Chou En-lai (1898–1976), first prime minister of the People's Republic of China, 1949–76. A founder of the Chinese Communist Party, in 1926 he organized the Shanghai Strike for Chiang Kai-shek and escaped when Chiang betrayed the communists. Director of military affairs for Mao Tsetung's guerrilla forces, he commanded the first stage of the Long March (1934–35). He won support for China in the Third World and was a major force in taking China into the United Nations (1971) and reestablishing contact with the West in the 1970s.
See also: China.