Zhou Enlai

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Zhou Enlai

Zhou Enlai (周恩来 1898-1976), former Chinese premier and Chairman of the Second, Third and Fourth National Committees of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Zhou was born on March 5, 1898 in Huai'an, Jiangsu Province. He graduated from Tianjin Nankai Secondary School in 1917. In the autumn of the same year, he went to study in Japan and joined the Xing Zhong Xue Hui (Society for China's Rejuvenation), a patriotic organization of students studying in Japan. In June 1919 he returned home, took part in the patriotic May 4th Movement, participated in organizing the Awakening Society, a progressive organization and founded Tianjin Students' Union Journal.

In November 1920 he went to France on a work-study program. In 1921 he joined the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 1922 he participated in initiating and organizing the Chinese Youth Communist Party in Europe (later renamed the European branch of the Chinese Socialist Youth League). He served as secretary of the European branch of the Youth League and leader of the European branch of the CPC. After he returned home in the autumn of 1924, he served as chairman of the Guangdong Region CPC Committee, head of its propaganda department, member of its standing committee and director of military affairs, director of the Political Department of the Whampoa Military Academy, director of the Political Department of the First Army of the National Revolutionary Army and general director of the General Political Department of the Eastern Expeditionary Army. In the winter of 1926, he went to Shanghai and served as secretary of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, member of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the military commission of Shanghai regional CPC committee. In March 1927 he organized and led the workers' third armed uprising in Shanghai. In May of the same year, he was elected member of the Fifth CPC Central Committee, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee in charge of military affairs. On July 12 the CPC Central Committee was reorganized, and he served as member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Provisional CPC Central Committee. On August 1 he led and organized the famous Nanchang Uprising and served as secretary of the CPC front committee in the uprising. In November 1927 he served as director of the organization bureau of the CPC Central Committee in charge of military affairs. In June 1928 he served as member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Sixth CPC Central Committee, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee and secretly led the Party Central Committee in Shanghai.

In December 1931 he went to the Central Revolutionary Base Area in Jiangxi and served as secretary of the Soviet Area Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, general political commissar of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army and the First Front Army and vice-chairman of the Central Revolutionary Military Commission of the Chinese Soviet Republic. In October 1934 he took part in the Long March. In January 1935 he attended the Zunyi Meeting and firmly supported Mao Zedong's correct views. After the meeting, he, Mao Zedong and Wang Jiaxiang formed the Group of Three to take charge of military operations. After the Xi'an Incident occurred in December 1936, as a chief representative of the CPC he went to Xi'an to facilitate the peaceful settlement of the incident. From February to September 1937, as a chief representative of the CPC he held negotiations on stopping the civil war and uniting to resist Japan with the KMT. In August of the same year, he was elected vice-chairman of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee at the meeting held in Luochuan. Afterwards, he served as deputy secretary of the Changjiang Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of its Southern Bureau and was engaged in the anti-Japanese national united front in KMT-ruled Wuhan, Chongqing and other cities. He served as deputy head of the Political Department of the Military Commission of the KMT government.

In June 1945 he served as member of the Seventh CPC Central Committee, member of its Political Bureau and its Secretariat and vice-chairman of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee. In August 1945 he went to Chongqing with Mao Zedong to hold negotiations with the KMT. Afterwards, he headed the CPC delegation to hold negotiations with the KMT and joined the Group of Three for Military Mediation as the CPC representative. In November 1946 the civil war broke out. He returned to Yan'an and took part in leading the People's Liberation War. From March 1947, he, Mao Zedong and Ren Bishi fought in northern Shaanxi. In August of the same year, he served as acting chief of the general staff of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee. In April 1949 he held peace negotiations with KMT representatives as the chief CPC representative.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China, he served as Premier of the Government Administration Council (now called the State Council), Minister of Foreign Affairs, vice-chairman of the Military Commission of the CPC Central Committee and the People's Revolutionary Military Commission and vice-chairman of the First CPPCC National Committee.

From December 1954 to January 1976, he served as Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee. At the First Plenary Session of the Ninth CPC Central Committee held in September 1956, he was elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. At the First Plenary Session of the Tenth CPC Central Committee held in August 1973, he was elected member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice-Chairman of the CPC Central Committee. His major works are included in the Selected Works of Zhou Enlai.

Zhou Enlai died on Jan. 8, 1976 in Beijing.

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