Harold R. Isaacs

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution

III. The New Awakening

When China’s economic transformation began during the World War it quickly opened all the sluices of change. Along a thousand channels new ideas, new thoughts, new aspirations found their way into the country and crashed against the dead weight of the past like mighty waves against a grounded hulk. Among the intellectuals the mood of despair and discouragement engendered by the failure of the 1911 revolution gave way to the beginnings of a rich cultural renaissance which rapidly drew a whole new generation into its orbit. New leaders, new forces came to the fore. From out of the thinned ranks of the revolutionary intellectuals of 1911 emerged the figure of Chen Tu-hsiu, scion of an Anhwei mandarin family, who began posing the tasks of revolt more boldly, more clearly, more courageously than anyone who had preceded him. To his side rallied the men who with him were going to make over the life of a whole generation and who in later years would enter and lead opposing armies on the battlefields of social conflict.

The task of the new generation, proclaimed Chen Tu-hsiu, was “to fight Confucianism, the old tradition of virtue and rituals, the old ethics and the old politics ... the old learning and the old literature.” In their place he would put democracy and modern science.

“We must break down the old prejudices, the old way of believing in things as they are, before we can begin to hope for social progress,” wrote Chen in 1915 in his famous magazine, New Youth.

“We must discard our old ways. We must merge the ideas of the great thinkers of history, old and new, with our own experience, build up new ideas in politics, morality, and economic life. We must build the spirit of the new age to fit it to new environmental conditions and a new society. Our ideal society is honest, progressive, positive, free, equalitarian, creative, beautiful, good, peaceful, co-operative, toilsome, but happy for the many. We look for the world that is false, conservative, negative, restricted, inequitable, hide-bound, ugly, evil, war-torn, cruel, indolent, miserable for the many and felicitous for the few, to crumble until it disappears from sight.”

“I hope those of you who are young will be self-conscious and that you will struggle.” Chen also wrote, “By self-consciousness I mean that you are to be conscious of the power and responsibility of your youth and that you are to respect it. Why do I think you should struggle? Because it is necessary for you to use all the intelligence you have to get rid of those who are decaying, who have lost their youth. Regard them as enemies and beasts; do not be influenced by them, do not associate with them.

“Oh, young men of China! Will you be able to understand me? Five out of every ten whom I see are young in age, but old in spirit; nine out of every ten are young in health, but they are also old in spirit ... When this happens to a body, the body is dying. When it happens to a society, the society is perishing. Such a sickness cannot be cured by sighing in words; it can only be cured by those who are young, and in addition to being young, are courageous ... We must have youth if we are to survive, we must have youth if we are to get rid of corruption. Here lies the only hope for our society.”

This memorable call heralded the new awakening. When it was published, wrote one student, “it came to us like a clap of thunder which awakened us in the midst of a restless dream ... Orders for more copies were sent post-haste to Peking. I do not know how many times this first issue was reprinted, but I am sure that more than two hundred thousand copies were sold.”.[1] From it flowed the forward-looking iconoclasm and the slashing courage with which the youth set out to erect a new life and a new world for itself. It was the intellectual fountain-head of the great movements which were soon to electrify the nation and bring millions from their knees to their feet. From it sprang the new nationalism, quickened by the unease and unsettlement stirring oppressed peoples everywhere as a result of the Great War.

This mood collided at once with Japanese imperialism, which had seized the opportunity of the war years to impose upon China the infamous Twenty-One Demands of 1915 and to occupy the province of Shantung. The shining phrases of Woodrow Wilson, his promises of self-determination and social justice for all peoples had bred the hope that in the general readjustment China too would come into her own. When at Versailles these illusions were cynically spiked by the imperialist horse-traders,[2] the new youth rose in fury against the treachery of the corrupt Japanophile Peking Government. On May 4, 1919, there were huge student demonstrations in Peking. The homes of traitorous Ministers were attacked and wrecked. The movement spread across the country. In it a new note sounded. Workers in factories struck in support of the student demands.

The growth of industry had brought a modern proletarian class on to the scene. At the end of 1916 there were already nearly one million industrial workers and their number nearly doubled by 1922. To the Western front in Europe went an army of nearly 200,000 Chinese labourers, who learned there to read and write a little and, what was more important still, came into contact with European workers and the higher European standard of living. They returned with new ideas of how men struggle for better lives. They had seen the great nations locked in conflict and they came back determined to free their own. Many on their way back from Europe refused to land at Japanese ports during the furor over Shantung. When strikes began to deepen the roar of the May 4 movement, the returned labourer was already regarded as “the stormy petrel of the Chinese labour world.”[3] Within the great new body of Chinese industrial labour this army of toilers fresh from the war formed a solid, conscious nucleus that helped the infant class face the adult tasks with which it was confronted, almost at birth. The young industrial proletariat, taking the lead of some ten million transport workers, coolies, shop employees, artisans, and apprentices,[4] began to group itself into its own organizations. While the old family firms and partnerships were giving way to corporations, the guilds were breaking up and giving way to labour unions and chambers of commerce. The Chinese workers, new to their machines, were thrust at once into political struggle. Their strikes in Shanghai and other cities in 1919 forced the release of the arrested student demonstrators in Peking and the resignation of the offending Government officials.

The tide of May 4 engulfed the entire country. It ushered in the epoch of the second Chinese revolution. The rumble of the falling ramparts of the old traditionalism echoed throughout the land, awakening unrest in the hearts of its youth. They were drawn from town and village into the turmoil of the generation emerging to take command of China’s future. They boldly broke the shackles of authority and marched forward to batter down what remained of the walls of old China. The inertia of the old ways of doing and thinking remained, looming large and formidable in the coming agony of revolution and readjustment, but the gates were down, never again to be raised. The eyes of the new youth turned from Versailles to Russia where the October revolution offered them an example and an inspiration infinitely more compelling in its reality. With it came to China belated tributaries of all the main currents of European social thought, democracy, anarchism, syndicalism, and Marxism, opening up new horizons and stimulating a veritable revolution in thought, morals, and literature which rapidly deepened the channels of political change and social conflict. All classes of society entered the political arena. Old political organizations took on fresh life. New organizations came into being.

When these fresh political currents began to flow in 1919, the Kuomintang, party of the 1911 revolutionists, had been reduced to sterile impotence. Its “Right” elements, conservative bourgeois intellectuals, had become the helpless dependants of the war lords. Sun Yat-sen, leader of the more radical wing of the bourgeois intelligentsia, was pursuing his schemes for revolution by military means through utilizing the lesser against the greater militarists. He had evolved a political philosophy, summed up in his Three People’s Principles, whose distinguishing feature was not their crystal clarity nor the concrete and bold manner in which they approached the social problems of the Chinese revolution. His principle of Nationalism suggested nothing of a struggle against China’s imperialist masters. Indeed, as first president of the republic, Sun displayed an attitude of cringing servility before the Powers, promising them that their perquisites and privileges, extracted by main force from the overthrown Dynasty, would remain intact, and that the payments due them on their loans would be taken over by the republic.[5] After the Great War, Sun saw hope for China only in some form of benevolent co-operation among the Powers. To this end he submitted to the various foreign Governments a naive plan for “sincere” collaboration among the imperialists in the development of China’s economic resources. He actually envisaged an idyll in which the foreign freebooters would forego their greed and join in a “socialistic scheme” from which all would benefit. “It is my hope,” wrote Sun, “that as a result of this, the present spheres of influence can be abolished, international and commercial war done away with, internecine capitalistic competition can be got rid of, and last but not least, the class struggle between capital and labour can be avoided.”.[6]

Sun’s “nationalism” also included the prospect of transforming the oppressed Chinese State into an oppressor of minority nationalities within the Empire. He envisaged the “assimilation” of the Manchus, Mongols, Mohammedans, and Tibetans, in a great China ruled by the Han. The self-determination of nations, like the struggle against imperialism, entered his thinking somewhat later.

His second principle of Democracy provided mainly for a period of “political tutelage” during which the enlightened leaders would gradually guide the dark and miserable masses toward the light of self-government. There was nothing in common between Sun Yat-sen’s concept of democracy and the idea of the direct conquest of political rights and liberties by the people.

The third principle of the People’s Livelihood embodied Sun’s political thinking on the vital subject of the future form of Chinese economic dorganization and the all-pervading question of the land and the peasantry. Sun advocated “restriction of capital“ and ”equalization of rights in the land,” two formulas subjected to broad and various changes and interpretations by Sun himself and by his disciples in the ensuing years. By “restriction of capital,” through means never clearly designated, Sun hoped to preserve China from the blights of capitalism. By “equalization of rights in the land,” Sun Yat-sen meant a plan to adjust the inequalities that throttled rural China so that “those who have had property in the past will not suffer by it.”[7] His plan was to have land values fixed by agreement with the landlords and for all future increment in these values to revert to the State. By the power of purchase the State would proceed to establish more favourable conditions for the landless or land-hungry sections of the peasant population. But for years Sun Yat-sen never ventured to propagate even this theory too openly for fear of alienating his military allies and many of his own followers. Sun rejected on all counts the idea of a class struggle and the participation of the masses in political life. He hoped evolve means of transforming Chinese society peacefully and without convulsions after securing power for himself and his followers by purely military means. This was the aim of his endless series of invariably fruitless military adventures and alliances.[8]

Nevertheless the rise of the new political tendencies and the mass movement after 1919 energized Sun Yat-sen’s declining party and the Kuomintang’s activity revived. Sun began appearing before student gatherings and, when General Chen Chiung-ming permitted him to establish a government in Canton, he established contact with the newly-organized trade unions there and in Hong Kong.

By this time embryonic proletarian political organizations had come into existence. Marxist journals began to appear in the schools and universities, opening up new perspectives of thought and action to the petty bourgeois intellectuals and before long to the working class itself. Groups that formed in 1918 and 1919 expanded into Socialist societies and from these it was but a step, in 1920, to the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party. Its founders were the leading figures of the May 4 movement, chief among them Chen Tu-hsiu, then a professor at Peking National University. To the first national conference of the Communist Party in Shanghai in July, 1921, came delegates drawn from widely differing backgrounds. Few were proletarian. Many were petty bourgeois Nationalists, stirred by the new awakening. Untrained, untested, they mingled in a temporary solution which was quickly precipitated by events. Sooner than most of them expected, the class struggle levelled at every man its deadly white light. Its impact hurled them in many different directions. Not a few, drawn by sentiment or by quickly-stifled anarchist leanings, dropped away at once and found their way into the bourgeois camp. [Among the founders was Tai Chi-tao, who left the Communist Party within a few months of its formation under the pressure of a stinging rebuke from Sun Yat-sen. He later became the chief bourgeois ideologist of the Kuomintang. Others who soon broke away included Chen Kung-po, Shao Li-tze, and Chow Fu-hai, all later luminaries in the Kuomintang regime that massacred thousands of Communists and workers and peasants.] Some among the founders lapsed into passivity and disappeared from the political scene. Others, like Li Ta-chao, were destined to lose their lives in the coming struggle. Of the remaining leaders, men like Chen Tu-hsiu, Mao Tse-tung, and Chang Kuo-tao, were to trace devious threads through the fabric of latter-day Chinese history, beginning with their initial dedication to the cause of Communism on that hot summer day in 1921 when all these skeins were still unravelled. The Communist Party, born in the glow of the Russian October, set itself at that conference the task of building organizational weapons for the Chinese working class. This work had already begun in Changhsintien, near Peking, where railway workers had formed a union and where night schools had been established by Communist students. A labour secretariat was set up in Shanghai. The headway was slow, the beginnings were small, the problems vast and difficult, for history had imposed adult problems on a class still in its infancy.

First of the Communist Party’s problems was the question of its relationship, as a proletarian party, to the bourgeois Nationalist Kuomintang. The form and method of Communist participation in the Nationalist movement was decisive for the whole future course of events. Such participation was dictated by the indisputably progressive character of the national revolutionary movement. As we have already seen Lenin had pointed out at the Second Congress of the Communist International how, in the imperialist epoch, the national liberation movements in the colonial and semi-colonial countries could be led to merge with the main-stream of the international proletarian revolutionary movement. Co-operation with Nationalist movements was desirable and necessary, with the all-important proviso that the independence of the proletarian organizations be preserved, “even in their embryonic form.”

A project for a two-party alliance between the Chinese Communists and the Kuomintang was put forward at the second national conference of the Communist Party in 1922. When this plan was laid before Sun Yat-sen by Dalin, a Russian delegate of the Young Communist International, Sun rejected it. He told Dalin he might permit Communists to join the Kuomintang, but would countenance no two-party alliance. Shortly afterward, Maring, the first delegate of the Comintern in China who had already been in contact with Sun in the south, met with the Communist Central Committee at West Lake, Hangchow, and proposed that the Communists join the Kuomintang and utilize its broad loose organizational structure as a means for developing their propaganda and contacts among the masses.

Maring based his proposal on three factors.* The first was his own experience in Java. There prior to the war the Leftwing Social Democrats participated in the Saraket Islam, a mixed economic, social, and religious movement directed against the exploitation of the Javanese by their European colonizers. Its Left wing had accepted the aid of the Indian Social Democratic Association, which Maring had helped organize. Within the Saraket Islam it began to develop the idea of trade union organization and during the war years was responsible for the growth of a considerable Left-wing movement. Maring based himself secondly on the strategic and tactical conclusions of the Second Congress of the Comintern which he felt were especially applicable because—and this is the third factor—of the connections already established between the Kuomintang and the growing labour movement in the south where the unions under Sun Yat-sen’s influence were already participating in the Nationalist movement and offered the most fruitful field for the expansion of Communist activity.

* This information is based on notes of a conversation with Maring at Amsterdam in 1935.

According to Maring, the majority of the Chinese Central Committee accepted these views. Those who opposed his proposal did so on the grounds that they questioned the weight of the Kuomintang as a political force and doubted its capacity for developing into a mass movement. Chen Tu-hsiu, listed by Maring among those who agreed with the plan to enter the Kuomintang, has written an account of the Hangchow conference of 1922 which differs on this point.[9] He says that all the members of the Communist Central Committee opposed Maring’s view. He assigns a fundamental political character to this opposition, claiming that they believed entry into the Kuomintang “would confuse class organizations and curb our independent policy.” But there is no evidence that in those early years the Chinese Communist leaders opposed collaboration with the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, this idea dominated them completely. “Co-operation with the revolutionary bourgeoisie,” wrote Chen Tu-hsiu in 1922, “is the necessary road for the Chinese proletariat.”;[10] Opposition to entering the Kuomintang, whether it came from all or some of the Communist leaders, would seem to have been based more on the belief that the Kuomintang was defunct. This, in effect, says Maring, was the view expressed by Chang Kuo-tao, strongest of the opponents of the entry at the Hangchow parley. In the end, however, the proposal was adopted, although doubt remained as to whether the leaders of the Kuomintang would welcome it. [According to Chen Tu-hsiu, the entry was voted when Maring invoked the discipline of the Comintern. Maring denies this, pointing out that there was ample opportunity for appeal against him to the higher organs of the Communist International, but that no such appeals were made. “Moreover, I possessed no specific instructions from the Comintern,” he added, “I had no document in my hand.” Further light on this point undoubtedly exists in the unpublished and unavailable archives of the Comintern. According to P. Mif, of the Far Eastern Bureau of the Comintern, the first formal instructions “to co-ordinate the activities of the Kuomintang and the young Communist Party of China,” were contained in a special communication of the Executive Committee of the Comintern dated January 12, 1923. By that time the Communists had already entered the Kuomintang, although the formal decision to do so was not taken until the Third Conference of the Chinese Communist Party in June, 1923. Cf. P. Mif, Heroic China, New York, 1937, pp. 21-2.]

The Communists entered the Kuomintang as individuals in hopes of winning to Communist influence the workers in the south who had already affiliated with the Kuomintang.;[11] Sun Yat-sen, however, remained cold to their proposals for reorganizing the Party on the basis of a programme capable of attracting popular support. Only when Sun was forced once more to flee for his life, following a revolt by General Chen Chiung-ming in Canton in June, 1922, did he grow more receptive to the arguments of Maring, supported by Liao Chung-kai, the most radical of Sun’s immediate entourage. Sun was still unattracted by the potentialities of the mass movement as a political weapon, but he had begun to be attracted by the prospects of direct and concrete aid from Russia.

Several factors combined to help turn Sun Yat-sen’s attention to the possibilities of an alliance with the Soviet Union. His naive plan for the international development of China had met with rebuffs or polite indifference in all the imperialist chancelleries. The wolves would not lie down together with the lamb.[12] They were intent only upon fighting to determine who should devour it. To settle this question was the purpose of the Washington Conference of 1921-2. The parley had again revived Chinese hopes of imperialist benevolence, but these were quickly dissipated. The Washington Conference, to borrow Wang Ching-wei’s summary, “freed China from the Japanese policy of independent violent encroachment” only to leave it victim “to the co-operative slow encroachment” by all the Powers.;[13] It was called to serve not the interests of Chinese national liberation but the interests of American imperialism. Realization of this fact helped dispel persisting illusions in the benevolent friendship of the Powers. It also forced upon the consciousness of the Chinese Nationalist leaders the fact that the new Soviet power, so successfully and spectacularly defeating the united interventionist forces of the World War victors, could prove a mighty lever in the attempt to extract concessions from the imperialists in China.

As early as July 25, 1919, the Soviet Government had proclaimed its readiness to renounce all the imperialist privileges held by Czarist Russia in China. It renewed this offer in a further declaration on October 27, 1920, and unofficial Soviet representatives began making efforts in Peking to negotiate a new treaty on this basis. The angry hostility of the Powers, who were seeking by every possible means, political and military, to isolate and destroy the Bolshevik regime, blocked these efforts, although the Russian offer to treat with China on a basis of complete equality made a profound impression in China and greatly heightened the prestige of the newly established Soviet power in the eyes of a growing group of Chinese intellectuals.

The initial efforts of Soviet representatives to establish contacts in China were a striking although still isolated example of the tendency to give the apparent immediate State interests of the Soviet Union precedence over revolutionary objectives. The Peking Government was in the hands of the notorious pro-Japanese Anfu clique when the first unofficial Soviet agents, sent by the Chita Government and the Irkutsk Bureau of the Comintern, arrived in China. The puny Nationalist movement led by Sun Yat-sen did not impress them as a point of support for Soviet interests. They were more attracted by the military strength of the war lord Wu Pei-fu who sought the overthrow of the Anfu regime. When Wu took power in Peking in 1920 and set up a puppet cabinet of his own, a Soviet Far Eastern “expert” of Izvestia, Soviet Government organ, wrote that “Wu Pei-fu has hung out his flag over the events which are taking place in China and it is clear that under this flag the new Chinese cabinet must take an orientation in favour of Soviet Russia.”;[14] But Wu proved to be an instrument of British imperialism, no friend at all to Bolshevik Russia. The Union Jack had merely replaced the Rising Sun at the back door of the Peking Government. That was why the 1921 negotiations proved fruitless.

When Maring came to China in the spring of 1921 and established connection with Sun Yat-sen, whom he visited in Kwangsi, he decided that the main-stream of the Chinese Nationalist movement was with Sun’s Kuomintang. This belief ripened into conviction when in January, 1922, during the seamen’s strike in Hong Kong, he visited Canton and there discovered that substantial connections already existed between the Kuomintang and the most active section of the young Chinese labour movement. Reversing the tendency of the Irkutsk Bureau, until then the Comintern’s only link with the Far East, Maring proposed to the Chinese Communists at Hangchow the entry into the Kuomintang. When Sun Yatsen, expelled from Canton, arrived in Shanghai in August, 1922, Maring met him again and urged him to substitute a campaign of mass propaganda for any attempt to recapture Canton by purely military means. The Washington Conference had helped to change the minds of the Kuomintang leaders, and Maring found his views more warmly welcomed, for Sun Yat-sen had definitely begun to think in terms of Soviet assistance. This was the report Maring took back with him to Moscow the next month. On the basis of his findings, the Comintern abandoned the “Irkutsk line” and turned its attention to Sun Yat-sen. Maring’s views in favour of collaboration with the South China movement were published in the Communist Press.[15] The Soviet Government, on its part, sent Adolph Joffe, one of its first rank diplomats, to establish formal contact with Sun Yat-sen.

Joffe met Sun in Shanghai where on January 26, 1923, they issued a joint statement in which Joffe agreed that “conditions do not exist here for the successful establishment of Communism or Socialism,” that “the chief and immediate aim of China is the achievement of national union and national independence.” Joffe assured Sun that in seeking these aims, the Nationalist movement “could depend on the aid of Russia.”[16] This diplomatic formula inaugurated the entente with Sun, upon whom it finally dawned that the Russians were offering him and his Party the prestige of the October revolution, backed up with arms, money, and advisers.

Almost at once, however, the same formula was interpreted to mean that the Chinese Communists had to subordinate themselves completely to the job of helping to make the Kuomintang a worthy ally. When Michael Borodin took his post as adviser to Sun Yat-sen in the fall of the same year, he came not as a representative of the Communist International to work with the Chinese Communist Party, but as adviser to the Kuomintang delegated by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. This distinction was far from purely formal. Borodin’s job was to reorganize and pump new life into the Kuomintang. All efforts—primarily those of the Chinese Communists—had to be concentrated now to that end.

The independent political perspectives of the Communist Party disappeared from the calculations of the moment.”In so far as the independent working-class movement in the country is weak,” decided the Executive Committee of the Comintern on January 12, 1923,” in so far as the central task confronting China is to carry out the national revolution against the imperialists and their feudal agents within the country, and in so far as the working class is directly interested in the solution of this national revolutionary problem but is not yet sufficiently differentiated as an absolutely independent force, the E.C.C.I. considers that it is necessary to co-ordinate the activities of the Kuomintang and of the young Communist Party of China.”[17] Proletarian independence was projected into the uncertain future, but the Chinese Communist Party was nevertheless” not to merge” with the Kuomintang nor to” furl its own banner.” In practice, if the Communists had to give up the idea of functioning as the representatives of an” absolutely independent force” in favour of the” central task” of co-ordinating their activities with those of the Kuomintang, the result was necessarily a loss of their independence. The third conference of the Communist Party in June, 1923, silenced internal opposition to the Kuomintang entry and the slogan was raised:” All work to the Kuomintang!” The conference manifesto declared that” the Kuomintang should be the central force of the national revolution and should stand in the leading position.” [18]

The course thus laid before the Communists led directly and unavoidably to the idea that the national struggle against imperialism preceded or temporarily postponed the struggle between the classes. The very idea that classes with opposing interests could unite in a single party was based on the assumption that imperialism temporarily welded the interests of the various classes instead of deepening the antagonism between them. It assumed that the bourgeoisie could and would play not only a revolutionary role, but the leading role in the national revolutionary movement. This was a radical shift from the broad line of strategy laid down by Lenin at the Second World Congress of the Comintern for it immediately canalized the Nationalist movement on to bourgeois-democratic lines and put an end to the political and organizational independence of the Communist Party. The latter from the outset, in 1923, recognized the” leading position” of the Kuomintang. The Comintern did likewise and rationalized this blurring of class lines by developing the theory that the Kuomintang was not the party of the bourgeoisie, but the party in which all classes united in common cause against the foreign interloper. This conception, first established in practice, soon made its way into the official documents of the Comintern and guided the whole future course of its strategy.

Borodin set out to convince Sun Yat-sen that what the Kuomintang needed was a disciplined party organization with a powerful mass movement behind it. When in November Chen Chiung-ming again threatened Canton where Sun had managed to re-establish himself, Borodin gave a concrete example of how a few promises could arouse the workers and peasants to the defence of the regime. The ease with which Chen’s threat was averted clinched Borodin’s argument.,[19] With Sun’s support, Borodin drafted[20] a programme based upon co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Soviet Union and the Communist Party, the idea of a militant antiimperialist struggle, and a platform of liberal reforms for the workers and peasants. Borodin took over Sun’s “equalization of rights in the land “and “restriction of capital,” concretizing them only to the extent of a plank for a 25 per cent reduction in land rent and the promise of a labour code.[21] The new programme was adopted and the Kuomintang thoroughly reorganized at its first national congress in January, 1924. The day the congress opened Lenin died, a historical coincidence that did not lack its own irony, for the Soviet Union and the Communist International he had helped create were abandoning in China the idea of irreconcilable proletarian independence that was Lenin’s richest legacy.[The late Arthur Ransome gave an astute summary of the Comintern’s contribution to the Chinese revolution when he wrote in February, 1927, that Russia taught the Kuomintang “how to turn Dr. Sun’s pious programme of a raised standard of living for the workers into a stout weapon of offence and defence. Borodin may be said to have taught Dr. Sun to rely on classes rather than on individuals after having taught him to rely on a party instead of on himself. Borodin could show how the Revolution of 1905 was brought about by the work-men ... for the benefit of the Russian bourgeoisie. He could show how agrarian revolution in France ... crushed the feudal lords for the benefit of the French bourgeoisie ... These are dangerous weapons, but no other could have brought about the result achieved. In bringing these weapons into active operation the obvious agents to use were the Chinese Communists, and on them will fall the heaviest blows if and when the Chinese revolution finds it necessary to blunt them.”— The Chinese Puzzle, London, 1927.]

The Kuomintang was organizationally transformed into a rough copy of the Russian Bolshevik Party and Bolshevik methods of agitation and propaganda were introduced. To correct the dependence on feudally-minded militarists which had hitherto been one of the Kuomintang’s chief weaknesses, the Russians founded in May, 1924, the Whampoa Military Academy to lay the basis for a corps of officers for a new Nationalist army. This academy was supplied and run with Russian funds.[22] Before long shiploads of Soviet arms were coming into Canton harbour to feed the armies which rallied to the new banner as soon as the Kuomintang began to display the strength with which the activities of the Comintern and the Communist Party endowed it.

In accordance with the demands of their work within the Kuomintang, which now began to develop swiftly, the Communists limited themselves to the slogans and demands of the bourgeois national revolution, and these were naturally limited by the interests of the Chinese bourgeoisie. The cadres of the Communist Party, recruited first mainly from among students and later in increasing measure from the ranks of the skilled workers, were educated in a purely bourgeois-national revolutionary, not proletarian revolutionary, sense. Their activities and their propaganda were restricted to achieving the purely anti-militarist and anti-imperialist aims acceptable to the bourgeoisie. This fact converted the Communist Party into a Left-wing appendage of the Kuomintang.

Communists were distinguished from “pure” Kuomintang members not by the profound ideological gulf that lay between Marxism and the vague populism of Sun Yat-sen, nor by any difference in programme, for the whole movement was carried forward under the banner of Sun Yat-sen’s Three People’s Principles and nothing more. [In 1924 Sun attempted to reconcile his doctrines with the ideas of Communism, identifying the latter with his own principle of the “people’s livelihood.” The resultant muddle confused many of his own disciples and does not make for easy reading. He remained true, however, to the fundamental bourgeois principle of the inviolability of private property. For an ably documented study of the evolution of Sun’s ideas, see Shu-chin Tsui, “The Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente upon Sun Yat-sen’s Political Philosophy,” The Chinese Social and Political Science Review, Peiping, April, July, October, 1934.]

They were distinguished from the upper ranks of the Kuomintang by the fact that they alone brought to the Party and the movement the heroism, self-sacrifice, and Communist enterprise which sprang from their devotion to the workers’ and peasants’ cause they believed they were serving. The Communists, advancing at no time any political perspective of their own nor appearing at any time before the masses under their own name and banner, tirelessly poured the steel of organization and mass power into the Kuomintang mould. In the initial stages, however, the ultimate significance of this fact was partially concealed by the spectacular growth of the mass movement. For neither the tactics of the Communists nor the requirements of the Kuomintang brought the mass movement into being. Conditions for its rise were embedded like ore in rock in the existing structure of Chinese social organization.


In foreign-owned and Chinese factories in Canton, Shanghai, Hankow, Tientsin, and other cities, factory workers lived and toiled in conditions comparable only to the helotry of workers in England in the early stages of the industrial revolution. Men, women, and children toiled, as they still do, for 12, 14, and 16 hours for wages as low as eight cents a day without the most elementary guarantees for their safety or the slightest provisions for human hygiene. A vicious apprentice system provided small producers and shopkeepers with an inexhaustible supply of child labour working daily up to 18 and 20 hours in return for a bowl of rice and a board to sleep on. From such conditions of labour, employers, especially the foreigners with their superior technique, could extract the maximum surplus value and more, for the life of a labourer was cheap and no one knows the mortality rate in China. [23] Against these conditions the Chinese workers, their ranks swelling with the growth of industry, soon took up cudgels.

The organized labour movement began to take form immediately after the Great War. Strikes had begun to occur even before the May 4 movement in 1919. In 1920 the Mechanics Union in Canton staged the first large-scale strike, and in 1922 the Hong Kong seamen electrified the entire country by winning a smashing strike victory over the British imperialists, securing recognition of their union and sizable wage increases.[24] These strikes laid the groundwork for a rapid flow of workers into unions. In May, 1922, the first national labour conference met in Canton under the triumphant leadership of the seamen. The conference united the delegates of 230,000 organized workers. Under the pressure of this new and powerful force, Sun Yat-sen’s Kwangtung Government revised the penal code to legalize union organization and the path was cleared for further growth.[25]

In Central and North China the fight for higher wages and for the right to organize and bargain collectively was also beginning. Chief of these struggles was that waged by the workers of the Peking-Hankow Railway culminating in the massacre of February 7, 1923, at Chengchow, Honan. Wu Pei-fu, the reigning militarist in North China, ordered his soldiers to break up an organization conference. Sixty workers were murdered. This repression only temporarily checked the efforts of the railway workers to secure a national organization. Almost a year later to the day the National Conference of Railway Workers took place and a national committee was formed to carry on the fight for “improvement of our conditions, respect for our fate, education for us and our children, the right to form individual unions, to forge solidarity among all railway workers.”[26]

In Shanghai by the beginning of 1923, there were already 40,000 workers organized into 24 unions. The battle front rapidly widened. In 1918, there were 25 recorded strikes involving less than 10,000 workers. In 1922, there were 91 strikes involving some 150,000 workers in all parts of the country[27] The movement grew with astonishing rapidity and militancy. On May Day, 1924, 100,000 workers marched through the streets of Shanghai and twice that number in Canton. Contemporary reports describe how in Wuchang, Hanyang, and Hankow, despite rigid martial law, red flags appeared over working-class quarters. The traditional May Day slogan, the eight-hour day, thrilled workers who had just begun to dream of working 14 instead of 16, 12 instead of 14, 10 instead of 12 hours a day.

“Eight hours of work, eight hours of education and recreation, eight hours of rest—how reasonable this programme is!” ran the leaflets of the day. “For forty years the working class has poured out its blood for its realization. The time is past when proletarians are but cannon fodder for the bosses. They will not cede but to Revolution? Then they shall have it!”[28]

“Remember to-day, fellow-workers, that you are men, just as the bosses are. Demand then that you be treated as men. Organize! Numbers give strength! Comrades will extend to you their hand!” They marched through the streets singing new songs: “Work shall be a pleasure, our offering to Fraternity. We shall be called to it by the bells of Liberty. Join hands and sing—’Long Live the Workers!’ “[29]

It is clear that by the time the Kuomintang was reorganized in 1924, the proletarians of China were already rising to their feet and organizing themselves in a movement strikingly characterized by its militancy and courage. It was inoculated too with a healthy spirit of scepticism and suspicion of bourgeois “allies,” too soon to be stifled by the demands of the Kuomintang-Communist alliance. On May Day, 1924, Sun Yat-sen told the Canton workers: “The difference between the Chinese workers and foreign workers lies in the fact that the latter are oppressed only by their own capitalists and not by those of other countries ... The Chinese workers are as yet not oppressed by Chinese capitalists ... They are oppressed by foreign capitalists.”[30] Similar statements were made by a Kuomintang speaker at the first conference of transport workers of the Pacific held at Canton the next month. Of this conference G. Voitinsky, Comintern delegate in China, who was destined to play a large role in yoking the labour movement to bourgeois leadership, wrote: “The delegates of the Chinese railway workers, who had travelled thousands of miles, illegally, to attend the conference, with vivid memories of the bloody events of the Peking-Hankow strikes and the shooting of workers in May of this year, and also the Javanese comrades, constituted the Left wing of the conference. They gave a cold and dubious reception to the declaration of the responsible representative of the Kuomintang who called upon the workers to form a united front with the peasants and intellectuals, but not under the hegemony of the proletariat. The Javanese comrades, who had also experienced a big and serious railway strike in May last year and who detached a considerable Left wing from the Pan-Moslem organization, Saraket Islam, joined in the appeal for a united anti-militarist front, but under the leadership of the real revolutionary organizations in which there is sufficient Communist influence.”[31] Voitinsky and his friends soon taught the Chinese workers how to receive responsible representatives of the Kuomintang properly.

The peasants, too, had begun to hammer out organizational weapons of their own. The modern Chinese peasant movement was cradled in Haifeng, in the East River districts of Kwangtung, by Peng Pai, one of the most striking and heroic figures of the Chinese Revolution. Son of a wealthy Haifeng landlord, Peng Pai became a school teacher in his native village. He was one of the first Communists and he soon tried to make his way among the peasants with his ideas. Dismissed from his school for staging a May Day demonstration of his pupils in 1921, Peng went out into the country-side to arouse the peasants to the need for organization. The story of his early rebuffs, his first successes, and the initial struggles of the Haifeng Peasant Union, he has himself left behind in a precious sheaf of personal notes and reminiscences.[32] First received by the peasants with mistrust and hostility—was he not the son of a landlord?—Peng Pai finally fired the imaginations of a few peasant lads. By combining conjuring tricks and a gramophone with speeches on how to win freedom from the oppression of the landlords, Peng and his little group of young comrades finally won the confidence of the peasants. After that the first Peasant Association was formed, grew swiftly, and almost at once had its first baptism of fire under the attack of Chen Chiung-ming’s soldiers.

Thus begun, the organization spread rapidly to the neighbouring districts, and the framework of a Provincial Peasant Association was set up before the middle of 1923. “It is not true,” ran one of the manifestoes of the new body, “that the landowners’ land was acquired by purchase. The fathers and the grandfathers of the present landowners took it by force from the peasants. Even supposing that it was bought, it was paid for only once while the landlords have received rent for it annually for hundreds and thousands of years ... The landowners receive the greater part of the harvest without doing any work. How much money and sweat have we and our peasant forefathers expended on this land!”[33] These were simple phrases. They described a situation which the peasants had been taught was immutable and endowed with the sanctions of Heaven. When the peasant unionists suggested it could be changed by their own efforts—and proceeded to prove that it could be—it was as though the world had changed its face. Heaven seemed to have smiles for the peasants as well as for the landlords. These ideas seeped quickly through the country-side like rain into the earth. Rapidly they bore fruit. Peasant struggles against the landlords and against all the forces of the magistrates, the police, and the soldiers, multiplied throughout the East River districts and ignited similar conflicts in the west and north of the province. Demands for reduction of land rent passed almost immediately over to demands for its complete abolition. Even in 1923, in Kaoyao district, “some of the unionist farmers had the courage to refuse to pay rentals to the landowners, and the latter had to resort to the army and police to make collections.”[34] Sharp skirmishes were fought in every case. The peasant movement was launched. By the time the Kuomintang was reorganized in 1924, it was well under way.

To workers and peasants alike the Kuomintang programme, carried into the factories and out into the country by the Communists, seemed to offer a clear opportunity to better the conditions of their life through fighting organizations. Naturally, they made the Kuomintang’s enemies their own, and there were many to be fought and overcome before the Kuomintang could claim to be the governing power, not only of Kwangtung province, but of the city of Canton itself. In the summer of 1924 Kuomintang rule in Canton was challenged by the Merchants’ Volunteers, armed and financed by the British and by the wealthy compradores of Hong Kong and Canton. It was organized by Chen Lim-pak, chief compradore for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, chief British financial institution in the Far East. On August 10, Sun Yat-sen seized a boatload of arms consigned to Chen and prepared, after considerable vacillation and delay, to suppress the armed corps that threatened his rule.

On August 26, the British Consul-General delivered a virtual ultimatum which threatened British naval intervention in the event of an attack on the Merchants’ Volunteers. Sun protested to Britain’s Labour Prime Minister, Ramsay Macdonald, whose silence proved that the reforms promised by the Labour Party did not include any modification of British imperialist policy. Sun wired, too, to the League of Nations, but that institution of world peace did not quite see where it was concerned and it, too, remained silent. Finally, in October, a force composed of Whampoa cadets, workers’ battalions, and peasant guards descended on the Merchants’ Volunteers, and after a brief but sharp battle defeated and disarmed them. The British river gunboats did not carry out their threats.[35]

Four months later, in February, 1925, Canton was threatened by Chen Chiung-ming, Sun Yat-sen’s former militarist ally who still enjoyed military control over a large part of the province. The Kuomintang forces carried the fight into his own East River strongholds. Chen Chiung-ming was rendered helpless by the activities of the peasants in Haifeng, Lufeng, Huiyang, and Wuhua, who demoralized his defences by attacking his rear, cutting his lines of communications, and seizing his supplies. Peasants of Tungwan, Siapen, and neighbouring districts fought side by side with the Kuomintang troops and also functioned as guides, spies, and transport corps. Against this offensive which seemed to rise against him from all sides in his own territory, Chen was impotent. He was forced to fall back and Give up his plan for an attack on Canton.[36]

On May Day, 1925, Canton witnessed an impressive demonstration of the phenomenal growth of the workers’ and peasants’ movement when the Second National Labour Conference and the First Provincial Assembly of the peasant associations simultaneously convened. The labour conference brought together 230 delegates of 570,000 organized workers in all the principal cities of China.[37] The peasant associations were still confined to 22 hsien (counties) in Kwangtung, but there were nevertheless 117 delegates representing 180,000 peasant unionists.[38] Jointly the worker and peasant delegates, accompanied by thousands of Canton workers and peasants who poured into the city from the surrounding country-side, paraded through the flag-decked streets of the city in the first gigantic demonstration of worker-peasant solidarity ever staged in Chinese history. Hard of hand and brown of face, they marched to the assembly halls of various Canton schools and colleges which were thrown open to them for their ten-day sessions. Students and political workers addressed their meetings. They heard for the first time of the new mechanical implements whose use promised a lightening of their toil. They wandered through class-rooms and libraries. They got their first dazzling glimpse of the world from which centuries of labour and sweat had relentlessly cut them off.

A few weeks later, the streets of Canton again rang with rifle and machine-gun fire. Canton was still then under the military control of the Yunnanese generals, Yang Hsi-min and Liu Chen-han, who hoped, like many others, to derive advantage for themselves from co-operation with the Kuomintang. But the gulf between them and the mass movement was too great for them to straddle. Once again the Whampoa cadets and armed workers fought side by side. The result was a foregone conclusion. The Yunnanese troops were demoralized and scattered and the generals expelled from the city. Peasants in the West River districts completed the job by cutting off the retreating remnants and effectively removing them from the scene after a brief, sharp engagement at Kiangtun.[39] Meanwhile a new thunderous voice was roaring out of Shanghai. The high tide of the mass movement was only just coming in.

Shanghai workers had launched their drive against the slave-labour conditions which prevailed, particularly in the cotton mills. A series of hammer-like strikes during the early months of 1925 were conducted for wage increases and against the brutality of foremen, especially in the Japanese mills. The shooting down of striking workers in Tsingtao and the murder of a Chinese worker by a Japanese foreman in Shanghai brought mass resentment boiling to the surface. It vibrated along the line of march in Shanghai’s streets when students and workers joined in a demonstration of protest. Several were arrested and the demonstrators marched to the police station to demand the release of their comrades. A panic-stricken British officer shouted orders to fire. Students fell writhing to the ground. Twelve of them died. It was the afternoon of May 30.

The effect was swift, tumultuous, electric. Shanghai, the great imperialist stronghold with its foreign banks and mills, was paralysed by a general strike which even drew Chinese servants from the homes of foreigners. Like a giant awakened, the seemingly inert mass of Chinese toilers rose with a rumble that struck fear into the hearts of employers, Chinese and foreign alike, and passed beyond the seas to shake the doors of imperialist chancelleries. Arrogant foreigners, for decades accustomed to regarding Chinese toilers as just so many dirty but docile and necessary pack animals, blanched when this unrecognizable mass rose and shook its mighty fist in their faces. The tie-up was so complete that “it was difficult for foreigners to do anything except serve as part of the local defence units.”[40]

The rising was country-wide. Incomplete statistics collected by a labour investigator recorded 135 strikes arising directly out of the May 30 shootings, involving nearly 400,000 workers from Canton and Hong Kong in the south to Peking in the north.[41] The May 30 massacre in Shanghai was soon followed by shootings in Hankow and Canton. At Hankow on June 11, a landing party of British sailors opened fire on a demonstration of workers, killing 8 and wounding 12.[42] In Canton, Chinese seamen employed on British lines walked out on June 18, and three days later were joined by practically all the Chinese workers employed by foreign firms in Hong Kong and Shameen, the Canton foreign concession area. On June 23, a demonstration of students, workers, and military cadets paraded through the streets of Canton. When they passed the Shakee Road Bridge, British and French machine-gunners on the concession side of the creek opened fire on the marchers. Fifty-two students and workers were killed and 117 wounded.*


* The foreigners claimed in justification that they were fired upon first. They had a difficult time trying to prove it. The section of the demonstration passing the bridge when shooting began was composed entirely of students and workers who were marching unarmed. And the fact remains that only two foreigners were killed in the affair whereas fifty-two Chinese were killed by the murderous machinegun fire which swept across the bridge.

A boycott of British goods and a general strike were immediately declared. Hong Kong, fortress of British imperialism in China, was laid prostrate. Not a wheel turned. Not a bale of cargo moved. Not a ship left anchorage. More than 100,000 Hong Kong workers took the unprecedented action of evacuating the city and moved en masse to Canton. The strike, which brought all foreign commercial and industrial activity to an abrupt stop, drew 250,000 workers out of all the principal trades and industries of Hong Kong and Shameen.[43]

In Canton the workers cleaned out gambling and opium dens and converted them into strikers’ dormitories and restaurants. An army of 2000 pickets was recruited from among the strikers and an impassable barrier was thrown around Hong Kong and Shameen. The movement was superbly organized. Every fifty strikers named a representative to a Strikers’ Delegates’ Conference which in turn nominated thirteen men to function as an executive committee. Under the auspices of this working-class body, the first embryo Soviet in China, a hospital and seventeen schools for men and women workers and for their children were established and maintained. Special committees handled funds and contributions, the auctioning of confiscated goods, and the keeping of records. A strikers’ court was set up which tried offenders against the boycott or other disturbers of public order.[44]

Police and judicial functions devolved upon the striker-pickets, who performed these duties with characteristic proletarian despatch and vigilance. The picket barrier was tight as a drum. “The boycott against British goods in Canton,” wrote a foreign observer, “is controlled by a strike committee which operates through pickets whose work it is to prevent breaches ... Wherever in Kwangtung there is a highway for the transfer of goods, the pickets are present, ready to examine cargo, to open packages, to search individuals ... Foreigners as well as Chinese are subjected to search ... The strikers’ rule is that no goods, not even foodstuffs, are to be taken to and from the Shameen ... If there is an infraction of the boycott, the guilty person is brought before the strikers’ tribunal for punishment ... The boycott is complete ... (It) must be regarded as a war on Hong Kong and Great Britain and the pickets as the soldiers in that war. There is no other possible interpretation of the completeness and ruthlessness with which it is carried out.”[45] The task of covering all lines of communication along the Kwangtung coast and at all ports was carried out with the co-operation of the peasant associations. Peasant pickets patrolled the coast at Swatow, Haifeng, Pingshang, and other points, to make the blockade complete.[46]

Shameen, with its isolated little colony of bitter, fuming, vindictive foreigners, was cut off from all contact with the rest of Canton. Pickets rigidly guarded all entrances to the con-cessions. Only occasional ships coming up from Hong Kong, mainly warships or British vessels manned by volunteer foreign crews, kept it supplied with the bare necessities of life. British communities in other cities suffered the same fate. “More food must come from Hong Kong—no fresh milk here. The Club is empty, servants gone,” plaintively reported a Swatow Briton to the North China Daily News .[47]

The strikers enjoyed the spectacle of the haughty foreigners doing their own cooking and washing. Under strike conditions the removal of refuse was apparently not all that it might have been, for the strikers changed the Chinese name of Hong Kong from Shiang Kong (fragrant harbour) to Tzo Kong (stinking harbour), and as the strike and boycott strangled the rich British colony, they began to call it Sze Kong (dead harbour).[48]

“An attack has been made upon us, as representing the existing standards of civilization, by the agents of disorder and anarchy!” cried the Governor of Hong Kong.[49] “Disorder and anarchy” were costing the standard-bearers of civilization some £250,000 or two million dollars in Chinese currency daily.[50] “The number of British steamers which entered into the harbour of Canton ... from August to December, 1924, varied between 240 and 160 each month,” reported an official of the British Chamber of Commerce. “During the corresponding period of 1925 the number varied between 27 and 2.”[51] Demands for armed intervention in defence of “civilization” were shouted loudly from Hong Kong’s forsaken house-tops. “Responsible British and Chinese residents of Hong Kong are convinced that intervention by the British Government and local action is imperative ...” Otherwise “it is hopeless to expect the Canton anti-Reds to succeed without British assistance.” Prompt military action, it was urged, could “easily place alternative and friendly Chinese authorities in power at Canton.”[52]

But Whitehall saw more wisely than the over-heated and hysterical gentlemen in Hong Kong and other ports that “alternative and friendly Chinese” could be better won without the direct use of British armed forces. There was probably not a militarist or a bandit leader in Kwangtung province who did not in this period see the colour of British money and who did not in return raid the picket lines or organize military opposition to the Canton regime.

However, the strike and boycott continued unbroken. On the strength of the mass movement the Kuomintang was able to consolidate its power and at the end of June organize a National Government. In September, Kuomintang troops, supported by the peasant associations on both sides of the fighting line, finally cleared Chen Chiung-ming from the East River districts, despite the heavy financial and material aid given him by Hong Kong.[53] During the remaining months of 1925, Southern Kwangtung was cleared of the last hostile militarist elements. The Kuomintang was supreme in Kwangtung.

Thus in less than two years a mighty mass movement had lifted the Kuomintang from the depths of political sterility and impotence to a position of power and prestige which enabled it to challenge all the forces which stood in the way of its supremacy. Having unified Kwangtung, it was able to look northward toward the vast array of enemies in Central and North China who watched its growing strength with unconcealed trepidation. All this the Kuomintang had achieved thanks only to the mass movement of the workers and peasants, and the mass movement was able to develop its power and cohesion only through the enterprise and initiative of the Chinese Communists. A mighty weapon had now been forged. How it was to be wielded and who would wield it were the questions that now pushed themselves forward on to the order of the day. The mass movement had stirred all layers of Chinese society into action. Quickly the classes grouped into new alignments. The iron realities of class struggle forced their way into the open arena.


1. Tsi C. Wang, The Youth Movement in China, New York, 1928, p. 100. Wang also quotes portions of Chen’s article from New Youth, v. I, No. 1, 1915. This book is valuable for its survey of the Chinese Renaissance and its documented survey of the post-War student movement.

2. Cf. Wong (Wang) Ching-wei, China and the Nations, New York, 1927, pp. 91-8.

3. M. T. Z. Tyau, China Awakened, New York, 1922, pp. 237, 240.

4. For approximate estimates of the Chinese industrial population, see Fang Fu-an, Chinese Labour, Chap. II.

5. Shu-chin Tsui, “The Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente upon Sun Yat-sen’s Political Philosophy,” The Chinese Social and Political Science Review, Peiping, April-October, 1934, p. 113.

6. Sun Yat-sen, The International Development of China, New York, 1922, p. xi; Memoirs of a Chinese Revolutionary, London, 1927, pp. 179-83.

7. Sun Yat-sen, San Min Chu I (Three People’s Principles), Shanghai, 1927, pp. 431-4.

8. For expositions of Sun’s political doctrines, see Shu-chin Tsui, “Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente,” and T. C. Woo, The Kuomintang and the Future of the Chinese Revolution, London, 1928, Chap. III.

9. Chen Tu-hsiu, Letter to the Comrades of the Chinese Communist Party, Shanghai, December 10, 1929; Eng. tr. in Militant, New York, November 15, 1930-January 15, 1931.

10 Chen Tu-hsiu, “The Bourgeois Revolution and the Revolutionary Bourgeoisie,” Essays on the Chinese Revolution, Shanghai, 1927, p. 60.

11 Speech of Liu Jen-chin at the Fourth World Congress of the Communist International, Session of November 23, 1922, La Correspondance Internationale, January 12, 1923.

12 Sun Yat-sen, International Development, pp. 251-65.

13 Wang Ching-wei, China and the Nations, pp. 108-9.

14 Izvestia, Moscow, October 9, 1920, quoted by L. Pasvolsky, Russia in the Far East, New York, 1922, p. 87.

15 H. Maring, “Die Revolutionar-Nationalistische Bewegung in Sud-China,” Die Kommunistische Internationale, September 13, 1922.

16 Louis Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, New York, 1930, v.,II, p. 540. Fischer’s chapter on China has particular value and will be frequently cited because it gives strong internal evidence of being based almost entirely on conversations with Borodin and throughout attempts to justify and defend the line pursued by the Communist International in China.

17 P. Mif, Heroic China, New York, 1937, pp. 21-2.

18 Quoted by Hua Kang, The Great Chinese Revolution of 1925-27, Shanghai, 1931, Chap. VI, Section 1.

19 Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, v. II, p. 637.

20 Shu-chin Tsui, “Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente,” p. 97; Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, v. II, p. 638.

21 Programme of the Kuomintang, adopted at the First National Congress, January, 1924.

22 Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, v. II, p. 640; Tang Leang-li, Inner History of the Chinese Revolution, London, 1930, p. 183. This work, which will be frequently referred to, has particular importance and authority primarily because it reflects directly the views and attitudes of Wang Ching-wei, Left Kuomintang leader. Tang is Wang’s official biographer.

23 For a survey of working-class conditions, see “Kuomintang vs. Labour,” Five Years of Kuomintang Reaction, Shanghai, 1932; see also bibliography given by Lowe Chun-hwa, Facing Labour Issues in China, p. 189 ff.

24 Cf. S. Wong and W. L., “La Chine Ouvriere,” La Correspondance Internationale, September 26, 1923.

25 Lowe Chun-hwa, Facing Labour Issues, p. 40.26

26 “Proclamation of the National Conference of Railway Workers, February 14, 1924,” tr. by L. Wieger, Chine Moderne, Siensien, Hopei, 1921-32, v. V, pp. 263-4. For the 1923 events see Lo Chang-lung, The Massacre of the Peking-Hankow Railway Workers, Peking, March, 1923. Lo, Communist, organizer and leader of the railway workers, was imprisoned in 1933.

27 Chen Ta, Analysis of Strikes in China from 1918 to 1926, Shanghai, undated, p. 5.

28 Wieger, Chine Moderne, v. V, p. 266.

29 Ibid., pp. 269-70.

30 Shu-chin Tsui, “Influence of the Canton-Moscow Entente,” p. 120.

31 G. Voitinsky, “First Conference of Transport Workers of the Pacific,” International Press Correspondence, September 11, 1924.

32 Peng Pai, The Haifeng Peasant Movement, Canton, 1926; a partial Eng. tr. will be found under the title “Red Haifeng,” in International Literature, Nos. 2-3, Moscow, 1932. Peng was shot, by order of Chiang Kai-shek, in August, 1929.

33 Ibid.

34 Chang, Farmers’ Movement in Kwangtung, p. 2.

35 “Manifesto of Sun Yat-sen, September 1, 1924,” Wieger, Chine Moderne, v. V, p. 230; Wang Ching-wei, China and the Nations, pp. 111-12; International Press Correspondence, September 11, 18, October 2, 1924; North China Herald, Shanghai, September 6, 1924.

36 Chang, Farmers’ Movement in Kwangtung, p. 31.

37 Lowe Chun-hwa, Facing Labour Issues, p. 36; Hua Kang gives 281 delegates, 166 unions, 540,000 workers.— Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. IV, Section 1.

38 Chang, Farmers’ Movement in Kwangtung, p. 8.

39 Ibid., p. 32.

40 China Weekly Review, Shanghai, June 13, 1925.

41 Chen Ta, Analysis of Strikes, p. 27. Chen recorded for 1925 as a whole strikes, involving a known total of 784,821 workers, with the number unrecorded for a third of the listed strikes, bringing the probable total to about 1,000,000.

42 H. O. Chapman, The Chinese Revolution, 1926-27, London, 1928, pp. 14-15.

43 Chen Ta, Analysis of Strikes, p. 28.

44 Deng Cheng-tsah, A General Surv of the Ho Kong Strike, Canton, August, 1926. Deng was one of the organizers and leaders of the general strike. He was shot, by order of Chiang Kai-shek, in the summer of 1933. Lo Teng-hsien, one of his chief lieutenants, was shot, by order of Chiang Kai-shek, in August, 1933.

45 China Year Book, 1926, pp. 969-70.

46 Chang, Farmers’ Movement in Kwangtung, p. 38.

47 China Year Book, 1926, p. 960.

48 Deng Cheng-tsah, Survey of the Hong Kong Strike.

49 China Year Book, 1926, p. 977.

50 Chen Ta, Analysis of Strikes, p. 35.

51 Quoted by Lowe Chun-hwa, Facing Labour Issues, p. 44; see also Administrative Reports of the Hong Kong Government, 1925.

52 China Year Book, 1926, pp. 974-5.

53 “The Hong Kong Government openly sent 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition to Swatow and the merchants of Hong Kong sent more than $1,000,000 to Chen Chiung-ming.”—Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. IV, Section 3.