Biography in English

Chi Ch'ao-ting (12 October 1903-9 August 1963), noted as an expert in economics, particularly in currency, banking, and international trade. He was converted to Communism while a student in the United States and took part in radical activities. In 1940 he became secretary general of the Currency Stabilization Board, serving under K. P. Ch'en. He was appointed director of the economic research department of the Central Bank of China by H. H. K'ung. In 1949 he became the director of the research department of the People's Bank at Peking.

Fenyang, Shansi, was the birthplace of Chi Ch'ao-ting. His father, Chi Kung-ch'uan, was a scholar-official who served as commissioner of education under Yen Hsi-shan (q.v.) in the Shansi provincial government and continued to hold that post until 1939.

Chi Ch'ao-ting went from his native Shansi to Peking, where he entered Tsinghua College as a member of the class of 1924. Tsinghua had not been a center of student political activity immediately after the May Fourth Movement of 1919. During the early 1920's however, the radical nationalism that had been associated with Peking University spread to Tsinghua, and Lo Lung-chi, Wang Tsao-shih (qq.v.), and Chi emerged as active student leaders. The writing abilities of that trio found expression in the Ch'ing-hua chou-k'an [Tsinghua weekly], and their speaking talents in intercollegiate debates. After Chi was graduated from Tsinghua in 1924, he went to the United States to continue his studies on a Boxer Indemnity scholarship. He enrolled at the University of Chicago, and he received a B.A. degree in 1926. He also became involved in political activities of a radical nature and in 1925 joined the Anti- Imperialist League, which had its headquarters in Chicago. His affiliation with the Anti- Imperialist League led Chi to join the Communist party in 1926. He was one of the first Chinese students in the United States to become a Communist, and he took that step at a time when the Communist party in China was allied with the Kuomintang.

Chi Ch'ao-ting sailed for Europe in the winter of 1926. In February 1927 he attended the meetings of the newly organized International Congress of Oppressed Peoples held in Brussels under the direction of the German Comintern agent Willi Münzenberg. That summer, in Paris, Chi married Harriet Levine, an American from New York whom he had met on the ship to Europe. He then went to Moscow, where he served as interpreter for a Chinese group which had gone to the Soviet Union with Borodin after Chiang Kai-shek had undertaken anti-Communist purges in China. In 1928 Chi took part in the work of the Chinese Communist delegation to the Sixth Congress of the Comintern in Moscow. Chi also participated in the work of the League against Imperialism and attended its second congress, held at Frankfurt-am-Main in July 1929.

He returned to the United States in 1929. In New York he worked for the China bureau of the Central Committee of the American Communist party and contributed to the Daily Worker. Writing under the pseudonym R. Doonping, in November and December 1929 he published a series of articles on the situation in China in the Daily Worker. These articles were published in revised form as Militarist Wars and Revolution in China. Subtitled "A Marxist Analysis of the New Reactionary Civil War and Prospects of the Revolution in China," that pamphlet stated that "only a Soviet government of the workers and peasants of China can basically solve the Chinese question, unify the country, and put it on the road of peaceful and upward development." The author held that the colonial thesis of the Sixth Congress of the Comintern (1928) had correctly analyzed the problem of the form of the coming revolution in China, and he declared that the Chinese Communist party would lead that revolution. In 1932 Chi Ch'ao-ting and M. James wrote a pamphlet, Soviet China, which was published by the Cooperative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in Moscow. The pamphlet traced the growth of the Communist movement in China and described the Chinese soviet republic that had been established in Kiangsi in November 1931.

From 1933 to 1936 Chi Ch'ao-ting was associated with the American Friends of the Chinese People and was a member of the editorial board of its publication, China Today, using the pseudonym Hansu Chan. That periodical began as a mimeographed bulletin selling for $.05 a copy. In October 1934 it was given a more conventional format and was started afresh with Volume I, Number 1 . Chi contributed frequent editorials to China Today. He also wrote on the contemporary situation in China and on the Chinese Communist movement. An article on "The Canton Uprising and Soviet China" appeared in the magazine in December 1934, shortly after the main Communist forces in China had been forced to retreat from their Kiangsi base. Chi Ch'ao-ting continued to write for China Today in 1935. Because he did not want to risk deportation, on a few occasions he used the pseudonyms Huang Lowe and Futien Wang.

In the early 1930's Chi Ch'ao-ting was active in Communist-directed work in New York. During that period, he was also a graduate student at Columbia University, where he studied economics. His dissertation was an attempt to analyze the economic history of China in the light of Marxist concepts. Chi had met Karl A. Wittfogel, a German Marxist, in Frankfurt in 1929. and Wittfogel's views on Chinese society influenced Chi's work. Chi's dissertation was a study of the key economic areas in China "as an instrument of control of subordinate areas and as a weapon of political struggle." It relied heavily on the regional character of the Chinese economy and on the history of water control in China—a major theme in Wittfogel's analysis of Chinese economic and social history. Chi received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1936. His thesis, which was awarded the Seligman Economics Prize, was published in 1936 by G. Allen & Unwin in England under the title Key Economic Areas in Chinese History, but did not appear in an American edition. In the introduction to that stimulating but controversial work, Chi gave credit to Karl Wittfogel for many valuable suggestions.

In 1936 Chi was a member of the Chinese delegation to the international conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations (I.P.R.) at Yosemite, California. In 1937 he was appointed a member of the research staff of the International Secretariat of the I.P.R. in New York, which had received $90 thousand from the Rockefeller Foundation to undertake a study of China. Chi held that position for some three years, but the results of the research were not published. Chi did, however, write a briefstudy entitled Wartime Economic Development of China. At his request, it was not published, but was circulated in 1940 in mimeographed form as an anonymous work. He also contributed articles on contemporary developments to the I.P.R. periodicals Far Eastern Survey and Pacific Affairs, then edited by Owen Lattimore.

In March 1937 Chi Ch'ao-ting also became associated with a new magazine, Amerasia. The managing editor of Amerasia was Philip J. Jaffe, who had edited China Today under the name J. W. Philips. Jaffe, who had met Chi late in 1929, was a third cousin of Harriet Levine Chi. For about four years, from 1937 through 1940, Chi Ch'ao-ting served as an editor of Amerasia and wrote a feature column entitled "Far Eastern Economic Notes." In 1938 and 1939 he also taught at the New School for Social Research.

Chi Kung-ch'uan came in 1939 to the United States at his son's invitation. He spent the years of the Second World War working in New York for the China section of the Office of War Information.

During the 1930's Chi Ch'ao-ting had become acquainted with several men, notably Solomon Adler and Frank Coe, who worked in the United States Department of the Treasury in Washington. Through them, he met K. P. Ch'en (Ch'en Kuang-fu, q.v.), the general manager of the Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank. Ch'en, who was regarded highly by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., had been drafted by the National Government of China to go to Washington to handle negotiations to obtain badly needed credits and aid from the United States to assist the Chinese war efforts. In connection with these efforts, the Chinese National Government established a company in New York to facilitate the procurement of materials from the United States. That company, the Universal Trading Corporation, was nominally headed by K. P. Ch'en. Chi Ch'aoting joined its staff in 1940, serving first as secretary and later as administrative vice president. His name was removed from the masthead of Amerasia in February 1941. In his new role as assistant to K. P. Ch'en, Chi Ch'ao-ting returned to China in 1941 after some 16 years of residence in the West. Although his name was little known in the wartime capital of Chungking, Chi soon emerged as a key figure in government financial circles. His meteoric rise began when he was appointed an alternate member and, concurrently, secretary general of the American-British-Chinese Currency Stabilization Board, which was established to administer credits granted to China by the United States Treasury and the British government. Chi served with the Currency Stabilization Board at Chungking until 1943, when it was amalgamated with the foreign exchange control commission of the ministry of finance. Chi Ch'ao-ting's anomalous position at Chungking continued throughout the war years. He served the ministry of finance of the National Government, then headed by H. H. K'ung; and he served as a covert agent for the Chinese Communist liaison mission headed by Chou En-lai and Lin Po-ch'u. Although Chi's background in Communist party activities in the United States naturally became known to the security officials of the Kuomintang, notably to Ch'en Li-fu (q.v.), Chi, when questioned on the matter, attributed his Communist connection in the United States to youthful indiscretion. His personal position at Chungking was buttressed by his close personal connection with H. H. K'ung, minister of finance and brother-in-law of Chiang Kai-shek. That relationship, in turn, was based on the long-standing acquaintance of K'ung and Chi Ch'ao-ting's father, Chi Kungch'uan, both of whom came from reputable Shansi families; Chi Ch'ao-ting referred to H. H. K'ung as his uncle.

In 1944 Chi Ch'ao-ting became confidential secretary to H. H. K'ung in Chungking. Later that year, when K'ung attended the International Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods as the personal representative of Chiang Kai-shek, Chi accompanied him and acted as secretary general of the Chinese delegation. After returning to China, Chi was appointed director of the economic research department of the Central Bank of China, of which K'ung was the governor. In that capacity he was responsible for editing bank bulletins, which dealt with financial and price statistics. In June 1948 Chi was adviser to the Chinese delegation to the third session of the United Nations Economic Council on Asia and the Far East (ECAFE), held at Octacamund, India. He occupied the same position at the fourth ECAFE session, held at Lapstone, Australia, in December. After his return from Australia, Chi went to Peiping at a time when no discreet official of the National Government was venturing to north China. His nominal mission was to serve as economic adviser to Fu Tso-yi (q.v.), who commanded the Nationalist forces there. Chi's role in arranging the "peaceful surrender" of Peiping to the Communists is not clear, but he may have helped to prevent the physical destruction of the city. After the Chinese Communist forces entered Peiping, Chi remained and joined the new regime.

Although he was not identified at the time as a Communist, Chi Ch'ao-ting clearly had reliable connections with the new authorities. In the spring of 1949 he became the director of the research department of the People's Bank at Peiping. He then accompanied the Chinese Communist military forces to Shanghai, where he became assistant general manager of the Bank of China. After the establishment of the Central People's Government in October 1949, Chi was named director of the bureau under the Government Administration Council which was responsible for control ofso-called foreign-capital enterprises in China.

In 1950, when the Chinese Communists announced their delegates to international organizations, Chi Ch'ao-ting was named to the Chinese seat on the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He was not admitted to that body, nor was he permitted to attend later ECAFE meetings held at Bangkok and Lahore. In 1951-52, Chi was named in the investigation of the Institute of Pacific Relations conducted in the United States by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee.

Beginning in 1952, Chi became increasingly active in dealing with the international economic and trade problems of the People's Republic of China, and he devoted most of his energies to these problems during the last decade of his life. In 1952 he served as secretary general of the Chinese delegation to the International Economic Conference held at Moscow in March and April. 'In May 1952 he was named secretary general of the China Committee for the Promotion of Foreign Trade, and it was in that capacity that he led many of Communist China's international trade missions. He was a frequent visitor to Western Europe, where he attended trade and industrial fairs and represented the People's Republic of China in many discussions about foreign trade. In 1957 he headed a 28man Chinese group that visited England to inspect factories, laboratories, and research and education centers. In 1962 he went to Brazil as the leader of a commercial mission to conclude a trade agreement with that country. Chi also participated in the work of the World Peace Council, and he attended meetings sponsored by that body in many parts of the world. Chi also held various positions at Peking. He was a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, vice president of the China-Latin America Friendship Association, and a member of the standing committee of the council of the Chinese People's Association for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. He was also a vice president of the board of directors of the Bank of China.

On 9 August 1963 Chi Ch'ao-ting died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Peking, a few weeks before his sixtieth birthday. Not until his funeral, attended by a group of senior dignitaries including Chou En-lai, and Fu Tso-yi, was Chi's long connection with the Communist party officially acknowledged by Peking. Liao Ch'eng-chih (q.v.) eulogized Chi as a "fine member of the Chinese Communist party," briefly outlined his political career, and confirmed that Chi had been "engaged in underground work for a considerable period." Four months later, a British-sponsored commemorative meeting was held at Mansion House in London on 5 December 1963 at which tributes to Chi (as a ma.n, not as a Communist) were offered by scholars, buinessmen, and others, including Lord Boyd Orr, Joan Robinson, Dr. Joseph Needham, John Keswick, and Owen Lattimore of the University of Leeds. Chi was in some respects a traditionalist; he collected examples of calligraphy, was devoted to the traditional Chinese theater, and took great pride in his native province of Shansi. At the same time, he was well acquainted with Westerners and their ways. Chi was known as a persuasive talker and a shrewd negotiator. His unusual public career may be explained in part by his talent for acting. In his years in the United States, he was fond of acting in amateur performances of Chinese theater. In the winter of 1930 Chi played a leading role in the Broadway production of Roar China, a play by Sergei M. Tretiakov.

Chi Ch'ao-ting had two sons: Emile (1936-) became a mathematician, and Carl (1940-) became a neuro-physiologist. Harriet Chi went to China for the first time in 1947. She and Chi separated in Shanghai, and she returned to New York.

Biography in Chinese

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