Long Yun

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Long Yun

Long (Lung) Yun (simplified Chinese: 龙云; traditional Chinese: 龍雲; pinyin: Lóng Yún) (November 27, 1884 - June 27, 1962) was governor and warlord of the Chinese province of Yunnan from 1927 to near the end of the Chinese Civil War, when he was removed by Du Yuming under the order of Chiang Kai-shek in October, 1945.

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. During World War II, he was nominated as commander-in-chief of the 1st Army Group, fighting against the Japanese in his province. Nicknamed "King of Yunnan," Long enjoyed significant prestige in his province, and Chiang Kai-shek became suspicious that Yunnan might slip out of his control. In 1945, Long was sacked by Chiang as Yunnan chairman and recalled to the capital. Chiang gave him a powerless post of deputy director of the "Committee of Strategic Advisers," thus putting him under "house arrest." Long fled to Hong Kong at the end of 1948 and joined the Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee (KMT-RC, a KMT anti-Chiang organization which became the largest "democratic party" under the Communist Party's leadership after the founding of the People's Republic). In August 1949, he declared his revolt against Chiang together with Huang Shaohong in Hong Kong. After the Communist victory he became vice-chairman of the National Defense Committee and vice-chairman of the Administrative Council of Southwestern China. He was also vice-chairman of the KMT-RC. He was determined a "rightist" by the government in 1957 (posthumously rehabilitated in 1980).

The Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) brought progress and modernization to YunnanYunnan, 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 major 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. A decade of war forced Yunnan out of its stagnation, while its strategic location made it possible to instill the ideal of national unification in place of separatism. The process of modernization was accelerated after the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, especially during the period of rapid industrialization and infrastructure construction in the 1960s and early ’70s.

The following was written about the 1944 battle with the Japanese along the Salween River in Time Magazine:

“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 Japs 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 Jap would soon cross the Salween. His rolling stock was already massing on the bluff. He 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-405 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 Jap. 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 Jap 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 Red Dragon, broken, bereft of his trucks and equipment. Six American youngsters and the Cloud Dragon had saved a bitter day.”[This quote needs a citation]

Following the Sino-Japanese war, peace had come. Now China needed unity. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek acted decisively to unify his country.

Deposed Dragon. First he moved against China's strong war lord, one-eyed General Lung Yun, the rascally "old dragon" of Yunnan. By gun and guile, Lung had ruled that strategic southwestern province of China since 1927. His capital, Kunming, was the biggest U.S. air base in the country as well as home of the Flying Tigers. During the war Kunming played host to many U.S. officers and touring bigwigs.

When Chiang Kai-shek retreated into western China rather than come to terms with the Japanese, he was forced into an area barely under his control and hardly touched by the national revolution. The two principal provinces of west China are Szechwan (pop.: 60 million) and Yunnan (pop.: 11 million). Both were dominated by old-style war lords. In 1941 Chiang ousted the war lord of Szechwan, appointing an honest and progressive governor.

When the Dragon of Yunnan's turn came last week, General Lung was caught with his military pants down: obeying Chiang's orders, a good part of his private army of over 100,000 men was far away, in Indo-China. Chiang ordered Lung to take a face-saving job in Chungking. Lung refused: the Dragon's teeth were not to be pulled so easily. That night rifles cracked in Kunming: next morning a score of bodies lay at the South Gate.

For four days the excitement 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 Lung, that afternoon escorted the amiable old scoundrel by air to Chungking. General Lu Han, Lung's former aide, took over the Yunnan government for the Generalissimo.

Soon, from nearly every shop and house in Kunming, the national flag of the new China was flying.

Report in the North. Unity in the west had hardly been established before stories of even more drastic unification came out of the Communist area of northern China. They were Communist stories, unconfirmed at week's end by Chiang or anybody else in Chungking. Their substance: while the Generalissimo was negotiating with Communist Mao Tse-tung in Chungking, three of Chiang's armies had attacked Communist forces in Communist-controlled Shansi province, Kwantung, the Yangtze basin, and north of the Yellow River. In some instances, said the Communists, Chiang's troops had invoked the aid of Japanese and puppet forces. Already the Communists, by their own account, had yielded 19 towns.

Chungking dispatches maintained that

1) the reports were distorted reflections of maneuvers for position by both sides. 2) Chiang and Mao were no closer on the fundamental issue—who should control the Communist armies and the Communist state-within-a-state—than they had been at the start. A.P. predicted that the talks would probably end this week. It looked as if Chiang Kai-shek might have to find other means to complete the unification of China.

After being removed from his reign of 18 years, he was eventually exiled to Hong Kong at the end of 1948 and went back to China after the establishment of the People's Republic in January 1950. As result, he was awarded several high ranking positions such as the one in the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress[1].

During the Anti-Rightist Movement, however, Long Yun was named as a rightist because of his criticism on the Chinese foreign aide policy, claiming that if the living standard in the Soviet Union was much higher that many ordinary workers could own their cars, then the responsibility of foreign aide should fall on Soviet Union, not China, when 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 complainted his treatment for telling the truth, and the next day after his death, the Chinese government formally declared that he was not a rightist and thus partially 'rehabilitated' by the communists. In July, 1980, nearly two decades after his death, he was finally fully 'rehabilitated' in accordance to the Chinese government's admittance of the Anti-Rightist Movement being wrong.


  1. ^ Who's Who In Communist China, Union Research Institute Hong Kong, 1966