Xiong Zhaoren

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Xiong Zhaoren (Chinese :熊兆仁; February 1912 – 7 April 2019) was a Chinese Communist military officer who fought in the Chinese Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War. His role in the 1949 Yangtze River Crossing Campaign was adapted into the 1954 film Reconnaissance Across the Yangtze directed by Tang Xiaodan. He was awarded the rank of major general in 1955 and served as deputy chief of staff of the Fuzhou Military Region. He lived to the age of 107, the longest-lived founding general of the People's Republic of China.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Chinese Civil War 1927–1950 civil war in China

The Chinese Civil War was a war fought between the Kuomintang (KMT)-led government of the Republic of China and the Communist Party of China (CPC) lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949. Although particular attention is paid to the four years of Chinese Communist Revolution from 1945 to 1949, the war actually started in August 1927, with the White Terror at the end of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's Northern Expedition, and essentially ended when major hostilities between the two sides ceased in 1950. The conflict took place in two stages, the first between 1927 and 1937, and the second from 1946 to 1950; the Second Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945 was an interlude in which the two sides were united against the forces of Japan. The Civil War marked a major turning point in modern Chinese history, with the Communists gaining control of mainland China and establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, forcing the Republic of China (ROC) to retreat to Taiwan. It resulted in a lasting political and military standoff between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, with the ROC in Taiwan and the PRC in mainland China both officially claiming to be the legitimate government of all China.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle. Some sources in the modern People's Republic of China date the beginning of the war to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.


Wartime career

Xiong was born in February 1912 in Yongding, Fujian, Republic of China. He enlisted in the Chinese Red Army in 1929, joined the Chinese Communist Youth League in 1931, and became a member of the Communist Party of China in 1933. After the Red Army went on the Long March toward Yan'an in North China, Xiong remained in the south and fought a guerrilla war against the Kuomintang government for three years. [1]

Yongding District, Longyan District in Fujian, Peoples Republic of China

Yongding is a district under the jurisdiction of Longyan prefecture-level city in the southwest of Fujian Province, People's Republic of China. It is the home of many Hakka-speaking families. Yongding has a population of about 400,000, of which more than 99% are Hakka, the rest being Southern Min-speaking people. It was reported at the end of 2014 that Yongding had become a district, having previously been a county.

Fujian Province

Fujian, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, Guangdong to the south, and the Taiwan Strait to the east. The name Fujian came from the combination of Fuzhou and Jianzhou, two cities in Fujian, during the Tang dynasty. While its population is chiefly of Han origin, it is one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse provinces in China.

Republic of China (1912–1949) 1912–1949 country in Asia, when the Republic of China governed mainland China

The Republic of China (ROC) controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. It was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. Its government moved to Taipei in December 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army. His party, then led by Song Jiaoren, won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.

The Chinese Civil War was suspended with the Japan invasion in 1937, and Xiong joined the communist New Fourth Army and fought in the resistance war against Japan. Starting as a company commander in the Fourth Regiment of the army, he rose through the ranks to become battalion commissar, chief of staff of the New Third Regiment, political commissar of the 47th Regiment, and deputy commander of the Third Military Subdistrict of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang Military District. [1]

New Fourth Army

The New Fourth Army was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China established in 1937. In contrast to most of the National Revolutionary Army, it was controlled by the Communist Party of China and not by the ruling Kuomintang. The New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army were the two main communist forces from 1938. The New Fourth Army was active south of the Yangtze River, while the Eighth Route Army was based in Yan'an in the northwest.

In the military, a political commissar or political officer, is a supervisory officer responsible for the political education (ideology) and organization of the unit they are assigned to, and intended to ensure civilian control of the military.

Jiangsu Province of China

Jiangsu is an eastern-central coastal province of the People's Republic of China. It is one of the leading provinces in finance, education, technology, and tourism, with its capital in Nanjing. Jiangsu is the third smallest, but the fifth most populous and the most densely populated of the 23 provinces of the People's Republic of China. Jiangsu has the highest GDP per capita of Chinese provinces and second-highest GDP of Chinese provinces, after Guangdong. Jiangsu borders Shandong in the north, Anhui to the west, and Zhejiang and Shanghai to the south. Jiangsu has a coastline of over 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) along the Yellow Sea, and the Yangtze River passes through the southern part of the province.

After the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Chinese Civil War soon resumed. During the second phase of the war, Xiong served as commander of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Anhui border region, and later as deputy commander of the South Anhui Military District. His forces played a major role in the Yangtze River Crossing Campaign of 1949. [1]

Surrender of Japan surrender of the Empire of Japan during the World War II

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close. By the end of July 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) was incapable of conducting major operations and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. Together with the British Empire and China, the United States called for the unconditional surrender of the Japanese armed forces in the Potsdam Declaration on July 26, 1945—the alternative being "prompt and utter destruction". While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders were privately making entreaties to the still-neutral Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms more favorable to the Japanese. Meanwhile, the Soviets were preparing to attack Japanese forces in Manchuria and Korea in fulfillment of promises they had secretly made to the United States and the United Kingdom at the Tehran and Yalta Conferences.

Anhui Province

Anhui is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the eastern region of the country. The province is located across the basins of the Yangtze River and the Huai River, bordering Jiangsu to the east, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south, Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, and Shandong for a short section in the north.

Yangtze River Crossing Campaign Military campaign in the Chinese Civil War

The Yangtze River Crossing Campaign was a military campaign launched by the People's Liberation Army to cross the Yangtze River and capture Nanjing, the capital of the Nationalist government of the Kuomintang, in the final stage of the Chinese Civil War. The campaign began at night on 20 April, and lasted until 2 June 1949, concluding after the fall of Nanjing and Shanghai to the Communist forces.

People's Republic of China

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Xiong served as deputy commander of the North Anhui Military District, chief of staff of an army corps, and deputy chief of staff of the Fujian Military District. [1] He was awarded the rank of major general in 1955 and served as deputy chief of staff of the Fuzhou Military Region from 1959 to 1966. [2] He disappeared from public life during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976). After re-emerging in 1977, he again served as deputy chief of staff of the Fuzhou Military Region from 1980 to 1982. [2]

Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparently confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant.

Cultural Revolution socio-political movement in China

The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, then Chairman of the Communist Party of China, its stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought as the dominant ideology within the Party. The Revolution marked Mao's return to a position of power after the failures of his Great Leap Forward. The movement paralyzed China politically and negatively affected both the economy and society of the country to a significant degree.

After Xiong retired in 1983, he repeatedly lobbied the national government to invest in infrastructure in the poverty-stricken areas of western Fujian, and helped win approval for the construction of the Meizhou-Kanshi railway (梅坎铁路) and the Ganzhou–Longyan railway in the region. [1]

Meizhou Prefecture-level city in Guangdong, Peoples Republic of China

Meizhou is a prefecture-level city in eastern Guangdong province, China. It has an area of 15,864.51 km2 (6,125.32 sq mi), and a population of 4.33 million at the 2010 census. It comprises Meijiang District, Meixian District, Xingning City and five counties. Its built-up or metro area made up of two districts was home to 935,516 inhabitants at the 2010 census.

The Ganzhou–Longyan railway is a railway connecting Jiangxi and Fujian Province in southeastern China. The line, also known as the Ganlong railway, is named after its two terminal cities Ganzhou and Longyan, and has a total length of 290.1 km (180.3 mi). Construction began on December 8, 2001, and the line entered operation on October 1, 2005. Major cities and towns along route include Ganzhou, Gan County, Yudu County, Huichang, Ruijin in Jiangxi and Changting County, Liancheng County, Shanghang, and Longyan in Fujian.

By the time Xiong celebrated his 107th birthday (108th in East Asian age reckoning) in February 2019, he had become the longest-living of China's founding generals of 1955. [1] He died at the 900 Hospital of the PLA Joint Logistic Support Force in Fuzhou on 7 April 2019. [3]


Xiong's role in the 1949 Yangtze Crossing Campaign is celebrated in the 1954 film Reconnaissance Across the Yangtze (渡江侦察记), [1] directed by Tang Xiaodan. [4] He is the prototype of the leader of the People's Liberation Army unit glorified in the film, which became a major hit in the 1950s. [1] It won the Chinese government's Best Film Award in 1957 and was remade in colour during the Cultural Revolution. [4]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Yue, Huairang (2019-04-08). "开国少将熊兆仁逝世,所部英勇事迹被拍成《渡江侦察记》". The Paper. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  2. 1 2 Bartke, Wolfgang (2012). Who was Who in the People's Republic of China. Walter de Gruyter. p. 537. ISBN   978-3-11-096823-1.
  3. "《渡江侦察记》原型人物开国少将熊兆仁逝世". Sina. 2019-04-09. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  4. 1 2 Xiao, Zhiwei; Zhang, Yingjin (2002). Encyclopedia of Chinese Film. Routledge. pp. 501–2. ISBN   978-1-134-74553-1.