Xu Yongchang

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Hsu Yung-ch'ang
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Biography in English

Hsu Yung-ch'ang (23 November 1893-12 July 1959), military man who served under Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan. He was governor of Suiyuan (1928-29), and Shansi (1931-35). In August 1945 he represented China at the formal Japanese surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. As dean of the National Military Academy (1946-51), he supervised its transfer to Taiwan.

A native of Yenkout'sun, Kuohsien, Shansi, Hsü Yung-ch'ang was the youngest of four children. A few years after his birth, his father, Hsü Ch'ing, moved the family to Tat'ung. The boy began his studies at a private school in 1897. Tragedy soon shattered the family: first, Hsü's two sisters and his brother died and then, in 1900, his parents died. Later that year, the orphaned boy attracted the attention of a battalion clerk in Ma Yü-k'un's army, which passed through Tat'ung with the fleeing empress dowager and emperor. Hsü followed these troops to Shensi and then to their headquarters at Liuliho, Chihli (Hopei). In 1901 he settled down to regular studies under the direction of his protector, the battalion clerk Hsü Ch'unling. Hsü Yung-ch'ang became a soldier in Ma Yü-k'un's I-chün {see under Sung Ch'ing, ECCP, II, 686-88) in 1906. Two years later, he won admission to the battalion school. After being graduated in 1911, he became deputy commander of a company. During this period, he came into contact with anti-Manchu revolutionaries at Peking and attended their meetings. After the revolution began, his unit was sent to the Tat'ung front to fight the rebels. Hsü asked to be transferred, saying that he could not bear to fight in his native region. He then became a company commander in a new battalion of the I-chün.

After the republic was established, Hsü enrolled at the new institute for officer training. In 1913 he was appointed a company commander at the Military Officers Preparatory School at Nanking. A year later, he enrolled at the Peking Military Academy. When Chü Cheng (q.v.) began to move against Yuan Shih-k'ai in the spring of 1916, Hsü interrupted his studies and went to Shantung to organize a staflT corps for Chü. Although Chü's troops were defeated, Yuan was unable to effect his plan to become emperor. After Yuan died in June, Hsü returned to the Peking Military Academy. He was graduated at the head of the fourth class.

Hsü then worked as an editor in the inspectorate general of military training at Peking, where he was associated with Hsü T'ung-ch'i and Sun Yueh. In the winter of 1917 Sun founded the Chihli Officers Educational Corps at Lanfeng, with Hsü Yung-ch'ang as its director. The corps, which was to become the officers cadre for Sun's Third Army of the Kuominchün, moved to Paoting in 1918. Hsü later served under Sun as a battalion commander in the Chihli Protection force and as chief of staff' of the 15th Mixed Brigade. In the first Chihli-Fengtien war of 1922, the 15th Mixed Brigade fought a critical battle in the Lianghsiang area and helped thrust the Fengtien forces back to Peking. It then was sent to fight in Honan, and Hsü received command of the 2nd Regiment. When the war ended, the brigade assumed gairison duties at Taming. In May 1924 Hsü was given command of the 1st Regiment and was stationed at Tinghsien.

After the October 1924 coup at Peking of Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.), Sun Yueh's force became the Third Army of the Kuominchün, and Hsü was promoted to commander of its 1st Mixed Brigade. In January 1925 he became deputy peace preservation commander for Shensi. His troops arrived in southern Shensi in mid-July. W'hen Sun Yueh became military governor of the province in August, he appointed Hsü commander of the 1st Division and garrison commander of Shensi. About this time, Hsü was promoted to the rank of full general. In the winter of 1925, when war broke out between the Kuominchün and the Fengtien- Chihli-Shantung forces, Hsü's division was among those which left Tungkuan in early December to drive north. He participated in the battle with Li Chang-lin's forces on the Tientsin-Pukow rail line and in the occupation of Tientsin. In January 1926 the Fengtien- Shantung forces counterattacked in the Tientsin sector, and Sun Yueh's army was forced to retreat into Suiyuan and Chahar. In March, Hsü succeeded the ailing Sun as commander of the Third Army. In the massive Kuominchün withdrawal from the Nankow-Kalgan area, he led his forces to Paotow and then to northern Shensi. In early 1927 his army marched into Shansi to garrison the Fenyang-Yützu area. By this time, his troops had come under the influence of Yen Hsi-shan (q.v.), and when Yen entered into a formal alliance with the Nationalists in June, Hsü's forces were designated the Third Shansi Army. In the Shansi-Fengtien conflicts of 1927 his army forced the Fengtien troops to withdraw from Shihchiachuang in early October, but were defeated later that month. They then established a defensive position along the eastern edge of the Chinghsing mountains.

In the military reorganization that followed Chiang Kai-shek's return to power in January 1928 Yen Hsi-shan became commander in chief of the Third Group Army and Hsü became commander in chief of the Twelfth Route Army. In April, Hsü led the eastern route of Yen's army in support of Nationalist forces advancing north along the rail lines. His men captured Paoting on 30 May, and he was ordered to garrison the city. The Nationalists captured Peking six days later.

Soon after the fall of Peking, Hsü was appointed a provincial commissioner of Hopei. When Suiyuan province was created on 12 October 1928, he was Tiamed its governor. He remained in that post until 10 August 1929, when he was appointed to succeed Shang Chen as governor of Hopei. He assumed office on 9 September. ^Vhen the northern coalition of Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan was formed in 1930, Hsü went to Shansi and played an important role in the so-called enlarged conference movement against the National Government, serving as deputy field commander under Lu Chung-lin. Lu and Hsü formally assumed their posts on 5 May at Lanfeng and led the northern coalition armies in the drive eastward. When the rebellion failed, Lu Chung-lin renounced allegiance to Feng Yü-hsiang, and Yen Hsi-shan announced his letirement. Hsü, whose force had made a successful retreat from Honan back to Shansi, did not suffer as a result of participating in the rebellion. His force was designated the Fifth Army, and he was appointed Shansi-Suiyuan defense commander in chief In June 1931 he was appointed to the State Council, and his army was designated the Thirty-third Army. That August, he was named to succeed Shang Chen as governor of Shansi. About 1934 Hsü contracted tuberculosis and underwent treatment at Peiping. He continued to perform his administrative tasks, however; and in 1935 he was elected to the Central Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang. In January 1936 he went to Kweisui to help organize a Mongolian political aff"airs council in opposition to an autonomous political council at Pailingmiao which was headed by Te Warg (Demchukdonggrub, q.v.). When Chinese Communists invaded Shansi from the west in late February, Hsü hastened back to assume charge of provincial defense. By May, the Communists had been expelled from the province. Hsü then resigned the governorship because of his ill health, but he accepted the post of pacification commissioner for the Shansi- Honan-Shensi border.

In March 1937 Hsü was appointed officer in charge of the Military Affairs Commission. After the Sino-Japanese war began, he became director of the commission's executive office. He also helped direct operations in the First War Area. When the Military Affairs Commission was reorganized in January 1938, Hsü became minister of military operations, heading the board which functioned as the general staff of the Nationalist military establishment. He also continued to serve as a liaison between the National Government and Yen Hsi-shan. In 1945, as the representative of China, he participated in the formal ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay which marked the Japanese surrender and signed the surrender document. In June 1946 he became dean of the National Military Academy. He served as minister of defense in Sun Fo's cabinet of December 1948 and in Ho Ying-ch'in's cabinet of early 1949 and as minister without portfolio in the June 1949 cabinet of Yen Hsi-shan. In the autumn, he led the faculty and student body of the National Military Academy to Taiwan.

Hsü resigned from the cabinet in 1950 and from the National Military Academy in the spring of 1951. In 1952 he became a general first class and a member of the new Kuomintang Central Advisory Committee. From 1952 to 1956 he served as a political adviser to Chiang Kai-shek, and in 1954 he was appointed assistant director of the planning committee for recovery of the mainland. He died in Taipei on 12 July 1959, at the age of 69.

Hsü Yung-chang had three wives, two sons, and three daughters. One of his sons, Hsü Yuan-teh, became an examiner at the Bank of Taiwan. His other son died in childhood. In July 1941 Hsü published a report entitled "General Review of the Strategy and Tactics of the Enemy and Ourselves in the Past Four Years," which analyzed Japan's failure to conquer China. He also kept a diary from 1 January 1916 to 7 July 1959.

Biography in Chinese



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