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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


August 16, 1945

[This commentary was written by Comrade Mao Tse-tung for the Hsinhua News Agency.]

A spokesman for Chiang Kai-shek, commenting on the alleged violation by the Communist Party of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's order to Commander-in-Chief Chu Teh, said at a press conference in Chungking on the afternoon of August 15, "The orders of the generalissimo must be obeyed" and "Those who violate them are enemies of the people." A Hsinhua News Agency correspondent states: This is an open signal by Chiang Kai-shek for all-out civil war. On August 11, at the critical moment when the Japanese invaders were being finally wiped out, Chiang Kai-shek issued an order of national betrayal forbidding the Eighth Route Army, the New Fourth Army and all the other armed forces of the people to fight the Japanese and the puppet troops. Of course, this order cannot and should not be accepted. Soon afterwards, Chiang Kai-shek through his spokesman proclaimed the armed forces of the Chinese people to be "enemies of the people". This shows that Chiang Kai-shek has declared civil war against the Chinese people. Chiang Kai-shek's plotting of civil war did not of course begin with his order of August 11; it has been his consistent plan throughout the eight years of the War of Resistance. During those eight years, Chiang Kai-shek launched three large-scale anti-Communist campaigns, in 1940, 1941 and 1943, [1] each time attempting to develop the attack into a country-wide civil war, and only the opposition of the Chinese people and of public figures in the Allied countries prevented its occurrence, much to Chiang's regret. Thus he was forced to postpone the country-wide civil war until the end of the War of Resistance Against Japan, and so came the order of August and the statement of August 15. For the purpose of unleashing civil war, Chiang Kai-shek had already invented many terms, such as "alien party", "traitor party", "traitor army", "rebel army", "traitor areas", "bandit areas", "disobedience to military and government orders", "feudal separatism", "undermining the War of Resistance" and "endangering the state"; and he had alleged that, since in the past there had been only "suppression of Communists" in China and not "civil war", there would be no "civil war" in the future either, and so on and so forth. The slight difference this time is the addition of a new term, "enemy of the people". But people will perceive that this is a foolish invention. For whenever the term, "enemy of the people", is used in China, everyone knows who is meant. There is a person in China who betrayed Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles [2] and the Great Revolution of 1927. He plunged the Chinese people into the bloodbath of ten years of civil war and thereby invited aggression by Japanese imperialism. Then, scared out of his wits, he took to his heels and led a flock of people in a flight all the way from Heilungkiang to Kweichow Province. He became an onlooker and sat around, waiting with folded arms for victory to come. Now that victory has come, he tells the people's armies to "stay further orders" and tells the enemy and the traitors to "maintain order" so that he can swagger back to Nanking. One need only mention these facts for the Chinese people to know that this person is Chiang Kai-shek. After all he has done, can there be any dispute as to whether Chiang Kai-shek is an enemy of the people? Dispute there is. The people say "Yes". The enemy of the people says "No". And that is the only dispute. Among the people it is becoming less and less a matter of dispute. The problem now is that this enemy of the people wants to start a civil war. What are the people to do? The Hsinhua News Agency correspondent says: The policy of the Communist Party of China in regard to Chiang Kai-shek's launching a civil war is clear and consistent, namely, to oppose it. As far back as the time when Japanese imperialism began to invade China, the Communist Party of China demanded an end to civil war and unity against foreign aggression. In 1936-37 the Party made tremendous efforts, forced Chiang Kai-shek to accept its proposal and so carried out the War of Resistance Against Japan. During the eight years of resistance, the Communist Party of China never once relaxed its efforts to alert the people to check the danger of civil war. Since last year, the Communist Party has time and again called the people's attention to the huge plot being hatched by Chiang Kai-shek to unleash a country-wide civil war as soon as the War of Resistance ended. The Communist Party, like the rest of the Chinese people in the world concerned for peace in China, holds that a new civil war would be a calamity. But the Communist Party maintains that civil war can still be prevented and must be prevented. It is in order to prevent civil war that the Communist Party has advocated the formation of a coalition government. Now Chiang Kai-shek has rejected this proposal, and so civil war is touch-and-go. But there is definitely a way of checking this move of Chiang Kai-shek's. The people's democratic forces must strive to expand resolutely and rapidly; the people must liberate the big cities under enemy occupation and disarm the enemy and puppet troops; and if an autocrat and traitor to the people dares to attack them, the people must act in self-defence and resolutely strike back to frustrate the designs of the instigator of civil war. That is the way, the only way. The Hsinhua News Agency correspondent calls on the whole nation and the whole world to repudiate the utterly hypocritical and shameless lie which asserts that, on the contrary, civil war in China can be averted if Chiang Kai-shek forbids the Chinese people to liberate the enemy-occupied big cities, forbids them to disarm enemy and puppet forces and forbids them to establish democracy, if he himself goes to these big cities to "inherit" (not to smash) enemy and puppet regimes. This is a lie, the Hsinhua News Agency correspondent points out, and this lie obviously runs counter to the national and democratic interests of the Chinese people and also in the face of all the facts of modern Chinese history. It must always be remembered that it was not because the big cities were in the hands of the Communist Party rather than in his own hands that Chiang Kai-shek waged the ten-year civil war from 1927 to 1937; on the contrary, since 1927 none of the big cities has been in the hands of the Communist Party but all have been in Chiang's hands or have been yielded by him to the Japanese and the traitors, and this is the very reason why the civil war lasted for ten years on a country-wide scale and has continued on a local scale to this day. It must always be remembered that the ten-year civil war was stopped and that the three large-scale anti-Communist campaigns and countless other provocations during the War of Resistance were checked (up to and including Chiang Kai-shek's recent invasion of the southern part of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region [3]) not because Chiang Kai-shek was strong, but on the contrary because Chiang was relatively not strong enough, while the Communist Party and the people were relatively strong. The ten-year civil war was stopped, not by the appeals of public figures throughout the country who desired peace and feared war (such as those of the former "League for Banning Civil War"[4] and similar bodies), but by the armed demand of the Communist Party of China and the armed demands of the Northeastern Army under Chang Hsueh-liang and the Northwestern Army under Yang Hu-cheng. [5] The three large-scale anti-Communist campaigns and countless other provocations were not beaten back by unlimited concessions and submission by the Communist Party, they were beaten back by the Communist Party's persistence in a just, stern attitude of self-defence -- "We will not attack unless we are attacked; if we are attacked, we will certainly counter-attack." [6] If the Communist Party had been utterly powerless and spineless and had not fought to the finish for the interests of the nation and the people, how could the ten-year civil war have been ended? How could the War of Resistance Against Japan have started? And even though started, how could it have been carried on resolutely until victory today? How else could Chiang Kai-shek and his ilk be alive now, issuing orders and making statements from a mountain retreat so far from the front lines? The Communist Party of China is firmly opposed to civil war. The Soviet Union, the United States and Britain declared in the Crimea, "establish conditions of internal peace" and "form interim governmental authorities broadly representative of all democratic elements in the population and pledged to the earliest possible establishment through free elections of governments responsive to the will of the people".[7] That is exactly what the Communist Party of China has persistently advocated -- the formation of a "coalition government". The carrying out of this proposal can prevent civil war. But there is one precondition -- strength. If people unite and increase their strength, civil war can be prevented.


1. See "A Comment on the Eleventh Plenary Session of the Kuomintang's Central Executive Committee and the Second Session of the Third People's Political Council", Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. III.

2. The Three People's Principles were the principles and programmes put forward by Sun Yat-sen on the questions of nationalism, democracy and people's livelihood in the bourgeois democratic revolution in China. In 1924, in the Manifesto of the First National Congress of the Kuomintang, a congress characterized by co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, Sun Yat-sen restated the Three People's Principles, interpreted nationalism as opposition to imperialism and expressed active support for the movements of the workers and peasants. The old Three People's Principles thus developed into the new Three People's Principles with the Three Great Policies, that is, alliance with the Soviet Union, alliance with the Communist Party and assistance to the peasants and workers. The new Three People's Principles provided the political basis for the co-operation between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang during the First Revolutionary Civil War period.

3. This refers to the attack in July 1945 by Kuomintang troops on Chunhua, Hsunyi and Yaohsien in the Kuanchung sub-region of the Shensi-Kansu-Ningsia Border Region. See "The Situation and Our Policy After the Victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan", Note 12, p. 24 of this volume.

4. The "League for Banning Civil War" was formed in Shanghai in August 1932 with a mainly bourgeois membership. It issued a declaration calling for "ending the civil war and uniting to resist foreign aggression".

5. In 1936 the Kuomintang's Northeastern Army headed by Chang Hsueh-liang and the Kuomintang's Northwestern Army headed by Yang Hu-cheng were stationed in and around Sian; they were charged with the task of attacking the Chinese Red Army which had arrived in northern Shensi. Influenced by the Chinese Red Army and the people's anti-Japanese movement, they agreed to the Anti-Japanese National United Front put forward by the Communist Party of China and demanded that Chiang Kai-shek unite with the Communist Party to resist Japan. Chiang Kai-shek turned down the demand, became even more active in his military preparations for the "suppression of the Communists" and massacred the anti-Japanese youth of Sian. Chang Hsueh-liang and Yang Hu-cheng took joint action and arrested Chiang Kai-shek. This was the famous Sian Incident of December 12, 1936. Chiang Kai-shek was forced to accept the terms of unity with the Communist Party and resistance to Japan and was then set free to return to Nanking.

6. See "Talk with the Correspondents of the Central News Agency, the Sao Tang Pao and the Hsin Min Pao", Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol. II.

7. From the communiqué of the Crimea (Yalta) conference of the Soviet Union, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, February 11, 1945.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung