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Did Mao Zedong and Chinese communists collude with the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War?

Did Mao Zedong and Chinese communists collude with the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War?

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Whilst answering another question on in which the CCP was militarily involved in the Sino-Japanese War, To what extent did the CPC avoid fighting with the Japanese? I came across groundbreaking and truly astounding information that the Chinese had apparently initiated a truce with the Japanese.

This was all done whilst the CCP spread propaganda about the GMD/KMT avoiding confrontation with the Japanese, running away in women's clothing… so this all undermines their role in the war (or what little role they actually played), despite the current PRC claiming its greatness and bravery. From a Chinese standpoint, I believe this is vital information that shakes the foundation on which the PRC was established - Mao not only committed mass atrocities, he also betrayed the Chinese people - yet his portrait still hangs in the centre of Tiananmen Square. I am trying to demonstrate the significance of this.

I ask this question in hopes of further clarification on the incident; are there any different sources that also shed-light on this and confirm/assure credibility?

In the question, I used this source, http://www.japanpolicyforum.jp/archives/diplomacy/pt20160517095311.html, however, I find web discussion sources rather obscure, so I also found this Chinese language BBC report which talks about the same Japanese Professor as in the source above. http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/trad/world/2015/12/151225_japan_professor_book - google can translate it to English, but so far I have not found an English version. I shall loosely translate some bits of the article: (please bear with my english)

In November 2015, Homare Endō, Professor of Tsukuba University, Japan, published her book Mao Zedong: the Man who Conspired with the Japanese in Japan.

[今年11月,日本筑波大學名譽教授遠藤譽撰寫的《毛澤東 與日軍共謀的男人》一書在日本出版。]

She quotes Iwai Iiyi's Recollections of Shanghai: "Contrary to Chinese official sources, the CCP agents obtained information on the Nationalist Revolutionary Army (NRA) through the United Front, only to hand it over to the Japanese, with the intention to weaken the GMD."


Facing the invading Japanese in 1937, the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army wanted to fight a war of resistance, but Mao Zedong insisted that only 10% of the troops should be committed to the Sino-Japanese War. Iwai Iiyi's Recollections of Shanghai also revealed that Pan Hannian [a professional spy from the CPC Central Intelligence Group's Secret Service (Spy) Division.] had, through Yuan Shicheng, proposed to discuss the matters/arrangements for "truce" in the Northern [Chinese] regions. Because Iwai lacked skills/experience/knowledge in military matters, this proposal was handed over to Colonel Kagesa Sadaaki [who was Imperial Japanese Army General Staff]. From then on, Pan Hannian began directly communicating/being in contact with the Japanese military.


You may be overlooking the role of a "fourth" group of people: Chinese collaborators with the Japanese such as Wang Jing Wei.

Basically, the Japanese found many willing collaborators in former KMT-held territory, and none in Communist held territory. The Nationalist territory also held what was left of China's industrial capacity. Finally, when Japan decided on a "going south" strategy (against former European possessions in modern Vietnam, Myanmar, etc. instead of "north against Russian Siberia), nationalist territories offered a better link to the new Japanese conquests.

For all these reasons, Japan found Nationalist territories more lucrative than Communist territories. After 1941, Japan concentrated its efforts south, against Nationalist territories. The Communists were more than happy to acquiesce in this strategy; their doctrines called for seizing the more rural areas of the country (held by Nationalists), before the more urban areas (held by the Japanese). This led to an "implicit collusion" between the Japanese and the Communists.

Just by looking at the sequence of events you can ballpark whether the CPC was anti-Japan or was playing a part in the Romance of Three Kingdoms.

January 28 - March 02, 1932. Shanghai incident. KMT vs. Japan. Result: cease fire; KMT suffered 13,000 casualties including 4000 KIA.

March 22 - May 08, 1932. Su Jia Port battle. CPC vs. KMT. Result: Complete CPC vicotory. KMT lost 30,000 men, including 15,000 captured. CPC lost 500 men, captured 2000 rifles. Zhang Guotao, the CPC head, recounted this battle in his memoir, saying that Mao's guerrillas tactics were unfit because the KMT was playing defence and was hiding behind forts, and CPC commanders used siege tactics to lure and ambush KMT's reinforcements.

Needless to say, KMT's battle against Japan inspired neither admiration nor sympathy on the CPC side; the wounded beast was mauled again by its own kind.

China's Communist Party and Japan: A Forgotten History

The history between the two is more complex than you might realize.

Although demonstrating a special knack for antagonizing most their neighbors, Chinese leaders appear to take special pleasure in isolating Japan. This is undoubtedly rooted in their continued anger at Imperial Japan’s despicable actions during its occupation of China, and the perception that Tokyo has yet to show sufficient remorse for these past transgressions.

Although entirely understandable, the Chinese Communist Party’s continued anger at Japan rests uncomfortably alongside the reality that it has benefitted greatly from Tokyo. While in no way justifying Imperial Japan’s inexcusable atrocities—which were done with the sole intent of benefiting Japan and the empire—this does create an awkward situation for the Chinese Communist Party, which regularly stirs up anger at Japan in order to bolster its rule at home.

In his recent book, David Lampton argues that China underwent three revolutions during the twentieth century: the collapse of the Qing Empire in 1911, the establishment of the People’s Republic of China under CCP rule in 1949, and the reform and opening up period inaugurated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s. Japan has played a crucial role in all these revolutions and was also indispensable in creating the Chinese nationalism that the CCP utilizes to great effect today.

Japan played a leading role in the Qing Empire’s collapse in two ways. The first was its defeat of China in the 1895 Sino-Japanese War, and its subsequent encroachments on Chinese territory. By the time of the war, the Qing Empire’s control over China had already been greatly weakened by its inability to defend Chinese sovereignty from Western powers.

Nonetheless, China’s defeat in the 1895 war was particularly devastating for the legitimacy of the Qing government. Unlike the European powers, the Chinese had since time millennia viewed itself as vastly superior to the Eastern Barbarians, as Chinese often called the Japanese. The fact that Japan had defeated a larger and supposedly modernizing Chinese military force and wrested control of Taiwan (and then Korea) from China deeply undermined domestic support for the Qing Empire. These humiliations at the hands of Japan would become a rallying cry for many of the domestic forces that contributed to the Qing’s collapse in 1911.

As Odd Arne Westad has pointed out, China’s defeat in the 1895 war also paradoxically led some Chinese to view Japan as a source of inspiration for the kind of modernizations that Beijing desperately needed to undertake. Thus, following the war and into the first decade of the twentieth century, the number of Chinese studying in Japan vastly increased. Especially notable with regards to the Qing regime’s collapse, many of the dynasty’s most ardent critics lived in exile in Japan, including Sun Yat-Sen and Chen Duxiu (who would go on to cofound the CCP). Many of these exiles in Japan would go on to play a leading role in the dynasty’s collapse.

It was also largely among this Chinese diaspora living in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century that the idea of Chinese nationalism began to take root. As Westad observes, “The two key concepts that Chinese in Japan and elsewhere discussed in the first decade of the new century were nationalism and republicanism.” Indeed, opposition to the Qing Dynasty and the growing sense of nationalism were intricately tied together for these Chinese living in Japan. As was true in China itself, these exiles increasingly framed their opposition to Qing rule in ethnic terms, protesting the fact that the Qing elite were Manchus governing a largely Han state. This contradiction, as many Han Chinese saw it, was at the heart of China’s declining place in the region and the world. Not surprisingly, many framed not only their opposition to Qing rule, but also their ideas for what should replace it in terms of Chinese nationalism. For instance, Hu Hanmin, a key Kuomintang (KMT) leader who spent some of the 1900s in Japan, would write: “We can overthrow the Manchus and establish our state because Chinese nationalism and democratic thought are [now] well developed.”

But Tokyo’s largest contribution to Chinese nationalism was the invasion of Manchuria and the second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). As two scholars put it, “the plain historical fact [is] that modern Chinese nationalism emerged above all in reaction to Japanese imperialism.” Indeed, in the run-up to the second war, China remained deeply divided along regional, ethnic and ideological grounds. All these disparate actors united immediately prior to the war in hopes that they could defend the country from Japan. The brutality of Japan’s occupation further ingrained Chinese nationalism into the national consciousness. In doing so, Japan made it possible for Mao and the CCP to unify China after the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949).

Much later on, after it abandoned communist dogma, this strong sense of Chinese nationalism became the ideological pillar of the CCP’s rule. It continues to be the regime’s dominant ideology to this very day, and Japan is often the impetus the CCP uses to stoke it.

But Japan’s invasion of China benefited the CCP long before contemporary times. Indeed, it’s virtually inconceivable that the CCP would’ve come to power at all had it not been for Imperial Japan’s invasion. Before the second Sino-Japanese War commenced, the Communist Party was locked in a death struggle with Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT. The CCP fared poorly in this conflict, suffering repeated defeats at the hands of the Nationalists.

By the end of 1934, the CCP was on the verge of extinction after KMT troops delivered another heavy blow to the Red Army in Jiangxi Province, which forced the party to undertake the now infamous Long March to Xi'an in the northwestern province of Shaanxi. Chiang initially pursued the Communist forces, and would have almost certainly delivered a final blow to the CCP if war with Japan could have been delayed. As it turned out, Chiang was not able to put off the war with Japan any longer, and domestic and international pressure forced him to accept a tacit alliance with the CCP against Japan.

The war with Japan devastated the Nationalist forces, which bore the brunt of fighting Japan, even as it rejuvenated the CCP. Over the course of the war, the CCP went from being on the verge of defeat to flourishing as it had never done before. Its guerilla warfare against the Japanese occupiers helped bolster local support for the party, allowing it to establish a rural base. The Maoist guerilla warfare tactics also allowed the CCP to preserve its strength for the inevitable civil war with the Nationalists. Both factors proved crucial following Japan’s defeat, when the CCP would mobilize its new base to successfully defeat the Nationalists under Chiang. By the end of 1949, the CCP had control over most of mainland China.

While Mao was successful in consolidating CCP control over China, his subsequent policies devastated the country. By the time of his death, the great hardships that the Chinese suffered under Mao’s reign had greatly sapped the CCP’s legitimacy. Mao’s rule also saw China become even more backwards relative to its neighbors.

Thus, following Mao’s death and the arrest of the Gang of Four, Deng Xiaoping and the Eight Immortals sought to shore up support by restoring the Four Modernizations. In doing so, senior-level CCP officials began taking study tours abroad to observe how other countries’ economies operated. From this, they grasped just how far behind China had fallen economically, and realized that acquiring foreign assistance would be essential for successfully modernizing quickly. As Deng termed it: “Recently our comrades had a look abroad. The more we see, the more we realize how backward we are.”

Lin Hujia, deputy head of the Shanghai Revolutionary Committee, led a delegation of Chinese economic officials to Japan for a nearly month-long visit in March and April 1978. Upon their return, the delegation reported on Japan’s economic progress and its willingness to help China modernize. Immediately after, bilateral negotiations over a peace treaty were accelerated after years of gridlock. A treaty was signed in August, and Deng himself famously visited Japan in October 1978. He was the first Chinese leader to ever visit the country. During the trip, Deng said that he had come to Japan to find the “secret magic drug,” which he explained was how to modernize one’s economy.

Deng’s trip accelerated Sino-Japanese economic ties considerably. A trade relationship developed whereby Japan would sell China advanced technology in return for natural resources. Already by the late 1970s Japan accounted for 25 percent of China’s entire trade. By the mid-1980s, this figure had grown to 30 percent. Altogether, bilateral trade would grow more than tenfold in the twenty years between 1979 and 1999. Although more gradual at first, Japan’s foreign direct investment (FDI) picked up after the signing of the bilateral investment protection pact in 1988. As a result, Japan’s FDI in China grew from 50.7 billion yen ($497 million) in 1990 to 421.8 billion yen ($4.1 billion) in 1995.

The Japanese government played a pivotal role in fostering these economic ties. Between 1979 and 1997, the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund (OECF), the Japanese government's development financing arm, gave China 2.54 trillion yen ($24.9 billion) in long-term, low-interest loans. In addition, Japan's External Trade Organization established offices in China to encourage Japanese firms to set up training programs in China. As Ezra Vogel has remarked, “During Deng's years at the helm, no country played a greater role in assisting China build its industry and infrastructure than Japan.”

The Marshall Mission and early Nationalist successes (1945–46)

The stage was set for renewal of the civil war, but it initially appeared that a negotiated settlement between the Nationalists and the Communists might be possible. Even before the Japanese surrender had been finalized, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek had issued a series of invitations to Communist leader Mao Zedong to meet with him in Chongqing to discuss reuniting and rebuilding the country. On August 28, 1945, Mao, accompanied by American ambassador Patrick Hurley, arrived in Chongqing. On October 10, 1945, the two parties announced that they had reached an agreement in principle to work for a united and democratic China. A pair of committees were to be convened to address the military and political issues that had not been resolved by the initial framework agreement, but serious fighting between government and Communist troops erupted before those bodies could meet.

U.S. Pres. Harry S. Truman responded to the outbreak of violence by dispatching George C. Marshall to China in December 1945. The Marshall Mission succeeded in bringing both sides back to the negotiating table, and on January 10, 1946, an armistice was concluded between the government and the Communists. On January 31 the Political Consultative Conference, a body composed of representatives from across the Chinese political spectrum, reached agreements on the following points: reorganization of the government and broadening its representation convocation of a national assembly on May 5, 1946, to adopt a constitution principles for political, economic, and social reform and unification of military command. In late February Marshall brokered an agreement on military force integration and reduction—the Chinese army would consist of 108 divisions (90 government and 18 Communist) under the overall command of a national ministry of defense. Before any of these agreements could be put into practice, renewed fighting broke out in Manchuria. The withdrawal of Soviet occupation troops in March–April 1946 triggered a scramble Nationalist troops occupied Mukden (Shenyang) on March 12, while the Communists consolidated their hold throughout northern Manchuria. After government troops took Changchun on May 23, a 15-day truce was declared in Manchuria from June 6 to June 22. Fighting intensified elsewhere, however, as government and Communist troops clashed in Jehol (Chengde), northern Kiangsu (Jiangsu), northeastern Hopeh (Hebei), and southeastern Shantung (Shandong).

Marshall and John Leighton Stuart, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador, tried to bring the two sides together in late August to discuss a coalition government, but the effort was fruitless, as neither side wished to give up its military gains. In late September 1946 Nationalist troops laid siege to Kalgan, a major Communist base, and lead Communist negotiator Zhou Enlai responded by withdrawing from peace talks. Kalgan fell to the Nationalists on October 11, and on October 21, Zhou was persuaded to return to the restored Nationalist capital at Nanking (Nanjing) for further negotiations. To induce the Communists and other parties to join the new National Assembly, Chiang issued a qualified cease-fire order on November 11 and postponed the opening of the assembly from November 12 to November 15. On November 20, Zhou flew from Nanking to the Communist stronghold at Yan’an. On December 4 Zhou wired Marshall that “if the Kuomintang would immediately dissolve the illegal National Assembly now in session, and restore the troop positions of January 13 [1946] the negotiations between the two parties may still make a fresh start.”

On December 25, 1946, the National Assembly, without the Communists or the left wing of the centrist Democratic League, adopted a new constitution. Combining features of both presidential and parliamentary systems with Sun Yat-sen’s Five-Power Constitutional democracy, it was to be put into effect on December 25, 1947. Until the new constitution was enacted and a new president elected, the Nationalists would continue to be the ruling party.

Did Mao Zedong and Chinese communists collude with the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War? - History

Mao Zedong, commonly known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Take a look below for 30 more fascinating and interesting facts about Mao Zedong.

1. His theories, military strategies and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

2. Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan.

3. He had a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, and was particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and the May Fourth Movement of 1919.

4. He later adopted Marxism-Leninism while working at Peking University, and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China, leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927.

5. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet’s radical land policies, and ultimately became head of the Communist Party during the Long March.

6. Although the Communist Party of China temporarily allied with the Kuomintang under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War, China’s Civil War resumed after Japan’s surrender and, in 1949, Mao’s forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.

7. On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, a single party state controlled by the Communist Party of China.

8. In the following years, he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean war, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed “counter-revolutionaries,” and other perceived enemies of the state.

9. In 1957, he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China’s economy from agrarian to industrial. The campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of an estimated minimum of 45 million people between 1958 and 1962.

10. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove “counter-revolutionary” elements in Chinese society that lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao’s personality cult.

11. In 1972, Mao welcome American President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling the start of a policy of opening China to the world.

12. After years of bad health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82.

13. A controversial figure, Mao is seen as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history.

14. Mao is known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet and visionary.

15. His supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernizing the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing the life expectancy as China’s population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership.

16. His regime has also been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites.

17. Mao is responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims.

18. Mao’s father arranged his marriage to a 17 year old girl at the age of 14, in order to unite the two families. Mao never accepted the marriage and his wife Luo Yigu died in 1910.

19. In 1918, Mao became a certified teacher.

20. Unable to find work as a teacher, young Mao moved to Beijing and worked as a librarian’s assistant at a university.

21. Mao set up many labor camps in China, where millions of people were sent and killed.

22. Mao married four times in his life and had a total of ten children.

23. In the beginning of his rule, Mao’s reforms were a lot more liberal. For example, in 1956, he launched the Hundred Flowers Campaign which offered freedom of opinion and allowed others to express their thoughts.

24. During the early years of his leadership, some people believed that he had the spirit to drive a revolution but that he didn’t have the ability to run a country.

25. Many of the Mao inspired revolutions destroyed China’s national heritage and created economic and social disaster across the country.

26. As did most Chinese intellectuals of his generation, Mao’s education began with Chinese classical literature.

27. Mao told Edgar Snow in 1936 that he had started the study of the Confucian Analects and the Four Books at a village school when he was eight years old, but that the books he most enjoyed reading were Water Margin, Journey to the West, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dream of the Red Chamber.

28. Mao published poems in classical forms starting in his youth and his abilities as a poet contributed to his image in China after he came to power in 1949.

29. His poetry style was influenced by the great Tang dynasty poets Li Bai and Li He.

30. Some of Mao’s most well known poems are Changsha, The Double Ninth, Loushan Pass, The Long March, Snow, The PLA Captures Nanjing, Reply to Li Shuyi, and Ode to the Plum Blossom.

How did Mao Zedong manage to win The Chinese Civil War?

I know that Nationalist China was weakend by the japanese a lot ,but they still managed the hold the most important and populated segments of China after all. So what were the main reasons of them losing the war even when they had the edge over the communists?

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There are a few main reasons.

The first would be Mao's land reform, which was immensely popular, which helped to gain him the peasantry's support, which is something the Kuomintang wouldn't of been able to do, Mao had previously cooperated with local peasant associations (early 1940s) to reduce rent and taxation (so that he didn't completely alienate the landlords, heɽ do that later). The CCP were also able to provide famine relief, revive the silk industry and production cooperatives. He also gained support through 'speak bitterness' trials, which later evolved into 'struggle sessions' (after the war), where the peasants would be encouraged to publicly humiliate landlords for class crimes (like owning land).

Another is the failure of nationalists to properly rally support, from their own country and other powers. After the nationalists had reconquered land that the CCP had taken theyɽ often just reinstall the previously humiliated landlords, which would obviously upset the peasantry. The reconquering of land can be summarised as the nationalists bring corruption, neglect and chaos. Furthermore Chaing Kai Shek continued to cooperate with administrators who had worked with the Japanese, which would've obviously weakened his aim to be a nationalist icon. Additionally the GMT originally had a huge amount of support from the USA but as the USA's foreign focus were constantly elsewhere (Europe) and the corruption that plagued the Kuomintang made the USA only willing to continue to support them, in spirit, because of their fear of soviet influence in China.

Another failure of the nationalists would be hyperinflation, the nationalists printed money to fund the war effort, which inevitably created hyperinflation. This resulted in waves of strikes (e.g. in Shangai in 1947) and a steady rise in unemployment. The government tried to implement wage and price fixing, but these both failed, eventually they attempted to stabilise the currency with gold but this was short lived as they over-printed the new currency which led to hyperinflation again. Essentially the nationalists got their strength from urban areas, and as they failed to reduce the widespread corruption, and other issues, they alienated a large percentage of the population who had previously supported them.

The final factor that I'll be talking about would be the actual army. The communist army possessed a much higher morale fueled by a revolutionary zeal, by comparison the nationalists used forced conscription, and had incredibly high desertion rates, with conditions brutal and rations poor. The CCP would retreat whenever they encountered superior numbers and only attack to wear the enemy down.

This is only the second time I am contributing here so if this answer doesn't fit, I feel free to remove or correct it.

This is a complex issue, but I would say it is primarily down to Mao being the right man at the right time, and Chiang Kai Shek being incompetent in dealing with his own weaknesses, and ineffective in using his strengths.

Mao Zedong, through a mixture of personal talent and political instinct was able to withstand and eventually overcome the many obstacles put in his way by the Nationalist government of China. On the other hand, Chiang Kai Shek, who you might know was the leader of the Guomindang or nationalists, was unable to make use of his own advantages as a result of a combination of personal failure and external pressures. To understand the roots of the ultimate communist victory, we have to look at the course of the Chinese civil war(s) from 1927 to 49. In the Jiangxi period from 1927 to 1934, Mao established himself as a key figure and leader in the CCP and through ideological and military reforms allowed it to survive, while Chiang Kai Shek’s inability to do so caused his failure in completely destroying the CCP. After being driven from Jiangxi, concluding the long march with the arrival of the CCP army led by Mao in Yan’an in 1935, the second period began. This saw Mao refining his ideology and consolidating his power while the second sino Japanese war raged throughout the country, degrading the GMD’s power and legitimacy. Once World War Two ended in 1945, the second Chinese civil war erupted, in which the CCP used the few advantages they had to their fullest, in order to survive. This then allowed them to defeat the GMD, who were weakened by economic and social issues, as well as the ineptitude of their leader Chiang Kai shek. Mao Zedong’s policies and strategy consistently and correctly assessed and addressed the situation in the country, while Chiang’s own strategy failed to solve fundamental problems, that would ultimately lead to his downfall.

Mao’s brand of guerilla warfare and development of rural communism allowed him to excel under the circumstances of the Jiangxi period between 1927 and 1934, while Chiang’s grand strategy was the primary factor hindering him. It can be claimed, with certainty, that Guerilla warfare and a policy of seeking peasant support facilitated the CCP’s survival in rural Jiangxi, even through successive military attacks. These ideas of rural communism and guerilla warfare were those of Mao. Mao, who initially diverged from the party line in pursuing a ruralist strategy and distrusting the GMD, was vindicated in his views by Chiang’s betrayal of the CCP in the Shanghai massacre and the following white terror. The attempts of the party leadership in fighting a conventional war over the control of the cities failed, while Mao’s talent for strategy became evident through the success of his ideas in building and maintaining the Jiangxi soviet. Through his strategies he enabled the survival of the CCP, who, driven from their traditional urban bases, had nowhere to go except the safe haven he built in Jiangxi, in the south of China. Mao was then also able to, through guerilla warfare, defend this base from a superior force in four attempted encirclement campaigns by the nationalists. However, to give Mao all the credit here would be to ignore the also crucial role in the survival of the CCP played by Chiang Kai Shek who failed to destroy the communists, perhaps even more importantly, due to his own faults.

Chiang’s lack of effective strategy and political control over the country allowed the CCP to survive and escape. This can be seen when GMD were troops repeatedly beaten back by guerilla warfare, with four encirclement campaigns ending in failure. Yet, Chiang didn’t improve his strategy on his own. His lack of political control came back to bite him when a warlord, supposedly fighting on his side, allowed the CCP to escape on the long march in 1934. This made an almost certain victory in the fifth encirclement campaign a failure in its goal of finally destroying the CCP. Even this eventual half-victory was not due to Chiang, but to the German general von Seeckt and foreign support, advising him to use a slower blockhouse strategy to strangle the CCP. Because of this, it can be said that the GMD had the potential for military success, but their leadership was incompetent. While his army were successful in driving the communists from their base, Chiang himself had failed. This failure becomes even more apparent in regards to his political strategy. Chiang had contributed to uniting large parts of China via bribery rather than the conquest of the many warlords that ruled over much of the country. As a result of this, he hadn’t consolidated his rule over China, with large sections of his army consisting of warlord troops who didn’t fight as effectively as the GMD’s own troops who, in their lack of loyalty to the central government, let the communists escape. This performance was very much the opposite of Mao’s leadership style, which, from the start, consisted of centralising and consolidating his power in the party.

Since Reddit limits comment lengths I will have to split it into multiple comments

The GMD suffered in popular and militarily support because of the second Sino-Japanese war, while the communists gained in these areas. The GMD’s military decisions and performances were detrimental to their popular support. A great example of this can be found in the yellow river flood, which destroyed over four thousand villages in an attempt to slow the Japanese advance through China. The civilian populace was not warned, and the following mass deaths were detrimental to the GMD’s standing among the population. This was continually worsened by the GMD’s constant retreat during the war and apparent lack of dedication to recapturing land, instead waiting out an American victory of the Japanese without having to fight themselves. Meanwhile, communist guerillas infiltrated conquered areas of China and, through this, were effectively able to portray themselves as fighting the enemy and attempting to help the local people, thus making themselves look like the true patriots. This also allowed them to build bases all around the country in Japanese controlled areas, bases that would become useful later on. In this phase of Mao’s rise to power we can see a successful continuation of his guerilla tactics and policy of attempting to gain peasant support. However, during the war, the role of leaders during the rise of Mao, specifically with regards to GMD support, was perhaps less important since the enormous military pressure of the Japanese invasion and structural problems of the GMD armies, such as a lack of equipment, leadership and discipline. Combined, this made military resistance challenging.

Indeed Chiang Kai Shek faced more than just these external pressures that inhibited his leadership at this time. Key pressures continued to be internal as well, both independently of and as a result of his policies. Chiang was captured by the communists in the Xian incident (1936) where another disloyal warlord handed him over, forcing him to form a new united front to fight Japan. This was crucial to the CCP as Chiang could no longer focus on fighting the communists who additionally could portray themselves as the real nationalists, who were willing to release their greatest enemy if it meant fighting the foreign invaders more effectively. In this war that the GMD was arguably forced into by the CCP, the performance of the unprepared GMD armies, who were acting according to an alternative strategy of trading space for time, becomes understandable in this context. Meanwhile, Mao continued to make use of these circumstances for his own gain.

Mao’s strategy laid the groundwork for future CCP successes through popular land reform policies, political consolidation and military expansion. Mao purged the party of people disloyal to him in the rectification campaigns (1941 - 44), and through his ruralist ideas was successful in recruiting peasants. The influence of Maoism allowed the CCP to form a stable and united government which rested on at least some degree of popular support, unlike Chiang’s. These factors would become important in the coming civil war, in which the CCP started in a far better position than it had been in at the end of the long march. This was however also due to large amounts of captured Japanese equipment being handed over to the CCP by the Russian armies in Manchuria, putting them in a position to fight the GMD.

Leaders became paramount in the second civil war. This becomes evident when viewing the factors that stood in each side's favour in 1945/6. The GMD started the war with superior numbers, equipment and the support of a superpower - the USA. The CCP was stronger than they had been before, but were still inferior in every military aspect, aside for leadership. Chiang Kai Shek, after peace talks broke down, immediately began an offensive into the communist occupied areas of Manchuria, taking key cities but not the countryside. The communists exploited this to use their guerrilla tactics once more to disrupt GMD supply lines into Manchuria, thus cutting off over two hundred thousand of the best GMD troops in sieges throughout Manchuria. Chiang Kai Shek decided to direct the battles himself, but from a distance, depriving his front commanders of initiative and demanding that the troops hold out, believing erroneously, much like Hitler in Stalingrad, that he could supply them by air. His generals, appointed based much more on personal loyalty than merit, were no match for experienced communist commanders whom Mao allowed significant freedom while maintaining agreement on the core strategy, again demonstrating the success of his own political consolidation and Chiang’s failure in his attempts to do so. There was also the nature of support for both sides to consider, specifically the effects of runaway inflation on the bases of support.

The Historian Johnathan Spence emphasises in his analysis the role played by the runaway inflation in the post war years in damaging Chiang’s regime. His view has been challenged by the Norwegian Odd Arne Westad who argues that the effect of inflation on CCP’s successes was not as severe because the majority of China consisted of rural peasants, who, being on the fringes of the world economy, were not affected by inflation in a major way. This argument can however be countered convincingly when we consider that the GMD acquired most of their support and funding from the urban elites and middle class, the groups who would be most hard hit by inflation and whose money devalued significantly as a result. Therefore inflation, while perhaps not as important for the majority of the population, certainly played a role in the difficulties of the nationalist government. Despite this, the war was, of course, decided in the battlefield and in this specific conflict, as previously elaborated, leadership skills were the key difference between the sides that gave an advantage to the CCP. Westad summarised it quite well “the civil war is first of all the story of how the GMD leaders, by their decisions, squandered most of the relative advantages they had in 1945, while Mao Zedong and his colleagues gained the minimum support needed first to survive Jiang's offensives against them and then, as the GMD weakened, to launch military strikes of their own”.

The roles played by Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai shek are therefore central to why the communists won the war in the end. Mao’s own approach to revolution and worldview fit well with the situation he found himself in and he consistently led the CCP effectively and successfully throughout the time period. Chiang on the other hand was not able to use his own advantages to their fullest by neglecting to rally the population behind a centralised government. This in addition to mounting foreign and domestic pressures prevented him of destroying the communists and winning the war. Once Chiang had lost his best troops in Manchuria, and faced organised communist opposition and eroding domestic support, it was almost a only matter of time for the nationalists to be defeated.

Westad, Odd Arne. Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750. Basic Books, 2015.

Spence, Jonathan D. The Search for Modern China. W. W. Norton & Company, 1991.

Did Mao Zedong and Chinese communists collude with the Japanese during the Sino-Japanese War? - History

Mao Zedong (1893-1976) was one of the historic figures of the twentieth century. A founder of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party), he played a major role in the establishment of the Red Army and the development of a defensible base area in Jiangxi province during the late 1920s and early 1930s. He consolidated his rule over the Party in the years after the Long March and directed overall strategy during the Sino-Japanese War and the civil war. He formally assumed the post of Party Chairman in 1945. His reliance on the peasantry (a major departure from prevailing Soviet doctrine) and dependence on guerrilla warfare in the revolution were essential to the Communist triumph in China.

Following the establishment of the PRC (People's Republic of China) in 1949, Mao was responsible for many of the political initiatives that transformed the face of China. These included land reform, the collectivization of agriculture, and the spread of medical services. In particular, this leader of the revolution remained alert to what he saw to be new forms of oppression and sensitive to the interests of the oppressed. In 1958 he advocated a self-reliant "Great Leap Forward" campaign in rural development. The failure of the Leap led Mao to turn many responsibilities over to other leaders (Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, etc.) and to withdraw from active decision making.

During the early 1960s, Mao continued his restless challenge of what he perceived as new forms of domination (in his words, "revisionism," or "capitalist restoration"). In foreign policy he led China's divorce from the Soviet Union. Domestically, he became increasingly wary of his subordinates' approach to development, fearing that it was fostering deep social and political inequalities. When Liu, Deng, and others seemed to be ignoring his call to "never forget class struggle," Mao in 1966 initiated the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," exploiting discontent among some students (the "Red Guards") and others. The Cultural Revolution was successful in removing many who opposed his policies but led to serious disorder, forcing Mao to call in the military to restore order in 1967.

In 1969 Mao designated Defense Minister Lin Biao, a Cultural Revolution ally, as his heir apparent. But Mao came to have doubts about Lin and soon challenged him politically. One of the issues of debate was the opening to the United States, advocated by Mao and Zhou Enlai as a counter to the Soviet Union. In 1971 Lin was killed in a plane crash while fleeing China after an alleged assassination attempt on Mao.

Until his death, a failing Mao refereed a struggle between those who benefited from the Cultural Revolution and defended its policies, and rehabilitated veterans who believed that the Cultural Revolution had done China serious harm. It seemed for a while that the veterans, led by Deng Xiaoping, had won the day. But the radicals, either by manipulating Mao or by appealing to his basic instincts, regained momentum after Zhou Enlai's death in January 1976. Mao chose the more centrist Hua Guofeng to carry on his vision. Four weeks after Mao's death, Hua led the arrest of major radical figures, four of whom — Zhang Chunqiao, Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, and Yao Wenyuan — were dubbed a "gang."

The post-Mao era has seen a reversal of much that Mao stood for and the eclipse of many individuals, living and dead, that he stood behind. His leadership, especially the Cultural Revolution initiative, has been hotly debated. In June 1981 the Party Central Committee approved a resolution that criticized Mao's rule after 1958, but affirmed his place as a great leader and ideologist of the Chinese Communist revolution.

From Focus on Asian Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1 (New York: The Asia Society, 1984). © 1984 The Asia Society. Reprinted with permission.

Zhou Enlai (1898-1976) was, for decades, one of the most prominent and respected leaders of the Communist movement. Born into an upper-class family, he was drawn into the vortex of Chinese politics during the May Fourth Movement. In 1920 he traveled to Europe on a work-study program in which he met a number of future CCP leaders. He joined the Party in 1922 and returned to China in 1924, becoming the political commissar of the Whampoa Military Academy in Canton during the first united front with the Nationalists. He was in charge of labor union activity in Shanghai when Chiang Kaishek attacked the CCP in April 1927 and helped to plan the Nanchang Uprising against the Nationalists in August — the event now celebrated as the founding of the CCP's Red Army.

But Zhou was always most prominent during periods in which the CCP reached out to otherwise hostile political forces. He played an important role in securing Chiang Kaishek's release during the Xian (Sian) Incident of December 1936. Once the Nationalists and CCP had formed a second united front to oppose Japanese imperialism, it was Zhou who headed the CCP liaison team. Similarly, Zhou represented the CCP in negotiations with the Nationalists during the mediation effort of U.S. General George Marshall.

After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, Zhou became premier of the Government Affairs (later State) Council and foreign minister. In 1955 he acted as China's bridge to the nonaligned world at the Bandung Conference, and in the same year helped engineer initial contacts with the U.S. He passed the foreign minister portfolio to Chen Yi in 1958 but continued to play an active role in foreign policy.

Zhou supported Mao Zedong in the latter's Cultural Revolution attack on the entrenched Party bureaucracy, and subsequently played a critical role in rebuilding political institutions and mediating numerous political quarrels. With the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Zhou advocated an opening to Japan and the West to counter the Russian threat. Zhou welcomed President Nixon to China in February 1972, and signed the historic Shanghai Communiqué for the PRC. That same year Zhou was diagnosed as having cancer, and he began shedding some of his responsibilities, especially to Deng Xiaoping who was rehabilitated in April 1973. Zhou was also a strong advocate of modernization, particularly at the Fourth National People's Congress in January 1975. Amid radical attacks on him during the Anti-Confucius Campaign, Zhou entered the hospital during 1974 and died on January 8, 1976.

Zhou continued to affect Chinese politics even after his death. In April 1976, the removal of memorial wreaths placed in Tiananmen Square in Zhou's honor sparked riots that led to the second ousting of Deng Xiaoping. With the purge of the "Gang of Four" in October 1976, his policy of "four modernizations" received the full endorsement of the new leadership. His selected works were published in December 1980, and three years later a memorial room for him was established in Mao's mausoleum.

From Focus on Asian Studies, Vol. IV, No. 1 (New York: The Asia Society, 1984). © 1984 The Asia Society. Reprinted with permission.

Born in 1904, Deng Xiaoping (d. 1997) was one of the first generation of Chinese Communist Party leaders. He held prominent positions in the government in the 1950s and 1960s, but he was removed from office and imprisoned during the years of the Cultural Revolution, 1966-76. His family was persecuted. Deng Xiaoping reemerged as China's paramount leader shortly after the death of Mao Zedong in 1976.

Deng Xiaoping's goal in 1976 was to set China back on the course of economic development that had been badly interrupted during the final years of Mao's leadership. Deng's rallying cry became the "Four Modernizations," articulated by Zhou Enlai in 1975, which entailed the development of industry, agriculture, defense, and science and technology. He set the course of reform by dismantling the communes set up under Mao and replaced them with the Household Responsibility System (HRS), within which each household must be held accountable to the state for only what it agrees to produce, and is free to keep surplus output for private use. In addition to this program, which was an incentive for households to produce more, Deng encouraged farmers to engage in private entrepreneurship and sideline businesses in order to supplement their incomes.

Deng Xiaoping said that "practice is the sole criterion of truth," and believed that only by experimenting with alternative forms of production and entrepreneurial activity would China find the best path for economic development. Thus began China's experiments with capitalist methods of production. As Deng said, "it does not matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches the mouse" it no longer matters if an economic policy is capitalist or socialist, in other words, as long as it results in economic growth.

Deng also wanted to set up an arrangement whereby leadership succession would take place according to legal guidelines rather than personality struggles. In general, he hoped to establish a social and political order governed by "rule by law, not by man." Even after he had retired from his formal positions, Deng encouraged his aging comrades to follow this example. Deng's commitment to replacing the aging leaders suffered a setback, however. When faced with demands for political reforms by students and citizens throughout China in 1989, Deng ordered the military to move in and clear Tiananmen Square, where they were demonstrating for greater freedom of speech and press, and greater accountability on the party of government. Pro-reform leaders like Zhao Ziyang were removed from office and many of the retired leaders, many of whom did not support Zhao's reform effort, returned to power after June 4, 1989.

Economically, China has entered a very difficult period characterized by unemployment and general uncertainty. Also unclear is how history will view the role and achievements of Deng Xiaoping in light of the events at Tiananmen Square.

China and Japan at War: Suffering and Survival, 1937-1945 日中戦争−−1937−1945年苦悩と生存

The Resistance War (Banian kangRi zhanzheng) of 1937-45 was one of the greatest upheavals in Chinese history. It was a time of courage and sacrifice and a time of suffering and loss. Virtually the entire country was engulfed by war. All of China&rsquos major cities were occupied, as were the eastern and northeastern regions and much of the southeast. The national government was forced to move inland. Almost every family and community was affected by war. Tens of millions of people took flight. Between 20 million and 30 million soldiers and civilians died during the war.

Wars are the fracture lines of social history. We use the phrases &lsquopre-war&rsquo, &lsquoante bellum&rsquo, and &lsquopost-war&rsquo in looking at European or American history as a recognition of the fundamental changes that wars produce in societies. Wars are often the death knell of an old social order, the grim handmaidens for the birth of new ones. This process does not happen in a planned or systematic way on a political or ideological blue print. The hallmark of war is chaos. War attacks the social fabric and brings loss of cohesion and fragmentation to systems and institutions that seemed solid and resistant to change in times of peace.

Here I propose to consider the effects of the war on Chinese society &ndash not at why the war happened or at how it was fought or who was to blame for it. This means viewing the war through the eyes of the people who were on the receiving end of aggression, the Chinese in all their variety and their different circumstances, the people whose society was turned upside down.

The pretext for war, the casus belli, may not be reflected in what follows. Japan attacked China in 1937 in the name of containing communism, preventing its export from the USSR in to China. China never gave much credence to this justification for the invasion, not least because Japanese forces made only one aggressive move against the USSR, at Nomonhan in Mongolia, in 1938. The result was disastrous for Japan. Rather than attack the communist Soviet Union, Japan attacked the anti-Communist Guomindang (GMD) which ruled China. By the end of the war the pretext of attacking communism was not only threadbare but contradictory by 1945 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), far stronger than it had ever been, was poised for success in the subsequent Civil War. The political beneficiary of the war was the CCP it came to power in the aftermath of the war, hardened by the war, and ready to take on the GMD.

Japanese forces on the march at Nomonhan

The Resistance War left a devastated society. The regional variations were great, but this did not mean that any regions escaped the impact of the war. This damage was the pre-condition the CCP needed to launch the new society, one that Mao would later describer as `poor and blank (yiqiong erbai)&rsquo, a clean slate on which to launch their visions of a new world. And the war also gave the CCP the tool it needed to get the people behind it &ndash mass mobilisation. The first acts of political mobilisation with the form of resistance to Japan can be traced to the May 4 th Movement (1919), followed by stronger forms after the 1931 seizure of Manchuria. At the start of the war the GMD and the CCP both took up mobilisation in the name of national resistance by the end of the war the CCP, operating mainly in occupied areas, where the need for mobilisation for resistance was greatest, had made its version of nationalism and socialism into a huge movement.

The Japanese threat to China had been growing for so long that when it actually materialized, the invasion itself was not a shock. What was a shock was the scale of the attack, the fierceness of the fighting, and the devastation of the bombing. The onslaught produced a great wave of patriotism. The war was at the start a patriotic war, a war of resistance in which much of the population was involved.

The patriotic slogans came from the top, but they reflected mass feelings. The early months of fighting had a tremendously stimulating effect. For the first time, patriotism transcended regionalism, localism, and familism. The war was seen as a race war in which Chinese were being attacked as a people by aggressors who seemed to regard the Chinese as a lower order. A new national spirit (guoqing) blossomed. All the efforts of intellectuals and students to raise the spirit of nationalism, efforts that had been going on since the May 4 th Movement in 1919, now came to fruition &ndash and at a far higher pitch than anyone had imagined possible.

The Japanese invasion made most Chinese into nationalists the old responsibilities to the family came second. Deng Yu, who died in August in the failed defence of Beiping, left a message to his mother before he went off to fight: &lsquoI cannot fulfill filial piety and loyalty to the country at the same time. Please pardon me if death befalls me.&rsquo

The national spirit and the unity forged at the level of the state bloomed at the same time that the bedrock of society, the family, was being broken down by the chaos of war. The upheaval and flight, the abandonment of home and possessions, and the sudden impoverishment and destitution created by the war were seen as sacrifices for the nation.

The fighting and bombing in the second half of 1937 set off massive civilian evacuations and flights in to exile. The waves of refugees paralleled the spring of the fighting. More than 100,000 people fled into the foreign concessions in Shanghai in October and November as the Japanese attack on the Chinese parts of the city intensified. All through the lower Yangzi, civilian populations fled in panic as the fighting came closer.

Chinese nationalist troops in action against Japan

Bombing was the trigger for much of the panic flight. The day after bombs fell on Fenyang (Shanxi), the patrician Ji family took to the roads, leaving a life of comfort and high status, heading for Wuhan. Eight-yer &ndashold Ji Chaozhu made the long journey mostly on foot:

We had to share sleeping kangs with smelly strangers, and eat our meals on the dirt floors of their tiny cottages, shooing away the dogs and chickens that pestered everyone for scraps. No one in our family had ever known anything less than privilege and prosperity. I could see in my parents&rsquo exhausted faces the toll this was taking, but they remained stoic through the inconveniences and discomfort.

Woodblock image of the 1941 bombing of Chongqing

Many people fled out of fear of what would happen to members of their families. Young girls were especially vulnerable to the incoming forces. Their parents would try to get them out of places about to fall to the Japanese, hearing rumours of what happened in many of the major cities that were occupied in late 1937. In Suzhou, more than 2,000 young girls were taken away as &lsquocomfort women&rsquo &ndash or sex slaves &ndash after Japanese troops took the city in November. The rumours about the danger posed to women were blood-curdling, enough to get families to flee in panic.

Some of the people who fled from the areas occupied by Japanese troops left not because they were panic-stricken but because they refused to live under the enemy. Some of these people were students and other young people leaving to fight for China. Older intellectuals fled because they knew they would be in trouble under the Japanese. The remnant Chinese armies withdrawn from the North also intended to resist, as did the evacuees from Shanghai &ndash merchants, factory owners, workers, journalists and actors &ndash and moved inland to defy the invaders.

The total number of refugees produced by the war is difficult to calculate. Figures given after the war vary from 20 million to nearly 100 million, or almost a quarter of the population. It was one of the greatest upheavals in Chinese history. It tore the fabric of society to ribbons.

Refugees establish new homes. Yan Han woodblock print

The war brought to Chinese society a universality of suffering. At its end so many people had been killed or deeply injured &ndash soldiers, their families, the victims of bombing and of scorched earth actions, the survivors of the economic chaos, the forced labourers, the comfort women, the orphans &ndash that much of the whole society was suffused with loss. There were bitter recriminations against the few who had not suffered, or were in better material circumstances &ndash because their `happy&rsquo situation was a by-product of their accommodation with the occupiers or of profiteering.

At the end of the war Chinese society was riddled by mistrust. The natural trust between individuals and groups that had been the glue of traditional society was gone, broken by the war, eroded, undermined, and betrayed in a myriad of ways. The old social elites had either disappeared from the occupied areas or had lived with the Japanese in various degrees of accommodation. In the unoccupied areas, social trust had been undermined by separation, deprivation and loss of morale. The loss of trust was epitomised by the growth of official spying, whether the Japanese secret police, or the GMD&rsquos and CCP&rsquos spy systems. The optimistic, positive atmosphere of the early 1930s seemed to be lost forever. The atmosphere of mistrust was intensified under the early CCP, in a welter of political movements that demanded victims and forced people to distrust each other &ndash while making it easier for people to attack those with whom they no longer felt personal connections. The excesses of the Mao Era had their beginnings in the Resistance War.

The war destroyed much of the cohesion of Chinese society. This cohesion was already under threat in the early years of the Republic, as the old order weakened under the assault of militarism, political change and modernity. The war accelerated the process dramatically. The family declined in size. Functions that families performed for their members fell in to disuse &ndash communal housing, the provision of financial support, and aid in times of need. Periodic tasks of ritual significance could not be performed during the war: the choice of spouses for children by their parents, the naming of children, the proper burial of the dead. Family celebrations of the New Year, or the sweeping of the graves were often impossible in wartime the expense, the absence of key members and the impropriety of enjoyment in war made it difficult to hold celebrations that solidified families and communities.

Counterpoised against the catalogue of social losses is a loftier, transcendent conception of the impact of war, which sees society uplifted by the courage and sacrifice of individuals. Warfare makes heroes. `Baptism by fire&rsquo, `steeled in battle&rsquo, are some of the many sayings, in English and Chinese, that suggest that war and the loss and suffering it brings is positive, that people come into their own when they are faced with challenges and danger and then go on to transcend them. This is the basis of ideas of heroism, on which in turn are based rewards for bravery and heroism, medals, commemorations, war memorials.

Communist 8 th Route Army grows grain. Gu Yuan woodblock

Few Chinese soldiers were recognized as heroes at the end of the war. There was a general reluctance to name or celebrate heroes, or to commemorate the dead. Perhaps the scale was too vast. A more likely reason is that both the GMD and the CCP, by now the only two players in Chinese politics, were preoccupied with their own internecine struggle. The war ended with the imminent threat of civil war, not with recognition of the dead or with the return of heroes to their grateful homes.

For ordinary people there was not much to celebrate. China was not gripped by the wild joy that flooded over many of the nations that were on the winning side in the Second World War. At the end of the war in China one of the most common feelings was simply relief for the people that had survived when so many had not. The reasons for survival were often mundane. Location was a critical one. People were more likely to survive if they lived in a northern city, or in Manchuria or Taiwan, places where the Japanese occupation was less harsh than elsewhere, wartime survival was not difficult &ndash the problems came afterwards, when the people who had stayed had to explain themselves to those who had fled. Age was another key reason. Young civilians were more resilient, more likely to be able to flee, to escape from the enemy. Youth was a double-edged sword. Young men were also more likely to be drafted in to the army, or taken for slave labour. And wealth, at least at the start of the war, was a key factor in survival. The wealthy could afford to flee they were more likely to have connections away from home, even in the foreign concessions. Perhaps the key reason for survival was resilience, the ability to overcome hardships. The resilience that many people showed came in part from dredging deep in to the Chinese tradition of endurance. This was the strength of the Chinese people. But what was clear, even amongst those who demonstrated great resilience, was that very few people had escaped the impact of war.

The transcendence of trauma has been an almost commonplace feature of modern Chinese history. The endurance and toughness with which millions of people have endured terrible hardships and still kept going, with dogged determination, is something that fills foreign observers with admiration. Many millions of Chinese survived the war, as proud, tough people. These were the ones who went on to be on the winning side in the civil war, and the less-certain ones who stayed on in China in 1949, not quite knowing what the future would bring, but assuming that it must be better than what they had just been through. The people who left the Mainland in 1949 were just as determined to survive, but they were terribly battered by their experiences in the civil war. And they were at first devastated by how much they had lost. But the worlds they created in Taiwan and Hong Kong turned out, over the duration, to be two quite different but equally successful combinations of the Chinese tradition and modernity.

The most momentous outcome of the war was the communist victory, the victory of the socialist revolution. Mao Zedong was clear about this. In 1972, on the first visit of a Japanese leader to China since the war, Mao responded to Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei&rsquos stilted efforts at a veiled apology by virtually thanking him for Japan&rsquos invasion of China. &lsquoIf Japan hadn&rsquot invaded China, the Chinese Communist Party would not have been victorious moreover, we would never be meeting today. This is the dialectic of history.

Mao and Tanaka, 1972

The desperation of the war set the stage for a confident, tough, remorseless revolutionary movement to take over the nation that had rejected it so decisively a little over a decade before, whose then government had harried it almost to distinction. The communists had steeled themselves after their defeat in Jiangxi and the calvary of the Long March never to be beaten again, never to be humiliated again. The war gave them the opportunity to prepare themselves to take over the whole nation.

The social damage and dislocation of the war was fodder for the CCP. The old elites had lost so much of their wealth and prestige during the war that they were virtually &lsquoon the scrap heap of history&rsquo. Does this suggest that the war was a class war as well as a war of resistance, a war in which the proletariat triumphed over the old elites? Joshua Howard, in his ground-breaking Workers at War: labor in China&rsquos Arsenals, 1937-1953, suggests that it was. A more conventional view, current now among Chinese historians, is that during the war, patriotism subsumed class warfare. Another class-based interpretation is that the leaders of the old society were associated with abject failure during the war because they were overstretched to the point of collapse by the war, and they failed the people they were supposed to lead, at least to the extent that they could not protect them from the invading Japanese.

The war did give the CCP structural assistance in the class struggle. Beyond the losses of the war were all the things that did not happen because of the war &ndash the loss of careers, the loss of once secure futures, the investments that were not made. These &lsquophantom&rsquo losses left a great number of disappointed people, whose dreams and ambitions had been destroyed by the war.

Michael Ondaatje compared the war in Europe to a chasm, a deep rift that demarcated two worlds. In China, the chasm of the war was just as deep. The old world was gone for good, the new one in uncertain gestation. The sufferings of the war ingrained a tough, hard survivor mentality which put individual or small family survival ahead of the larger family and community.

The legacy of war is still working itself out in the memory and experiences of the Chinese people.

Diana Lary is Professor Emerita in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. This article is drawn from her most recent book The Chinese People at War. Human Suffering and Social Transformation, 1937-1945. A specialist on military history, her books include The Scars of War: the impact of war on Chinese Society (with Stephen MacKinnon), China&rsquos Republic, and China at War: Regions of China, 1937-1945 (with Stephen McKinnon and Ezra Vogel).

Recommended citation: Diana Lary, "China and Japan at War: Suffering and Survival, 1937-1945," The Asia-Pacific Journal, 48-2-10, November 29, 2010.

The Yan’an Soviet

If Shanghai was the birthplace of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) then Yan’an was the crucible of the communist revolution. Located in the northern province of Shaanxi, the Yan’an Soviet became the CCP’s base and headquarters between 1936 and 1948.


The Yan’an period included significant events like the 1936 Xian Incident, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Rectification Movement, contact with foreign visitors and the Civil War with the Nationalists.

Understanding the Yan’an period is necessary for tracking the development of the CCP, particularly the consolidation of Mao Zedong’s leadership and the formation of his ideology.

A 2013 article in Chinese newspaper the People’s Daily describes Yan’an as a “holy place for Chinese revolution”, where the “soul of the Chinese nation” was born. Communist mythology often refers to the ‘Yan’an Spirit’, a combination of determination, commitment and optimism about the communist cause.

There was also a darker side to Yan’an. It was the place where Mao Zedong established and extended his control over the party through ‘rectification’ and the sidelining or elimination of his opponents.


After the Long March the CCP spent months examining alternative bases in Shaanxi province. In 1936, they chose the town of Yan’an, with its distinctive yellow loess (a fertile silty soil), as the heart of the new Soviet.

In the first months at Yan’an, the CCP leadership remained in a state of flux. Mao Zedong ended the Long March ascendant over the Red Army but the leadership of the party was still in question.

Mao’s rivals included the 28 Bolsheviks, pro-Soviet led by Wang Ming, who had been sent from Moscow in 1937 to bring the CCP into line. Wang and his supporters wanted a Soviet model of proletarian revolution. In addition to the 28 Bolsheviks, there was also a clique of pro-Western liberals, the ideological children of the May Fourth movement.

Mao’s theories

Mao sought to win over both factions with his own ideas, which later evolved into a broader political philosophy known as ‘Mao Zedong Thought’.

Mao argued that Marxist-Leninist theory must be adapted to suit Chinese conditions, to win the hearts and minds of the peasantry so they might become the driving force of the revolution.

In Problems of Strategy in Guerrilla War (1938), Mao wrote that “China’s revolutionary war is waged in the specific environment of China and so it has its own specific circumstances and nature… we must value more the experience of China’s revolutionary war because there are many factors specific to the Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Red Army”.

Early period

Settling in Yan’an, Mao and other CCP cadres lived in small caves, a traditional dwelling in that part of northern China. The Shaanxi region was very poor – but for survivors of the Long March, life in the Yan’an caves was an improvement.

This early period nurtured feelings of camaraderie and achievement for many CCP and Red Army members. Some historians argue that the poverty of Shaanxi increased peasant radicalism, as villagers readily adopted CCP systems of land distribution and cultivation, health provision and education.

The good habits Mao had taught the Red Army back in Jiangxi helped gain the support of the peasantry. This stood in contrast to the corruption, lack of empathy and occasional brutality of the Nationalists.

Mao encouraged party leaders and intellectuals to live and work among the peasants. Historian Michael Lynch suggests the CCP did not gain followers through ideological conversion. Instead, “the peasants followed the Reds because of the way they were treated by them”.

While some of the growth in party membership was driven by coercion, “the fact remains that Yan’an marked a major propaganda victory for the Chinese Communists”.

Rising authoritarianism

The relative stability in Yan’an allowed Mao to spend a great deal of his time writing. Indeed, it was his most productive and prolific period as a revolutionary theorist.

The Yan’an Soviet also allowed Mao’s violent and authoritarian methods to flourish. In his 1940 essay On New Democracy, Mao outlined his plans for a ‘dictatorship of the people’ or ‘democratic dictatorship’. In this system, the people were involved in grassroots democratic processes but the party maintained total control at the higher levels.

Similarly, Mao’s theory of the ‘mass line’ – which argued that the party should “listen attentively to the voice of the masses” – sounded democratic in theory but was authoritarian in practice.


By the outbreak of World War II, Mao was the titular leader of the CCP but his control was not extensive. In 1941, he initiated the Rectification Movement, which lasted around three years.

Beginning as a program for study and discussion of Mao’s writings, rectification soon involved self-criticism or ‘struggle sessions’, where comrades were expected to publicly denounce their own failings.

With the help of Mao’s chief of security, Kang Sheng, rectification spiralled into a sweeping purge of party members, many of whom were tortured, imprisoned and even executed.

Late in the rectification movement, Mao was confronted by a backlash and admitted to “excesses”. But by 1944 his leadership was undisputed and Mao Zedong Thought was cemented as the party’s official ideology.

Yan’an propaganda

The brutality of rectification has been concealed by the CCP’s portrayal and of this period and its promotion of the ‘Yan’an Spirit’.

Foreign visitors contributed to this by reporting utopic visions of Yan’an. Journalist Edgar Snow and George Hatem, a doctor, were the first Americans to visit the Red Army base in 1936.

Snow remained for four months, interviewing Mao and others and observing life in the Yan’an Soviet. When Snow’s Red Star of China was published in 1937, it shaped American perceptions of the time. He portrayed the communists as austere and patriotic, praising them as “agrarian reformers”, and described the Long March as “one of the great exploits of military history”.

Between 1936 and 1939, some 19 foreign visitors made the trek to the Yan’an Soviet. Most returned with glowing reports. Among them were writer Agnes Smedley, who reportedly taught communist leaders to dance, and the Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune, who established mobile operating theatres in Yan’an. Few of these visitors spoke any Chinese, however, and they saw only what CCP hierarchs wanted them to see.

The ‘Dixie Mission’

In 1944, as the United States was escalating its war against Japan, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent several American military and diplomatic observers to Yan’an. Roosevelt’s government wanted to evaluate the CCP and its military strength, in comparison with Jiang Jieshi’s Nationalist government.

The Dixie Mission, as these visiting entourages were dubbed, also spoke highly of the communists. They suggested that in the event of a looming civil war, the CCP might actually win control of China. American envoys attempted to broker peace negotiations between the CCP and the Nationalists – but neither Jiang Jieshi or Mao himself was willing to adhere to any agreements.

In August 1945, shortly after the Japanese surrender, America’s newly appointed ambassador to China, Patrick Hurley, was able to bring Mao and Jiang together for six weeks of peace talks in Chongqing. Both sides declared their commitment to both a unified China and post-war reconstruction, however, the talks were awkward and achieved little.

By the end of 1945, the Guomindang and CCP were both manoeuvring for a resumption of the civil war.

A historian’s view:
“That long, serpentine journey of the ever more purified Long Marchers never lost its miraculous quality. The retreat into the caves [of Yan’an] created a brotherhood. The dissemination and spread of both unit organisation and texts rendered the enemies at the gates more vulnerable than their military power would suggest. These are the ingredients that came together in Yan’an, Mao’s republic, and suggest to us a form of revolutionary Platonism.”
David Ernest Apter

1. The Yan’an period was crucial to the development of CCP ideology and mythology, as well as the CCP’s eventual victory over the Nationalists in 1949.

2. During this time Mao wrote prolifically to develop his own revolutionary ideology, a theory of peasant-led revolution distinct from Bolshevik models. Some of his key ideas included the people’s dictatorship, the mass line and rectification.

3. Support for the party and the Red Army surged during this period, especially from the peasants who were dissatisfied with Nationalist corruption and mistreatment and admired the CCP’s commitment to its principles.

4. Mao’s brutal rectification movement was a darker period that established his undisputed control of the party, through systematic and often deadly purges of party leaders and members.

5. Foreign visitors to the Yan’an Soviet, such as the American journalist Edgar Snow and the Dixie Mission observers, were overwhelmingly impressed by what they saw, though these visits were effectively stage-managed by CCP propagandists.

Badges during the Cultural Revolution

Mao badges became a true cultural phenomenon in 1966, and many people associate Mao badges primarily with the Cultural Revolution. They were primarily made in the early years of the Cultural Revolution, between 1966 and 1969. Badges began to be produced in large numbers in factories in Shanghai and Beijing over the summer of 1966. They came to national attention in August, as many of the Red Guards that attended the first rally in Tian’anmen square wore badges, and Mao accepted a gift of Mao badges from Red Guard representatives. The movement of Red Guards around the country, particularly in the autumn of 1966, called ‘chuanlian’ (串连) or the ‘exchange of revolutionary experiences’ was crucial to the rising production and popularity of Mao badges. The high visibility of travelling Red Guards and their Mao badges raised awareness of these ‘revolutionary symbols’ in new areas, leading to more people desiring to own one. For example, one Red Guard recalled coming across a young boy in a poor area in northern China who wanted to trade the herbal medicine he had gathered for a Chairman Mao badge. The Red Guard remembered: ‘Tears welled up in my eyes. I reckoned it was the deep love of our people for Chairman Mao… I quickly took off my badge, collected several other shapes from my classmates, and gave them all to the kid. He accepted them as if they were treasures.’ 3

Furthermore, Red Guards often wanted ‘souvenirs’ of their travels, and would collect badges to do with the area’s revolutionary history as they travelled. Red Guard Gao Yuan 高原 got his first badge in Beijing as a souvenir to bring home, acquiring it in a badge market near Tian’anmen Square, and he continued to collect badges throughout his travels [see ⧉source: Memories of badge acquisition, Text 1 Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution]. Sometimes acquiring a badge from a particular place could even be a replacement for going there. For example, he reached Changsha, Hunan, but did not have sufficient money to pay the bus fare to Shaoshan, Mao’s hometown. He settled instead for a Shaoshan badge available in Changsha [see ⧉source: Shaoshan badge, for a similar image]. 4 Red Guards wore badges as a demonstration of their revolutionary enthusiasm and devotion to Chairman Mao. Particularly large or exquisitely designed badges, however, also brought their wearer considerable cultural capital and social credibility. Others opted for quantity of visible badges rather than quality. A story from Feng Jicai’s 冯骥才 oral historical accounts of the Cultural Revolution recalls the pride that could be attached to wearing a newly acquired badge. Feng’s narrator recalls:

While many wore badges as demonstration of their devotion and loyalty, others may have worn a badge just to fit in. Benewick and Donald argue that the wearer’s body was ‘landscaped’ by the badge, while Schrift suggests badges were a way for normal people to acquire the political capital necessary to survive the tumultuous events of the time. 6 In other words, regardless of the wearer’s true intentions, the badge lent the wearer its symbolic strength, protecting the body through its visual imagery.

Badge production was both spontaneous and organised. Many Red Guard groups, danwei (production units) and PLA units designed, commissioned, and in some cases produced their own badges. Zhou Jihou 周继厚, a Chinese badge collector and historian of badges, estimates that at least 20,000 different organisations produced badges in the early years of the Cultural Revolution. 7 New Red Guard or Red Rebel groups would commission badges to highlight their identity factories and other production units would commission badges to commemorate important events in their organisation’s history (particularly visits by Mao or other top leaders) many PLA units wanted their own badge with their unit number stamped on the back. The formation of Revolutionary Committees at various governmental levels in the period 1967-68 was also typically marked with the production of a badge. Early badges were normally quite simple, but from the spring of 1967 onwards, the content of the badges diversified to meet these new purposes. Badges become more specifically tailored – PLA units’ badges typically include military symbolism, for example – and they become more artistic and complex. Sets of badges also began to appear, many of which depicted different important sites from the CCP’s revolutionary heritage, as well as Mao at different ages [see ⧉source: Revolutionary heritage badge]. Badge design often drew on other cultural products for inspiration: Liu Chunhua’s 刘春华 famous image ‘Chairman Mao goes to Anyuan’ was depicted on many badges [see ⧉source: Chairman Mao goes to Anyuan badge and poster]. This influence went both ways: posters frequently depicted people wearing badges too [see ⧉source: Badges in posters]. Badges were also made with text in different languages: those in English usually proclaim ‘Long Live Chairman Mao’ [see ⧉source: Revolutionary heritage badge].

While there was quite a lot of freedom in terms of commissioning and even producing badges, at the same time, however, the government tried to maintain some control. In order to try to satisfy the demand for badges, the government oversaw allocation of badge materials, especially aluminium, and provinces and cities were given production targets. There were also attempts to control production, to ensure both quality and ideological correctness, although given the fragmented state of the government this was not always easy. The government was also concerned that the badge swap markets that sprung up in many major cities would teach young people capitalist behaviours, and efforts were made to crack down on them. 8

The final stage of badge production occurred in the run up to the 9th Party Congress in April 1969, an event for which millions of commemorative badges were made [see ⧉source: Mao Zedong and Lin Biao badge ⧉source: 9th Congress Mao badge]. However, in June 1969, a Central Committee circular prohibited the production of most badges. More famously, it was around this time that Mao is said to have uttered ‘Give me back my airplanes’, a reference to the copious amount of aluminium used to made the badges. 9 After 1969, a very small number of Mao badges were made, and particularly after the 1971 death of Lin Biao 林彪, a key figure in stoking the cult of Mao, badge production ground to a halt. In the early 1970s, people are often still seen wearing badges in photos and depicted as wearing badges in posters, but after 1973, this becomes less common.

Mao Zedong proves communism is politically superior to capitalism

The establishment of the People's Republic of China is heralded to be the very moment communism was established in China, as well as when China burst forth into the 20th century.

Long been subject to corrupt dynasties and a short reign of tyranny under the Guomindang, the CCP liberated the people through several policies it implemented, especially those by Chairman Mao.

In this debate, I will use evidence of the CCP and Mao, throughout its history from its inception in 1921 to Mao's death in 1976 that demonstrates Communism's superiority in its social, political and economic standpoints.

Con will use evidence to prove that communism failed in China.

Historian views will need to be utilised in proving both contentions.

I assume 1st Round is acceptance, but since you made opening remarks, I will too.

Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward was a massive failure, and even Mao admitted to this:

"The chaos caused was on a grand scale, and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must all analyze your own responsibility. "

30-40 million people died from starvation, about 50 million were forced to live in labor camps. The only reason China is prospering is because of 1978 economic reforms that are much more leaning to capitalism then communism.

Check out this graph, and notice how the GDP starts to rise once farms are private property and the free market.

In the Yenan period of 1936-1949, the CCP was extremely effective at improving the lives of peasants and workers in the province through their political management.

Land and tax reforms made by the CCP revamped the area poor peasants' associations were formed and they aided in land reform. Wealthy landlords were stripped down to a realistic amount of land. Loans and mortgages' interest rates were forced down from 18% to a mere 1.5%, whilst rents were no more than 25% of a grain harvest, when previously it was higher and led to massive starvation.

Social reform was also enacted women's associations were formed to aid women unable to feed their own children or having to deal with abusive husbands, whilst education was focused on. The literacy rate in Yenan went from 1% in 1936 to 50% in 1943.

Economic self sufficiency of the CCP from the peasants greatly improved their popularity in China in their time out of service, Red Army soldiers were encouraged to sow their own crops and plough their own fields, as well as chopping up firewood or making useful goods such as matches, wire, tools, batteries, soap and leather goods. Irrigation channels were also aided by the Red Army, and their self sufficiency campaign is proven in their ability to produce 40% of their own food throughout the Yenan Period.

Political reform sought to divide government into thirds members of the CCP, other leftist groups and anyone except Japanese or Guomindang collaborators. Along with democratic centralism, mass line was a Maoist ideology implemented so that the CCP could listen to peasant suggestions and criticisms and make policies thereby that was in demand from peasants!

The Red Army had also had rules established to maintain discipline and order, such as 'The Three Main Rules of Discipline':
1. Obey all orders in all your actions
2. Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses
3. Turn in everything captured

and 'The Eight Points for Attention':
1. Speak politely
2. Pay fairly for what you buy
3. Return everything you borrow
4. Pay for anything you damage
5. Do not hit or swear at people
6. Do not damage crops
7. Do not take liberties with women
8. Do not ill-treat captives [1]

These showed how much the peasants were cared for by the CCP, so much more than the Guomindang whose armies raped, pillaged, looted and conscripted by tying men in long ropes together.

So who was the CCP opposed to? The corrupt and difficult life under the Guomindang. It was evident in the 2nd Sino Japanese War who was focusing on the Japanese

Jiang Jieshi: "The Japanese are a disease of the skin, but the Communists are a disease of the soul."

Perhaps the largest indicator of the difference between the CCP are how the United States viewed them. General Stilwell was in charge of overseeing the GMD, and eventually he stated,

"The Chinese soldier is excellent material, wasted and betrayed by stupid (GMD) leadership" [2]

Even Jiang was forced to admit his generals were incompotence, stating, "I have to lie awake at night, thinking what foolish things they may do." [4]

The GMD's management of the state was not much better Prices of basic goods rose by 237% from 1942-1944, and 251% from January-August 1945 [6] The power of $100 Chinese dollars in 1937 could purchase an oxen by 1945 it could purchase only a handful of eggs. The GMD's mismanagement of the economy was disastrous.

Yet, the Dixie Mission of July 1944, of US diplomats who were sent to investigate Yenan, noted how organised, highly disciplined and highly motivated the community was. Colonel David Barrett, leader of the Dixie Mission, stated,

"The Communists are in China to stay. And China's destiny is not Chiang's (Jiang Jieshi's) but theirs." [3]

Evidently, before the CCP even took control of China, many Chinese, and modern day historians, note how effectively Yenan was run, so much so than that of the Guomindang.

I will get into the successful Mao period of 1949-1976, and my response to Con's arguments, in the next round.

[1] Quotations from Mao Tse-Tung (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1966) pgs 256-7
[2] Stilwell, by Barbara Tuchmann pg 194
[3] The Rise of Modern China, by Immanuel Hsu pg 598
[4] Modern China, by Jonathan Fenby pg 295
[5] (the source of all my arguments) China Rising, HTAV textbook by Tom Ryan, pgs 90-91, 113-115, 125, 127
[6] The Long Revolution, by Terry Buggy pg 291

To begin my arguments, I want to say that of course the People's Republic of China will have some successes. However, I believe that the failures have surpassed the successes. If China operated underneath a capitalist system, I believe it's prosperity could've been much more quick and with less death.

One of the differences between socialism and communism is that communism is largely brought about by the proletariat class attacking and overthrowing the bourgeoisie class, usually with violence. PROC is no different, as approximately 1-2 million landlords were killed by Chinese peasants (who were inspired by the CCP). You could possibly make this an argument for the greater good, but mass murder never is the best option. Under capitalism, their deaths might have been avoided and they could've just been legislated against. We will never know. However, we do know that the PROC made a terrible choice in killing the land owners that could only match, not best, capitalist methods.

As I mentioned before, the Great Leap Forward from 1958-2963 was a massive failure, resulting in the Great Chinese Famine and the deaths of millions. Farmers were denied the free market and were instead forced by the government to work 14 hour workdays and jobs they didn't prefer to do. It's estimated that around 55 million people have died from this leap "forward". Also, it's worthy to note that while the farmers resorted to cannibalism, the communist leadership still had plenty of food to eat. Just look at Mao.

Other atrocities of China include the Tiananmen Square massacre of hundred of protestors.

On the point of economics, I will restate that PROC only started to grow to its massive size once Deng Xiaoping became leader. He introduced economic reform and allowed the free market, once again. Here is another graph that might demonstrate this point more clearly, showing just how effective the capitalist reform in 1978 was for the economy.

What Con fails to mention is the rapid industrialization that occurred due to communism. In the First Five Year Plan from 1953-1957, the CCP was extremely successful in bolstering industrial output

- Steel from 1.31 million metric tons in 1952 to 4.48 million metric tons in 1957
- Cement from 2.86 million metric tons in 1952 to 6.86 million metric tons in 1957
- Raw iron from 1.9 million metric tons in 1952 to 5.9 million metric tons in 1957
- Coal from 66 million metric tons in 1952 to 130 million metric tons in 1957
- Electricity from 7.26 billions of kilowatt hours in 1952 to 19.34 billions of kilowatt hours in 1957 [1]

Clearly communism rapidly bolstered China's growth out of the Korean, Chinese Civil and Second World Wars, and no Con, Mao did not murder 20 million workers to ascertain this progress. Furthermore, workers were allowed an 'iron rice bowl', GUARANTEEING employment, food and sufficient wages, as opposed to capitalism, which dispatches workers once they are an obstruction to higher profits.

In the 1st Five Year Plan, agricultural output also increased 4% each year, showing the ability of Soviet farming techniques in collusion with Mao's.

I will not deny that 1 million landlords were killed by Chinese peasants in consolidating the power of the CCP, but this was done in collusion with Fanshen and the Agrarian Reform Law of June 28th 1950, that gave peasants all over China land reform they had greatly desired.

The means by which the landlords were killed were also not as inhumane as Con puts it peasants formed 'People's Tribunals' to try the landlords individually for their past treatment of peasants, and this was a vigorous and democratic process if a landlord had been fair in their previous treatment of peasants, he became one and thusly received his own allotment of land, whereby tyrannical landlords only were killed.

I will further not deny the horrors of the Great Leap Forward, actually of 1958-1961, but Con manipulates true historical processes to further his points. First off, there was actually great revolutionary fervour to massively increase agricultural production, with loud processions outside yelling for higher (admittedly unreachable, but still higher) grain targets.

It is estimated that actually only 30 million peasants died during the Three Bitter Years' Famine, and whilst Mao accepted responsibility for his fault in employing the policy, natural disasters such as locus infestations, excess flooding that ruined crop fields and low rainfall were all out of Mao's reach. He was indeed an incredible man, but he could not predict natural disasters.

Also, even the figure of 30 million is debated to this day, as official CCP sources state that only 16.5 million peasants died, whilst the figures >30 million have been made by subjective economists of the West, out to slather Communism as immoral and crude. [2]

Finally, Mao did not 'have plenty of food to eat' during the Three Bitter Years' Famine, in fact he himself said, "I cannot eat meat" and in fact he DID NOT eat meat during the famine. Zhou Enlai similarly gave up eating meat and eggs himself, thus showing that the CCP DID NOT have contempt for victims of the famine.

This is in opposition to Winston Churchill, who said of the victims of the Bengal Famine that it was their fault for, "breeding like rabbits." So imperialist Churchill is moral yet shows contempt for victims of his famine and is overlooked, but Communist Mao is a monster for cutting off meat consumption and accepting responsibility? Such is the view of the media today, which is absurd.

You actually bolster my argument in speaking about the Tiananmen Square massacre, as that was actually not done by Mao, but under Deng Xiaoping in 1989.

Finally, I want to talk about how the lives of women improved under the CCP. Mao said that, "Women hold up half the sky." and this is evidenced by his Marriage Law of May 1st 1950, whereby he gave women equal rights in education and employment, whilst banning patriarchal actions such as foot binding, polygamy, arranged and child marriages and concubinage. Women were encouraged to involve themselves in society to the equal extent of men.

All these factors showed how much Mao improved the lives of Chinese citizens after his ascension to power in 1949.

[1]Schools Council History Project, The Rise of Communist China in the UK: Holmes and McDougall 1977, pg 46.
[2] https://monthlyreview.org.
[3] Tom Ryan, China Rising 2nd Edition, pgs 158-159, pg 169-170

I will address Pro's Round 2 argument and save his Round 3 argument for my Round 4.

"Wealthy landlords were stripped down to a realistic amount of land." No, they were murdered. While some were tried, those who were tyrannical (1 million) were killed instead of incarcerated, as they should have.

Literacy rates and mortgages lowering are indeed good for Communist China, but again, this is nothing that a capitalist country could not do (and probably do it better without massive starvation.

Economic self-sufficiency is expected of all nations, so the fact that Communist China does it (with the help of Soviets) is nothing special.

The Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention: Again, this is already expected from an army, such as the United States, French or British Army. To do something that is expected does not make communism superior, it simply makes it OK.

To conclude this argument, I just want to state that Communism in China has done nothing special. Growth is expected. While I admit that the industrial output was very good, they had to sacrifice rights of the workers and there starvation. My point is that you can really never overlook how many people died under Mao Zedong's rule and say "That's a good government." The famine would never happen in a modern capitalist country.

"All these factors showed how much Mao improved the lives of Chinese citizens after his ascension to power in 1949."
Someone's life does not improve when he or she die of starvation. The Great Chinese famine is inexcusable, and no matter how many positives Communist China has achieved, they will never surmount this.

I will address the rest of your rebuttal later.

What frustrates me is that Con does not realise that there are sources that confirm that landlords were not slaughtered en masse, but actually trialled by People's Tribunals so they can be testified as to how poor or high standard they were as a landlord. To quote Tom Ryan, leading historian in the Chinese Revolution,

"Fanshen (the policy of land reform) was based on a moderate approach to dealing with the larger and wealthy landowners, and aimed to protect the more productive farms to ensure that food supplies were not disrupted. " [1]

"The Speak Bitterness meetings were emotionally charged - those making accusations openly wept or screamed out in anger, as did the spectators. After the peasants had 'spoken bitter', a People's Tribunal decided on the fate of the accused. The Agararian Reform Law allowed landlords to not only keep their land cultivated by their immediate family but also rented land and fields farmed by hired hands." [1]

This is not your everyday man sitting at home. This is a historian who is openly revisionist and slightly Western leaning, who has even been to China to physically investigate the effects of the Revolution for himself, and through his research even he concluded that landlords were not put through a system of execution such as that of Frenchmen in Robespierre's Reign of Terror, as Con suggests. This is directly sourced from a textbook used to set the Australian curriculum for History Revolutions.

Con also misinterprets the points I make in Round 2, I was not talking about when the CCP had established control of China, but merely the province of Yenan, in the north. And once again, Con has made an attempt to slather communism by saying that, "this is nothing that a capitalist country could not do (and probably do it better without massive starvation) "

I can guarantee you now no peasants were starving under Mao during his time in Yenan from 1936-1949. In fact, many historians have stated that Yenan was a golden period for Communism in China, so Con's point that peasants were starving is irrelevant in this context. Not to mention, not ALL capitalist countries could do it, as I openly pointed out, Jiang Jieshi's Nationalist government was corrupt and had skyrocketing inflation for basic goods, such as 237% from 1942-1944 and 251% from January to August 1945 [2]

Con also arrogantly points out that all nations are expected to have self sufficiency and an outstandingly moral army, therefore downplaying how brilliantly the Communists ran the nation. If you look at the context, Con will actually realise China was a third country, Agrarian, uneducated backwater that had undergone two corrupt regimes (the Qing Dynasty and Guomindang) and had an economy shattered from Jiang Jieshi's mismanagement and two wars, the Chinese Civil and Second World Wars. Such is Con's blatant ignorance to downplay just how hard it was to transform what China was in 1949, and in just 27 years completely revamp its industry, economy, agriculture and education standards to lay the foundation of what it is today.

Just look at what the CCP did after taking control of the nation. They reformed taxes and made them more equitable, leading to their government revenue doubling from 6.5 billion yuan in 1950 to 13.3 billion yuan in 1951. [3] The massive inflation under Jiang Jieshi, of 85000% when Mao took power in 1949, was a mere 15% in 1951 when Mao wanted to reform wages to equal that of five basic goods: flour, coal, cotton cloth, rice and oil. [4] Con also lies in saying that the Soviets majorly assisted the growth of China "Repayments were so steep that by 1955 China was repaying more than it was receiving in aid." [5]

In response to Con's argument about the Red Army being disciplined making it unexemplary is utter downplay. In 1931, when the Red Army was established, look at the context around you. You had Jiang Jieshi's Nationalist Government raping, pillaging and looting villages, and conscripting peasants by roping them together against their will and beating them whilst they remained in service. You had warlords who set ridiculously high grain taxes on peasants and mistreated them to the point of death or chronic injury, and you had an Imperial Japanese Army who was raping their way through China such as in Nanking. Perhaps today Con feels that a moral Army is unspectacular, but if he looks at the context he will realise that the Red Army was an extremely disciplined force that punished anyone in service who didn't follow those rules. Rules set by Mao.

I don't know what I have to do to convince Con that 'they (I assume the CCP) had to sacrifice worker rights and their starvation." The Iron Rice Bowl policy literally guaranteed their employment, payment in wages and food. That is utter propaganda what Con has said. Once again, his statement that communism is nothing special as growth is expected is rubbish capitalism had been tried for 37 years following the abdication of Emperor Pu-Yi in 1911, and utterly failed to fix China's economic problems. Thus, the task of fixing China was actually extremely difficult, yet the Communists did it with ease.

Famines don't occur in modern capitalist countries? That is hardly true, as capitalist countries in Africa have been crippled by massive inflation and starvation. Not to mention, around the same time as the CCP, Winston Churchill let 10 million Indians starve in the Bengal Famine. But you overlook that don't you, because Churchill was that deity that rescued the world from Hitler? Once again, the biased media has been shown to brainwash us that only communism produces famines.

Con's entire debate revolves around his obsession with the Chinese Famine, so much so that he overlooks many positives that Mao did, that I had pointed out. It is frustrating to argue with someone so unable to accept the good that Mao did for China.

You say that Mao killed millions of peasants in the famine, which I will not deny, yet you overlook statistics made out by Chinese peasants living under Mao like Mobo Gao, who stated himself that, "China's population went from 36 in 1949 to 63 by 1976." Mao is that strange figure that killed millions under his reign, yet miraculously doubled his country's population from 500 to 900 million people, and doubled the age expectancy.

Compare India and China leading out from the Second World War both have similar populations, similar conditions after WW2, and yet communism took over in China and capitalism in India. Who won out? China's age expectancy rose exponentially quicker, as did its population (to the point not being seen before under capitalism). Yet India stagnates and to this day still some live in abject poverty.

I have provided statistical evidence backed up by quotes that Mao has done good, from objective sources such as historians of Western Liberal political viewpoints, as well as people living under Mao's reign, yet all Con has done is recite like a parrot that Mao had a Great Famine and must therefore be bad, so much so his arguments turn into an ad hominem attack on Mao by stating that, apparently, famines occur in every facet of his society, throughout his entire years leading China.

[1] Jack Grey, Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800's to 2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) pg 189.
[2] Jonathan Fenby, 'The Man who lost China' BBC History Magazine (November 2003) pg 6
[3] John King Fairbank, 'The Great Chinese Revolution 1800-1985 (London: Picador 1988) pg 285
[4] Tom Ryan, China Rising HTAV textbook 2nd Edition, pg 123, 152.
[5] Tom Ryan, China Rising HTAV textbook 2nd Edition, pg 169-170

Watch the video: Mao Zedong in 5min by Easy Wiki (August 2022).