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Aviation in the Fukien (Fujian) Rebellion in China 1933
© Lennart Andersson

Just like in most other provinces in China in the 1920s and 1930s, local military leaders in the Fukien (Fujian) Province acquired aircraft and established a small air force of their own. Representatives of the Fukien Aviation National Salvation Association, which was formed on 8 November 1931 at Changchow, started to collect money for the purchase of aircraft and a number of Avro Avian trainers, Avro 626s and two Avro 624 transports were acquired from Great Britain in 1932 and to this was added three French Morane-Saulnier MS 225 fighters and a Farman 291.

On 20 November 1933 an independent republic was proclaimed at Fuchow and a new flag was adopted. On the following day a Fukien People's Government was set up with General Ts'ai Ting-kai as its army commander-in-chief. The army had formerly been known as the 19th Route Army of the Central Government. Tsai Ting-kai, a national hero in China since the fighting against the Japanese at Shanghai in 1932, was now condemned by Chiang Kai-shek in Nanking as a rebel against the Central Government.

During the fighting that followed, the Fukien Air Force could not stop the bombing of aerodromes and cities in Fukien. Changchow, Chuanchow and Fuchow were bombed repeatedly. The Fukien leaders soon realised that they were losing the battle and decided to escape to Hong Kong. Aircraft that could not be flown away due to lack of fuel were burnt, but three of the Avro Avians left for Swatow in Kwangtung with high officials on board.

Thus ended a short and very special chapter in the history of military aviation in China and in the general history of China - the birth and demise of the Fukien Air Force and the use of air power during the Fukien Rebellion.

If you would like to read more you should check out this e-book (click on image):

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(c) Lennart Andersson