MIA: Sheng Shicai

Sheng Shicai Archive

Sheng Shicai (Chinese: 盛世才; pinyin: Shng Shci; Wade–Giles: Sheng Shih-ts'ai; December 1895 – 13 July 1970) was a Chinese warlord who ruled Xinjiang from 1933 to 1944.

Sheng Shicai was a Manchurian-born Han Chinese, educated in Shanghai and in Japan, where he studied political economy and attended the Imperial Japanese Army Academy. A self-avowed Marxist, in his youth Sheng participated in the 1919 anti-imperialist May Fourth Movement as a representative of the Liaoning students. Reportedly at Joseph Stalin's request, he joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in August 1938.

Sheng's rise to power started with a coup d'tat in 1933 when he was appointed the duban or Military Governor of Xinjiang. As ruler of Xinjiang, Sheng implemented Soviet-inspired policies through a political program of Six Great Policies, adopted in December 1934. His rule was marked by a nationality policy which promoted national and religious equality and identity of various nationalities of Xinjiang. Close cooperation with, and financial assistance from the Soviet Union helped the province undergo a process of modernization, but also led to the subordination of its economic interests in favor of the USSR. The Soviets had a monopoly over Xinjiang trade and exploited its rare materials and oil. In 1937, in parallel with the Soviet Great Purge, Sheng launched his own purge in Xinjiang to eliminate "traitors", "pan-Turkists", "enemies of the people", "nationalists", "imperialist spies", and "Trotskyites”.

With the Soviets distracted by war with Germany, Sheng approached the Chinese government for support in July 1942 and expelled the Soviet military and technical personnel, filling the void with Kuomintang officials. Though now subordinated to the central government, Sheng still maintained effective power over Xinjiang, and to secure it he launched a purge of Chinese Communist Party cadres in the province, executing many, including Mao Zemin, brother of Mao Zedong.

When the Japanese launched an extensive offensive against the Chinese in 1944, Sheng tried to change sides again by arresting the Kuomintang officials and requesting Soviet intervention. The Soviets ignored the request and the Chinese government removed him from his post, naming him Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in August 1944.

At the end of the Chinese Civil War, Sheng fled mainland China to Taiwan with the rest of Kuomintang.
 

 

 

Documents

1934: Letter to Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

1934: Letter to Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

1936: Letter to Comrade V. M. Molotov

1937: Letter to Comrade V. M. Molotov

1938: Record of a conversation between Gov. Sheng Shicai and Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

1939: Letter to Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov

1942: Letter to Comrades Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, and Timoshenko