Zhang Xueliang

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Zhang Xueliang (1900-2001) - the 'Young Marshal' - was a Chinese warlord and the son of the warlord Zhang Zuolin (the 'Old Marshal'). After Zhang Zuolin was assassinated by his Japanese former patrons in 1928, Zhang Xueliang became the predominant military leader in north-east China (Manchuria) but was forced to retreat from the region following the Mukden Incident of 1931 and the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. His armies moved to bases in north-west China, where they carried on a desultory war with Communist guerrillas in Shaanxi and neighbouring provinces. In 1936, in the so-called Xi'an Incident, while Chiang Kai-shek was carrying out a visit of inspection, he was abducted by officers loyal to Zhang, who wished to force Chiang to reverse his policy of fighting Communists in preference to fighting Japan. Chiang capitulated to the rebel demands, agreeing to form the Second United Front between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party; and Zhang, on a point of honour, siurrendered himself to Chiang. He was kept a close prisoner under house arrest for the remainder of Chiang's life, being taken - still a prisoner - to Taiwan when Chiang fled the mainland in 1949.