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LUO GUIBO (1907–1995)

Served as the top-ranking communist Chinese advisor directing and coordinating the military and political parts of China’s assistance to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) during the latter half of the Indochina War. In 1924, Luo Guibo entered the Jiangxi Provincial Teacher’s College in Guanzhou before returning to his native Nankang to teach in a primary school. During this time, he became involved in left-wing politics and joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1926 and began work mobilizing students in the province. He rapidly rose in the provincial party ranks and, with the outbreak of the Chinese civil war a year later, he distinguished himself as a competent military leader. In 1930, he joined the Red Army as a political commissar where he remained until the Chinese communist victory in 1949. In 1949, General Zhu De, commander-in-chief of the army, assigned him to the 7th Corps in Beijing where he also became bureau chief of the CCP’s Central Military Commission.

When the CCP decided to provide diplomatic, military, and economic aid to the DRV, Luo Guibo was selected to go to Vietnam to represent the CCP and to carry out a three-month tour to evaluate the DRV’s needs. He arrived in Vietnam on 16 February 1950 and reported to the Central Committee of the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) on 10 March. Based largely on Luo’s reports from Vietnam and requests from the Vietnamese, the CCP decided in March 1950 to send a Chinese Military Advisory Delegation to Vietnam under the leadership of Wei Guoqing. This military delegation answered to Luo Guibo, who also officially headed the Chinese Political Advisory Delegation which arrived in Vietnam in December 1950. He was thus the highest ranking Chinese leader in DRV Vietnam, in charge of both the military and political delegations. In late 1950, he was officially referred to as China’s advisor-general to the DRV. During this time, he met with the highest ranking leaders of the ICP to discuss Chinese aid, the military strategy against the French, the new policies the DRV/ICP would adopt in this new stage of the war, and socialist transformation. After the Geneva Conference ended the Indochina War in 1954, Luo Guibo served as China’s first ambassador to the DRV.