Shen Hung-lieh (1882-12 March 1969), naval officer who commanded the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron in the 1920's. He later served as mayor of Tsingtao (1931-37), governor of Shantung (1938-41), minister of agriculture (1942-44), and governor of Chekiang (1946-47).
T'ienmen hsien, Hupeh, was the birthplace of Shen Hung-lieh. His father, Shen Chi-ch'ang, was a noted scholar, and the younger Shen soon became a diligent and accomplished student of the Chinese classics. At the age of 18 sui, he passed the examinations for the sheng-yuan degree and became a salaried licentiate. He was given a teaching post at the prefectural academy, where he encountered modern publications from Japan. Shen soon decided to pursue a military career, and in 1904 he joined the Tzu-ch'iang chun [selfstrengthening army].
In 1905 he won a government scholarship for military study in Japan, and he entered the Japanese naval school the following year. While in Japan, he reportedly joined the T'ung-meng-hui. He returned to China immediately after graduation in the summer of 1911. At the time of the Wuchang revolt of October 1911, Li Yuan-hung (q.v.), who had been Shen's commanding officer in the Tzu-ch'iang chun, offered him the post of naval commander. Shen declined Li's offer so that he could undertake a mission to incite naval units on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze to defect to the revolutionary cause. Shen also participated in the occupation of Nanking.
After the republic was established in 1912, Shen Hung-lieh was appointed a section chief in the staff headquarters in charge of naval operations. In 1914 he was commissioned to carry out an investigation of naval ports and forts along the coasts of China, and in March 1916 he was appointed naval attache to the War Observation Mission to Europe. He was assigned to the British fleet. After returning to China by way of the United States in the autumn of 1918, he resumed his duties at staff headquarters and became naval instructor at the army college.
Shen Hung-lieh's involvement in Manchurian affairs began in 1920, when he served on a delegation, headed by Wang Hung-nien, charged with investigating border incidents. Shen took four gunboats up the Sungari River, and these vessels enabled the Kirin-Heilungkiang river defense bureau, established in 1920, to enforce its policies. Wang Ch'ung-wen was bureau commander, with Shen as chief of staff. The new patrol put an end to illegal Russian interference with merchant shipping in the area, and Shen's work attracted the attention of Chang Tso-lin (q.v.), the self-proclaimed commander in chief for peace preservation in the Three Eastern Provinces.
In 1922 the ministry of the navy at Peking transferred jurisdiction over the river patrol to Chang Tso-lin, thus placing Shen Hung-lieh under Chang's command. Chang then began to build a naval force for Manchuria. In July 1923 he formally established the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron and made Shen its commander, with the rank of vice admiral. After being defeated in October 1924 in his war with the Chihli clique headed by Ts'ao K'un (q.v.), Chang Tso-lin transferred control of the Po-hai fleet at Tsingtao, the strongest fleet in the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron, to his ally Chang Tsung-ch'ang (q.v.). This transfer led to considerable unrest within the Po-hai fleet.
In the summer of 1927 Shen Hung-lieh, now commander in chief of the vanguard forces of the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron, arrived in Tsingtao to learn of a plot being hatched within the fleet to bombard the city. To forestall such action, he called upon Chang Tsungch'ang and had the officers of the two largest vessels in the Po-hai fleet replaced. The fleet was restored to the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron, and a joint command was established with Chang Tso-lin as commander in chief and Shen Hung-lieh as deputy commander in chief and field commander. When Chang Hsuehliang (q.v.) came to power in Manchuria after his father's death, Shen reportedly urged him to pledge Manchuria's allegiance to the National Government. Chang did so on 29 December 1928, whereupon Shen attacked and subdued Chang Tsung-ch'ang's recalcitrant forces. Shen continued to command the Northeast Sea Defense Squadron, and he helped repel Soviet attacks in 1929 after China and the Soviet Union severed diplomatic relations over the Chinese Eastern Railway.
When the Japanese attacked Mukden in September 1931, Shen Hung-lieh realized that he could do nothing more in Manchuria. Accordingly, he returned to his naval command at Tsingtao. In November, the National Government gave him the concurrent post of mayor of Tsingtao. He resigned from his naval command in June 1933, after the Tangku truce (see Ho Ying-ch'in) was signed, so that he could devote his full attention to municipal development.
After the Sino-Japanese war began in July 1937, he was appointed to the joint command of the land and naval forces then concentrated in the Tsingtao area. Shen secretly ordered the removal of guns from warships and had these weapons placed on mountain tops and aimed at the nine Japanese cotton mills in Tsingtao. When the Japanese learned of this threat to their property, they evacuated all civilian and military personnel from Tsingtao on 1 September 1937. On orders from the National Government, Shen destroyed all Japanese factories in the Tsingtao area on 18 December.
Shen Hung-lieh succeeded Han Fu-chu (q.v.) as governor of Shantung in the spring of 1938. He established his headquarters in Ts'ao hsien, for the greater part of the province had been occupied by the Japanese. Shen slowly reestablished Chinese authority in more than 40 hsien and organized guerrilla operations. Toward the end of 1941, he was appointed minister of agriculture in the National Government. He assumed office at Chungking in January 1942 and received the additional post of secretary general of the National General Mobilization Council in December of that year.
In August 1944 he left these posts to become secretary general of the committee for the examination of work records of central party and administrative organs. At the request of Hsiung Shih-hui (q.v.), he also took charge of the Northeast Committee of the Central Planning Board. Because of his familiarity with conditions in Manchuria, he was called upon to accompany T. V. Soong (q.v.) to the Soviet Union for the negotiations that resulted in the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Alliance in August 1945.
At war's end, Shen Hung-lieh was appointed governor of Chekiang, and he assumed office at Hangchow in April 1946. He held this post until July 1948, when he became minister of personnel in the Examination Yuan. In 1949 he moved to Taiwan, where he held a sinecure post as an adviser to the President's office. Throughout his career, Shen Hung-lieh took the time to write about his experiences and about such subjects as municipal government in Tsingtao, agricultural development under wartime conditions, and the provincial administration of Chekiang. Although he wrote much, he published little. In 1953 his Tung-pei pien-fang yü hang-ch'uan [border defense and navigation rights in Manchuria] appeared in Taipei.