This article is excerpted from Biographies of Prominent Chinese, published in Shanghai in c.1925.
General Tuan Chi-kwei is a native of Hohfei, Anhui. He was born in 1869. In the Twelth Year of Kwang Hsu, the late Ching Dynasty, he enlisted in the Peiyang Military Academy. After his graduation, he was attached to the Embassy of His Excellency Li Chang-fang, then the Imperial Minister to Japan. In the Eighteenth Year, he returned to China, and was appointed to take charge of the Bureau of Ammunition, with the rank of Assistant Magistrate. In the Twenty-Third Year, he joined the new army, and was appointed, by the late President Yuan Shih-kai, then the Imperial Commander of the new army, Assistant Director of Military Training in the Bureau of Military Affairs. He was promoted to the rank of Captain, and, later, to the rank of Major. Owing to the bravery that he displayed in exterminating bandits, he was given the rank of Prefect by His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai, then Viceroy of Chihli,—who took over Tientsin city from the Allied Forces, appointing General Tuan Chi-kwei to take charge of the Police Administration of the City.
For his good work in suppressing the Boxers, General Tuan was promoted to the rank of Taotai. At various times, he acted as Councillor to the training bureau, and Aide-de-Campt to Viceroy Yuan Shih-kai. During the Russo-Japanese War he served in the Imperial Japanese Army. In the Thirty-first year of Kwangsu, he was given command of Third Army Division, and again transferred to the post of Chief of Staff to Viceroy Yuan Shih-kai, serving concurrently as Commissioner of Police and of the Public Works at Tientsin. Subsequently, he was given the rank of Imperial Treasurer, and appointed Governor of Heilungkiang. He was later removed from this office for political reasons.
During the revolution in Wuchang and Hankow, General Tuan was appointed by the late President Yuan Shih-kai, then Imperial High Commissioner, as Chief of the right wing of His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai’s Body-Guard. He acted, per pro, as Viceroy of Hunan and Hupeh during His Excellency Yuan Shih-kai’s absence in Peking, when he was appointed Premier.
In the First Year of the Chinese Republic, General Tuan was appointed, by the provisional President, as Commander-in-Chief of the National Guards. In the same year, he was gazetted to the post of Tartar General of Kalgan, and, concurrently, Commander of the First Army Corps. In the second year of the Republic he was given the Second Order of Merit, and promoted to full General.
General Tuan served as High Commissioner for the Pacification of Kiangsi and Anhwei, and, subsequently, Tutuh of Hupei, with the title of “Tsang Wu Shang Chang Chun”. Wherever he went, he succeeded in restoring peace and order. Later, General Tuan was transferred to the Three Eastern Provinces, as Military Governor, and acted concurrently as the Civil Governor of Fengtien, with the title of “Tsing An Shang Chang Chun”.
In the Sixth Year of the Republic, when General Chang Hsun attempted to restore the monarchy, General Tuan participated in the restoration of the Republic; and consequently was awarded the First Order of Merit, with the title of “Foo Wei Chang Chun”. He was then appointed Commander of the Metropolitan Forces. He was later appointed Minister of War, serving concurrently as Commander of the Metropolitan Guard. H was then awarded the First Class Order of Chiaho. General Tuan also assisted his cousin, Marshal Tuan Chi-jui, in the participation of war against Germany and Austria, for which he was presented the “Nine-Lions Sword” in recognition of his able services.
In September 1911, General Tuan was deprived of all his military ranks by the Chihli Militarists in control, but, on January 1st, 1922, these were restored.
A.R. Burt, J.B. Powell and Carl Crow, editors, Biographies of Prominent Chinese (Shanghai: Biographical Publishing Company Inc., c.1925). 40.