He was given command of Zhejiang in 1924. By the next two years he expanded his rule to Jiangsu, Fujian, Anhui, and Jiangxi. He set his headquarters in Nanjing.
The ended his rule capturing Shanghai in March 1927 and he fled to Japanese-held Dalian. He was assassinated in Tianjin on 13 November 1935 by Shi Jianqiao, the daughter of an executed officer. She received sympathy from the Chinese people and was pardoned by the Kuomintang Government.