HONG KONG, Nov. 21, 1949 (UP) -- Gen. Pai Chung-hsi emerged Monday as China's new "strong man" and was reported to have asked Indo-China to help him build an anti-Communist core of resistance along the border between the two countries.
Pai, a skilled tactician and politician, christened the "white fox" by the Reds, came to the fore in an overnight switch in which Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek appeared relegated to a back seat role in China's future.
Sources close to Li Tsung-jen said the acting president, who came here for medical treatment, had agreed to give up his active role, leaving the conduct of military affairs in the hands of Pai, his life-long friend.
Li's associates said Chiang, together with other members of the extreme rightist "slique" of the Kuomintang (Nationalist party) planned to retire to Formosa to build up that island into an anti-Communist bastion that will have no connection with the mainland.
Traditionally, the top man in China's turbulent history has always been the one who controlled the greatest number of effective troops. In that case it is Pai. He has 100,000 disciplined fighters in southern Kwangsi province and probably that many on Hainan island off the south coast.
Li arrived here after conferences with south China leaders and reliable sources said their talks resulted in a decision to form a "united front"-a hard core of resistance centered in Kwangsi which borders Indo-China.
A United Press dispatch from Chungking said the road to Chengtu -- mentioned as another possible Nationalist capital -- was covered with long streams of trucks carrying army officers and their families to Chengtu.
The main communist force was reported nearing Fowling, about 45 miles from Chungking.
Reports received here said BaoDai, former emperor of Annam and head of the Viet Nam state, already had agreed to co-operate in halting Communism short of the Indo-China borders, but that the French still were undecided.
Saigon dispatches to Paris said French high commissioner for Indo-China Leon Pignon denied reports that representatives of Bao Dai and Pai Chung-Hsi were negotiating for a common fight against Chinese and Viet Namese Communists.