Liu Hsiang (1890-22 January 1938), Szechwanese militarist who sporadically held supreme authority in Szechwan in the 1920's and 1930's. Little is known about Liu Hsiang's family background or early years except that he was born in Tayi, Szechwan. He was graduated in 1910 from the Szechwan Short-Term Military Academy, where one of his classmates was Yang Sen (q.v.), and he began his military career in 1912, when he joined the forces of Chang Lan (q.v.). By 1917 Liu had become a brigadier general and a company commander in the Szechwanese forces, and by mid-1918 he had received command of a division. In May 1920 Hsiung K'o-wu (q.v.), the military governor of Szechwan, assumed leadership of the province's military commanders in demanding the evacuation of the Yunnan and Kweichow armies of T'ang Chi-yao (q.v.) from Szechwan. A long and bitter campaign began, and the "guest armies" finally were ejected from the province late that autumn. In December, the provincial military leaders declared Szechwan independent and autonomous, and Hsiung K'o-wu resigned the governorship. Liu Hsiang, who had been serving as commander of the Second Army, was elected commander in chief of all Szechwan armies at a rehabilitation conference. Yang Sen succeeded Liu as commander of the Second Army.
Liu Hsiang did not move quickly to consolidate control of Szechwan; rather, he allowed several militarists to retain jurisdiction over the areas they already dominated. This failure to act increased the already strong potential for civil strife in the province. In May 1921 Liu took action against Hsiung K'o-wu, forcing him to flee the province, and in July he assumed office as civil governor of Szechwan. Soon afterwards, he sent forces into western Hupeh in support of that province's drive for autonomy. However, this move was opposed by Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.), a more powerful warlord than Liu, and the Szechwan forces were defeated near Ichang in September. The campaign ended in October when Wu P'ei-fu, Chao Heng-t'i (q.v.), and Liu Hsiang made a peace agreement on the basis of the territorial status quo. The Szechwan forces returned home in November.
Civil war continued to threaten in Szechwan, and in May 1922 Liu Hsiang announced that he was resigning in favor of Wang Ling-chi. This announcement proved to be a smokescreen for his intended campaign against the commander of the First Army, Tan Mou-hsin. At the beginning ofJuly, Yang Sen's Second Army attacked Tan. In response, a coalition was formed which was headed by Liu Ch'eng-hsun and which included Tan Mou-hsin, Teng Hsi-hou, Lai Hsin-hui, T'ien Sung-yao, and Liu Pin. In mid-July their armies advanced on the Liu Hsian^-Yang Sen strongholds of Chungking and Luchow. By August, Liu and Yang had been driven out of Szechwan. They went to Hupeh, where Yang entered the service of ^ u P'ei-fu, reorganized his remnant forces as a mixed brigade, and established headquarters at Ichang. Liu Hsiang served as his director of reorganization.
Liu and Yang did not have to wait long for an opportunity to return to Szechwan. Early in February 1923 strife developed between Liu Ch'eng-hsun, who had become civil governor of Szechwan, and Teng Hsi-hou. A week later, Yang and Liu, with the support of W u P'ei-fu's forces, advanced into eastern Szechwan. The attackers made rapid progress, forcing Tan Mou-hsin out of Chungking in April. Tan called Yunnan and Kweichow forces to his aid, and Hsiung K'o-wu returned to Szechwan and occupied Chengtu in May and Chungking in October. Yang and Liu, now reinforced by Yuan Tsu-ming, recaptured Chungking in December 1923 and Chengtu in February 1924. Hsiung K'o-wu was driven into Kweichow. Soon afterwards, Liu Ts'unhou, who had been military governor of Szechwan in 1917, resumed office.
In May 1924 Ts'ao K'un (q.v.), who then held the presidency at Peking, reorganized the Szechwan power structure. He abolished the military governorship and made Liu Ts'un-hou Szechwan-Shensi border defense commissioner. Liu Hsiang, who had been serving as pacification commissioner of Szechwan since July 1923, was made a full general and was given the post of Szechwan-Yunnan border defense commissioner. Yang Sen became Szechwan military rehabilitation commissioner. Yang's protector, Wu P'ei-fu, fell from power in Peking late in 1924, and in the spring of 1925 Liu Hsiang took steps to diminish Yang's power in Szechwan. In March, Liu's uncle Liu Wen-hui (q.v.), supported by Teng Hsi-hou and Lai Hsin-hui, clashed with Yang Sen. In May, Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.), then the chief executive at Peking, ordered Liu Hsiang to investigate and stabilize the Szechwan military situation. Liu recommended that Yang Sen be transferred to I Peking, and in mid-May he was appointed to succeed Yang as military rehabilitation commissioner. Yang resisted the proposed transfer of authority and undertook peace negotiations. When these broke down in mid- July, the anti-Yang forces organized an army under the over-all command of Yuan Tsu-ming and drove Yang from Szechwan. Liu Hsiang convened a conference in Chengtu in December at which it was decided that he should be tuchtin [military governor] of Szechwan, with Liu Wen-hui as his deputy.
In February 1 926 Liu Hsiang was confronted by the new alliance of Teng Hsi-hou and Yuan Tsu-ming, who supported the return of Yang Sen to Szechwan. Heavy fighting began in March and ended soon afterwards when Liu agreed to Yang's return to power. In May, Wu P'ei-fu, who had consolidated control in central China, appointed Yang Sen civil governor of Szechwan, with Teng Hsi-hou as tuchtin and Yuan Tsu-ming as Szechwan- Kweichow border defense commissioner. In the autumn of 1926 Liu Hsiang declared allegiance to the Nationalists, and in the spring of 1927 he and Yang Sen sided with Chiang Kai-shek against the Nationalist regime at Wuhan. He was appointed commander in chief of the Fifth Route Army in June, with Yang as field commander. After Chiang Kaishek went into retirement later in 1927, Liu and Yang received command of the Sixth and Twentieth armies, respectively. When Chiang resumed office in January 1928, he ordered Liu Wen-hui and Liu Hsiang to take command of Yang Sen's forces.
In October 1928, the Northern Expedition having ended and a new National Government having been established at Nanking, Liu Wenhui Was appointed governor of Szechwan, with Liu Hsiang as a member of the provincial government and chairman of a Szechwan- Sikang military reorganization group that included Yang Sen (who had been restored as commander of the Twentieth Army), Teng Hsihou, Liu Ts'un-hou, T'ien Sung-yao, Lai Hsinhui, and Kuo Ju-tung. On 20 December, Yang Sen and others issued a public telegram denouncing Liu Hsiang and Liu Wen-hui which was, in effect, a declaration of war. The first battle was fought by the forces of Liu Hsiang and Yang Sen. A few days later Liu requested that the National Government take action against Yang, Lai Hsin-hui, and Lo Tse-chou. At the end of December, when the war was going badly for the two Lius, the situation was saved for them by the defection of Kuo Ju-tung to their side. Yang Sen was forced to evacuate his Wanhsien stronghold, and in mid-January 1929 he was dismissed from his offices by the National Government.
A long struggle between Liu Hsiang and Liu Wen-hui soon began. Late in 1932 Liu Hsiang, with the support of Yang Sen and Teng Hsi-hou, began a strong drive to win control of Szechwan. He was appointed commander in chief for bandit-suppression in Szechwan in July 1933, but he did not assume this post until October, by which time Liu ^Ven-hui had been driven into Sikang. In 1934 Liu Hsiang assumed office as governor of Szechwan. That November, he made his first trip outside Szechwan in an attempt to get aid from Chiang Kai-skek. In his capacity as bandit-suppression commissioner, Liu was faced With combatting the activities of Communist units, especially those of Hsü Hsiang-ch'ien (q.v.). He forced Hsü to retreat into the Szechwan-Hupeh border region, but Hsü returned to Szechwan in February 1935 with a stronger force. At the same time, Chinese Communist forces on the Long March were approaching Szechwan from the south. Liu Hsiang was given the concurrent posts of peace preservation commissioner for Szechwan. Thanks to his efforts and those of Teng Hsi-hou, Szechwan weathered the critical year 1935, with the Chinese Communist forces passing on to the north.
The National Government had used the socalled bandit-suppression campaign of 1935 as an occasion for endeavoring to strengthen its influence in the loosely controlled provinces of west China, including Szechwan. Liu Hsiang, however, was less than willing to cooperate in the diminishing of his authority, although he accepted Nanking's commissions and assistance in overcoming local enemies. Because of other conflicts, the National Government was not in a position to force the issue until 1937. By that time, Liu Hsiang, having eliminated so many of his Szechwan rivals, lacked the means and local support to resist Nanking's pressures. Moreover, his province was in financial straits. Accordingly, agreement was reached for the "rehabilitation" of Szechwan in June 1937. The agreement provided for the withdrawal of Szechwan forces from their commanding positions at Ichang, Wanhsien, and Chungking, reorganization of these forces as Nationalist units, transfer to the National Government of "the training of the people," reorganization of provincial taxes, and the construction and control of highways by the National Government. Ho Ying-ch'in q.v.) was appointed chairman of the Szechwan-Sikang military rehabilitation commission, with Liu Hsiang as vice chairman. The first meeting of the commission was held at Chiang Kai-shek's provisional headquarters at Chungking on 7 July 1937, the day the Sino- Japanese war broke out. Because of the war, the commission held its closing session on 9 July, reaching the decision (authorized by Nanking) that no large-scale disbandment of Szechwan- Sikang forces should be undertaken at that time. Only old and unfit troops should be weeded out of the armies. Ho Ying-ch'in found it necessary to return to Nanking because of the national emergency, but he left Ku Chu-t'ung (q.v.) in Szechwan to work with Liu Hsiang in nationalizing the Szechwan-Sikang forces. Liu was made a member of the State Council, the Military Affairs Commission, and the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee. Liu Hsiang led the Szechwan forces during the defense of Nanking against the Japanese. With the retreat from that sector in December 1937, he entered a hospital at Hankow. He died on 22 January 1938, and the National Government proceeded with actions designed to bring Szechwan fully under its authority as a wartime territorial base.