Chen Yi (chŭn yē) [key], 1901–72, Chinese Communist general and statesman. Chen was a political instructor (1925) in the Kuomintang Whampoa Military Academy. After the Kuomintang-Communist alliance collapsed (1927), he joined the Fourth Red Army (1928) and was an early supporter of Mao Zedong. One of the outstanding Communist military commanders, Chen became acting commander (1941) and then commander (1946) of the New Fourth Army. After 1949 he was mayor of Shanghai and a dominant figure in E China. He succeeded Zhou Enlai as foreign minister (1958), serving during a period of intense rivalry between China and Russia for influence among developing nations. Chen was severely criticized during the Cultural Revolution despite attempts by Zhou to protect him. After 1967 his role was eclipsed by Zhou, who resumed the direction of foreign policy in his capacity as premier.
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