Born in Yunnan province in southern China, Lu Han graduated from the Military Academy of the same province (like Vietnamese General Vuong Thua Vu) and from 1932 served as chief of the Military Council Bureau of the Nanjing-based Republic of China. Lu Han commanded the First Group Army in the Ninth War Area in the early 1940s and was in charge of relations with the Vietnamese Nationalist Party (Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang or VNQDD) active in Yunnan province. In August 1945, with the defeat of the Japanese, Chiang Kai-shek appointed him leader of the Allied Occupation Force for Indochina. Lu Han accepted the Japanese surrender in Hanoi; however, he refused to fly the French flag during the Japanese capitulation ceremony for lack of orders. Chiang Kai-shek later appointed him governor of Yunnan province, replacing Lung Yun, who had been deposed by Chiang Kai-shek while Lu Han and his Yunnanese troops were in Indochina.