Biography in English

Hsü Ch'ung-chih (26 October 1887-25 January 1965), as chief aide to Ch'en Chiung-ming, helped to build Sun Yat-sen's military establishment, becoming commander in chief of Sun's Kwangtung forces in 1923. He reached the peak of his career in 1925, when he served briefly as minister of war and governor of Kwangtung. After 1945, he made his home in Hong Kong.

A native of P'anyü, Kwangtung, Hsü Ch'ungchih was born in Canton. Little is known about his parents. His paternal grandfather, Hsü Ying-k'uei, an anti-reform leader who was particularly critical of the views of K'ang Yu-wei (q.v.), served as governor general of Fukien- Chekiang from 1898 until 1903.

Hsü Ch'ung-chih received a classical education at Canton and then went to Japan, where he enrolled at the Shikan Gakko. He was graduated as a member of the second class. After returning to China in 1907, he became a staff' officer of the 10th Brigade of the New Army at Foochow and chief instructor at the Fukien Provincial Military School. He later was given command of the 20th Brigade of the Fukien forces.

After the Wuchang jevolt of October 1911, Hsü Ch'ung-chih led the Foochow movement to declare the independence of Fukien from the Manchus and became commander in chief of the Fukien revolutionary forces. Sun Tao-jen, the divisional commander in Fukien, was elected governor of the province. Early in 1912 Hsü led an army northward from Fukien. By the time he reached Shanghai the emperor had abdicated and the republic had been established. He then led his army back to Fukien, where it was reorganized as the 14th Division. He joined the Kuomintang when it was established in 1912.

In 1913 the republican revolutionaries launched the so-called second revolution against Yuan Shih-k'ai. The provinces then under Kuomintang governors, led by Li Lieh-chün (q.v.) in Kiangsi, declared their independence. Hsü Ch'ung-chih tried to persuade Sun Tao-jen to join the revolutionary side in July. Howev'er, the second revolution was suppressed within a few weeks, and Hsü was forced to flee to Japan.

In 1914 Sun Yat-sen reorganized the Kuomintang as the Chung-hua ko-ming-tang and required its members to take an oath of personal allegiance to him. Some of Sun's close associates, notably Huang Hsing (q.v.), opposed the reorganization because of this requirement. Hsü Ch'ung-chih, however, was among Sun's most ardent supporters; and when the Chunghua ko-ming-tang was formally established in Tokyo on 8 July 1914, he was named to head the military affairs department, with Teng K'eng (q.v.) as his deputy.

In March 1915 Hsü Ch'ung-chih was sent to Malaya by Sun Yat-sen to promote the cause of party unity and to counter the anti-Sun efforts of Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.). Hsü's trip apparently was successful, and he returned to Tokyo in June to report to Sun. Almost immediately, he was sent to Malaya again to raise funds for the anti-Yuan Shih-k'ai campaign.

After Yuan Shih-k'ai's monarchical aspirations became known in 1915, many of the revolutionary leaders in Japan returned to China to direct anti-Yuan forces in their native provinces. Ch'en Chiung-ming, Hsü Ch'ungchih, and others returned to Kwangtung. The struggle ended with Yuan Shih-k'ai's death in June 1916.

In 1917 Sun Yat-sen launched the so-called constitution protection movement. A rump parliament met at Canton in August 1917 and formed a military government, headed by Sun Yat-sen. Hsü Ch'ung-chih became adjutant general at Sun's headquarters. Because of the military strength of the Kwangsi generals, led by Lu Jung-t'ing (q.v.). Sun Yat-sen decided to build a military establishment of his own. ^Vith the help of Chu Ch'ing-lan, the Kwangtung civil governor, he organized an army. Ch'en Chiung-ming was named commander in chief, and Hsü Ch'ung-chih was appointed his chief aide. To avoid open conflict with the Kwangsi leaders. Sun sent the newly organized army into Fukien in December 1917. Ch'en Chiung-ming and Hsü Ch'ung-chih established a base at Changchow and undertook a military training program. In September 1918 the Kwangtung forces were divided into two armies, with Ch'en Chiung-ming as over-all commander in chief and commander of the First Army and Hsü Ch'ung-chih as commander of the Second Army.

In August 1920 Sun Yat-sen, who had retired to Shanghai, ordered Ch'en Chiung-ming and Hsü Ch'ung-chih to return to Kwangtung and attempt to dislodge the Kwangsi warlords entrenched at Canton. The campaign was successful, and Sun Yat-sen returned to Canton. In 1921 the rump parliament elected Sun president extraordinary, and he assumed office on 5 May. On Sun's orders, Hsü Ch'ung-chih marched his Second Army into Kwangsi and eventually captured Kweilin. Sun himself established his field headquarters at Kweilin and made plans to launch a northern expedition through Hunan.

Early in 1922 Sun changed his plans and decided to march northward by way of Kiangsi. He moved his field headquarters to Shaokuan in northern Kwangtung and ordered Hsü Ch'ung-chih to lead the Second Army into Kiangsi. Ch'en Chiung-ming, who opposed Sun Yat-sen's northern expedition plans, was becoming restive, and on 16 June 1922 Ch'en's troops openly revolted and attacked Sun's presidential headquarters at Canton. Sun himself managed to escape to the gunboat Yung-feng. Hsü Ch'ung-chih's Second Army and other units which had entered Kiangsi were ordered to Canton to counter Ch'en Chiungming's move, but Ch'en defeated these forces in northern Kwangtung in August. Hsü then moved his army into Fukien. Sun Yat-sen retired to Shanghai and issued an order naming Hsü commander in chief of the East Route Anti-Rebel Army, with Chiang Kai-shek as chief of staff. Hsü then expanded his forces into three armies, with Huang Ta-wei commanding the First Army, himself commanding the Second Army, and Li Fu-lin commanding the Third Army.

In December 1922 Sun Yat-sen won the support of the Yunnan army commanded by Liu Hsi-min, and the Kwangsi army commanded by Liu Chen-huan. In February 1923 Sun ordered Hsü Ch'ung-chih to take his forces back to Kwangtung, and Hsü occupied the Swatow area. The Yunnan and Kwangsi armies were approaching Canton, and many units of the Kwangtung forces rose in support of these armies and ousted Ch'en Chiung-ming from Canton. However, Ch'en still held control of the East River area, between Canton and Swatow, with headquarters at Huichou (VVaichow). At this time. Sun Yat-sen appointed Hsü Ch'ung-chih commander in chief of all the Kwangtung forces, the post previously held by Ch'en Chiung-ming.

Sun Yat-sen returned to Canton, resumed control of the southern government, and proceeded with plans for the reorganization of the Kuomintang. At the First National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in January 1924, Hsü Ch'ung-chih was elected to the Central Supervisory Committee, which then was composed of only fiv'e full members and five alternates. He was appointed director of the military affairs department of the Kuomintang headquarters. He also served Sun's government as acting minister of war in the absence of Ch'eng Ch'ien (q.v.), who had been sent to his native Hunan province to raise an army.

Late in 1924 Sun Yat-sen went to Peking to discuss major national issues with the northern authorities, leaving Hu Han-min fq.v.) with full authority at Canton. After Sun's death at Peking in March 1925, the most pressing problem at Canton was the threat of open revolt of the Yunnan and Kwangsi armies of Yang Hsi-min and Liu Chen-huan. Hu Hanmin handled the issue with decisive firmness. After consultation with Hsü Ch'ung-chih and Chiang Kai-shek, then commandant of the Whampoa Military Academy and garrison commander, Hu determined to use force against the unruly troops. In May, Hsü's army, aided by the Whampoa cadets, suppressed the revolt in two weeks.

Hsü Ch'ung-chih reached the peak of his public career in the summer of 1925. When the National Government was inaugurated at Canton on 1 July 1925, he was elected to the sixteen-man Government Council and to its five-man standing committee, which also included Hu Han-min, Liao Chung-k'ai, T'an Yen-k'ai, and Wang Ching-wei. He was named minister of war and a member of the military council, of which Chiang Kai-shek was the senior member. He also was appointed chairman of the reorganized Kwangtung provincial council, or governor. In August 1925 a new crisis arose at Canton with the assassination of Liao Chung-k'ai. At first, the only prominent official involved was Hu Han-min, whose cousin was suspected as a principal figure in plotting the murder. As time passed, however, more suspects were arrested, including ranking officers of the Kwangtung armies. As senior commander of these forces, Hsü Ch'ung-chih could not be completely absolved from blame. On 20 September 1925 he was relieved of all his posts. That very night, Chiang Kai-shek sent Ch'en Ming-shu (q.v.) to escort Hsü on board a steamer bound for Shanghai.

In November 1925 a group of veteran Kuomintang leaders who held anti-Communist views convened a meeting, later known as the Western Hills conference, at Peking. Although Hsü Ch'ung-chih was not present at that meeting, he participated in the group's activities in Shanghai when the Western Hills leaders mov'ed their headquarters there and convened a second congress of the Kuomintang. Subsequently, when the Kuomintang authorities at Nanking and Wuhan expelled the Communists, the dissident factions of the party were reunited temporarily, with Hsü representing the Western Hills group. He then left on a mission for Europe and the United States to "inspect party affairs." After returning to China, he lived in Shanghai. On 12 December 1929 the Nanking authorities ordered the arrest of Hsü and such other Western Hills leaders as Chü Cheng, Hsieh Ch'ih, and Tsou Lu (qq.v.). The reasons for the" order were never clarified, but it was generally assumed in China that these men were regarded as having been responsible for encouraging the revolts staged by various Kuomintang factions against the central authority at Nanking during 1928 and 1929. Of those named, Chü Cheng was the only one to be arrested and imprisoned.

In 1931, when a secessionist government was formed at Canton after Chiang Kai-shek had Hu Han-min arrested, Hsü Ch'ung-chih joined the southern coalition. However, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September brought an end to the secessionist movement. At the Fourth National Congress of the Kuomintang, held to end internal feuding, Hsü was elected to the Central Supervisory Committee and was appointed vice president of the Control Yuan. His positions were confirmed at the Fifth National Congress of the Kuomintang, held at Nanking in November 1935. However, he continued to reside in Shanghai and took no active part in either party or government affairs.

After the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937 and the organization of the Japanesesponsored puppet regime under Wang Chingwei (q.v.) at Nanking in 1940, Hsü left Shanghai for Hong Kong and then proceeded to Chungking. Tu Yueh-sheng (q.v.) helped effect a reconciliation between Hsü Ch'ung-chih and Chiang Kai-shek. Hsü remained in Chungking throughout the war years. He was reelected to the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang at the Sixth National Congress, held in May 1945.

After the Japanese defeat in 1945, Hsü Ch'ung-chih made his home in Hong Kong. Former Cantonese military officers who were residing in the colony addressed the elderly gentleman as lao-tsung [the chief] when they met. Hsü enjoyed good health and played niahjongg for relaxation vmtil a few days before his death. He died on 25 January 1965, at the age of 78 sui. He was survived by six sons, five of whom were in Hong Kong at the time of his death, and by six daughters, all married.

Biography in Chinese



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