|Born||8 Dec 1900|
|Died||19 Nov 1990|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseSun Liren was a general of Chiang Kaishek's Nationalist Army. He was born in Jinnu Town, Lujiang County, Anhui Province, with ancestry in the Shucheng County. He was a civil engineering student at Qinghua University who later transferred to Purdue University in the United States. After graduating in 1925, Sun Yatsen recommended the already militarily-inspired Sun a career in the military to better serve his home country, and thus Sun enrolled in the Virginia Military Institute. It is interesting to note that Sun lied about his age, making him four years younger on his papers so that he would come under the maximum age for enrollment. He would graduate in 1927 and return to China to serve under Chiang Kaishek.
ww2dbaseSun's experience in VMI was not a pleasant one. He recalled a chapter of his VMI student life:
ww2dbaseUpon returning to China, Sun was commissioned a general in the Nationalist Army. He served in the Northern Expedition against Chinese warlords when these warlords divided and ruled most of China proper. During the prologue to WW2 in China, he led troops against the Japanese in Shanghai, and was wounded seriously. After he recovered, he led a number of successful campaigns against the Japanese with his newly formed 38th Division. He was known as a general who consistently achieved victories, defeating Japanese units of equal size at a time when it took many Chinese casualties to cause one among the Japanese. One of Sun's proudest achievements took place 17-18 Apr 1942 at the Yenangyaung Rescue Mission when he led the 113th Regiment to Burma. His 1,300 strong force killed nearly 1,000 and captured 500 Japanese, rescuing two beseiged British brigades from destruction. During this mission, he also commanded a small group from the British Second Royal Tanks, the Essex Yeomentry, and remnants of Yorkshires, making him the first time a Chinese officer to command British troops. For his gallantry at Yenangyaung, King George VI honored Sun with the Commander of the British Empire (Order of the British Empire) medal.
ww2dbaseAfter WW2, when Mao's Communist Army took control of mainland China, Sun escaped to Taiwan with Chiang's government, and remained in the military in various roles, including the Chief of Staff of Armed Forces.
ww2dbaseDuring the late 1940s, the United States lost faith in Chiang's leadership and alledgedly approached Sun to overthrow Chiang. Sun, who lacked personal ambition, was said to have declined the American offer. In 1955, Chiang learned of this rumor and placed Sun under house arrest. He remained under arrest until 20 Mar 1988, shortly after President Chiang Chingkuo's death.
ww2dbaseSun passed away in Taiwan in 1990. Ten years later, the Control Yuan of the Republic of China posthumously cleared him of all charges.
ww2dbaseMore information on Sun Liren can be found at http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/~cchieh/sun/, a website published by Sun's adopted son, Chung Chieh.
ww2dbaseSources: General Sun Li Jen, Vinegar Joe's War, Wikipedia.
Sun Liren Timeline
|19 Nov 1899||Liren Sun was born.|
|17 Jul 1942||Chinese 38th Division under Sun Liren arrived at Ramgarh Training Center, India.|
|5 Oct 1943||Joseph Stilwell ordered Sun Liren to launch an offensive in northern Burma, but Sun hesitated.|
|12 Jun 1945||Sun Liren inspected Canadian troops and captured German weapons at General Harry Crerar's headquarters in the Netherlands.|
|19 Nov 1990||Liren Sun passed away.|
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Chiang Kaishek, 31 Jul 1937