(also Chen Yi, Ch’en Yi). Born 1901 in Leshan District, Szechwan Province; died Jan. 6, 1972, in Peking. Chinese political and state figure.
The son of a civil servant, Ch’en I graduated from the University of Shanghai; from 1919 to 1921 he studied in France. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1923 and took part in the Nanch’ang Uprising of 1927. From 1928 to 1936, Ch’en held command posts in the Chinese Red Army. During the Chinese people’s war against the Japanese invaders (1937–45) he served in the New Fourth Army, first as commander of the First Detachment, then as acting commander of the army, and finally as commander. In 1945 he became a member of the Central Committee of the CPC.
From 1946 to 1949, Ch’en commanded the Third Field Army. From 1949 to 1954 he was a member of the Central People’s Government Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and commander of the military district of East China. Ch’en served as mayor of Shanghai from 1949 to 1958 and in 1954 became a deputy premier of the National Defense Council. From 1955 to 1965, when military ranks were abolished in the PRC, he held the title of marshal of the PRC. From 1956 to 1969 he was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPC. In 1958, Ch’en became minister of foreign affairs of the PRC.