only by Yen Hsi-shan in Shansi province and by Yang Tseng-hsin in Sinkiang.

Biography in Chinese

何键 字:芝樵 号:容园




















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