Harold R. Isaacs

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution

IX. The Conspiracy of Silence

To the workers of Shanghai the hour of the arrival of the Nationalist troops was represented by their Communist leaders as the hour of liberation for all the oppressed. The central slogan of the victorious insurrection of March 21 had been: “Hail the National Revolutionary Army! Welcome to Chiang Kai-shek!” Quite oblivious of the fact that the advance of the troops had been halted at Lunghua in the hope that the workers’ battalions would break themselves in the battle against the Shantung troops, the workers greeted the arrival of the first Nationalist vanguard on the evening of March 22 with delirious joy. Two days later, when foreign correspondents flocked to Lunghua to interview General Pai Chung-hsi, they witnessed a spectacle unlike anything ever seen in China before the revolution.

“A striking example of the impression the Cantonese arrival has made on the minds of the labouring classes of Shanghai was furnished during the interview. . . . A procession of 1,800 factory workers, 300 of them women, entered the yamen bearing a multitude of gifts which they piled outside the door of the inner building as a mark of their pleasure, kettles, teapots, boxes, baskets, cloth . . .”[1]

The day after Chiang Kai-shek’s arrival a demonstration of welcome was staged for him at West Gate, where more than 50,000 workers gathered to hear Communist speakers, who “were superlatively laudatory . . . toward Chiang Kai-shek.”[2]

But the workers of Shanghai and the Chinese Communists were by no means alone in saluting Chiang and his army as the saviours of the people. All the parties in the Communist International reacted in the same manner, for everywhere it was understood that Chiang bore with him to the gates of Shanghai nothing less than the standard of the world revolution. Who knew otherwise?

A few days before the insurrection Rote Fahne, central organ of the German Communist Party, featured a photo of Chiang Kai-shek, describing him as the heroic leader of the “revolutionary war council” of the Kuomintang.[3] A similar photo appeared in L’Humanité, French Communist daily, on March 23, with a report of a great mass meeting at which Chiang’s entry into Shanghai was greeted as the inauguration of “the Chinese Commune,” opening “a new stage in world revolution.” An editorial spoke of the Cantonese victory as the “liberation of Shanghai,” which meant “the beginning of liberation for the workers of the world.”[4]

This reading of the situation flowed naturally and logically from the whole line pursued by the Comintern up to the very day of Chiang’s entry and afterward. If as late as April 10 Pravda, the guiding organ of the Communist International, could still proclaim the need, above all else, of maintaining the “bloc of four classes,” if leading Soviet spokesmen repeatedly insisted upon the unassailable unity of all classes under the leadership of the Kuomintang,[5] it is not to be wondered that Communists in other countries saw in Chiang Kai-shek’s entry into Shanghai the dawning of a new day for the Chinese revolution—the day of the Chinese Commune.

Unfortunately, the facts were the direct contrary. It has been shown how almost from the very outset the elevation of the “national united front,” or the “bloc of four classes,” into a mystic fetish to be preserved at all and any cost, had served to bind the Chinese Communist Party securely to the bootstraps of the Kuomintang, the workers and peasants to the bourgeoisie. In Canton this policy had already led to the successful establishment of a military dictatorship under Li Chi-sen based upon the savage repression of the workers. It had already made available to the bourgeoisie the fruits of the broad mass movement which made the march to the Yangtze possible. To-day in Shanghai, through Chiang Kai-shek, the bourgeoisie was preparing to pluck that fruit. By voluntarily restricting the workers’ and peasants’ struggles, by limiting their political objectives to those of the bourgeois Nationalists, by yoking the Communists to the task of doing “coolie service” (Borodin) for the Kuomintang, by binding them not to criticize the doctrines of Sun Yat-sen, by forgoing an independent daily Press, the Communist leadership had paved the way for the open reaction already established in Canton, in Kiangsi, and in the Yangtze ports.

Toward the end of 1926, and in the early months of 1927, the ruling organs of the Communist International had begun issuing broad, generalized warnings about the forthcoming defection of the national bourgeoisie,[6] which were repeated in a variety of articles during February and March..[7] These articles invariably deprecated the strength of the Right wing in the Kuomintang, invariably exaggerated the strength of the Left wing, and in no case mentioned Chiang Kai-shek as the actual spearhead of the gathering forces of reaction. On the contrary, when they mentioned Chiang Kai-shek at all, it was to assure their Communist readers that Chiang was “submitting,” and that all would be well.

To this end all the Press of the Comintern joined in denying and thrusting aside the rumours and reports, growing in number and in plausibility, that Chiang Kai-shek was heading in Shanghai toward a decisive break. It was a veritable conspiracy of silence around an impending catastrophe.

It is impossible to say that the Comintern was unaware of what was happening. In a few weeks its whole Press would furiously belch forth denunciations of Chiang Kai-shek, with all the information suppressed for a year pouring out in a hot stream. The letter of the three Comintern functionaries, from which we have quoted, showed that Chiang’s orientation was no secret to the men on the spot. But there is evidence still more striking.

Earl Browder, destined to become the generally unrecognized but nevertheless genial and beloved leader of the American proletariat, Jacques Doriot, who was to find his way from Stalin’s top staff to Fascism, Tom Mann of Great Britain, and a Russian, Sydor Stoler, were the members of a Comintern delegation which arrived in Canton in February and travelled up through Kiangsi at the heels of Chiang Kai-shek during the month of March. They came into direct contact with the terror which had already been laid across the province like a black whip. They were left untouched themselves, for Chiang obligingly left instructions behind that they be dined and wined and sent on. Thus wherever they went, as Browder himself later naively admitted, they “had the experience of actual street fighting being suspended during our visit while leaders of both sides talked to us.” As their subsequent reports[8] indicated, the delegates made copious notes of names, dates, and places. They passed through town after town where the unions had already been driven underground, and in Kanchow they received detailed reports on the murder of Chen Tsang-shen, local trade union leader killed by Chiang’s orders only a few weeks previously. Knowing, as they did, that everywhere abroad Chiang was believed to be a “revolutionary general” sweeping northward like the avenging angel of the masses, did they rush, on emerging from the hinterland at Kiukiang on March 29, to the cable office to blazon the news to the world? Was it possible that they had missed the significance of what they had seen and heard? No, for listen to Doriot:

“The Kanchow incidents taught us a precious lesson. We knew from that moment on—well before the split—that the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the Chinese working class would take on the bloody forms it has since assumed . . .”[9]

Listen to Browder, who says he saw in the Kanchow affair “one whole phase of the deep-going split that was tearing the Kuomintang into two separate warring bodies throughout China.”[10]

Nor had anything been left to their imaginations. They had been given explicitly to understand that the showdown was approaching, and would come at Shanghai: “The Marshal (Chiang Kai-shek) cannot speak now . . .” they were told by General Chang Chun at Nanchang on March 26. “He is not free enough. He has not enough territory. He has left for Nanking and Shanghai. There he will speak. There he will have his word!”[11]

In other words, the delegation arrived at Kiukiang with the positive knowledge that the split in the Kuomintang had already taken place, that Chiang Kai-shek had gone to Shanghai specifically and deliberately to smash the workers’ organizations there just as he had done throughout Kiangsi on his way north. Was it not necessary for Browder, Doriot, and Mann to sound the alarm, to sound it as loudly and as imperatively as they could? They arrived at Kiukiang only a few days after Chiang Kai-shek arrived at Shanghai. We have already seen how uncertain his strength was there, how immense the strength of the workers. Moscow was counselling retreat, on the theory that Chiang would not attack if he were not provoked. Those were precisely the critical hours of decision. Everywhere the workers were being assured that there was no split in the Kuomintang, that Chiang Kai-shek was “submitting,” that there was no possibility of a clash at Shanghai. Who can calculate what effect would have resulted had three responsible representatives of the Communist International at that particular moment broadcast a warning to the workers, and more particularly to the workers of Shanghai, that Chiang Kai-shek was not their friend or their saviour, but their mortal enemy? That they should at all costs keep their arms and prepare to repel the attack which BrowderDoriot-Mann knew was absolutely inevitable? Would such a bold move have changed the course of events? It is, of course, impossible to say. But the fact is that Browder-Doriot-Mann did none of these things.

They arrived at Hankow on March 31. Browder’s first statement was anything but an open denunciation of Chiang. Instead: “Everywhere . . . the contact between army, union, and peasant groups was one of the most pleasing aspects of his visit, Mr. Browder stated. . . . Everywhere they went . . . they found that the people, without exception, were solidly in support of the Party (the Kuomintang). . . . The peasants were in complete co-operation with all other groups in the Nationalist revolution. . . .”[12] The future exponent of twentieth-century Americanism cautiously remarked that in Kiangsi “the movement has been working under difficulties”—but hastened to add that “the workers were not at all discouraged.” Except in a single statement, which he claimed to have given to a Chinese newspaper,[13] Browder nowhere mentioned Chiang Kai-shek by name as the author of the “difficulties” in Kiangsi.

In a formal report of their trip published eight days later, Browder-Doriot-Mann affirmed that “almost everywhere the delegation were told that the revolutionary army and its political sections, together with the revolutionary Kuomintang, helped organize and develop new trades and peasant unions. . . .” They ventured to remark that they saw “a definite differentiation going on” and mentioned that at Kanchow they found the workers mourning for a leader murdered by “agents of reaction.” The identity of these “agents” remained unrevealed. The report concluded with an expression of “the profoundest conviction that the National Government and the Kuomintang are determined to crush feudalism and reaction.”[14]

Months later the international Communist Press was still publishing reports that “the delegation had the pleasure of observing that the peasant masses are organizing everywhere into powerful peasant federations with the aid of the Kuomintang.”[15]

These concealing lies sufficed until Chiang Kai-shek struck his blow, in his own time, at Shanghai. Then, and then only, the “agents of reaction” were identified as soldiers “acting in the name of Marshal Chiang Kai-shek.” Then it became time to reveal that throughout Kiangsi “the trade unions must hold their meetings secretly, all premises being occupied by troops.”[16] So these were the army-union contacts which Browder found so “pleasing”! And now it was time to reveal that in Kiangsi “the Kuomintang represents only the mandarins and the capitalists, as the workers and peasants have no voice whatever.”[17] So this was the party “solidly supported by all the people”!

This deliberate concealment of vital information at the most critical phase of the Chinese revolution in 1927 is an index to the atmosphere created throughout the Comintern on the eve of Chiang Kai-shek’s coup d’état. A few quotations will evoke it:

“Now that we are on the eve of the taking of Nanking and Shanghai, the imperialists are issuing reports about the so-called splitting tendencies within the Kuomintang. The results of the executive session of the Kuomintang . . . showed exactly the contrary. The united front inside the Party is to-day as solid as before. . . . Far from dividing, as the imperialists say, the Kuomintang has only tightened its ranks. . . .”[18]

Again, under the title, “The Victory of the Shanghai Workers”:

“A split in the Kuomintang and hostilities between the Shanghai proletariat and the revolutionary soldiers are absolutely excluded right now. . . . Chiang Kai-shek has himself declared he will submit to the decisions of the Party. A revolutionist like Chiang Kai-shek will not ally himself, as the imperialists would like to have believed, with the counter-revolutionary Chang Tso-lin to struggle against the emancipation movement. There were, indeed, negotiations last November between Chang Tso-lin and the Cantonese armies - but only for tactical reasons. . . . The Kuomintang has promised the workers to satisfy all their demands. The only danger for the Shanghai proletariat is in an imperialist provocation.”[19]

That same week Paris workers cheered wildly when they were assured of the “indefectible unity” of the Kuomintang.[20]

In Moscow the same reassurance took the form of replies to Trotsky and the Opposition, who were warning of a blow and who demanded the unconditional independence of the Chinese Communists. On March 16 Pravda published an article entitled “The Chinese Revolution and the Kuomintang,” which declared that “now particularly, the military question is the main political question of the Chinese Revolution.” The article went on to describe Right-wing elements who “with varying degrees of vacillation” (!) were aiming for a deal with imperialism. On the other hand, it hastened to reassure, “we have a strong Left wing in the Kuomintang which reflects the interests of the masses. . . . For quite understandable reasons, the imperialist Press is employing all means to exaggerate the strength of the Right Kuomintang, who are alleged to have already turned the revolution on to ‘moderate’ lines and concentrated power in their hands. The imperialist Press has predicted the complete degeneration of the Kuomintang, a split, and paralysis of the Chinese revolution. . . .” The article then proceeded to lash the Left Opposition for demanding immediate withdrawal from the Kuomintang: “They see the Right fraction of the Kuomintang, but they do not see its kernel and they do not see the masses. . . . Even the Right circles in the Kuomintang, and those who stand near to the Right in the Kuomintang Government, and the army, are forced to yield to the pressure of the revolutionary masses. . . . In this regard, the declaration of Chiang Kai-shek . . . is a very important document. (This refers to his pledge of discipline.) Chiang Kai-shek is compelled . . . to manoeuvre . . to swear his devotion . . . to submit to the leadership. The plan which the extreme Right wing of the Kuomintang hoped to carry out and which the imperialist bourgeoisie regarded as its trump card . . . has failed. Now even the American capitalist Press has been compelled to recognize the failure of the Right-wing plot. . . .”[21]

Further reassurances came from Martinov, the Menshevik who spoke for the Comintern in the columns of Pravda . “The Left wing represents a considerable majority in the Kuomintang . . .” he wrote. “Nine-tenths of the local organs of the Kuomintang are under the leadership of the Left wing and the Communists.”[22]

Blandest of all were the assurances given by the master-strategist himself, by Joseph Stalin, who rose on April 5 before a meeting of three thousand functionaries in the Hall of Columns in Moscow to answer the warnings of Trotsky and the Opposition:

“Chiang Kai-shek is submitting to discipline,” he declared in this memorable speech. “The Kuomintang is a bloc, a sort of revolutionary parliament, with the Right, the Left, and the Communists. Why make a coup d’état? Why drive away the Right when we have the majority and when the Right listens to us? The peasant needs an old worn-out jade as long as she is necessary. He does not drive her away. So it is with us. When the Right is of no more use to us, we will drive it away. At present we need the Right. It has capable people, who still direct the army and lead it against the imperialists. Chiang Kai-shek has perhaps no sympathy for the revolution, but he is leading the army and cannot do otherwise than lead it against the imperialists. Besides this, the people of the Right have relations with the generals of Chang Tso-lin and understand very well how to demoralize them and to induce them to pass over to the side of the revolution, bag and baggage, without striking a blow. Also, they have connections with the rich merchants and can raise money from them. So they have to be utilized to the end, squeezed out like a lemon, and then flung away.”[23]

Only a few days previously Stalin had told a meeting of Young Communists: “It must be said that until now they (the imperialists) have secured one result: the deepening of the hatred of the Chinese for imperialism, the cohesion of the forces of the Kuomintang and a new swing to the Left of the revolutionary movement in China. No one can doubt that right now the imperialists have achieved the exact opposite of what they wanted. . . . It is said, not without truth, that the gods strike blind those whom they would annihilate.”[24]

Not without truth, indeed! It only remained to be determined who, in truth, had been struck blind.

The precise instructions given in this fatal week to the Chinese Communists in Shanghai were the following:

“On March 31, when the preparations of the bourgeoisie for the overturn became apparent (!), the E.C.C.I. gave the following directive: Arouse the masses against this overturn now being prepared and conduct a campaign against the Right. Open struggle is not to be launched at this time (in view of the very unfavourable change in the relationship of forces). Arms must not be given up, but in any extremity they must be hidden.”[25]

These instructions meant an invitation to the Chinese Communists to put their heads docilely on the block, nothing more, nothing less. If they were not to mobilize for “open,” i.e. armed, struggle against Chiang Kai-shek, obviously they had to do everything possible to propitiate him. The “campaign against the Right” did not mean a campaign against Chiang Kai-shek himself. Was not the whole Comintern Press proclaiming his fidelity? It meant angry whimperings against the politicians and generals who now formed Chiang’s entourage.

“The Kuomintang is suffering from a lack of revolutionary worker and peasant blood,” declared the leading organ of the Comintern in these very days. “The Communist Party must infuse such blood and thereby radically change the situation.”[26]

“What an ominous play of words,” wrote Trotsky, for it was precisely such a transfusion of blood that was now being prepared—only it was to come in a manner least expected by the bold and confident strategists who sat in Moscow and advised the Shanghai workers to play dead.

It has been necessary to go at this length into the Comintern estimate of the situation in Shanghai in March–April, 1927, because after a few half-hearted attempts to defend the policies pursued at this critical juncture,[27] the legend was before long to be created and to persevere in all the literature of the Communist International that responsibility for the Shanghai debacle rested exclusively and indubitably with the Chinese Communist leaders, notably Chen Tu-hsiu, who were to be accused of stubbornly rejecting the instructions from Moscow. We have seen what these instructions were and what was the estimate from which they flowed. They explain why the Chinese Communists in Shanghai fated impending disaster helplessly disarmed.

The rumours of the impending coup were met in Shanghai, as abroad, with indignant denials. “How can the Shanghai workers clash with the army, the same army which they have only to welcome and respect?” asked the General Labour Union in a public statement. “Rumours are being disseminated to the effect that there is a possibility of a breach between the Nationalist army and the labouring classes. . . . Needless to say, these rumours are groundless and the public is requested not to believe them. . . .”[28] These rumours were called “machinations of the enemy to sow discord.” Open predictions in the daily Press about the forthcoming attack were brushed aside. The Communist organizations replied to all of them by asking Chiang Kai-shek to suppress the newspapers involved for publishing news “prejudicial to the united front”! In accord with Moscow instructions to “conduct a campaign against the Right,” flaming denunciations of “reactionaries” in general were issued almost daily. On April 4, the G.L.U. even publicly threatened a general strike if any action was taken by the “reactionaries” against the armed pickets and the workers. But Chiang Kai-shek’s name was never mentioned in connection with any of these threats, and often the term “reactionaries” was specified to mean only the Western Hills group, the Kuomintang Right wingers like Wu Chih-hui and Chang Ching-chiang. The fact that Chiang Kai-shek had openly thrown in his lot with these men was ignored or concealed—or worried about privately.

Every effort was made to propitiate the” revolutionary general.” After his arrival the Communists even prepared a pompous reception and banquet in his honour. But neither he nor the other general invited deigned to attend. Swallowing this slight, the Communists greeted with joy every little conciliatory gesture—or every gesture they could interpret as being conciliatory—that Chiang made. His telegram of April 3 endorsing the leadership of Wang Ching-wei brought forth a flood of telegrams from all the Communist organizations, hailing his announcement as a virtual settlement of all disputed issues and expressing pious hopes that he would henceforth faithfully fulfil the obligations he had himself assumed. Chiang’s April 3 telegram was followed up, in the same spirit, by a joint manifesto issued over the signatures of Wang Chingwei and Chen Tu-hsiu, a document which embodies the most complete expression of the self-effacement and class conciliation which characterized the Communist policy. For that reason it is reproduced here in full:

“Comrades of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party:

“Although our national revolution has won great victories, our enemies have still not all been defeated. They are watching closely for our weaknesses, in order to attack us and erase our conquests. The consolidation of our ranks is therefore more necessary than ever before. The Chinese Communist Party resolutely recognizes that the Kuomintang and its principles are necessary to the Chinese Revolution. Only those who are unwilling to see the Chinese Revolution advance could advocate the overthrow of the Kuomintang. No matter how misguided it is, the Chinese Communist Party could never advocate the overthrow of its ally, the Kuomintang, to please our imperialist and militarist enemies.

“The dictatorship of the proletariat is the maximum aim of the programmes of all the Communist Parties. Although it has been realized in the Soviet Union, it is an open question whether in the political and economic situation of the colonial and semi-colonial countries, the transition from capitalism to Socialism must schematically proceed in the same way through the same stages. Moreover, in the present trend of the Chinese Revolution, this question will not only not be raised at the present time, but will not come up in the near future. What China needs is the establishment of a democratic dictatorship of all the oppressed classes to deal with the counter-revolution, not a dictatorship of the proletariat.

“There are various forms of co-operation between the two Parties. The important thing is that the overwhelming majority of the members of both Parties should solve this question with an attitude of mutual goodwill, so that the fundamental spirit of co-operation shall not be violated. Whoever knows clearly the revolutionary theory of the Communist Party and its real attitude toward the Kuomintang will have no doubts of Sun Tsung-li’s (Sun Yat-sen’s) policy of alliance with the Communist Party.

“Now the national revolution has reached the stronghold of the imperialists, Shanghai. This has aroused all the counter-revolutionaries, here and abroad, who are fabricating all sorts of rumours designed to create tension and sow discord between our two Parties. Some say the Communist Party will organize a workers’ government, will rush into the foreign Concessions in order to embarrass the Northern Expeditionary Army, will overthrow the Kuomintang power. Others say the Kuomintang leaders will expel the Communist Party, will suppress the labour unions and the pickets. It is not clear whence come such rumours. The resolutions of the recent Plenary Session of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang demonstrated to the whole world that such things as the expulsion of the Communist Party and the labour unions can never take place. The Shanghai military authorities have announced that they will obey the Central Government. Although there are dissensions and misunderstandings, none of them is insoluble. The Communist Party is not the last in loving peace and order. It agrees with the policy of the Nationalist Government against taking back the Shanghai settlements by force. The Shanghai General Labour Union has also issued a manifesto against any independent action in rushing into the Concessions. The Communist Party also agrees with the policy of the collaboration of all classes in the municipal government. These are hard facts and leave no room for fabricated rumours.

“Comrades of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party! Our powerful enemies do not deal with us by force alone. They are also trying to estrange us by rumours, to achieve their aim of ‘playing red against red.’ We must stand on the common ground of the revolution, give up mutual suspicions, reject rumour-mongering, and respect each other. Everything must be done candidly, by open consultation. Our political views may be different, but in fundamentals there must be agreement. If there is sincere co-operation between the two Parties, as intimately as between brothers, words meant to injure our relations with each other will never take effect. We state here our deepest convictions so that they may be examined by both sides, so that nothing shall be done to disappoint the friends of the revolution and to please its enemies. Then all will be well with both Parties and with the Chinese Revolution.

“Signed: Wang


It was with this attitude that the Communist leadership, in Shanghai and abroad alike, faced the critical tasks of these days. The workers in general believed implicitly in these leaders.

The victorious insurrection had enormously heightened the authority of the Communists. The workers streamed into the unions.[30] For this reason it was not out of mere hysteria that the foreign and Chinese capitalists of Shanghai anticipated imminent expropriation at the hands of the armed workers’ power. When all wheels abruptly ceased turning and the workers carried the class struggle from the factories into the streets, it is little wonder that the capitalists thought they heard the knell of property ring, not in tones of measured solemnity, but tapped out in the insistent staccato of machine-guns. Stripped of its froth, their fear had meaning in it, for they clearly saw in the armed working class the power capable of destroying them. Warships might protect the foreigners’ settlements, but they could not make the wheels go round or make the workers resume their burdens. Their fears, with all their hysteria, rose quite logically from a frank appraisal of the situation. What they misjudged was the calibre of the Communist leadership. They mistook it for the same kind of leadership which had carried out the October revolution in Russia and had destroyed there the system of private property, the base of bourgeois society.

If in the Communist leaders, to whom the workers of Shanghai looked for guidance, there had been the intention to justify even part of these fears, to seize the opportunity which the moment seemed so clearly to offer, there is every reason to believe that Chiang Kai-shek could have been isolated from the army and the bourgeois counter-revolution smothered. But this was not even remotely the case. Gripped in the vise of the “bloc of four classes,” struck blind by the gods of the “national united front,” the Party which had victoriously led the insurrection was quickly to reveal its impotence in the face of reaction. “The keys to Shanghai were handed over by the victorious workers to the Canton army,” cried Pravda on March 22. “In this fact is expressed the great heroic act of the Shanghai proletariat!”[31] This “heroic act” consisted in handing over to the bourgeoisie, on the morrow of the insurrection, the power won by the workers.

In the Provisional Municipal Government inaugurated under Communist auspices on March 29, a majority was voluntarily given over to representatives of the Shanghai bourgeoisie. Only five of the nineteen government members were nominated by the trade unions. Chiang Kai-shek, who was independently putting his own men into key administrative posts and quickly setting up the framework of his own civil authority, refused to recognize the Provisional Government, declaring through his spokesman, Wu Chih-hui, that it “was contrary to the party system of government.”[32]

As soon as Chiang’s attitude became known, the elected bourgeois representatives one after another declined the proffered posts. Yu Ya-ching, banker and compradore, ignored the appointment. K. P. Chen, General Manager of the Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank, declined to take office. Wang Hsiao-lai of the General Chamber of Commerce, who had been elected chairman after he had publicly indicated his unwillingness to participate, said that since he was a silk merchant and the spring was a busy season, he would prefer to cede his position to a wiser man. Wang Han-liang, another prominent merchant, announced that with the occupation of Shanghai all his past efforts were amply rewarded and he had now only to retire and let felicity take its course. Soumei Cheng, a notorious woman lawyer and judge closely connected with the gangs and big business, said she was “too busily engaged with her official duties.” Francis Zia, managing editor of the China Courier, pleaded illness and inability to assume public responsibility. The remaining bourgeois delegates quickly followed suit.

Thus boycotted by the bourgeoisie, the workers’ delegates pleaded helplessness. “At the fifth delegates’ conference on April 3, the chief secretary of the municipal government (Lin Chun, a Communist), said that since the members of the government assumed their positions, petitions from the masses calling upon them to take over local institutions, or reporting local acts in taking over institutions, or urging the government to take measures against the gentry (in the villages adjacent to the city), or to settle school disputes, had been pouring into the government officer like snowflakes. But the members of the government, owing to the fact that they have received a letter from Commander-in-Chief Chiang asking them to postpone doing anything, did not actively conduct their work.”[33]

Instead of taking over the local organs of power, the government addressed a letter to Chiang Kai-shek in the form of a tseng wen, the form used in the old mandarinate for petitions from lower to higher orders, respectfully asking him to hand over to it the municipal institutions in which he had already placed his own appointees and asking his support for the democratically elected municipal administration.[34] The government did not draw up measures for alleviating the burdens of the masses. It did not call upon the trade unions and pickets to help it carry out a bold social programme. It issued a manifesto with a programme of demands, but no steps were ever taken to make these demands effective. The only other thing the government did was to devote itself to passing resolutions welcoming Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalist army, welcoming Wang Ching-wei when he returned, congratulating Chiang Kai-shek for his promise to obey discipline, and greeting with particular joy the Chen-Wang manifesto.

For any measure which actually corresponded to the practical daily needs and interests of the workers and the petty artisans and shopkeepers, the Provisional Government could have counted upon the militant armed support of the trade unions and other mass organizations in Shanghai. By storming the army with the weapons of propaganda and assuring the effective fraternization of the workers and soldiers, the government could have ensured support from the military rank and file. Such measures would have brought forth a resounding echo from the provinces and from other cities where the workers and peasants were already on the march and needed only such an example to free themselves from the vacillation and delays of the Kuomintang regime at Wuhan. None of this was thinkable without the complete independence of the Communist Party functioning consciously as the instrument of the workers. The Chinese Communists, stifling in the Kuomintang strait-jacket, were pursuing quite opposite aims.

They dogged the tails of Chiang Kai-shek and the bankers and merchants whose co-operation they deemed vital to the maintenance of the “united front.” Without such co-operation they considered themselves helpless. In a few localities, as in Pootung, the workers’ power asserted itself more aggressively. There the workers spontaneously took over the local municipal organs, instituted their own tribunals, empowered the pickets to arrest, try, and sentence enemies of the workers. These acts never received the backing of the Provisional Government, but were on the contrary deplored and criticized.

Functioning through the Provisional Government, the Communist leadership failed to take any positive steps in the interests of the workers. Functioning through the leadership of the General Labour Union, the Communists went further. They voluntarily limited the spontaneously rising mass movement and circumscribed the activities of the pickets to bring them within the limits set by the need for maintaining the “national united front.” On April 4 the executive committee of the G.L.U. adopted a set of regulations governing strikes. Spontaneous strikes on the initiative of the workers were forbidden. According to the procedure laid down, demands “were not to be too exacting” and were first to be presented for direct negotiations with the employers. If these negotiations failed, no strike was to be called, but the matter was to be referred to the next higher organ in the union, the district committee or the centre, which would thereupon take up negotiations with the employers.[35] The effect of the regulations was to sap the initiative of the workers, to scatter and isolate their struggles. When the employers began hitting back at the mass movement by lock-outs, the General Labour Union meekly adopted a resolution asking the Provisional Government to ask the employers “not to close their factories without good grounds or on simple pretexts.” (!)[36]

Strict orders were issued forbidding pickets to make arrests. Their duties were to be confined to “the maintenance of order in co-operation with the army and the police.”[37] Heavy penalties were prescribed for pickets exceeding these limits. An attitude of cringing servility toward the military commanders was preserved by the G.L.U. leaders. One evening, for example, some members of the family of General Liu Chih, a notorious enemy of the workers, were arrested on suspicion by a picket patrol. Next morning the G.L.U. executive committee sent a reekingly subservient apology to military headquarters. General Liu was asked to “pardon” the four pickets whose “actions were so reckless and thoughtless as to encroach upon other comrades (!) and to disturb the division commander’s family. We have disarmed them and expelled them from membership in the picket corps and will punish them severely.”[38]

The same meekness was displayed with regard to the anti-imperialist struggle. The whole situation called for unleashing the most militant and broadest possible action in the form of strikes, boycotts, and demonstrations against the Powers whose forces bristled with arms at the border of the Settlement and who were participating directly in the suppression of the mass movement. [The leading role played by the Americans in the bombardment of Nanking on March 24 came as a rude chock to the many Chinese who still believed that the United States regarded Chinese Nationalism with a benevolent, detached interest. On April 7, a demonstration of workers outside the Oriental Spinning and Weaving Co. was dispersed at the point of bayonets by an American military patrol. On the night of April 8, a detachment of two hundred British soldiers raided the Great China University, wounded eight students, searched the dormitories, seized students’ property, and made a number of arrests. Japanese marines repeatedly used bayonets on workers in the Japanese mills.]

The General Labour Union, however, confined itself to issuing reassuring statements and promises that it had no intention of rushing the Settlement gates. Obviously to hurl themselves against the foreign puns would have been foolhardy. But propitiating and reassuring the foreigners was one thing. Carrying on an extensive campaign which would have cut every nerve that linked the Settlement to the rest of the country and sapped the imperialist defences was quite another. The intention of the bourgeoisie to come to terms with the imperialists was perfectly apparent. Since such a compromise was obviously to be reached at the expense of the workers, it was now more than ever the task of the Communists to dissociate themselves from the bourgeoisie and independently undertake an offensive that would have freed the hands of the workers in the face of the impending union of their native and foreign exploiters. Instead, the Communists announced in advance their unquestioning compliance in any settlement which “the properly constituted authorities” (i.e. the bourgeoisie) might make.

In an advertisement inserted in all the Chinese newspapers, it was stated that “in the question of the rendition of the Concessions, the General Labour Union, jointly with the army and the merchants, will back the foreign policy of the Nationalist Government. It will not undertake to rush into the Concessions. In the question of law and order, it will co-operate with the army and the merchants to preserve it.”[39] In a declaration on March 30, the executive committee of the G.L.U. had already promised that it would “await patiently the outcome and a peaceful settlement of forthcoming negotiations in which the Nationalist Government and the foreign Powers will enter.” The G.L.U. deplored the fact that “residents of the International Settlement are considerably agitated” by the rumours of an attack. “While it is our desire to expand our propaganda movement, we desire to remove all unnecessary alarm. The Shanghai G.L.U. strongly supports the movement for the rendition of the Settlement, but the responsibility for this is vested in the proper authorities of the Nationalist Government. . . . Our action with regard to diplomatic affairs will be similar to and will be guided by those who are higher than we, namely, the Nationalist Government.” [40]

Thus step by step and in the name of the “national united front,” the Communist Party abdicated all rights of working-class initiative. Governmental prerogatives could be exercised only with the co-operation of the bourgeoisie—and when the bourgeois delegates refused to co-operate, the Communists declared themselves helpless and did nothing. “Law and order” were to be maintained only “in co-operation with the army and the merchants.” The fight against imperialism was to be guided only “by those who are higher than we,” by the bourgeoisie, and any settlement they made was to be accepted without question. And if anyone made so bold as to suggest that the bourgeoisie was preparing to smash the unions and the Communist Party, he was charged with circulating tendencious rumours started by “counter-revolutionary elements” for the purpose of driving a wedge into the “national united front.”

Writing more than a year later, Mif, the Comintern “expert” on China, described the Chinese Communist leadership in these critical days in the following terms: “The Shanghai comrades still lived hypnotized by the old line and could not imagine a revolutionary government without the participation of the bourgeoisie. . . . The bourgeoisie, again according to the old tradition, was given the leading role. . .”[41]

Old line? Old tradition? When had the Communist International proclaimed any new line? Or when had it inaugurated a new tradition? When had it envisaged a revolutionary government without the participation of the bourgeoisie? When and where did it call upon the Chinese Communists to follow their own class course—a course which inevitably required a break with the bourgeoisie? Stalin and Bukharin said that the bourgeoisie would inevitably break with the proletariat. Having sagely made this “prediction,” they instructed the proletariat to hang doggedly on to the tails of the bourgeoisie until it was kicked loose. When Chiang Kai-shek openly marched toward the break they had “predicted,” Stalin shut his eyes and saw no evil, Bukharin covered his ears and heard no evil, and Borodin-Roy-Browder-Doriot and all the others locked their lips and spoke of none. The clamour and alarm was raised, not against Chiang Kai-shek, but against Leon Trotsky, who in these very days was demanding, unheard, a declaration of independence for the Chinese Communist Party.

On April 3, 1927, Trotsky submitted for publication in the Soviet Press an article entitled “Class Relations in the Chinese Revolution.” It was refused publication. In this article Trotsky warned against the “Chinese Pilsudski” and declared: “If the Polish Pilsudski required three decades for his evolution, the Chinese Pilsudski will require a much shorter period for the transition from national revolution to national Fascism.. . . The policy of a shackled Communist Party serving as a recruiting agent to bring the workers into the Kuomintang is preparation for the successful establishment of a Fascist dictatorship in China at that not very distant moment when the proletariat, despite everything, will be compelled to jump back from the Kuomintang. . . . To drive the workers and peasants into the political camp of the bourgeoisie and to keep the Communist Party a hostage within the Kuomintang is to carry on a policy equivalent objectively to betrayal. . . . The Kuomintang in its present form is the embodiment of an ‘unequal treaty‘ between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. If the Chinese revolution as a whole demands the abolition of the unequal treaties with the imperialist Powers, then the Chinese proletariat must liquidate the unequal treaty with its own bourgeoisie.”[42]

But Stalin said he was engaged in squeezing lemons, that the lemons gave him connections with Chang Tso-lin and the rich merchants which had not yet been fully utilized. Chiang Kai-shek did, indeed, have relations with Chang Tso-lin, but instead of inducing him “to pass over to the side of the revolution,” Chiang was trying to negotiate an alliance with him against the Left.[43] Chiang did know, indeed, how to raise money from his connections with the rich merchants, only it was money paid over to finance not the revolution but the counter-revolution. But since Chiang and the other “capable people” in command of the army could not, according to Stalin, “do otherwise than lead it against the imperialists,” the question of armed preparation of the workers against an attack by that same army was surely not in order. It was to insure against any such eventuality that Stalin had ordered the workers’ arms hidden. It was comprehensible, therefore, that the Communist leaders found themselves helplessly indecisive when the crucial opportunity presented itself to align the whole First Division, then garrisoning the city, aggressively on the side of the workers against Chiang Kai-shek.

The First Division was composed of seasoned, revolutionary troops, schooled in the revolution, and deeply conscious of the firm bonds of unity between themselves and the workers. These were the men who had chafed at Pai Chung-hsi’s restraining orders on March 21, and had finally marched into the city the next day in defiance of those orders. One of Chiang Kai-shek’s first aims after his arrival was to remove these troops from the scene. During that week he issued orders for them to leave. Hsueh Yoh, the division commander, acting under the pressure of his ranks, came at once to the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

“I have been ordered by Chiang Kai-shek to leave Shanghai,” he told them. “What shall I do?” He offered to defy Chiang and to hold his men in readiness to fight him. He offered to arrest and imprison Chiang on charges of plotting counter-revolution.[44] Hsueh’s offer put the key to the whole crisis in the hands of the Communist leadership. Chen Tu-hsiu and the others hesitated. There were also Voitinsky and half a dozen other Comintern “advisers.” They, too, hesitated. They temporized.

“To this proposition for a decisive attack on Chiang Kai-shek no clear answer was given. They advised Hsueh Yoh to sabotage, to pretend illness.” But Chiang accepted no delay. “The moment arrived when it was impossible to put it off. Hsueh Yoh received an ultimatum, and when he addressed himself again to the Party there was no other way out: either take up arms against Chiang (he proposed) with the support and under the leadership of the Communist Party, or obey, i.e. take out of Shanghai a large, and from the revolutionary point of view, precious force.” [45]

Fearful of the responsibility of advising Hsueh Yoh to remain in Shanghai in defiance of Chiang’s orders, the Communist leaders addressed respectful petitions to Chiang Kai-shek and Pai Chung-hsi, humbly requesting them to keep the First Division in the city. To the workers they repeated their assurances that all was well. Individual Communists and working class leaders who refused to be lulled into somnolence were paralysed.[46] The decisive moment passed. Hsueh’s troops were moved, first out of Chapei, and then up the railway out of the Shanghai area altogether. The soldiers, uncomprehending but still confident in the Communist leadership, moved out without protest.[Hsueh Yoh became one of Chiang’s most faithful lieutenants and one of the most relentless pursuers of the peasant Red armies in 1930-4.] The working class districts of Shanghai were occupied by the thoroughly reactionary forces of Pai Chung-hsi, Liu Chih, and Chow Feng-chi, a Sun Chuang-fang renegade.

That same week, the first in April, attacks were begun piecemeal on local Communist centres. Scores were arrested and several picket patrols were disarmed. The city Kuomintang office, under Communist influence, was closed down. Protesting these acts, the staff of the Political Department of the army met on April 5 and adopted a resolution asking Chiang to proclaim again his fidelity to Kuomintang principles and to show it by releasing the arrested men. By way of reply next day Chiang’s troops swooped down on the headquarters of the Political Department and arrested nineteen members of the staff. The soldiers were told they were arresting “counterrevolutionaries.”

An official communiqué took pains to announce that no illwill against the Communists was to be read into these arrests. “The people in control of the Political Department,” it averred, “are secretly fostering reactionary forces and are hindering the development of the Northern Expedition”[47] That same day soldiers of Chang Tso-lin, acting with the permission of the Diplomatic Corps, raided the Soviet Embassy in Peking, arresting twenty Chinese found there, among them Li Ta-chao, a founder of the Communist Party.[Li Ta-chao and the nineteen others arrested were later executed by strangulation.] Chiang hastened to wire the Soviet Embassy expressing his “indignation” and “regret.” He called the raid an “unprecedented outrage” and begged to extend to the Soviet Charge d’Affaires his “sincerest condolences.”[48] In Moscow Chiang’s telegram was proudly cited as further evidence that he could not possibly be contemplating a coup against the workers.[49] But when in Shanghai the foreign authorities responded to the Peking raid by throwing a cordon around the Soviet Consulate-General and searching all who came and went, Chiang remained discreetly silent. “It is suspected in foreign circles,” wired a correspondent, “that Chiang Kai-shek’s faction may not be averse to the curtailment of the Soviet Consulate’s liberties.”[50]

At one of the ceremonies arranged for Chiang by the Communists in the days following his arrival, Chiang had actually presented a banner to the pickets inscribed “Common Action.”[51] He revealed what he meant by “common action” on April 6 when orders were issued at Lunghua: “All armed pickets of the labour unions are to be under the command of the headquarters of the commander-in-chief, otherwise they will be regarded as conspiratorial organizations and will not be permitted to exist.”[52] The time for gestures was fast coming to an end.

While congratulatory telegrams from Communist and Leftwing organizations greeting the Chen-Wang manifesto buzzed in over the wires, Wu Chih-hui, Chiang’s spokesman, addressed a meeting of Right-wing politicians: “The Chen-Wang manifesto was simply diplomatic friendly talk between leaders of the two parties,” he told them. “It has no bearing on the policies of the Party at all.” Wu declared that as far as the Kuomintang was concerned, it was merely tolerating the Communists, not allying itself with them. “As to the acceptance of the Communist Party into the Kuomintang,” he said, “this meant an invitation to individual members of the Communist Party to join the Kuomintang and obey its principles, making them members of the Kuomintang. As to the friendly relations between the Kuomintang and the Communists outside the Party, this amounts at most to the same thing as the alliance with Soviet Russia, asking them to aid our Party, but not asking them to co-rule with us, still less allowing them to spread Communism. . . . If they violate the principles of the Kuomintang or endanger the Kuomintang, we must limit their activities. . . . If they overstep the limits of friendship or try to co-rule China with us, or try to rule China independently, then our support of our own Party must become correspondingly strong and vigorous.”[53]

To replace the Provisional Government, which had by now become almost extinct, Chiang appointed a “Provisional Committee” headed by Wu Chih-hui to take over and coordinate all organs of civil administration. Almost everything else was in readiness. He had previously sent a force of his own most trusted troops up the line to Nanking to clear that city of forces hostile to him. Later he made a quick trip himself to inspect the results. By about April 9 that operation had been painlessly performed, most of the unreliable units being disarmed.[54] In Shanghai the period of palaver, of manoeuvres, and gestures, of negotiations and specious compromises and pronouncements, was drawing to its close. The politicians retired back-stage and the gangsters stepped forward for their cues.

The approach of zero hour was perhaps most strikingly reflected in the half-page advertisements run daily in the Chinese Press by the Political Department of Pai Chung-hsi’s headquarters. In huge black characters during the first few days after the Nationalist occupation, these ads repeated familiar slogans: “Down with Imperialism! Exterminate the Feudal Forces!” But from April 7 on their tone changed, first subtly, soon with brutal directness.

April 7: “Down with the reactionaries who are wrecking the National revolution!”

April 8: “Whosoever opposes the Three People’s Principles is opposing the revolution!”

April 9: “Down with the disruptive elements in the rear!”

April 10: “For the new Shanghai Provisional Committee!”

April 11: “We, the soldiers, are fighting at the front at heavy cost. Honest workers in the rear will not strike on any pretext whatever or cause any disorder.”

Irony crowned the series on April 12, the advertisements that morning reading: “Consolidate the great national united front of peasants, workers, students, merchants, and soldiers to strive for the realization of the San Min Principles!” Irony, for just before dawn that day the blow fell. The spatter of machine-gun and rifle fire crackled over the awakening city. The workers rose to discover the unthinkable, the impossible, coming to pass. Bludgeoned into confusion by the treacherous ignorance of their leaders, they sprang to the arms they still had to defend themselves. One could well ask, hurrying along with Malraux’s Kyo some hours before that dawn: “How would they fight, one against ten, in disagreement with the instructions of the Chinese Communist Party, against an army that would oppose them with its corps of bourgeois volunteers armed with European weapons and having the advantage of attack? “[55]


1 Shanghai Times, March 25, 1927.

2 North China Daily News, March 28, 1927.

3 Rote Fahne, Berlin, March 17, 1927.

4 L’Humanité, March 23, 1927. “The confusion created by Stalin-Bukharin ... led the leadership of our party on March 23, 1927, to salute telegraphically Chiang Kai-shek, entering Shanghai, as the representative of the Chinese Commune. . . The policy of the Stalin-Bukharin group led the leadership of the French party astray to the point of confusing Gallifet with the Commune, the butcher with the victim. . . .”—Albert Treint, “Déclaration Addressee au C. E. de l'I. C. le 22 Juillet, 1927, sur la Question Chinoise,” in Documents de l’Opposition Francaise et la Réponse du Parti, p. 67.

5 lzvestia, March 6, 1927; Pravda, March 9, 1927, April 10, 1927, etc.

6See pp. 134-6.

7 Cf. “Thèses on the Situation in China (VII Plenum),” La Correspondance Internationale, February 20, 1927 ; editorial in Communist International, February 28, 1927 ; article by Martinov, Ibid., March 15, 1927 ; “The Chinese Revolution and the Kuomintang,” Ibid., March 30, 1927 ; and many others.

8 Earl Browder, Civil War in Nationalist China ; Jacques Doriot, “A Travers la Revolution China. Chinoise,” L’Humanité, Paris, June-August, 1927 ; Tom Mann, What saw in China.

9 Doriot, L’Humanité July 8, 1927.

10 Browder, Civil War, p. 15.

11 Doriot, L’Humanité, July 12, 1927

12 People’s Tribune, Hankow, April 1, 1927.

13 See Labour Monthly, London, July, 1927. It is a fact that the only people who were carrying on an open campaign against Chiang were a number of individual Communists in Hankow, who were acting, however, entirely on their own initiative. Cf. La Lettre de Shanghai, p. 8.

14 People’s Tribune, April 9, 1927.

15 “Le Voyage de la Delegation Internationale de Canton à Wuhan,” La Correspondance Internationale, June 11I, 1927.

16 People’s Tribune, April 22, 1927.

17 Ibid. ; see also Tom Mann, What I saw in China, p. 11.

18 La Correspondance Internationale, March 23, 1927.

19 Ibid., March 30, 1927.

20 L’Humanité, March 23, 1927.

21 Reproduced in La Correspondance Internationale, March 26, 1927 ; and in The Communist International, March 30, 1927.

22 Martinov, “The Regrouping of Forces in the Chinese Revolution,” The Communist International, March 15, 1927.

23 This speech was never published. Stalin was confronted with these passages by Vuyovitch at the Eighth Plenum of the E.C.C.I. in May, 1927. Vuyovitch had taken them down himself in shorthand. “Comrade Stalin will always have the opportunity of rectifying unintentional inaccuracies by laying his stenogram before us,” he challenged (cf. Trotsky, Problems, appendices, pp. 388-90). But Stalin offered no corrections, nor did he produce the stenogram because, as Trotsky remarked at the same meeting of the E.C.C.I., “a few days later the squeezed out lemon seized power and the army. . . . As a member of the C.C. (Central Committee) I had the right to get the stenogram of this speech, but my pains and attempts were in vain. Attempt it now, comrades, perhaps you will have better luck. I doubt it” ( ibid., p. 91). This speech and its suppression is confirmed not by an Oppositionist, but by one of Stalin’s trusted lieutenants, Albert Treint, at that time a member of the Presidium of the E.C.C.I. “Stalin even went so far as to conceal his own speech. . . . A speech by Stalin himself at the Communist Academy, in the presence of 3,000 officials of the Party, was never published . . . because the coup d’état of Chiang Kai-shek ten days later brought to his words the shattering refutation of events “ ( Documents de l’Opposition Francaise, pp. 36, 64). For a projection of Stalin’s views on the Chinese scene read the conversation between Kyo and “Vologin” in Hankow in Malraux’s Man’s Fate, pp. 146-55.

24 Stalin, “Speech to the Youth Federation,” March 29, 1927, La Correspondance Internationale, April 9, 1927.

25 T. Mandalyan, “Why did the Leadership of the Chinese Communist Party Fail to Fulfil its Task?” La Correspondance Internationale, July 23 and 30, 1927. Mandalyan was a Comintern delegate in Shanghai at the time. “The International telegraphed us to hide or bury all the weapons of the workers to avoid military conflict between the workers and Chiang Kai-shek.”—Chen Tu-hsiu, Letter to the Comrades . “. . . Was it not better to hide the arms, not to accept battle and thus not permit oneself to be disarmed . . . ?”—N. Bukharine, Les Problèmes de la Révolution Chinoise, Paris, undated (circa May-June, 1927), p. 56. See also Malraux, Man’s Fate, pp. 209-10.

26 Communist International, Russian edition, March 18, 1927; German edition, March 22, 1927 ; English edition, April 15, 1927.

27 See pp. 222-4.

28 Quoted in North China Daily News, April 1, 1927.

29 This translation is made from the original as it appeared in the Sin Wen Pao and other Shanghai papers on April 5, 1927. An extremely inaccurate translation appeared in the People’s Tribune, in Hankow, on April 20, 1927. The essential paragraphs of the manifesto were published the same week, without comment, in the international Communist Press. (Cf. La Correspondance Internationale, April 23, 1927.) Browder includes sections of it in his pamphlet, Civil War in Nationalist China, p. 30, likewise without comment. Not until months later did it become the target of violent criticism.

30 ” . . . at the rate agitators are now enrolling new members, upwards of half a million labourers will be subject to the strike demands of the General Labour Union in the course of the next few weeks.”— North China Herald, Shanghai, April 9, 1927. Between March 21 and April 12, 1927, union strength in Shanghai grew from 350,000 to 850,000, according to a report by Chen Fo-ta, a Shanghai delegate to the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Congress.— People’s Tribune, May 26, 1927.

31 La Correspondance Internationale, March 26, 1927.

32 Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. V, Section 2.

33 Sin Wen Pao, April 4, 1927.

34 Ibid., April 8, 1927.

35 Ibid.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid., April 5, 1927.

38 Ibid., April 3, 1927.

39 Ibid., April 2, 1927.

40 North China Herald, April 2, 1927.

41 P. Mif, Kitaiskaya Revolutsia, p. 98.

42 Translated from the original manuscript.

43 Grover Clark, China in 1927, Peking, 1928, p. 13.

44 Yang Tsao-cheng, “Events in Shanghai, Spring, 1927,” Materials on the Chinese Question, No. 13, Sun Yat-sen University, Moscow, p. 20. “. . . Hsueh Yoh proposed to the Central Committee . . . to agree that he should not submit to Chiang’s order. He was ready to remain in Shanghai and fight together with the Shanghai workers against the military overthrow that was in preparation....”—Chitarov (a Comintern functionary in Shanghai at the time), at the December 11, 1927, session of the Fifteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This passage was deleted later from the minutes and is quoted by Trotsky from the original stenographic record.—Trotsky, Problems, p. 276. Mif confirms the incident, although in garbled form, in Kitaiskaya Revolutsia, p. 99. See also Malraux, Man’s Fate, p. 207.

45 Yang Tsao-cheng, “Events in Shanghai,” p. 20 ; “. . . Our responsible leaders . . . declared that they knew about the overturn being prepared, but did not want a premature conflict with Chiang Kai-shek,”—Chitarov, loc. cit.

46 Malraux’s Kyo wanted to organize resistance, “but the official speeches of the Chinese Communist Party, the whole propaganda of union with the Kuomintang were paralysing him.”— Man’s Fate, p. 207.

47 Sin Wen Pao, April 7, 1927.

48 Reuter from Peking, . North China Daily News, April 12, /927.

49 Cf. La Correspondance Internationale, April 20, 1927.

50 New York Times, April 9, 1927.

51 Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. V, Section 2.

52 Sin Wen Pao, April 6, 1927.

53 Ibid., April 6, 1927.

54 Cf. People’s Tribune, May 7, 1927.

55 Malraux, Man’s Fate, pp. 266-7.