Nie Rongzhen

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Nie Rongzhen
Marshal Nie Rongzhen.jpg
Marshal Nie Rongzhen
Native name 聶榮臻
Born December 29, 1899
Kaixian, Sichuan
Died May 14, 1992(1992-05-14) (aged 92)
Allegiance  People's Republic of China
Service/branch People's Liberation Army Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Liberation Army
Years of service 1923-1989
Rank Marshal of People's Republic of China
Commands held division commander, Eighth Route Army,Commander-in-Chief, Northern China Military Region
Battles/wars Northern Expedition, Long March, Hundred Regiments Offensive, Chinese Civil War
Other work Politician, Writer, Military Instructor
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Nie.

Nie Rongzhen (simplified Chinese: 聂荣臻; traditional Chinese: 聶榮臻; pinyin: Niè Róngzhēn; Wade–Giles: Nieh Jung-chen) (December 29, 1899 – May 14, 1992) was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader, and one of ten Marshals in the People's Liberation Army of China. He was the last surviving PLA officer with the rank of Marshal.


Nie was born in Jiangjin County in Sichuan (now part of Chongqing municipality), the cosmopolitan and well-educated son of a wealthy family. In his 20s, Nie applied to the Université du Travail (University of Labour) in Charleroi, Belgium, with a scholarship from the Socialist Party, and was thus able to study science in Charleroi.

Political leanings[edit]

Zhou Enlai spent a night in Charleroi and met with Nie. Nie agreed to join the group of Chinese students in France on a work-study program, where he studied engineering and became a protégé of Zhou Enlai. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923.

A graduate of the Soviet Red Army Military College and Whampoa Academy, Nie spent his early career first as a political officer in Whampoa's Political Department, where Zhou served as the Deputy Director, and in the Chinese Red Army.

World War II[edit]

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was first assigned as the deputy division commander of the 115th division of the Eighth Route Army, with the commander being Lin Biao, and in the late 1930s he was given a field command close to Yan Xishan's Shanxi stronghold.

Civil War[edit]

In the Chinese Civil War he commanded the Northern China Military Region, and with his deputy Xu Xiangqian, his force defeated Fu Zuoyi's forces in Tianjin near Beijing. During the Korean War, Nie took part in high level command decision making, military operations planning, and shared responsibility for war mobilization. Nie was made a Marshal of the PLA in 1955 and later ran the Chinese nuclear weapons program.

Purge and rehabilitation[edit]

He was purged during the Cultural Revolution, but was later rehabilitated and became vice chairman of the Central Military Committee, which controlled the nation's armed forces, and also became the vice chairman of the National People's Congress. He retired in 1987 and died in Beijing.

See also[edit]


Political offices
Preceded by
Ye Jianying
Mayor of Beijing
1949 – 1951
Succeeded by
Peng Zhen
Preceded by
Director of State Science and Technology Commission
1958 – 1970
Succeeded by
Fang Yi
Military offices
Preceded by
Xu Xiangqian
Head of PLA General Staff Headquarters
Succeeded by
Su Yu