History of the PRC – Part Twelve Posted by sasha on Jan 3, 2011 in Uncategorized
At the end of Part Eleven, we found Mao Zedong and the Communist forces battered, bruised, yet still intact after the Long March. While enduring the hardships and struggles of their historical march across the country, Mao’s troops obeyed his Three Rules of Discipline:
- Obey orders in all your actions.
- Do not take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses.
- Turn in everything captured.
They also followed his Eight Points for Attention:
- Speak politely.
- Pay fairly for what you buy.
- Return everything you borrow.
- Pay for anything you damage.
- Do not hit or swear at people.
- Do not damage crops.
- Do not take liberties with women.
- Do not ill-treat captives.
Strict adherence to these policies helped the Red Army/People’s Liberation Army (人民解放军 – Rén mín jiě fàng jūn) gain popularity among the masses during the Chinese Civil War (国共内战 – guó gòng nèi zhàn). They were respectful of civilians and their property while engaged in the conflict. On the contrary, Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT forces would enter homes without permission and would treat civilians disrespectfully. Soon enough, peasants were lining up to join the Red Army, and they would also happily misinform KMT forces when they asked for information. This difference in policy between the KMT and CCP would prove to be vital in the coming years.
While CCP and KMT forces had been at war for years, they would soon put their differences aside and once again work together. This started in 1936 with the Xi’an Incident (西安事变 – Xī ān shì biàn). On December 12, Chiang was arrested and kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang (张学良). Zhang, whose father had been killed by Japanese forces when his train car was bombed (covered in Part Eight), had proven himself much more independent of a leader than the Japanese had thought he would be. Called the “Hero of History” (千古功臣 – Qiān gǔ gōng chén) by PRC historians, this Manchurian warlord was hell-bent on stopping the Japanese. As such, he kidnapped Chiang and forced the KMT ruler to unify with CCP forces in order to drive the Japanese out of China. While Chiang agreed, he had Zhang put under house arrest as soon as he was released. Zhang would remain under arrest for over 50 years, but his efforts would indeed pay off for the CCP, as Chiang put a hold on his anti-Communist tirade in favor of an anti-Japan policy.
Although there was temporary peace between the CCP and KMT, China was about to play host to one of the most devastating wars of the 20th century…
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