Wang Yaowu

Last updated
Wang Yaowu
Wang yaowu.jpg
General Wang Yaowu
Tai'an, Shandong, China
Died3 July 1968
Beijing, PRC
AllegianceFlag of the Republic of China.svg  Republic of China
Years of service1924–1948
Rank General
UnitFirst division
Commands held74th corps, 2nd pacification zone, fourth area army
Awards Order of Blue Sky and White Sun
Other workpolitician, author, businessman

Wang Yaowu (Chinese : 耀 ; pinyin : Wáng Yào , 1904–1968) was a high-ranking KMT general and the Governor of Shandong Province who successfully fought against both the Imperial Japanese Army and the Chinese Communists. In September 1948 Communist forces launched the Battle of Jinan and Wang was captured and held as a prisoner of war until his pardon in 1959. During the Cultural Revolution he came under attack by the Red Guards for being a former nationalist commander and died of a heart attack in 1968.


Early life and career

Wang was born into peasant family in Shandong province. He lost his father and elder brother when he was young, and his mother raised him into adulthood. When Sun Yat-Sen opened the Whampoa Military Academy, Wang was working as a shop keeper. He immediately borrowed money from his employer and traveled to the South to join the national revolution. Some of his notable classmates included Du Yuming, Fan Hanjie, Hu Lien, Liu Yujian, Guan Linzheng and Lin Biao. After his graduation he joined the Northern Expedition under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek against the northern warlords. After Chiang purged the communists in Shanghai on April 12, 1927, he stayed with the Kuomintang as a regiment commander in the National Revolutionary Army. In 1930 he fought in the Central Plains War as a colonel in the central army against an anti-central government coalition under Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang and Li Zongren. In 1932, he was received by Chiang Kai-shek after successfully defend his position under communist attacks during the Fourth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet. He was promoted to brigade commander and later as commander of the 51st division. Two years later he participated the Fifth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet and captured Chinese communist leader Fang Zhimin and killing another red army commander in battle around September 1934. In 1935 he scored yet another victory at Jiangxi province by capturing the entire officer corps of the Red Army's 10th corps and was promoted to major general.

Second Sino-Japanese War

In 1937, Wang led his unit in the Battle of Shanghai. His regiment commander was Zhang Lingfu, whom he had just bailed out of prison. In late November, the Chinese army lost the battle for Shanghai and the Japanese Central China Area Army under General Iwane Matsui advanced toward Nanjing. During the Battle of Nanjing, Wang's 51st division suffered heavy casualties and his superior General Tang Shengzhi fled the city without even notifying him and the other senior commanders. Wang barely escaped the city and only 3,000 troops under his command managed to breakout from the Japanese onslaught. In 1938 he took part in the Battle of Lanfeng to fight against the Japanese 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) led by General Kenji Doihara, one of the masterminds of the Manchurian Incident. The failure to hold off the Japanese attacks also led the nationalist government open dykes on the Yellow River, causing the 1938 Yellow River flood. During the Battle of Wanjialing, Wang's unit fought against the Japanese attempts to break out from the Chinese encirclement, in which the 106th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) under Lieutenant General Junrokurō Matsuura was almost wiped out. In 1939, Wang led his unit to participate in the Battle of Nanchang, but Chinese forces failed to hold the city. Wang, however, distinguished himself during the Battle of Changsha and was promoted to the command of the 74th corps. Under his command, the 74th corps became one of the elite units of the Chinese government forces and fought in almost every engagement in the remaining period of the War. By the war's end, General Wang was promoted to command the 4th area army and became a member of the KMT central committee.

Chinese Civil War

When the Chinese Civil War broke out again in 1946, General Wang was named as governor of Shandong Province and commander-in-chief of the 2nd pacification zone. But he had great difficulty to establish his authority due to intense inter-service rivalry among different nationalist commanders and Communist forces stepped up their attacks on isolated nationalist garrisons in the province. In May 1947, his career suffered a serious setback when the 74th enhanced division under his old subordinate lieutenant general Zhang Lingfu was lost in the critical Menglianggu Campaign and most of the nationalist troops assigned to his sector was pulled out of the province to be redeployed elsewhere. When the Chinese communist forces under Chen Yi and Su Yu attacked the provincial capital in 1948 during the Battle of Jinan, General Wang only had local garrison forces which made up by raw recruits and second-rate troops. The fate of Jinan was sealed when one of his corps commanders (Wu Huawen) defected to the Chinese communist forces. The communist troops breached the city defenses and General Wang fled from his headquarters and was captured in a nearby county.

Later life and death

During his imprisonment Wang urged his fellow nationalist commanders to surrender to the PLA and caused a firestorm of controversy since President Chiang Kai-shek always favored him. As result of his collaboration with the communist forces he was among the first nationalist commanders to be released in 1959 with his senior classmate Du Yuming. He worked in the Chinese political consultative conference and other government organizations when the Cultural Revolution broke out. He was forced to go to struggle sessions by the Red Guards and died of a heart attack in 1968. He died under harsh treatment, but was posthumously rehabilitated by Deng Xiaoping's government in 1980 and given a state funeral. His cinerary casket currently rests at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery mourning hall, as one of China's most important revolutionary heroes.

Wang was survived by his wife, sons and a daughter. Wang's grandchild, Mary-Jean Wong, has followed in her family's tradition of public service, currently serving as a member of the 10th Shandong Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Related Research Articles

Northern Expedition Kuomintang (KMT) military campaign

The Northern Expedition was a military campaign launched by the National Revolutionary Army (NRA) of the Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the "Chinese Nationalist Party", against the Beiyang government and other regional warlords in 1926. The purpose of the campaign was to reunify China, which had become fragmented in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1911. The expedition was led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and was divided into two phases. The first phase ended in a 1927 political split between two factions of the KMT: the right-leaning Nanjing faction, led by Chiang, and the left-leaning faction in Wuhan, led by Wang Jingwei. The split was partially motivated by Chiang's purging of communists within the KMT, which marked the end of the First United Front. In an effort to mend this schism, Chiang Kai-shek stepped down as the commander of the NRA in August 1927, and went into exile in Japan.

Chinese Soviet Republic former country

The Chinese Soviet Republic (CSR), also known as the Soviet Republic of China or the China Soviet Republic, is often referred to in historical sources as the Jiangxi Soviet. It was established in November 1931 by future Communist Party of China leader Mao Zedong, General Zhu De and others, and it lasted until 1937. Discontiguous territories included the Northeastern Jiangxi, Hunan-Jiangxi, Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, Hunan-Western Hubei, Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou, Shaanxi-Gansu, Szechuan-Shensi, Hubei-Henan-Anhui and Haifeng-Lufeng Soviets. Mao Zedong was both CSR state chairman and prime minister; he led the state and its government. Mao's tenure as head of a "small state within a state" gave him experience in mobile warfare and peasant organization; this experience helped him accomplish the Communist reunification of China during the late 1940s. The CSR was eventually destroyed by the Kuomintang (KMT)'s National Revolutionary Army in a series of 1934 encirclement campaigns. Following the Xi'an Incident of December 1936, the Communists and Kuomintang formed an uneasy "United Front" to resist Japanese pressure, which led to the Communists recognizing at least for the moment Chiang Kai-shek as China's leader and the official dissolution of the Soviet Republic on 22 September 1937.

Battle of Changsha (1939) first of four attempts by Japan to take the city of Changsha during the second Sino-Japanese War

The First Battle of Changsha was the first of four attempts by Japan to take the city of Changsha (長沙市), Hunan (湖南省), during the second Sino-Japanese War. It was the first major battle of the war to fall within the time frame of what is widely considered World War II.

Xue Yue Chinese general

Xue Yue was a Chinese Nationalist military general, nicknamed by Claire Lee Chennault of the Flying Tigers as the "Patton of Asia" and called the "God of War" (戰神) by the Chinese.

Gu Zhutong Chinese general, administrator

Gu Zhutong, courtesy name Moshan (墨山), was a military general and administrator of the Republic of China.

Huaihai campaign military campaign

The Huaihai campaign, or Battle of Hsupeng, was one of the military conflicts in the late stage of the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. The campaign started when the People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched a major offensive against the Kuomintang headquarters in Xuzhou on 6 November 1948, and ended on 10 January 1949 when the PLA reached the north of the Yangtze.

Sun Yuanliang was a Chinese military general of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China. Sun was the last surviving member of the first graduating class of the Whampoa Military Academy, as well as the last surviving army-level commander of the Second Sino-Japanese War. His career spanned the January 28 Incident, Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War.

Zhang Fakui Chinese general

Zhang FakuiCBE 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 of the 8th Army Group and commander-in-chief of NRA ground force before retiring in Hong Kong in 1949.

Central Plains War Central Plains War in China

The Central Plains War was a series of military campaigns in 1929 and 1930 that constituted a Chinese civil war between the Nationalist Kuomintang government in Nanjing led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and several regional military commanders and warlords that were former allies of Chiang.

Pang Bingxun Chinese general

Pang Bingxun was a high-ranking nationalist military commander who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army and Chinese Communist Army. He stopped the IJA 5th Division led by General Seishirō Itagaki, one of the principal architects of the 1931 Manchurian incident, from capturing Linyi and converging with General Rensuke Isogai's IJA 10th Division at Tai'erzhuang District, foiling their plan to assault Xuzhou.

First encirclement campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet Military campaign during the Chinese Civil War

The first encirclement campaignagainst Jiangxi Soviet was a series of battles launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government intended to annihilate the Chinese Red Army, and destroy the Chinese Soviet Republic. The communists later responded with the first counter-encirclement campaign at Central Soviet, also called by the communists as the first counter-encirclement campaign at Central Revolutionary Base, in which the Red Army successfully defended the Soviet Republic in the southern Jiangxi province against Nationalist attacks from November 1930 to January 3, 1931.

Third encirclement campaign against the Jiangxi Soviet Military campaign during the Chinese Civil War

The third encirclement campaignagainst Jiangxi Soviet was the third campaign launched by the Chinese Nationalist Government in the hope of destroying the Red Army in Jiangxi. It was launched less than a month after the previous campaign failed. However, this encirclement was repelled by the Red Army's third counter-encirclement campaign at the Central Soviet, also called as the third counter-encirclement campaign at the Central Revolutionary Base.

Menglianggu campaign

The Menglianggu campaign was fought between the nationalists and the communists during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era and resulted in communist victory. The campaign was later used by the communists as a specific battle example in their military science and history, as well as a propaganda piece. The battle mainly took place in Menglianggu of Linyi region in Shandong Province.

Hu Lien Chinese general

Hu Lien was a Chinese Nationalist general who participated in the Northern Expedition, anti-communist Encirclement Campaigns, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War.

Li Mi (Republic of China general) Chinese general

Li Mi was a high-ranking Nationalist general who participated in the anti-Communist Encirclement Campaigns, Second Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War. He was one of the few Kuomintang commanders to achieve notable victories against both Chinese Communist forces and the Imperial Japanese Army. Following the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he withdrew his forces to Burma and Thailand, where he continued to carry out guerrilla raids into Communist-held territory.

Zhang Lingfu Chinese general

Zhang Lingfu was a high-ranking general of the Chinese National Revolutionary Army. He successfully fought against the Communists and the Imperial Japanese Army. In 1947, his unit was surrounded by Chinese communist forces commanded by Field Marshal Chen Yi and General Su Yu. Zhang was unable to breakout from the communist encirclement because the relief efforts headed by his nationalist colleagues did not arrive on time, and he was killed in action in the Menglianggu Campaign on May 16, 1947.

The Battle of Jinan was a critical engagement fought between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China (CPC) from September 16 to September 24, 1948 during the Chinese Civil War. The communist Eastern China Field Army besieged and finally captured the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province and a major urban center as well as a transportation hub in northeastern China that had a population of about 600,000 at the time of the battle. The communist victory set the stage for the Huaihai Campaign.

Liao Yaoxiang National Revolutionary Army general

Liao Yiaoxiang, was a high-ranking Kuomintang commander who successful fought against both the Imperial Japanese Army and Chinese Communist forces. Apart from General Sun Liren, he was one of the few Nationalist commanders who graduated from a military academy in the West. After the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War, he served as a field commander in Manchuria until his capture by Marshal Lin Biao's Manchurian Field Army in the Liaoshen Campaign. General Liao was held for 12 years as a prisoner of war until 1961 and died seven years later during the Cultural Revolution.

Communist-controlled China (1927–1949) Territories of China controlled by the Communist Party during the civil war

Communist-controlled China, officially called the Soviet Zone from 1927 to 1937, and the Liberated Zone from 1946 to 1949, was the part of the territories of China controlled by the Communist Party of China from 1927 to 1949 during the Republican era and the Chinese Civil War with Nationalist China. There were six soviet areas from 1927 to 1933: the Ching-kang-shan, the Central Soviet in Eastern Jiangxi on the border of Fujian, the O-Yu-Wan (Hubei-Henan-Anhui) Soviet, Hsiang-o-hsi, and Hsiang-kan (Hunan-Kiangsi). The first soviet was the Hailufeng Soviet created in 1927. The Central Soviet was the main base of the Communist Party where Communist Party leader Mao Zedong issued a directive on 1 September 1931 for the Central Soviet to mass mobilize the region as a base area. As problems occurred over being able to control territories outside the Central Soviet, by 1933 a full transfer of Communist forces to the Central Soviet was achieved.

Wang Bingzhang (general) Chinese general

Wang Bingzhang was a Chinese Communist revolutionary and a founding lieutenant general of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). He joined the Northwest Army of the warlord Feng Yuxiang in 1929, before participating in the Ningdu uprising and defecting to the Communist Red Army in 1931. He fought in the Red Army's Long March, the Second Sino-Japanese War where he was credited with devising a trench warfare tactic that helped destroy enemy pillboxes, and the Chinese Civil War.


short online biography (

Wang Yaowu article on baike (in Chinese)