002. Chinese Scholars’ Decisions and Fates

Chinese Scholars’ Decisions and Fates at the Crossroads of History

Sept. 7, 2020 | By Shixiang (Minghui.org)

History is a good lesson for us to learn. When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was about to take over mainland China 70 years ago, Chinese scholars faced a dilemma: staying with the CCP or leaving with Kuomintang, going to Taiwan?

Some chose to leave, such as Hu Shih, former Chinese Ambassador to the United States (1938 to 1942). They were able to maintain their personal integrity and continue passing on the idea of freedom in the free world. Some chose to stay such as Chen Yinke, one of the greatest Chinese historians at the time. They ended up suffering never-ending political movements and losing academic freedom, human dignity, or even their lives.

Reflecting on their stories, one can learn that when dealing with the CCP, it is important to see through its true nature instead of trusting the rosy picture that it paints.

Hu Shih’s Cry

By the end of 1948, the CCP had been prevailing in the civil war against the Kuomintang, then ruling party in China who had led China to win in WWII. The Kuomintang government sent three airplanes to evacuate famous scholars from Beijing, as it was losing the battles in northern China.

Hu Shih was one of the most renowned Chinese philosophers and essayists. He had also served as China’s Ambassador to the U.S., president of Peking University, and later president of the Academia Sinica in Taipei. He was at Nanjing, the capital city of the Kuomintang government, when the evacuation planes were deployed. The plan was to pick up some scholars from Beijing, then more in Nanjing, before taking them to Taiwan.

Hu went to the airport to join those scholars from Beijing. When the door of the first airplane was opened, he was shocked to see it was empty. The second plane was empty again… Out of the 81 most renowned scholars in Beijing to be evacuated, only 22 took the offer, with 10 going to Taiwan with the Kuomintang government and 12 to the U.S. or Europe. The remaining 59 chose to remain in Beijing.

Hu wept openly at the airport, as if he could foresee the gloomy future for those who chose to stay with the CCP.

Leaving the CCP

The CCP had tried to keep Hu in Beijing before he went to Nanjing, for his great influence in academia and politics. Mao Zedong, then CCP’s top leader, sent Hu a message that he could serve as president of Beijing Library if he chose to remain in the mainland. Hu’s student Wu Han, a high-ranking CCP official, also sent a messenger to ask Hu to stay.

Hu answered with one sentence, “Don’t believe the CCP!”

He also asked the messenger to tell Wu Han, “The Soviet Union has bread but no freedom; the United States of America has both bread and freedom; but when the CCP comes, there is neither bread nor freedom.”

In as early as 1919, Hu had recognized that “Marxism and socialism are just self-deceptive dreams.” In 1946, Hu wrote an article “On Two Fundamentally Different Parties,” stating that there are two fundamentally different types of parties: one is the party in the U.K., U.S., and Western Europe, and the other is the communist party in the Soviet Union, the Fascist Party in Italy, and the Nazi Party in Germany. The two types divide at the line of freedom vs. non-freedom, independence vs. non-independence, and tolerance vs. intolerance.

Despite the CCP’s repeated invitation, Hu left the CCP and went to Taiwan.

Fu Sinian was considered one of the best scholars in Chinese history and literature studies in the 20th century. In July 1945, he and a few scholars visited Yan’an, a northwestern city that served as the CCP’s headquarters. He had a private conversation with Mao Zedong for a night. However, unlike some other scholars who praised the Yan’an trip, Fu thought the system of Yan’an was pure despotism and obscurantism. He found that Mao was very familiar with all kinds of novels, especially those of poor-taste, and that Mao used those materials to study the psychology of the people to control them.

Thus, Fu did not hesitate to leave mainland China and later served as president of National Taiwan University.

Qian Mu, one of the “Four Modern Historians” in China, was another master-level scholar who had a clear understanding of the CCP. After the CCP army crossed the Yangtze River to attack the Kuomintang in south China in April 1949, Qian Jibo, a scholar specialized in classic Chinese literature, suggested that Qian Mu remain in the mainland.

Qian Mu asked Qian Jibo, “You have been studying literature. Can you see any attitude of generosity and tolerance in the CCP’s official announcement of crossing the Yangtze River?”

Qian Jibo was silent.

Mao Zedong wrote that announcement. From it, Qian Mu read that Mao would not tolerate anyone with different opinions, and thus he chose to leave mainland China. He continued his teaching in Hong Kong and mentored many students.

Staying with the CCP

Qian Jibo chose to trust the CCP. But his ending was tragic. His manuscript, which he spent a lot of time writing, was largely burned during the CCP’s political movement to destroy the leading “bad” scholars in 1959. He became depressed and died.

Chen Yinke, a Chinese literature master, was called the “professor of professors.” He went with Hu Shih from Beijing to Nanjing but then decided to stay in the mainland with the CCP. He endured much suffering during the CCP’s political movements, as he chose not to give up his conscience to the Party.

The CCP stopped his salary and froze his bank account during the Cultural Revolution. Chen was tortured until he was blind and developed heart disease and many other illnesses. The Red Guards (teenagers who vowed to be loyal only to Mao Zedong) put a few high-pitched speakers next to his bed to frighten him. Even when he was in his last days, the Red Guards still demanded that he “confess his crimes.” As Chen described experience, “I live as if in a prison cell for death row inmates.”

Even CCP officials could not escape the torture.

The aforementioned Wu Han, a renowned historian on the Ming Dynasty and Hu’s student, became the chancellor in charge of both Peking University and Tsinghua University. As a party activist, he served as the vice mayor of Beijing.

However, during the Cultural Revolution, he was taken down for a play he wrote, which was criticized as having a hidden political message against the CCP. He was forced to kneel down to receive public criticism and humiliation. His hair was pulled out and his chest developed internal bleeding due to beating. He died in October 1969, without seeing his adopted children for the last time, and leaving only a pair of pants full of bloodstains.

The CCP didn’t leave the children or relatives of the escaping scholars alone either.

Hu Shih’s youngest son, Hu Sidu, who had returned to China from the U.S., refused to evacuate to Taiwan along with his father.

When the CCP carried out a movement to denounce Hu Shih in the 1950s, Hu Sidu published an article titled “Criticism over My Father Hu Shih” and called Hu Shih “the dog of imperialists and the enemy of the public.” But that didn’t give him safety. Hu Sidu was labeled as a “Rightist” in 1957. He committed suicide by hanging himself.

Fu Sinian’s nephew Fu Lehuan finished his studies in Great Britain in 1951. He rejected Fu Sinian’s offer to work in Taiwan and worked as a professor in Beijing, where he thought he would be free and happy. During the Cultural Revolution he was labeled as a “spy” and repeatedly denounced, imprisoned, and tortured. He eventually jumped into a lake in Beijing to end his life.

The cases listed above are just some examples. The CCP has painted a free China with very rosy pictures during the civil war, to allure people to join it. According to the Chinese Academy of Science, about 5,000 Chinese scientists were overseas when the CCP came to power in 1949, and more than 2,000 came back to mainland China by 1956. However, what they experienced once they were in China was something they had never expected.


001. Why Did These Founders Abandon CCP?

Why Did These Chinese Communist Founders Abandon the Party?

Aug. 13, 2020 | By Xing Min (Minghui.org)

In China, the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in July 1921 was considered a key event in the CCP’s establishment. Writings about it often include the names of its 15 participants and sometimes their pictures.

What the public doesn’t know is that, out of those 15 people, only two were able to continue their belief in communism with no major setbacks. The rest either abandoned the communist ideas early on or became victims of political struggles within communism.

Here we will review the experiences of three top leaders of the CCP.

The First Party General Secretary

Following the system of the Soviet Union, the highest position in the CCP is the General Secretary. As the first general secretary, Chen Duxiu was considered the founder of the CCP.

Working as a dean at the renowned Peking University, Chen and others were looking for a new path for China. With support from the Soviet Union, Chen became the first general secretary and launched the CCP under the direction of the Soviet Communist Party (SCP).

Influenced by traditional Chinese culture, however, Chen was often at odds with the Party’s direction. As SCP instructed CCP leaders to join the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) for its survival and growth, Chen opposed it, citing ideological differences between the two. Later on he gave in and became a Kuomintang member just like other CCP leaders. Nonetheless, tension grew and led to his demotion by the SCP in July 1927.

During a conflict between China and the Soviet Union regarding the railroad in northeast China in 1929, CCP leaders proposed to support the SCP at the price of sacrificing Chinese people’s interests. Chen opposed the idea and was expelled from the CCP in November 1929.

After being arrested by Kuomintang in October 1932, Chen studied traditional Chinese culture in prison and chose to abandon communism. In a letter in March 1938, he said the CCP had done whatever it took to advance its own agenda. “Those who listen to you are soldiers, while those who have different opinions are considered traitors. Have you ever considered moral values?”

In 1940, Chen wrote, “The dictatorship of the proletariat does not exist, since it only leads to dictatorship of the party or the party leader. Any dictatorship will cause brutality, cover-up, deceit, bribery, and corruption.”

A CCP Leader Who Always Wore a “Mask”

Qu Qiubai, another attendee of the first national congress, replaced Chen as the top leader after Chen’s demotion in 1927. Between 1928 and 1930, he also represented the CCP in the Communist International. Due to political struggles, however, he was demoted in 1931 and arrested by the Kuomintang in February 1935.

One month before his execution in June 1935, Qu wrote a long article titled “Superfluous Words.” He said it was a mistake for him to be a CCP leader because he was just a plain intellectual. Although only 36 years old, he was already very tired with no ambition or interest in politics or even entertainment.

Throughout his life, Qu rarely read books on Marxism. During meetings, he learned to be politically savvy and did not make his own decisions. Still, he was criticized, and all the criticism further confused him. Therefore, he was happy for others to play dominant roles. He said he could use his little knowledge of Marxism to analyze issues, but the methodology itself could be anti-Marxist, since he did not know other ideas.

In addition, Qu said he lacked confidence and always relied on others. His personality did not qualify him to be a communist, and it was painful for him to play the roles he did. That was why he was happy his comrades called him a traitor; his heart had left them long before that.

Qu described his roles in the CCP as performing on a stage, which was different from his true self. He was not frank with others, including even his wife. “Through the years, I always wore a mask and I am so happy to get rid of it,” he said.

A Statement of Quitting the CCP

Zhang Guotao was also a senior official in the CCP organization. He was the chairperson of the first national congress in 1921. In addition, he was the only Chinese leader who had met Vladimir Lenin in person.

Zhang once had unparalleled power in the Party. For example, as the Red Army troops met in 1935 after the Long March, Zhang’s Fourth Front Army had nearly 80,000 soldiers, while the First Front Army of Mao Zedong and other top leaders only had less than 30,000. During the internal conflicts that followed, however, he was stripped of his leadership role in 1936. A large portion of his troops was also nearly all destroyed. Mao and other top leaders then launched numerous attacks on him.

As the situation deteriorated, Zhang fled in April 1938 and turned to the Kuomintang on April 2, 1930. Three days later, he made an announcement of quitting the CCP. He said he had been wrong to join the CCP. In fact, the CCP’s actions were already against the interests of Chinese people, and it had become an organization of constant plotting and riots.

In 1948, Zhang launched the Chuangjin magazine in Shanghai. He wrote numerous articles stating the CCP “focused on power struggles,” “did not care about moral values or the country at all,” and “treated citizens like dirt.” He also predicted, “If the CCP succeeds, the military rule would inevitably lead to totalitarian politics.” His prediction became reality within several years.

Zhang was fortunate not only because he followed his conscience and stopped following the CCP; by doing so, he also avoided becoming a victim of the Party’s countless internal political struggles. Top leaders such as Liu Shaoqi (former chairperson of China) and Peng Dehuai (the most accomplished general) all died miserably after humiliation and countless other types of mistreatment.

Lessons from the Soviet Union

The establishment of the CCP occurred largely because of assistance from the Soviet Union. Nearly 30 years have passed since the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, but the tyranny of communism still continues in China.

The CCP has grown significantly in the past few decades. With the end of cold war, the West invested heavily in China, hoping the economic improvement would lead to democracy and political openness. With the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, however, the CCP proved that it would continue to dominate China with violence and lies.

Since then, continued support from Western countries, including the admission of China into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, boosted China’s economy, giving the CCP more leverage to intensify its censorship, manipulate public opinion, and suppress human rights. One example is the persecution of Falun Gong, a meditation discipline based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, that has been going on since July 1999.

Boris Yeltsin, former top leader of the Soviet Union, announced his resignation from the SCP during the 28th Communist Party Congress on July 12, 1990. “As the highest elected figure in the republic, I can only subordinate myself to the will of the people and its elected representatives. I therefore announce my resignation from the Communist Party of Soviet Union,” he announced in front of the Party members.

With the dissolution of Soviet Union, people also reflected on history and tragedies such as those described in The Gulag Archipelago. Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the SCP in 1991, recalled this dissolution process during an interview with The Guardian in 2011.

When asked to name the things he most regretted, he replied without hesitation, “The fact that I went on too long in trying to reform the Communist party.” He said the Party had become a roadblock for all the necessary changes needed in the country. The article is titled “Mikhail Gorbachev: I should have abandoned the Communist party earlier.”

After the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party was published in 2004, over 361 million people have renounced their current and past memberships in CCP organizations. How long will it be until the Chinese people regain their freedom? Only time will tell.