Military Wiki
Chen Cheng
2nd Governor of Taiwan

In office
January 5, 1949 - December 21, 1949
Preceded by Wey Daw-ming
Succeeded by Wu Kuo-Chen
Premier of the Republic of China

In office
March 7, 1950 – June 7, 1954
Preceded by Yü Hung-chün
Succeeded by Yen Hsi-shan

In office
June 30, 1958 – December 15, 1963
Preceded by Yü Hung-chün
Succeeded by Yen Chia-kan
Vice President of the Republic of China

In office
March 12, 1954 – March 5, 1965
Preceded by Li Tsung-jen
Succeeded by Yen Chia-kan
Personal details
Born January 4, 1897
Qingtian, Zhejiang, Qing Dynasty
Died March 5, 1965(1965-03-05) (aged 68)
Taipei, Taiwan
Political party Kuomintang
Spouse(s) Tan Xiang
Occupation Politician
Military service
Nickname(s) Little Generalissimo
Allegiance Republic of China (1912–1949) Republic of China
Years of service 1924–1950
Rank General
Unit 11th division
Commands 18th Army
11th Division
Battles/wars * Northern Expedition
Awards Order of Blue Sky and White Sun

Chen Cheng (traditional Chinese: 陳誠; simplified Chinese: 陈诚; pinyin: Chén Chéng; January 4, 1897 – March 5, 1965), was a Chinese political and military leader, and one of the main National Revolutionary Army commanders during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. After moving to Taiwan at the end of the civil war, he served as the Governor of Taiwan Province, Vice President and Premier of the Republic of China (ROC). He represented the ROC in visits to the United States. He also helped to initiate land reforms and tax reduction programs that caused Communism to become unattractive in Taiwan, where peasants were able to own land. However, his good reputation endures even to today. His alias was Chen Tsyr-shiou (traditional Chinese: 陳辭修; simplified Chinese: 陈辞修; pinyin: Chén Cíxiū).

Early life

Born in Qingtian County, Zhejiang, he graduated from Baoding Military Academy (保定軍校) in 1922, and entered Whampoa Academy two years later. It is here where he met Chiang Kai-shek for the first time, Then Commandant of the Academy. Chen later joined National Revolutionary Army to participate in the Northern Expedition.

Rise in the military

During the Northern Expedition, Chen displayed his excellent leadership ability. Within a year of conquest, he was promoted from commanding battalions to divisions already.

Later after the expedition, Chen became active in the wars against warlords. His successes in these battles allowed him to be promoted again, this time to the commander of the 18th Army.

Anti-Communist campaigns

Beginning in 1931, Chen was assigned the task of suppressing the Red Army. In various campaigns searching for the main force of Red Army, Chen's units experienced heavy casualties. In the fifth campaign against the Communists, he finally managed to defeat them, forcing the Red Army to launch their epic Long March.

Campaigns against the Red Army came to an end after the Xi'an Incident, which Chiang and his staffs were forced to agree in cooperation with the Communists against the invading Japanese Army.

War against Japan

During the Battle of Shanghai he was one of the top military assistant of Chiang Kai Shek, it was his idea to seek a decisive action in the south rather than confront the Japanese in Northern China where nationalist troops were in poor condition and lacking transporting vehicles. After the fall of Shanghai and Nanjing Chen moved to Hubei to command the Battle of Wuhan during the year of 1938. Wuhan was the provisional headquarters of the Chinese Army. The Japanese however, managed to defeat the Chinese albeit suffering heavy losses and captured Wuhan on October 25, 1938.

In latter years of the war, Chen went on to command the Battle of Changsha, Battle of Yichang and Battle of West Hubei. In 1943, he was appointed the commander of the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma theatre until he was replaced by Wei Li-huang due to illness.

Chinese Civil War

After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chen became the Chief of the General Staff and commander-in-chief of the navy. He followed Chiang's orders and began to raid the "liberated" areas by Red Army which launched the Chinese Civil War.

In 1947, Chen moved to Manchuria to command the Nationalist force against the Communists in that area. He made the crucial mistake to dissolve the local security regiments, because they served in the Manchukuo Imperial Army, as result the total nationalist strength in Manchuria fell from 1.3 million to less than 480,000. He also dismissed some of the most capable nationalist commanders, such as Du Yuming, Sun Li-jen, Zheng Dongguo and Chen Mingren. As a result he suffered a series of major defeats and Chiang Kai-shek replaced him with Wei Lihuang as commander-in-chief of Manchuria and Fan Hanjie as deputy commander-in-chief and director of Jinzhou forward command center. Chen took a sick leave in Taiwan to treat his chronic stomach ailment.

In Taiwan

Chiang appointed Chen as the Governor of Taiwan Province in 1949 to plan that Taiwan will be one of the strongholds of the Kuomintang. After the Nationalist force retreats to Taiwan, Chen went on to hold key civilian government positions such as Vice-Executive of the Kuomintang, Vice President and Premier of the Republic of China.

In his years at Taiwan, he introduced various land, economic reforms and developed the reconstruction of Taiwan. He kept Taiwan off communists where farmers actually owned land they tilled. The original landlords were issued stocks from enterprises which belonged to the government. He was also credit to launch several earlier construction projects. One was the Shimen Reservoir which reduced the flooding while increased rice crop production.

On May 19, 1949, Chen promulgated the “Order of Martial Law” to announce the imposition of martial law throughout Taiwan. He was the instigator of "White Terror" in Taiwan, responsible for the execution of educators who tried to protect their students from forced military duty. Dozens of educators and students were executed as the result, and the victims families were black-listed for-life.

Chen died of hepatic tumors in 1965. His cremated remains were moved to Fo Guang Shan, Kaohsiung County (now part of Kaohsiung City) in August 1995. His son who tried to run for Taiwan President hopeful was in education and politics.


He married Tan Xiang, the daughter of Tan Yankai, daughter of former Chinese Premier. Chen and Tan's eldest son, Chen Li-an, also became a politician and ran unsuccessfully at Presidential elections.

See also


Political offices
Preceded by
Wey Daw-ming
Governor of Taiwan
January 5, 1949–December 21, 1949
Succeeded by
Wu Kuo-Chen
Government offices
Preceded by
Yen Hsi-shan
Premier of the Republic of China
March 7, 1950–June 7, 1954
Succeeded by
Yü Hung-chün
Preceded by
Yü Hung-chün
Premier of the Republic of China
June 30, 1958–December 15, 1963
Succeeded by
Yen Chia-kan
Preceded by
Li Tsung-jen
Vice President of the Republic of China
March 12, 1954–March 5, 1965
Succeeded by
Yen Chia-kan

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