Zhang Fakui

Zhang Fakui
Zhang Fakui
Zhang Fakui.jpg
General Zhang Fakui
Nickname Hero of the Iron Army
Born 1896
Shixing County, Guangdong, China
Died 1980
Hong Kong
Allegiance Flag of the Republic of China Republic of China
Years of service 1912-1949
Rank General
Unit 4th corps
Commands held 4th corps, Commander in Chief 8th Army Group, Commander in Chief 4th War Area
Battles/wars Northern Expedition, Nanchang Uprising, Guangzhou Uprising, Central Plains War, Anti-Communist Encirclement Campaigns, Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War
Awards Order of Blue Sky and White Sun, Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Other work Charity worker, calligrapher
Zhang Fakui
Traditional Chinese 張發奎
Simplified Chinese 张发奎

Zhang Fakui (Chinese: 张发奎; Wade–Giles: Chang Fa-kuei; 1896–1980) was a Chinese Nationalist general who fought against northern warlords, the Imperial Japanese Army and Chinese Communist forces in his military career. He served as commander-in-chief the 8th Army Group and commander-in-chief of NRA ground force before retire in Hong Kong in 1949.


Early life and career

Zhang Fakui was born in 1896 in Shixing County, Guangdong province. He entered a private learning facility at a young age and went to Guangzhou to became an apprentice before join the local militia. He entered elementary military academy in Guangdong in 1912 and then went to Wuhan's military high school. He served as Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's personal bodyguard and was appointed as a battalion commander of the newly created 4th corps of the National Revolutionary Army. In 1923 he joined the campaign to dislodge Cantonese warlord Chen Jiongming from power, he was promoted to regiment, brigade and division commander. During the Northern Expedition, He led the 4th corps defeated Wu Peifu's warlord armies in Central China. The 4th corps became known as the Iron Army, Zhang was lauded by the public as hero of the iron army. When Chiang Kai-shek unleashed his forces against the communists in the Shanghai Massacre on April 12, 1927, Zhang stayed with Wang Jingwei's Wuhan government. He was awarded to command both 4th and 11th corps. In the same month both KMT governments launched separate campaigns against the northern warlords, Zhang again scored a major victory against Marshal Zhang Zuolin's Fengtian clique in Henan province. He was then promoted as commander-in-chief of the 4th area army and prepared to attack Nanjing. When Wang Jingwei and Chiang Kai Shek reconciled in July 1927 many communist officers under his command mutinied, resulting in the Nanchang Uprising. Zhang's army defeated the communists and chased the mutineers across into Fujian and then returned to his home province. While in Guangdong, he drove out the New Guangxi clique and again supported Wang Jingwei over Chiang Kai Shek. The remaining communists in his army used the confusion to launch the Guangzhou Uprising, while Zhang immediately quelled with three divisions. However he was blamed for the fiasco and resigned his command. Before the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, he participated in a series of local conflicts into order to stop the growing influence of Chiang Kai Shek's Nationalist Government into his province and was an active member during the Central Plains War against the Nanjing Government. In 1936, He and Chiang Kai Shek reconciled and he was appointed as commander-in-chief of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Anhui, Fujian border regions, to eradicate communist activities in those places.

Second Sino-Japanese War

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Zhang Fakui commanded the 8th Army Group in the Battle of Shanghai in 1937, 2nd Army Corps in the Battle of Wuhan in 1938. He Commanded 4th War area from 1939 to 1944, defending Guangdong and Guangxi against the Japanese in South China, achieving a victory in the Battle of South Guangxi. He then was appointed as commander in Chief of the Guilin War Zone during the Japanese Operation Ichigo. As Commander in Chief 2nd Front Army he accepted the surrender of the Japanese Twenty-Third Army in Canton at the end of the War.

There was a unique feature for the telephone conversations with Chiang Kai-Shek, because Zhang was a Hakka, and the two had difficulties in understanding each other: instead of simply hanging up the phone after giving out orders like he did to everyone else, during the conversation with Zhang, Chiang always asked Zhang if he understood what he had just said, and Chiang always waited until after Zhang gave an affirmative answer.

During the struggle against the Japanese, Zhang was among the first Army Corps commanders to ask the Chinese military to change its code because he discovered that Japanese could easily decode the Chinese code at the early stage of the war. After the war he was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire. His medal was presented by Governor of Hong Kong Sir Mark Young in May 1947. (The Straits Times, 3 May 1947)

Zhang was nicknamed Zhang Fei, after the historical Three Kingdoms figure.[1]

Chinese Civil War

After the Second Sino-Japanese War, He was put in charge of Guangdong province and then named as one of President Chiang Kai Shek's military advisors. After the diastrous Huaihai Campaign, Vice President Li Zongren took over as acting President, Zhang was named as chief military administrator of Hainan and commander-in-chief of Nationalist ground forces in March 1949.

Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang

Zhang Fakui was instrumental in the Kuomintang support of Vietnamese revolutionary organizations and parties against the French Imperialist occupation of Indo China. He assisted the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang. Based in Guangxi, Zhang established the Viet Nam Cach Menh Dong Minh Hoi meaning "Viet Nam Revolutionary League" in 1942, which was assisted by the Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang to serve the KMT's aims. The Chinese Yunnan provincial army, under the KMT, occupied northern Vietnam after the Japanese surrender in 1945, the VNQDD tagging alone, opposing Ho Chi Minh's communist party.[2] The Viet Nam Revolutionary League was a union of various Vietnamese nationalist groups, run by the pro Chinese Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang. Its stated goal was for unity with China under the Three Principles of the People, created by KMT founder Dr. Sun and opposition to Vietnamese and French Imperialists.[3][4] The Revolutionary League was controlled by Nguyen Hai Than. General Zhang shrewdly blocked the Communists of Vietnam, and Ho Chi Minh from entering the league, as his main goal was Chinese influence in Indo China.[5] The KMT utilized these Vietnamese nationalists during World War II against Japanese forces.[6]

Zhang worked with Nguyen Hai Than, a Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang member, against French Imperialists and Communists in Indo China.[7] General Chang Fa-kuei planned to lead a Chinese army invasion of Tonkin in Indo China to Free Vietnam from French control, and to get Chiang Kai-shek's support.[8][9]

Retirement in Hong Kong

In June 1949, Zhang resigned and moved to Hong Kong. He had built schools back in his native village. He was the organizer of the First World Hakka Congress in Hong Kong and died there in 1980. Despite numerous pleas from both Taiwan and the mainland, he never visited both places, his old subordinate communist leader Ye Jianying and Taiwan's leader Chiang Ching-kuo sent their condolence letters to express their sorrow.

Military career

  • 1926 General Officer Commanding IV Corps
  • 1926 - 1927 General Officer Commanding 12th Division
  • 1927 Retired
  • 1936 - 1937 Commander in Chief Zhejiang-Fujian-Anhui-Jiangxi Border Area
  • 1937 - 1938 Commander in Chief 8th Army Group
  • 1937 Commander in Chief Right Wing 3rd War Area
  • 1938 Commander in Chief 2nd Army Corps, Battle of Wuhan
  • 1939 - 1944 Commander in Chief 4th War Area
  • 1944 Commander in Chief Guilin War Zone
  • 1944 - 1945 Commander in Chief 2nd Front Army


  1. ^ Association for Asian Studies, Far Eastern Association, JSTOR (Organization) (1944). The Journal of Asian studies, Volumes 3-4. Association for Asian Studies. p. 163. http://books.google.com/books?id=uKMSAAAAIAAJ&q=Fa-k'uei,+whose+reputation+for+courage+was+much+applauded&dq=Fa-k'uei,+whose+reputation+for+courage+was+much+applauded&hl=en&ei=mqXqTdqsJebe0QGr6P2qAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  2. ^ Archimedes L. A. Patti (1980). Why Viet Nam?: Prelude to America's albatross. University of California Press. p. 533. ISBN 0520041569. http://books.google.com/books?id=xbFx8OhYSjcC&pg=PA532&dq=kuomintang+vnqdd++yunnan&hl=en&ei=YH8ETaL3GsH6lwf7l-jDCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAw#v=snippet&q=chinese%20KMT%20vnqdd%20section%20protection%20&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  3. ^ James P. Harrison (1989). The endless war: Vietnam's struggle for independence. Columbia University Press. p. 81. ISBN 023106909X. http://books.google.com/books?id=SSxyTlkmv2cC&pg=PA81&dq=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&hl=en&ei=RZEETfaUEYSdlgec-7DTCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  4. ^ United States. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Historical Division (1982). The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: History of the Indochina incident, 1940-1954. Michael Glazier. p. 56. http://books.google.com/books?id=uEDfAAAAMAAJ&q=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&dq=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&hl=en&ei=RZEETfaUEYSdlgec-7DTCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  5. ^ Oscar Chapuis (2000). The last emperors of Vietnam: from Tu Duc to Bao Dai. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 106. ISBN 0313311706. http://books.google.com/books?id=9RorGHF0fGIC&pg=PA106&dq=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&hl=en&ei=RZEETfaUEYSdlgec-7DTCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Chang%20Fa-Kuei%20vnqdd&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  6. ^ William J. Duiker (1976). The rise of nationalism in Vietnam, 1900-1941. Cornell University Press. p. 272. ISBN 0801409519. http://books.google.com/books?id=HKRuAAAAMAAJ&q=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&dq=Chang+Fa-Kuei+vnqdd&hl=en&ei=RZEETfaUEYSdlgec-7DTCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAQ. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  7. ^ N. Khac Huyen (1971). Vision accomplished?: The enigma of Ho Chi Minh. Macmillan. p. 61. http://books.google.com/books?id=-HxuAAAAMAAJ&q=kuomintang+vnqdd++yunnan&dq=kuomintang+vnqdd++yunnan&hl=en&ei=YH8ETaL3GsH6lwf7l-jDCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBw. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  8. ^ James Fitzsimmons (1975). Lugano review, Volume 2, Issues 4-6. J. Fitzsimmons.. p. 6. http://books.google.com/books?id=_RAHAQAAIAAJ&q=Chang+Fa-k'uei,+as+Chiang+Kai-shek's+executive,+pictured+himself+invading+Tonkin+in+due+course+at+the+head+...&dq=Chang+Fa-k'uei,+as+Chiang+Kai-shek's+executive,+pictured+himself+invading+Tonkin+in+due+course+at+the+head+...&hl=en&ei=9o4ETZixLsGAlAfj58CvCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCkQ6AEwAQ. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  9. ^ Lugano review, Issues 4-6. J. Fitzsimmons. 1975. p. 6. http://books.google.com/books?id=v10nAQAAIAAJ&q=Chang+Fa-k'uei,+as+Chiang+Kai-shek's+executive,+pictured+himself+invading+Tonkin+in+due+course+at+the+head+...&dq=Chang+Fa-k'uei,+as+Chiang+Kai-shek's+executive,+pictured+himself+invading+Tonkin+in+due+course+at+the+head+...&hl=en&ei=iYUETamXLIOglAe7m7XZCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAA. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 


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