Updated: 2004-06-25 09:24
Zhou Enlai, 1898-1976, Chinese Communist leader. A
member of a noted Mandarin family, he was educated in China at an
American-supported school and a university in Japan. His involvement in radical
movements led to several months imprisonment. After his release he studied
(1920-22) in France.
A founder of the Chinese Communist party, he established
(1922) the Paris-based Chinese Communist Youth Group. After a few months in
England, he studied in Germany. Zhou returned (1924) to China and joined Sun
Yat-sen , who was then cooperating with the Communists. He served (1924-26) as
deputy director of the political department at the Whampoa Military Academy, of
which Chiang Kai-shek was commandant.
After the Northern Expedition began, he worked as a labor organizer. In 1927
he directed a general strike in Shanghai, opening the city to Chiang's
Nationalist forces. When Chiang broke with the Communists, executing many of his
former allies, Zhou became a fugitive from the Kuomintang .
Later, holding prominent military and political posts in the Communist party,
he participated in the long march (1934-35) to Northwest China. During the
partial Communist-Kuomintang rapprochement (1936-46) he was the chief Communist
In 1949, with the establishment of the People's Republic of China at Beijing,
Zhou became premier and foreign minister. He headed the Chinese Communist
delegation to the Geneva Conference of 1954 and to the Bandung Conference
(1955). In 1958 he relinquished the foreign ministry but retained the
He was largely responsible for China's reestablishing contacts with the West
in the early 1970s before becoming ill. He died January, 1976.