The Northern China Incident took place in 1935 when the Japanese carried on aggression against northern China and the Kuomintang government headed by Chiang Kai-shek betrayed our sovereignty and humiliated our nation. In May of that year, the Japanese demanded that the Kuomintang government grant them administrative authority over northern China, and in June Ho Ying-chin, the Kuomintang government's representative there, submitted and signed an agreement with Yoshijiro Umezu, commander of the invading forces in northern China, which became known as the "Ho-Umezu Agreement". By its terms China forfeited much of her sovereignty in the provinces of Hopei and Chahar. In October at the instigation of the Japanese invaders, some Chinese traitors staged a revolt in Hsiangho, Hopei Province, and seized the county town. In November, a number of Chinese traitors were put up by the Japanese invaders to start a self-styled movement of autonomy in the five provinces of northern China, and a puppet "Anti-Communist Autonomous Administration" was established in eastern Hopei. To meet the Japanese demand for "special administration for northern China", the Kuomintang government appointed Sung Cheh-yuan and others to form a "Political Council for Hopei and Chahar".
This declaration was issued by the Chinese Communist Party on August 1, 1935. Its main points are contained in the following extracts:
"At this moment when our country and our people are threatened with imminent destruction, the Communist Party once again appeals to all fellow countrymen: whatever the past or present differences of political opinion and of interests among the political parties, whatever the differences of view and of interests among our countrymen in their various walks of life, whatever the past or present hostilities between the various armies, we should all truly awaken to the realization that 'brothers quarrelling at home, join forces against attacks from without' and, first and foremost, we should stop the civil war so as to concentrate the nation's resources (manpower, material and financial resources, and the armed forces) on the fight for the sacred cause of resisting Japan and saving the nation. Once again the Communist Party solemnly declares: if the Kuomintang troops cease their attacks on the Red Army and if any units carry out resistance to Japan, then the Red Army, regardless of any old feuds or present conflicts or differences on domestic issues, will not only immediately cease its hostile actions against these units, but willingly work closely with them to save the nation."
"The Communist Party is willing to initiate a national defence government of this kind; for the joint formation of such a national defence government it is ready to hold immediate talks with all those willing to join the cause of resisting Japan and saving the nation -- all political parties, all organizations (trade unions, peasant associations, student unions, chambers of commerce educational associations, journalists' societies, associations of teachers and other staff of schools, fellow-townsmen's associations, the Chih Kung Tang, the Association for National Armed Self-Defence. the Anti-Japanese Association the Association for National Salvation, etc.), all prominent public figures, scholars and statesmen and all local military and administrative bodies. The national defence government emerging out of these negotiations should be a provisional organ of leadership for saving the nation from subjugation and ensuring its
survival. It should endeavour to convene a delegate body truly representative of all our countrymen (with delegates democratically elected by all the various circles of workers, peasants, soldiers, government personnel, businessmen and students, by all parties and all organizations willing to resist Japan and save the nation, and by all overseas Chinese and all the nationalities within China's boundaries) to discuss all problems relating to armed resistance and national salvation in more specific terms. The Communist Party will do its very best to help convene such an assembly of representatives of the people and to carry out all its decisions."
"An anti-Japanese united army should be formed of all troops willing to fight Japan. A single general headquarters of this army should be set up under the leadership of the national defence government. The question of whether this headquarters should be composed of representatives elected by the officers and men of the various anti-Japanese army units or be formed in some other way should be decided by the representatives of all circles and by the will of the people. The Red Army will unreservedly be the first to join this united army and fulfil its duty in resisting Japan and saving the nation. To enable the national defence government and the anti-Japanese united army effectively to discharge their immense responsibilities for national defence and for resisting Japan, the Communist Party hereby appeals to the whole nation: those who have money give money, those who have guns give guns, those who have grain give grain, those who have labour power give labour power, and those who have special skill contribute special skill, so that all our fellow countrymen will be mobilized and all weapons, old or modern, will be used to arm the people in millions upon millions."
The December resolution was the "Resolution on the Present Political Situation and the Tasks of the Party", adopted at the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party at Wayaopao, northern Shensi, on December 25, 1935. It made a comprehensive analysis of the current internal and international situation and the changes in class relations in China, and formulated the Party's policy. The resolution runs in part as follows:
The present situation shows that the attempts of Japanese imperialism to annex China have shocked the whole country and the whole world. Changes have taken place or are taking place in the relations between all classes, strata, political parties and armed forces in China's political life. There is a realignment of forces in both the national revolutionary front and the national counter-revolutionary front. Therefore, the Party's tactical line is to arouse, unite and organize the revolutionary forces throughout the country and among all the nationalities to oppose the chief enemy confronting them, namely, Japanese imperialism and the arch-traitor Chiang Kai-shek. All people, all parties, all armed forces and all classes, in so far as they are opposed to Japanese imperialism and the traitor Chiang Kai-shek, should unite and wage the sacred national revolutionary war, drive the Japanese imperialists out of China, overthrow the rule of their running dogs in China, achieve the complete liberation of the Chinese nation and safeguard China's independence and territorial integrity. Only by establishing the broadest anti-Japanese national united front (embracing the lower and upper strata) can we defeat Japanese imperialism and its running dog, Chiang Kai-shek. Of course, different individuals, different organizations, different social classes and strata and the various armed forces join the anti-Japanese national revolution from different motives and with different class standpoints. Some do so in order to hold on to their
positions, some to gain leadership in the movement so that it will not go beyond the limits they allow, and some genuinely to work for the complete liberation of the Chinese nation. Precisely because their motives and their standpoints differ, some will vacillate or turn traitor at the very start of the struggle, some will become indifferent or withdraw from the fight midway, and some will determinedly fight to the end. Nevertheless, our task is to unite not only all possible basic forces but also all potential allies likely to resist Japan, and enable the people throughout the country who have labour power to give labour power, those who have money to give money, those who have guns to give guns, and those who have knowledge to contribute knowledge, leaving no patriotic Chinese outside the anti-Japanese front. Such is the general line of the Party's tactics for the broadest possible national united front. Only by pursuing this line can we mobilize the forces of the whole people to deal with the common enemy, Japanese imperialism and the traitor Chiang Kai-shek. The Chinese working class and peasantry remain the basic motive forces of the Chinese revolution. The broad masses of the petty bourgeoisie and the revolutionary intellectuals are their most reliable allies in the national revolution. A solid alliance of the workers, the peasants and the petty bourgeoisie is the basic force for defeating Japanese imperialism and the traitors and collaborators. When a section of the national bourgeoisie and the warlords gives moral support, maintains benevolent neutrality or directly participates in the struggle against Japan and the traitors and collaborators, this will serve to expand the anti-Japanese front, however much it may disapprove of the agrarian revolution and Red political power. For the total strength of the counter-revolution will thus be reduced and the total strength of the revolution increased. To this end, the Party should adopt appropriate ways and means to win these forces over to the anti-Japanese front. Moreover, unity is by no means prevalent even in the camp of the landlord and comprador classes. Since the contention for China among many imperialist powers has generated contending groups of traitors in their service with contradictions and conflicts among them, the Party should employ a variety of methods to ensure that for the time being some of these counter-revolutionary forces do not actively oppose the anti-Japanese front. The same tactics should be applied in dealing with the imperialist powers other than Japan. In arousing, uniting and organizing the forces of the people throughout the country to fight the common enemy, the Party should resolutely and unswervingly combat all tendencies towards vacillation, compromise, capitulation and betrayal within the anti-Japanese united front. Those who disrupt the Chinese people's anti-Japanese movement are traitors or collaborators whom we should all join in hitting hard. The Communist Party should win the leadership of the anti-Japanese front by being resolute and right in its words and deeds against the Japanese imperialists and the traitors and collaborators. Only under the Communist Party's leadership can the anti-Japanese movement be completely victorious. With regard to the masses in the anti-Japanese war, it is necessary to satisfy their demands in matters affecting their basic interests (the demand of the peasants for land and the demand of the workers, the soldiers the urban poor and the intellectuals for better living). Only by satisfying their demands will we be able to mobilize still broader sections of the masses to join the anti-Japanese ranks, keep up the anti-Japanese movement, and lead the movement to complete victory. And only thus can the Party win leadership in the anti-Japanese war.
See "On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism", pp. 153-78 of this volume.
The Red Army sent an open telegram on May 5, 1936 demanding that the Nanking government end the civil war, conduct peace negotiations with the Communists for unity against Japan. The text reads as follows:
To the Military Council of the Nanking National Government; to all land, sea and air forces; to all parties, all political groups; all public bodies, all newspapers; and to all fellow-countrymen refusing to be slaves to a foreign nation:
After crossing the Yellow River on its eastward expedition, the Anti-Japanese Vanguard of the Chinese People's Red Army, organized by the Revolutionary Military Commission of the Chinese Red Army, was everywhere victorious and won support from all over the country. But when it occupied the Tatung-Puchow Railway and was energetically preparing to drive eastward into Hopei to engage the Japanese imperialists directly, Chiang Kai-shek sent more than ten divisions into Shansi and co-operated with Yen Hsi-shan in barring its advance against the Japanese. He also ordered the troops under Chang Hsueh-liang and Yang Hu-cheng, as well as the troops in northern Shensi, to march on the Shensi-Kansu Red area to harass our anti-Japanese rear. In order to be able to reach and fight the Japanese, the people's Anti-Japanese Vanguard should have concentrated its entire strength and wiped out Chiang's troops blocking the way. But after much deliberation, the Revolutionary Military Commission of the Red Army decided that a battle to the finish between the two sides in the present national crisis would only damage China's strength for national defence and delight the Japanese imperialists, whichever side emerged victorious. Furthermore, there are quite a number of patriotic officers and men in Chiang Kai-shek's and Yen Hsi-shan's armies who are willing to end the civil war and unite to resist Japan, and it is really against their consciences to obey Chiang's and Yen's orders and block the Red Army on its way to fight the Japanese. Therefore, in spite of its numerous victories in Shansi, the Revolutionary Military Commission of the Red Army has withdrawn the people's Anti-Japanese Vanguard to the west of the Yellow River in order to preserve China's strength for national defence and thereby help to bring nearer the war of resistance against Japan, resolutely carry out our repeated declarations to the nation on ending the civil war and uniting to resist Japan, and hasten the final awakening of Chiang Kai-shek and the patriotic officers and men in his army. With this demonstration of our good faith to the Nanking government, to all the country's land, sea and air forces and to the whole nation, we are ready to arrange a cease-fire with all the armed units attacking the anti-Japanese Red Army within one month and to enter into peace negotiations with them in order to end the civil war and resist Japan. The Revolutionary Military Commission of the Red Army hereby solemnly advises the gentlemen of the Nanking government at this critical juncture, when our country and people are threatened with imminent destruction, to make a determined effort to atone for past misdeeds and end the civil war in the whole country, to join forces against attacks from without in the spirit of brothers quarrelling at home, and first of all end the civil war in Shensi, Kansu and Shansi, whereupon both sides should appoint delegates to discuss specific measures for resisting Japan and saving the nation. This will be a blessing to the nation and the country as well as for your own good. However, if you obstinately refuse to listen to reason and prefer to be traitors and collaborators, your rule will surely collapse in the end and you will be spurned and overthrown by the whole nation. The old saying runs, "A thousand pointing fingers accuse, and a man dies even without
a sickness." Or as another raying goes, "The butcher who lays down his knife at once becomes a Buddha." These are words for you gentlemen to digest and ponder. And the Revolutionary Military Commission of the Red Army calls upon all organizations, all parties and all people in the country, who refuse to be slaves to a foreign nation, to support our proposal for a cease-fire and peace negotiations, and for unity against Japan, to organize committees for hastening the cessation of the civil war and to send representatives to the front to stop the firing on both sides and to supervise the full implementation of this proposal.
See "A Statement on Chiang Kai-shek's Statement", Note 7, pp. 259-61 of this volume.
The slogan of "A people's republic" was first put forward in the "Resolution on the Present Political Situation and the Tasks of the Party", adopted at the meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party held in December 1935, and in the report by Comrade Mao Tse-tung "On Tactics Against Japanese Imperialism". Later circumstances made it necessary for the Party to adopt the policy of forcing Chiang Kai-shek to resist Japan, and, as the slogan would have been unacceptable to the Chiang Kai-shek clique, it was changed into "A democratic republic" in the Party's letter of August 1936 to the Kuomintang. The slogan of a democratic republic was subsequently explained in more concrete terms in the "Resolution on the New Situation in the Movement to Resist Japan and Save the Nation, and on the Democratic Republic", which the Central Committee of the Party adopted in September of the same year. Though different in form, the two slogans are in essence the same. The following two extracts concerning the democratic republic are from the September 1936 resolution of the Party's Central Committee:
"The Central Committee holds that in the present situation it is necessary to put forward the slogan of 'establish a democratic republic', because this is the best way to unite all the anti-Japanese forces to safeguard China's territorial integrity and avert the calamity of the destruction of China and of the subjugation of her people, and also because this is the most fitting slogan for the formation of a united front based on the democratic demands of the broad masses of the people. By 'a democratic republic' we mean a democracy which is geographically more extensive than that of the workers' and peasants' democratic dictatorship in one part of China and a political system which is far more progressive than the one-party dictatorship of the Kuomintang in the main parts of China; it will therefore offer a better guarantee of the wide development of armed resistance to Japan and the achievement of complete victory. Moreover, the democratic republic will not only enable the broadest sections of the Chinese people to take part in the country's political life and enhance their political consciousness and organized strength, but also give the Chinese proletariat and its leader, the Communist Party, scope for activity in the struggle for the future victory of socialism. Therefore, the Chinese Communist Party proclaims its active support of the movement for a democratic republic. It also declares that when the democratic republic is established through the length and breadth of China and a parliament elected by universal suffrage is convened, the Red areas will at once become an organic part of the republic, the people of the Red areas will elect their representatives to the parliament, and the same democratic system will be put into practice in the Red areas."
"The Central Committee stresses that we shall impel the Kuomintang government in Nanking to resist Japan and we shall create the prerequisites for the
democratic republic only by extending the Chinese people's movement of armed resistance and national salvation, by broadening the anti-Japanese national united front of all political parties, people of all walks of life and all armies, by strengthening the Chinese Communist Party's role of political leadership in the national united front, by greatly consolidating the Red political power and the Red Army, and by waging a determined struggle against all words and deeds which betray our sovereignty and humiliate our nation or weaken the forces of the national united front. It is impossible for the democratic republic to become a reality without bitter and sustained struggles, without the mobilization of the entire Chinese nation, and without a high tide of revolution. In the course of the struggle for the democratic republic, the Chinese Communist Party should insist that the democratic republic should begin by carrying out the Ten-Point Programme for Resisting Japan and Saving the Nation proposed by our Party and go on until it finally fulfils the basic tasks of the Chinese bourgeois-democratic revolution."
This telegram was dispatched on February 10, 1937. The full text reads as follows:
To the Third Plenary Session of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang
It is a matter of national rejoicing that the Sian Incident has been settled peacefully. From now on it will be possible for the policy of internal peace and for unity and solidarity against foreign aggression to be carried out; this is a blessing to the nation and the country. At this moment when the Japanese invaders are running amuck and the survival of the Chinese nation hangs by a thread, our Party eagerly hopes that, in accordance with this policy, the Third Plenary Session of the Central Executive Committee of your party will decide on the following as the national policy:
(1) end all civil wars and concentrate the country's strength in a united effort to meet the foreign aggression;
(2) guarantee freedom of speech, assembly and association, and release all political prisoners;
(3) call a conference of representatives of all political parties, people of all walks of life and all armies, and concentrate the nation's talents in a common endeavour to save the country;
(4) speedily complete all preparations for resisting Japan; and
(5) improve the livelihood of the people.
If the Third Plenary Session of your Central Executive Committee can succeed in resolutely and firmly deciding on this as the national policy, our Party will pledge the following as an expression of our good faith in solidarity against foreign aggression:
(1) the policy of armed insurrection to overthrow the National Government will be discontinued throughout the country;
(2) the Workers' and Peasants' Democratic Government will be renamed the Government of the Special Region of the Republic of China and the Red Army will be redesignated as part of the National Revolutionary Army, and they will come under the direction of the Central Government in Nanking and its Military Council respectively;
(3) a thoroughly democratic system based on universal suffrage will be put into effect in the areas under the Government of the Special Region; and
In November and December 1936, big strikes broke out among 45,000 workers in twenty-six Japanese and Chinese-owned textile mills in Shanghai. In December all the workers of the Japanese-owned textile mills in Tsingtao struck in sympathy. The Shanghai workers won their strike, their wages were increased five per cent retrospectively from November, and the employers undertook not to sack workers arbitrarily or assault or abuse them. But the strike in Tsingtao was suppressed by Japanese marines.
Britain and the United States began to change their attitude towards Japan and exerted some influence on the Chiang Kai-shek government in its policy towards Japan after Japanese imperialism occupied Shanhaikuan and penetrated into northern China in 1933, and especially after the conclusion of the "Ho-Umezu Agreement" (see Note 1, p. 276) in 1935, which directly jeopardized their imperialist interests in northern and central China. During the Sian Incident of 1936, Britain suggested rejection of Japanese demands prejudicial to British interests in China and even intimated that, provided the Chiang Kai-shek government maintained its rule over the Chinese people, it would not be a bad thing for it to "form some sort of alliance with the Communist Party" so as to deal a blow to the Japanese policy of aggression.
In June 1936, Li Tsung-jen and Pai Chung-hsi, warlords of Kwangsi, and Chen Chi-tang, warlord of Kwangtung, jointly declared their opposition to Chiang Kai-shek under the pretext of "resisting Japan and saving the nation". In August their opposition melted away before Chiang Kai-shek's tactics of bribery and divide and rule.
The Japanese forces and puppet troops began to invade Suiyuan in August 1936. In November, the Chinese troops there fought back and the people throughout the country started a movement in support of their fight.
After the "Ho-Umezu Agreement" of 1935, the Nanking Kuomintang government took a firmer attitude towards Japan under the pressure of the people's rising anti-Japanese sentiment and under the impact of the stiffer policy the British and U.S. imperialists were adopting towards Japan. The Kuomintang government used stalling tactics in the negotiations with Japan from September to December 6, which ended without result.
This was the meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang on February 15, 1937 after the peaceful settlement of the Sian Incident.
Ah Q is the leading character in The True Story of Ah Q, the famous novel by the great Chinese writer Lu Hsun. Ah Q typifies all those who compensate themselves for their failures and setbacks in real life by regarding them as moral or spiritual victories.
In the stage of China's bourgeois-democratic revolution, the Communists agreed with the basic points of Sun Yat-sen's programme and co-operated with him, which did not mean that they agreed with the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois world outlook or ideological system of which he was the exponent. As the vanguard of the Chinese proletariat, the Chinese Communists had an entirely different world outlook or ideological system and theoretical approach to the national and other problems, from those of Sun Yat-sen.
Reorganized by Sun Yat-sen in 1924, the Kuomintang became a revolutionary alliance of several classes, which members of the Communist Party joined
in their individual capacity. After its betrayal of the revolution in 1927, the Kuomintang carried out what it called a "party purge" throughout the country, butchering the Communists and many of its own left-wingers who genuinely supported Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Great Policies. From then on the Kuomintang became the counter-revolutionary political party of the big landlords and big bourgeoisie.
This refers to the situation created by the opportunist leadership of the Central Committee of the Party in the first half of 1927.