Ma Hongkui

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Ma Hung-k'uei
Related People

Biography in English

Ma Hung-k'uei (1893-), son of Ma Fu-hsiang who served as governor of Ninghsia from 1933 to 1948.

The son of Ma Fu-hsiang (q.v.). Ma Hungk'uei was a native of Hanchiachi in Taoho hsien, Kansu. He received a military education, completing his studies at the Kansu Military Academy at Lanchow in 1910. Beginning in 1913 he served under his father as a battalion commander and participated in battles against such marauders as the notorious White Wolf (Pai-lang). He was promoted to the post of bandit-suppression commissioner for the Kansu- Shensi-Mongolia border region in 1915. From 1922 to the end of 1924 he held command of the 5th Mixed Brigade of his father's forces. Ma Hung-k'uei joined the military establishment of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) in 1925 as banditsuppression commander for western Suiyuan. His 5th Mixed Brigade was reorganized as the 7th Division of Feng's forces, and it later became the Fourth Army of the Kuominchün and then the 17 th Temporary Division of the Second Group Army. As its commander. Ma participated in all of Feng's campaigns in 1926-28. After the Northern Expedition ended with the fall of Peking in June 1928, Ma and his division were placed under the over-all command of Han Fu-chü (q.v.)„and were assigned to western Shantung for bandit-suppression work. In May 1929, after Feng Yu-hsiang had decided to challenge the authority of Chiang Kai-shek, Ma Hung-k'uei joined with Han Fu-chü and Shih Yü-san in defecting from Feng's service with thousands of troops and declaring allegiance to the National Government. Ma was rewarded for his part in this action with appointments as commander of the Reorganized 64th Division, commander in chief of the Eleventh Army of the forces deployed against Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan (q.v.), and member of the Honan provincial government. His Eleventh Army was redesignated the Fifteenth Route Army in 1930. Ma was named to succeed his cousin Ma Hung-pin (q.v.) as governor of Kansu in 1931, but he refused the appointment. His career came to resemble his father's with his appointment as a member of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission in 1932 and as governor of Ninghsia in 1933.

The part of Ninghsia under the direct jurisdiction of the provincial government was composed of only 13 hsien, but was strategically important because it commanded the easiest and most direct route from western Suiyuan to Kansu. The remainder of the province was divided between two Mongol groups, the Etsingol Special Banner and the Alashan Special Banner. Ma began his governorship by assigning various military units to banditsuppression duties, ordering the registration of all citizens and the issuance of identity cards, organizing a pao-chia system for the maintenance of public safety, and organizing civilian peace preservation units. His region of Ninghsia soon became a tightly controlled police state. Early in 1934 Sun Tien-ying, a former officer in the Kuominchün, advanced on Ninghsia from Suiyuan. His forces soon clashed with those of Ma Hung-k'uei, and hostilities continued despite cease-fire orders from the Military Affairs Commission at Nanking. In February, troops from Suiyuan, Shansi, and Tsinghai, acting on National Government orders, joined the fight against Sun, who announced his retirement in March. His forces were disarmed and reorganized. When this threat to Ma Hung-k'uei's authority had been removed, he turned his attention to economic and social reconstruction. He also- tried to strengthen his army by introducing a system whereby many young men were drafted and were forced to remain in the army for a decade or more. This system had adverse effects on agriculture in the province, for many of the farmers were older men who could not cultivate all of their land without the assistance of their sons. However, Ma's other programs partially offset these problems by reducing land taxes, expanding irrigation facilities, and undertaking reforestation. His programs, though on a smaller scale, were similar to those later introduced in Tsinghai by Ma Pu-fang. His achievements received official recognition in 1935, when he was elected an alternate member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. ^Vith the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937 and the subsequent retreat of the National Government to Chungking, the strategic importance of northwest China increased. From 1938 to 1945 Ma Hung-k'uei, in addition to his duties as governor of Xinghsia, served as deputy commander of the Eighth War Area, which was commanded by Chu Shaoliang. Ma's troops became the Seventeenth Army Group. About this time, relations between the Alashan Banner government at Tingyuanying and the Ninghsia government became strained. Ma Hung-k'uei and Ta Wang, the ruling prince of the Alashan Banner, had maintained friendly relations before 1938, partly because their fathers had been friends. However, the establishment of a Japanesesponsored Inner Mongolian government by Te Wang (Demchukdonggrub, q.v.) had caused Ma to fear that the Alashan ^Mongols might follow a similar course; and his suspicions increased when Colonel Doihara of the Kwantung Army paid a visit to Ta Wang. Accordingly, Ma sent troops to Tingyuanying, captured the city, and took Ta ^Vang into custody. Ta Wang was sent to Lanchow and was held there until 1944 even though no evidence was produced to show that he intended to collaborate with the Japanese. Ma stationed a battalion at Tingyuanying as "protection against bandits." When the War in the Pacific ended. Ma Hung-k'uei became a deputy director of Chiang Kai-shek's northwest headquarters. In 1948, as the Kuomintang-Communist civil war was reaching its climax, he was transferred from the governorship of Ninghsia to the governorship of Kansu. The following year, he succeeded Ma Pu-fang as deputy director of the northwest military and political affairs administration when Ma Pu-fang became director of the northwest headquarters at Lanchow. The two Ma's flew to Canton to confer with acting President Li Tsung-jen (q.v.) about the defense of Kansu and Tsinghai. Soon after their return. Ma Pu-fang went to Hong Kong. By the middle of September, northwest China had come under Chinese Communist control. Ma Hung-k'uei left China for the United States, where he established residence in southern California and took up ranching and horse breeding.

Biography in Chinese


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