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Wang Zhi file photo [24037]

Wang Zhi

Given NameZhi
Born18 Mar 1926


ww2dbaseWang Zhi (Wade-Giles: Wang Chih) was born to Wang Da, a teacher, in Changsha County, Hunan Province, China in 1907. He moved to Beiping, China to attend the Qinghua School in 1918. The school was staffed by Americans and Chinese-Americans, and it was at this school that Wang was first introduced to the English language and American history. As he grew older, he began meeting students from Beiping University and Beiping Teachers College, who told them that Qinghua, having been funded by foreigners and oversaw by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (rather than the Ministry of Education like most other schools in large cities), produced only future servants of foreigners. Intrigued by such comments, he began exposing himself more to nationalism and soon was seen at anti-foreigner student protests. In 1924, he was one of the founders of the Ren Society, a nationalistic student organization. Between 1924 and 1926, he was one of the eight representatives from Qinghua School to the Beiping Student Association which organized student strikes. He participated in the 18 Mar 1926 protest against Beiping warlord Duan Qirui who was seen as a foreign appeaser; policemen loyal to Duan opened fire on the students, killing one of Wang's friends standing immediately next to him. In Aug 1926, he traveled to the United States aboard the passenger ship President McKinley. He studied history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Wisconsin, United States for some time while the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, United States considered his application. In the following year, he transferred to the Norwich Academy, a military academy, in Vermont, United States and graduated with a history degree in mid-1928. He enrolled at West Point in the fall of 1928 and graduated in Jun 1932. After touring the United States by car, he returned to China later in the year and became a English teacher at Hunan University. In 1933, he was invited by Minister of Finance Song Ziwen to join the paramilitary Preventive Services Brigade, which ostensibly guarded the transportation of salt from Communist raiders and bandits but in actuality it was a program to train soldiers in preparation for a defensive war against Japan.

ww2dbaseWhen WW2 broke out in China in Jul 1937, the six-regiment-strong Preventive Services Brigade was integrated into the Chinese Army, and Wang became the commanding officer of an engineering battalion. In the same month, he married Zuo Fang, the daughter of the quartermaster of his unit and a descendant of famed General Zuo Zongtang (Wade-Giles: Tso Tsung-tang, for whom the Chinese-American poultry dish was named after), in Changsha. In Apr 1938, he participated in a joint Nationalist-Communist operation that sabotaged Japanese supply depots behind the lines. During this operation he met Mao Zedong, who was a pupil of his father's; Mao tried, in failure, to recruit Wang to the Communist cause. In 1941, as a colonel, he was appointed the liaison officer to Douglas MacArthur's headquarters, which brought him to the Philippine Islands and then Australia. In Oct 1943, he arrived in Chongqing, China to personally deliver MacArthur's operational plans to Chinese President Chiang Kaishek. He was one of the four-member Chinese delegation aboard USS Missouri for the Japanese surrender ceremony. He successfully negotiated with MacArthur's staff for the delegation leader, General Xu Yongchang (Wade-Giles: Hsu Yung-chang), to sign immediate after US Admiral Chester Nimitz in recognition of China's struggle against Japan since 1937. As an English speaker, he also assisted Xu, who did not know English, in the signing of the surrender instrument.

ww2dbaseAfter the war, Major General Wang served in Tokyo, Japan, continuing his role as the chief Chinese Army liaison officer at MacArthur's headquarters. In 1946, he returned to China to serve as a senior intelligence chief at the Chinese military headquarters in Nanjing. He also served some time as the commandant of the Chinese Military Academy at Hankou, Hubei province, China. In 1949, he withdrew to Taiwan via Hong Kong after the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. He served as the expert on the United States on Chiang's advisory staff while serving concurrently as the head of the foreign language department at Soochow (Tung'oo) University in Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China. In 1967, he traveled to the United States to teach as a Fulbright scholar. He retired in 1976 and emigrated to the United States to join his son, who was a mathematics professor at Michigan State University. He passed away in the fall of 2001.

Stacey Bieler, Patriots or Traitors: A History of American Educated Chinese Students
The Norwich Record

Last Major Revision: Sep 2015

Wang Zhi Interactive Map


Xu Yongchang (far right) and the Chinese delegation aboard USS Missouri, Tokyo Bay, Japan, 2 Sep 1945Xu Yongchang signing the surrender document on behalf of China aboard USS Missouri, Tokyo Bay, Japan, 2 Sep 1945, photo 1 of 5
See all 5 photographs of Wang Zhi

Wang Zhi Timeline

18 Mar 1926 Wang Zhi witnessed the death of a fellow student during a student protest in Beiping, China.
25 Jun 1926 Wang Zhi graduated from the Qinghua School in Beiping, China.
16 Aug 1926 Wang Zhi boarded the passenger ship President McKinley at Shanghai, China.
26 Aug 1926 Wang Zhi arrived at Seattle, Washington, United States aboard the passenger ship President McKinley.
25 Oct 1943 Wang Zhi departed Perth, Australia for Chongqing, China via Ceylon.

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Wang Zhi Photo Gallery
Xu Yongchang (far right) and the Chinese delegation aboard USS Missouri, Tokyo Bay, Japan, 2 Sep 1945Xu Yongchang signing the surrender document on behalf of China aboard USS Missouri, Tokyo Bay, Japan, 2 Sep 1945, photo 1 of 5
See all 5 photographs of Wang Zhi

Famous WW2 Quote
"Goddam it, you'll never get the Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"

Captain Henry P. Jim Crowe, Guadalcanal, 13 Jan 1943

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