Bai Chongxi (Omar Chongxi Bai)
Life: 18 March 1893 – 1 December 1966, General in the Army of Republic of China (, aka the Nationalist Army or KuoMinTang Army).
Although officially sub-ordinate to Generalissimo Chiang-Kai Check, the Head of the National Government of The Republic of China, in practice Bai Chongxi was and independent warlord with a large power-base in what today is Guanxi Autonomous Region in South China.
General Bai Chongxi is a descendant of a Persian merchant of the name BaidurLuden. After settling in South China the Baidurluden Family cinisized their name changing their surname to Pai. The Family were succesful merchants and well to do, resulting in excellent education for the young Bai Chongxi, and giving the family considerable "Guangxi" or connections. As a young Man Bai Chongxi was selected to have a Military Career in which he would prove quite successful.
Bai had been classmates at the Guangxi Military Cadre Training School in Guilin with Huang Shaohong, and Li Zongren. It was a modern-style school, run by Cai E, and its graduates modernized the Guangxi forces.
They became the leadership and core of the Guanxi Armies.
Later in their career the two Cadre School Friends would combine their power and wield considerable influence with the National Government in Nanjing. Together they were supporting powers behind Chiang-Kai Chek's initial Rise to Power within the KuoMinTang. During the so-called "Northern Expeditions", the War to subdue Warlords of the North -especially Beijing- to the wills of the Central Government in an attempt at early unification of an otherwise fragmented and desperate Chinese Nation, the Bai Chongxi was nothing less than the Chief of Staff of the Nationalist Army. He was they Commander-in-Chief, except for when the Generalissimo would step in.
In this Role Bai was the proud General who commanded the forward units that first entered Beijing, the main city in North China and former Capital, subduing much of North-China to National Government Control. Bai thus took credit for being the Commander to complete the Northern Expedition, personally leading the Nationalist Troops to Victory. The Nation was caught mesmerized, following each move the National Army made to unify the fragmented Chinese Nation.
In the aftermath of these huge achievements, Bai was given the laudatory nickname Xiao Zhuge, literally meaning "little Zhuge Liang," of the Three Kingdoms famed Imperial advisors. Zhuge Liang is universally considered by Chinese to be the foremost strategist of all time.
After completing the Northern Expedition episode Bai Chongxi went on to lead the Eastern Route Army which conquered Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province) and Shanghai in 1927 AD.
Bai Chongxi was a Nationalist KuoMinTang hardliner, a core supporter of Chiang-Kai Chek and at times a ruthless Man of little scruples. That is, the General Bai became the Garrison Commander of Shanghai in 1927 AD.
With Beijing captured and removed as alternative power center and Hangzhou and Nanjing captured for the National Government, Chiang Kai Chek -Bai's Master- arose in the Media and Public eye as the viable and possible next "Emperor" of China. As the glorious victor of the Northern Expeditions and Supreme Chiang could claim the presidency and go on to Rule the Nation as a strong central Leader. His chance was now. However, there was only one remaining obstacle. The Communist Party.
In short, the Communists had agreed to cooperate in the National Government movement. However, they shared many high seats within the National Government and their policies and wishes had always completely opposed to his own views, -those of the right wing of the still unified KuominTang Party.
Over the years since, many members of the Communist Party had also become members of the Kuomintang Party, in hopes of changing it from the inside out.
With the success of the Northern Expeditions still fresh, Chiang could claim sole power, but only if the Communists were removed from the scene. As repeated time and again throughout Chinese Political History betrayal was at hand. In fact, it had always been a question of who would betray who first.
In the position of Shanghai City Garrison Commander, Bai was heavily responsible and absolutely instrumental in the purge of Communist elements of the National Revolutionary Army and of the labor Unions in Shanghai in 1927 AD, a decisive moment in Chinese History and the de facto start of the Chinese Civil War. Known as the "Shanghai Massacre", the attacks on communist started on April 4, 1927 AD and lasted throughout the week, doing great damage to the networks so carefully created and nourished by the Communist Party and its cadres. The Purge-massacre left the Communist Forces dead, defeated, confused and fleeing. For instance, Mao Zedong, beforehand National Government Propaganda Minister found himself a fugitive and fled to Hunan.
Many did not escape and paid with their lives.
After the Northern Expedition and the Shanghai Betrayal of 1927, Chiang Kai-shek found himself President and National Leader. Soon after consolidating himself with the National Government in Nanjing (Jiangsu Province), Chiang revealed more of his true ambitions and began to agitate against the remaining warlords, many his subordinates who were bribed into cooperation and subjected their territories to the National(ist) Cause. In 1928 and 1929 AD Chiang made his first efforts to get rid of the Guangxi forces. At one time in 1929 AD, Bai had to escape to Vietnam to avoid harm. From 1930 AD to 1936 AD, Bai Chongxi was instrumental in the Reconstruction of Guangxi, which became a "model" province of its time with a progressive administration. During this period, in 1935 AD, Mao Zedong, the Jiangsu Soviet Governement and their peasant army passed through the very north of his Territory (at Jieshou) battered but unscathed.
From 1937 AD until 1945 AD Guangxi Province supplied over nine hundred thousand troops towards the war effort against Japan. That is excluded "volunteers" who joined the Communist Armies and then joined the War against Japan.
In 1947 AD General Bai served as the National Governments main emissary after a Revolt and Violence had struck the Island in January of 1947 AD. Making sweeping and bold recommendations in the aftermath of his tour of Taiwan, Bai Chongxi was much lauded as an honest broker and gained in influence within the Kuomintang party. Not much after the General Bai Chongxi ran into political trouble, when appearing to sabotage Chiang-Kai Chek's plans for a new Vice-President. Chiang demoted Bai and sent him to the toughest and most dangerous job of the day, the failing defense of South and Middle China against the by then overwhelming communist forces.
Fighting to cover a National Government retreat to Taiwan Island, Forces commanded by General Bai were the last Nationalist Troops to leave the mainland after the Final Defeat in 1948-49 AD. They fled to Hainan Island first, and eventually retreated to Taiwan.
Thoroughly disenfranchised with Chiang-Kai Chek, the glorious President, Bai Chongxi never returned to politics or a military post during his Time in Taiwan.
General Bai Chongxi died in 1966 AD in Taiwan, the last remaining part of the "Republic of China" (ROC).
He is buried in the Muslim Cemetery in Taipei, Taiwan. Bai Chongxi leaves a mixed legacy of a good administrator of his Province, an accomplished and heralded General of the National Government Army, and as a mass murderer and the "Butcher" of Shanghai. Although a politically adapt, shrewd and potentially ruthless man in trying times of the past, China, especially Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region owes much to the General for his deeds in the Northern Expeditions.