Biography in English

Chu P'ei-te (29 October 1888-17 February 1937), Nationalist military officer. He was commander of the Third Army during the Northern Expedition in 1926-27 and governor of Kiangsi in 1927-29. Later, he served as chief of general staff, director general of military training, and director of the administrative office of the Military Affairs Commission. Yenhsing hsien, Yunnan, was the birthplace of Chu P'ei-te. When he was five sui, his paternal grandmother took him to Anning to enter school. His father died when Chu was only seven sui, and the boy was raised by his grandmother.

He enrolled in an army battalion military school at Kunming at the age of 18 sui. When the Yunnan Military Academy was established in 1910, it incorporated the battalion school. At the Yunnan Military Academy, Chu was influenced by anti-Manchu periodicals and by the military precepts expressed by Ts'aiO (q.v.), who became an instructor there in the spring of 1911. In October 1911, Ts'ai O led his 37th Brigade in a successful revolt against Manchu authority in Yunnan. Chu P'ei-te at once left the academy to become a staff officer in the revolutionary forces. He served in the T'engch'ung area and later commanded a unit stationed at Tali in western Yunnan. After a few months, Chu returned to the Yunnan Military Academy; he was graduated at the top of his class in 1914.

He then was assigned to the newly organized 3rd Infantry Regiment in Yunnan, and he served successively as company and battalion commander in operations designed to pacify Miao tribesmen in the area. He lost many of his men to malaria and nearly succumbed to the fever himself. In the winter of 1915 T'ang Chi-yao (q.v.), the Yunnan military governor, and Ts'ai O organized a so-called National Protection Army (Hu-kuo chun) to oppose the plan of Yuan Shih-k'ai to make himself monarch at Peking. Chu P'ei-te at once joined the Second Army, commanded by his former instructor at the Yunnan Military Academy Li Lieh-chün (q.v.), and received command of a column. During the early months of 1916, while the Second Army was marching through Kwangsi, Chu P'ei-te was promoted to command its 25th Regiment. After the death of Yuan Shih-k'ai in the summer of 1916, Li Lieh-chün was forced to resign his command. His forces were renamed the Yunnan Army in Kwangtung, and Chu P'ei-te was assigned to command its 7th Mixed Brigade.

Sun Yat-sen was then making a new attempt to consolidate power in south China, and Chu P'ei-te took part in that effort. He won recognition for his action in southern Kwangtung in 1917, was promoted to command the 4th Division of the Yunnan Army in Kwangtung, and was designated garrison commander at Canton. In the spring of 1918, control of the Yunnan Army in Kwangtung passed into the hands of Li Ken-yuan (q.v.), a Yunnan man who had played a prominent role in that province at the time of the 1911 revolution. Although Sun Yat-sen lost power at Canton in 1918 and left for Shanghai, Chu P'ei-te remained on duty at Canton, where the local authorities attempted to gain control over the Yunnan Army in Kwangtung. In the winter of 1919 Chu P'ei-te married Chao Hui-chun, the younger sister of the wife of the prominent military strategist Yang Chieh (q.v.). Many prominent people attended the wedding. Chu had been approached with the proposal that Li Ken-yuan and his lieutenants be seized at the wedding celebration and removed from power, but he had rejected the idea.

In February 1920, T'ang Chi-yao in Yunnan issued orders removing Li Ken-yuan from command of his troops in Kwangtung. T'ang himself planned to exercise direct authority: and Li Lieh-chun, then a staff officer at Canton, was to serve as T'ang's deputy. Li Ken-yuan resisted the order, however, and removed the partisans of Li Lieh-chun, including Chu P'ei-te, from their posts. Chu took his family to Hong Kong and then participated in the March 1920 attempt of Li Lieh-chun to wrest power from Li Ken-yuan. The attempt failed, and Chu P'ei-te, having lost contact with Li Lieh-chun, retreated with his 4th Division into southern Hunan.

In June 1920 Chu collaborated with T'an Yen-k'ai (q.v.) to overthrow Chang Ching-yao, a Peiyang general of the Chihli faction. Then, on orders from T'ang Chi-yao, Chu marched to Szechwan, where fighting between Yunnan and Szechwan forces was in progress. He arrived in Chungking in October 1920. By that time, however, the Yunnan forces had been defeated at Suifu and Luhsien; Li Lieh-chun, who had entered the engagement with reinforcements, had been driven back into Kweichow; and Chungking had been surrounded. Chu P'ei-te resigned his command and went to Shanghai. Chu's services were still needed for the wars in south China. Sun Yat-sen invited him to return to Canton and participate in a campaign against Kwangsi ; T'ang Chi-yao wanted him to return to Yunnan; and Li Lieh-chun also sought his help. Chu went to Kweichow to join Li Liehchun. Sun Yat-sen, after assuming the position of provisional president at Canton in May 1921, made plans to destroy Lu Jung-t'ing's power in Kwangsi province as a preparatory step toward undertaking the northern expedition. Chu P'ei-te, Ku Cheng-lun (q.v.), and Yang Yich'ien, commanding Yunnan and Kweichow troops, and in collaboration with a Cantonese force led by Hsu Ch'ung-chih (q.v.) captured Kweilin in August and thus brought the campaign to a triumphant end.

T'ang Chi-yao, who had lost power in Yunnan in February 1921, now ordered the Yunnan forces in Kwangsi (commanded by Yang Yich'ien) to drive back to their home province. The order was refused, and Sun Yat-sen appointed Chu P'ei-te commander of the Yunnan forces. In the ensuing clash of interests, Chu offered the Yunnanese troops that had entered Kwangsi from Szechwan the option of returning to Yunnan or serving with him. He reorganized those who remained with him into three mixed brigades and devoted himself to the service of the Nationalist cause.

Sun Yat-sen then proposed a military expedition from Kwangsi into Hunan. Ch'en Chiungming opposed the plan, but Sun established his headquarters at Kweilin and set about the undertaking. However, because of the continuing opposition of Ch'en Chiung-ming, the attack upon Hunan, scheduled for the spring of 1922, was never made at all. The expeditionary army, including Chu P'ei-te's forces, followed Sun back to Kwangtung in April 1922 and proceeded to Shaokuan for a projected advance into Kiangsi province. That expedition was launched in mid-May, and Chu P'ei-te's army participated in the capture of Kanchow in southern Kiangsi on 13 June 1922.

In the meantime, Sun Yat-sen had returned to Canton to deal with the political threat created there by Ch'en Chiung-ming's opposition. On 16 June Ch'en staged a coup at Canton, and Sun Yat-sen summoned his military forces to recapture the city. That force was defeated by Ch'en's troops at Shaokuan and was split into two groups. The group commanded by Hsu Ch'ung-chih and Li Fu-lin retreated to the Fukien border; the second group, led by Chu P'ei-te, made a forced retreat into southern Hunan and then to Kwangsi. Chu took up a new position at Kweilin.

In January 1923 Ch'en Chiung-ming was driven out of Canton. When Sun Yat-sen returned there in February, he ordered Chu P'ei-te and his troops to Canton. Chu's force was reorganized into a guard unit at Sun's headquarters. Chu was made acting minister of war in the Canton regime, as well as guards commander and headquarters adjutant general. In October 1923 Chu's force participated in the defense of Canton against a new drive by Ch'en Chiung-ming. Ch'en's forces at first were victorious, and the Canton forces retreated toward Sheklung. Chu P'ei-te escaped by crossing a river hanging to the tail of his swimming horse. He rallied some of his fleeing troops, established a new defensive position, and eventually staged a flank attack on Ch'en's forces and routed them. Chu P'ei-te's military actions played an important role in defending the Canton base, and his personal prestige rose accordingly. When Canton's military establishment was reorganized in 1924, he was given command of the First Army of the National Construction Army (Chien-kuo-chun).

At the time of the organization of the National Government at Canton in July 1925, Chu P'ei-te became a member of the Government Council and quartermaster general. He served as the officer in charge of rear-area security during the second eastern expedition in late 1925, which finally broke Ch'en Chiung-ming's power and consolidated Nationalist control over Kwangtung province. At the Second National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in January 1926, Chu P'ei-te was elected a member of both the Central Executive Committee and the Central Political Council. He remained a member of the Central Executive Committee until his death. When the Northern Expedition began in the summer of 1926, Chu P'ei-te was assigned to command the Third Army of the National Revolutionary Army. His Yunnanese troops went into action in September in Kiangsi province, which was then under the control of Sun Ch'uan-fang (q.v.).

The Nationalists won control of Kiangsi province only after heavy fighting. Chu P'ei-te, commanding the right wing of the attacking forces, participated in the operation against Nanchang, the provincial capital. When that city was taken in November 1926, he was assigned to garrison the area, and he became a member of the political council established at Nanchang to govern the province. Chu P'ei-te's position thus came to be of key importance in the sharp struggle that developed in the Yangtze valley during 1927 between the right and left wings of the Kuomintang. Chiang Kai-shek, commander in chief of the National Revolutionary Army, established his military headquarters at Nanchang. In the countryside, the Communists, then formally allied with the Kuomintang, worked actively during the winter of 1926 to extend their political influence among the Kiangsi peasants. In January 1927 Chu P'ei-te, as commander of the Third Army at Nanchang, received a visit from Chu Teh (q.v.), who had been senior to him at the Yunnan Military Academy and during his early career as a junior officer in southwest China. Chu P'ei-te accepted Chu Teh's offer of service, adopted his proposal to establish an officers training regiment, and appointed him to command the new unit. The training of some 1,000 cadets in the program began at the end of January, and by March 1927 graduates of the training regiment were being assigned to work among the Kiangsi peasants.

The Wuhan regime appointed Chu P'ei-te to succeed Li Lieh-chün as governor of Kiangsi, and Chu formally assumed that position on 5 April 1927. On the same day he appointed Chu Teh director of the public security bureau at Nanchang. The breach between Chiang Kaishek and the Wuhan authorities came shortly afterward, and Chiang Kai-shek set up an opposition government at Nanking on 18 April. Wang Ching-wei (q.v.), who had recently returned from Europe, went to Wuhan. Because of his personal acquaintance with Wang, Chu P'ei-te continued to take his orders from Wuhan. Li Tsung-jen (q.v.), commanding the Nationalist Seventh Army in Anhwei, had planned to move into Kiangsi province. However, Chu P'ei-te had temporarily commanded Li Tsungjen's men in 1921-22 and was thus regarded as Li's superior. In accordance with the conventional Chinese rules of courtesy, Li requested a meeting with Chu. The two generals met at Hukow on 14-15 May 1927, and a temporary agreement was reached whereby Kiangsi for the time being was declared neutral territory. After the break between Chiang Kai-shek and the Wuhan authorities, relations between the Kuomintang members and the Communists within the Wuhan government became strained. In May, Chu P'ei-te began to take action against the Communists in Kiangsi province. Early in June he imposed martial law, disarmed labor unions and peasant associations, ordered them to suspend activities, and arrested and deported leading political workers. He still supported the Kuomintang authorities at Wuhan, however; in July, he joined with Chang Fa-k'uei and Ch'eng Ch'ien (qq.v.) to begin preparations in the Kiukiang area for a drive against Nanking. The Communists had their own plans for independent action, however, and acted first in staging the Nanchang uprising of 1 August 1927. Forces led by Ho Lung and Yeh T'ing (qq.v.), with the help of Chu Teh's men, surrounded and disarmed two regiments that Chu P'ei-te had left behind and occupied the city. The Communists' victory was short-lived; they were forced to evacuate Nanchang within a few days. Since Chu P'ei-te had stationed troops at key points on the main road to the south through Kiangsi, the Communists had to proceed through the mountainous eastern portion of the province. Chu P'ei-te moved elements of his Third Army to intercept Chu Teh's force in the Tayü area, and struck them hard. Ho Lung and Yeh T'ing went on to take Swatow and to threaten Canton, but their strength had been substantially reduced. Chu P'ei-te played an important role in the complex negotiations during late 1927 that eventually brought a measure of peace to the warring factions within the Kuomintang. Chu P'ei-te continued to serve as governor of Kiangsi. Chiang Kai-shek made plans for continuing the Northern Expedition to overthrow the Peking regime, and, in March, the expeditionary forces were reorganized into group armies to accommodate the addition to the Nationalist armies of new units, notably those of Feng Yü-hsiang and Yen Hsi-shan. Chu P'ei-te was named commander of the general reserve forces. After the May 1928 clash with the Japanese at Tsinan and Chiang Kai-shek's subsequent return to Nanking, Chu P'ei-te was named field commander of the First Group Army. That force, after skirting Tsinan, took Techow in northern Shantung during the final Nationalist drive on Peking. In the meantime, the remnant Communist forces, under the command of Chu Teh and Mao Tse-tung, had assembled at Chingkang Mountain in western Kiangsi. On 9 November 1928 the National Government at Nanking assigned Chu P'ei-te to command anti-Communist operations in Kiangsi and Hunan. He held that position for only a few weeks, however, and on 1 January 1929 Nanking transferred the command to Ho Chien (q.v.). At the Third National Congress of the Kuomintang, held in March 1929, Chu P'ei-te was reelected to membership on the Central _Executive Committee and was made a member of its standing committee. However, because most of his allies within the Kuomintang were the veteran Kwangtung leaders, notably Wang Ching-wei and Hu Han-min, and the Kwangsi military men Li Tsung-jen and Pai Ch'ung-hsi, Chu's power, and influence decreased steadily as Chiang Kai-shek began to consolidate his position at Nanking. The so-called Whampoa clique, along with officers from Chekiang, became the dominant military group. In August 1929 Chu P'ei-te resigned his post as governor of Kiangsi. In September, he was named chief of general staff at Nanking. From 1929 to 1931 he was a member of the State Council. Like T'an Yen-k'ai (q.v.), Chu P'ei-te was known for his attempts to mediate clashes between prominent Kuomintang leaders, notably Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei. However, Wang Ching-wei's participation in the so-called northern coalition of 1930 against Chiang Kai-shek further undermined Chu's personal position at Nanking. When the National Government reorganized its top military structure in March 1931, Chiang Kai-shek himself became chairman of the Military Affairs Commission and chief of general staff. Chu P'ei-te was assigned to the lesser position of director of the administrative office of the Military Affairs Commission.

In September 1931 the Japanese began their program of military conquest on the mainland with the occupation of Manchuria. In the governmental reorganization that took place at Nanking in December, Chu P'ei-te regained the post of chief of general staff after Chiang Kaishek retired from active duty. He held that office for only a short time; and Chiang Kaishek resumed it in March 1932 after he returned to power. Chu was reelected to both the Central Executive Committee and the Central Political Council of the Kuomintang in 1932.

In March 1933, when Ho Ying-ch'in (q.v.) was assigned to north China to take charge of the newly formed Peiping branch of the Military Affairs Commission, Chiang Kai-shek proposed to appoint Chu P'ei-te minister of war. Chu declined the post. Later in 1933, however, he assumed the office of director general of military training. When a further military reorganization took place in December 1934, Chu also was appointed acting chief of general staff. In that capacity he acted in place of Chiang Kai-shek at provincial military reviews and similar ceremonial occasions. Chu's principal responsibility continued to be the direction of the administrative office of the Military Affairs Commission, but he also served on the committees on military discipline and on the care of Sun Yat-sen's mausoleum at Nanking. In the autumn of 1936 he assisted in the political maneuvers between the authorities of the National Government, on the one hand, and Li Tsung-jen and Pai Ch'ung-hsi, on the other, that brought Kwangsi military power into alignment with Nanking and helped to bring a measure of unity to China to confront the external Japanese threat.

Five months before the actual outbreak of hostilities between China and Japan in 1937, however, Chu P'ei-te died suddenly at Nanking. His death resulted from blood poisoning after an injection of medicine which he had been using to combat anemia.

Chu was survived by his widow and by two sons, Chu Wei-liang and Chu Wei-hsin; they later moved to the United States.

Biography in Chinese


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