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Ex-Chinese warlord Chang Hsueh-liang dies at 100.

TAIPEI, Oct. 15 Kyodo

Former Chinese warlord Chang Hsueh-liang, who gained fame and blame for forcing Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek into an alliance with the Communists against the invading Japanese, died of pneumonia at a Honolulu hospital Sunday, TVBS satellite television network reported Monday. He was 100.

Chang was hospitalized with acute pneumonia Sept. 28 and had been on a respirator. But after his condition failed to improve, his family allowed doctors Wednesday last week to remove life support from Chang, citing his own wishes, according to the report.

Chang was born in northeastern China in 1901 as the eldest son of Manchurian warlord Chang Tso-lin, who controlled China's northeast together with other Manchurian generals after the demise of the Qing Dynasty.

Having been involved in military campaigns from a young age, Chang, also known as the Young Marshall, succeeded his father as regional warlord after the latter was killed in 1928 when Japanese agents blew up his train.

Chang gained his place in Chinese history for holding captive Chiang, the top commander of the Chinese Nationalists, for 12 days in Xi'an in December 1936 to force him into an alliance with the Communists against the invading Japanese.

Chang set free Chiang, whose forces had focused on routing Mao Zedong's communist forces, after he gave verbal assurances that he would make the Japanese his chief concern.

Consequently, Chiang's Nationalists formed a united front with the Communists when the Japanese launched their full-fledged invasion of China in 1937.

But Chiang never forgave the Young Marshal for his perceived betrayal. Chiang stripped Chang of all his posts and put him under house arrest for what has become known as the Xi'an incident and made him a national hero in the eyes of the Communists.

After the Communist takeover in China in 1949 Chiang took Chang along to Taiwan where he remained under house arrest in Taipei into the early 1990s.

He later resettled in Hawaii with his wife of more than 60 years Chao Yi-ti, who died last summer.

Taiwan Premier Chang Chun-hsiung last month visited Chang during a stopover in Honolulu, becoming the last Taiwan leader to come face to face with the former warlord.

In recent years, Chang, who had been living in a community for senior citizens, had to use a wheelchair to get around and was visibly frail.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Oct 22, 2001
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