Biography in English

Chang Chih-chung (1891-), military commander and government official, Nationalist general and dean of the Central Military Academy, became governor of Hunan in 1937, but lost the position after the misjudged burning of Changsha. In 1940 he became secretary general of the San Min Chu I Youth Corps. From 1945-49 he was director of the Generalissimo's northwest headquarters at Lanchow. He was governor of Sinkiang in 1946-47. The senior Nationalist representative in postwar negotiations with the Communists, in 1949 he changed allegiance to Peking and helped the Communists to consolidate control of northwest China. A native of Ch'aohsien, Anhwei, Chang Chih-chung was born into a poor family. Little is known of his early years, but he supposedly was a good student. At the time of the anti- Manchu revolt of 1911, he joined a student military corps to assist in the overthrow of the Ch'ing government. After the republic was established in 1912, he entered the second military preparatory school, where he studied for two years. In 1914, Chang Chih-chung enrolled in the Paoting Military Academy, from which he was graduated in 1917 as a member of that institution's third class.

Despite his Paoting training, Chang was by no means assured of a promising military career because of the chaotic situation in China and because of the need to establish personal relations which would lead to promotion. Since he had no connections with the Peiyang warlords in the north, Chang Chih-chung went to Kwangtung, where Sun Yat-sen was attempting to establish a military and political base. He gained a promotion from company to battalion commander during the campaigns of 1917-18 in Kwangtung and Fukien. After the temporary eclipse of Sun Yat-sen's authority at Canton in 1918, Chang Chih-chung left Kwangtung. Little is known of Chang's activities in the next few years. He apparently made his way to Szechwan, but later moved to Shanghai, where he studied for a period at Shanghai University. In 1923, after Sun Yat-sen again had established a political base in south China, Chang Chih-chung returned to Canton. That move introduced a new phase of his career; he was assigned to the task of training military cadets for the projected Nationalist army. When the Whampoa Military Academy was established in Kwangtung in 1924, with Chiang Kai-shek as commandant, Chang Chih-chung was invited to join the staff as an instructor. He soon impressed Chiang Kai-shek with his devotion to duty and his personal reliability. In 1926 Chiang Kai-shek was named commander in chief of the National Revolutionary Army. Later that year, when the Whampoa cadets were organized as the First Army, commanded by Ho Ying-ch'in, Chang Chih-chung was named chief of staff of its 2nd Division. As the Nationalists moved northward to the Yangtze, Chang directed the adjutant's office in the general headquarters of the National Revolutionary Army. After the removal of the National Government from Canton to Wuhan, he became dean of the branch of the Whampoa Military Academy established there and commander of its cadet regiment.

In the autumn of 1927, when the Nationalists split and Chiang Kai-shek retired, Chang Chihchung resigned his posts at Wuhan and went abroad. He visited Europe, the United States, and Japan. When Chiang Kai-shek returned to active duty in January 1928, Chang Chihchung returned to China, where he was made director of the military administration department of the general headquarters of the Nationalist military establishment. After the consolidation of Kuomintang authority at Nanking, the Whampoa Military Academy was moved there and was renamed the Central Military Academy. Chang Chih-chung was made director of training. He was appointed dean of the Central Military Academy in 1929 and held that post until the spring of 1937. More than any other officer, Chang was responsible for the notable development of that institution in the years before the outbreak of full-scale war with Japan. He made great efforts to expand the curriculum, to raise the standard of instruction, to expand educational and research facilities, and to add athletic and recreation facilities.

During his years as dean of the Central Military Academy, Chang managed to engage in many other activities. In the 1929-30 period, he was active in the field in Chiang Kai-shek's struggle against the anti-Nanking coalition in north China. About 1931 he traveled to Europe to refresh his knowledge of military science in Germany. After the Japanese attack at Shanghai in January 1932, Chang Chih-chung was directly engaged in the fight undertaken by the Nineteenth Route Army, commanded by Ts'ai T'ing-k'ai (q.v.), against the foreign invaders. The Chinese action at Shanghai gained international attention and marked the first time that the Japanese encountered stubborn resistance in a positional battle in China. Despite the growing threat posed by Japan, China's domestic political squabbles persisted. Chang Chih-chung was often called upon to assist Chiang Kai-shek in the resolution by military force of challenges to Chiang's authority at Nanking. During the winter of 1933 he led the Fourth Route Army to suppress the Fukien revolt (see Ch'en Ming-shu). Chang was then assigned to the fourth so-called bandit-suppression campaign against the Communists. In the autumn of 1934, the Communist forces were dislodged from their base area in Kiangsi and forced into the extended retreat which took them to northwest China. When the Communists arrived in Shensi, they were but a battered remnant of the forces that had set out from Kiangsi a year earlier.

In 1935 Chang was elected a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. As dean of the Central Military Academy, he planned the construction, in the suburbs of Nanking, of a new academy campus to house a military training institution. As Chang was making his plans, however, Japanese pressure on China increased substantially, and the project was postponed indefinitely. In April 1937, when war with Japan appeared imminent, Chang Chih-chung resigned his post as dean of the Central Military Academy. After the outbreak of hostilities in July of that year, Chang was assigned to command the Ninth Group Army, which participated in the fighting in the Shanghai-Woosung sector. He then was appointed chief of the administrative section of the Military Affairs Commission for a brief period. In late November of 1937 Chang was assigned to be governor of Hunan, replacing Ho Chien (q.v.). During his first year in office, Chang set about to improve the calibre of provincial administration, to renovate the educational system, to extend self-government in accordance with stated Kuomintang policy, and to strengthen the defensive military strength of Hunan. However, in November 1938 Chang made a wrong judgment which led to the unwarranted and catastrophic burning of Changsha, the provincial capital. When the Japanese forces took Wuhan in October 1938, the Chinese prepared a new defense line in northern Hunan. It was thought, however, that the Japanese would drive south with considerable force to open the Canton- Hankow rail line and that Changsha would be overrun. In pursuance of the scorched-earth policy of that period, the Hunan authorities under Chang Chih-chung prepared to destroy Changsha in case they were forced to abandon the city.

On 12 November 1938 a local report stated that Japanese cavalry had already reached Hsin-ho, a minor market hamlet some 20 miles to the north of Changsha. If that report were true, the enemy might be arriving at any time. Without confirming or investigating the report, the Changsha authorities panicked and issued orders to carry out the destruction. Changsha, which had with the influx of refugees doubled in population to an estimated 800,000, was put to the torch and in four days was consumed in one of the worst conflagrations in modern Chinese history. No Japanese appeared, for the Japanese cavalry had been at Hsin-chiang-ho, on the established Chinese defense line well north of Hsin-ho. As the provincial governor, Chang Chih-chung accepted the blame for the catastrophe. The National Government held an investigation, and three senior Changsha officials were executed. Chang Chih-chung himself was "demoted but retained in office." He resigned the Hunan governorship in January 1939 and proceeded to Chungking.

There, after a time, he was returned to public life. In September 1940 he was named director of the political department of the Military Affairs Commission and secretary general of the executive board of the San Min Chu I Youth Corps. It was partially as a result of Chang Chih-chung's efforts that some 100,000 youths voluntarily entered the armed forces of China and that the Officers' Moral Endeavor Association was organized. When the war against Japan ended in 1945, various military organs were merged, forming the ministry of national defense. Through his wartime services, Chang Chih-chung had become one of Chiang Kai-shek's most trusted lieutenants, and he was named director of the Generalissimo's northwest headquarters at Lanchow in Kansu province. There he attempted to enlist the cooperation of prominent men in Kansu, and his administration had substantial success. Again, however, Chiang Kai-shek called on Chang Chih-chung to serve him in solving the problems of Kuomintang-Communist relations and in meeting a rebel challenge to Chinese authority in Sinkiang province. During the Japanese war, Chang Chihchung frequently had come into contact with Chou En-lai. When the conflict between the National Government and the Communist party came into the open after 1 945, Chang went to Yenan as Chiang Kai-shek's personal representative to initiate discussion with Mao Tse-tung. When Mao was recalcitrant, Chang Chih-chung accompanied the American ambassador, General Patrick J. Hurley, to Yenan, and they escorted Mao to Chungking at the end of August in 1945 for negotiations with the Nationalists.

Chang Chih-chung was soon called away from the abortive Chungking parleys. In Sinkiang, which lay under the jurisdiction of the Nationalist northwest headquarters, Chinese political authority was being challenged by the so-called East Turkestan Republic, which commanded the sympathy of the neighboring Soviet Union. During the summer of 1945, the rebel forces had pressed steadily forward toward the provincial capital, Urumchi. When they inflicted a smashing defeat on the Nationalist Second Army in early September, it became clear that Chinese authority was being threatened. Chang Chih-chung was sent to Urumchi, where, on 13 September 1945, he informed the Soviet consul that unless there were an immediate cease-fire China would make the matter an international issue. Within 48 hours, Moscow sent to Chungking a request on the part of the insurgents for mediation, which the Soviets offered to undertake. On 11 October 1945, once again in Chungking, Chang Chih-chung escorted Mao Tse-tung back to Yenan. He then returned to Urumchi and undertook negotiations with three representatives of the rebel Turki faction, the chief of the three rebel delegates being Akhmedjan Kasimov. An agreement was signed on 2 January 1946, after which Chang flew back to Chungking.

There he had a brief respite from China's frontier problems. The American mission headed by General George C. Marshall was then in China endeavoring to mediate between the contending Chinese factions. When the Nationalists and Communists reached a truce agreement on 10 January 1946, Chang Chihchung was named the government member of the military sub-committee of the Executive Headquarters established under that agreement. Chou En-lai was named the Communist representative of the sub-committee; and General Marshall, the adviser. The sub-committee held its first meeting on 14 February 1946. On 25 February it reached agreement on a "Basis for Military Reorganization and for the Integration of the Communist Forces into the National Army." Two days later, agreement was also reached on a directive to the Executive Headquarters calling for implementation of the basic plan for military reorganization. On 29 March 1946, Chang Chih-chung was appointed to the post of governor of Sinkiang province, succeeding Wu Chung-hsin. Chang again opened negotiations with the Hi rebel group. In June, he reached a supplementary agreement which provided for specific rights of representation in the provincial government and for a large measure of cultural autonomy for the non-Chinese peoples of Sinkiang. In July, Chang formally assumed the duties of his post, while remaining director of the northwest headquarters. He then undertook the introduction of a coalition administration. One of his vice chairmen was Akhmedjan ; the other was Burhan (q.v.). His secretary general was a Chinese Kuomintang member, but the two deputy secretaries general were, respectively, a Uighur and a Kazakh. Chang released from prison a large number of Chinese Communists and others who had been incarcerated during the long rule of Sheng Shih-ts'ai (q.v.), burned opium stocks, eased the tax burden in the province, and requested an annual subsidy from Nanking to meet the budgetary deficit. He also worked energetically to make compromise settlements with the Sinkiang rebel groups. The civil war had resumed in China proper in the summer of 1946, and its effects were felt in Sinkiang. The dominant influence in Sinkiang at the time, moreover, was not that of Chang Chih-chung, who demonstrated a liberal approach to problems, but that of more narrowminded elements of the Kuomintang, which blocked moves toward genuine liberalization of the Chinese administration of the province. As a result, the official policies of the Sinkiang provincial government often seemed designed to delay and block realization of joint Chinese- Turki rule rather than to implement the principles agreed upon in January and June of 1946. The so-called national minorities of Sinkiang were less interested in the framework of autonomy than in exercising more self-rule than had been conceded to them. It was inevitable that they should protest the narrow Chinese interpretation of their rights. In February 1947, Uighur, Kazakh, and Chinese Muslim groups launched new attacks against Chinese rule, calling for redress of grievances and for additional changes in the provincial government of Chang Chih-chung. In April, Chang made an inspection trip through the province, and in May, after his return, he replied to the list of grievances. His counter-charge stated that the disorders in the provinces resulted from the efforts of interested parties to seize power. Democracy and self-determination were valid goals in Sinkiang, he observed, but they had to be realized in the pattern stipulated by Sun Yat-sen, not in the Soviet pattern. The Hi rebel group, he suggested, tended toward Soviet ideas.

Chang Chih-chung's response bore the apparent imprint of the conservative elements in the Kuomintang. As if in confirmation of that impression, Chang was replaced in May 1947 as governor of Sinkiang. Masud Sabri (q.v.), a Uighur who had been a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang since 1935 and who allegedly represented the landed interests of Sinkiang, assumed the post. Chang remained in Sinkiang in his capacity of director of the Generalissimo's northwest headquarters. The outraged Hi faction, however, began a new revolt in July, and in August 1947 the coalition that Chang Chih-chung had laboriously constructed over many months collapsed.

Chang continued his exchanges with Akhmedjan, but they were fruitless. In October he returned to Nanking, where he submitted a five-year plan for the economic development of Sinkiang. By that time, however, the National Government had committed all available resources to warfare against the Communists, and Chang's project was postponed. The political deadlock in Sinkiang continued into 1948, with the insurgents demanding that Masud Sabri be replaced by Chang Chihchung, whom the Turki minorities evidently thought to be the best man that Nanking could offer. In December 1948, however, Burhan was named governor of Sinkiang. Though Moscow had provided support for the Hi revolt, thereby eliminating Chinese authority from an important area of northwest Sinkiang, it continued to maintain diplomatic relations with the National Government of China. In 1949, the Soviets undertook negotiations with the Chinese government regarding renewal of trade and economic agreements in Sinkiang, apparently with a view to sustaining a special position there. Chang Chih-chung participated in the early discussions with the Soviets, but he soon became involved in more pressing action designed to save the Nationalist regime in China. In his New Year's message of 1 January 1949, Chiang Kai-shek had made an offer of peace to the Chinese Communists. During the critical period which followed that offer, Chang Chihchung met on 7 January with the vice president, Li Tsung-jen, and on 8 January with Chiang Kai-shek himself, in the company of Sun Fo and Chang Ch'un. He was also present at the larger meetings held on 16 and 19 January, presided over by Chiang Kai-shek, which led to a major political decision on the Nationalist side. On 21 January 1949, Chiang Kai-shek retired from office, and Li Tsung-jen became acting President.

Li Tsung-jen considered inviting Chang Chih-chung to organize a cabinet to seek a settlement with the Communists. Chang, however, demanded full powers to negotiate a peace settlement. Li Tsung-jen considered Chang's demand excessive and invited Sun Fo to become premier instead. At the end ofJanuary, Chang Chih-chung returned to his Lanchow headquarters. Li Tsung-jen, on 31 January, rejected Mao Tse-tung's Eight Points as a basis for discussion, but tried to keep the door to negotiations open. In February an unofficial citizens' mission headed by W. W. Yen (Yen Hui-ch'ing, q.v.) proceeded from Shanghai to Shihchiachuang, where Mao and the Chinese Communist command were then based, in an effort to discuss peace terms. That mission accomplished nothing.

Li Tsung-jen besieged Chang Chih-chung at Lanchow with letters and telegrams urging him, in view of his previous contacts with Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai, to reconsider his decision and to take up the task of negotiation. Chang Chih-chung finally consented and returned to Nanking. Supporters of Chiang Kaishek who were still active behind the scenes opposed Chang's decision; they recognized that any success in peace negotiations with the Communists would end their political lives, but that failure would not necessarily have that effect. Nevertheless, a six-man mission was formed, with Chang Chih-chung as its head. Li Tsung-jen announced that the delegation was going to north China to discuss a possible settlement on the basis of Mao Tse-tung's Eight Points; the mission itself had no power to make final decisions, however.

Chang Chih-chung and his group arrived at Peiping on 1 April 1949 to encounter a cool reception. Four years earlier, when Chang Chih-chung had arrived at the primitive airfield at Yenan, he had been greeted personally by Mao Tse-tung and senior figures of the Chinese Communist party. The chilly reception given him in 1949 indicated that Mao viewed his group as representatives of an already vanquished enemy. However, formal discussions did begin on 5 April, the Communists taking the position that there was no alternative to a peace agreement based on Mao's Eight Points. The Communists at the same time conveyed identical terms to Li Tsung-jen at Nanking, where they were rejected as being tantamount to surrender. With Nanking's rejection of Mao's terms, the Communist forces crossed the Yangtze in April and moved forward to occupy both Nanking and Shanghai. Chang Chihchung, accepting the inevitability of Communist victory, remained in Peiping. His decision constituted another blow to the tottering regime of Li Tsung-jen, for Chang Chih-chung at that time still held the post of director of the Northwest Headquarters, with command over some 50,000 troops deployed along the route between Lanchow and Urumchi.

In September 1949 the provincial government of Sinkiang severed relations with the National Government, then at Canton, and pledged its allegiance to the Communist authorities. After the establishment of the Central People's Government at Peiping in October, Chang Chih-chung was named a member of the Central People's Government Council and was rewarded with other nominally senior positions at Peking. At the same time, the Kuomintang authorities expelled him from the party and ordered his arrest. Chang, however, was well beyond the effective police control of the Kuomintang. He lent personal support to the Communist efforts to consolidate their control of the vast area of northwest China. Communist military forces entered Sinkiang in early October 1949, and several months later they reached the outlying districts of western and northern Sinkiang. The Communists slowly began the difficult task oL political consolidation, and they appointed Chang Chih-chung a vice chairman of the regional regime established by the Communists in the northwest. Because of his personal relationship to the complex political negotiations of the post- 1945 period in Sinkiang, Chang possessed more detailed knowledge of the situation than any senior political or military officer of the Chinese Communist party. In late 1949 he made a trip back to Sinkiang in the company of the Communist general P'eng Te-huai and, in an important speech at Urumchi, urged support for the policies of Mao Tse-tung and the new authorities.

Since Chang Chih-chung had for years been one of the most trusted military associates of Chiang Kai-shek, his defection to the Communists in 1949 constituted a major psychological loss to the Nationalist cause at a critical hour. Well aware of that fact, the Communists continued to give preferential treatment to Chang, and after the reorganization of the government in 1954, he was named a vice chairman of the National Defense Council at Peking.

Biography in Chinese


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