Tso Tsung-t'ang

Tso Tsung-t'ang dzô dzo͞ong-täng [key], 1812–85, Chinese general and statesman of the Ch'ing dynasty. He directed (1852–59) resistance to the Taiping Rebellion in his native Hunan and later organized (1860) a volunteer corps that fought the Taipings in Jiangxi and Anhui provs. Appointed governor of Zhejiang (1862–63) and governor-general of Zhejiang and Fujian (1863–66), Tso drove the Taipings from those provinces and planned rehabilitation. He led troops that participated (1868) in the encirclement and annihilation of the Nian forces (see Nian Rebellion). As governor-general of Shaanxi and Gansu provs., Tso suppressed (1868–77) the Muslim rebellion on the northwest frontier. In the struggle for military funds between those officials who stressed coastal defense (notably Li Hung-chang) and those who stressed frontier defense, he argued that Western powers fought for commercial privileges and could be contained by skillful diplomacy, whereas strong frontier defense was necessary to forestall Russia's territorial ambitions. In retirement after 1882, he was recalled in 1884 to plan defense of the Fujian coast during the war with France (1884–85) for control of Annam (Vietnam).

See biography by W. L. Bales (1937).

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