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Ria Stone

Anti-Imperialist Struggle Sweeps
Key China Cities

(26 January 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. XII No. 4, 26 January 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Thousands of Chinese attacked and burned down the British Consulate and other British buildings in Canton last Friday, Jan. 16. The British were forced to move their citizens to Hong Kong. The stormy demonstrations in Canton were followed by giant anti-imperialist parades of students in both Shanghai and Hankow.

The immediate cause of the demonstrations was the action of the British imperialist authority in evicting Chinese, squatters from Kowloon. Kowloon, together with, Hong Kong, is still under direct British control and serves, as a constant reminder to the Chinese of the exploitation and indignities which they have suffered at the hands of the British for over a century.

Extreme Corruption

There are strong indications that the demonstrations were originally stimulated by the C.C. clique of the Kuomintang. This clique, known as the Tammany wing of the Kuomintang, is directly based on the landlords and big capitalists. Notorious for its corruption, police terrorism and its refusal to entertain any compromise, with liberalism, this clique has been steadily losing ground.

Even the U.S. State Department has become skeptical of the ability of American billions to prop up Chiang kai-Shek as long as the C.C. clique remains in control. Of the estimated two-and-a-half billion dollars which Wall Street has poured into China since the end of the war, about 75% has gone into graft and corruption.

To Gain Support

The British have been throwing support to the “Political Science group” of the Kuomintang, the so-called Liberals. By encouraging the anti-British demonstrations, the C.C. clique evidently thought it could deal a blow to its rivals and at the same time gain popular support among the anti-imperialist masses.

But the peaceful demonstrations soon got out of hand. The violence of the masses terrified the Chiang Kai-shek government; and as cue man, the whole Kuomintang mobilized its police force to guard British property and, arrest the demonstrators. Even news of the uprising was hushed up in the official press to keep it from spreading.

The “May 30 Incident” of 1925, is still, fresh in the memories of the Chinese capitalists and landlords, when British fire on a demonstration of students and workers unleashed revolutionary activity throughout the country.

Fantastic Inflation

The civil war which has been going on in China with only occasional breaks since 1927 is proof that Chiang Kai-shek, as the representative of the Chinese capitalists and landlords, can neither free the country from imperialism nor begin any serious economic reconstruction. 80% of the national budget today goes for military expenses. Inflation has reached the incredible level where a 10,000 dollar Chinese note exchanges for eight American cents. Three of Chiang Kai-shek’s generals, taking with them three Kuomintang divisions, have deserted the sinking ship of their leader and gone over to the Chinese Stalinists.

Brute Force

The Kuomintang maintains – its rule simply by brute force. The whole country is in the throes of the spreading civil war. The crime of the Chinese Stalinist leaders is that, in the present explosive situation, they have refused to link the peasant movement in the countryside with the workers’ movement, which is concentrated in the big cities along the East Coast.

Events such as the recent demonstrations in Canton, may be the spark, however, to rouse the workers into widespread action and the eventual leadership of the peasant movement.

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Last updated: 2 October 2020