Liu Bocheng

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Liu Po-ch'eng
Related People

Biography in English

Liu Po-ch'eng (1892-), Chinese Communist general known for his expertise in the techniques of mobile warfare. Commander of the 129th Division of the Eighth Route Army (1937-47) and of the Second Field Army (1948-49), he headed the general training department of the People's Liberation Army from 1954 to 1957 and became a marshal of the People's Republic of China in 1955.

The son of an itinerant musician, Liu Poch'eng was born in Kaihsien, Szechwan. After receiving his primary education in the Chinese classics, he enrolled at a military school in Chengtu. In 1911, having completed his military education, he joined a unit commanded by Hsiung K'o-wu (q.v.) and took part in anti- Manchu campaigns in Szechwan. He soon established a reputation for bravery in combat, and he was wounded several times in the course of these campaigns. After losing an eye in battle, he became known as the "One-eyed Dragon" [tu-yen lung].

In the 1920's Liu came under the influence of Wu Yü-chang (q.v.), a Szechwanese scholar and revolutionary who joined the Chinese Communist party in Peking about 1925. Liu joined the Chinese Communist party in May 1926 and, after a brief stint with guerrilla forces in Szechwan, went to Hankow to join the Northern Expedition. He became commander of the Fifteenth Army and a liaison officer with the Szechwan forces of Yang Sen (q.v.). After participating in the short-lived Communist takeover of Xanchang {see Ho Lung; Yeh T'ing) in August 1927, he fled to the Soviet Union, where he studied at the Military Institute in Moscow (1927) and the Frunze Military Academy (1928-30). Among the other Chinese Communist officers receiving military instruction in Moscow during this period were Tso Ch'uan and Yeh Chien-ying (qq.v).

Liu Po-ch'eng returned to China in the summer of 1930 and went to Shanghai, where the Chinese Communist leaders appointed him to the staff" group of the Central Committee's revolutionary military council. In 1931 he went to the central soviet base in Kiangsi, where he taught at the Red Army Academy and served as chief of staff" of the Communist general military headquarters, headed by Chu Teh (q.v.). When the Chinese Communists were forced to evacuate their Kiangsi base and begin the Long March in October 1934, Liu commanded some of the vanguard units. He played an important role in the difficult trek through the remote hinterland of southwest China, supervising the crossing of the Tatu River in eastern Sikang and handling the negotiations with aboriginal tribesmen in that area. His knowledge of the Lolo language made it possible for the Long March forces to gain passage through the wild Lolo territory and thus to evade pursuing Nationalist forces. When the Communist forces split into two groups in July 1935, Chu Teh, Liu Po-ch'eng, and Chang Kuo-t'ao (q.v.) moved westward into Sikang, and Mao Tse-tung led the other group into Shensi. Liu and his associates eventually reached the Communist base at Yenan in October 1936.

After the Sino-Japanese war began in 1937, the Chinese Communist forces in north China were reorganized to form the Eighth Route Army. Liu Po-ch'eng received command of the 129th Division, with Teng Hsiao-p'ing (q.v.) as political commissar. The 129th Division, initially based in the Shansi-Hopei area, later extended its military-political operations to Shantung and Honan and created the wartime base which the Communists called the Shansi- Hopei-Shantung-Honan Border Liberated Area. At the Seventh National Congress of the Chinese Communist party, held at Yenan in the spring of 1945, Liu Po-ch'eng and other prominent military men were elected to the Central Committee. He continued to command the Communist forces in the Shansi-Hopei- Shantung-Honan area after the War in the Pacific came to an end. These units, highly trained in mobile warfare, ranged along the Lunghai railway from Kaifeng to the Shantung coast and conducted probing actions in the areas south of the Yellow River. By 1947 they were fighting along the Peking-Hankow raihvay. Liu's forces were designated the Second Field Army in 1948. During the nation-wide Communist sweep to power in 1949 the Second Field Army fought from the Yellow River to the Yangtze, captured Nanking (April 1949), moved through the central Yangtze region, and fanned out into Kweichow, Szechwan, and Yunnan in the southwest. Liu Po-ch'eng represented the Second Field Army at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in September 1949. From 1950 to 1954 Liu Po-ch'eng held important regional positions at Chungking: chairman of the Southwest Military and I [405] Liu Shao-ch'i Administrative Committee and deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist party's southwest bureau. At the national level, he was a member of the Central People's Government Council and a vice chairman of the People's Revolutionary Military Council. He also served as president of the Military Academy of the People's Liberation Army at Nanking (195158). After the governmental reorganization of 1954, he became a vice chairman of the National Defense Council, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and director of the general training department of the People's Liberation Army. He became one of the ten marshals of the People's Republic of China in 1955 and a member of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist party in 1956. Hsiao K'o succeeded him as director of the general training department in 1957. Liu Po-ch'eng was a serious student of the technical aspects of warfare. He absorbed Soviet military theories and tactics during his period of training at Moscow in the late 1920's and, upon his return to China, supervised the translation into Chinese of a number of Russian military manuals for use by the Chinese Red armies. In later years he became a leading exponent of the techniques of mobile warfare.

Biography in Chinese

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