|Photograph of Ma Zhongying.|
|First||Name: Ma Zhongying|
|Second||Position: General, Warlord,|
|Third||Nationality: Hui Chinese|
|Sixth||Died: 1936 (aged 25-26)|
"He was like the rider on the pale horse, which appeared when the fourth seal war broken: 'And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunder and eath, and with the beasts of the earth.'"
- Sven Hedin on Ma Zhongying.
"He was a silly boy. He went mad. He murdered everyone."
- Rewi Alley on Ma Zhongying.
Ma Zhongying, also Ma Chung-ying (simplified Chinese: 马仲英; traditional Chinese: 馬仲英; pinyin: Mǎ Zhòngyīng; Wade–Giles: Ma Chung-ying; 1910–1936) was a Hui Chinese Muslim warlord during the Warlord era of China. Ma Zhongying's birth name was Ma Buying (simplified Chinese: 马步英; traditional Chinese: 馬步英; pinyin: Mǎ Bùyīng; Wade–Giles: Ma Pu-ying).
Zhongying was a warlord of Gansu province in China during the 1930s. He allied himself with the Kuomintang, which gave his soldiers an official designation, the 36th Division, with Zhongying as its commander.
Ma Zhongying joined the Muslim militia in 1924, when he was 14 years old. Ma Zhongying seized Hezhou, and vanquished his great-uncle Ma Lin's army which was sent to recapture the city from Ma Zhongying.
Ma Zhongying's commander, his uncle Ma Ku-chang, discharged Ma Zhongying for disobeying orders because he did not order Hezhou to be captured. Ma Zhongying attended the Whampoa Military Academy in Nanjing in 1929.
Ma Zhongying battled against the forces of pro-Soviet Governor Jin Shuren, leading the Chinese Muslim 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) in the name of the Chinese government against the white Russian and Chinese forces of Jin Shuren in the Kumul Rebellion (1931–1934).
Ma Zhongying had a secret agreement with the Kuomintang, to the effect that if he won Xinjiang, he would be recognized by the Kuomintang. The Kuomintang wanted Jin removed because he had signed an illegal arms treaty with the Soviet Union without their approval. Ma used Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun banners in his army, and Kuomintang Blue Sky with a White Sun armbands. He himself wore a Kuomintang armband, and a 36th Division uniform to show that he was legitimate representative of the Chinese government.
His troops sang Chinese Muslim marching songs. Ma Zhongying himself had a harmonium with him, and he spent hours playing Muslim hymns on it. He had Mauser pistols. Ma Zhongying quoted as his models Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hindenburg, and Zuo Zongtang. The western traveler Peter Fleming reported that in 1935, Xinjiang was the only Chinese territory where Japanese agents were not at work.
Ma Zhongying made his men train in subzero temperatures, and they used shadow fencing to train and parallel bars for exercise. Ma Zhongying forced his men to drill every day, conducting siege maneuvers and cavalry attacks. Peter Flemings said "I have never seen troops in China train so hard."
Kumul was easily taken, as well as other towns en route to the provincial capital. Sheng Shicai's forces retreated to Urumchi. Ground was alternatively gained and lost by both sides. Ma's forces committed atrocities both against Han and Uyghur civilians in Xinjiang during the fighting, destroying the economy and engaging in wholesale looting and burning of villages. He conscripted Han and Uyghurs into his army to use as cannon fodder while all the officers were Hui.
Once seen as a liberator by the Turkic population, who had suffered greatly under Jin Shuren, many Turkic inhabitants of the region now ardently hoped for Ma's expulsion by Sheng Shicai, and an end to the military campaigns by both sides. In 1934, 2 brigades of Soviet Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie (GPU) troops of about 7,000 men, backed by tanks, planes, and artillery with mustard gas, attacked the 36th division near Tutung. The battle raged for several weeks on the Tutung frozen river.
36th division troops dressed up in sheepskins in the snow, and charged against Soviet machine gun posts with swords to defeat a Soviet pincer attack. Soviet planes bombed the 36th division with mustard gas. Heavy casualties mounted on both sides before Ma Zhongying ordered the 36th division to withdraw.
Ma Zhongying encountered a Soviet armored car column of a few hundred soldiers near Dawan Cheng. The 36th division wiped out nearly the entire column, after engaging the Soviet in savage hand to hand combat, and rolled the wrecked Soviet armored cars off the mountainsides. When a White Russian force showed up, Ma Zhongying withdrew.
In 1934, 36th division General Ma Fuyuan stormed Kashgar, and attacked the Uighur and Kirghiz rebels of the First East Turkestan Republic. He freed another 36th division general, Ma Zhancang, who was trapped by the Uighurs and Kirghiz. Ma Zhancang repulsed six Uighur attacks, inflicting massive casualties on the Uighur forces. 2,000 to 8,000 uighur civilians were killed, in revenge for the Kizil massacre. Ma Zhongying gave a speech at Idgah mosque, reminding the Uighurs to be loyal to the Republic of China government at Nanjing. "Ma denounced Sheng Shicai as a Soviet puppet, and reaffirmed his alleigance to the Chinese government of Nanjing".
Several citizens at the British consulate were killed by the 36th division. Ma Zhongying defeated the Uighur and Afghan volunteers sent by king Mohammed Zahir Shah in the battle of Yarkand, and exterminated them all. The emir Abdullah Bughra was killed and beheaded, his head put on display at Idgah mosque.
The Soviet Union and Sheng Shicai claimed that Ma Zhongying was being supported by the Japanese and also claimed to have captured Japanese officers serving with his army. Despite this, Ma officially proclaimed his alleigance to the Chinese government in Nanjing. After originally fighting against Ma Zhongying, the Han chinese General Zhang Peiyuan and his Han Ili army defected to Ma Zhongying's side to fight against the provincial government and the Russians.
Sven Hedin's caravan of truck lorries was hijacked by Ma Zhongying who was retreating from northern Xinjiang along with his 36th Division from the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. While Sven was detained by Ma Zhongying, he met General Ma Hushan, and Kemal Kaya Effendi.
Ma Zhongying's adjutant claimed to Hedin that Ma Zhongying had the entire region of Tien-shan-nan-lu (southern Xinjiang) under his control and Sven could pass through safely without any trouble. Hedin did not believe his assertions. Some of Ma Zhongying's Tungan (Chinese speaking Muslim) troops attacked Hedin's expedition by shooting at their vehicles. The last defense line against the Soviets was set up around Khotan from where Ma finally fled into Soviet territory. Ma was executed after being taken to Moscow in 1936.