Biography in English

Chang Tsung-ch'ang T. Hsiao-k'un 7Jt «*fr Chang Tsung-ch'ang (1881-3 September 1932), military commander, served under Chang Tso-lin (q.v.) from 1922 to 1925. From 1925 to 1928 he was military governor of Shantung province. Born at Chuchiatsun, Yihsien, in Shantung province, Chang Tsung-ch'ang came from undistinguished stock. Both of his parents practiced trades which were socially marginal : his father was a trumpeter and a head-shaver, and his mother was a working witch who was skilled at exorcising evil spirits. At the age of 12, the boy began to accompany his father on the cymbals. In the mid-1890's, perhaps in one of the waves of mass migration from Shantung to southern Manchuria, the poverty-stricken family moved to that area. There Chang found work as a helper in a gambling den in Harbin and began to associate with petty thieves and pickpockets. From juvenile delinquency he graduated to banditry in the countryside of southern Manchuria. As a youth, Chang Tsung-ch'ang was already a tremendous figure of a man, standing well over six feet. Possessing native courage and fighting instincts, he flourished in the tough frontier environment of Manchuria. During the Russo- Japanese war of 1904-5, Chang fought on the side of the Russian forces. Some biographies state that he received a commission as captain in the Imperial Russian Army, but that claim must be viewed with circumspection. Chang's service with the Tsarist forces was brief in any case, and after the Russian defeat he returned to banditry in Manchuria.

By the time of the revolution of 1911, Chang was 30 years of age and an experienced, if irregular, fighting man. His role in the turmoil of the 1911-12 period may have been embellished by his biographers. He reportedly led a small contingent of Manchurian bandits from the Kwantung peninsula to Chefoo in his native Shantung to support the republican cause. Chang later moved to the Shanghai area, where he and his motley contingent were attached to a regiment of the revolutionary forces. When the military phase of the revolt ended, Chang was given command of the regiment. In the subsequent military reorganization undertaken by Ch'eng Te-ch'uan, the military governor of Kiangsu province, Chang Tsung-ch'ang gained regular military status. His unit was transferred to northwestern Kiangsu and was assigned to the task of suppressing bandits; by 1913 Chang had become a divisional commander.

Between 1913 and 1916 Chang Tsung-ch'ang served under the military governor of Kiangsu province, Feng Kuo-chang (q.v.), and gained in rank. After the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in 1916, Feng moved to Peking in 1917 to assume office as acting president of the government there. Chang Tsung-ch'ang accompanied him as his chief adjutant. From the summer of 1917 until the autumn of 1918, while Feng Kuo-chang was acting president, Chang Tsungch'ang served as superintendent of military education in the ministry of war at Peking. During that period at Peking, Chang was once sent back to Manchuria to perform a mission for Feng Kuo-chang concerning the White Russian forces that had fled to Harbin following the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. Chang also visited Shantung to pay his respects to his parents. He reportedly arrived in his native district at the head of a small caravan of carts loaded with silks, brocades, art objects, and other appurtenances of social status and high living. His return home was less than successful, however, since the local gentry welcomed him only to the extent dictated by political prudence. His mother, who had been sold by his father to a local grain merchant at a time of financial dearth, refused her son's entreaty to return home. Chang Tsung-ch'ang who was loyal to the ties of family and friendship, reportedly viewed her refusal as a matter for lasting regret.

In 1918, Chang returned to active duty in the field. He was assigned to command the 6th Mixed Brigade and was sent south with the Peking forces to campaign against the Constitution Protection Army of the southern regime at Canton. His unit was stationed in Hupeh. He later became a divisional commander and served with his unit in Kiangsi province, probably from 1919 to about 1921, but won no special fame during those years.

A turning point in Chang Tsung-ch'ang's career came in 1922, when he returned to Manchuria to enter the service of Chang Tso-lin. In physical appearance, the two men were very different, for Chang Tso-lin was slight and frail, while Chang Tsung-ch'ang was a veritable bear. However, they shared a common background and viewed the China of the 1920's through similarly cynical eyes. Chang Tsung-ch'ang soon proved himself worthy of trust, acting with dispatch to suppress a revolt against Chang Tsolin at Kirin. He was made Suining defense commissioner. Because of Chang Tsung-ch'ang's earlier Russian associations, Chang Tso-lin gave him responsibility for the White Russian troops then in the Northeast. A considerable number of these anti-Bolshevik troops had remained in the field in Siberia even after the defeat of General Wrangel at Sebastopol in the Crimea in November 1920. The most important pocket of resistance centered around Vladivostok, where the White Russian forces held out for another two years. In November of 1922, all but a few crossed into Manchuria at Hunchun, a town in eastern Kirin where the borders of the Maritime Province of Siberia, Korea, and Manchuria meet. The troops then were disarmed and placed in military camps directed by Chang Tsung-ch'ang.

In the second Fengtien-Chihli war of 1924, Chang Tsung-ch'ang performed yeoman service as commander of the 1st Fengtien Division. Chang was indubitably a fighter, and the men under his command won their battles. His was the first Fengtien unit to enter Tientsin and Peking after the coup by Feng Yü-hsiang (q.v.) in October 1924. Chang Tso-lin, with the assistance of Feng, soon won a complete victory over Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) in north China and pressed forward with plans to extend his authority to the Yangtze valley.

In December 1924 the Peking government dismissed Ch'i Hsieh-yuan from his post as military governor of Kiangsu and appointed Lu Yung-hsiang pacification commissioner of Kiangsu and Anhwei. Chang Tsung-ch'ang was given command of the Fengtien forces, and he andLu Yung-hsiang entered Nanking in January 1925. Ch'i Hsieh-yuan was overthrown, and he left Shanghai for Japan. In February 1925, under the terms of an agreement between Chang Tsung-ch'ang and Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.), Lu Yung-hsiang became military governor of Kiangsu. Chang, the dominant Fengtien military figure—with authority over Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Shantung—moved to Hsuchow at the end of March. A month later, in April 1925, he became military governor of Shantung province. Chang Tsung-ch'ang formally assumed that post in June, thus beginning a period of autocratic personal rule. Although Shantung was his native province and he renovated his home village for sentimental reasons, he showed little social consciousness toward his fellow-provincials. His regime in Shantung was characterized by brutality and by extortion designed to support the provincial war chest and to sustain Chang's capacious personal coffers. Many of his advisers were venal and corrupt. He continually recruited fresh troops, and by 1927 his military establishment was estimated to number more than 100,000 men. At the same time, he extracted a substantial personal fortune from the province through such measures as collecting taxes for a decade ahead and levying a multitude of special assessments.

Popular legend had it that Chang Tsungch'ang, during his period of personal rule in Shantung, had san pu-chih [three don't knows] he did not know how much money he had, how many troops he had, or how many women he had in his harem. His military establishment during these years included a force of some 4,000 White Russians, aptly labeled "soldiers of misfortune," who provided a bizarre dimension to the campaigns conducted by Chang during that period. Few mercenaries ever fought for a cause in which they had less direct concern or faced possible death under worse conditions. Chang's military establishment also included a unit composed of several thousand Chinese boys averaging ten years of age, equipped with specially manufactured short rifles. They were commanded by a son of Chang. Chang's personal household included an extensive private harem of some 40 women of a variety of types and nationalities. The majority of the girls reportedly were White Russians, and they sometimes acted as hostesses at Chang's lavish dinner parties. When entertaining foreign guests, Chang would often appear in formal Western dress and preside with monumental aplomb over a festive Westernstyle affair which was graced by European china and crystal, and was enlivened by heroic quantities of French champagne and brandy and by imported cigars.

Despite the admixture of tragedy and comedy which marked his rule in Shantung, Chang Tsung-ch'ang was an important factor in the internecine campaigns of the period, for he possessed a major territorial base. His political position was aligned consistently with that of Chang Tso-lin, and he was directly involved in north and central China. He was a prominent commander in the campaigns of late 1925 and early 1926 in which the Fengtien forces defeated the Kuominchun of Feng Yü-hsiang. When Chang Tso-lin and his victorious armies entered Peking in 1926, Chang Tsung-ch'ang became commander in chief of the Chihli-Shantung Joint Defense Force, and his Shantung troops supplied a part of the garrison force in the ancient capital. There he continued to act with characteristic decisiveness in enforcing social order according to his own tenets. On the grounds that it was guilty of disseminating radical ideas, the newspaper Ching-pao [Peking journal] was closed by Chang, and its editor, Shao P'iao-p'ing (q.v.) was shot. Another newsman, Lin Pai-shui, was executed by Chang because his paper, the She-hui jih-pao [social daily news] of Peking, printed stories which Chang viewed as being derogatory to him. Chiang Monlin (Chiang Meng-lin, q.v.), who was then in Peking, later expressed his personal fear of the "notorious warlord" who had "the physique of an elephant, the brain of a pig, and the temperament of a tiger." Whatever the accuracy of that characterization may have been, it is true that Chang Tsung-ch'ang applied his control policies with determination in the countryside equal to his decisiveness in Peking. In the spring of 1926 his forces conducted a vigorous campaign in Shantung against the rebellious Red Spear Society. And his troops were known in that province for their habits of "opening melons" (splitting skulls) and of adorning telegraph poles with strings of severed human heads as a means of instilling respect for authority.

A major development which threatened the position of the warlords of north China was the launching of the Northern Expedition from Canton in 1 926. When the forces of the National Revolutionary Army penetrated the central Yangtze valley and captured the Wuhan cities in the autumn of 1926, Wu P'ei-fu was forced to withdraw up along the Peking-Hankow railroad into Honan. Chang Tsung-ch'ang was then in the lower Yangtze provinces supporting the position of Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.). In February 1927 the two generals established a joint headquarters at Nanking, with Chang Tsung-ch'ang's Chihli-Shantung forces assuming front-line responsibilities. At that juncture, Chang became directly involved in foreign relations. On 28 February 1927 he detained the Russian vessel Pamyat Lenina, which was on its way to Hankow, and seized several Soviet couriers, much propaganda literature, and the wife of Borodin, principal Soviet adviser to the Nationalist government. Chang detained the Soviet citizens and sent them to Tsinan, and it is probable that the intelligence documents he obtained led to Chang Tso-lin's raid of 6 April on the Soviet embassy at Peking.

Meanwhile, the military situation in Honan was steadily deteriorating, and Chang Tsungch'ang went to Hsuchow in early March. By the spring of 1927, Wu P'ei-fu's position had become intolerable: he was pressed from the north and east by the armies of Chang Tso-lin, threatened from the west by Feng Yü-hsiang's advancing forces, and confronted on the south by the Nationalist Eighth Army under T'ang Sheng-chih (q.v.). With the collapse of Wu P'ei-fu's resistance, Chang Tsung-ch'ang and his forces retreated northward; and at the end of May, Chang Tso-lin ordered a general retreat of the Fengtien armies into Chihli and Shantung. In a move designed to stabilize his tottering military structure, Chang Tso-lin in July 1927 reorganized his forces, with Chang Tsung-ch'ang and Sun Ch'uan-fang each assigned to command an army. In August their combined forces again drove southward from Hsuchow. Although they reached the Yangtze, Sun Ch'uan-fang's troops suffered heavy losses in a Nationalist pincers movement, conducted by Li Tsungjen (q.v.), which simultaneously crippled Chang Tsung-ch'ang's position. When that development was followed by more bad news from the western front, Chang became enraged. On 6 November 1927 he executed a number of officers whom he had captured earlier in the year. One of them was Cheng Chen-t'ang, a Kuominchün general who had fallen into Chang's hands during the spring offensive in Honan. It was not unusual for Chang Tsungch'ang to give vent to his anger in this fashion, but that particular execution was to have fatal consequences for him five years later. Chang, with his headquarters at Hsuchow, then came under joint attack from the First Army Group of Ho Ying-ch'in (q.v.) and the Second Army Group of Feng Yü-hsiang. When the First Army Group seized Hsuchow in mid-December, Chang Tsung-ch'ang retreated northward into Shantung.

Another Nationalist drive began in April 1928, with the First Army Group advancing along the Tientsin-Pukow rail line. Chang Tso-lin attempted to stabilize a defense position along the Techow-Paoting line; Chang Tsungch'ang abandoned Tsinan and retreated to the Techow position. In April, the Japanese, citing the need to protect Japanese interests and nationals in Shantung province, landed forces at Tsingtao. A clash occurred between their troops and the advancing Chinese Nationalist forces at the beginning of May {see Ho Yao-tsu). Chiang Kai-shek, who was in Tsinan, desired to avoid a serious clash with the Japanese and, accordingly, withdrew to Hsuchow. But that final gambit could not save the defeated Fengtien- Chihli-Shantung warlord combination. The Fengtien forces abandoned Paoting at the end of May and began a general retreat northward toward Shanhaikuan. When Chang Tso-lin was killed by a bomb explosion near Mukden on 4 June 1928, the principal task facing his successor was evacuation of the coalition forces from north China without further losses. Chang Tso-lin's son, Chang Hsueh-liang (q.v.), succeeded him. The Young Marshal reached an agreement with the Nationalist side for peaceful withdrawal of the Fengtien forces into Manchuria and announced that the war was over. The official Fengtien order for a general withdrawal was issued on 1 1 June 1928. Chang Tsung-ch'ang, whose units were then concentrated in eastern Chihli, delayed in carrying out the order; perhaps he was in connivance with Yang Yu-t'ing (q.v.), who had been Chang Tso-lin's chief of staff. Nationalist forces under the command of Pai Ch'ung-hsi (q.v.) then moved out from Peking against the Fengtien troops, which finally withdrew to Manchuria. In mid-September of 1928 Chang Hsueh-liang in Mukden notified Pai Ch'ung-hsi that he had disarmed the recalcitrant troops and had taken them over for reorganization. That episode was the final chapter in the long and bloody civil struggle between the Nationalists and the loose coalition of Chang Tso-lin, Chang Tsung-ch'ang, and Sun Ch'uan-fang.

Chang Tsung-ch'ang then took up residence at Mukden, where Yang Yu-t'ing was a challenger to the still immature authority of Chang Hsueh-liang. However, when Yang was executed by the Young Marshal in January 1929, Chang Tsung-ch'ang's personal position in the new Manchuria became problematical. Feeling that he was still a power in Chinese politics, he moved to Dairen. Some Japanese considered that Chang Tsung-ch'ang might still prove useful in their struggle against the tide of Chinese nationalism that had swept Chang Tso-lin from power and thereby had threatened their plans to create a special Japanese position in Manchuria and north China. During the first four months of 1929, Chang, with Japanese support, attempted to return to power in Shantung. The Japanese intervention along the Tsinan- Tsingtao railroad line in 1928 had prevented effective Nationalist occupation of northeastern Shantung. In February 1929 Chang Tsungch'ang boarded a Japanese ship at Dairen and sailed for Lungkow. Upon arrival in Shantung, he promptly assumed command and attempted to mobilize disaffected conservative elements in north China. In Tokyo, Premier Tanaka at the beginning of March characterized the reports that there was a secret understanding between Chang Tsung-ch'ang and Japan as being "absolutely without the least foundation." Some measure of Japanese involvement seemed clear, and, in any event, Chang Tsung-ch'ang's attempted comeback was short-lived. By April his units had been forced into disorderly retreat, and on 23 April 1929 Chang himself embarked again for Dairen. The Japanese authorities permitted him to stop in Dairen only long enough to change clothes and to select two favorite girls from his harem. He then went to Japan, where he took up residence at the hot springs resort of Beppu. Chang lived thereafter under the Japanese flag, except for occasional trips back to China.

At the beginning of September 1932, Chang Tsung-ch'ang left Peiping to return to his native Shantung, which then was ruled by Han Fu-chü (q.v.), for the announced and conventional purpose of "sweeping the ancestral graves." Accompanied by a large retinue, he arrived at Tsinan on 2 September. Although the evidence is conflicting, one plausible hypothesis is that Chang was planning to reassert his position in Shantung politics, with the support of Han Fu-chü. When a meeting at Tsinan failed to take place because a former subordinate officer did not appear, Chang Tsung-ch'ang sensed possible danger to himself. He then announced that he had just received an urgent telegram stating that his mother was ill and that he must return immediately to Peking. On 3 September 1932, as Chang was saying farewell to Shih Yusan and other notables in his private car a few minutes before the train was scheduled to depart, he was assassinated. The killer was Cheng Chi-ch'eng, the nephew and adopted son of the Kuominchün cavalry division commander Cheng Chen-t'ang, who had been executed by Chang Tsung-ch'ang in 1927. Cheng Chi-ch'eng had sworn at his foster father's graveside that he would avenge his murder. Cheng was imprisoned for the killing but was granted a special pardon at the end of seven months.

Chang Tsung-ch'ang generally has been pictured as being the prototype of the "bad" warlord of early republican China. Descriptions of Chang almost invariably endow him with an ample share of the shortcomings which are conventionally attributed to his type and to his era. Since the descriptions are highly seasoned with prejudice and cliches, it is difficult to separate the man from the myth. He may be viewed as one who lived his life in a milieu where both physical survival and practical success depended upon realism, force, violence, and manipulation. Nothing in his early years would tend to produce a sentimental view of the human species in him ; nothing in his later career altered his conviction of the central importance ofpower in human affairs. To Chang Tsung-ch'ang, public power was based on personal control over territory, money, and military units, and private power was based on personal control over material objects and human beings. Chang Tsung-ch'ang is best remembered in China by the popular appellation given him by the men of Shantung, the kou-jou chiang-chun [dogmeat general]. It is perhaps fitting that Chang is principally known in the West through the caricature by Lin Yü-t'ang (q.v.), "In Memoriam the Dog-Meat General," which appeared in Lin's book With Love and Irony in 1940.

Biography in Chinese


All rights reserved@ENP-China