Chin Yun-p'eng (1877-), a Peiyang Army officer of the Chihli faction who served Tuan Ch'i-jui as minister of war and premier ( 1 919— 21). After Chang Tso-lin established his influence in Peking, Chin retired from politics. In 1931 he became a Buddhist monk.
Little is known of Chin Yun-p'eng's family background or childhood; he was a native of Tsining, Shantung. Chin was graduated from the Peiyang Military Academy, and he held his first military posts in Chekiang, rising to become commander of the imperial forces stationed in that province. Toward the end of the Ch'ing period he served as military counselor to Li Ching-hsi, the governor general of Yunnan- Kweichow.
When Ts'ai O (q.v.) and others staged an uprising in Yunnan at the outbreak of the 1911 revolution, Chin Yun-p'eng escaped from that area and returned to north China. There, through the assistance of Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), he was appointed a staff officer in the Third Imperial Army. After the consolidation of power by Yuan Shih-k'ai, Chin was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and was made a military adviser in the President's office. In August 1913 he was given command of the 5th Peiyang Division and was assigned to his native province of Shantung, where he succeeded Chou Tzu-ch'i as military governor. Chin remained in that post until 1916. Although he did not openly oppose Yuan Shih-k'ai's monarchical scheme as it developed in late 1915, he did join with Feng Kuo-chang (q.v.) and others in March 1916 to urge Yuan to abandon the plan.
In June 1916, after the death of Yuan Shihk'ai, Chin Yun-p'eng relinquished his Shantung post to Chang Huai-chih and went to Peking. He was by then an influential member of the Peiyang military clique, and at Peking he was soon drawn into the complex political maneuvers of that period in north China. In late 1916 and early 1917 Chin supported Tuan Ch'i-jui's quest for power and participated in the meetings held at Hsuchow with leading Peiyang figures, including Chang Hsun (q.v.) and others, to work out plans designed to deal with Tuan's principal opponents, Li Yuan-hung (q.v.) and the National Assembly. By the spring of 1917 Tuan's relations with both Li, then the president, and the National Assembly had become strained. The focus of the Peking government's interest at that time was on the question of China's relations with Germany. Well aware of the potential advantages to China of participation in the war on the side of the Allied powers, Tuan Ch'i-jui moved quickly to sever diplomatic ties with Berlin and to force the National Assembly to pass a formal declaration of war against Germany. Chin Yun-p'eng was a prime mover in supporting Tuan's campaign to bring China into the First World War.
Although the heavy pressures which Tuan Ch'i-jui and his associates exerted on the assembly in the spring of 1917 had no results, Tuan remained a dominant figure in the Peiyang military clique, and Chin continued to be closely involved in the internecine struggles for power and primacy among the military factions in the north. During his fourth and final term as premier (March-October 1916), Tuan continued to hold the upper hand in his struggle with Feng Kuo-chang in large part through his control of the powerful War Participation Board, of which Chin was the administrative director. Chin was also directly involved in the secret military assistance agreement with Japan concluded in May 1918, under which the Japanese agreed to finance, train, and equip a new Chinese military force in return for substantial Chinese concessions. In January 1919 Chin took up the post of minister of war in the new cabinet headed by Ch'ien Neng-hsun, and toward the end of that year he became premier. However, animosity had developed between Chin Yun-p'eng and Hsu Shu-cheng (q.v.), Tuan Ch'i-jui's chief military subordinate. Hsu Shu-cheng's political position was bolstered by Tuan Ch'i-jui himself, and his ambitions were strengthened by the success of his November coup in Outer Mongolia. Therefore, Hsu was able to manipulate the cabinet headed by Chin Yun-p'eng and at the same time to deny Chin's military authority. Even in his capacity as minister of war, Chin was unable to control the Northwest Frontier Defense Army, which Hsu Shu-cheng headed. Relations between the two men became increasingly unfriendly and, despite the fact that Tuan Ch'i-jui headed the Anhwei faction of the Peiyang military group, Chin strengthened his ties with the Chihli faction.
After September 1919 Chin submitted his resignation as premier three times, without success. The apparent successes of Chin's opponent Hsu Shu-cheng were fostering suspicion and opposition to Hsu on the part of Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) and other powerful militarists. The Chihli governor, Ts'ao K'un (q.v.), soon organized an eight-province coalition in opposition to Hsu Shu-cheng, and in May 1920, noting this, Chin Yun-p'eng for the fourth time submitted his resignation as premier. It was accepted on 2 July. The next day Chang Tso-lin, Li Ch'un, and Ts'ao K'un declared war on the Tuan Ch'i-jui regime, particularly on Hsu Shu-cheng. The ensuing Anhwei-Chihli war of July 1920 marked the downfall of Hsu Shu-cheng and the end of Tuan Ch'i-jui's hegemony in north China. Chin Yun-p'eng then resumed his official posts with the backing of both the Chihli group headed by Ts'ao K'un and the Fengtien group headed by Chang Tsolin. He again became premier and minister of war in August and became a full general in October.
As premier, Chin Yun-p'eng faced two urgent problems: the satisfaction of the Chihli and Fengtien groups regarding the division of power in north China, and the financing of government —a problem because the unification of the northern (Peking) government and the southern (Canton) government was a prerequisite for obtaining any foreign loans. Canton ignored Chin's proposals for unification. When he turned to Chinese banking circles for government funds, Chin encountered opposition from two leading members of the so-called communications faction, Chou Tzu-Ch'i, the minister of finance, and Yeh Kung-cho (qq.v.), the minister of communications. The dispute wracked the entire Peking government, and in April 1921 Chin met at Tientsin with Chang Tso-lin, Ts'ao K'un, and Wang Chan-yuan in an attempt to resolve the impasse. A reorganization of the cabinet followed in May, with Chin Yun-p'eng remaining as premier. Chou Tzuch'i and Yeh Kung-cho were dropped from the cabinet, and they then undertook to join forces with Chang Tso-lin, who arrived at Peking on 14 December 1921 to establish a position within the government there. Two days later Chin Yun-p'eng resigned. On 24 December, with the nominal cooperation of Ts'ao K'un, a new cabinet was formed with Liang Shih-i, the head of the communications clique, as premier and Yeh Kung-cho as minister of communications. That development marked the end of Chin Yun-p'eng's career as an official. He then launched a commercial venture, the Lu-ta Company, in Shantung. In 1926, as the Nationalist revolution surged up from south China, Chin served as an intermediary between Chang Tso-lin and Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.), but without notable success. He then retired to the British concession in Tientsin, where he maintained a residence for several years. In the summer of 1931 he became a Buddhist monk. He reportedly was still alive in 1936, when he was 60, but his later years are obscure. Chin Yun-p'eng had a younger brother, Chin Yun-o, a field commander of the Chihli faction. Chin Yun-o died in 1935.