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Zhang Xue-liang

Zhang Xueliang (張學良), or Chang Hseh-liang in Wade-Giles (written as Chang Hsueh-liang on computers without diacritic capability and in English as Peter H.L. Chang), (June 3, 1901 - October 15, 2001), became effective ruler of Manchuria after the assassination of his father Zhang Zuolin[?] on June 4, 1928 by the Japanese.

The Japanese were concerned that Manchuria would declare support for Chiang Kaishek and believed that his son Zhang Xueliang, who was an opium addict, would be much more subject to Japanese influence. Unexpectedly, the younger Zhang proved to be more independent than anyone had expected. He overcame his opium addiction and declared his support for Chiang. This prompted the Japanese to intervene directly, expelling the Young Marshal, and creating the state of Manzhouguo under the nominal control of Aixinjueluo Puyi.

On April 6, 1936, General Zhang met with Zhou En-lai to plan the end of the Chinese Civil War. In the Xian incident (December 12, 1936), Zhang and another general Yang Hu-cheng kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek and imprisoned the head of the Nationalist government until he agreed to form a united front with the communists against the Japanese invasion. Chiang at the time took a non-resistant position against Japan and considered the Communists to be larger danger to China than the Japanese, and his overall strategy was to annihilate the Communists and then focus his efforts on the Japanese. However, the growing nationalistic anger against Japan made this position untenable leading to Zhang's action against Chiang.

The ensuing negotiations were delicate and were not recorded. The apparent outcome was that Chiang agreed to focus his efforts against the Japanese rather than the Communists and in return Zhang would become Chiang prisoner and cease any political role.

Zhang is today largely considered a patriotic hero because at considerable danger to himself he forced his own government to fight against the invaders. He spent half a century in house arrest for his role in the Xian incident, and followed Chiang to Taiwan where he remained non-political and spent his time studing Ming dynasty poetry.

He outlived Chiang Kai-shek and emigrated to Hawaii in the 1990s and spent the rest of his life there. Xue-laing was also known as the Young Marshal was an important figure in modern Chinese history.He died of pneumonia in Hawaii at the age of 100.



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