Li Zhaozheng


Lǐ Zhǎozhèng
里找正
Kakuei Tanaka 19720707.jpg
Li Zhaozheng in 1965
3rd State Chairman of Xiaodong
In office
7th September 1959 – 31st March 1970
PremierChen Xuechang
Lu Zhaohui
Preceded byMa Renzhong
Succeeded bySun Yuting
Vice-Premier of Xiaodong
In office
20nd October 1952 – 7th September 1959
PremierChen Xuechang
Preceded byQiao Shaogu
Succeeded byLi Shengjun
Member of the State Presidium of Xiaodong
In office
20nd October 1952 – 21st March 1970
Personal details
Born(1900-12-08)December 8, 1900
Imperial flag of Xiaodong.png Kuoqing, Luoyuan Province, Xiaodong
DiedJune 21, 1978(1978-06-21) (aged 77)
Flag of the Brabantine Revolution.svg Verlois, Gaullica
Political partyXiaodong Regeneration Society
Spouse(s)Li Ningmei (1915-1936)
Lu Fangliang (1941-1978)
ChildrenLi Rishi
Lu Guojiao
Lu Yanling
Military service
AllegianceImperial flag of Xiaodong.png Heavenly Xiaodongese Empire (1918-1920)
Branch/serviceImperial flag of Xiaodong.png Heavenly Xiaodongese Army (1918-1920)
Battles/warsSenrian-Xiaodongese War

Li Zhaozheng (Xiaodongese: 里找正; Lǐ Zhǎozhèng; 8th December 1900-21st June 1978, aged 77) was a Xiaodongese politician who served as the State Chairman of Xiaodong and Chairman of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society from September 1959 following the death of Ma Renzhong to March 1970 when he was ousted in the 1970 Xiaodongese coup d'état. He previously served as vice-premier from 1952 to 1959, secretary-general of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society from 1952 to 1959, Minister of Industry and Public Enterprises from 1947 to 1952 and Governing Mayor of Baiqiao and Governor of the Luoyuan Province from 1940 to 1947.

Born in a wealthy landowners family, Li enlisted in the army in 1918 but moved shortly afterwards to work in the Finance Ministry. During the Great War Li worked for the ministry of munitions initially as a low level bureaucrat before rising through the ministry due to his ability to handle the complex food distribution system in Xiaodong during the war. Li was during his time in the Ministry accused of using criminal connections and slave labour to generate enough rice to meet military quota's. In 1934 when Lu Keqian was appointed Munitions Minister Li became one of his closest associates.

Li was captured by Senrian forces in 1935 following the fall of Baiqiao and briefly detained in a Senrian prison camp in the city before being let free. He subsequently joined Lu Keqian's Xiaodong Regeneration Society shortly following the Corrective Revolution once again becoming part of Lu's inner circle despite his non-military background. Li during the Xiaodongese Civil War was responsible for accumulating a large amount of funds for Lu's forces through the yuanminghui (criminal syndicates). For this reason Li accrued infamy amongst Lu's supporters as "one-eyed Xu's dog" (a reference to yuanminghui leader Xu Huangzhi) but was respected by Lu for his talents and loyalty.

Following the victory of Lu's forces in 1940 Li was appointed Governor of the Luoyan province and Governing Mayor of Baiqiao. Initially a supporter of state chairman Wu Jinmao's hardline national principalist faction within the Regeneration Society following Lu's death in 1945 he shifted to support Legislative Council president Ma Renzhong's bureaucratic faction. As Governor of Luoyan and Baiqiao Li was able to accumulate a wide network of supporters within the Regeneration Society from the city and province which continued after he resigned from both positions in 1947 to take up the role of Minister of Industry and Public Enterprises. Through a mixture of his skill in navigating Xiaodong's bureaucratic state alongside his strong factional support and connections to organised crime Li was recognised as one of the more effective members of the government leading him to be promoted by Ma to vice-premier in 1952 that entitled him a seat on the State Presidium, the highest governing body of the state. Li also became Secretary-General of the Xiaodong Regeneration Society which gave him control over personnel within the Society enabling him to promote his own factional supporters and marginalise support for premier Chen Xuecheng. His 1941 marriage to Lu Fangliang, Lu Keqian's daugther, also increased his standing.

Following Ma's death in 1959 Li was able to outmanoeuvre Chen to become State Chairman and thereby Xiaodong's paramount leader both due to the strong support from his own faction within the Xiaodongese government and the fears of the former-socialist Chen being to left-wing.

Known as a hardliner towards Senria but more moderate in domestic affairs, as State Chairman Li continued the economic doctrine of dirigisme, Three Fundamentals foreign policy and consensus-based government of his predecessor, whilst becoming more hardline in regards to Senria - under his rule, Senrian Prime Minister Tokiyasu Kitamura was assassinated by Xiaodongese agents. Li's government also promoted social conservatism and cracked down on pro-democracy forces, although it tolerated the so-called "loyal dissidents". Under Li, inflation increased as the Xiaodongese economy started to see a slowndown in the impressive growth that defined the 1950's - as a result, Li shifted focus from heavy industry to light industry. In 1964 he repressed the 1964 Chanwanese riots and ended the autonomy of Chanwan enforcing direct rule.

Li's government over time became more renown for high levels of corruption and links with organised crime. In 1966 following Chen's death he nominated his brother-in-law and son of Lu Keqian Lu Zhaohui to the position of premier, an act that alienated the military alongside some of his key supporters. Continuing corruption and a decline in rice prices in 1970 led to the surprise 1970 coup d'état by elements of the military that sought to reinforce more ideological governance in Xiaodong. After failing to secure the support Shujichu chief and key powerbroker Sun Yuting during the coup Li resigned as State Chairman and went into exile alongside his family to Gaullica.

Li would remain in Verlois for the rest of his life with the new military government denying his re-entry into Xiaodong out of the fear that he would attempt to lead an uprising to place himself back in office. He died in 1978, with the official cause of death being a car accident. However there have been persistent rumours that his death was caused by Shujichu agents, members of yuanminghui groups due to his criminal connections or the Senrian Tokkeitai. His family was allowed to re-enter Xiaodong six years later by then-State Chairman Qian Xingwen, with his daughter Lu Yanling subsequently becoming involved in politics.

Initially a very popular leader, Li's reputation has declined over time due to the corrupt nature of his governance and connections with organised crime. His immediate successors pointed to the Li regime as a "betrayal of the national principalist spirit" and of "bureaucratising the corrective revolution". However since the repression of the 1970's and economic dislocation of the 1980's and 1990's Li has undergone somewhat more positive assessments as an opportunist yet successful leader who engineered significant economic growth and social stability.

Early life and education

Li Zhaozheng was born in Rongzhuo in Xiaodong in 1892. He was the fourth son of a wealthy landlords and the second to come from the landlords wife rather than one of his concubines. As a young man, Li enjoyed wrestling, drinking and entertaining friends.

Li initially hoped to advance into the ranks of the scholar-bureaucrats, but after failing an imperial examination decided instead to join the Heavenly Xiaodongese Army in 1912, becoming a lieutenant by virtue of his noble heritage. In 1914 he married Li Ningmei, who was eight years in his junior and had his first child, a boy named Li Rushi, a year later.

Li Zhaozheng as a member of the Heavenly Xiaodongese Army
In 1922 Li was appointed as a military attaché in Ankoren, where he was present in the Ashura Revolution, Ankoreni Revolutionary War and the Azkuri Genocide. Writing at the time, Li stated that the new Ankoreni government could be a model Xiaodong could learn from.

In 1924 Li moved back to Xiaodong was picked to be one of the original members of the Peace Preservation Brigades where he was deployed in Duljun to oversee the resettlement of ethnic Duljunese to coal mines in northern Xiaodong through de facto death marches, drawing inspiration from tactics used by the Ankoreni authorities in the Azkuri genocide. Li was personally involved in the operation of these resettlement programs and was close to deputy Peace Preservation Brigade deputy leader Shen Jinping.In 1925 he became affiliated with the Xiaodong Expansion Group.

Li was in 1926 a member of the Ministry of Military Planning, where he became an advocate for the annexation of Senria as a prefecture of Xiaodong and the depopulation of the Senrian population. When the Senrian-Xiaodongese War started he became an architect of the genocidal policy in Senria. In particular Li was one of the formulators of the policy of death marches - Li, who had organised such marches in Duljun, suggested that Senrian cities should be evacuated of their citizens and that these citizens to be subject to a death march to extermination zones. According to Li, such marches would serve a dual purpose of both depopulating Senrian cities so that Xiaodongese people could move in and resulted in the fast disposal of unwanted Senrians.

The policy of death marches was first used during the Senrian Genocide in the Matumori extermination zone in March 1928, wherein it was deemed a success. As a result from 1928-1930 Li organised the policy of forced deportations from Senrian settlements in occupied territories, at first ordering Senrian civilians to be transferred to small towns, villages and slums in cities before then deporting them via death marches to extermination zones proper. In 1930, Li was tasked with the deportation of the entire city of Bantian (Sakata). Li accomplished this task in 3 months between June-September 1930, with citizens of the city being deported in stages. By October 1930, the majority of the population of Bantian had been moved to makeshift villages around the city. In November 1931 Li ordered 3,000 citizens of Bantian to be moved to several extermination zones to be liquidated.

In 1931 Li was recalled to Xiaodong after being promoted to the rank of captain. Li subsequently started to further develop genocidal policy in Tinzhan and Duljun where he called for the depopulation of the largest Duljunese city, Henjintao, a process that started in January 1932. However following the March 8 coup and installation of the Taiyai Emperor Li was dismissed from this role. Following the signing of the Treaty of Keishi Li joined the Xiaodong Regeneration Society and in 1934 was involved in the Corrective Revolution.

During the Xiaodongese Civil War Li led forces opposed to the independent Duljunese republic formed by Jamuken Mu. Li commanded forces during the 1937 northern offensive which saw several successive victories by Xiaodongese forces in Duljun, culminating in the siege of Henjintao. Li's army took Henjintao on the 18th December 1937, but were unable to push further into the north of Duljun due to the army's exhausted supply lines. Li was redeployed to serve as the military governor of Henjintao with general Zhou Hongkui leading the final offensive against Duljunese forces in March 1938.

Government career

In 1938 Li was promoted to the Council of Ministers by Lu Keqian as the Minister of International Trade as well as the executive committee of the Regeneration Society. As International Trade Minister Li applied a series of tariffs to foreign goods whilst attempting to renegotiate several loans accrued during the civil war. In 1943 his wife Li died of tuberculosis.

During the power struggle that emerged in Xiaodongese politics in the late 1940's between the bureaucratic faction led by Ma Renzhong who wanted to create a one-party state and a military faction led by Yu Changshao Li aligned with Ma. Li's quickly became one of Ma's strongest allies being promoted to the position of Minister of Defence and Military Planning in 1944. As Minister of Defence and Military Planning Li started to purge the military of supporters of State Chairman Yu, with pro-Yu military officers being forced to resign in large numbers. Li supported Ma during the attempted coup by Yu in 1946 and subsequently became influential in the creation of a centralised organisation within the Regeneration Society. Li became the de facto number two of the regime after Ma when he was promoted to Minister of International Affairs in 1948, being ranked above the nominal Second Minister Wu Junji. In 1950, Li met the daughter of Lu Keqian, Lu Fangliang and married her shortly afterwards. Together they would have two children - two girls, Lu Guojiao born in 1952 and Lu Yanling born in 1954.

Li during this period was crucial in developing Xiaodongese foreign policy, known as the Three Fundamentals. These stressed that Xiaodong should have three overriding foreign policy objectives - the international isolation of Senria, make Xiaodong into a regional power in Borea and to contain communism and other forms of revolutionary socialism.

In 1951 Ma fell ill to dysentery, leading to preparations for his succession. Despite his preeminent position in the regime Li did not have the factional backing to ascend to the leadership, lacking the support of Second Minister Wu Junji despite having the support of State Chairwomen Tao Guangmei, his mother-in-law. As such it was decided that the Presiding Officer of the State Presidium, Chen Xuechang, would become First Minister whilst Li became Vice-Chairman of the Regeneration Society albeit not Second Minister (with Li Dongyuan becoming that position).

Despite Chen being seen as a hardliner, in office he soon implemented several liberal reforms that became known as the Xiaodongese Spring. These included a liberalisation of the press, greater rights to protest and form political associations and the gradual abolition of cultural controls. Li opposed these political developments and soon became seen as the most prominent leader of the internal party opposition to Chen, being aided by the connections his wife Lu Fangliang had as a member of the Lu dynasty. In 1956 Chen performed a u-turn and reimposed several authoritarian policies, leading to a collapse of his support amongst moderate members of the regime. Li subsequently at a Regeneration Society Plenum in 1957 was able to cajole enough delegates into voting to remove Chen from the leadership, with Li being promoted in his place.

State Chairman

Upon coming to power Li appointed his long time colleague and friend Shen Jinping as Second Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Regeneration Society. The appointment was considered controversial amongst the ruling elite, with Li being accused of cornyism. During his time in office Li promoted predominantly his own allies, who were centred in the Shujichu and former Peace Preservation Brigades. Li's consensus style of government resulted in political stagnation, with the ruling elite become a oligarchic gerontocracy under Li. He also allowed his wife Lu - whom he appointed Presiding Officer of the State Presidium - to have a much greater role in politics leading to her to be nicknamed as the "real First Minister". This close knit style of decision making became controversial, especially regarding Li's candidates for State Chairman - first upstart Mayor of Rongzhuo and internal rival Qiao Zhaohui in 1960 thereby removing him from any real influence and in 1967 Lu Deijiang the son of Lu Keqian and brother to Lu Fangliang, leading to accusations of a family dictatorship.

Economic policy

Upon coming to power, Li began to reform the Xiaodongese economy. His predecessor Ma Renzhong first as Financial Minister under Lu Keqian and then as First Minister created a command economy where economic planners in the financial ministry set targets for nationalised industry and privately owned industrial conglomerates under three year plans, with the economy essentially being run by these planners. Under Ma there had been a focus on heavy industry such as coal, steel and iron production alongside the development of an electricity grid. This had resulted in massive economic growth in the so-called decade of development and led to Xiaodong to become an industrialised state. However, this growth was almost exclusively concentrated in heavy industry, resulting in a massively imbalanced economy where agriculture remained largely inefficient and suffered from a lack of investment whilst light industry was small and underdeveloped. Under Ma, in order to stimulate growth in the light industrial sector small businesses were often privatised leading to bursts of economic growth before they were re-nationalised under the state. This did lead to periods of economic growth within the light industrial sector but soon began to destabilise light industrial production with the sector soon become stagnant. In addition, there had been unrest as whilst there was high economic growth living standards were not noticeably beginning to improve.

Li speaking at the 1962 Regeneration Society plenum.
Upon coming to power Li recognised that the economy was beginning to stagnate and that light industry was beginning to enter a state of collapse. After having visited several countries in Nordania Li believed that Xiaodong with its developed heavy industrial sector was ready to embrace a consumerist culture. In a speech made to the State Presidium in June 1959, Li stated "Xiaodongese socialism has so far benefited the state, now it must benefit the people in equal measure".

Li in 1959 unveiled a new economic policy of consumerism which aimed to transform Xiaodong into a consumer society. Li believed that the Xiaodongese state had to appease the Xiaodongese people by giving them martial comforts in order to maintain social stability, and feared social unrest if living standards did not noticeably improve. In 1959 light industry received massive investment, with consumer goods starting to be mass produced such as new fashions, cars, domestic goods such as hoovers and ovens. Most light industry was privatised and in many cases businesses were merged to produce mass production lines for consumer goods. It was theorised by economic planners that light industry under the command economy would record the same rapid economic growth as heavy industry had done under the decade of development. Li stated that by 1980 all Xiaodongese households would have a television, fridge and free heating, and that by the year 2000 all healthcare, transport and basic services would be provided free of charge by the state.

This growth of a consumerist culture as a result of the dramatic expansion of light industry was popular amongst the Xiaodongese people. However economically the policy was disappointing - the command economy was not able to adequately meet consumer demand, leading to shortages. Nevertheless a degree of economic growth occurred under Li's rule and the dramatic rise in living standards meant the 1960's was seen as the economic "golden age" of Xiaodong, moreso than the decade of development.

Duljun

Since the end of the Second Duljunese-Xiaodongese War the region of Duljun had possessed a degree of self-government under the Military Directorate of Duljun, wherein Xiaodongese military officials and local Duljunese leaders exercised control over the region rather than the central government. The central government had planned for the eventual unification with Duljun and the rest of Xiaodong proper, but Duljun's underdevelopment and concerns over ethnic policy in Duljun frustrated such efforts.

Ethnic tensions in the area boiled over when several pro-separatist Duljunese leaders were publicly executed for spreading anti-Xiaodongese propaganda in Duljun. Riots erupted in Henjintao, with ethnic Duljunese burning down and lynching ethnic Xiaodongese. Li declared martial law in Duljun with the armed forces being sent in to round up and arrest all rioters. The 1960 Duljunese riots saw the question of the future of Duljun become a top priority within government circles.

In September 1960, Li announced that Duljunese self-government would immediately end and that Duljun would be subject to direct rule from the central government. The Directorate was split into four prefectures - Wuxintai, Tongguan, Qingbei and Shihebao - that would be administrated in the same manner other prefectures were.

Following the imposition of direct rule Li begun a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Duljun. Utilising methods used in the Senrian genocide Li oversaw the forced expulsion of much of the Duljunese population from major population centres resettling them in collective farms. Ethnic Xiaodongese were either persuaded or deported to Duljun resulting in the ethnic makeup in Duljun to change.

Social policy

Under Li, developments were made in healthcare and housing provision which built upon earlier reforms made by Ma Renzhong and Lu Keqian. Healthcare in particular became an important priority for the Li government, with hospitals being built in rural areas. In 1970 the government began a programme in which healthcare coverage was partially subsidised for the poorest households.

Li believed that Xiaodong needed to rapidly increase its population if it were to become a world power. In a speech in 1962 Li stated "Senria has a population of over 90 million; ours is 50 million less. If we are to become a developed nation, if we are to prevail over the social fascist state of Senria, we must reach of population of 100 million by the turn of the century." Under Li, abortion was criminalised for ethnic Xiaodongese women with women being subject to constant checks by the Shujichu. Women who had large families were rewarded by the state and those will small families punished with lower wages. This family planning policy led to the retreatment of the idea that there were no families in Xiaodong, and that citizens pledged loyalty to the state alone. These population policies led to the population to grow by almost 10 million people under Li.

Foreign policy

Li's foreign policy largely followed that of his predecessor Ma Renzhong but saw a realignment in priorities. Ma a committed anti-communist focused on the third "fundamental" of the Three Fundamentals whilst Li concentrated on the isolation of Senria.

During the early days of the Great Republican Uprising there was debate within the Li government whether to support the Tuthinan Commonwealth, on the grounds that it could be a potential ally to Xiaodong or that it would allow Xiaodong to dominate the Borea-Lahudica region. However, it was deemed by Li that supporting either side in the conflict would be "detrimental in the long term to Xiaodongese interests". Despite agitation to support the rebels, Li was able to convince his colleagues that "we must focus on economic development before utilising our military for the domination of the Borea region".

Li meeting with the leaders of Tinza in 1965.

Under Li, in 1964 it was ordered that Senrian Prime Minister Kitamura Tokiyasu was to be assassinated. Li saw Kitamura's plan to make Senria into a consumer based economy as detrimental to Xiaodongese interests following the start of consumer socialism ad generally wanted to destabilise Senria politically. Under the orders of Sun Yuting Shujichu agent Mao Shunguo shot Kitamura during a military parade in Keishi. Li denied that Xiaodong carried out the killing.

In 1962 Li signed an agreement with Ankoren which allowed Xiaodong to buy Ankoreni oil at discounted prices. Li since his time as a military attaché had been a proponent of Ankoreni-Xiaodongese ties, and during his time in office heavily promoting deepening relations with Ankoren. Li was in favour of creating an "Estanban-Rongzhuo" axis and is credited as the architect of modern Ankoreni-Xiaodongese relations.

Exile

In October 1965 Li suffered a deliberating stroke that left the right side of his body paralysed, leading to Li to delegate considerable powers to his wife, Presiding Officer of the State Presidium Lu Fangliang. During the last two years of his rule Li governed with Lu in a duumvirate. Li promoted Lu and maneuvered allies to support her, calling Lu the woman best fit to carry out his legacy.

By April 1966 Li, a heavy smoker, had recorded a serious decline in his health. His doctor that month said his central nervous system was rapidly deteriorating, and that he was suffering from insomnia. In October 1966 he underwent a severe stroke that deprived him of his ability to speak and paralysed him from the waist down, although he refused to resign. Li was a de facto figurehead for the final months of his rule as Lu carried out the duties of his office with Li mostly approving of policies proposed from within the Council of Ministers. In March 1967 Li suffered a third and fatal stroke, dying in his hospital bed at 2:00AM.

Assessment

When Li died in 1967, he was hailed as one of Xiaodong's best leaders, with many mourning his death. Li's consumer socialism was received well by the people after years of austerity and rendered him a popular leader alongside his expansion of social welfare provision.

However, over time Li has been sharply criticised for many of his policies. Xiaodongese economist Jiang Enlai in his essay "The Success of Xiaodongese capitalism" stated that Li's semi-state owned economy was destined to fail as a policy - it was based on the "assumption that the economic efficiency of the planned economy in regards to heavy industry could be translated into light industry. However, whilst commodities such as steel, coal and iron were always in demand state planners could not effectively plan for light industry which relies on consumer demand and market forces - as such by the 1970's the state began to have to implement the same austerity policies Li's consumerism was meant to see an end to to control public spending". Li's social policy of encouraging massive families has also been criticised for being repressive, anti-women and unsustainable (being repealed in 1985). He has also been criticised for cronyism and nepotism.

Li remains despised in Duljun where he is seen as being one of the principal architects of anti-Duljunese policies. However, many ethnic Xiaodongese in Duljun continue to hold Li in high regard.