Red Star Over China (Speaker: Vincent Lee Kwun-leung) [Part 1]

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Information about Red Star Over China (Speaker: Vincent Lee Kwun-leung) [Part 1]

Published on March 20, 2014

Author: vincentlee9237



The "Red Star Over China" is a publication of Edgar Snow in 1968, with Victor Gollancz Limited in London as the publisher.

"Red Star Over China" recorded how the proletariat ideal of Communist Party was prospered as the mainstreamed ruling ideology in 20th-century China - from Menshevism of Chen Duxiu to Bolshevism of Mao Zedong.

Vincent Lee Kwun-leung (李冠良), the speaker of this academic talk, received the education of Prof. Cindy Chu Yik-yi (朱益宜教授) during her "Sino-American Relations" course at HKBU History Department in early 2009. Prof. Cindy Chu requested Vincent Lee and other students to do a "History Book Review" on "Red Star Over China" to analyze how an American journalist observed Communism in China.

Prof. Cindy Chu Yik-yi obtained a Ph-D qualification in University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her BA and M-Phil qualifications were from the University of Hong Kong. Prof. Chu is an alumnus of Maryknoll Convent School, and her Catholic growing background enables her to devote to the research on Maryknoll Sisters' missionary and charitable services in Hong Kong. Now, Prof. Chu is the Associate Director of HKBU David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies.

Edgar Snow London Victor Gollancz Limited, 1968 Vincent LEE Kwun-leung (06009913) BA Visual Arts, Year 3

 The only American journalist who was able to get behind the Communists into some contact with the similar minds and feelings of Chinese patriotic youths:  From the formation of Red troops and Soviet Districts, to Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-Red suppression, the Long March, the GMD-CCP Cooperation against Japanese invasion and the establishment of PRC Government  Being a guest of the soviet state in China

 Befriended with Yang Hucheng and Governor Shao Li-tzu:  Jointly supported Zhang Xueliang’s avocation on a suspension of Communist extermination  Directly recorded an in-depth history of Mao Zedong through a conservational interview with him:  Touched by Mao’s prospective ideal of restoring proletariats’ dominance in Chinese politics  Sympathetic report on the impoverishment and starvation of backward Chinese villages

 The only Westerner who dared to reveal the conspiracy and corruptive politics of Guomindang government, which was not according to the general anti-Communist opinion of mass media and scholars in America and the Capitalist West.  Edgar’s arrival resulted in a phenomenal increase of the foreign population in Bao An  But, Edgar also cited the imperfections of Communist developments in China: 1. Limited to agrarian struggles 2. Industrialism: “infant garments”

 For the failure of Guomindang:  “Even in the foreign concessions, Nanjing kept a well- paid espionage (spying) system at work.” [P.38]  Financial, territorial and diplomatic misappropriation for the Powers’ favor regardless of people’s resentment to the possible national humiliation of China  For the success of Communist Party:  Red Bandits: manipulated the illiterate mind of the peasants to kill or torture the right-wings and expanded Communist influence  Stood firmed against the exploitation of landlords and foreign imperialism  Commanding force with disciplined intellectuals

 Yuan Shikai’s re-enthronement & the 21- Demands:  Chinese intellectuals’ resentment to Japanese concession of Shandong based on such an illegitimate secret treaty  May-Fourth Movement  New Cultural Movement reached the climax  Lost confidence to Capitalist Democracy with regards to the betrayal of Woodrow Wilson  Some believed in Socialist ideas as an alternative of nationalist reformation.

 Chen Duxiu  Published “La Jeunesse” journals and introduced Marxism to China, together with Li Dazhao  Established the First Communist Group in Shanghai in 1920  Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded at Shanghai in 1921  Avocated “bourgeosis-democratic revolution”

 Soviet Russia under Lenin: Ambitions of expanding Communism in Asia as a mean of breaking the isolation of Capitalist West  Voitinsky: offered advices to Chen Duxiu  “Comintern” (1921) by Henricus Sneevliet and Adolf Joffe, agreed by Sun Yat-sen  “Sun-Joffe Agreement” was reached regardless of Western opposition, as the U.S.S.R promised to offer material and political help to China.  Under the Sino-Russian Entente in 1923, Sun promised for a GMD-CCP cooperation in order to prepare for a Northern Expedition against Yuan Shikai’s re-enthronement with the support of provisional warlords in South China. [P.97]

 Since then, China’s political development raised American concerns with regards to her anti-Soviet fear, while, after the humiliation in Paris Peace Conference, the Chinese politicians and intellectuals no longer blindly, but critically, perceived the Euro- American ideology as a way towards modernization. The Sino-American relations was then not as easier as that in Late-Qing period (after 1900), in Sun’s revolutionary period and before the May-Fourth Movement due to the hindrance of Soviet Russia, coincidently with the passive diplomatic stances of the United States towards the growing Japanese ambitions in China.

 Chen Duxiu’s broke-up with the Communist Party in 1927:  Chen Duxiu & Li Dazhao  Mensheviks (under the influence of Lenin and Comintern, where the members were mostly Menshelviks)  Mao Zedong (became Editor of “Political Weekly” and Director of Peasant Department under Guomindang in 1917)  Bolsheviks (declared radical struggle with the bourgeoisie)

 Mao regarded Chen Duxiu’s moderation with Guomindang as an “opportunist line” that appeased the bourgeosie  Mao: “Roy had been a fool, Borodin a blunderer, Chen Duxiu as an unconscious traitor.” [P.163]  [P.177] “Li Dazhao, a man of counter-revolution (anti-Bolshelvik)”  Urged for proletariat uprisings in Hubei, Jiangxi, Fujian and Hunan as a resentment to Guomindang’s incapability in dealing with rural poverty and landlord exploitations (led by Li Li- san) [P.176]

 Though Guomindang re-conciliated with the protestors, the rulers were still dominated by the new militarism and supported by certain foreign powers, the treaty port bankers and the landlords. [P.99]

 Sir Frederick Leith-Ross’ criticisms to the economy in Republican China [P.101]:  No middle class in China, but only the incredibly poor and the very rich  Enormous taxes, share-corp method, rural bankruptcy  Incapability of dealing with natural disasters  Dr. Karl August Wittfogel’s criticism:  “Asiatic mode of production”

 Communists’ allegations that expressed Chinese resentment to Guomindang’s incapable economic policy and humiliating diplomacy [P.101]:  Rural bankruptcy: attributed to GMD’s policy of “non- resistance to imperialism” – in particular to Nanjing’s “no-war policy” against Japan.  GMD allowed Japanese conquest in Manchuria, where was the region of Chinese continent best suited for industrial development!  Lost territory, unsettled lands, coal, railway mileage, iron- deposits, forest lands and national export trades  Gave Japanese the continental base to inexorably continue her aggression in China

 Zhou Enlai was appointed Director of the political department at the Whampoa Military Academy in 1924  “comrade”: recalled those who believed in Communism, distilling somebody potential from the “white” force  “personal dignity” – found in the young Chinese Communists

 Zhou Enlai: worked for the radiogram as a provision of “foreign office” in Chinese Soviet District (Zhu De as the Commander-in-Chief)  Discipline, integrity, connection  Re-establishment of “Awakening Society”  Studied in Nankai Middle School  Being sophisticated with “Communist Manifesto” before studying in France  “New People’s Study Society” (1920)  “Chinese Communist Youth League” (1922)  Sent delegates to Shangai and organized a general strike with 600,000 workers (but became a fiasco)  Supported Chiang Kai-shek’s Second Northern Expedition against warlords

 Zhou Enlai escaped from the Guomindang assasins in Shanghai Massacre, and was obliged to work underground.  Consolidated military influence in the Soviet Districts of Jiangxi and Fujian  Became the Vice-chairman of CCP Revolutionary Military Council  Edgar Snow’s impression on Zhou:  “cool, logical and empirical mind” [P.76]

 Joined the revolutionary army of Li Yuanhong with regards to his dissatisfaction upon the theories taught by Manchus in the Law School  Canton-Hankow Railway Dispute: on the side of landlords and activists from Hunnan Province  Learned Socialism in “Hsiang River Daily News” and resigned from the army once Sun Yat-sen came to an agreement with Yuan Shikai for a dissolution of GMD government in Nanjing  “Ke Lao Hui” (Elder Brother Society): established in regards to their resentment upon the insincerity of Manchu Court in appointing Han Chinese in the foreseeable constitutional parliament

 Led the “New People’s Society” to join the frontier of Ting Yen-kai against Yuan’s re-enthronement (but was brutually suppressed)  Attended the Third Congress of Communist Party in Guangdong in 1923  Being the Editor of “Political Weekly” and Director of Peasant Department under GMD in 1925  Member of CCP Revolutionary Military Council  Member of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee  Member of CCP Finance Commission  Member of CCP Organization Committee  Member of CCP Public Health Commission  9th CCP Conference of the Fourth Red Army in 1929 (after Chen Duxiu’s resignation): Ideas for improvements and elimination of misunderstanding between Bolshelviks and Menshelviks

 “an intellectual face of great shrewdness”  Hatless: talking with two young peasants and gesticulating earnestly  “a man of considerable depth of feeling”  Eyes: moistened for the dead comrades; recalled incidents in his youth during the rice riots and famines of Hunan; lots of starving peasants begged Yamen for food frustratedly (hardship during the Late Qing and Republican Era  Gave his coat away to a wounded man at the front  Refused to wear shoes when his Red comrades had none  Broad knowledge in classical Chinese, philosophy and history: a man with unusual memory, an able writer, a good speaker

 A humanist who believed in problem-solving with man’s wisdom [P.92]: “urged the Reds to toughen themselves with regards to a further demand on their warrior capacity for withstanding great hardship and suffering”  Questioned why no government established by workers:  Admired Ramsay McDonald of Labour Party who was regarded as an arch traitor of the British people [P.92]  Considered Mussolini much able: a real Machiavellian  Welcomed the alliance with Siam, Philippines, Canada etc. to resist colonialism [P.134]  Welcomed an anti-Fascist pact with capitalist democracies  “A war of maneuver” – mobile (guerilla) warfare against Japanese troops with the blockade of mountainous landscapes [P.111]  Urged for a leadership from determined revolutionaries [P.107]  Supported the National United Front and World Anti- Japanese United Front against Japanese imperialism

 Ms. WEI Kung-chih [P.123]  Formerly a member of propaganda corps at the GMD Political Training School, directed by Deng Xiaoping  Conducted the Red Theatre during the Long March  Liu Ting-chiao – “Hero of the Reds” [P.194]  Fixed the iron-chain suspension bridge in River Tatu, which enabled a convenient mobilization of military and agrarian resources to Sichuan  Lin Biao [P.111]  Promoted as President of Red Army University when 28 years old  Li Chiang-lin [P.78]  Commander during the Nanchang Uprising  Ho Lung [P.80]  Successfully arrested a Swiss espionage called Bosshard  Zhang Xueliang – “The Young Marshal” (formerly the son of Zhang Zuolin, the “Feng” Warlord) [P.47]  Sian Incident: kidnapped Chiang Kai-shek and forced him to abandon the Communist extermination for the sake of defending Japanese invasion  Liu Chih-tan – anti-landlord movement  Abolition of surtaxes and establishment of cooperatives in Shensi Province

 Chiang Kai-shek’s political selfishness at the expense of national security: suppressed internal opponents instead of foreign invaders:  Zhang Xueliang urged the anti-Japanese students in Dongbei University to reach Sian. But, the anti-Japanese agitators were arrested by agents of the Nanjing Government. [P.50]  Nanjing signed an “anti-Red pact” with Toyko and Nazi Germany. [P.37]  Chiang got the support from German advisers, General von Seeckt and General von Falkenhausen, to force the Communists for a Long March miserably. [P.37]  Chiang allowed Japanese conquest in Manchuria, a cored province for China’s industrial development. It gave Japan a continental base to further practice her aggressive policy. [P.101]  Total failure of parliamentary system in such a Republican rule throughout the two decades: military dictatorship still fragmented in many provinces; no say among common people; being reluctant to promote a collective rule with Communist Party in the Republican Government (not according to the will of Dr. Sun)

 “no ritual of hero worship built up around him (Mao Zedong) …” [P.92]  really true?  “I never met a Chinese Red who drooled ‘our-great-leader’ phrase…” [P.92]  Were the Reds absolutely submissive with Mao’s authority?  “I did not hear Mao’s name as a synonym of the Chinese people…” [P.92]  ???  “But still I never met one who did not like the Chairman – as everyone called him – and admire him…” [P.92]  really true?  “Leninism and Historical Foundations of Democracy” in the Chinese Soviet Political Lectures [P.117]  Were the Reds alerted themselves being ideologically maneuvered by the ambitious Russians?

 [P.124] Pity: Those enthusiastic youths died earlier than the establishment of PRC.  “…(CCP) was to awaken them (the youths) a belief of human rights, to combat the timidity, passiveness, and static faiths of Taoism and Confucianism, to educate, to persuade, to coerce them to fight for the “reign of people”, for the “life of justice”, for equality, for freedom, and for human dignity…” (too idealistic!)  Never realized after the establishment of PRC: the growing authority of Left-wing rulers enforced an ever-increasing deterioration of the so-called “people’s republic”.  Proletariat dictatorship: Mao encouraged an extermination of capitalists, former pro-Qing and Guomindang officials, religious pursuers, Confucianists and Right-minded CCP cadres during the Cultural Revolution; Commemorators of Zhou Enlai in Tiananmen Square were suppressed by Jiang Qing in 1976; personnel struggles within the Communist Party and brutal suppression upon the democrat-activists in the political turmoil on 4 June 1989.

 “The Communists rationalized and apparently believed that, they were advancing towards an anti-Japanese front, and this was a psychological factor of great importance. It helped them turn what might have a demoralized retreat into a spiritual march of victory.” [Strategic retreat of Reds from Northwest during the Long March, P.205]  Intelligently resolved their inner struggles based on their macro-viewed and nation-wide consideration, as they reaffirmed CCP’s insistence of defending against Japanese invasion even they were not politically recognized as divined patriots  Gained manpower support from peasants in Northwest as Communists helped them confiscated the luxuries of merchants and landlords  Conscription with racial minorities: Miao, Shan and Lolo

 The United States  Mutual support to Guomindang against Communists, but offered not so much concrete help, as she was preoccupied by the emergent task of economic recovery after the Great Depression  Passive diplomacy: Avoided having direct conflicts with Soviet Russia (under Stalin)  Britain  More concerns to the threat of the U.S.S.R than that of the Chinese Communists: The sovereign issue of Poland  Appeasement Policy towards the Nazi threat and political instability in Eastern Europe: No more intervention to the Chinese politics  France  Preoccupied with the task of urban reconstruction due to the disastrous bombardment from German troops  Germany  Signed an “Anti-Red Pact” with Chiang Kai-shek and offered him advisers to tackle with Communist expansion

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