Long Yun

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Long Yun
Long Yun2.jpg
General Long Yun
Governor of Yunnan
In office
1927 – October, 1945
Preceded by Tang Jiyao
Succeeded by Lu Han
Personal details
Born (1884-11-27)November 27, 1884
Died June 27, 1962(1962-06-27) (aged 77)
Nationality Yi
Political party Kuomintang
Alma mater Yunnan Military Institute[1]
Military service
Allegiance Flag of the Republic of China Republic of China
Years of service 1911-1948
Rank general
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Civil War

Long Yun (simplified Chinese: 龙云; traditional Chinese: 龍雲; pinyin: Lóng Yún; Wade–Giles: Lung Yun; November 27, 1884 - June 27, 1962) was governor and warlord of the Chinese province of Yunnan from 1927 to October 1945, when ("the Kunming Incident") he was overthrown in a coup by Du Yuming under the order of Chiang Kai-shek.

Early life[edit]

Long Yun was an ethnic Yi[2][3][4] general and governor of Yunnan. He was a cousin of Lu Han.[5]

Long Yun first joined the local warlord's army in 1911 and was gradually promoted to the rank of corps commander. He served in Tang Jiyao's Yunnan Army for years until February 1927, when he, together with Hu Ruoyu, launched a coup and expelled Tang from office. Soon after that he became the 38th Army commander within the National Revolutionary Army, at the same time continuing as Yunnan chairman for more than a decade.[citation needed]

Sino-Japanese War[edit]

He was nominated as commander-in-chief of the 1st Army Group, fighting against the Japanese in his province. The Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) brought progress and modernization to Yunnan, as the Nationalist government developed the province into a war base against the Japanese. Factories, universities, and government agencies were transplanted there from the coastal regions, and fresh manpower, capital, and ideas poured into the province. Industries were established, and efforts were made by the government to develop the resources of the region. The Burma Road made Yunnan the corridor through which supplies flowed to Allied war bases in all parts of China, and Kunming became a key U.S. Air Force base. A major advance by the Japanese Army along the upper Salween River in 1944 was halted at Huitongqiao, near Tengchong, indicating the vital role that Yunnan played in the country’s defense. The following was written in Time Magazine about the 1944 battle with the Japanese along the Salween River:

“In a deep gorge on the upper Salween, foot-weary, battle-battered Chinese troops were finally backed up against the bridge, retreated across it while the Japanese from the other side rained down fire on them. The Chinese left their dead behind them, blew up the bridge, and crawled up the winding road to the heights on the China side. Across from them the Jap's guns bayed at the scent of tired game. The Chinese had been beaten and battered beyond human endurance. One of them broke. Before his troops a general killed himself. The men wavered, looked toward the rear. To the front dashed Lung Yun (the Cloud Dragon), Governor of Yunnan Province. With the dead general at his feet, he called on the little soldiers for another last stand. The Japs would soon cross the Salween, their rolling stock (tanks and trucks) were already massing on the bluff. They would have to be stopped. It would be hard. Every beaten soldier there knew that the Japs across the Salween were from the crack Red Dragon armored division. As he spoke his soldiers suddenly turned away, looked at the sky. The Governor stopped talking, for he heard the noise, too —the steady, humming throb of aircraft engines. It grew into thunder. Six American P-40's whipped across the bluff. The A.V.G.s were on the job. They bellowed across the gorge, swung into column and dived on the Japs. Their 50-caliber slugs tore into the gasoline drums on the trucks, sent them blazing. Their bombs uprooted lorries and tanks, and rolled them down the precipice. The Japs broke, dashed for the bushes, ran into patrols of cheering Chinese who had been left behind at the river crossing. On the China side, the dead general lay where he had fallen. His men, shouting their war cries, hurried down to the river and sniped at the Jap as he ran. Down the road into Burma fled the once elite Red Dragon, broken, bereft of his trucks and equipment. Six American youngsters and the Cloud Dragon had saved a bitter day.” {See Battle of Salween link below}.

A later summary, less concerned with drama, of this same battle:

The Campaign involved Chinese troops, assisted by American forces, crossing the upper Salween on 11 May 1944 in order to drive Japanese forces from Yunnan into northern Burma. On 11 May, about 40,000 Chinese of the Chinese Expeditionary Force crossed the Salween initially and a further 60,000 arrived later. About 17,000–19,000 Chinese and 15,000 Japanese were killed in the resulting battle. The higher number of Chinese casualties was caused by the fact that the Japanese had time to prepare their fortifications on the south side of the river.

Post war[edit]

Immediately following the war, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek moved against Long Yun. When Chiang had retreated into western China, he was forced into an area barely under his control and hardly touched by the national revolution which had taken place after the fall of the Qing. Both of the two principal provinces of west China, Szechwan (pop.: 60 million) and Yunnan (pop.: 11 million), were dominated by old-style warlords. In 1941 Chiang had ousted the warlord of Szechwan, appointing an honest and progressive governor. When the Dragon of Yunnan's turn came in 1945, he was caught with his military pants down: patriotically obeying Chiang's diversionary orders, a good part of his private army of over 100,000 men had marched far away, into Indo-China.

Long Yun was before this offered a face-saving job in Chungking, but he refused: the Dragon's teeth were not to be pulled so easily. The absence of his army, however, led to the final extraction. That night, 5 October 1945 ("the Kunming Incident"), rifles cracked in Kunming, and the next morning a score of bodies lay at the South Gate. For four days the battle continued. Soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek's army were all over the place. Only a few companies of Lung's troops did any shooting, and the Dragon never had a chance.

On the fourth day Premier T. V. Soong flew down from Chungking. He and the Chinese commander in chief, General Ho Ying-chin, had a morning conference with General Long and that afternoon escorted him by air to Chungking. General Lu Han, Long's former aide, took over the Yunnan government for the Generalissimo.

After being removed from his reign of 18 years, and his meaningless appointment to a position in Chungking, Long Yun escapted to Hong Kong at the end of 1948 and joined the Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee (KMT-RC), a KMT anti-Chiang organization. In August 1949, he declared his revolt against Chiang together with Huang Shaohong in Hong Kong. The KMT-RC ultimately became the largest "democratic party" under Communist Party rule after the founding of the People's Republic).

Return to Beijing[edit]

Long Yun went back to Yunnan in 1950, after the establishment of the People's Republic . The Communists in inviting him back were acting on the principle: "Any enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine." Long Yun was not only reinstalled as Governor, but was awarded several high-ranking positions such as becoming a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. He also became vice-chairman of the National Defense Committee and vice-chairman of the Administrative Council of Southwestern China.[6]

Anti-Rightest movement[edit]

Later, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, however, Long Yun was labeled a rightist because of his criticism of Chinese foreign aid policy.[7] He maintained that if the living standard in the Soviet Union was so high that many ordinary workers could own their own car, then the responsibility for foreign aid should fall on the Soviet Union, and not on China, since the Chinese economy was much less advanced that of the Soviet Union because it was still recovering from wars.

Long Yun refused to change his view and openly complained of his treatment for telling the truth. Ultimately, on the day following his death in 1962, the Chinese government formally declared that he was not a rightist and was thus partially 'rehabilitated.' In July 1980, nearly two decades after his death, he was finally fully 'rehabilitated' in accordance to the Chinese government's policy of admitting the Anti-Rightist Movement had been wrong.


  1. ^ Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 2. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN 1-55655-768-X. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  2. ^ Hsiao-ting Lin (2006). Tibet and nationalist China's frontier: intrigues and ethnopolitics, 1928-49 (PDF). UBC Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-7748-1301-6. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  3. ^ Helen Rees (2000). Echoes of history: Naxi music in modern China. Oxford University Press US. p. 14. ISBN 0-19-512950-4. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  4. ^ Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946 through 1950. Asia, Volume 2. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN 1-55655-768-X. Retrieved 2011-06-05. 
  5. ^ Hugh Dyson Walker (November 2012). East Asia: A New History. AuthorHouse. pp. 621–. ISBN 978-1-4772-6516-1. 
  6. ^ Who's Who In Communist China, Union Research Institute Hong Kong, 1966
  7. ^ Roderick MacFarquhar (26 June 1987). The Cambridge History of China: Volume 14, The People's Republic, Part 1, The Emergence of Revolutionary China, 1949-1965. Cambridge University Press. pp. 277–. ISBN 978-0-521-24336-0.