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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 Reformed Government of the Republic of China.

Zhou Fohai
Zhou Fohai.JPG
Minister of Finance, Treasury, Foreign Affairs of the Nanjing Nationalist Government
In office
March 1940 – August 1945
Mayor of Shanghai
In office
December 1944 – August 1945
Preceded by Chen Gongbo
Personal details
Born 29 May 1897
Hunan, Qing Dynasty
Died 28 February 1948(1948-02-28) (aged 50)
Nanjing, Republic of China
Nationality  Republic of China
Political party

Communist Party of China

Naval Jack of the Republic of China.svg Kuomintang
Alma mater Kyoto Imperial University


Zhou was born in Hunan Province in the Empire of China, where his father was an official in the Qing Dynasty administration. After the Xinhai Revolution, he was sent to Japan for studies, attending the No. 7 Military Preparatory School (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, 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 and established the collaborationist Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China, Zhou soon followed. Within the new government, Zhou became successively the Minister of Finance, Treasury, Foreign Affairs and had control over part of the army. He was also police minister, treasurer and mayor of Shanghai after Chen Gongbo. 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. He 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.


  • David P. Barrett and Larry N. Shyu, eds.; Chinese Collaboration with Japan, 1932-1945: The Limits of Accommodation Stanford University Press 2001
  • John H. Boyle, China and Japan at War, 1937–1945: The Politics of Collaboration (Harvard University Press, 1972).
  • James C. Hsiung and Steven I. Levine, eds., China's Bitter Victory: The War with Japan, 1937–1945 (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1992)
  • Ch'i Hsi-sheng, Nationalist China at War: Military Defeats and Political Collapse, 1937–1945 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1982).
  • Frederick W. Mote, Japanese-Sponsored Governments in China, 1937–1945 (Stanford University Press, 1954).

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