China's Greatest Crisis

Dublin Core


China's Greatest Crisis


Politics and Government - Military; China - U.S. Foreign Policy


A pamphlet by Frederick Vanderbilt Field describing relations between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party during the Chinese Revolution, the Sino-Japanese war, and the need for American support of a democratic China.
Transcript of pamphlet text:

GREATEST CRISIS By Frederick V. Field ABOUT THE AUTHOR Frederick V. Field, the author of this pamphlet, is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Council, Institute of Pacific Relations, and an authority on Far Eastern problems. He is also Executive Vice- President of the Council for Pan- American Democracy, and a member of the Editorial Board of New Masses. Published by NEW CENTURYP UBLISHERINSC,. , 832 Broadway, New York 3. N. Y. January, 1945 209 Printed in U. S. A. CHINA'S GREATEST CRISIS By FREDERICK V. FIELD ' W e remember that the Chinese people were the first to stand up and fight against the aggressors in this war; and in the future an unconquerable China will play its proper role in maintaining peace and pros-perity not only in Eastern Asia but in the whole world." - PRESIDENTR OOSEVELT. What Is at Stake China is in the deepest crisis of its entire modern history. This is not the first time that the Chinese people have been threatened by internal breakdown, nor is it the first time that they have suffered from foreign invasion. It is not even the first time that internal conflict and foreign invasion have coincided. That in fact has been the customary pattern of Chinese history, from the Opium War of 1840 to today. What distinguishes the present crisis from previous ones is the character and intensity of the present war which de-mand a showdown inside the country. Chinese reactionaries have heretofore been able to trade space and principle for have been able to ally themselves with the nation's the price of delaying history and obstructing prog-this war foreign imperialists accepted a com-ise with Chinese reaction. They accepted a preferred cia1 privileges. For a variety of reasons they did to utilize military force to ravage, destroy and e Chinese land. Under those circumstances in the hundred years between the Opium War and the present war a Chinese nation slowlv and laboriously began to take shape. There was sufficient con-flict and looseness in the alliance between Chinese reaction and foreign imperialism to permit the growth of a formidable Chinese revolutionary movement. A section of the Chinese bourgeoisie itself led the revolution against foreign ( including Manchu) domination. The introduction of capitalism which came with the long period of foreign imperialism played a certain progressive role in struggling against and partly de-stroying feudalism. It is different today. The world has tightened. Imperialism in its most violent and decadent form, fascism, seeks to destroy and subjugate the world. Japan's specific objective in China is not to gain a preferential position or to obtain special privileges but to take over the entire nation. Japan aims to destroy the Chinese revolution. And it will either do so or be destroyed itself. There is no more room for compromise. This is, then, a desperate struggle for the Chinese people. A greater unity than ever before in Chinese history was estab-lished among all strata of the Chinese population in 1937. The reactionaries who allied themselves with the enemy at that time were a mere handful condemned as traitors. The great mass of Chinese people, bourgeois as well as proletariat, declared their loyalty to China in its supreme test. The nresent internal crisis has arisen because of the de- JL fection of certain elements from the ranks of the big bour-geoisie who have chosen to ally themselves directly with the forces of Chinese feudalism and indirectly ( though in some cases directly) with the invader. Should these elements remain in control of the Chinese government, China will remain backward. Should the present reactionary group remain in control the defeat of japan by China's allies will not save China from - p lung- ing- in to the dark regions of history. There is more than this at stake in the crisis of China. It may be conceivable that Japan could be defeated without any further active aid from China. But this is a thought not 4 ed. As long as there remains a thread of an such a costly and prolonged method of crush-ust be seized and woven again into the power-coalition warfare. Thus in a purely military ican and British people and all other members of the anti- Japanese alliance have a vital stake in the regen-eration of the Chinese nation. Moreover, there is no alternative to a progressive Chinese nation in the security organiation now being hammered into shape by the United Nations. The security that we look for-ward toaafter the cessation of military hostilities is one based upon the close alliance of strong, peace- loving nations, capable hen a crisis arises. Capable, indeed, of g in time of crisis. We look forward, leadership in commercial and political airs which will by example and conscious into modern life and high living stand-rd areas of the world. Without this we e such leadership unless it has itself the strong democratic nations? Can a function without the participation of a a? The answer to both questions is obviously in . The United Nations in peace as in war is an upon four major pillars. China is one of these. collapses an entire corner of the edifice crumbles ole is perhaps fatally impaired. r for a moment a world security organization which on without China in its leadership. There are a e, one- half the population of the world, inhabit-of China, India and the colonies of the south-d southeastern Asia. The whole area is now tly semi- colonial, all heavily weighted with st- war development to be supervised, to be reat capitalist nations of the West? If so you in your calendar that we shall most certainly of intense imperialism. That, in other words, to a basic relationship between the advanced capitalist nations and the colonial and semi- colonial peoples which in its nature nourishes the seeds of future conflict. The architecture of post- war world security requires the Chinese nation as an indispensable part of the foundation. It must be the new Chinese democracy which exercises leader-eration of the Chinese nation. merica we are beset with two more concentrated ar for expansion as Chi ing it. The othe ell and destructive as any other form of thought. In planning for our own 11 for a sharing of what the world Greece, Italy, Belgium, the Id colonial system, all these wo great industrial nations seeks to protect itself from a threatened no- punches- pulled trade competition from America by having recourse to reactionary politics. It is enough, for a pamphlet on China, to suggest the prob-lem of the Anglo- American difficulty without having to elabo-rate it. The point here is that the most certain way of resolv-ing the difficulty is to create a world economy in which there is enough and more, to go around, £ 01 everybody. The United States and Great Britain can and must reconcile many of their competitive problems. But the surest solution for both to adopt is the development of new markets large enough to absorb the exportable industrial capacity of both. That is where China is again a key to what can be done in the post-war. If China can take its place as a democratic nation which stimulates an expanding economy within its borders the chances of other areas, particularly those neighboring China. doing likewise is enormously enhanced. CHINESE SOLDIERS MARCHING TO THE FRONT 7 Our concern, then, in the affairs of our ally China is vital. We are inescapably bound with the immediate future of the Chinese people. We need them, as they need us, in finishing off Japanse militarist- imperialism. For this an effective war of coalition is absolutely necessary. Without a strong China crippled. Unless China adership to the billion peo- , that is, except the western nce would most certainly tagonisms? How can post-by the American people position to buy an expand-how, obversely, can China it is in a position to buy huge from us? And besides all that, is there the basic commercial conflict between Great Britain unless the world market ith sufficient rapidity to absorb the ex-s? Yes, our concern in China is indeed cter of the Chinese Revolution or an American, brought up, trained and modern and highly industrialized capitalist erstand the Chinese crisis. In historical terms of centuries between our two modes of living. ourselves in the position a formidable language Were we Americans of Washington's day, of Independence, an integral part of the closer to the Chinese of 11 far away, for the Chinese people are struggling barriers we, as colonists, never had to over- States, like China, came within the orbit of hich the Chinese have had 8 nialism. But unlike China the economy and society of ed States or of the colonies which preceded them er dominated by the feudal way of life. That is an and it is a montrous one. While we fought successfully against colonialism and after ridding ourselves of it formed a con-stitutional democracy which has ever since assumed a greater role in world affairs, the Chinese still struggle against the dual foe of feudalism and imperialism. To understand this it is necessary for us to view the Chinese revolution in historical perspective. In this task we are today immeasurably aided by the recent publication of a transla-tion of China's New Democracy by the leader of the Chinese Communist. Party, Mao Tse- tun?. This is a booklet which must be read for itself; it is too succinct to bear paraphrase. The following paragraphs, which depend largely upon that booklet, should not be regarded by the reader as a shortcut to the exceedingly important Chinese writing that is now available to us in a translation of the original. For centuries, until the imperialist invasion of the early part of the nineteenth century, China had been a feudal coun-try. Foreign penetration brought with it new forms of society. The nation gradually turned into a colonial, semi- colonial and semi- feudal society. The country's economy became orien-tated toward the relationships established by the victorious foreigners who by force of arms and the tantalizing bait of opium consolidated their imperialist position in the treaty ports, or centers for foreign trade. Feudalism retreated, but did not vanish, before the onslaught of capitalism. It is from this period that the Chinese revolution, historical-ly considered, may be said to date. In China's New Democ-racy Mao Tse- tung puts it this way: " This first step [ of the Chinese revolution] may be said to have begun from the days of the Opium War in 1840, i. e., from the time when the Chinese society commenced to change from its original feudal form to the semi- colonial and semi-feudal form. During this period, we have the Tai Ping Revo-lution, the Sino- French War, the Sino- Japanese War, the Reform Movement of 1898, the 191 1 Revolution, the May 4th Movement, the May 20th Movement, the Northern Ex-the Agrarian ~ e v o l u t i ~ tnh, e December 9th Move-the present Anti- Japanese War. All the above move-speak from a certain point of view, were for the realization of the first step of China's revolution. They were movements of the Chinese people in different periods and in different degrees to realize such a step- to oppose imperialism and feudalism and to struggle for the establishment of an independent democratic society. . . ." The Chinese revolution about which Mao is speaking in the above quotation and with which we are now concerned is the bourgeois- democratic revolution. It is the revolution through which England fought in the seventeen'th century, France at the end of the eighteenth century, and ourselves in the War of Independence. It is the revolution designed to win nationhood, independence from foreign domination, in-dependence from medieval internal obstacles to the develop-ment of production and a free market. It is, in short, the revolution to establish bourgeois democracy. MA0 TSE- TUNG AND CHU TEH, CHINESE COMMUNIST LEADERS The Rise of the Workers and Peasants The present stage of Chinese history, the stage of the war, is the continuation of the same revolutionary process which began over a hundred years ago. But following the first World War ihe revolution underwent such a sharp change that it is necessary for us to distinguish between two different stages, one prior to 1919 and the second from that date on. During the First World War the direction in which the world was moving changed. Two sets of events signified that change. The first was the breakdown of three imperialist na-tions, Russia, Germany and Austria, and the wounding of two others, Britain and France. This had a profound effect upon Chinese bourgeois thought which witnessed the foreign imperialists fighting among themselves and destroying each other. The second set of events which marked the new direc-tion of society was the construction of a socialist state by the Russian proletariat and the revolutionary movements which swept Germany, Austria- Hungary and Italy. These events awakened the sleeping proletarian, peasant and petit- bourgeois masses of China and stimulated them to share with a section of the bourgeoisie leadership of the revolution. The main stream of revolutionary movement in the colonies and semi- colonies which had previously flowed in the direction of world capitalism now joined the currents of the proletarian-socialist revolution. In these undeveloped areas organized proletarian and peasant movements sprang up whose mini-mum program remained the achievement of bourgeois democ-racy but whose maximum program reached toward a later stage of socialism. The revolutionary struggle in these areas found a new ultimate goal which gave a new orientation to the immediate struggle for bourgeois democracy. In China we see very clearly how this came about. It began on May 4, 1919, a date to be remembered in Chinese history. The background of the May 4th Movement was this: On May 7, 1915, Japan had presented China with the notorious Twenty- one Demands which aimed at nothing short of estab-lishing a Japanese protectorate over the whole nation. A 11 weak and corrupt government of feudalists and imperialist stooges in Peking faced with a Japanese ultimatum secretly agreed to a large number of these demands. As soon as the news leaked out great public demonstrations were organized in protest; May 7th thereafter became National Humiliation Day. During the winter and spring of 1919 the hopes of the Chinese people were greatly bolstered by President Wilson's fourteen points. When it was learned that the Peace Confer-ence was violating these principles and planning to hand over most of the Chinese province of Shantung to the Japanese ( part of the Twenty- one Demands) full realization of the tragic consequences of the Peking government's pro- imperial-st, pro- Japanese policy swept the intelligentsia. They organ-ized a movement designed to force the Chinese delegates in Paris to refuse to affix their signatures to the peace treaty and to demand at the same time democratic reforms in the govern-ment. Accordingly on May 4th several thousand students in Peking marched on the Presidential Palace demanding the punish-ment of the three politicians most responsible for the pro- Japanese policy. Finding the road to the palace blocked the students marched to the residence of one of the traitors where they found all three in conference. They set fire to the house and gave the traitors a sound beating. The next day most of the students of Peking went on strike. A boycott of Japanese goods was organized. The movement rapidly spread to other parts of China. From many provinces student delegations poured into the capital demanding that the government refuse to sign the Treaty of Versailles, that it declare null and void the Sino- Japanese Treaty of 1915 which had embodied many of the Twenty- one Demands, that it pun-ish the responsible traitors, and that it grant the people free-dom of speech, assembly and organization. Early in June the movement was taken up by workers and merchants in Shanghai. It assumed a national character not only through the of similar movements through-out the country but also through its broadening to include, in addition to the intelligentsia, also the broad masses of the proletariat, the middle classes and the bourgeoisie. 12 We have devoted space to this movement of over twenty-five years ago because it marked an outstanding development in the Chinese revolution, the development which indicated the new directions which the revolution would henceforth take. What was that development? It was the broadening of the leadership of the revolution to include classes and groups other than the bourgeoisie. It was the coming forward into revolutionary leadership of the workers and petty bour-geoisie. From the May 4th Movement on the Chinese revolu-tion no longer was led solely by the bourgeoisie nor did it any longer aim for a society under bourgeois dictatorship. China had a new perspective: a bourgeois- democratic revolu-tion as a transition toward socialism; a revolutionary leader-ship composed of a coalition of all the revolutionary classes in which the workers and peasants would grow increasingly strong. In 1919 there was no Chinese Communist Party. There were, however, Communists. They were members of the in-telligentsia who had read Marx and Lenin and been pro-foundly influenced by the Russian Revolution. During 1 g 1 g and 1920 they organized Communist groups in various cities. In July, 1921, the First Convention of the Communist Party of China was held and the Party which was to play such a vital role in the nation's history was formally launched. This, however, was not the only sign of an awakening proletariat. In 1922, Hongkong seamen won the first major strike in Chinese history. The next year railway workers of the Pek-ing- Hankow line began a strike movement which threatened to sweep the country until brutally put down by the war- lord Wu Pei- fu who worked closely with the British. Other his-toric landmarks of the growing militancy of the workers were the May 20, 1925, incident known as the Shanghai Massacre, followed in June by a similar incident in Canton, known as the Shameen Massacre; the famous workers' blockade of Hong-kong for 16 months in 1925- 26; and the growth of the all- China Labor Congress from some 70,000 members in 1922 to over three million by 1927. Sun Yat- sen's Three Revolutionary Principles The second or Great Chinese Revolution took place during this period and as a direct result of the new forces which had come forward. It was in 1924 that the new forces of revolution inside China formally allied themselves with the new forces of revolution outside the country. From 1924 to 1927 was a period of cooperation among the revolutionary classes within the country and alliance with the Soviet Union; from this came the consolidation of the revolution through the great Northern Expedition of 1926 which wiped out the menace of warlord ism. There are certain characteristics of the unity forged at that time which have a direct bearing upon today's critical situa tion. For it was from 1924 to 1927 that the political program of the new Chinese revolution was agreed upon and put into practice. That program illustrates sharply the changes thai had taken place as a result of the influence of the World War and the Russian Revolution upon China. The program of the rev-olution up to then had been expressed by Dr. Sun Yat- sen's three PI1 n~ ip1o~ f s the people, known in Chi-nese as the San Mirs Chu I. These were the princi-ples of nationalism, democ-racy and peoplesy liveli-hood. As the instrument of the bourgeois intelligentsia before 1924 they had served the old phase of the revolution, the p h a s e which looked forward to bourgeois dictatorship. It was the genius of Dr. Sun DR. SUN YAT- SEN that he recognized the changes that took place in the internal composition of the Chinese revolution and exer- 14 cised leadership to have those changes reflected in a new political program to serve the new phase of the revolution. The new San Min Chu I integrated the three peoples prin-ciples with three revolutionary policies: alliance with the So-viet Union, cooperation with the Chinese Communists, and protection of the interests of the workers and peasants. It provided the basis for a coalition of classes in carrying for-ward the revolution. To the Communists it represented a minimum program, to the right wing of the coalition a maxi mum one, to all the classes cooperating with each other it was the basic political program for this stage of the struggle. CivilpWar and the Role of the Bourgeoisie The great revolutionary movement of I 924- 27 was de-serted by the bourgeoisie during the latter year. Once again, this time under the leadership of Chiang Kai- shek, the right wing forsook the revolution and allied itself with feudalism and imperialism. Under the aegis of this evil reactionary alliance the country was torn asunder by civil war for the next nine years. Hundreds of thousands of China's most valiant revolutionary fighters, drawn from the peasantry, proletariat and petty bourgeoisie were slaughtered in a succession of brutal " anti- Communist campaigns." It was because of this civil war that the Japanese enemy was able to penetrate so far into the life and land of China before a new unity was forged in 1937. The bourgeoisie, important sections of which had joined the revolutionary coalition of 1924- 27, betrayed the revolution and the nation by their desertion in 1927. Why did they do so? And what lessons may we learn from that period which illumi-nate the situation today? Mao Tse- tun? gives us answers to these questions in the following passage from China's New Dc-mocracy: Chinese bourgeoisie, being the bourgeoisie of a col-semi- colonial country, is extremely weak politically nomically, and exhibits another characteristic- the stic of compromise with the enemy of the revolu-e Chinese bourgeoisie, especially the big bourgeoisie, l5 even in the process of revolution, is never willing to break with the imperialists completely, and being closely associated with rural land exploitation, it is also not willing, and is unable, to overthrow imperialism and feudalism thoroughly. Thus the two fundamental problems or tasks of China's bourgeois dem-ocratic revolution can by no means be solved by the bour-geoisie itself. Moreover, in the long period from 1927 to 1936, the bourgeois elements surrendered to the imperialists, allied themselves with the feudal forces, contradicted their former revolutionary program, and opposed the revolutionary people. Again, during the present anti- Japanese war, a part of the big bourgeoisie, represented by Wang Ching- wei, surrendered to the enemy, illustrating a new betrayal of that class. . . " Revolutionary character on the one hand, compromising character on the other- such is the dual character of the Chi-nese bourgeoisie. This dual character was also seen in the European and American bourgeoisie according to history. To unite with the workers and the peasants to oppose the enemy . when the enemy is endangering them and to unite with the enemy to oppose the workers and the peasants when the latter are awakening is a general rule for the bourgeoisie of various countries, only, the Chinese bourgeoisie shows this character-istic more vividly. . . ." In these principles of the bourgeoisie of a semi- colonial country lies the explanation of the desertion of 1927 and the alliance of the Chinese ruling classes with the imperialists in the 1927- 36 period. During the years of revolutionary unity from 1924 to 1927 workers and peasants organizations had flourished under the protection of the new San Min Chu I. We have- already cited the growth of the labor movement, the mass demonstrations throughout the land, the strike actions, the growth of the Communist Party. To this it should be added that during the Northern Expedition the advance of the armed columns northward against the warlords and feudal strongholds became a genuine peoples movement. Peasant organizations supported the armies, fought with them, swelled their ranks. In the cities the proletariat carried the fight against the imperialists, allied at that time with the warlords. It being a characteristic of the big bourgeoisie " to unite with i 6 the enemy to oppose the workers and the peasants when the latter are awakening," this right wing of the coalition in the face of this awakening surrendered to the enemy. The New Anti- Japanese Unity of 1937 By 1936 the pendulum had swung to the opposite side.. The imperialist enemy, Japan, endangered the position of the Chinese bourgeoisie. The stage was therefore set, politically, for a resumption of internal unity. A large section of the bourgeoisie, represented by the government of Chiang Kai-shek, acceeded to the demands of the people for the formation of a national anti- Japanese front. The slogan of unity to resist the invasion had long before been advanced by the Chinese Communists. Only a few months after the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, to which the Central Government had offered no armed opposition, the Chinese Soviet Government from its stronghold in south-eastern China had formally declared war against Japan. The popularity and correctness of this policy soon became apparent as the Communists and their armies undertook the famous " Long March" back into the western reaches of the country and north to a base in the upper part of Shensi province from which forces could be sent out to meet the Japanese. All along the line of march the slogans of the anti- Japanese front were spread, thus forcing the hands of the vacillating bourgeoisie from below. In the summer of 1935 the Communist Party issued a mani-festo proposing the establishment of an Anti- Japanese Alliance Army and a National Defense Government. Gradually, as these policies took effect among sections of the bourgeoisie and of the ruling Kuomintang party, the Com-oned direct political or military attacks upon t and appealed to its more enlightened elements ovement of national resistance. In the spring of Tse- tune. leader of the Communists, called uuon Chiang Kai- shek himself to participate in forming a solidna-tional front against the aggressor. The climax came in a dramatic split within the ruling circles, when Chiang Kai- shek's chief " anti- Com-munist" military represen-tative in the northwest, Marshal Chang Hsueh-liang, turned against his chief's policies and kid-napped him for the pur-pose of forcing democratic concessions from him. It was largely thanks to the speedy intercession of rep-resentatives of the Commu-nist Party that this episode, known as the Sian Inci-dent, was altered from a highly dangerous act of GENERALISSIMO CHIANG KAI- SHEK ercion and terrorism int demonstration of the integ-rity, patriotism and discipline of the progressive forces. Chiang Kai- shek's safe return to Nanking set the stage for unity nego-tiations which in the next months brought together a new coalition of parties and groups against the Japanese enemy. The courageous defense of the Chinese people against an enemy equipped for modern warfare and trained for the task of fascist conquest soon became a glorious page in history. Beset by a backward economy and untrained, poorly equipped forces, almost forsaken by their supposed friends, the British and Americans, who mistakenly aided the Japanese instead. the people of all clases rallied to the defense of their home-land. The unity which had been achieved was broader than ever before. One does not describe this period as one does the unity of 1924- 27 by referring to segments or sections of the upper classes joining the coalition. In 1937 all of the upper, middle and proletarian classes cooperated and those who deserted i 8 were singled out as traitors and often executed. Internal de-mocracy, in consequence, made rapid strides. Political prison-ers were released, there was an unprecedented freedom of speech and assembly, and certain steps were even taken to democratize the procedure of government itself. Mao says of this period, " a sort of cheering and inspiriting air pervaded every walk of life in the nation." W- hat had made this broad unity possible? The strength 01 the common enemy was unquestionably the most important factor. All classes in China were faced with disaster; the na-tion as a whole faced the greatest crisis of its history. Nothing short of broad unity could save the nation. With the rapid inroads being made by the Japanese armies and the unprinci-pled policies of exploitation and expropriation they brought with them none but the blind could have any doubts on that score. But it must also be said that China was better prepared internally for unity than ever before. The Great Revolution of 1924- 27 had left an undying heritage. The extensive direct contact which millions of peasants and workers had had with the Communist movement during the civil war period and especially during the Long March had advanced the political thinking of the masses. Even among the bourgeoisie matters had not stood still. Capitalism had enjoyed considerable growth. A Chinese capitalist class of some strength had de-veloped to challenge both feudalism from within and impe-rialism from without. Sections of the bourgeoisie were there-fore less dependent upon the feudal elements than before. Thus the bourgeois- democratic revolution, despite setbacks and contradictions, had progressed, altering somewhat the class composition of the nation. The Breakdown of Unity, 1939 lasted until certain elements in the bourgeoisie the awakening of the peasants and workers, or ifferently, the advance of democratic ideas and in-s a greater threat than compromise with the Jap- 19 anese. This coincided with the invader's advance into the great cities of Canton and Hankow. With their fall, in the late autumn of 1938, China lost to the enemy its last com-paratively modern city ports. With them was lost the economic base of the new capitalist class, for the institutions of capital-ism had been centered in the more modern cities and had not yet penetrated the countryside or the interior provincial seats. The balance of power within the bourgeoisie conse-quently shifted toward those elements whose power rested upon the feudal hinterland. From the winter o 1938- 39 on the unity of the Chinese people began again to disintegrate. There had been signs of trouble even before the fall of Canton and Hankow. In May, 8 , re actionaries within the government, fearing the rise of the new student movement, had destroyed all youth organ-izations by the simple expedient of compelling them to register with the government and then refusing registrations to those considered undesirable. Reactionaries had also begun to clamp down on meetings and newspapers. But it was during that winter that the signs of returning reaction and disunity be-came unmistakable. The prisons and concentration camps began to fill- not with Japanese, nor with Chinese traitors, but with patriotic, democratic leaders. Strained relations be-gan to develop between Kuomintang and Communist troops. In March of 1940 an armed clash occurred between Central Army and Eighth Route Army troops in southern Hopei. All efforts at conciliation on the part of liberal elements within Kuomintang China proved unavailing. Such armed clashes assumed a more serious character during the summer and culminated in the notorious New Fourth Army Incident of the fall and winter of 1940- 41. The New Fourth Army. orig-inally made up of scattered units of the former Red Army, had grown strong in Central China and was occupying highly important ground recaptured from the Japanese just south of the former capital, Nanking. This Communist nucleus had been reinforced by recruits from many other political groups and had established a guerrilla base of immense military value. In the fall of 1940 Ho Yin- ching, the Minister of War, who has recently been removed from that office, ord New Fourth Army to abandon that territory and move ward across the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Was Ho Yin- c going to replace these troops with others so as to hold t vital territory from the enemy? Not at all. He was prepa to abandon the area to the enemy. In the face of the New Fourth Army's natural refusal to carry out such a command and its attempt to negotiate the matter with Chungking, Ho ordered Kuomintang troops to encircle and attack. This was partly carried out, a large and courageous Chinese force being cut to pieces, and the New Fourth's leader General Yeh Ting being imprisoned for his delay in carrying out this treacherous order. Fortunately, a large part of the New Fourth escaped and is today going ahead with the job of fighting the Japanese invader. Meanwhile the Central Government dispatched another strong force, well supplied with artillery and mechanized equipment, under the deceptive name of " pacification" forces, to blockade the Northwest Border Region upon which is based the main body of Communist- led armies and guerrilla troops. Five lines of fortifications were erected between that Region and the rest of unoccupied China. For what purpose? To pro-tect them against the Japanese? Certainly not. The blockade was established in an attempt to starve out the most effective ction of all the Chinese armies and to prevent any growth democracy therein established from freshening the pol-air of reaction in which Chungking China was being this period until the fall of 1944 the provocations of gking reactionaries kept the nation on the constant civil war. Evidence abounds that it was from no on their part that it has so far been factors which have prevented such a een the comparative weakness of the ue, divisions within the Kuomintang, the nists both politically and militarily, of the great mass of Chinese people and groups to any course which would mean 21 capitulation to the real enemy, Japan. But if the reactiona-ries have failed to provoke armed civil war they have succeeded in frustrating China's war effort against Japan. The nation, as a result, finds itself threatened with defeat. The entire anti- Japanese coalition, as a result, finds its task the more difficult, and the prospects of world security are dimmed by the clouds that have gathered in the Far East. Obstacles to the War Effort In order, however, to understand how a regeneration may come about it is necessary for us to list more precisely some of the results of the reactionary clique's rule since about 1940. Inflation is one of these. It 1s estimated that the average citizen of Chungking now pays more than 200 times as much for food, clothing and other essentials as he did before the war. Prices of many manufactured goods have increased 500- fold, other items go as high as a 1,000 per cent increase. At first persons with fixed salaries, the intellectual and profes-sional classes, were hardest hit, but for the last two or three years all classes have felt the pinch. As Maxwell Steward remarks in a pamphlet War- Time China, published during 1944 by the American Council, Insti-tute of Pacific Relations, even more serious to the war effort " was the fact that industrial production and construction had L begun to slow down. Manufacturers who had made contracts with the government found that owing to the constant increase in prices of raw materials and labor they could not afford to fulfill their contracts. They found it more profitable to hoard and speculate in raw materials than to turn them into finished goods. As a result, nearly a fifth of the small factories in the Chungking area were not operating in the early months of 1944. Mineral output had also been cut drastically, and be-cause of the extremely high costs of transportation, most construction, including the building of new industry, had come to a standstill." The Central Government had failed conspicuously in de-veloping basic war industries. An example is the steel industry. 2 2 For months Chungking has been asking the United States tu fly steel and steel products over the " Hump" from India. Apologists for the Chungking clique have asked: " How can our armies fight when we have no steel with which to supply them? The fault is not ours, it is that of American lend- lease." There is no secret as to why American officials have been reluctant to allocate much- needed space on the airplanes to steel and steel products. The reason is that while China produced only about 10, ooo tons of steel in 1942 and a little over 8,000 in 1943, it is well known that there exist plants capable of turning out ten and fifteen times that much if only the obstructions to the industrial war effort could be elimi-na ted. Large sections of the Chinese army remain dominated by feudal traditions. There are an insufficient number of trained officers, there is an overabundance of generals whose loyalty is to local feudal lords instead of to the nation. There is a conspicuous lack of democratic procedure in the armies of the Central Government. The troops prey upon the land and do not seek to defend the common people. As a consequence the civilians often fail to support the troops when a military crisis arises. Practically all first- hand reports verify the truth of these statements. The Central Government is made up of a number of rival cliques whose only common denominator is loyalty and sub-servience to feudal reaction. Each has its gestapo which, in turn, find a single common bond, that of ferreting out democratic ideas and those who advance them. Prominent among these is the gestapo gang run by the C. C. Group, which is led by two brothers, Chen Li- fu, until recently Minister of Education and now in charge of Kuomintang Party organiza-tion, and Chen Kuo- fu, head of the Personnel Division of Chiang Kai- shek's headquarters. Another such group is that headed by Tai Li who runs the secret police of the Military Affairs Commission. Both these gestapo organizations operate abroad as well as in China, keeping close track of the behavior of Chinese students and officials and falsifying- the true issues Democratic Ferment in Kuominfang China It would be a mistake if the conclusion were drawn from what we have so far written that things are all black in Kuomintang China. Even during the period when unity was disintegrating, the accomplishment of some of thelarmies and of the people has been tremendous. There has been constant public pressure against treachery, against hoarding and speculation, against the several gestapos which keep the clique in power. There has been insistent demand for political and military unity. It has been only in rare instances that the peasantry has become completely demoralized by the depravity of the feudal landlords and their government supporters. Throughout the nation a high level of patriotism and political understanding has been manifest. That is what has kept the rift of disunit from splitting China asunder. That is what un hope for a regeneration of our Ally. There is a tremendous democratic, anti- Japanese fer Much of it is necessarily expressed in terms of indivi heroism. The writings of such sympathetic observers as Agn Smedley and Ilona Ralf Sues tell us of many episodes which the real situation multiplies by the thousand and million. Organized political expression is difficult for the reasons given. Where it occurs, therefore, it is doubly important for having stood up against intimidation and terrorism. Much of the opposition to the reactionaries comes from within the Kuomintang itself. This Nationalist Party, once organized on a mass base, became restricted to the bourgeois-feudal bureaucracy after the split of 1927. It has never re-gained its mass base. Yet it remains broad enough- or, it u perhaps should be said that the reactionary clique remains - hsiang ( the "~ hristian" Committee of the Kuo-ittee, and Tan Cheng, uan. Many military leaders, General Chen Cheng, the similar demands. The small minority part should also be mentioned in t munist troops occurred, they h issues of unity and democratic willing to take the steps necessary to win the war, operate to frustrate the war effort. Included in their ranks and protected by them are outright fascists and pro- Japanese. But behind this bureaucratic facade is the great majority of Chinese people struggling for the right and the means to defend their homes, backing those leaders inside and outside the Kuomintang who are demanding democratic reforms. Democratic Leadership of the Communist Party GENERAL CHOU EN- LA1 The leadership in the national struggle for a democratic, anti- Japanese unity, is taken not by any of the above - mentioned groups but by the Chinese Communists. The reasons for this are plain. The Communist Party repre-sents the most forward-looking political elements in the nation. It is the party closest to the masses because it is composed from their ranks and is identified with the needs of the peasantry and workers. It speaks, also, for the petty bourgeois elements whose welfare is bound up with that of the peasantry. Since the period of the anti- Japa-nese War, moreover, the Communists are no longer alienated from those members of the landed gentry and of the city bourgeoisie who have thrown in their lot against the invader. The Conlmunists no longer de-mand confiscation of the land nor seizure of capital so long as it is put to the service of the war. On the contrary, the policy of the Communists is to support and encourage individual, private enterprise as a weapon not only to increase production but to wipe out feudalism. In demanding reforms from the Central Government the Communist Party, therefore, speaks for a coalition of classes already functioning. There are other reasons why the Communist Party acts as spokesman for all democratic elements of the nation. They have far greater strength than any of the other groups. They are relatively concentrated geographically speaking and they exercise leadership over large armed forces whom in nine years of bitter civil war the Kuomintang, with aid from abroad, was never able to defeat. The Issue in China Today The issue in China is not the Kuomintang versus the Com-munist Party. Nor is it Democracy versus Communism. Chi-nese reactionaries would have us believe that those are the is-sues. They speak of the " Reds" in much the same way that Martin Dies does in this country. They picture the spectacle of Communism sweeping Eastern Asia and of themselves as the shining knights of democracy. Such propaganda is picked) up by American reactionaries and spread in the United States. It is the line that Clare Booth Luce takes. It is the line of the yellow press. It suits all those, regardless of nationality, who wish to compromise the war. It is the kind of nourish-ment on which all who fear genuine democracy more than they fear fascism flourish. But the issue so stated is completely false. There is no group, least of all the Communists, which advocates Communism in China today. In earlier pages we have shown what is the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party. We have indi-cated that they stand in the front ranks of those striving to establish capitalism in China. It is true that their perspective reaches beyond today. The bourgeois- democratic revolution which they struggle to advance is historically but one step; it will lead, in due course, to the second revolutionary period of socialism. But that second step is not an issue of today, it does not figure in the battle of political unity in the war. It is as stupid to pretend that it is an issue as to say that because e right wing of the anti- Japanese front envisages an indefi-te tenure for the capitalist mode of production and strives for eturn to bourgeois dictatorship after the war, these bour-is elements should now be combatted. Nothing could be seless. who try to obstruct the progress of the war by saying issue in China is Democracy versus Communism make crude mistake. They would have us believe that the Chungking clique represents democracy! Who is so gullible as to think that forces and institutions which rest upon a foun-dation of feudalism, that oppose individual capitalist produc-tion, that ally themselves with the fascist enemy go by the name of democracy? The issue of China is between democracy on the one hand and an alliance among feudalists, defeatists; pro- Japanese and pro- fascists on the other. The stakes are the achievement of freedom and independence through participation in coalition warfare for the defeat of Japan or a return to an indefinite period of dark medievalism. There can be no other alternative. For, if one blockades the spread of democracy in China one inevitably helps the enemy. A Chinese cannot take the position that he is in favor of winning the war but opposes unity with the Communists, for it is a contradiction of policies. If he acts to obstruct unity he also acts to aid the Japanese. Similarly any policy which takes advantage of the plight of the peasantry, any act of speculation or of hoarding, any attempt to restrict production are direct contributions to the cause of fascism. Looking Toward a Solution It is not within the province of this pamphlet to suggest the concrete ways in which a solution can be reached. The condi-tions of solution constantly change as the Chinese situation and the international scene change. Terms advanced two years ago or even a few months ago must now be altered because the relationship of forces within China and between China and its allies have meanwhile changed. It must also be remembered that the solution is to be found within a country whose national condition is still that of being colonial ( in the occupied regions), semi- colonial and semi- feudal ( in Free China), and that feudal customs and institutions still dominate in most parts of the land. We should not therefore look for solutions which might be sought in seemingly parallel situations in our own country. One or two examples of this point are in order. China has a gigantic wartime problem in stopping inflation, in control- 28 and wages, and in managing its currency system. e done by Chinese equivalents of the OPA, the B and NLRB, or the Federal Reserve System? The answer is no. For these are instruments appropriate only to well-developed economies with a strung federal constitutional sys-tem of government. They are not applicable to a semi- feudal, semi- colonial country. In countries like China such centralized agencies are useful only to the most backward reactionary elements who use them deliberately for the purpose of bolster-ing their own power and preventing the accomplishment of the very objectives for which the agencies are purportedly established. Such, in fact, has been the recent history of China. We have . cited the critical need for utilizing all of the meager plant capacity China possesses for the manufacture of steel. Is this to be done under the aegis of a highly cen-tralized WPB? It is extremely doubtful that such an agency could have more than a most limited usefulness. The way to get production going in an undeveloped country is by indi-vidual, popular initiative rather than through methods which have been worked out in a highly organized capitalist state. Emphatically the material conditions for a centralized econ-omy do not yet exist in China. The foundations must first be laid. For a rough parallel we must look back to the early days in this country before an integrated national economy had de-veloped, when the economy depended upon individual and local initiative. It was only after such methods of production had established the necessary material conditions that the Federal government began to play any important part. In the field of politics we must also look forward to a marked degree of decentralization- not the decentralization ival feudal warlords, but that of the early stages of capital-ocracy. Chungking has raised this issue in de-the Northwest Border Region submit uncondi-authority. Chinese representatives of the Chung-n this country have tried to draw a parallel ituation in China and the acceptance by Presi-t of a new autonomous region in our own northwest under the leadership of American Communists! Earl Browder has exposed this fallacious argument in the following way: " The answer to such a comparison with America is that the United States has a constitutional democratic regime that has developed continually for over 150 years, while China's Chungking administration is neither constitutional nor demo-cratic, it is the self- constituted power of an extremely limited fraction of the Chinese population. To make any valid com-parison with American experience, it would be necessary to go back to our pre- constitutional days, and assume that a provisional national government in America had decided to wipe out all State governments and in their place to appoint administrations for all States and localities. This would need further qualification, that America never had even a provi-sional national government so entirely unrepresentative as the Chungking regime in China, for our Constitutional Congress was at least the beginnings of representative national govern-ment; yet neither it, nor the succeeding constitutional Federal Government ever dreamed of wiping out local self- government and substituting for it governments appointed from the center. Yet that is exactly what Chiang Kai- shek is demanding in rela-tion to the Northwest Border Region. The whole force of American experience goes to support the Northwest Border Region as against the extreme centralism and entire absence of democracy of the Chungking regime of Chiang Kai- shek; we know from American experience that our own nation could never have been united and become strong by applying the formula Chiang Kai- shek is trying to use for China." * Things have gone too far to permit the working out of China's problem within the framework of the Kuomintang bureaucracy. The military situation goes rapidly against our Chinese ally. The Chungking clique has proved itself in-competent to organize the nation to meet the emergency; it continues to place obstructions in the way of the war effort. This dangerous situation can be averted only by the forma-tion of a new representative government in which all anti- * Introduction to China's New Democracy, by Mao Tse- tung. Nev Century Publishers, 1944, 72 pp. 30 [ apanese parties and groups are given a voice and from which I all defeatists, reactionaries and pro- fascists are drastically I eliminated. The new government must be a coalition of all democratic elements. Patriotic forces within the Kuomintang must, of course, be included but the power of the Kuomintang bureaucracy must be forever broken. In order to form such a government the Second Peoples Congress held in Yenan in the middle of December, 1944, called for a national conven-tion of all anti- Japanese parties. It stated, " Our sole task is to cooperate with the Allies to overthrow the Japanese invaders." We Pledge Our Aid The interest of the United States is inescapably linked with the solution of the Chinese crisis. In the opening section of this pamphlet we discussed the factors which go to make up our vital stake in the regeneration of our Far Eastern Ally. These include the successful military prosecution of the war against Japan, the post- war market for American- made manu-factures, the problem of American- British commercial compe-tition, the stability of the United Nations world security or-ganization, and the immediate future of the vast colonial areas over which a democratic China could wield influence. Our government has not been unaware of this matter. It has been one of President Rooseveltys outstanding contribu-tions to the war in- the Far East that from the very first he has seen the necessity of a strong, unified Chinese nation. His was the influence which placed China nominally among the high command of the United Nations. His has been the leadership which has struggled to supply content to the shell of Chinese strength through helping to bring about the condi-tions of internal Chinese unity. President Roosevelt has asso-ciated the influence of the United States with the needs of the vast majority of the Chinese people, within and outside e ~ uornintane, for a government of all those elements in na willing to fight the Japanese under the leadership of ng Kai- shek. He has consequently lent our influence to ins for the ousting of the treacherous elements in the inese government and armies, in behalf of cooperation among all the military forces o the nation, for a high corn-mand capable of handling the problems of modern warfare, and to the strengthening of the ties among all those nations joined in the anti- fascist coalition. . This is a line of policy that deserves and, for its successful fulfillment demands, the enthusiastic support of all sections of the American public. It is a policy which is playing a powerfully progressive role in the Far East and in the war of the United Nations. It may even prove to be the decisive factor in turning the tide against reaction and in favor of democracy in China. A deep bond of friendship is being established between the American4 and Chinese people. Faced by a relentless enemy they have formed and are today strengthening a lasting alli-ance. In the early years of the war, before Pearl Harbor, the Chinese fighting without our aid, performed acts of heroism which have few parallels in history. For their courageous and farseeing sacrifice we shall forever remain indebted. Today these Chinese allies find themselves in the most dangerous crisis of their history. We are in a position to repay part of the debt and in so doing to make a momentous contri-bution to our joint war effort and to future world security. The American people must pledge every possible form of aid in behalf of the political and military tasks to which the demo-cratic- loving masses of China and theirpatriotic leaders are dedicated. spokesman for the Chinese Communists, is a work of historical importance . . . one of the essential documents for evaluating the current Chinese crisis . . . containing the Chinese Com-munists' long- time program and perspective for the liberation and development of that great n " on."- Earl Browder. W*...< I ,,-. . .^ ,' " No document more important than China's New Democ-racy by Mao Tse- tung, the revered, Chinese Communist leader, has' emerged from that nation since the beginning of the war. It is unquestionably the most significant contribu-tion to the foreign understanding of the problems and per-spectives of our Far Eastern ally available to us. . . . " China's New Democracy reaches the English- speaking public just as the Chinese nation faces the sharpest test of its history. If we thoroughly comprehend the lessons which Mao Tse- tung here teaches us, our efforts to support those , policies which will result in a regeneration of China will be immeasurably strengthened."- Frederick V. Price 25 cents . f w , ft , *' I^:. .'.'^; y '. -"" yTffqg!@ W, . , (,(


Field, Frederick Vanderbilt


New York : New Century Publishers




Lewis and Clark College


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China - Republic of China 1911 - 1949



Field, Frederick Vanderbilt, “China's Greatest Crisis,” ASIANetwork IDEAS Project, accessed May 18, 2024,