Bai Chongxi : biography
Bai Chongxi (18 March 1893 – 1 December 1966; ), also spelled Pai Chung-hsi, was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China (ROC) and a prominent Chinese Nationalist Muslim leader., City of Sydney Library, accessed July 2009 He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith. From the mid-1920s to 1949, Bai and his close ally Li Zongren ruled Guangxi province as regional warlords with their own troops and considerable political autonomy. His relationship with Chiang Kai-shek was at various times rivalrous and cooperative. He and Li Zongren supported the anti-Chiang warlord alliance in the Central Plains War in 1930, and then supported Chiang in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. He was the Minister of National Defense of the Republic of China from 1946 to 1948. After losing to the Communists in 1949, Bai fled to Taiwan, where he died in 1966.
Bai’s reputation as a military strategist was well known.Barbara Tuchman’s book Stilwell and American Experience in China Evans Carlson, a United States Marine Corps colonel, noted that Bai "was considered by many to be the keenest of Chinese military men." Edgar Snow went even further, calling him "one of the most intelligent and efficient commanders boasted by any army in the world."
Bai is the father of Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai, Chinese author and playwright now living in the United States. Bai and his wife had ten children, three girls and seven boys. Their names are Patsy, Diana, Daniel, Richard, Alfred, Amy, David, Kenneth, Robert and Charlie. His wife was Ma P’ei-chang, married since 1925.
Of his ten children, three have since died. The remaining are scattered across America and Taiwan. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung Bin announced in March 2013 that Bai’s tomb will form the basis for a Muslim cultural area and Taiwan historical park.
As a Muslim, he was Chairman of the Chinese Islamic National Salvation Federation, and then the Chinese Muslim Association. Bai Chongxi was a board member of the All-China Inter-religious Association, representing Islam, the other members of the board were a Catholic Bishop, Methodist Bishop, and the Buddhist Abbot Taixu.
Bai sent his son Pai Hsien-yung to Catholic schools in Hong Kong. Retrieved 12-6-2008.
During the Northern Expedition, in 1926 in Guangxi, Bai Chongxi led his troops in destroying Buddhist temples and smashing idols, turning the temples into schools and Kuomintang party headquarters. It was reported that almost all of Buddhist monasteries in Guangxi were destroyed by Bai in this manner. The monks were removed. Bai led a wave of anti-foreignism in Guangxi, attacking American, European, and other foreigners and missionaries, and generally making the province unsafe for foreigners. Westerners fled from the province, and some Chinese Christians were also attacked as imperialist agents.
The three goals of his movement were anti-foreignism, anti-imperialism, and anti-religion. Bai led the anti-religious movement, against superstition. Huang Shaoxiong, also a Kuomintang member of the New Guangxi Clique, supported Bai’s campaign, and Huang was a non-Muslim, the anti religious campaign was agreed upon by all Guangxi Kuomintang members, so it may have not had anything to do with Bai’s beliefs.
As a Kuomintang member, Bai and the other Guangxi clique members allowed the Communists to continue attacking foreigners and idols, since they shared the goal of expelling the foreign powers from China, but they stopped Communists from initiating social change.
British diplomats reported that he also drank wine and ate pork.
Bai Chongxi was interested in Xinjiang, a predominately Muslim province. He wanted to resettle disbanded Chinese soldiers there to prevent it from being seized by the Soviet Union. Bai gave a speech in which he said that the minorities of China were suffering under foreign oppression. He cited specific examples, such as the Tibetans under the British, the Manchus under the Japanese, the Mongols under the Outer Mongolian People’s Republic, and the Uyghurs of Xinjiang under the Soviet Union. Bai called upon China to assist them in expelling the foreigners from those lands. He personally wanted to lead an expedition to seize back Xinjiang to bring it under Chinese control, in the style that Zuo Zongtang led during the Dungan revolt. Bai’s partner in the Guangxi clique Huang Shaohong planned an invasion of Xinjiang. During the Kumul Rebellion Chiang Kai-shek was ready to sent Huang Shaohong and his expeditionary force which he assembled to assist Muslim General Ma Zhongying against Sheng Shicai, but when Chiang heard about the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang, he decided to withdraw to avoid an international incident if his troops directly engaged the Soviets, leaving Ma alone with not reinforcements to fight the Red Army. Huang was suspicious of this, suspecting that Chiang feared that the Guangxi clique was take control of Xinjiang rather than Chiang’s Nanjing regime.