Joseph Hansen

Death Knell Sounds for Chiang Dictatorship

(24 January 1949)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 4, 24 January 1949, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2024 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2024. This work is in the under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists’ Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The announcement of the Chiang Kai-shek dictatorship Jan. 19 that its government headquarters will be shifted from the capital of China at Nanking to the southern city of Canton sounds the death knell of Chiang’s hated regime. Chiang himself is evidently preparing to move to the island of Formosa, his last hope now apparently being to save standing for himself as a local warlord. He will be fortunate if he escapes the fate of Mussolini.

Chiang’s defeat at the hands of the Chinese people is also a major defeat for the foreign policy of American imperialism. Wall Street calculated on using this despotic regime as a puppet government to give preference to American investments over the needs of the Chinese people. Washington considered Chiang as an ally in the projected war on the Soviet Union. For these reasons American imperialism gave this butcher full support in the civil War, sending him some $2 billion worth of supplies and military aid.

The Truman administration is now trying to save as much face as possible in the debacle. It turned down an appeal to act as mediator with the Chinese Stalinists and has indicated that it will maintain its diplomatic offices in Nanking despite the shift to Canton, evidently in anticipation of doing business with whatever central government replaces the Chiang regime.

Breaking Apart

The Kuomintang has broken apart at the seams. Chiang’s generals, who for long paid little attention to orders from headquarters on field operations, are now trying to save their heads as best they can, every warlord for himself. Some are haggling for the best possible terms.

Others, fearful of seeing their armies disintegrate upon meeting the Stalinist-led armies, art withdrawing their forces from extended positions and holing up. And Chiang’s own cabinet, representing only a part of the Kuomintang, has asked for a ceasefire order prior to opening bargaining talks.

Whether the Stalinists will begin bargaining by issuing a ceasefire order remains to be seen. The position of the cabinet is clearly a hopeless one if the Stalinists decide to move forward. But if this section of the Kuomintang can win a guarantee that capitalist property relations will be maintained by the Stalinists together with important positions ill a coalition government for them, then they can hope for a comeback at some future time.

Stalinist Program

The spotlight thus focuses on the program of the Chinese Stalinists. On Jah. 14 Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, listed eight points as the basis for peace negotiations with Nanking “or any other Kuomintang regional government or military bloc”:

(1) Punish war criminals. (2) Abrogate the bogus Constitution. (8) Abolish the Kuomintang’s “legitimacy of traditional institutions.” (Also translated as “abdication of rule.”) (4) Reorganize the revolutionary armies in accordance with democratic principles. (This is aimed at giving the Stalinists control over the Kuomintang’s armed forces.) (5) Confiscate bureaucratic capital. (This means riches accumulated in connection with government graft.) (6) Reform the agrarian system. (7) Abrogate the treaties of national betrayal. (8) Convoke a Political Consultative Conference without; the participation of reactionary elements establish a democratic coalition government and take over all power from the Nanking Kuomintang reactionary Government and its lower levels of government!

This whole program boils down to the replacement of the Kuomintang dictatorship by a regime that will redistribute the land to the peasants.

It confirms previous declarations of the Chinese Stalinists that they intend to support capitalism in China. They are not marching forward under the flag of socialism. Basing themselves on the insurgent peasantry in their bid for government power, the Stalinists seek to prevent the revolution from advancing as it did in Russia, in 1917 to the stage where the working class takes the lead and establishes a workers state.

Their bid for a “coalition government” is a bid to share power with the capitalist class. It is also a bid to American imperialism, for it says to Wall Street in effect: “Don’t fear us. We will safeguard your holdings. You can do business with us.”


That is why the American consul at Tientsin, Robert L. Smyth, could report to the State Department that the conduct of the Stalinist troops on occupying that key city in North China was “exemplary.” He was no referring, solely to their individual conduct but to the fact that the holdings of the Chinese and American capitalists were carefully protected.

The Stalinist-led army entered Tientsin not as deliverers of the working class from capitalist bondage, not to touch off a revolutionary uprising that would put councils of workers in power in Tientsin as the Red Armies did in Russian cities in the days of Lenin and Trotsky. That is why the N.Y. Times, authoritative spokesman of American Big Business, could feature Smyth’s report praising the way the Stalinists took over.


Last updated on: 29 February 2024