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Chinese women in history - soldiers, pirates, scholars, sages and rulers

Chen Lianshi - guerilla commander

Chen Lianshi (1900-1960) was a native of Yueci Country, Sichuan Province. She married Liao Yubi who hailed from a landlord's family. Like Chen, Liao had attended teachers' college prior to attending university (though Chen and Liao attended different teachers colleges).1 While in teacher's college, Liao became influenced by Communist ideology. Later, Liao and Chen met and wedded .2

Chen was accepted to Nanjing's Southeastern University in 1923. During a visit home two years later, she established the "East Sichuan Militia" together with her husband Liao Yubi.3 They returned to Southeastern University together and became student activists. In 1928, Chen joined the Chinese Communist Party. She and Liao received the party's mandate to organize the Huaying Mountain Guerilla unit. Her husband sold his share of the family real estate and property to buy ammunition and supplies.4 The couple led the guerilla unit jointly. In 1935, Liao was killed in action and Chen continued to fight, engaging in many covert operations in the areas of Huaying, Chongqing and Chengdu. She was known by the nickname of "Old Woman with a Gun in Each Hand". (She is not a unique phenomenon though - there were a few other female Chinese military commanders of advanced age who were graced with the same nickname)5 After the Sino-Japanese war, the Communist Party posted her back to Huaying to prepare for armed revolution.6

Chen continued to serve the Party after the Chinese Civil War, but was persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. After being ousted from the party, she worked in a labor re-education camp during her 50s. Chen Lianshi passed away at age 60. Her daughter's children have written a biography based on family correspondence, their grandmother's oral accounts of her life and interviews with her associates.7

X.T.


Notes
  1. People's Government of Huaying City Infoweb: Chen Lianshi (Chinese article)
    Chen Lianshi and her husband sell their home and join the revolution (Chinese article)
  2. Chen Lianshi and her husband sell their home and join the revolution (Chinese article)
  3. People's Government of Huaying City Infoweb: Chen Lianshi (Chinese article)
  4. Chen Lianshi and her husband sell their home and join the revolution (Chinese article)
  5. Chen Lianshi and her husband sell their home and join the revolution (Chinese article)
  6. People's Government of Huaying City Infoweb: Chen Lianshi (Chinese article)
  7. The Old Woman with a Gun in Each Hand: Chen Lianshi (Postscript) (Chinese article)