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Chen Cheng

For the Ming dynasty diplomat, see Chen Cheng (Ming dynasty). For the Chinese swimmer, see Chen Cheng (swimmer).
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陳誠
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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Chen.

Chen Cheng (traditional Chinese: 陳誠; simplified Chinese: 陈诚; pinyin: Chén Chéng; January 4, 1897 – March 5, 1965), was a Chinese political and military leader, and one of the main National Revolutionary Army commanders during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. After moving to Taiwan at the end of the civil war, he served as the Governor of Taiwan Province, Vice President and Premier of the Republic of China (ROC). He represented the ROC in visits to the United States. He also helped to initiate land reforms and tax reduction programs that caused Communism to become unattractive in Taiwan, where peasants were able to own land. However, his good reputation endures even to today. His alias was Chen Tsyr-shiou (traditional Chinese: 陳辭修; simplified Chinese: 陈辞修; pinyin: Chén Cíxiū).

Early life

Born in Qingtian County, Zhejiang, he graduated from Baoding Military Academy (保定軍校) in 1922, and entered Whampoa Academy two years later. It is here where he met Chiang Kai-shek for the first time, Then Commandant of the Academy. Chen later joined National Revolutionary Army to participate in the Northern Expedition.

Rise in the military

During the Northern Expedition, Chen displayed his excellent leadership ability. Within a year of conquest, he was promoted from commanding battalions to divisions already.

Later after the expedition, Chen became active in the wars against warlords. His successes in these battles allowed him to be promoted again, this time to the commander of the 18th Army.

Anti-Communist campaigns

Beginning in 1931, Chen was assigned the task of suppressing the Red Army. In various campaigns searching for the main force of Red Army, Chen's units experienced heavy casualties. In the fifth campaign against the Communists, he finally managed to defeat them, forcing the Red Army to launch their epic Long March.

Campaigns against the Red Army came to an end after the Xi'an Incident, which Chiang and his staffs were forced to agree in cooperation with the Communists against the invading Japanese Army.

War against Japan

During the Battle of Shanghai he was one of the top military assistants of Chiang Kai Shek. It was his idea to seek a decisive action in the south rather than confront the Japanese in Northern China where nationalist troops were in poor condition and lacked transporting vehicles. After the fall of Shanghai and Nanjing, Chen moved to Hubei to command ib the Battle of Wuhan during the year of 1938. Wuhan was the provisional headquarters of the Chinese Army. The Japanese however, managed to defeat the Chinese, albeit suffering heavy losses, and captured Wuhan on October 25, 1938.

In the latter years of the war, Chen went on to command in the Battle of Changsha, Battle of Yichang and Battle of West Hubei. In 1943, he was appointed the commander of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in the Burma theatre until he was replaced by Wei Li-huang due to illness.

Chinese Civil War

After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chen became the Chief of the General Staff and commander-in-chief of the navy. He followed Chiang's orders and began to raid the "liberated" areas of the Red Army which launched the Chinese Civil War.

In August 1947, Chiang appointed Chen as director of the Northeastern Headquarters to command the Nationalist forces against the Communists in that area.[1] He made the crucial mistake of dissolving the local security regiments, because they served in the Japanese-collaborationist Manchukuo Imperial Army, as a result of which the total Nationalist strength in Manchuria fell from 1.3 million to less than 480,000. He also dismissed some of the most capable nationalist commanders, such as Du Yuming, Sun Li-jen, Zheng Dongguo and Chen Mingren. As a result he suffered a series of major defeats and Chiang Kai-shek recalled Chen to Nanjing and sent Wei Lihuang to replace him in Shenyang as commander-in-chief of the northeast and Fan Hanjie as deputy commander-in-chief and director of Jinzhou forward command center.[2] Chen took a sick leave in Taiwan to treat his chronic stomach ailment.

In Taiwan

Chiang appointed Chen as the Governor of Taiwan Province in 1949 to plan the development of Taiwan as one of the strongholds of the Kuomintang. After the Nationalist force retreats to Taiwan, Chen went on to hold key civilian government positions such as Vice-Executive of the Kuomintang, Vice President and Premier of the Republic of China.

In his years on Taiwan, he introduced various land and economic reforms and carried out the reconstruction of Taiwan. He kept communists off Taiwan by allowing farmers to actually own land they tilled. The original landlords were issued stocks from enterprises which belonged to the government. He was also credited with launching several earlier construction projects. One was the Shimen Reservoir which reduced flooding while increasing rice crop production.

On May 19, 1949, Chen promulgated the “Order of Martial Law” to announce the imposition of martial law throughout Taiwan. He was the instigator of the "White Terror" in Taiwan, responsible for the execution of educators who tried to protect their students from forced conscription. Dozens of educators and students were executed as the result, and the victims' families were black-listed for-life.

Chen died of hepatic tumors in 1965. His cremated remains were moved to Fo Guang Shan, Kaohsiung County (now part of Kaohsiung City) in August 1995. His son tried to run for President of Taiwan and participated in education and politics.

Family

He married Tan Xiang, the daughter of Tan Yankai, the former Chinese Premier. Chen and Tan's eldest son, Chen Li-an, also became a politician and ran unsuccessfully in the presidential elections.

See also

References

  1. Law, Debbie (2011). "Chen Cheng (Ch'en Ch'eng) (1898–1965)". ABC-CLIO. 
  2. Taylor, Jay (2009). The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Harvard University Press. p. 381. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Wey Daw-ming
Governor of Taiwan Province
January 5, 1949 – December 21, 1949
Succeeded by
Wu Kuo-Chen
Government offices
Preceded by
Yen Hsi-shan
Premier of the Republic of China
March 7, 1950 – June 7, 1954
Succeeded by
Yü Hung-chün
Preceded by
Yü Hung-chün
Premier of the Republic of China
June 30, 1958 – December 15, 1963
Succeeded by
Yen Chia-kan
Preceded by
Li Tsung-jen
Vice President of the Republic of China
March 12, 1954 – March 5, 1965
Succeeded by
Yen Chia-kan
Preceded by
Position established
Chief of the General Staff of the Republic of China Armed Forces
March 23, 1946 – Mary 12, 1948
Succeeded by
Gu Zhutong

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