Nie Rongzhen

Nie Rongzhen (Chinese: 聂荣臻; Wade–Giles: Nieh Jung-chen; December 29, 1899 – May 14, 1992) was a prominent Chinese Communist military leader, and one of ten Marshals in the People's Liberation Army of China. He was the last surviving PLA officer with the rank of Marshal.

Nie Rongzhen
Marshal Nie Rongzhen.jpg
Marshal Nie Rongzhen
Native name
BornDecember 29, 1899
Kaixian, Sichuan, Qing China
DiedMay 14, 1992(1992-05-14) (aged 92)
Beijing, PRC
Allegiance People's Republic of China
Service/branchFlag of the People's Liberation Army.svg People's Liberation Army
Years of service1923–1987
Commands helddivision commander, Eighth Route Army,Commander-in-Chief, Northern China Military Region
Battles/warsNorthern Expedition, Long March, Hundred Regiments Offensive, Chinese Civil War
Other workPolitician, Writer, Military Instructor
Nie Rongzhen
Traditional Chinese聶榮臻
Simplified Chinese聂荣臻


Nie was born in Jiangjin County in Sichuan (now part of Chongqing municipality), the cosmopolitan and well-educated son of a wealthy family. In his 20s, Nie applied to the Université du Travail (University of Labour) in Charleroi, Belgium, with a scholarship from the Socialist Party, and was thus able to study science in Charleroi.

Political leaningsEdit

Zhou Enlai spent a night in Charleroi and met with Nie. Nie agreed to join the group of Chinese students in France on a work-study program, where he studied engineering and became a protégé of Zhou Enlai. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1923.

A graduate of the Soviet Red Army Military College and Whampoa Academy, Nie spent his early career first as a political officer in Whampoa's Political Department, where Zhou served as the Deputy Director, and in the Chinese Red Army.

World War IIEdit

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, he was first assigned as the deputy division commander of the 115th division of the Eighth Route Army, with the commander being Lin Biao, and in the late 1930s he was given a field command close to Yan Xishan's Shanxi stronghold.

Civil WarEdit

In the Chinese Civil War he commanded the Northern China Military Region, and with his deputy Xu Xiangqian, his force defeated Fu Zuoyi's forces in Tianjin near Beijing. During the Korean War, Nie took part in high level command decision making, military operations planning, and shared responsibility for war mobilization. Nie was made a Marshal of the PLA in 1955 and later ran the Chinese nuclear weapons program.

He established the Beijing Bayi School in 1947.[1]

Purge and rehabilitationEdit

He was purged during the Cultural Revolution, but was later rehabilitated and became vice chairman of the Central Military Committee, which controlled the nation's armed forces, and also became the vice chairman of the National People's Congress. He retired in 1987 and died in Beijing.

Personal lifeEdit

Nie had a daughter with Zhang Ruihua (张瑞华) in 1930, who was named Nie Li. She was imprisoned with her mother by the Kuomintang in 1934 and did not see her father again until 1945. Nie Li is a lieutenant general of the People's Liberation Army and the first woman to hold that rank.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wang, Jianfen; Chen, Ziyan (2018-06-01). "What we can learn from Xi's childhood". China Daily. Retrieved 2020-10-23.
  2. ^ "中科院院士丁衡高与妻子聂力中将简介" [Introduction to the Chinese Academy of Sciences scholar Ding Henggao and his wife Middle General Nie Li]. Meili de Shenhua (in Chinese). 10 April 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
Government offices
Preceded by
Ye Jianying
Mayor of Beijing
Succeeded by
Peng Zhen
Preceded by
Director of State Science and Technology Commission
Succeeded by
Fang Yi
Military offices
Preceded by
Xu Xiangqian
Chief of Staff of the Central Military Commission

Succeeded by
Su Yu
as the Chief of Staff of the PLA