Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
November 5, 1945
[This statement prepared by Comrade Mao Tse-tung was issued in the name of the spokesman for the Communist Party of China. By this time Chiang Kai-shek had already torn up the "October 10th Agreement", and the civil war against the Liberated Areas was expanding daily.]
In a dispatch from Chungking, dated November 3, the United Press reported that Wu Kuo-chen, Director of the Propaganda Department of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee, had declared that "the government is entirely on the defensive in this war" and had proposed measures for "restoring communications". A Hsinhua News Agency reporter asked the spokesman for the Communist Party of China about this.
The spokesman for the Communist Party of China replied to the reporter as follows: What Wu Kuo-chen said about being "on the defensive" is a complete lie. The Kuomintang, besides occupying the five Liberated Areas evacuated by our troops in eastern Chekiang, southern Kiangsu, central and southern Anhwei and Hunan and trampling on the people there, has moved more than seventy divisions of its regular troops into or close to most of the other Liberated Areas for example, those in Kwangtung, Hupeh, Honan, northern Kiangsu, northern Anhwei, Shantung and Hopei -- and has been oppressing the people there and attacking or preparing to attack our troops. Furthermore, scores of other Kuomintang divisions are heading for the Liberated Areas. Can this be described as being on the defensive? Of the eight Kuomintang divisions which reached the Hantan area in their drive northward from Changteh, two opposed civil war and favoured peace, while the other six (including three U.S.-equipped divisions) were compelled to lay down their arms after the troops and people of the Liberated Areas counter-attacked in self-defence. Many officers of these Kuomintang troops, including war-zone deputy commanders' corps commanders and deputy corps commanders, are now in the Liberated Areas and can confirm the whole truth about where they came from and how they were ordered to attack. Can this, too, be described as being on the defensive? Our troops in the Liberated Areas in Honan and Hupeh Provinces are now completely encircled by more than twenty Kuomintang divisions from the 1st, 5th and 6th War Zones, with Liu Chih as field commander in charge of the "suppression of Communists". Our Liberated Areas in western and central Honan and southern, eastern and central Hupeh have all been invaded and occupied by the Kuomintang forces, which burned and killed so wantonly that our troops commanded by Li Hsien-nien and Wang Shu-sheng could find no shelter and had to seek quarters on the Honan-Hupeh border in order to survive. But there again they have been closely pursued and attacked by Kuomintang troops. Can this, too, be described as being on the defensive? It is the same in the three provinces of Shansi, Suiyuan and Chahar. In early October, Yen Hsi-shan ordered thirteen divisions to attack the Hsiangyuan-Tunliu sector in the Shangtang Liberated Area. Fighting in self-defence, our troops and the people there disarmed them all, and several commanders of corps and divisions were among the captured. They are now in the Taihang Liberated Area, every one alive, and can confirm the whole truth about where they came from and how they were ordered to attack. In Chungking recently, Yen Hsi-shan told all sorts of lies about how he had been attacked and how he had merely been "on the defensive". Probably he had forgotten all about his generals: Shih Tse-po, Commander of the 19th Corps; Kuo Jung, Commander of the Provisional 46th Division; Chang Hung, Commander of the Provisional 48th Division; Li Pei-ying, Commander of the 66th Division; Kuo Tien-hsing, Commander of the 68th Division and Yang Wen-tsai, Commander of the Provisional 37th Division. They are now living in our Liberated Areas and can refute any lies told by Wu Kuo-chen, Yen Hsi-shan and all the other reactionary instigators of civil war. General Fu Tso-yi, under orders, has been attacking our Liberated Areas in Suiyuan, Chahar and Jehol for over two months and on one occasion pushed right to the gates of Changchiakou and occupied our entire Suiyuan Liberated Area and western Chahar. Can this, too, be described as being on the defensive and not firing "the first shot"? Our troops and people in Chahar and Suiyuan rose in self-defence and in their counter-attacks also captured large numbers of officers and men who can all testify where they came from, how they attacked, and so on. In various battles of self-defence we have captured piles of "bandit suppression" and anti-Communist documents, among which are the Handbook on Bandit Suppression, orders for "bandit suppression" and other anti-Communist documents issued by the highest Kuomintang authorities but dismissed as a "joke" by Wu Kuo-chen; these are now being forwarded to Yenan. All these documents are iron-clad proofs that Kuomintang troops have attacked the Liberated Areas.
The Hsinhua News Agency reporter went on to ask the spokesman for the Communist Party of China about his views on the measures proposed by Wu Kuo-chen for restoring communications. The spokesman replied: These are nothing but stalling tactics. The Kuomintang authorities are mustering large forces and are trying to swamp all the Liberated Areas as in a great flood. Following the failure of several attacks in September and October, they are preparing new attacks on an even larger scale. And one way to obstruct these attacks and effectively check the civil war is not to let them transport their troops by rail. Like everybody else, we advocate speedy restoration of the lines of communication, but this can be done only after the settlement of the three problems of accepting the Japanese surrender, disposing of the puppet troops and realizing self-government in the Liberated Areas. Which should be settled first, the problem of communications or these three problems? Why are the troops of the Liberated Areas, which fought strenuously and bitterly against Japan for eight years, not qualified to accept the Japanese surrender? And why should other troops be put to the trouble of coming from afar to accept it? Every citizen has the right to punish the puppet troops; why are they all being incorporated into the "national army" and ordered to attack the Liberated Areas? Local self-government is explicitly stipulated in the "October 10th Agreement", and Dr. Sun Yat-sen long ago advocated the popular election of provincial governors; why does the Kuomintang government still insist on dispatching local officials? The problem of communications should be speedily settled, but even more so, the three major problems should be speedily settled. To talk of restoring communications without first settling the three major problems can only serve to spread and prolong the civil war and help its instigators achieve their purpose of swamping the Liberated Areas. In order quickly to stop the anti-popular and anti-democratic civil war which has now spread all over the country, we advocate the following:
(1) All the Kuomintang government forces that have entered the Liberated Areas in northern China, northern Kiangsu, northern Anhwei, central China and nearby regions to accept the Japanese surrender and to attack us should be withdrawn immediately to their original positions; the troops of the Liberated Areas should accept the Japanese surrender and garrison the cities and lines of communication; and the Liberated Areas which have been invaded and occupied should be restored.
(2) All puppet troops should be immediately disarmed and disbanded, and in northern China, northern Kiangsu and northern Anhwei the Liberated Areas should take charge of such disarming and disbanding.
(3) The people's democratic self-government in all the Liberated Areas should be recognized; the Central Government should not appoint and send out local officials; the provisions of the "October 10th Agreement" should be carried out.
The spokesman said: Only in this way can civil war be averted; otherwise there is absolutely no safeguard against it. The documents captured during the three battles we fought in self-defence in Suiyuan, Shangtang and Hantan and such concrete actions as massive troop movements and attacks all give the lie to the claim of the Kuomintang authorities that the so-called restoration of communications is for the sake of the people and not of civil war. The Chinese people have been fooled long enough and can be fooled no longer. At present, the central problem is for the people of the whole country to mobilize to stop the civil war by every means.
1. At the end of the War of Resistance Against Japan, most of China's railways were either under the control of the army and people of the Liberated Areas or surrounded by them. Under the pretext of "restoring communications", the Kuomintang reactionaries tried to utilize these railways to cut the Liberated Areas apart, transport millions of Kuomintang troops to northeastern, northern, eastern and central China, attack the Liberated Areas and grab the big cities.
2. In September 1945, Kuomintang troops from the region of Chengchow and Hsinhsiang advanced along the Peiping-Hankow Railway to attack the Shansi-Hopei-Shantung-Honan Liberated Area. In late October their vanguard, comprising three corps, invaded the region of Tsehsien and Hantan. The army and people of the Liberated Area rose bravely in self-defence, and after a week's bitter fighting General Kao Shu-hsun, Deputy Commander of the Kuomintang's 11th War Zone and concurrently Commander of the New 8th Corps, revolted against the Kuomintang at Hantan and came over to us with the New 8th Corps and one column, totalling over ten thousand men. The other two corps retreated in confusion but were surrounded and disarmed. Many high-ranking officers were compelled to surrender, including Ma Fa-wu, another Deputy Commander of the Kuomintang's 11th War Zone concurrently Commander of the 40th Corps, Liu Shih-jung, its Deputy Commander, Li Hsu-tung, its Chief of Staff, Liu Shu-sen, a Deputy Division Commander.
3. After Japan's surrender the Kuomintang gathered more than twenty divisions from three war zones to launch large-scale attacks on the Liberated Areas in Honan and Hupeh Provinces. Part of the forces of Hu Tsung-nan, Commander of the Kuomintang's 1st War Zone, advanced from the northwest to the east along both sides of the Lunghai Railway to invade the Liberated Areas in western Honan; the forces of Liu Chih, Commander of the 5th War Zone, advanced from the north to the south along both sides of the Peiping-Hankow Railway to invade the Liberated Areas in central Honan and central and eastern Hupeh; the forces of the 6th War Zone advanced from southern Hupeh to the north in concert. Most of these Kuomintang forces were under the command of Liu Chih. The people's army of the Liberated Areas in Honan and Hupeh put up a stubborn fight against the invaders, conserved its strength and moved in late October 1945 to an area on the Honan-Hupeh border in the Tahung and the Tungpai Mountains and around Tsaoyang. The army later shifted to Hsuanhuatien, east of the Peiping-Hankow Railway, because the Kuomintang continued to pursue and attack.
4. About the Shangtang battle, see "On the Chungking Negotiations", Note 2, p. 63 of this volume. The captured Kuomintang officers here mentioned were all high-ranking generals in Yen Hsi-shan's army.
5. The province of Suiyuan was abolished on March 6, 1954, and became part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. General Fu Tso-yi was in 1945 Commander of the Kuomintang's 12th War Zone. His troops had been stationed at and around Wuyuan and Linho in western Suiyuan during the War of Resistance Against Japan. After Japan's surrender he was ordered to attack the Liberated Areas in Suiyuan, Jehol and Chahar Provinces. In August 1945 he occupied Kueisui (now Huhehot), Chining and Fengchen. In early September he occupied Hsingho, Shangyi, Wuchuan, Taolin, Hsintang and Liangcheng, launched massive attacks on the Liberated Areas in Chahar and pushed to the neighbourhood of Changchiakou. In self-defence our army repulsed these attacks and captured large numbers of his officers and men.
6. The Handbook on Bandit Suppression was a counter-revolutionary pamphlet compiled by Chiang Kai-shek in 1933 dealing exclusively with methods of attacking the Chinese people's forces and the revolutionary bases. In 1945, after the conclusion of the War of Resistance, Chiang Kai-shek had it reprinted and issued to Kuomintang officers together with a confidential order, saying: "The present campaign for the suppression of the bandits, on which the happiness of the people depends, must be speedily completed. You should urge your officers and men to do their utmost to suppress the bandits in the spirit of the resistance against Japanese aggression and in accordance with the Handbook on Bandit Suppression which I have compiled. Any meritorious action in the service of the state shall be richly rewarded, and those responsible for delays or mistakes shall be court-martialled. This order should be made known to and obeyed by all officers and suppressing the bandits."
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung