Biography in English

Wan Fu-lin (1880-July 1951), was a Manchurian military commander who served as military governor of Heilungkiang from 1929-31. He commanded the Fifty-third Army from 1932 to 1938, when he was charged with dereliction of duty. In 1941 he became a member of the Military Affairs Commission.

The Nungan district of Kirin province was the native place of Wan Fu-lin. Little is known of his family background or early years except that he began his career as a soldier in Manchuria. By 1906 he had risen from the ranks to become a patrol officer in a unit of the Fengtien cavalry forces. He later rose through the battalion and regimental commander grades and received command of the 57th Brigade of the 29th Division. In 1921 Wu Chün-sheng, commander of the 29th Division in Manchuria, was named by Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) to be military governor of Heilungkiang province. Wan Fu-lin, still heading the 57th Brigade, was assigned to command the Harbin-Manchouli sector of the Chinese Eastern Railway guard forces and the garrison in the Manchouli- Hailar area.

During the early 1920's Wan commanded the 17th Division and headed peace preservation forces in Heilungkiang. In 1926 he was given command of the Eighth Army, with concurrent authority over the 1 7th Division. The following year, when the combined forces of Chang Tsolin and Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) took action against the Kuominchun of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.), Wan campaigned against Fu Tso-yi (q.v.) in north China. Wu Chün-sheng, Wan Fu-lin's senior officer in the Manchurian military forces, was among the Northeastern officials who accompanied Chang Tso-lin on his retreat from north China in June 1928. Wu died in the bomb explosion that killed Chang Tso-lin and others when their train was blown up near Mukden on the return journey. Chang Tsolin's eldest son, Chang Hsueh-liang (q.v.), succeeded in his position, and Wan Fu-lin then was named acting military affairs commissioner of Heilungkiang, succeeding Wu Chün-sheng. In December 1928 Chang Hsueh-liang pledged the allegiance of Manchuria to the new National Government at Nanking. The situation in the Northeast remained unstable, however, for Chang Hsueh-liang's rise to power brought him into direct conflict with his father's former chief of staff, Yang Yü-t'ing (q.v.). Chang resolved the issue by ordering Yang's execution in January 1929. The ensuing consolidation of the Manchurian power structure left Chang Hsueh-liang's authority resting on three main supports: Wan Fu-lin in Heilungkiang, Chang Tso-hsiang in Kirin, and T'ang Yü-lin in Jehol. Chang Hsueh-liang himself controlled Liaoning province in southern Manchuria. Chang (chairman), Wan, T'ang, and Chang Tso-hsiang constituted the new Northeast Political Council. Wan Fu-lin also was named deputy commander, under Chang Hsueh-liang, of the Northeast Border Defense Army and was confirmed as military head of Heilungkiang. He was usually at loggerheads with Chang Yin-huai, the civil governor of Heilungkiang.

In 1930, at the time of the so-called northern coalition against Chiang Kai-shek {see Feng Yü-hsiang; Yen Hsi-shan), Wan Fu-lin followed Chang Hsueh-liang in refusing to participate in that coalition. In a joint telegram to Chiang Kai-shek, Wan and Chang Tsohsiang declared their allegiance to and support of the National Government at Nanking. Despite verbal protestations of loyalty to Nanking, Chang Hsueh-liang in September 1930 attempted to capitalize on the situation by moving Northeastern troops south of the Great Wall and into Hopei province. Some of Wan Fu-lin's troops were moved into north China in this operation, and a measure of political agreement, based on military realities, was reached between Chang Hsueh-liang and Chiang Kaishek. Worsening Sino-Japanese relations in Manchuria reached a critical stage in the following year. In September 1931, only a year after Chang Hsueh-liang's intervention in north China, the Japanese Kwantung Army began the occupation of Manchuria with the so-called Mukden Incident. At the time of the Japanese attack, Chang Hsueh-liang, many of his senior officers, and some 100,000 Northeastern troops were in north China. Wan Fu-lin was in Peiping with Chang Hsueh-liang, having left affairs in Heilungkiang in the hands of his returning to his post, Wan Fu-lin designated Ma Chan-shan (q.v.), garrison commander at Taheiho on the Amur River, to take military action on his behalf. The Japanese occupation quickly progressed from Liaoning to Kirin province, and the invading forces soon began to exert heavy pressure on Heilungkiang. Chinese strategic policy in this crisis, determined by Nanking, was one of non-resistance to Japanese aggression. Wan Fu-lin did not return to Manchuria to take action against the Japanese, and in due course, the authorities at Nanking named Ma Chan-shan to succeed him as acting governor of Heilungkiang. Tacit acceptance by Nanking and the Northeastern leaders of the probable durability of the Japanese occupation of Manchuria then led to certain organizational changes in north China. Chang Hsueh-liang emerged from the debacle with his reputation badly damaged. In August 1932 the Kuomintang authorities accepted Chang's resignation as pacification commander at Peiping. Chang was assigned to new positions at Peiping, though these did nothing to compensate for the loss of his homeland. Wan Fu-lin was named a member of the new Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission, serving under Chang Hsueh-liang. Also in 1932, in connection with the reorganization of Manchurian forces in north China, Wan's troops were reorganized as the Fiftythird army, composed of three infantry divisions, one cavalry division, and an artillery brigade.

The reorganized military establishment was soon put to the test when Japanese military planning turned to Jehol province. There the main responsibility rested with the governor of Jehol, T'ang Yü-lin, but Wan Fu-lin's Fiftythird Army also was assigned to participate in the defense. Late in February 1933, the Japanese issued an ultimatum to Chang Hsueh-liang and the National Government at Nanking demanding the withdrawal of all Chinese troops from Jehol. This action was followed by a rapid advance of Manchoukuo-Japanese forces. The Northeastern defense collapsed almost at once, and the Japanese occupation of Jehol province was completed in about a week. Chang Hai-p'eng, formerly a close associate of Wan Fu-lin, became the new governor of Jehol under Manchoukuo-Japanese administration. Under [359] Wan Fu-lin heavy political pressure, Chang Hsueh-liang met with Chiang Kai-shek at Paoting in March 1933, submitted his resignation, and transferred control of his remaining troops to Chiang. With the loss of Manchuria and Jehol to the Japanese and the departure of Chang Hsuehliang from the political scene, Wan Fu-lin associated himself with the new Chinese structure of power in north China, where the situation deteriorated under steady Japanese pressure. For a time he served under Ho Ying-ch'in (q.v.), who took over the Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission; and in 1935 he became a member of the Hopei-Chahar Political Affairs Commission under Sung Che-yuan (q.v.). When Chang Hsueh-liang returned to China and was assigned to handle anti-Communist operations in the northwest, a portion of Wan Fu-lin's Fifty-third Army was transferred to the Shensi-Kansu area. In December 1936, at the time of Chang Hsueh-liang's arrest of Chiang Kai-shek at Sian, Wan's position became equivocal. Wan then sent a telegram to Nanking to voice loyalty to the Kuomintang (he had become a member of the Central Executive Committee) and to assert his willingness to urge his former chief to release Chiang. When the Sino-Japanese war broke out in July 1937, Japanese forces quickly drove southward along the Peiping-Hankow rail line. Wan Fu-lin's Fifty-third Army, based at Paoting, performed no better than it had in Jehol and soon suffered heavy losses and defeat. In January 1938 Wan was among a number of Nationalist commanders charged with dereliction of duty (see Han Fu-chü), but he escaped serious punishment. The remnants of his military command were virtually wiped out in the fighting in the Wuhan sector in 1938, and Wan retired to Chungking with neither troops nor honor.

Perhaps because of personal connections with Ho Ying-ch'in, minister of war in the National Government, and other senior Nationalist military officers, Wan Fu-lin regained a measure of authority during the wartime period. In 1941 he was made a member of the Military Affairs Commission at Chungking. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's initial effort was to establish firm National Government control of postwar affairs in Manchuria and to eradicate the authority of indigenous Northeastern leaders. When the conflict with the Communists for control of that critical region ran into difficulties, however, Chiang belatedly attempted to enlist a number of Northeastern leaders to buttress his cause. In 1948 Wan Fu-lin was thus named chairman of the Political Affairs Commission of the Generalissimo's Northeastern headquarters. But the Nationalist effort was already nearing its end, and all of Manchuria had been lost to the Communists by the late months of that year. After the collapse of Nationalist authority on the mainland in 1949, Wan Fu-lin retreated to Taiwan, where he was appointed to membership on the National Policy Advisory Committee. He died in July 1951 in Taichung, Taiwan, at the age of 71.

Biography in Chinese










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