of the common people but in the event hurt himself, and he died just a few months after becoming emperor. Tuan Chi-jui, Hsu Shih-chang, Tsao Kun, Wu Pei-fu and all the rest wanted to repress the people, but finally they were all overthrown by the people. Whoever tries to profit at others' expense will come to no good end.
I think that, unless they move forward, the anti-Communist die-hards of today can be no exception to this rule. On the high-sounding pretext of unification, they are planning to liquidate the progressive Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region, the progressive Eighth Route and New Fourth Armies, the progressive Communist Party and mass organizations. They have any number of schemes of this sort. But I believe the outcome will be not the liquidation of progress by die-hardism but the liquidation of die-hardism by progress. Indeed, to
escape liquidation the die-hards have no alternative but to move forward. Hence we have often advised them not to attack the Eighth Route Army, the Communist Party and the Border Region. If they must, they had better make a resolution starting as follows: "Determined as we are to liquidate ourselves and provide the Communist Party with ample opportunity to expand, we, the die-hards, assume the responsibility for attacking the Communist Party and the Border Region." The die-hards have had plenty of experience in "suppressing the Communists", and should they now want to have another go, they are free to do so. If after eating their fill and having a good sleep, they feel like doing some "suppression", that is up to them. However, they must be prepared for the above resolution to go into effect, for it is unalterable. The "suppression of the Communists" in the past ten years invariably turned out in conformity with this resolution. Any further "suppression" will also conform to it. Hence I advise them not to go in for "suppression". For what the whole nation wants is not "suppression of the Communists" but resistance, unity and progress. Therefore, anyone who tries to "suppress the Communists" is bound to fail.
In short, retrogression eventually produces the reverse of what its promoters intend. There is no exception to this rule either in modern or in ancient times, in China or elsewhere.
The same is true of constitutional government today. If the die-hards keep on opposing it, the result will certainly be the reverse of what they intend. The movement for constitutional government will never follow the course decided on by the die-hards, but will run counter to their intentions, and it will inevitably take the course decided on by the people. This is certain, for the people throughout the country demand it, and so do the current of China's historical development and the whole trend of world affairs. Who can resist it? The wheel of history cannot be pushed back. However, the work we have undertaken requires time and cannot be accomplished overnight; it requires effort and cannot be done in a slipshod way; it requires the mobilization of the great masses of the people and cannot be done effectively by a single pair of hands. It is a very good thing that we are holding this meeting here today; after our meeting we shall write articles and send telegrams, and we shall also hold similar meetings in the Wutai Mountains, the Taihang Mountains, northern China, central China and all over the country. If we go on doing this and keep it up for several years, that will be just about right. We must
make a good job of it, we must win democracy and freedom, we must establish new-democratic constitutional government. If this is not done and the die-hards are allowed to have their way, the nation will perish. This is the way we must work to avoid national subjugation. For this purpose everybody must exert himself. If we do so, there is great hope for our cause. It must further be understood that after all the die-hards are only a minority, while the majority consists not of die-hards but of people capable of moving forward. With the majority pitted against the minority, plus the efforts we exert, the hope will be even greater. That is why I say that, difficult though the task may be, there is great hope.
Old Comrade Wu is Comrade Wu Yu-chang, who was then Chairman of the Yenan Association for the Promotion of Constitutional Government.
"Those" refers to the Kuomintang reactionary clique headed by Chiang Kai-shek.
In 1923 Tsao Kun, a big Northern warlord, had himself elected President of the Republic by bribing 590 members of parliament with 5,000 silver dollars each. He then promulgated a constitution, which came to be known as the "Tsao Kun Constitution" or the "Constitution of Bribery".
Li Yuan-hung was originally commander of a brigade in the armed forces of the Ching Dynasty. He was compelled by his officers and men to side with the revolution during the Wuchang Uprising in 1911 and was made military governor of Hupeh Province. He later became Vice-President and then President of the Republic under the regime of the Northern warlord clique.
Feng Kuo-chang was one of Yuan Shih-kai's underlings. After Yuan's death, he became the leader of the Chihli (Hopei) group of the Northern warlord clique. In 1917 he got rid of Li Yuan-hung and became President himself.
Hsu Shih-chang was a politician in the service of the Northern warlord clique. He was elected President in 1918 by the parliament controlled by Tuan Chi-jui.
The People's Political Council was a mere advisory body reluctantly set up by the Kuomintang government after the outbreak of the anti-Japanese war. The members were all "invited" by the Kuomintang government. Nominally it included the representatives of all anti-Japanese political parties and groups, but it was actually dominated by the Kuomintang majority. It had no power to influence the policies or the measures adopted by the Kuomintang government. As Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang became more and more reactionary, the number of Kuomintang and other reactionaries on the council increased while the number of democrats decreased and their freedom of speech was severely curtailed, until the council increasingly became a mere tool of Kuomintang reaction. After the Southern Anhwei Incident of 1941, the Communist members of the council boycotted its meetings several times in protest against the Kuomintang's reactionary measures.
A resolution demanding that the Kuomintang government convene a national assembly and establish a constitutional government at a fixed date was passed at the Fourth Session of the People's Political Council in September 1939, on the proposal of the Communist Party and the democrats of other parties and groups. In November 1939 the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang announced that the national assembly would be convened on November 12, 1940. Though much publicized to dupe the people, this pledge came to nothing.
Yuan Shih-kai proclaimed himself emperor on December 12, 1915, but was force to give up the title on March 22, 1916.