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Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northern China
Part of Chinese Civil War
DateApril 1949 - June 1950
Result Communist victory
Flag of the National Revolutionary Army
National Revolutionary Army
People's Liberation Army
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the ROC
Flag of the PRC
Nie Rongzhen
30,000+ ?
Casualties and losses
29,000+ ?

The Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northern China (华北剿匪) was a counter-guerrilla / counterinsurgency campaign the communists fought against the nationalist guerrilla that mostly consisted of bandits and nationalist regular troops left behind after the nationalist government withdrew from mainland China. The campaign was fought during the Chinese Civil War in the post-World War II era, and resulted in communist victory.


Before the nationalist government withdrew from North China, it ordered troops left behind to join local bandits to fight guerrilla war against the commies. To further boost the fighting capabilities of bandits, many military professionals were sent to the bands of bandits without any significant former nationalist troop presence, so that their military operations could be strengthened. The size of each band of bandits various, from the smallest of barely a dozen to the largest consisting of several thousands, usually, the typical size was several hundred. In March 1949, the bandit activity reached its peak, totaling a hundred and three attacks.

The future field marshal of commie force, Nie Rongzhen was in charge of eradicating bandits in northern China. In April 1949, orders were given to suppress local bandits, emphasizing on not to underestimate these bandits. A month later, a conference on bandit suppression was held, setting the strategies that included adopting political pressure against bandits, and mobilizing the general populace to eliminate the social bases of bandits. In June 1949, further strategies were devised, concentrating on using small striking force in quick assaults, instead of ineffective large formation that was easy to be discovered and slow moving.

Commies came to important realization that the nationalist force left behind and deserters would be a huge reserve for bandits if left unattended. Nie Rongzhen ordered commie force to immediately accept the surrender of deserters of nationalist force and providing for them so that their livelihood would be stabilized, and thus preventing them from turning into bandits. By June 1949, over thirty-seven thousand former nationalist troops left behind had surrendered, and commies eliminated a huge potential threat. After a year of fighting, the campaign was finally concluded with commie victory with the annihilation of over twenty-nine thousand bandits. The commie victory ensured that Beijing, the new capital of the People's Republic of China became relatively safe in the infancy of the new nation.


Although sharing the common anticommunist goal, the nationalist guerrilla and insurgency warfare was largely handicapped by the enlistment of bandits, many of whom had fought and killed nationalist troops earlier in the eradication / pacification campaign, and also looted, kidnapped and even killed landlords and business owners, an important faction that supported the nationalist government, but now must united against the common enemy, which is half-hearted at the best. Compounding the problem further with additional differences within the ranks of the nationalist guerillas themselves, the futile nationalist guerrilla and insurgency warfare against its communist enemy was destined to fail.

See also


  • Zhu, Zongzhen and Wang, Chaoguang, Liberation War History, 1st Edition, Social Scientific Literary Publishing House in Beijing, 2000, ISBN 7-80149-207-2 (set)
  • Zhang, Ping, History of the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Chinese Youth Publishing House in Beijing, 1987, ISBN 7-5006-0081-X (pbk.)
  • Jie, Lifu, Records of the Libration War: The Decisive Battle of Two Kinds of Fates, 1st Edition, Hebei People's Publishing House in Shijiazhuang, 1990, ISBN 7-202-00733-9 (set)
  • Literary and Historical Research Committee of the Anhui Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Liberation War, 1st Edition, Anhui People's Publishing House in Hefei, 1987, ISBN 7-212-00007-8
  • Li, Zuomin, Heroic Division and Iron Horse: Records of the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Chinese Communist Party History Publishing House in Beijing, 2004, ISBN 7-80199-029-3
  • Wang, Xingsheng, and Zhang, Jingshan, Chinese Liberation War, 1st Edition, People's Liberation Army Literature and Art Publishing House in Beijing, 2001, ISBN 7-5033-1351-X (set)
  • Huang, Youlan, History of the Chinese People's Liberation War, 1st Edition, Archives Publishing House in Beijing, 1992, ISBN 7-80019-338-1
  • Liu Wusheng, From Yan'an to Beijing: A Collection of Military Records and Research Publications of Important Campaigns in the Liberation War, 1st Edition, Central Literary Publishing House in Beijing, 1993, ISBN 7-5073-0074-9
  • Tang, Yilu and Bi, Jianzhong, History of Chinese People's Liberation Army in Chinese Liberation War, 1st Edition, Military Scientific Publishing House in Beijing, 1993–1997, ISBN 7-80021-719-1 (Volum 1), 7800219615 (Volum 2), 7800219631 (Volum 3), 7801370937 (Volum 4), and 7801370953 (Volum 5)

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