Zhou Fohai (Chinese: 周佛海; pinyin: Zhōu Fóhǎi; Wade–Giles: Chou Fo-hai; Hepburn: Shū Futsukai; May 29, 1897 – February 28, 1948), Chinese politician, and second-in-command of the Executive Yuan in Wang Jingwei's collaborationist Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Zhou Fohai
Zhou Fohai.JPG
Zhou in 1945.
Vice President of the Republic of China
(Wang Jingwei regime)
In office
March 1940 – August 1945
PresidentWang Jingwei (1940–1944)
Chen Gongbo (1944–1945)
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Minister of Finance
(Wang Jingwei regime)
In office
March 1940 – August 1945
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byPosition Abolished
Mayor of Shanghai
In office
December 1944 – August 1945
Preceded byChen Gongbo
Succeeded byWu Guozhen
Personal details
Born29 May 1897
Hunan, Qing Dynasty
Died28 February 1948(1948-02-28) (aged 50)
Nanjing, Republic of China
Nationality Republic of China
Political partyCommunist Party of China
Alma materKyoto Imperial University


Zhou was born in Hunan Province in the Chinese Qing dynasty, where his father was an official in the Qing administration. After the Xinhai Revolution, he was sent to Japan for studies, attending the Seventh Higher School Zoshikan (the predecessor of Kagoshima University), followed by Kyoto Imperial University. During his stay in Japan, he became attracted to Marxism, and on his return to China, became one of the founders of the Chinese Communist Party. He attended the First Congress in Shanghai in July 1921,[1] but quit the Communist Party in 1924 to join the Kuomintang. He was assigned as a secretary to the Public Relations Department of the central government, but maintained strong ties with the party's leftist clique, headed by Wang Jingwei and Liao Zhongkai. He strongly opposed Chiang Kai-shek’s Northern Expedition and Chiang Kai-shek’s conduct of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

After Wang Jingwei broke ranks with the Kuomintang during World War II and established the collaborationist Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China, Zhou soon followed. Within the new government, Zhou became Vice President, Minister of Finance and had control over part of the Nanjing regime army. He was also Minister of Police (until 1941) and became Mayor of Shanghai after Chen Gongbo in 1944. He also maintained secret contacts with the Nationalists in Chongqing.

At the end of World War II, Zhou was captured and taken to Chongqing where he remained in custody for nearly a year. He was then sent to Nanjing in Jiangsu Province where he stood trial for treason due to his wartime roles. At his trial, Zhou argued that, "In the first half of the period when I participated in the Nanjing government, I attempted, by keeping in touch with the enemy, to turn things to the advantage of my country; in the latter half, I tried to turn them against the enemy by maintaining contact with my country [the Chongqing government]." Nonetheless, Zhou was sentenced to death but this was commuted to life imprisonment by Chiang Kai-shek, after his wife had interceded for him. He suffered from heart and stomach problems while in prison and died on February 28, 1948, aged 50.



  1. ^ "Dates with destiny for CPC". China Daily. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2020.


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