Alternate History

Liang Hongzhi (Rays of the Rising Sun)

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Liang Hongzhi
Chairman of the Reformed Government of China
In office
March 1938 – March 1940
Preceded by None; post established
Succeeded by None; post abolished
Deputy Prime Minister of the Reorganized National Government of China
In office
March 1940 – July 1952
President Wang Jingwei
Prime Minister Wang Kemin
Preceded by None; post established
Succeeded by Xiang Zhizhuang
Personal details
Born Liang Hongzhi
Changle, Fujian, Qing Dynasty
Died 1958
Beijing, Republic of China-Nanjing
Nationality Chinese
Political party National Reconstruction Party
Profession Secretary

Liang Hongzhi was a Chinese collaborator and politician during the Second Sino-Japanese War, having taken up the position as the chairman of the pro-Japanese Reformed Government of the Republic of China. He held the title from 1938, its formation, to 1940, when it was merged with Wang Jingwei's Reorganized National Government of China. In it, Liang held the post of Deputy Prime Minister, until 1952. He died from natural causes in Beijing in 1958.


Liang was a native of Changle in Fujian province. From 1888-1890, he lived in Japan, where his father had been dispatched to by the government of Qing Dynasty China. In 1903, he passed the Imperial examination and in 1905 was accepted to the predecessor to Beijing University. In 1908, he was sent as an official to Shandong province. After the Xinhai Revolution and the formation of the Republic of China, he was recruited to the nationalist government by Yuan Shikai. After the death of Yuan, he gave his allegiance to Duan Qirui, warlord of the Anhui clique, serving as secretary to Duan Zhigui. After the defeat of the Anhui clique in the Zhili–Anhui War, he fled to the Japanese concession in Tianjin.

He returned to Beijing in November 1924 after the Beijing coup and put in charge of a provisional government after an agreement with Zhang Zuolin and Feng Yuxiang, but fled again in 1928 after the successes of Chiang Kai-Shek's Northern Expedition. When a warrant for Liang's arrest was issued by the Kuomintang, he fled to Dalian in the Kwantung Leased Territory under Japanese jurisdiction together with Duan Qirui.

After the Manchurian Incident of 1931, Liang returned with Duan to Tianjin, and then to Shanghai and was with Duan when he died in 1937.

After the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army quickly overran northern and portions of eastern China, and the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters authorized the creation of a collaborationist regimes as part of its overall strategy to establish an autonomous buffer zones between North China and Japanese-controlled Manchukuo. The Provisional Government of the Republic of China, based in Beijing, was formed on December 14, 1937 with Wang Kemin as its president of the five provinces of northern China. The Reformed Government of the Republic of China, based in Nanjing, was subsequently created on 28 March 1938 in eastern China and Liang was recruited to take the post of chairman.

The Reformed Government of the Republic of China was assigned nominal control of the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui as well as the two municipalities of Nanjing and Shanghai. However, its activities were carefully prescribed and overseen by “advisors” provided by the Japanese China Expeditionary Army. The failure of the Japanese to give any real authority to the Reformed Government discredited it in the eyes of the local inhabitants, and made its existence of only limited propaganda utility to the Japanese authorities.

The Reformed Government was, along with the Provisional Government of the Republic of China, merged into Wang Jingwei's Nanjing Nationalist Government on March 30, 1940. In the new regime, Liang held the post of deputy prime minister, under Kemin (the prime minister). He held this until July 1952, overseeing the reconstruction of China after the war ended with a Japanese and collaborator victory in 1945. Liang's ultimate goal of the Nanjing government given authority was granted: this regime was given much more freedom than the past puppet governments. He died not too long afterwards in 1958.

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