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Cai E or Tsai Ao ( ; 18 December 18828 November 1916) was a Chinesemarker revolutionary leader and warlord. He was born Cai Genyin (蔡艮寅 Cài Gěnyín) in Shaoyangmarker, Hunanmarker and his courtesy name was Songpo (松坡 Sōngpō).

In 1898, Cai studied at Yuelu Academy. He later went to Japanmarker to study in 1899. Cai returned to China in 1900. He took part in the uprising of the Self-Support Army with Tang Caichang. When they failed, Cai went back to Japan. Cai later joined Tongmenghui or Chinese United League and took part in the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. After the revolution, he served as Commander-in-Chief of the Military Government of Yunnanmarker.

When Yuan Shikai proclaimed himself as the Emperor of a new Empire of Chinamarker in 1915, Cai and Tang Jiyao launched the Republic-Protection Campaign in Yunnan to crusade against Yuan. With only 20,000 soldiers they defeated Yuan’s army of 80,000 in Sichuanmarker. With several provinces behind them, the revolutionaries successfully forced Yuan to abandon monarchism. According to popular folk tale, it was a young prostitute woman who inspired Cai E to turn against Yuan's Beijing government rule.

After Yuan died, Cai held the position of Governor-General and Governor of Sichuan. He later went to Japan for medical treatment. He died shortly after he arrived in Japan.

Cai E is regarded by many as the man and general, who possibly changed the course of China's history. Although many warlords loyal to Yuan Shikai did not support his ambition to revive monarchy, Cai E was the leading figure to force Yuan to step down.Also in Yunnan he would inspire a young Zhu De whom later become one of the best military general in modern China and founding member of Chinese Red Army (the forerunner of People's Liberation Army).


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