Famous Chinese Military Leaders

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Vote for Your Favourite Chinese Military Leaders

 1 
Sun Tzu
(Chinese Military Strategist, Writer and Philosopher)

Sun Tzu
4
Birthdate: 0544 AD
Birthplace: Qi, China
Died: 0496 AD
Sun Tzu was a Chinese general from the Eastern Zhou period. He is known to have written The Art of War, which propagated various alternatives to battles, such as alliances and use of spies, to win wars. He is said to be the same as Sun Wu and Sun Bin.

 2 
Qianlong Emperor
(Emperor of China)

Qianlong Emperor
6
Birthdate: September 25, 1711
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Died: February 7, 1799
The Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty was the fourth son of the Yongzheng Emperor and reigned over China from 1735 to 1796. Known for the economic prosperity and military prowess his kingdom gained under his rule, he continued to indirectly rule as the Retired Emperor even after his abdication.

 3 
Cao Cao
(Politician, Poet, Warlord)

Cao Cao
4
Birthdate: 0155 AD
Birthplace: Bozhou, Anhui, China
Died: March 15, 0220

Cao Cao was a Chinese warlord, poet, and statesman. He played an important role in laying the foundations for the state of Cao Wei, which was formed shortly after his death. Although he was posthumously honoured with the title Emperor Wu of Wei, Cao Cao never ruled as an emperor, but kept Emperor Xian under his control.

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 4 
Lu Bu
(Chinese Army General and Warlord of the 2nd Century)

Lu Bu
4
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Wuyuan Commandery, China
Died: February 7, 0199

 5 
Guan Yu
(Military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China)

Guan Yu
4
Birthdate: 0160 AD
Birthplace: Yuncheng, Shanxi, China
Died: 0220 AD

Guan Yu was nicknamed Beautiful Beard for his long, flowing beard. Featured in literary works such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Guan was a Chinese military general who served Liu Bei of the Eastern Han dynasty. Lord Guan is now revered as a deity in Chinese folk culture.

 6 
Mao Zedong
(Communist Leader of China)

Mao Zedong
14
Birthdate: December 26, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shaoshan, Xiangtan, China
Died: September 9, 1976

One of the most significant and controversial leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong was a communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China which he governed as the chairman of Chinese Communist Party. He is appreciated for numerous development work but is criticised for his authoritarian regime and policies which resulted in millions of deaths .

 7 
Liu Bei
(Founder of the Chinese Shu Han Dynasty)

Liu Bei
4
Birthdate: 0161 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding, China
Died: June 10, 0223

Liu Bei was a warlord in the Eastern Han dynasty. He is credited with founding the state of Shu Han. Liu Bei went on to reign as the emperor of Shu Han from 221 until his death in 223. Liu Bei is best remembered for his remarkable skills as a leader and politician. His life has inspired several TV series.

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 8 
Baiju Noyan
(Mongol Commander, Who Served Ögedei Khan and Led Campaigns in Georgia, Persia and Anatolia )

Baiju Noyan
4
Birthdate: 1201 AD
Birthplace: Mongol Empire
Died: 1260 AD

 9 
Sima Yi
(General)

Sima Yi
3
Birthdate: 0179 AD
Birthplace: Wen County, Henan, Jiaozuo, China
Died: September 7, 0251

Sima Yi was a Chinese politician and military general. He served as the regent of Cao Wei during the tripartite division of China in the third century AD. Sima Yi is best remembered for defending Cao Wei from several invasions led by Cao Wei's arch-rival Shu. He then went on to serve as Wei's de facto primary authority.

 10 
Yue Fei
(Military General Whose Expertise in Martial Arts Made Him a National Folk Hero in China)

Yue Fei
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1103
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Anyang, China
Died: January 28, 1142

Yue Fei was a Chinese military general best remembered for leading the Southern Song forces during the Jin–Song Wars in the 12th century. Fei is depicted in Jin Guliang's famous book Wu Shuang Pu and is widely regarded as a national folk hero in China.

 11 
Wang Jingwei
(Premier of the Republic of China (1932-35))

Wang Jingwei
5
Birthdate: 1883 AD
Birthplace: Sanshui District, Foshan, China
Died: November 10, 1944
Wang Jingwei lost both his parents in childhood. He grew up to become a close associate of Sun Yat-sen. He was the first president of the Republic of China. His collaboration with Japan to form a government in Nanjing made him a traitor in the eyes of his countrymen. 

 12 
Nurhaci
(Jurchen chieftain who rose to prominence in the late 16th century in Manchuria)

Nurhaci
3
Birthdate: May 14, 1559
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Fushun, China
Died: September 30, 1626

Nurhaci was a Jurchen chieftain who reigned as the Khan of Later Jin for 10 years. He is credited with uniting and reorganizing several Jurchen tribes. His attack and conquest of Ming dynasty laid the foundation for the formation of the Qing dynasty, which was founded by his descendants in 1636. His life inspired the 2005 TV series, Taizu Mishi.

 13 
Zhang Fei
(Military General During the Late Easter Han Dynasty Who Fought in Many Battles Alongside Warlord Liu Bei)

Zhang Fei
3
Birthdate: 0168 AD
Birthplace: Zhuozhou, Baoding
Died: 0221 AD

Zhang Fei was a military general who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty. Zhang Fei was one of the earliest to join warlord Liu Bei and accompanied him in almost all of his early exploits. Alongside Liu Bei, Zhang Fei fought in many battles. His story is dramatized in the 14th century novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. 

 14 
Wang Jian
(One of the Greatest Generals of the 'Warring States' Period)

Wang Jian
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: China

Wang Jian was a Chinese military general who lived during the Warring States period. He served in the State of Qin and under his command, the army of Qin conquered the states of Chu, Yan, and Zhao. Along with Li Mu, Lian Po, and Bai Qi, Wang is regarded as one of the greatest generals of the Warring States period.

 15 
Dong Zhuo
(Politician and Kingmaker in the Late Eastern Han Dynasty)

Dong Zhuo
3
Birthdate: 0138 AD
Birthplace: Min County, Dingxi, China
Died: May 22, 0192

Dong Zhuo was a Chinese politician, military general, and warlord. He served as a general and influential minister of the imperial government. In an attempt to become the de facto ruler, Dong coerced Emperor Shao of Han to renounce the throne and replaced him with his younger half-brother, Emperor Xian of Han. Dong Zhuo has been immortalized in video games. 

 16 
John Birch
(20th-century Baptist missionary and World War II-era United States Office of Strategic Services intelligence officer)

John Birch
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1918
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Uttarakhand, India
Died: August 25, 1945

John Birch was an American missionary and Baptist minister. A US Army Air Forces military intelligence captain, Birch also played a key role during the Second World War, serving as an OSS agent in China. Killed during a confrontation with Communist soldiers in China, John Birch was posthumously honored with the Army Distinguished Service Medal.

Zuo Zongtang
3
Birthdate: November 10, 1812
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xiangyin County
Died: September 5, 1885

 18 
Peng Dehuai
(Defense Minister of China (1954 – 1959))

Peng Dehuai
3
Birthdate: October 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Xiangtan County, Xiangtan, China
Died: November 29, 1974

Peng Dehuai was a Chinese Communist military leader who served as the Defense Minister of China from 1954 to 1959. Peng's attempt to reform China's military contradicted Mao Zedong's political goals as Peng wanted the military to be less political. Although he was imprisoned by the Mao government, Peng is counted among the most successful Communist generals of all time.  

 19 
An Lushan
(General)

An Lushan
4
Birthdate: November 30, 0703
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: China
Died: January 29, 0757

 20 
Wu Sangui
(Military general)

Wu Sangui
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1612
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gaoyou, South Zhili, Ming dynasty, China
Died: October 2, 1678

 21 
Zhang Zuolin
(Warlord)

Zhang Zuolin
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1875
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Haicheng, Liaoning, Qing dynasty, China
Died: June 4, 1928

Chinese bandit and warlord Zhang Zuolin initially ruled over Manchuria and then became the military dictator of the Republic of China. Later, the Nationalist Party’s march into China forced him to move his troops out of Beijing. He died when his train became the target of a bomb blast.

 22 
Fu Hao
(Military general)

Fu Hao
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 1200 AD

Fu Hao, or Lady Hao, the legendary figure of the Shang dynasty, was a high priestess and the only female military general of her time. Known for her successful battle against the Tu-Fang tribe, she was buried with valuables and 16 people who would be her servants in the afterlife.

 23 
Bai Chongxi
(First defense minister of the Republic of China from 1946 to 1948)

Bai Chongxi
2
Birthdate: March 18, 1893
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Guilin, China
Died: December 2, 1966

 24 
Wang Yangming
(Calligrapher)

Wang Yangming
2
Birthdate: October 26, 1472
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yuyao, Zhejiang Province
Died: January 9, 1529

 25 
Li Zongren
(Politician)

Li Zongren
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1890
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Q10353346
Died: January 30, 1969

 26 
Meng Tian
(Inventor)

Meng Tian
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Qin, China
Died: 0210 AD

Qin dynasty military general Meng Tian was also an inventor. Serving emperor Shihuangdi, Meng was assigned with the task of building a wall to fend off the attacks of the Central Asian tribesmen, resulting in the Great Wall of China. He is also credited with inventing a form of harpsichord.

 27 
Zeng Guofan
(Political Leader)

Zeng Guofan
2
Birthdate: November 26, 1811
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Shuangfeng, China
Died: March 12, 1872

Chinese military general and Confucian scholar Zeng Guofan is best remembered for his efforts in crushing the Taiping Rebellion. Apart from being a court scholar of the Qing rulers, he also served on various prominent boards. His writings have been preserved as a collection of 156 books.

 28 
Duan Qirui
(Warlord)

Duan Qirui
2
Birthdate: March 6, 1865
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hefei, China
Died: November 2, 1936

Duan Qirui was a Chinese politician and warlord who served as the premier of the Republic of China. From 1916 to 1920, he was one of the most powerful men in China. He played an important role in the Battle of Yangxia, where he led the Second Army Corps and succeeded in re-capturing Hankou and Hanyang.

 29 
Mao Xinyu
(Military personnel who is grandson of Mao Zedong)

Mao Xinyu
3
Birthdate: January 17, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Beijing, China

 30 
Huang Xing
(Revolutionary)

Huang Xing
2
Birthdate: October 24, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Huangxing, Changsha, China
Died: October 31, 1916

Huang Xing was a Chinese politician and revolutionary leader who served as the first supreme commander of the Republic of China. He is credited with founding the Kuomintang (KMT), one of the most popular political parties in Taiwan. In a 2011 historical drama film titled 1911, Huang Xing was played by actor and martial artist Jackie Chan.

 31 
Wu Peifu
(Warlord)

Wu Peifu
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Penglai, China
Died: December 4, 1939

Wu Peifu was a Chinese warlord who played important roles in several battles, such as the Zhili-Anhui War, First Zhili-Fengtian War, Second Zhili-Fengtian War, and Northern Expedition. Over the course of his career, he received many honors, including the Order of Rank and Merit, Order of the Precious Brilliant Golden Grain, and Order of the Rising Sun. 

 32 
Fuk'anggan
(Military Leader)

Fuk'anggan
2
Birthdate: 1753 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 1796 AD

 33 
Bo Yibo
(Political Leader)

Bo Yibo
2
Birthdate: February 17, 1908
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Taiyuan, China
Died: January 15, 2007

Bo Yibo was a Chinese military and political leader. After joining the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) at the age of 17, he went on to become one of the most respected Chinese political figures in the 1980s and 1990s. During his career, he held important posts, such as chairman of State Economic Commission and Communist China's first Minister of Finance.

 34 
Zhu Wen
(General)

Zhu Wen
2
Birthdate: December 5, 0852
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dangshan County, Suzhou, China
Died: July 8, 0912

 35 
Ronglu
(Political leader)

Ronglu
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1836
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: China
Died: April 11, 1903

Ronglu was a Manchu military and political leader who lived during the late Qing dynasty. A close associate of Empress Dowager Cixi, Ronglu served in many prominent military and civil positions, such as the Grand Council, Viceroy of Zhili, Grand Secretary, Zongli Yamen, Secretary of Defence, Wuwei Corps Commander, Nine Gates Infantry Commander, and Beiyang Trade Minister.

 36 

Bayan of the Merkid
2
Birthdate: 1280 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 1340 AD

 37 
Xu Caihou
(Military general)

Xu Caihou
2
Birthdate: June 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wafangdian, China
Died: March 15, 2015

 38 
Ban Chao
(Military General)

Ban Chao
2
Birthdate: 0032 AD
Birthplace: Xianyang, China
Died: 0102 AD

 39 
Wang Zhen
(Politician)

Wang Zhen
1
Birthdate: April 11, 1908
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Liuyang, Changsha, China
Died: March 12, 1993

Wang Zhen was a Chinese political figure who served as the fourth Vice President of China. Counted among the Eight Elders of the Communist Party of China, Wang Zhen played an important role in the development of the party, which is currently the sole governing political party of China.

 40 
Chen Yi
(Chinese military leader)

Chen Yi
1
Birthdate: August 26, 1901
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lezhi, China
Died: January 6, 1972

Chen Yi was a Chinese communist politician and military commander. One of the most influential politicians of his generation, Chen Yi served as Mayor of Shanghai between 1949 and 1958. In 1955, he became a Marshal of the People's Liberation Army. From 1958 to 1972, he served as the Foreign Minister of China.

 41 
Ye Ting
(Military leader)

Ye Ting
1
Birthdate: September 10, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Shexian, China
Died: April 8, 1946

 42 
Li Lisan
(Political leader)

Li Lisan
1
Birthdate: November 18, 1899
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Liling, Zhuzhou, China
Died: June 22, 1967

Born in Hunan and educated in Paris, Li Lisan went back to China to join the Communist Party, becoming one of its top leaders later. He is remembered for his strategy known as the Li Lisan line. He committed suicide when he was attacked during the Cultural Revolution.

 43 
Guo Ziyi
(Chinese general)

Guo Ziyi
1
Birthdate: 0697 AD
Birthplace: Huaxian, China
Died: July 9, 0781

 44 
Xin Qiji
(Poet)

Xin Qiji
1
Birthdate: May 28, 1140
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jinan, China
Died: October 3, 1207

 45 
Xu Da
(General)

Xu Da
1
Birthdate: 1332 AD
Birthplace: Fengyang, China
Died: January 31, 1385

 46 
Tang Jiyao
(Warlord)

Tang Jiyao
1
Birthdate: August 14, 1883
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Qujing, China
Died: May 23, 1927

 47 
Li Xiucheng
(Military Commander)

Li Xiucheng
1
Birthdate: 1823 AD
Birthplace: Teng County, Wuzhou, China
Died: August 7, 1864

 48 
Li Keyong
(Military commander)

Li Keyong
1
Birthdate: October 24, 0856
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: China
Died: February 24, 0908

 49 

Wiman of Gojoseon
1
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Yan

 50 
Yang Dezhi
(Military official)

Yang Dezhi
1
Birthdate: January 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hunan, China
Died: October 25, 1994

Chinese military general Yang Dezhi was a Korean War veteran and has also led the Sino–Vietnamese War. Born to a blacksmith, he initially worked as a miner and joined revolutionary activities at 16. During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, Yang opposed military action in Beijing.