Harold R. Isaacs

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution


V. Canton: The Coup of March 20, 1926

Chiang Kai-shek guarded the interests of his class like the three-headed Cerberus who stood at the gates of Hades. One head faced right and looked like Tai Chi-tao, who had become the leading ideologist of the conservative wing of the Kuomintang in Canton. Tai was the link between the openly functioning Right wing in Shanghai and the north and the covert Right wing in Canton. The scope of his activities and influence in the Kuomintang capital amply refuted the crude classification into Right and Left on the sole basis of approval or disapproval of the 1924 reorganization, which proved to be a comforting over-simplification cherished by Borodin and his fellow-functionaries like an iced drink on a blistering Canton afternoon. Yet ice melts under the sun, just as political fictions dissolve in the glare of the class struggle. What appeared to be a profound cleavage between two violently differing political tendencies proved in fact to be only a division of labour between two sections of a fundamentally homogeneous group. The Rights in the north were the bridge across which the Canton “Lefts” would march to compromise with the Powers. In Canton, as early as July, 1925, when the National Government was formed, Tai Chi-tao had already begun clearing the approaches.

With the tacit protection of Chiang Kai-shek, he began issuing anti-Communist and anti-Marxist pamphlets. He proclaimed the inalienable right of the “conscious” sections of the population to guide and govern the “unconscious.” Communism, he declared, had nothing in common with the precepts of Sun Yat-sen and he urged the preservation of the Leader’s doctrines from the menace of Communist adulteration. Tai boldly organized on behalf of the Sun Yat-senist Society, which sought carefully to distinguish itself from the Western Hills group in the north. The Sun Yat-senists “declared that they differed from the Western Hills people on three points. (1) The Western Hills group were against the reorganization of 1924, while they supported it. (2)The former consisted only of corrupt and reactionary bureaucrats and anarchists, while they were active revolutionaries. (3)The object . . . (of the Western Hills group) . . . was the overthrow of Wang and Chiang while they accepted them as their leaders. But while belonging to the Left, they were as actively and energetically opposed to the Communists as were the Western Hills people. They also desired to break with the Communist Party.”[1]

The second head of Cerberus faced left. It looked more like Chiang Kai-shek, but it dripped phrases of fealty to the revolution. “I too am willing to lie beside the graves of those who have already fallen martyrs to the National Revolution, the Three People’s Principles, and Communism. The revolution cannot do without Dr. Sun’s Three People’s Principles. Neither can the international revolution neglect Communism. We cannot deny that the Chinese Revolution is part of the World Revolution. The realization of the Three People’s Principles means the realization of Communism. Knowing that we cannot separate the Chinese Revolution from the World Revolution, why should there be any quarrel amongst us about the Three People’s Principles and Communism?”[2]

Cerberus’s third head held the centre and looked forward, the jealous guardian of sprouting ambition. To his left Chiang heard his own voice establishing an identity between Communism and Sun Yat-senism. To the right he heard Tai Chi-tao’s voice proclaiming the ineradicable contradiction between them. From the left he drew sustenance, prestige before the masses, Russian arms, money, and counsel; but it was from the right that he drew the material to fashion the togs in his own machine. In making appointments to keyposts, his selections were rigidly confined to non-Communists. In building up this strictly “pure” Kuomintang political structure, Chiang had the full co-operation of the pallid, handsome weakling, Wang Ching-wei, chief of the petty bourgeois radicals, fated forever to be putty in the hands of his stronger big bourgeois allies.

In the Kuomintang party organization several prominent Communists functioned as members of the Central Executive Committee, but none were permitted to hold places in the Party secretariat. The Military Council employed a number of Russian technical advisers and the Political Department of the army was in most places dominated by individual Communists, but from the General Staff and the Financial Bureau of the army, Communists were rigidly excluded. In the National Government itself there were no Communists, only Borodin in an advisory capacity, but in the mass organizations and in the lower layers of the Government and Party machinery Communists and their sympathizers bore the brunt of the daily tasks. From them the Left wing of the Kuomintang drew the strength which enabled it to reign supreme over the second National Congress of the Kuomintang which met in January, 1926.

At this congress the clash of class interests and of personalities was concealed, although thinly, under the shadow of the mass movement. The number of organized workers throughout the country had reached 800,000. Peasant associations in Kwangtung had expanded to a membership of more than 600,000. Hong Kong was paralysed by the strike, and in Canton the pickets patrolled the streets and wharves of the city. With the lessons of the unification of Kwangtung fresh in their minds, the representatives of the bourgeoisie understood that they were going to need this mass weapon in the battles to come. They passed with acclaim resolutions which reiterated the half-hearted promises and glowing phrases of the Kuomintang’s “worker-peasant policy.” They frowned on Cerberus No. I by mildly reprimanding Tai Chi-tao for his anti-Communist propaganda. They smiled on Cerberus No. 2 by electing him, for the first time, to the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang. He was present to accept and dutifully to hail “the alliance with the Soviet Union, with the World Revolution.” .[3] But Cerberus No. 3 left the congress severely alone, for here the supreme figure was Wang Chingwei, head of the Party and Government, Chairman of the Military Council, holder of all the Kuomintang posts to which Chiang aspired.

For Chiang Kai-shek had early come to regard himself as chief among the disciples of Sun Yat-sen. The assassination of Liao Chung-kai and the removal of Hu Han-min left only Wang to rival his claims. Chiang was still merely head of the Whampoa Academy and Commander of the First Army, while Wang, as head of the Party and Government, not only exercised the leading civil power, but as Chairman of the Military Council represented civilian control over the military machine. Under these conditions other military commanders who had linked themselves to Canton’s fortunes enjoyed an intolerable equality of treatment in the distribution of political and material advantages, especially in arms. In February when the Soviet military delegation banqueted the Kuomintang leaders, a Russian officer made a toast in which he placed Wang’s name before Chiang’s. A fellow-guest says he saw Chiang go white and tight-lipped. Chiang “did not utter a word for the rest of the evening.”[4] Chiang was fiercely jealous of Wang’s manifold prerogatives and the bourgeoisie, for its part, knew how to play on the keyboard of Chiang’s vanity. The old guard of the Right-wing Kuomintang had early realized that through Chiang Kai-shek they would succeed in regaining mastery over the Party. At the Western Hills Conference, which Tai Chi-tao helped organize, they had adopted the slogan: “Ally with Chiang to overthrow Wang,” an idea which Chiang at the time publicly repudiated but secretly nursed. When the rump congress of the Right wing met in Shanghai in January, 1926, and insistently repeated its overtures, Chiang proved more receptive. Although the “Left” had seemingly triumphed and from Moscow the Comintern had greeted” the transformation of the Kuomintang into a resolute fighting force, into a real party of the Chinese revolution,”[5] the influence of the Right wing was plainly discernible in Canton.

“The Right or anti-Red wing of the Kuomintang, with headquarters at Peking and Shanghai . . . has no small backing on the part of the less radical Kuomintangites in the southern capital. This has been felt by General Chiang and other comrades,” wrote a perspicacious Chinese correspondent from Canton.[6] This influence was no longer indirectly communicated. Chang Ching-chiang, the young general’s benefactor, had personally come down to look after his investment. He had joined Chiang Kai-shek’s entourage and had become his chief political aide and counsellor.

What the bourgeoisie now needed and what Chang Chingchiang advised his protégé to secure was the guarantee of its hegemony over the growing mass movement. It was necessary to ensure that the mass movement would not exceed the limits of bourgeois interests. For this, concretely, it was necessary to whip the Communists into line, to regularize and define their position as auxiliaries to the bourgeois Kuomintang. It was time, in short, to cut the political wages of the Communists in order to increase the political profits of the bourgeoisie, and to place at the latter’s disposal the immense capital reserves of the mass movement. It was a question of stabilizing the leadership at the top. For this a sharp blow, damaging but not fatal, had to be dealt the Communists and their petty bourgeois radical allies. If Canton’s coterie of politicians and generals was rift and rent by criss-crossing intrigues, it was only because many strove to strike this blow first. Thanks to Borodin, Chiang was in the favoured position and it was he who decided to act.

The influence of the imperialists acted on the Right wing and, through Chang Ching-chiang and the Sun Yat-senist Society, it reacted on Chiang Kai-shek. Their desires fused with his ambition, his cunning, his envy of political and military rivals, his unmistakable lust for power. To level the Communists was to win bourgeois hegemony over the masses. To subdue his rivals was to secure for himself the leading place in the exercise of that hegemony. All the vari-coloured threads in this pattern were drawn swiftly into a knot. It fell to Chiang Kai-shek to sever it and to create in so doing a new pattern. His evolution into what Marx called “a man who did not decide at night and act during the day, but decided during the day and acted at night,” was thorough and sure.

Several hours before dawn on the morning of March 20, 1926, Chiang’s troops moved. The pretext was the allegedly threatening attitude of the gunboat “Chungshan” which had anchored off Whampoa during the night. The night’s incidents brought together the lines of many complicated intrigues far too devious to be traced here, for the clashing wills of many dubious would-be Kuomintang heroes were involved.[Li Chih-lung, the Communist head of the Naval Bureau who all unwittingly became the chief nominal object of the night’s operations, has recorded a good part of the story in a pamphlet, The Resignation of Chairman Wang Ching-wei, not published until a year later at Wuhan.’] These were brushed aside, however, as Chiang proceeded systematically with his plan. All Kuomintang delegates to the military units under his command, some fifty men, most of them Communists, were arrested. The headquarters of the Canton-Hong Kong strike committee were disarmed. All Soviet advisers in the city were placed under house arrest. Teng Yen-ta, a Communist sympathizer who had succeeded Liao Chung-kai as political director of Whampoa Military Academy, was detained. Chiang had caught all his victims quite literally napping. Li Chih-lung, the Communist head of the Naval Bureau, was one of those dragged from their beds and carted off to the military prison. Grey morning saw Chiang Kai-shek master of Canton. It also found the other Kuomintang leaders in a state of utmost confusion. All “were utterly unprepared and did not even dream the coup was coming,” records a Communist historian.[7] Everyone crumpled in fright.

Members of the Kuomintang Central Committee hurriedly gathered. “Since Chiang Kai-shek has always struggled for the revolution, it is hoped that he will realize his mistake in this event,” they ventured in a resolution, but “in view of the present situation,” they decided, “the comrades of the Left should temporarily retreat.” [8] For Wang Ching-wei this meant a literal removal from the scene. He fell conveniently ill.

His biographer relates that he “considered that the best way to solve the situation was for him to retreat and to allow Chiang to take charge of affairs for the time being.”[9] After an ignominious scene at the Mint, during which he handed over the seals of his authority to Chiang, he withdrew, first to a village outside of Canton and a few days later to European exile. Before leaving he wrote Chiang imploring him to keep to the “revolutionary” path. “If he would only do so, Wang did not mind sacrificing himself.” [10]

The Kuomintang “Lefts” weakly capitulated because Chiang’s sudden descent upon them brought no corresponding pressure from the real Left, from the organized masses who were confused and completely uninformed as to what was taking place at the top.[11] One foreign observer who arrived at Canton a few days later was delighted to discover that the Communists were in hiding and that the Russian advisers were packing to leave.[12] It was not Chiang’s intention as yet, however, to strike directly at the mass movement. He sought only to bring that movement under the assured control of the bourgeoisie and to concentrate that control in his own hands. Having successfully put the leaders of the “Left” to flight, he came forward with explanations to the workers. The events of March 20 and, in particular, the raid on the strike headquarters were due to a “misunderstanding,” he told them, and promised to reprimand the officers responsible. The Communists themselves were so completely confused that they did not know whether to believe him or not.[13]

Meanwhile Right-wing politicians, until now on the outside looking in, poured into Canton from their Hong Kong and Shanghai refuges. A plenary session of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee was called for May 15 and, as the date for that meeting approached, a deliberately manufactured pogrom atmosphere enveloped the city. Walls were covered with posters warning against mysterious “provovations” and rumours of an impending Communist coup against the Government were set in circulation. A run was staged on the Central Bank. On the eve of the conference martial law was suddenly clamped down on the city. No one outside of Chiang’s immediate entourage had the faintest notion of what to expect.[14]

At the opening session Chiang introduced and hammered through a special resolution “for the readjustment of Party affairs.” It was framed to limit and define within the closest possible bounds the organizational activity of the Communist members of the Kuomintang. Communists were required “not to entertain any doubt on or criticize Dr. Sun or his principles.” The Communist Party was required to hand over to the Standing Committee of the Kuomintang Executive a list of its membership inside the Kuomintang. Communist members of municipal, provincial, and central party committees were limited to one-third of the committee membership. Communists were banned from serving as heads of any Party or Government department. Kuomintang members, on the other hand, were enjoined “not to engage in any other political organization or activity.” That is, Communists could join the Kuomintang, but members of the Kuomintang could not join the Communist Party without forfeiting their Kuomintang cards. All instructions henceforth issued by the Communist Central Committee to its own members were to be submitted first to a special joint committee of the two parties for approval.[15]

Thoroughly lacing the Communists into this political strait jacket, Chiang simultaneously proceeded to centralize all power in his own hands. The coup of March 20 had destroyed the authority of the civilian Military Council and the removal of Wang Ching-wei had left Chiang in undisputed control of all Party and Government affairs. The May 15 plenary session regularized these changes. Chiang was formally put at the head of the Party and he promptly deputized Chang Chisg-chiang to act for him as chairman of the Central Executive Committee. Plans for launching a northern military expedition were also approved and Chiang Kai-shek was appointed Commander-in-Chief of all the expeditionary armies. Subsequently a set of special decrees conferred emergency powers upon Chiang for the duration of the campaign. All Government and Party offices were subordinated to the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief. The Military Council, originally conceived as a civilian check on militarist ambitions, passed entirely into Chiang’s hands. He became arbiter of the Government’s finances. He controlled the political department, the arsenals, the general staff, the military and naval schools. The Canton Government was transformed into a military dictatorship. Chiang’s victory was complete.

This seizure of power by Chiang Kai-shek in Canton bloodlessly established bourgeois hegemony over the national liberation movement. It established in China precisely that bourgeois control over the mass movement against which Lenin had warned the Communist parties in the backward countries to struggle with all their might. Those men in the Kremlin who had assumed responsibility for the Chinese revolutionary movement had embalmed the living Lenin with the dead. They mumbled fragments from his writings on State occasions and at congresses and meetings, like the Kuomintang politicians who murmured platitudes from Sun Yat-sen at their weekly memorial meetings in honour of the dead Leader. Yet Lenin was not merely bringing tablets down from Sinai when he wrote that Communists had to support national revolutionary movements for the “exclusive purpose” of uniting the elements of Communist parties and educating them “to the tasks of the struggle against the bourgeois democratic tendencies within their respective nationalities,” nor when he urged the preservation of the independent character of the proletarian movement, “even though it be still in its embryonic form.”[16] The whole experience of Bolshevism was summed up in the reminder that the Communist International and its parties in the backward countries would have to struggle against attempts to establish bourgeois control of mass movements seeking “liberation from all sorts of exploitation”; that “it did not follow at all” from the backward character of colonial and semi-colonial economy “that the leadership of the revolution will have to be surrendered to the bourgeois democrats.”[17]

Events in China were again testing and again confirming this analysis. But the Kremlin’s axis was no longer a proletarian policy. In China it believed that bourgeois leadership of the Nationalist movement would more quickly produce badly-needed allies. The moral and material support of the Soviet State and the Communist International was not extended through the Communist Party to the mass movement but through the bourgeois Kuomintang, rationalized into an all-class Party to which the Communists and the masses had necessarily to be subordinated. This had led directly to the coup d’état of March 20. If, unlike Lenin, the leaders of the Comintern could not foresee the event, they were at least now confronted with the accomplished fact. It was late, but not too late. The empiricists in the Kremlin could still take up the struggle against bourgeois control—or else completely “surrender the leadership of the revolution to the bourgeois democrats “—and in this case to bourgeois who were not democrats but the creators of a military dictatorship.

The Comintern leaders, Stalin and Bukharin, adopted the latter course and tried to hide it by concealing from the ranks of the International that the Canton coup had taken place.

They suppressed all news of its occurrence. The facts were kept not only from the Russian workers and the other sections of the Comintern, but from its Executive Committee and even from the other members of the Executive Committee’s presidium. For this there is the testimony of members of both those bodies.[18] When news of the coup appeared in the imperialist press in China and abroad—with specific facts often garbled, but containing the essentially true assertion that power in Canton had passed into the hands of Chiang Kai-shek—the centrally-geared machinery of the Comintern press started turning out vehement denials.

“Reuter’s Telegraphic Agency . . . recently issued the statement that in Canton, Chiang Kai-shek, the supreme commander of the revolutionary troops (whom Reuter had hitherto described as a red), had carried out a coup d’etat. But this lying report (emphasis in original) had soon to be denied. . . . The Kuomintang is not a tiny group with a few members, but is a mass party in the true sense of the word and the revolutionary Canton troops and the revolutionary Canton Government are founded on this basis. It is, of course, impossible there to carry out a coup d’état overnight,” wrote the central organ of the Comintern on April 8, 1926 .

Far from being converted into an instrument of bourgeois policy, the Canton Government was more than ever “aiming at the world revolution” and extending its power into the neighbouring provinces as a “Soviet Government.”

“The perspectives for the People’s Government in Canton were never so favourable as they are now . . .” the same Comintern report continued. “The province of Kwangsi will shortly form a Soviet Government . . . the power of the generals, as a result of the national revolutionary movement, is beginning to disappear. (Emphasis in original.) The Kuomin Government is now proceeding to organize all district and town administrations within the province of Kwantung according to the Soviet system.”[20]

“The reactionary British Press at Hong Kong and in London have spread sensational stories of disruption within the Nationalist Government in an effort to further their imperialist propaganda,” said a Moscow dispatch to the New York Daily Worker, on April 21, 1926. “These reports have no real basis. They are nothing but provocative manoeuvres of British imperialism. There has been no insurrection in Canton. The basis of the reports seems to be certain differences (!) between a general of the Canton Army, Chiang Kai-shek, and the Canton Government. These differences were not concerned with matters of principle and had no connection with an armed struggle for power. The differences have since been abolished and Canton remained the stronghold of the movement for the emancipation of the Chinese people. The attempt of British imperialism to utilize the unimportant differences in Canton in its own interests has failed. . . . The Moscow Press regards this provocative manoeuvre of the British reactionary Press as an exposure of the real plans of British imperialism with regard to Canton. Izvestia writes: ‘The wish was the father of the thought and the British imperialists presented their real intentions as a fait accompli.’ ”[21]

Should these denials be laid, by some chance, to mere ignorance, the same could not be said of the report of the Comintern’s own representative in China: “The British imperialists . . . were vainly attempting to provoke an insurrection in Canton and at the same time trumpeting forth to the whole world that the Canton Government had already fallen, that the Right wing of the Kuomintang had seized power and formed a Government which had agreed to a compromise with the British and was arresting partisans of the Left Kuomintang as well as the Communists. All this proved to be an invention of the imperialists,” wrote Voitinsky. “. . . The Canton Government, which was ‘overthrown‘ by the imperialist Press, is now actually stronger than ever. . . .”[22]

At the end of 1926 this ostrich policy was carried over into the deliberations of the highest body of the Comintern, which adopted a resolution on the Chinese question which, as will be shown, made no mention whatever of the March events in Canton or their sequel. By this silence the Comintern tops hoped to conceal the significance of the March coup and to facilitate the acquiescence of the Chinese Communists, directed thereto by the Comintern’s representatives in China.

Borodin, who had been on a trip to the north, returned to Canton after the coup, but before the Kuomintang plenary session of May 15. One sharp foreign observer, who was already at that time in connection with some of Chiang Kaishek’s closest advisers (and who later entered the service of Chiang’s Government), arrived in Canton a few days later. According to his account: “The Russians seemed to believe the game was up. Most of the Chinese Communists were in hiding. . . . The anti-Communists were jubilant. . . . Borodin had it out with Chiang. Chiang wanted to know how far Russia would support him in a military expedition against the north. Borodin had heretofore opposed the Northern Expedition. Chiang’s attitude toward the continuance of the Russian alliance depended upon Borodin’s attitude toward the Northern Expedition. They came to an agreement. The Russians would support the Northern Expedition. The Russian alliance was continued. The Communists were reinstated.”[23]

Subsequently, according to other accounts, “Chiang’s relations with Borodin became more cordial than ever,”[24] and all the decisions of the May 15 Kuomintang session “were fully endorsed by M. Borodin.”[25] It is further recorded that all the emergency powers delegated to Chiang after his appointment as Commander-in-Chief were so delegated “at the advice of Borodin.”[26] It is in any case a fact that Borodin and, after him the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, submitted without question to the military dictatorship established as a result of the March 20 coup. Borodin even saw to it that the Russian military advisers who had incurred Chiang’s displeasure because they wanted to distribute their advice and material aid equally among all the armies instead of exclusively through Chiang were dismissed and replaced by more amenable colleagues. Having secured all this with far less difficulty than he himself must have imagined possible, Chiang turned without compunction on some of the Right-wing conspirators who had helped him execute his coup and expelled them from Canton. He needed more than ever now to garb his leadership in a cloak of Leftism. His associates of the Right wing returned to Shanghai. He could and would call upon them when he needed them again.

Historians who draw political inspiration as well as their information from the Moscow bureaucracy have usually dismissed the March 20 coup in a few paragraphs, entirely concealing or distorting its significance. Moscow cynically ignored the significance of the coup when it took place and naturally would like to have history written without notice being given to that fact. Louis Fischer, for example, describes the sequel to March 20 as follows: “But Chiang, whose distinguishing characteristic was not courage, apparently had been frightened by his own action and sent . . . a humble letter begging Borodin to return south without delay. . . .”When Borodin got back, Chiang “overflowed with apologies. . . . What, he asked of Borodin, must he do? ‘Prepare for the Northern Expedition,’ Borodin replied.” Then it was “because Borodin wished to repair some of the damage (!) done by the coup of March 20” that “Chiang engineered a second coup . . . this time against the Right. . . .”

“But why did not Borodin, the Left Kuomintang, and the Chinese Communist Party eliminate Chiang Kai-shek?” he continues. “Because they were too weak . . .” he replies, after Borodin. “They had wide mass sympathy, but in Canton they wielded insufficient forces to overcome Chiang and the bourgeoisie which supported him. . . . Both sides knew that the struggle bet¬ween them was inevitable. But rather than engage now in blood-letting from which only the Cantonese militarists could pain, they tacitly agreed to postpone the issue until they reached the Yangtze. The resolution to commence the Northern Expedition was adopted by the Kuo¬mintang Central Committee on May 15. At that meeting the expressed sentiments of each fac¬tion amounted to this: ‘Gentlemen, we know we must fight one another. But we need a wider area. Let us delay the day of reckoning and meanwhile go forward to a common goal.’ ”[27]

Fischer conveniently neglects to mention the other resolutions adopted on May 15 which hog-tied the Communist Party. The blood-letting was indeed postponed until they reached the Yangtze, but the March coup, the May decisions, and the Communist capitulation to them had guaranteed in advance that the blood shed would be that of the workers. The “common goal” was the victory of the bourgeoisie over the mass movement. Borodin is represented here as desiring to give future battle to Chiang Kai-shek—and preparing for it by handing over to him well in advance all the weapons. If Chiang Kai-shek possessed any quality at all, it was the ability to strike and strike hard in the interests of his class, the bourgeoisie. Not the same could be said of Stalin-Bukharin-Borodin & Co. with regard to the interests of the workers. Acting under their orders, the Chinese Communists were compelled to capitulate, and even to grovel, before the new master of the Nationalist movement.[Another particularly crude example of historical distortion with regard to the March 20 coup will be found in the writings of the ex-Czarist general, V. A. Yakhontoff, who found his way without difficulty into Stalin’s camp a few years ago. According to Yakhontoff, “in less than two months (after the coup) the ‘Rights‘ and the ‘Centrists‘ were forced to compromise and agree to many concessions to the ‘Lefts‘ in order to gain the support of the masses. . . . In May, therefore, the factions were reconciled and Chiang Kai-shek became leader of the Kuomintang and commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary armies.”—V. A. Yakhontoff, Russia and the Soviet Union in the Far East, New York, 1932, p. 151. Chiang “conceded” and “compromised” by making himself master of Canton!]

Chiang Kai-shek had carried out the March coup and put through the May decisions on the pretext that the Communists were plotting a coup d’état of their own. There were, to be sure, rival conspiracies in Canton directed against Chiang Kai-shek, but none, unfortunately, was even contemplated by the Chinese Communist Party. Nothing was farther from its mind than the organization of a working-class insurrection in March, 1926. Chiang and his Right-wing helpers manufactured the rumours of Communist “plots” out of the material which the logic of the situation itself presented to them. It was they—and not the Communists—who saw that the working class, with its growing organizations, its armed picket forces, its militancy, and its might, was capable at that time of seizing and holding the hegemony of the revolutionary movement. It was they, therefore, and not the Communists, who realized that the time had come to act. When they acted forthwith, no one was more shocked, more pained, more aggrieved than the Chinese Communist leaders that they should be charged with planning a working-class offensive.

“First of all,” wrote Chen Tu-hsiu, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, “unless the Communist Party is a party of madmen, certainly it does not want to establish a workers’ and peasants’ Government in Canton. Secondly, Chiang Kai-shek is one of the pillars of the national revolutionary movement. Unless the Communist Party were the tool of the imperialists, it would surely not adopt such a policy of disrupting the unity of the Chinese revolutionary forces! . . . The policy of the Communist Party, contrary to the declarations of the Rights, is not only that the revolutionary forces in Kwangtung should not be split, but that the revolutionary forces of the whole country shall be united. Otherwise one cannot fight the enemy.”[28]

In an open letter addressed to Chiang Kai-shek on June 4, Chen Tu-hsiu protested further: “At this time to conspire for the overthrow of Chiang Kai-shek in Canton—what a help to the reactionary forces this would be! If the Chinese Communist Party is such a counter-revolutionary party, it should be got rid of. . . . If among the comrades of the Communist Party there are any who harbour ideas of such a counter-revolutionary conspiracy, you should shoot them without the least ceremony. But I know, I am convinced, that in our Party nobody has any such idea in mind.”[29]

As evidence that such ideas did exist in the minds of Communists, Chiang Kai-shek, in a speech at Canton shortly after March 20, recalled the remark of a certain Communist, who had said: “In our organization there is a Tuan Chi-jui,[Tuan Chi-jui was head of the notoriously corrupt Government at Peking.] and in order to overthrow the northern Tuan Chi-jui we must first overthrow the Tuan Chi-jui in our midst.” The Communist who had made the offending speech hastened into print with an open letter to Chiang explaining that he had meant “Tuan Chi-jui ideology,” that is, old feudal ideas, and that since he spoke Anhwei dialect and not Cantonese, there had been a mistake made by the interpreter. “I never slandered you in my words, and it is everywhere open and clear that what I said was to love and protect you for the sake of the National revolution. . . . I remember that after March 20 I met you .. . and earnestly expressed to you my attitude of everlasting confidence in you. If you truly regarded me as a comrade, you should have taught me; or if you saw anything wrong in me, you should have severely blamed me or chastised me and made me correct my error. But you only mildly and indifferently replied, ‘Never mind, never mind, nothing, nothing. . .’ So now why do you charge me with slander and ulterior motives?”[30] The man who wrote this letter, Kao Yu-han, was not an obscure individual but a leading comrade of the Communist Party, who also held office on the Supervisory Committee of the Kuomintang.

While the March 20 coup was met with aggrieved denials and reproaches, the resolutions of the May 15 plenary session were unquestioningly accepted, the Communists seeking every devious means of rationalizing and justifying them. “When the imperialists saw it (the resolution on the readjustment of Party affairs) they may have suspected that your Party had fallen into their trap and had voluntarily broken the revolutionary front in order to turn to the Right . . .” said an official letter from the Central Committee of the Communist Party to the Kuomintang, “but it may be that your Party did this because the form of co-operation between our Party and yours has for several years aroused suspicion and jealousy in certain quarters. . . . Therefore you tried to make several changes in the form of co-operation in order to do away with unnecessary suspicion and jealousy, and later to purify the ranks, deal blows against the reactionaries, consolidate the revolutionary front and proceed to fight against the imperialist and militarist rule and oppression with all your might. If this is the case, then there is no fundamental conflict in the policy of co-operation with our Party. The principal thing is to consolidate the revolutionary forces against imperialism, no matter what the form of consolidation and co-operation is. If such is the case, the spirit of alliance between our two Parties will not be dampened. . . . Your resolution . . . is a question for your own Party, and no matter what you decide in connection therewith, (we) have not the right to accept or reject.”[31]

On May 26, the Canton correspondent of the Communist Guide Weekly[32]wrote that in view of the fact that the May 15 plenary session had adopted a “declaration for the consolidation of all revolutionary elements against the reaction, no fundamental change in the policy of co-operation had taken place,” and that “a mere resolution on Party affairs is not sufficient to indicate a Rightward development of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee. The Communists clearly recognize that the present situation of the revolution demands a strong and consistent revolutionary front. Their attitude toward the new resolution of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee is guided by this criterion. The Communist fraction in the Kuomintang plenary session did not dispute in the least . . . the internal organization of the Kuomintang.”[The author of this report, Tsao Sze-yuan, was destined to suffer the consequences of not having disputed “in the least” the bourgeois offensive. A year later he died a martyr’s death at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek’s executioner.]

This cringing policy did not go unchallenged in the ranks of the Communist Party. In Shanghai a group of comrades raised the demand for the immediate withdrawal of the Party from the Kuomintang, declaring that it was impossible for the Communists to work effectively under the conditions laid down by the May 15 Kuomintang plenary session. Both the Central Committee in Shanghai and the Kwangtung Party organization vigorously opposed this instinctively correct proletarian demand. The Kwangtung committee (later represented as more “radical” than the Shanghai Central Committee) considered that “to withdraw from the Kuomintang would mean to abandon the toiling masses, to abandon the banner of the revolutionary Kuomintang to the bourgeoisie. This would be an irretrievable loss. At this time a policy of temporary retreat must be pursued in order to remain in the Kuomintang.” [33]

Nevertheless, even the leadership of the Party which carried out, under Comintern orders, the policy of capitulation after March 20 began to feel the need for a revision of the Party’s course. The voices that called for resumption of independence made themselves heard to such an extent that even Chen Tu-hsiu wrote to the Comintern proposing substitution of a two-Party bloc outside the Kuomintang instead of work within the Kuomintang.[34] A decision to this effect was actually adopted by the Communist Central Committee at its plenary session in June, 1926. It was immediately and drastically condemned by the Comintern, in which the Russian Opposition led by Trotsky had already begun likewise to pose the problems of the Chinese revolution in a way that sought to orient the Chinese Communists away from the stifling stranglehold of the Kuomintang. The same official article which nearly one year later revealed for the first time that the March 20 coup had placed the Chinese Nationalist movement under the control of the Right wing of the Kuomintang also disclosed, likewise for the first time, that the Communists in China had demanded their freedom, and that this demand had been ordered “revised.” Even the Chinese Communist proposal to organize Left-wing fractions within the Kuomintang—a shocking revelation that the so-called Left did not even have a fractional organization of its own—was likewise condemned in favour of a policy of “directing the entire Kuomintang to the Left and in guaranteeing it a stable Left policy.”[35]

In China Borodin firmly clamped down on the tendencies within the Chinese Communist Party toward the pursuit of an independent political policy. “The present period is one in which the Communists should do coolie service for the Kuomintang!” he declared.[36] Proposals to withdraw from the Kuomintang were squelched because they meant “abandoning the banner of the revolutionary Kuomintang to the bourgeoisie.” The bourgeoisie had not waited, however, for the Communists. After March 20, the Kuomintang banner was firmly in their hands, and the masses were never apprised of that fact but were left to learn it suddenly and catastrophically. Instead of carrying the fight to the bourgeoisie on the battlefield of the class struggle at the head of the great labour and peasant organizations—in whose leadership Communists predominated and upon whose strength the Canton regime still rested—the Chinese Communists were compelled to offer only servile apologies. The coup of March 20, 1926, presents the remarkable spectacle of a mighty mass movement under Communist leadership painlessly deflected from the course of its own independent development, brought under the leadership and control of its class enemy, and kept in ignorance of this fact by its own leaders, who protested that they never dreamed of leading the masses except under the direction of the bourgeoisie.

Thanks only to this, the representatives of the bourgeoisie could still appear before the masses as “revolutionary leaders” between whom and the Communists there was little discernible difference. In May, 1926, Chiang Kai-shek came before the Third National Labour Conference, where 500 delegates represented 400 unions and 1,240,000 organized workers, of whom 800,000 had participated in more than two hundred political and economic strikes since the previous May.[37] With mock modesty Chiang referred to himself as shun ti—”your younger brother.” With cool cynicism he paid tribute to the decisive role played by the workers and peasants in the East River and southern campaigns during 1925. “In this period,” he said, “the workers-peasant masses . . . hastened the unification of Kwangtung, swept away all the counter-revolutionaries, and consolidated the basis of the National Government. From this one can see that the workers and peasants are already able to fight imperialism with their own forces, without reliance upon the forces of the army!”[38]

Chiang Kai-shek dared to tell the Chinese workers what the Communists dared not—that they were in a position to depend upon their own forces to fight and win their own battles. He could end his speech with “Long Live the World Revolution!” and step down from the rostrum amid cheers in which Communist voices mingled with all the others. He could now go ahead with preparations for the Northern expedition, secure in the knowledge that the mass movement was still available for his use. The preliminary battle for control had been fought without a single bourgeois casualty. Indeed, it was not a battle but a successfully performed manoeuvre. Thanks to the Communist policy of retreat and acquiescence, it had taken place away from the arena of mass struggles. The organized workers and peasants, who at the call of the Communists would have hurled their weight into the scales where they belonged— against the bourgeoisie—were now called upon to march into the battles of the Northern expedition under conditions which guaranteed to the bourgeoisie the fruits of their victories. The armies of the expedition marched northward in July, and were soon sweeping from victory to victory on the crest of a new revolutionary wave that surged torrent-like across Kiangsi, Hunan, and Hupeh, drawing fresh millions into the struggle and before long engulfing Wuhan and Shanghai.

Meanwhile in Canton the consequences of the March 20 coup made themselves felt. From covert manoeuvres the bourgeoisie passed over to overt repression. The “temporary retreat” of the Communists in Canton became a permanent rout. On July 29, Chiang Kai-shek’s headquarters proclaimed martial law. Public organizations, assemblies, the Press, workers’ and peasants’ volunteer corps, strikes, all came within the orbit of military authority. Three days later an order was issued “forbidding all labour disturbances for the duration of the Northern expedition.” While the authorities nominally held themselves aloof, the gangsters of Canton were mobilized into a “Central Labour Union.” The offensive against the revolutionary workers was carried into the streets.

Startled sharply out of the specious calm in which their leaders had lulled them, the workers grabbed up arms, clubs, bamboo sticks, knives, an occasional revolver and rifle, and defended themselves. In six days’ street fighting more than fifty workers were killed. On August 9, the authorities stepped in with regulations for the compulsory arbitration of all labour disputes under Government auspices. Workers were forbidden to hear arms of any description, to assemble, or to parade. “Any attempt during the period of the war against the North to make trouble at home will be considered an act of counterrevolution and treason against the Kuomintang,” read a police order. Military patrols took possession of the streets. Members of the “Central Labour Union” were called in to break a printing strike which had paralysed the city’s Press. The Workers’ Delegates’ Conference, a revolutionary organization representing 170,000 Canton workers and shop employees, threatened a general strike. But their threat was months too late. It never materialized. The few small gains which the workers of Canton had wrested from their employers after years of struggle, were wiped out. The vicious contract system, which had made the workers the helpless slaves of the bosses, and which had been partially abolished in Canton, was restored. Public abuses, like licensed gambling and opium dens, which had been obliterated by the Government under the influence of the mass movement, resumed a flourishing existence with the rates of official “squeeze” boosted far above those of the pre-Nationalist days.[39]

In the Kwangtung country-side the March 20 coup was the signal for the launching of a vicious offensive of the landlords against the revolting peasants. A report of the Kwangtung Provincial Peasant Association, made in February, 1927, listed scores of attacks, murders of peasant leaders, smashing of peasant associations, which began in Kwangtung in June, 1926, and never ended until the revolutionary peasant movement was blotted out of the province. Even in the language of this report, the Communist leaders of the peasant movement continued to cloak the real authors of this counter-offensive. The March 20 affair “really had no influence upon the policy of our Kuomintang,” it read, “but avaricious officials, corrupt gentry, and rowdies took advantage of it to spread rumours such as ‘the peasant associations are to be dissolved,’ and ‘the Kuomintang is discontinuing the worker and peasant policy‘ . . . The resolution passed on May 15 by the Central Executive Committee plenary session was merely to deal adequately with the problems of the Kuomintang’s internal affairs, but it was taken by the unprincipled landlords, the corrupt gentry, and the avaricious officials to indicate that the Government was about to dissolve the peasant associations and that the Kuomintang had abandoned the worker and peasant policy.”[40] The landlords and their minions correctly took their cue from Chiang Kai-shek’s coup. The peasants never understood that the attacks upon them were thoroughly “lawful,” that the March 20 coup had, indeed, put the peasant revolt beyond the pale of Kuomintang “legality” upon which the peasant leaders so helplessly depended. The same transformation brought to a fruitless close the strike of the Canton-Hong Kong workers.

Negotiations for a settlement of the great strike were resumed shortly after the March coup. They had been suspended in January when the British categorically rejected the demands of the Hong Kong strikers and the Canton Government still insisted that it could negotiate only as an intermediary between the Hong Kong authorities and the strikers. In June, 1925, at the outset of the strike, the newly-established National Government had demanded the retrocession of the Shameen concessions and the withdrawal of all foreign naval vessels from Kwangtung waters. The workers of Hong Kong had demanded freedom of speech and press, the right to vote in the selection of Chinese representatives in the Government of the Crown Colony, improvement in working conditions, prohibition of child labour, the enforcement of an eight-hour day, and withdrawal of the general house rent increases scheduled to go into effect on July 1 that year.

The British had refused all negotiations and sat on their Hong Kong rock fulminating while the strike and boycott continued. “Only the unlawful activities of the Canton Strike Committee, instigated by Bolshevik intrigue, prevent the resumption of normal relations between Canton and Hong Kong on the old, familiar footing,” declared the Governor of Hong Kong on February 4, 1926. “We expect and require the Canton Government to put an end to these illegalities. I also wish it to be clearly understood that the Hong Kong Government will never agree in principle to strike pay or to compensation for non-reinstatement of labourers.”.[41] What his Excellency expected and required came to pass a few short weeks after his utterance. The transformation wrought in Canton by the March coup of Chiang Kai-shek made possible a resumption of relations on the “old familiar footing.”

Unofficial contact between Hong Kong and Canton was resumed on April 9 when a Mr. Kemp, Attorney-General of the Hong Kong Government, conferred with C. C. Wu, the Canton Foreign Minister, in what was officially described as a “hearty talk.”[42] A few days after the adjournment of the May plenary session of the Central Executive Committee, the Canton Government officially approached Hong Kong for a reopening of negotiations. The British readily agreed. The delegates met in July. The original demands of the Canton-Hong Kong workers were mutually deprecated. “These demands,” said Eugene Chen, who had now taken over the Foreign Office, “were conceived and formulated in the unusual circumstances immediately following the shooting of June 23, and they included terms which my Government, actuated by a sincere desire to arrive at a satisfactory settlement, is prepared to review in order that nothing incompatible with the real dignity and interest of Great Britain as a trading power in China shall continue to obstruct the path of settlement.”[43] It was no longer a question of strike pay for the workers. It became instead a question of a $10,000,000 loan from the British to the Canton Government, conditional upon “the complete cessation of the boycott and of all other anti-British manifestations throughout the territory controlled by the Canton Government.”[44] The Chinese delegates no longer even pretended to represent the interests of the strikers. When the Strike Committee demanded a voice in the parleys, Chiang Kai-shek issued an order “instructing the Canton Chief of Police to prevent any interference by labour unions with the Canton—Hong Kong Conference now in progress.”[45]

During the negotiations squads of soldiers and police patrolled the main streets of the city and a close check was kept on labour union leaders “to prevent any movement among the workers which will create an opinion that the Kuomintang is unable to command the Canton situation and that any arrangement with the Kuomintang relative to the strike settlement . . . will be futile. The Canton Strike Committee is still clamouring that it should be heard, if not admitted to the negotiations now in progress in which the workers are chiefly concerned; and it is understood that should there be no objection from either side, in certain matters a sub-committee or the whole conference may hear representations from the workers. In Canton Chinese opinion has been that the whole matter has been straightened out among the Kuomintang leaders and General Chiang Kai-shek before the meeting of the . . . delegations of July 15, and they cannot see how any agitation among the workers will change the policy already formulated. Any attention to the Strike Committee will be more a matter of courtesy than anything else.”[46]

“Courtesy” for the workers and $10,000,000 for Chiang Kai-shek! Not a bad bargain. But the negotiations ended inconclusively since the bargaining position of the Canton Government collapsed as soon as it was apparent that it no longer spoke for the workers and, in fact, was as anxious to end the strike as the British themselves. Thereupon, Britain dispensed with parleys and instead, on September 3, a British naval landing party cleared the wharves of the Canton West Bund of worker-pickets. In protest against this act, Eugene Chen asked for the “retirement of the British gunboats now moored along the jetties to their usual anchorage off the Shameen.”.[47] A far cry, this, from the demand for the removal of all British vessels from Kwangtung waters! But the back of the strike and boycott was broken. On October 10, 1926, the Canton Government unconditionally called off both strike and boycott. The Kuomintang and the Strike Committee explained that this step was required “by the change in the national situation brought about by the extension of Nationalist power and influence to the Yangtze.” The abrupt termination of an historic fifteen months’ struggle without a single con-cession to the demands of the workers who conducted it was termed “not a defeat but a great victory.”.[48]

“Imperialism either had to capitulate to China,” explained Borodin, “. . . or China acknowledge defeat. Since, however, defeat could not be countenanced, it became necessary to terminate the battle in this corner in order to start out with greater vigour to fight imperialism throughout China—on the wider base.”[49] Defeat could not be “countenanced.” It had to be rationalized into a victory. It was necessary to conceal the fact that the strategic moment and decisive positions had long since been surrendered to the enemy without a struggle. The Hong Kong strike and boycott had opened wide the door to an independent working-class perspective and had incomparably demonstrated the ability of the workers to function in their own interests. Under the mentorship of the Comintern and Borodin, the Chinese Communists had let the opportunity slip by without ever realizing it. The workers of Canton and Hong Kong had to pay dearly for this “victory.”

Following the voluntary liquidation of the strike and boycott, the Governor of Hong Kong happily declared that “we may reasonably hope that a determined effort will now be made by the Cantonese authorities to re-establish law and order.” Hong Kong desired to see in Kwangtung and Kwangsi “a strong, stable, and enlightened Government; of such a Government we should gladly be close friends and staunch supporters.”[50] With the departure of the National Government to the Yangtze in December, the task of re-establishing “law and order” in Kwangtung passed to the Kwangsi militarist, Li Chi-sen, who took over full control. Strict police measures were enforced against the workers. A set of stringent regulations was issued providing for compulsory arbitration of all disputes between workers and employers, forbidding workers to possess or carry arms, to make arrests, to picket shops or factories.[51]

In reply to these measures, the pickets and other workers’ volunteer groups were “instructed by the Workers’ Delegates’ Conference, acting under the auspices of the Communist Party, to remain indoors for the present, pending readjustment of their standing.” [52] Anxious only to propitiate Li Chi-sen, the Communists abruptly put an end to their agitation for a popular re-election of delegates to the various provincial Kuomintang organizations.[53] They offered no protests when Li Chi-sen put through a sweeping reorganization during which he filled all important posts with his own appointees. No effort was made to organize any resistance to this reactionary offensive. Canton was tight in the militarist grip. The capitulation of the Communists was complete.[54]

This was Canton when a delegation of the Communist International composed of Earl Browder, Tom Mann, and Jacques Doriot, arrived on February 17, 1927. They inspected the outer shell of the mass movement that still remained and were feted by the dictator, Li Chi-sen, who told them that “never, never, would the Nationalist Government proceed against the interests of the working class.”[55] They sent their greetings to Chiang Kai-shek, who wired back his welcome.[56] Their first reports to the international Press glowed with pride in “revolutionary Canton,” and were unmarred by the slightest suggestion of discord.[57] At the graves of the Hong Kong pickets killed in action during the great strike they laid wreaths with an inscription that read: “The martyred Hong Kong pickets symbolize the great contribution of the Chinese working class to the Chinese revolution and the world revolution.”[58]

Six months later, after events had long since taken their course, the delegation wrote the following of its visit to Canton: “The Northern Expedition was in full swing and the Canton merchants cleverly utilized the slogan of the united revolutionary front in order to free themselves from all obligations to the working class. . . . Some of the leaders of the Canton proletariat were far from clear in their policy in the face of this clever and demagogic tactic of the bourgeoisie. . . . (They) neglected . . . the fundamental class interests of the proletariat for fear of breaking the united front with the bourgeoisie. . . . The only class, it seems, which took the slogan of the ‘united front‘ of all anti-imperialist and antimilitarist forces seriously was the proletariat and its revolutionary leaders. . . . This was undoubtedly a mistake which later cost the Chinese working class much sacrifice and good blood.”[59]

Notes

1 Tang Leang-li, Inner History, p. 231.

2 Whampoa Year Book, Canton, December, 1925.

3 International Press Correspondence, March 18, 1926.

4 Li Chih-lung, The Resignation of Chairman Wang Ching-wei.

5 La Correspondance Internationale, February 17, 1926.

6 China Weekly Review, April 10, 1926.

7 Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. IV, Section 5.

8 Li Chih-lung, The Resignation of Chairman Wang Ching-wei.

9 Tang-Leang-li, Inner History, p. 246.

10 Li Chih-lung, The Resignation of Chairman Wang Ching-wei .

11 Deng Cheng-tsah, Survey of Hong Kong Strike .

12 George Sokolsky, Tinder Box of Asia, New York, 1933, p. 336.13

13 Deng Cheng-tsah, Survey of Hong Kong Strike .

14 Li Chih-lung, The Resignation of Chairman Wang Ching-wei .

15 Full text of this resolution is given in T. C. Woo, Kuomintang and the Future of the Chinese Revolution, pp. 176-8 ; references and extracts will also be found in Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. IV, Section 5, and in Fuse, Soviet Policy in the Orient, pp. 251-6.

16 “Theses on the National and Colonial Question” (Second World Congress), Theses and Statutes, pp. 70-1.

17 Ibid., pp. 74-5.

18 “The putsch of Chiang Kai-shek on March 20, 1926, when the Russian Communists were arrested in China, was not mentioned by a single word in our press.”—Zinoviev. “Theses on the Chinese Revolution,” in appendices to Trotsky, Problems, p. 347 ; “For a whole year, the Stalin-Bukharin group concealed the first coup of Chiang Kai-shek in March, 1926.”—Albert Treint. “Declaration du Camarade Treint,” Documents de l’Opposition et la Résponse du Parti, Paris, November, 1927, P. 76.

18 International Press Correspondence, April 8, 1926.

20 Ibid.

21 Daily Worker, New York, April 21, 1926.

22 G. Voitinsky, “The Situation in China and the Plans of the Imperialists,” International Press Correspondence, May 6, 1926.

23 G. Sokolsky, Tinder Box of Asia, p. 336.

24 Tang Leang-li, Inner History, p. 247.

25 A. M. Kotenev, New Lamps for Old, Shanghai, 1931, p. 237.

26 Tang Leang-li, Inner History, p. 249.

27 Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, v. II, pp. 651-3.

28 In the Guide Weekly, Shanghai, end of March, 1926, reprinted with other articles and documents in the Chinese Communist Party pamphlet, Our Party and the Canton Events, Peking, July, 1926.

29 “Open Letter of Chen Tu-hsiu to Chiang Kai-shek,” June 4, 1926, in Our Party and the Canton Events .

30 “Open Letter of Kao Yu-han to Chiang Kai-shek,” in Our Party and the Canton Events .

31 “Letter of the Central Committee of the Communist Party to the Kuomintang,” June 4, 1926, in Our Party and the Canton Events .

32 Reprinted in Our Party and the Canton Events .

33 Quoted by Li Li-san in his preface to The Chinese Revolution (A Collection of Documents), Shanghai, 1930.

34 Chen Tu-hsiu, Letter to the Comrades .

35 “The Fifth Congress of the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang,” Communist International, April 15, 1927.

36 Chen Tu-hsiu, Letter to the Comrades .

37 Hua Kang, Great Chinese Revolution, Chap. IV, Section 3.

38 Quoted by Yuen Tai-ying, The Kuomintang and the Labour Movement, Wuhan, April, 1927.

39 “News from South China,” China Weekly Review, July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21, and August 28, 1926.

40 “Report of the Kwangtung Provincial Peasant Union,” February, 1927, Chinese Correspondence, Wuhan, May 8, 1927.

41 China Year Book, 1926, p. 982.

42 Deng Cheng-tsah, Survey of Hong Kong Strike ; Chin a Weekly Review, April 24, 1926.

43 “Canton Boycott Negotiations,” China Year Book, 1926, p. 989.

44 Ibid., p. 998.

45 China Weekly Review, August 7, 1926.

46 Ibid., July 31, 1926.

47 China Year Book, 1928, p. 976.

48 Ibid., pp. 977-8.

49 Quoted by Fischer, Soviets in World Affairs, v. II, p. 645.

50 China Year Book, 1928, p. 978.

51 “Strike Regulations in Canton,” Chinese Economic Journal, Shanghai, March, 1927 ; cf. “Labour Suppression in Canton,” . North China Herald, December 31, 1926.

52 North China Herald, December 31, 1926.

53Letter to the Comrades of the Conference of August 7, 1927,” published in the appendix to Li Li-san, Chinese Revolution . (Hereafter referred to as “August 7 Letter.”)

54 P. Mif, Kitaiskaya Revolutsia, Moscow, 1932, pp. 97-8.

55 Sydor Stoler, “The Trade Union Movement in Canton,” Pan-Pacific Worker, Hankow, September 15, 1927.

56 Earl Browder, Civil War in Nationalist China, Chicago, 1927, p. 12.

57 “The International Delegation in China,” International Press Correspondence, April 28, 1927.

58 Tom Mann, What I Saw in China, London, 1927, p. 8.

59 Stoler, “Trade Union Movement in Canton.”