Born May 14, 1897, in Meihsien, Kwangtung Province. Chinese military, state, and political figure.
A graduate of the Yünnan Military School, Yeh took part in the Northern Campaign of 1926–27 and served as chief of staff of a corps and commander of a division. He joined the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1927 and took part in the Kuang-chou Uprising of the same year. In the period from 1928 to 1930 he lived in the USSR and traveled in Europe.
In 1932, Yeh was appointed chief of staff of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Chinese Red Army in the Central Soviet Region, which included parts of Fukien and Kiangsi provinces. Between 1934 and 1936 he took part in the Long March. Yeh served as chief of staff of the Eighth Army from 1937 to 1945, during the Chinese people’s national liberation war against the Japanese invaders (the Sino-Japanese War of 1937–45).
Yeh became a member of the Central Committee of the CPC in 1945. He was chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army of China from 1946 to 1949. Between 1949 and 1954 he served as a member of the Central People’s Government Council of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), secretary of the South China Subbureau of the Central Committee of the CPC, deputy chairman of the Central and South China Military Administrative Committee, commander and political commissar of the South China Military District, and chairman of the people’s government of Kwangtung Province. Yeh was a member of the Standing Committee of the All-China National People’s Congress from 1954 to 1975.
In 1954, Yeh was named deputy chairman of the Military Council of the Central Committee of the CPC, deputy chairman of the State Defense Committee of the PRC, and chief of the inspection directorate of the People’s Liberation Army of China. He held the rank of marshal of the PRC from 1955 to 1965, the year military ranks were abolished in China.
Yeh was elected a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPC in 1969. In 1973 he was named deputy chairman of the Central Committee and a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo. He served as minister of defense of the PRC from 1975 to 1978. Yeh became chairman of the Standing Committee of the All-China National People’s Congress in 1978.
V. I. ELIZAROV