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Liu Bocheng

CPC Encyclopedia

Liu Bocheng

Liu Bocheng (December 4, 1892 - October 7, 1986) was a Chinese Communist military commander and Marshal of the People's Liberation Army.

Liu is known as a great strategist of China in modern history. Officially, Liu was recognised as a revolutionary, military strategist and theoretician, and one of the founders of the People's Liberation Army.

In 1936, after the Xian Incident, Chiang agreed to set up an alliance with the CPC in the fight against Japanese invaders. On July 7, 1937, after the Lugou Bridge Incident, general war between China and Japan broke out. Under the agreement with Chiang, CPC armies were reorganised into 8th Route Army, and Liu was appointed commander of the 129th Division, one of its three divisions. It was then that he began his long cooperation with Deng Xiaoping, his commissar at that time. Their cooperation and friendship lasted more than five decades. Their respective military and political talents complemented the other's perfectly, and there was a very high level of trust between them. They were said to have formed a perfect pair.

In 1945, Liu attended the 7th National Congress of the CPC in Yan'an, and prepared the counterattack against the Japanese and the forthcoming war with KMT armies. At the end of the war against the Japanese, the war-scourged Chinese people pleaded for peace. Chiang then invited Mao to Chongqing for peace talks, during which, Yan Xishan sent his armies to attack CPC territories in Shanxi under Chiang's authorisation. Liu and Deng led the Shangdang Campaign and defeated 13 divisions of Yan's troops totalling more than 35,000, and then headed east and annihilated another of Yan's army corps in the Handan Campaign. These two campaigns were the first experiences of the CPC army's shift from bushfight to campaign in movement, and proved to be valuable practice for the army groups campaign of CPC armies.

The War of Liberation broke out in 1946. Liu and Deng led several campaigns in movement, undermining the strategic attack of KMT armies. 

In April 1949, after peace talks between the CPC and the KMT were broken, Liu led his armies across the Yangtze River and conquered huge areas of Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Fujian, taking over Nanjing, the capital of the KMT. Liu was appointed mayor of Nanjing for a short while. With assistance from He Long, Liu and Deng launched new campaigns to liberate vast areas in southwestern China, by using long distance bypass and siege strategies. Among the areas conquered were his and Deng's own hometowns, Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan and Xikang. Liu Bocheng was conferred the rank of marshal in 1955.

In 1982, Liu retired due to worsening health problems. On October 7, 1986, Liu died in Beijing, at the age of 94.