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Ye Jianying

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Title: Ye Jianying  
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Subject: Deng Xiaoping, Hua Guofeng, Kang Sheng, Peng Zhen, Li Xiannian
Collection: 1897 Births, 1986 Deaths, Chairmen of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Chinese Hakka People, Chinese Military Personnel of World War II, Chinese People of World War II, Communist Party of China Politicians from Guangdong, Governors of Guangdong, Hakka Generals, Hakka People, Marshals of China, Mayors of Beijing, Mayors of Guangzhou, Members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, Members of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China, Ministers of National Defense of the People's Republic of China, Moscow Sun Yat-Sen University Alumni, People from Mei County, Guangdong, People from Meixian District, People's Liberation Army Personnel, People's Liberation Army Personnel of the Second Sino-Japanese War, People's Republic of China Politicians from Guangdong
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Ye Jianying

Ye Jianying
Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
In office
5 March 1978 – 18 June 1983
Preceded by Soong Ching-ling
Succeeded by Peng Zhen
Head of State of the People's Republic of China
as Chairman of the NPCSC
In office
5 March 1978 – 16 May 1981
Preceded by Soong Ching-ling (as chairman of the NPCSC)
Succeeded by Soong Ching-ling (as honorary president)
In office
28 May 1981 – 18 June 1983
Preceded by Soong Ching-ling (as honorary president)
Succeeded by Li Xiannian (as president)
Minister of National Defense of the People's Republic of China
In office
17 January 1975 – 26 February 1978
Premier Zhou Enlai
Hua Guofeng
Preceded by Lin Biao
Succeeded by Xu Xiangqian
Member of the
National People's Congress
In office
15 September 1954 – 6 June 1983
Constituency Guangdong At-large (54-59)
PLA At-large (59-83)
1st Mayor of Guangzhou
In office
Preceded by Position Created
Succeeded by He Wei
Personal details
Born (1897-04-28)28 April 1897
Mei County, Guangdong
Died 22 October 1986(1986-10-22) (aged 89)
Political party Communist Party of China
Alma mater Whampoa Military Academy
Ye Jianying
Traditional Chinese 葉劍英
Simplified Chinese 叶剑英
Birth name
Traditional Chinese 葉宜偉
Simplified Chinese 叶宜伟
Courtesey name
Traditional Chinese 滄白
Simplified Chinese 沧白

Ye Jianying (simplified Chinese: 叶剑英; traditional Chinese: 葉劍英; pinyin: Yè Jiànyīng; Wade–Giles: Yeh Chien-ying; Jyutping: Yip Gim-ying; 28 April 1897 – 22 October 1986) was a Chinese communist general, Marshal of the People's Liberation Army, and the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress from 1978 to 1983.


Born Ye Yiwei (simplified Chinese: 叶宜伟; traditional Chinese: 葉宜偉; pinyin: Yè Yíwěi; Wade–Giles: Yeh I-wei) into a wealthy Christian Hakka merchant family in Mei County, Guangdong his courtesy name was Cangbai (滄白). After graduation from the Yunnan Military Academy in 1919, he joined Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang (KMT). He taught at the Whampoa Military Academy, and in 1927 joined the Communist Party.

That year, he participated in the failed Nanchang Uprising and was forced to flee to Hong Kong with two other uprising leaders, Zhou Enlai and Ye Ting (unrelated to Ye Jianying), with only a pair of handguns to share between them. Shortly after, he faithfully carried out his assigned duties during the Guangzhou Uprising, although he had been opposed to it; upon this uprising's failure he was once again obliged to flee to Hong Kong with Ye Ting and Nie Rongzhen. However, Ye was far more fortunate than Ye Ting, who was made a scapegoat for the Comintern's failures and forced into exile. Ye was not blamed, and subsequently studied military science in Moscow.

After returning to China in 1932 he joined the

During the Long March, Ye assisted Liu Bocheng in directing the crossing of the Yangtze River at Anshunchang and Luding Bridge. After 1936, Ye became director of the offices that liaised with the KMT, first in Xi'an, then in Nanjing and finally in Chongqing. He worked together with Zhou Enlai in this capacity.

After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Ye was placed in charge of Guangdong, which was to cost him his political career under Mao's reign. Ye understood that the economic conditions in Canton were very different from those in the rest of China, since most Cantonese landlords were peasants themselves who participated in production without exploiting their tenants. He therefore declined to dispossess the landlords, and instead protected their businesses and land. However, Ye's policies contradicted the general directives of the Party-mandated land reform, which emphasized class struggle. His policies deemed too soft, Ye and his local cadres were soon replaced by Lin Biao's, and a much harsher policy was implemented, with Ye's political career effectively over.

However, Mao did not forget what Ye had done for him during the Long March, and thus removed him only from political posts while preserving his military positions. As a result, until 1968, Ye remained active in various military functions, having been made a marshal in 1955. Ye was clever in using his military influence to provide limited support and protection for reformers like Zhao Ziyang, and he was responsible for interfering with assassination attempts on Deng Xiaoping during the Cultural Revolution.

After Lin Biao was overthrown in 1971, Ye's influence grew, and in 1975 he was appointed Defense Minister, taking Lin Biao's post. From 1973, he was also a Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

He led the conspiracy of generals and Party elders that overthrew Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four; during initial planning at his residence, he and Li Xiannian communicated by writing, although they sat next to each other, because of the possibility of bugging.

Thanks to Ye's support of Hua Guofeng, he was confirmed as vice-chairman at the Eleventh National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 1977. Because the physical demands of Defense Minister were too great for the octogenarian Ye, he resigned from that position

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