The late General Sun Li Jen (1900-1990) was one of the most beloved figures
in recent Chinese history. All Chinese worldwide unlimited by political
lines dearly loved him because he made them proud and felt lives worth
living again. At a time Chinese were humiliated and massacred by invading
Japanese forces within China, the New 38th Division led by General Sun
defeated the malicious Japanese troops.|
The men and women led by General Sun also won an unprecedented international reputation when they professionally executed their duties in Burma and India, fighting along side with the allies including the Flying Tigers from the United States of America and Ground troops of the United Kingdom.
Sun Li Jen was injured in the battle of Aug. 13, 1937 when Japan invaded
Shanhai, China. Thirteen fragments of a rifle-grenade pierced through
his flesh, and some lodged in his bones. The latter stayed in him for
the rest of his life.
At that time, Chinese faught Japanese military might under this official flag.
For his superior leadership and great achievement when he led the Chinese expedition in Burma and India, Sun Li Jen received the Blue-Sky-White-Sun Medal of the Republic of China. This was the highest honor that can be bestowed to Chinese military leaders at the time, but Chinese people everywhere thought he deserved much more.
During his time, he was one the most widely beloved man for his bravery, his military talent, his leadership, and his love of his countrymen due to his deeds rather than due to artificial propaganda as some of the political figures have had. He is truly a people's hero rather than one made up by politicians and media.
However, his popularity with the people and his talent brought him tragic stories for the last thirty five (35) years of his life. Some of the stories will be added on this Internet site in the future.
This photograph was taken in 1943 soon after General Sun received the
Commander of the British Empire (CBE) medal awarded him by
King George VI of the United Kingdom.
Almost 7000 British soldiers and reporters were encircled by equal number of Japanese soldiers at Yenangyaung (an oil field), Burma. Rescue request came over the phone from Major General Scott (British) to General Sun soon after the New 38th Division entered Burma from China. General Sun requested to lead the entire New 38th Division to the rescue mission, but the Chinese Field Commander Gen. C.Y. Lo refused. General Sun led the 113th Regiment with only 1121 men for the rescue mission. The success was considered a miracle by many militial experts.
The reporters were grateful, and they told the world of the great Chinese military art of wars demonstrated by General Sun and his men. This mission became the well-known Battle of the Yenangyaung. King George VI rewarded him with the BCE, and honored the Regiment Commander F.W. Liu and some other officers with medals.
He also received the Legion of Merit - Officer from the United States of
America. Representing President Roosevelt, General J. Stilwell awarded
this medal in a simple ceremoney in the jungle at a moment of rest during
World War II. Some other officers have also received medals from the USA
government, and some is lined up here to receive them. A Silver Star
was awarded to an officier Mr. Chang (Zhang used in People's Republic of
China) who sacrificed his life during the well-known Battle of the
For 50 years, General Sun wanted to send this medal to some relatives of Chang in the Hunan Province on the Mainland China. He carefully preserved it for 50 years. When private communication was possible between Taiwan and Hunan, and most importantly, when the General regained his freedom after President Chiang Ching Kuo has died, he finally had one of his former subordinates to bring the medal and some of his own money to Chang's sister.
General Sun was highly regarded internationally as well as by Chinese everywhere, both sides of the Taiwan strait, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indochina, Europe, North and South and Americas.
The General was considered a distinguished alumnus by
The Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
This is a photograph of his portrait in the exhibit booth for Sun
Li Jen in VMI. At the General's funeral service, two VMI alumni cover
his casket with a VMI flag. This photo was taken by Dr. Chan H. Yeh,
a VMI aluminus, now the president of Idographix Inc., CA.
Sun Li Jen was highly regarded by Purdue University where he received his first degree in Civil Engineering, 1925. Purdue offered an Honorary Doctorate Degree in the 1950s, but Chiang did not allow him to come to the United States to receive it. As a result, the offer was withdrawn.
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