This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
General Chang Fu-lai, a native of Chiaho Hsien, Chihli Province, was born in 1871. He received his military education from a military academy in North China, and started his military career as a common soldier.
In 1903, he became Captain of the Third Army Division, which was stationed at Paotingfu and in the vicinity of the Metropolitan District. He was then serving under Marshal Wu Pei-fu, with whom he has been associated for more than ten years, during which time he was promoted, through various ranks, because of bravery and efficiency shown in action.
Following the outbreak of the Revolution, in 1911, he rendered valuable service in the capture of Taiyuenfu, and was promoted to the rank of Major. After the establishment of the Republic, he was sent to the Hupeh and Honan Provinces to dispel disturbances there. When peace was restored, he was stationed at Yochow, Hunan; and at the request of the Governor of that province, he succeeded in breaking up brigands which were rampant in the surrounding territory.
In 1915, he was elevated to the rank of Colonel in recognition of the services he had rendered to Marshal Wu Pei-fu during the latter’s expedition to Szechuan Province.
In 1916, General Chang assisted Marshal Tsao Kun, then in command of republican forces, to overthrow the movement made by General Chang Hsun to restore the monarchy. For his meritorious service he was given the rank of Major-General and placed in command of the Sixth Brigade of the Third Division of the National Army.
In October 1919, General Chang was awarded the Fourth Class Paokuang Chiaho. During the Chihli-Anfu conflict, he was very successful in his attacks; and as a reward he was placed in command of the Twenty-fourth Army Division.
In 1921, when Hupeh Province was being attacked by forces from Szechuan and Hunan, General Chang was detailed to assist the Hupeh forces as a Commander-in-Chief of joint troops; and in this capacity he succeeded in preventing the province from being occupied by the opposing forces. In 1921, he was made a Lieutenant-General. In 1922, General Chang fought with Marshal Chang Tso-lin, near the capital. In July of that year, he was made a Chiangchun and given the title of “Chin Wei”.
In October 1922, General Chang was appointed Commissioner of Military Affairs in Honan Province, succeeding General Feng Yu-hsiang who had been elevated to be the “All China High Military Inspector”, following the attempt to abolish the tuchunship of Honan. General Chang retained his command of the Twenty-fourth Division.
In November 1922, General Chang received from the Peking Government the Fourth Order of Merit; and, shortly afterward, the First Class Wenhu decoration was awarded him. In April 1923, he was given the rank of full General.
As Governor of Honan, General Chang encouraged education, the promotion of industry, city improvements, and forestation throughout the province with the hope of making it a model of prosperity.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925), 150.