Long Yun

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Long Yun
Warlord Long Yun.jpg
General Long Yun
Governor of Yunnan
In office
January 17, 1928 – October 2, 1945
Preceded byTang Jiyao
Succeeded byLi Zonghuang
Personal details
Born(1884-11-27)November 27, 1884
Zhaotong, Yunnan, Qing Empire
DiedJune 27, 1962(1962-06-27) (aged 77)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Political partyKuomintang (1919-1948) Communist Party of China (1950-1962) [1]
Alma materYunnan Military Institute[2]
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the Republic of China Republic of China
Years of service1911-1948
Commands1st Army Group
Battles/warsSecond Sino-Japanese War
Chinese Civil War
Fujian Incident
Battle of Northern Burma and Western Yunnan

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 he was overthrown in a coup (known as "The Kunming Incident") by Du Yuming under the order of Chiang Kai-shek.

Early life[edit]

Long Yun was an ethnic Yi[3][4][5] general and governor of Yunnan. He was a cousin of Lu Han.[6]

Long Yun participated in the anti-Qing struggle in its early years. First he 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 38th Army commander in the National Revolutionary Army, at the same time continuing as Yunnan chairman for more than a decade. [7]

Governor of Yunnan[edit]

After the remarkable "26" coup, Tang Jiyao, then governor of Yunnan, was overthrown by Long Yun and his allies. Long Yun succeeded as the new governor and served as governor of Yunnan from 1928-45. When he was in power he put forward the goal of building a new Yunnan. He carried out a series of reorganizations and reforms from political, military, economic, cultural and educational aspects. During this period Yunnan was politically clear, had good social stability and a strong atmosphere of democracy. He consolidated and reorganized the economy, expanded paper money in the region and reorganized the tariff tax regulations. He prioritized textile export while reorganizing and developing production of tin ore, tungsten, antimonies, copper, salt, coal and other resources. Another big part of his project was the improvement of infrastructure, which was very poor in Yunnan. To improve it, he established a transportation enterprise that built the Yunnan-Burma Highway, the Diankang Road, the Sichuan-Yunnan West Road, the Yunnan-Sichuan Road, the Yunnan-Guangxi Highway and the Diankang Highway. He also paid much attention to the agricultural parts of Yunnan. He implemented measuring of land and later used the information they achieved to put through a reformed tax collection. He worked to expand grain farming, reduce tax revenue and strived to achieve food self-sufficiency for all farmers. Due to Long Yun's reforms, Kunming (capital of Yunnan) was commonly known as a "democratic fortress". [8]

Second Sino-Japanese War[edit]

He was nominated as commander-in-chief of the 1st Army Group, fighting against the Japanese in his province. The Second 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 made by the government to develop the resources of the region. The Burma Road made Yunnan the corridor through which supplies flowed to Allied 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 1942 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 1942 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 Japanese 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 snd 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-40s whipped across the bluff. The AVGs 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}.

The Chinese counterattacked across the same gorge in 1944 to reopen the Chinese section of the Burma Road as other Allied forces advancing from India and northern Burma cleared the Japanese from the Burmese portion.

General Wei Lihuang (right) and General Long Yun (left) inspecting troops of the Chinese Expeditionary Force, March 1944

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. There were more Chinese casualties because the Japanese had time to prepare their fortifications on the south side of the river.


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 that 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 Long Yun's turn came in 1945, he was caught by surprise: patriotically obeying Chiang's diversionary orders, a good part of his private army of over 100,000 men had marched far away, into Indochina.

Long Yun was before this offered a face-saving job in Chungking, but he refused. The absence of his army, however, led to the final extraction. That night, 5 October 1945 ("the Kunming Incident"), rifles fired in Kunming and the next morning a score of bodies lay at the South Gate. For four days the battle continued as soldiers of Chiang Kai-shek's army assaulted the place. Only a few companies of Lung's troops did any shooting; the warlord never had a chance.

On the fourth day Premier T.V. Soong flew down from Chungking. He and the Chinese commander in chief, Gen. Ho Ying-chin, had a morning conference with Gen. Long and that afternoon escorted him by air to Chungking. Gen. 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 escaped 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 that "any enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine." Long Yun was not only reinstalled as Governor but awarded several high-ranking positions such as member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and 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.[9]

In 1956 he visited Eastern European countries such as the Soviet Union, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and others.

Anti-Rightist movement[edit]

Later, during the Anti-Rightist Movement, Long Yun was labeled a rightist because of his criticism of Chinese foreign aid policy.[10] 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 than 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 with the Chinese government's policy of admitting the Anti-Rightist Movement had been wrong.



  1. ^ Office of the People' s Government of Yunnan Province, Long Yun
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-13. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Paul Preston; Michael Partridge; Antony Best. British documents on foreign affairs: reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. From 1946-1950. Asia, Volume 2. University Publications of America. p. 63. ISBN 1-55655-768-X. Retrieved 2011-06-05.
  6. ^ Hugh Dyson Walker (November 2012). East Asia: A New History. AuthorHouse. pp. 621–. ISBN 978-1-4772-6516-1.
  7. ^ Office of the People' s Government of Yunnan Province, Long Yun
  8. ^ Baidu Encyclopedia, Long Yun
  9. ^ Who's Who In Communist China, Union Research Institute Hong Kong, 1966
  10. ^ 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.


External links[edit]

  • Media related to Long Yun at Wikimedia Commons