Communism VS. Nationalism: The Chinese Communist Party and Soviet Regimes (1921–1945)

  • William L. Tung


The Russian Revolution and the sympathetic attitude of the Soviet Union toward China created a favorable impression among the Chinese intellectuals, who, thoroughly dissatisfied with the existing conditions of the country, had searched diligently for new principles and programs for national salvation. While the Nationalist Party under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat-sen had a large following, it did not attract many radicals to its camp. Among the radicals, Ch’en Tu-hsiu, a professor at Peking University, was the leading figure. In 1915, he had issued a periodical under the name New Youth (Hsin Ch’ing Nien), in which he advocated cultural re-evaluation. This re-evaluation would be a critical testing of both the traditional standards of the Chinese and the new ideas of the West. His colleague, Li Ta-tsao (Li Ta-chao), was one of his chief contributors. It was under Li’s guidance that Marxist study groups were formed at Peking University in the spring of 1918. This was about a year before the meeting of the First World Congress of the Communist International in Moscow and the May Fourth demonstrations, which were led by the patriotic and progressive students in Peking. While this student movement was not organized by the Communists, it had accelerated the spread of revolutionary ideas in China.1


Communist Party Chinese Communist Party National Minority Soviet Regime Unite Front 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    For the Communist evaluation of the May Fourth movement, see Hu Chiao-mu, Thirty Years of the Communist Party of China*, pp. 5–7.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    For its text, see Jane Degras, Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy*, Vol. I, pp. 158–161.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    They were Hunan, Hupei, Chekiang, Anhwei, Shantung, and Kwangtung.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The other delegates were Chou Fu-hai, Ch’en Kung-po, Ch’en Wang-tao, Ch’en T’an-ch’iu, Li Han-chun, Li Ta, Ho Shu-heng, Liu Jen-ching, and Pao Hui-seng.Google Scholar
  5. 1.
    For the resume of this manifesto, see Conrad Brandt, et al., A Documentary History of Chinese Communism*, pp. 63–65. Most of the Chinese texts of the manifestoes and programs of the Chinese Communist Party can be found in Hu Hua, Source Materials of the Chinese Revolution under China’s New Democracy. Google Scholar
  6. 1.
    For details, refer to “The three great policies of the reorganized Nationalist Party,” under Ch. V, Sec. 1.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    Chiang Chung-cheng (Chiang Kai-shek), Soviet Russia in China*, p. 27.Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    Hu Chiao-mu, op. cit., p. 16.Google Scholar
  9. 2.
    See Harold R. Isaacs, The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution,* pp. 70–72, 106–107.Google Scholar
  10. 1.
    Chiang Chung-cheng, op. cit., pp. 37–41.Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    For a brief history of the Chinese Communist Party up to 1926, see C. Martin Wilbur and Julie Lien-ying How, Documents on Communism, Nationalism, and Soviet Advisers in China, 1918–1927*, Doc. 1, pp. 41–77; also Hu Chiao-mu, op. cit., Sec. 1.Google Scholar
  12. 3.
    On April 6, 1927, the Peking Government under the control of Chang Tso-lin ordered an armed search of the Soviet Embassy in Peking. More than sixty Communists were arrested including Li Ta-tsao, who was later executed. The action taken by Peking had, however, no connection with that of the Nationalists in the South.Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    This Communist Congress was attended by more than 100 delegates representing more than 50,000 members. Elected to its Political Bureau were Ch’en Tu-hsiu, Ts’ai Ho-shen, Li Wei-han, Ch’u Ch’iu-pai, Chang Kuot’ao, T’an P’ing-shan, Su Chao-cheng, Li Li-san, and Chou En-lai.Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    For the relations between the Communist and Nationalist Parties during the period of the Northern Expedition, see Wilbur and How, op. cit., Docs. 43–50; also Ch. V, Sec. 3.Google Scholar
  15. 3.
    Hu Chiao-mu, op. cit., p. 26.Google Scholar
  16. 1.
    It was said that the Communist regime in Ch’a-lin (Tsalin, in the Chingkang Mountains of the Human border) was the first Soviet Government. However, the general opinion was that the regime set up at Hai-lu-feng was the first one. The Hai-lu-feng riot was led by P’eng Pai, who was arrested and executed by the Nationalist Party in Shanghai on August 30, 1929. Hai-lu-feng is a joint name for Hai-feng and Lu-feng. See Shinkichi Eto, “Hai-lu-fengGoogle Scholar
  17. The First Chinese Soviet Government,” The China Quarterly, No. 8 (Oct.-Dec, 1961) and No. 9 (Jan.-Mar., 1962).Google Scholar
  18. 3.
    For a full description of the Canton Commune, see Harold R. Isaacs, op. cit., pp. 282–292. For its fundamental programs issued on December 11, 1927, see Hu Hua, op. cit., pp. 223–224.Google Scholar
  19. 4.
    The other Red armies during that period were as follows: the First in the Honan-Hupei-Anhwei border under Chang Kuo-t’ao, the Second in western Hupei under Ho Lung, the Third in western Kiangsi under Lo Ping-hui, and the Twenty-Sixth in northern Shensi under Liu Tsu-tan and Kao Kang.Google Scholar
  20. 1.
    They were in charge of various Bureaus: Chou, Organization; Li, Propaganda; Liu, Labor; P’eng, Peasant; and Hu, Military.Google Scholar
  21. 2.
    Liu was later killed in combat with the Nationalist Army in Shansi in April 1937.Google Scholar
  22. 3.
    They included quite a number of prominent leaders of the Communist Party, such as Chang Wen-t’ien (Lo Fu), Ch’in Pang-hsin (Po Ku), Shen Tse-min, and Wang Chia-hsiang.Google Scholar
  23. 2.
    It was in January 1931 that a Trotskyite group was founded in Shanghai, with Ch’en Tu-hsiu as Secretary-General and Chairman of the Political Bureau. Ch’en died at Kiangtsin, near Chungking, on May 28, 1942.Google Scholar
  24. 1.
    The exact period was from December 11 to 13, 1927.Google Scholar
  25. 2.
    For details, see Harold R. Isaacs, op. cit., Appendix, pp. 323–349; also Victor A. Yakhontoff, The Chines Soviets* (New York: Coward-McCann, 1934).Google Scholar
  26. 1.
    For its English text, see Conrad Brandt, et al., op. cit., pp. 220–224.Google Scholar
  27. 1.
    According to the Handbook on People’s China* (Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1957), the Hans constituted 93.94 percent of the population, numbering 547,283,057. The other nationalities, with a total of 35,320,360, were only 6.06 percent of China’s population. The people in Taiwan (Formosa) and overseas Chinese were not included in the above figures. The national minorities and their main centers of habitation were listed as follows: Chuang (6,600,000) in Kwangsi province; Uighur (3,700,000) in Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region; Hui (3,600,000) in Kansu and Chinghai provinces; Yi (3,300,000) in Liangshan Mountains on Szechwan-Yunnan borders; Tibetan (2,800,000) in Tibet and Chamdo Area and Chinghai province; Miao (2,500,000) in Kweichow and western Hunan provinces and other regions in central, south and south-west China; Mongolian (1,500,000) in Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, Kansu and Chinghai provinces, and Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region; Puyi (1,250,000) in south-western part of Kweichow province; and Korean (1,100,000) in Yenpien Korean Autonomous Chou in Kirin province. (pp. 14–15.) In addition, there are several national minorities with smaller populations: T’ung (600,000) in Southeastern Kweichow and northern part of Kwangsi; Yao (600,000) in Kwangsi, northern Kwangtung, and southern Hunan; and T’ai (500,000) in border regions of Yunnan. (People’s China, June 1, 1954.) The population figures of national minorities in China vary slightly in different sources.Google Scholar
  28. 2.
    For the English text of the Land Law of 1931, see Conrad Brandt, et al., op. cit., pp. 224–226. Cf. The Agrarian Reform Law of June 30, 1950. (The Agrarian Reform Law of the People’s Republic of China and Other Relevant Documents*. Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1959.)Google Scholar
  29. 3.
    Chs. XI, XII.Google Scholar
  30. 1 Ch’u Ch’iu-pai was left behind. He was arrested and executed by the National Government on June 18, 1935. Benjamin I. Schwartz’s Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao* (Harvard University Press, 1961) is a brief but most systematic treatise, analyzing the change of leadership in the Communist Party.Google Scholar
  31. 2.
    Mao Tse-tung: Selected Works* (New York: International Publishers, 1954) Vol. I, p. 193.Google Scholar
  32. 1.
    Ibid., Vol. I, pp. 324–325.Google Scholar
  33. 1.
    See H. H. K’ung, “A Memoir of the Sian Incident,” in The Collection of Speeches of H. H. K’ung, Vol. II, pp. 657–704. K’ung was then Acting President of the Executive Yuan of the Chinese Government.Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    Mao Tse-tung: Selected Works*, Vol. I, p. 255.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
    The Sian Incident was described in detail by Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Mei-ling (Sung) Chiang in General Chiang Kai-shek; the Account of the Fortnight in Sian When the Fate of China Hung in the Balance* (Garden City: Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1937). This book was originally published in Chinese under the title, Sian: a Coup D’etat. See also Chiang Chung-cheng, Soviet Russia in China*, pp. 72–79.Google Scholar
  36. 3.
    The Communist representatives were Chou En-lai, Ch’in Pang-hsien, and Lin Tsu-han.Google Scholar
  37. 4.
    Lin Piao, Ho Lung, and Liu Po-ch’eng were appointed as divisional commanders of the Eighth Route Army.Google Scholar
  38. 1.
    Hu Chiao-mu described this “tripartite representative system” as follows: “This was a system whereby Communists (representing the working class and the poor peasants), progressives (representing the petty bourgeoisie), and middle-of-the-roaders (representing the middle bourgeoisie and enlightened gentry) each contributed one-third of the leading government personnel.” (Thirty Years of the Communist Party of China*, p. 66.)Google Scholar
  39. 1.
    See Chiang Chung-cheng, op, cit., pp. 138–139.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1964

Authors and Affiliations

  • William L. Tung
    • 1
  1. 1.Queens CollegeCity University of New YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations