Tan Zhenlin

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
T'an Chen-lin
Related People

Biography in English

T'an Chen-lin (1902-), Chinese Communist political officer who served with the New Fourth Army throughout the Sino-Japanese war. Thereafter, he held important regional posts in east China. A member of the Secretariat and the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist party, he helped develop agricultural programs for the People's Republic of China and became director of the party rural work department in October 1962. He also served as vice premier of the State Council and as vice chairman of the State Planning Commission.

Yuhsien, a small town by the Yu River in southeastern Hunan, was the birthplace of T'an Chen-lin. His father was a clerk at a nearby mine. T'an's education was limited to three years' study at an old-style private school. In 1926, at the age of 24, he joined the Chinese Communist party. The following year, he worked with Mao Tse-tung in fomenting what became known as the Autumn Harvest Uprising. When this action failed, he went with Mao and a small number of guerrillas to the Chingkangshan region, where they were joined by Chu Teh (q.v.) in the spring of 1928. The combined fighting forces, designated the Fourth Red Army, remained in the Chingkangshan region until the end of 1928, when they were forced into Kiangsi and Fukien. T'an later became a political commissar in the Twelfth Red Army of Lo Ping-hui.

When the central soviet government was established at Juichin, Kiangsi, T'an Chen-lin, because of his association with Mao Tse-tung, became a member of the central committee. In addition to helping direct military affairs, he aided Li K'o-nung (q.v.) in security matters. When the Long March began in October 1934 T'an and some other trusted activists were left behind with their scattered guerrilla groups to continue spreading Communism in areas held by the National Government. T'an joined Teng Tzu-hui (q.v.) and Chang Ting-ch'eng in organizing a Fukien soviet, with Chang as its chairman and T'an as vice chairman and director of the military department. In 1937 T'an's forces became part of the New Fourth Army of Hsiang Ying and Yeh T'ing (qq.v.). From 1937 to 1941 T'an served as political commissar of its second column. After the so-called New Fourth Army Incident, during which the Nationalists killed Hsiang Ying and captured Yeh T'ing, Ch'en Yi (1901-; q.v.) assumed command of the army's remnant troops. T'an, now working under the assumed name Lin Chun, was promoted to commander of the 6th Division of the New Fourth Army. In 1944 he also became political commissar of Lo Ping-hui's 2nd Division. T'an soon moved his field of operations to southern Kiangsu, where he served as secretary of the Kiangsu-Anhw ei border region committee of the Chinese Communist party and as commander of the south Kiangsu military district. His prominence in the party was confirmed at its Seventh National Congress in April 1945, when he was elected to the Central Committee.

At war's end, T'an Chen-lin moved with elements of the New Fourth Army into Shantung. For the next three years the army, known successively as the East China Field Army (1946-47), the East China People's Liberation Army (1947-48), and the Third Field Army, fought in coastal and central China. T'an served as a political commissar, becoming deputy political commissar of the entire Third Field Army and of the East China Military District in 1948. He held these posts until 1954. In the 1948-49 period he also served as chairman of the Tsinan and Hangchow military control commissions.

After the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, T'an Chen-lin became chairman of the Chekiang provincial government, political commissar of the provincial military district, and secretary of the provincial party committee. In 1952 he left Chekiang and moved to become head of the Kiangsu provincial government. That November, he was made vice chairman of the military and administrative committee for east China, serving under Jao Shu-shih (q.v.). He also came to be third secretary in the party's east China regional bureau. After Jao went to Peking at the end of 1952, T'an succeeded him as first secretary of the east China bureau. In 1954 T'an also served as a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He was transferred to Peking in March 1956 as deputy secretary general of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist party, serving under Teng Hsiao-p'ing (q.v.). In September 1956 he was elected to the Secretariat of the Central Committee, and in June 1958 he was elevated to membership in the Political Bureau.

During the 1950's T'an also was in charge of important phases of China's agricultural reform program. From 1950 to 1954 he was chairman of the land reform committee in east China, and in 1952 he became chairman of the ministry of water conservation's committee to harness the Huai River. Shortly after the commune campaign began in 1958, he was identified as a deputy director, under Teng Tzu-hui, of the party's rural work department. He succeeded Teng in October 1962. Beginning in April 1959 T'an served as vice premier of the State Council, to which post he was reappointed in January 1965. In October 1962 he also became vice chairman ofthe State Planning Commission.

Biography in Chinese

All rights reserved@ENP-China