Biography in English

Ch'i Hsieh-yuan (1897-1946) served under Li Ch'un (q.v.) and succeeded him as military governor of Kiangsu in 1922. A member of the Chihli faction, he was inspector general of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Kiangsi (1922-24). In 1937 he became a prominent official in the Japanese-sponsored regime at Peiping. He was arrested in 1945 and was tried, convicted, and executed in 1946.

Little is known of Ch'i Hsieh-yuan's childhood; he was a native of Ningho, Chihli (Hopei). After earning his sheng-yuan degree, Ch'i, like many other ambitious young men of his day, decided to pursue a military career. The imperial government was attempting to modernize China's armed forces, and opportunities for advancement were greater in the army than in the civil departments of the government. Ch'i entered the Peiyang Military Academy, where he made an excellent record. After graduation, he was assigned to the 6th Division, in which he served successively as sergeant, captain, and staff officer. Stationed in Chihli, the 6th Division had been created in 1904 by Yuan Shih-k'ai from the Tientsin police force to evade the provision, set down in the peace protocol of 1901 concluded after the Boxer Uprising, that prohibited the stationing of Chinese troops within six miles of Tientsin. Its first commanding general was Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.). In 1910 the division was taken out of the hands of the Peiyang officers, and Wu Lu-chen, a Japanese-trained officer who was sympathetic to the revolutionaries, became its commander. Wu was assassinated by two subordinates when he attempted to move against the government authorities at the time of the 1911 revolution. After Wu Lu-chen's death the divisional command went to Li Ch'un and again came under the control of Yuan Shih-k'ai. The 6th Division was later sent to the Hupeh front as part of the First Army under Feng Kuo-chang (q.v.) to fight the republican revolutionaries. The officers of the First Army became the nucleus of the Chihli faction of the Peiyang militarists. The 6th Division was later stationed in southern Honan, where Ch'i Hsieh-yuan, then its chief of staff, distinguished himself by going alone to a bandit hideout and inducing the surrender of a large number of armed brigands. In 1913, during the so-called second revolution instigated by the Kuomintang, Yuan Shih-k'ai ordered the division to attack Huk'ou, a stronghold of the dissident forces in Kiangsi province. After the successful conclusion of that campaign Li Ch'un was named tutuh [military governor] of Kiangsi, and Ch'i Hsieh-yuan remained with him as chief of staff. Ch'i retained that post from 1913 to 1916, and by 1916 had become the commander of the 6th Division.

After the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in June 1916, Li Ch'un continued to hold control of Kiangsi, and Ch'i Hsieh-yuan remained with Li and in command of the 6th Division. In August 1917, prior to his assumption of the presidency, Feng Kuo-chang appointed Li Ch'un military governor of Kiangsu and made Ch'i Hsieh-yuan defense commissioner at Nanking. Ch'i retained his post as commander of the 6th Division.

In May 1920 Ch'i became deputy military governor of Kiangsu, and, in October, he became deputy inspector general of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Kiangsi. When Li Ch'un died, Ch'i succeeded him as military governor of Kiangsu. In 1922, when rivalry between Wu P'ei-fu and Chang Tso-lin (qq.v.) led to the outbreak of the Chihli-Fengtien war, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan supported Wu P'ei-fu. Ch'i was rewarded with the post of inspector general of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Kiangsi, which made him one of the most powerful warlords of east China.

Despite the expansion of his authority, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan was opposed by Lu Yung-hsiang, the military governor of Chekiang. In October 1923, when Ts'ao K'un (q.v.) was elected to the presidency at Peking through open bribery and intimidation of members of the Parliament, Lu Yung-hsiang refused to recognize Ts'ao's authority. Through this action Lu, who was then military governor of Chekiang, attracted to Hangchow many Kuomintang members of Parliament who similarly opposed Ts'ao K'un's election as well as partisans of Li Yuan-hung (q.v.), the former president who had hopes of regaining that office. Aside from opposition to the Chihli faction, however, the conferees at Hangchow were unable to agree on much, and the movement soon collapsed. At the same time Lu Yung-hsiang, through his subordinates, retained authority at Shanghai although Ch'i Hsieh-yuan was military governor of Kiangsu province.

Despite persistent peace appeals by the inhabitants of those provinces, the Kiangsu- Chekiang war broke out in September 1924. The combined forces of Ch'i Hsieh-yuan and Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.), military governor of Fukien, surrounded and attacked Lu Yunghsiang's territory. Although Lu Yung-hsiang was technically allied with both Chang Tso-lin in Manchuria and the southern government at Canton, effective aid from those quarters could not reach him in time. Quickly defeated, Lu Yung-hsiang announced his resignation on 12 October 1924 and left to take refuge in Japan. The Peking government then appointed Sun Ch'uan-fang military governor of Chekiang and inspector general of Chekiang and Fukien. Ch'i Hsieh-yuan finally gained the coveted objective of Shanghai.

The victory proved to be short-lived. Chang Tso-lin, with the assistance of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.), soon won a complete victory over Wu P'ei-fu in the north, and Tuan Ch'i-jui emerged from retirement to head a new regime at Peking. When Tuan Ch'i-jui took office in November 1924, Chang Tso-lin had no intention of leaving the Yangtze provinces under the control of the Chihli faction. The Peking government dismissed Ch'i Hsieh-yuan from his post as Kiangsu military governor and appointed Lu Yunghsiang, who had returned from Japan to join Chang Tso-lin's camp, to the office of pacification commissioner of Kiangsu and Anhwei. On 13 December Ch'i Hsieh-yuan relinquished his office after some of his military subordinates defected. Chang Tsung-ch'ang (q.v.), commander of the Fengtien forces, and Lu Yunghsiang then entered Nanking on 10 January 1925. Ch'i attempted to form an alliance with Sun Ch'uan-fang against the northern forces, but Sun preferred to accept Peking's appointment as military governor of Chekiang in return for his neutrality. Isolated by Peking's action and by Sun Ch'uan-fang's inaction, Ch'i Hsiehyuan fought a losing battle against the Fengtien forces. On 28 January 1925, after having been forced to retreat from Soochow to Shanghai, he left China for Japan. Lu Yung-hsiang regained his territory and the post of Kiangsu military governor, but lost both in July because of pressure from his erstwhile benefactors, the Fengtien generals.

The Fengtien forces, however, were already overextended. In October 1925 Sun Ch'uanfang turned against them and in a short campaign expelled them from Shanghai, Kiangsu, and Anhwei. On hearing the news of Sun Ch'uan-fang's victory, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan hastily returned to China from Japan, but gained nothing from Sun, who was disinclined to share his territorial gains with others. Wu P'ei-fu, however, saw the opportunity to return to power, and Ch'i proceeded to Hankow to join his headquarters. Since Chang Tso-lin and Feng Yü-hsiang, the erstwhile allies, had already begun fighting each other, Wu P'ei-fu decided to conclude an alliance with Chang Tso-lin against Feng. After the defeat of Feng Yühsiang, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan, as representative of Wu P'ei-fu, went to Peking in April to confer with Chang Hsueh-liang (q.v.), a son of Chang Tsolin, regarding the organization of a new government.

In September 1926 Feng Yü-hsiang, having returned from a trip to the Soviet Union, declared his support of the Kuomintang. By October, Wu P'ei-fu, who had borne the brunt of the initial attacks of the Northern Expedition armies, had lost Wuchang. Using Wu's plight as a pretext, Chang Tso-lin applied increasingly strong pressure and by the end of 1926 had taken all of his positions north of the Yellow River. Recognizing that Wu P'ei-fu's power was diminishing, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan gave up his position in February 1927 and retired to private life. Following the loss of Manchuria to the Japanese in 1931, the National Government established a Peiping branch office of the Military Council to coordinate the defense of north China. Ch'i Hsieh-yuan was invited to serve as an adviser to that body. In 1935 the Peiping council was dissolved under Japanese pressure, and its affairs were taken over by the Hopei-Chahar political council. The membership of that body included many former Peiyang military and political figures who were thought to have pro-Japanese sympathies. Ch'i Hsiehyuan was appointed by the National Government at Nanking to serve on the council. Following the outbreak of war in 1937, the Japanese quickly overran north China. On 14 December 1937, a Japanese-sponsored provisional government was established at Peiping; among its officials were many former members of the Hopei-Chahar political council. Ch'i Hsieh-yuan emerged as a prominent figure in the new regime, serving as a member of its executive and legislative committees and as minister of public security. In 1938 he was also named president of the military college established at T'ungchow near Peiping to train Chinese officers for the Japanese-controlled forces. In January 1940 Ch'i Hsieh-yuan was one of the delegates who participated in the Tsingtao conference at which representatives of the provisional government at Peiping, of the reformed government at Nanking, and of Wang Chingwei came to an agreement on the framework of the government that Wang was to establish for the whole of occupied China outside Manchoukuo. The Tsingtao meeting agreed that the provisional government would be reduced in status to an autonomous regional government called the north China political council. Ch'i Hsieh-yuan retained all his former positions in the north China government and was awarded several additional positions. However, since the Japanese-sponsored governments at Nanking and Peiping were not actually unified, Ch'i Hsieh-yuan's influence never extended beyond north China.

After the Japanese surrender, Ch'i was arrested by the National Government authorities and imprisoned at Nanking. In the postwar trials, he was convicted of collaboration with the Japanese, sentenced to death, and executed in 1946.

Biography in Chinese

字;抚万 号:耀珊


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