Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung
May 30, 1947
[This commentary was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Hsinhua News Agency. It pointed out that the march of events in China was faster than people had expected and called upon the people to prepare speedily all necessary conditions for the country-wide victory of the Chinese revolution. This prediction was soon confirmed. Both this commentary and "The Concept of Operations for the Northwest War Theatre" were written at Wangchiawan, Chingpien County, northern Shensi.]
The Chiang Kai-shek government, hostile to the whole people, now finds itself besieged by the whole people. On both the military and political fronts, it has met defeats, is now besieged by the forces it has declared to be its enemies and can kind no way of escape.
The traitorous Chiang Kai-shek clique and its master, U.S. imperialism, have wrongly appraised the situation. They overestimated their own strength and underestimated the strength of the people. They regarded China and the world after World War II as being the same as in the past; they would permit nothing to change nor anyone to go against their will. After Japan's surrender they were determined to restore the old order in China. And having gained time by such deceptions as political consultation and military mediation, the traitorous Chiang Kai-shek government mustered two million troops and launched an all-out offensive.
There are now two battle fronts in China. The war between Chiang Kai-shek's invading troops and the People's Liberation Army constitutes the first front. Now a second front has emerged, that is, the sharp struggle between the great and righteous student movement and the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek government. The slogan of the student movement is "Food, Peace, Freedom" or "Against Hunger, Against Civil War, Against Persecution". Chiang Kai-shek has promulgated the "Provisional Measures for the Maintenance of Public Order". Everywhere his army, police, gendarmes and secret agents are clashing with the student masses. Chiang Kai-shek is using brute force against unarmed students, subjecting them to arrest, imprisonment, beating and slaughter; as a result the student movement is daily growing in strength. Public sympathy is all on the side of the students, Chiang Kai-shek and his running dogs are completely isolated, and his ferocious features have been completely unmasked. The student movement is part of the whole people's movement. The upsurge of the student movement will inevitably promote an upsurge of the whole people's movement. This is borne out by the historical experience of the May 4th Movement of 1919  and the December 9th Movement of 1935.
Since U.S. imperialism and its running dog Chiang Kai-shek have taken the place of Japanese imperialism and its running dog Wang Ching-wei and adopted the policies of turning China into a U.S. colony, launching a civil war and strengthening the fascist dictatorship, they have declared themselves to be enemies of the entire Chinese people and driven all strata of the people to the brink of starvation and death. This has compelled all strata of the people to unite in a life-and-death struggle against the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek government and brought about the speedy development of that struggle. For the people there is no other way out. The strata of the Chinese people oppressed by the reactionary policies of the Chiang Kai-shek government and united for their own salvation include the workers, peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie, national bourgeoisie, enlightened gentry, other patriotic elements, the minority nationalities and overseas Chinese. This is a very broad national united front.
The extremely reactionary financial and economic policies long pursued by the Chiang Kai-shek government have now been aggravated by the Sino-U.S. Treaty of Commerce, the most treasonable treaty ever known. On the basis of this treaty, U.S. monopoly capital and Chiang Kai-shek's bureaucrat-comprador capital have become tightly intertwined and control the economic life of the whole country. The results are unbridled inflation, unparalleled soaring prices, ever-spreading bankruptcy of the industry and commerce of the national bourgeoisie and daily deterioration in the livelihood of the working masses, government employees and teachers. In these circumstances all strata of the people cannot but unite and fight for their very survival.
Military suppression and political deception have been the two main instruments by which Chiang Kai-shek maintains his reactionary rule. People are now witnessing the rapid collapse of both these instruments.
On every battlefield Chiang Kai-shek's army has met with defeat. About ninety brigades of his regular troops alone have been wiped out in the eleven months since last July. His troops no longer display the overweening pride of last year when they occupied Changchun, Chengteh, Changchiakou, Hotse, Huaiyin and Antung, or even of this year when they occupied Linyi and Yenan. Chiang Kai-shek and Chen Cheng made a wrong appraisal of the strength and fighting methods of the People's Liberation Army. Mistaking our retreats for cowardice and our abandonment of a number of cities for defeats, they had fondly hoped to finish us off south of the Great Wall in three months or at most six, and then proceed to finish us off in the Northeast. But after ten months, all Chiang Kai-shek's invading troops are in desperate straits; they are completely besieged by the people of the Liberated Areas and the People's Liberation Army and find it very difficult to escape.
As more and more news of the defeats of Chiang Kai-shek's troops at the front reaches his rear areas, the broad masses of the people there, suffocating under the oppression of his reactionary government, see more and more hope of ending their sufferings and winning their emancipation. At this very time, all Chiang Kai-shek's political tricks are failing as fast as he plays them. Everything has gone against the expectations of the reactionaries. Such steps as convening a "National Assembly" to adopt a "constitution", reorganizing the one-party government into a "multi-party government" and what not, were originally aimed at isolating the Communist Party and other democratic forces. They have produced the opposite result; it is not the Communist Party or any other democratic forces that are isolated but the reactionaries themselves. After this the Chinese people know from their own experience what Chiang Kai-shek's "National Assembly", "constitution" and "multi-party government" really are. Previously, many Chinese people, mainly those of the middle strata, had illusions to a greater or lesser extent about these maneuvers of Chiang Kai-shek. It is the same with his "peace negotiations". Now that Chiang Kai-shek has torn several solemn truce agreements to shreds and used bayonets against the student masses demanding peace and opposing civil war, nobody will any longer believe in his so-called peace negotiations except those bent on deceiving people or those absolutely inexperienced politically.
All events have proved our appraisal to be correct. We have repeatedly pointed out that the Chiang Kai-shek government is nothing but a government of treason, civil war and dictatorship. It seeks to wipe out the Chinese Communist Party and all other democratic forces by civil war in order to turn China into a U.S. colony and maintain its own dictatorial rule. Because it has adopted these reactionary policies, this government has lost all prestige and strength politically. The power of the Chiang Kai-shek government is only temporary and superficial; in fact, it is a government outwardly strong but inwardly weak. Its offensives can be smashed no matter where or on what fronts they are launched. Its inevitable end will be rebellion by the masses, desertion by its followers and the total destruction of its army. All events have borne out and will continue to bear out the correctness of this appraisal.
The march of events in China is faster than people expected. On the one hand, there are the victories of the People's Liberation Army; on the other, there is the advance of the people's struggle in the areas under Chiang Kai-shek's control; both are moving at high speed. The Chinese people should quickly prepare all the necessary conditions for the establishment of a peaceful, democratic and independent new China.
1. After December 1946 the democratic and patriotic movement of the broad masses of students in the Kuomintang areas against hunger, civil war and persecution gathered new momentum with the development of the People's War of Liberation and gradually became a second front in the struggle against Chiang Kai-shek's reactionary rule. In late December 1946 and early January 1947, more than 500,000 students in scores of big and medium cities, including Peiping, Tientsin, Shanghai and Nanking, went on strike and held demonstrations in protest against the atrocity of the raping of a Peking University girl student perpetrated by U.S. soldiers and demanded the withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from China. This struggle won the immediate support of workers, teachers and other people. On May 4, 1947, students in Shanghai demonstrated against the civil war. At the same time eight thousand workers and students besieged the Kuomintang police headquarters. The patriotic movement soon spread to Nanking, Peiping, Hangchow, Shenyang, Tsingtao, Kaffeng and many other cities. The Kuomintang reactionaries resorted to extremely brutal measures to suppress the students' patriotic and democratic movement. On May 20 more than a hundred students were wounded and arrested in Nanking and Tientsin in the notorious "Bloody Incident of May 20th". Nevertheless, the patriotic student movement, supported by the broad masses of the people, could not be quelled. The students' strikes and demonstrations under the slogan, "Against Hunger, Against Civil War, Against Persecution", and the people's anti-U.S. and anti-Chiang Kai-shek struggles, such as strikes of workers and teachers, spread to more than sixty large and medium cities. In May 1948 the students in Shanghai, together with cultural workers, journalists and people from other walks of life, started a patriotic movement against the revival of the Japanese forces of aggression fostered by the United States, a movement which also spread rapidly to many other cities. The patriotic struggles of the students never ceased until the country-wide victory; they struck heavy blows at the Kuomintang.
2. Promulgated on May 18, 1947 by the Chiang Kai-shek government, these measures strictly prohibited the presentation of petitions by more than ten persons together and forbade all strikes by workers and students and all demonstrations. They also authorized the Kuomintang local authorities to take "necessary steps" and "emergency measures" for the sanguinary suppression of the patriotic and democratic movements of the people.
3. On May 4, 1919, students in Peking demonstrated against the handing over to Japan of many of China's sovereign rights in Shantung by Britain, the United States, France, Japan, Italy and other imperialist countries then in conference in Paris. This student movement evoked an immediate response throughout the country. After June 3, it developed into a country-wide and-imperialist and anti-feudal revolutionary movement embracing large numbers of the proletariat, the urban petty bourgeoisie and even the national bourgeoisie.
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung