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Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung


February 15, 1949


The reactionary Kuomintang rule is collapsing more rapidly than was expected. It is only a little over four months since the People's Liberation Army captured Tsinan and only a little over three months since it captured Shenyang, but all the remnant forces of the Kuomintang in the military, political, economic, cultural and propaganda fields are already hopelessly split and disintegrated. The general collapse of Kuomintang rule began with the Liaohsi-Shenyang and Peiping-Tientsin campaigns on the northern front and the Huai-Hai campaign on the southern front. In less than four months, from early October last year to the end of January this year, these three campaigns cost the Kuomintang a total of more than 1,540,000 men, including 144 entire divisions of its regular army. The general collapse of Kuomintang rule is the inevitable outcome of the great victories of the Chinese People's War of Liberation and of the revolutionary movement of the Chinese people, but the clamour for "peace" by the Kuomintang and its U.S. masters has played a considerable part in hastening this collapse. On January 1 of this year, the Kuomintang reactionaries began to lift a rock called the "peace offensive"; they intended to hurl it at the Chinese people, but now it has dropped on their own feet. To be more exact, the rock has smashed the Kuomintang to pieces. Besides General Fu Tso-yi, who has helped the People's Liberation Army to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Peiping question, there are plenty of people everywhere who hope for a peaceful settlement. The Americans are looking on in impotent fury because their brats have failed them. In fact, this magic weapon, the peace offensive, was made in U.S. factories and was delivered to the Kuomintang more than half a year ago. It was Leighton Stuart himself who let out the secret. After Chiang Kai-shek issued his so-called New Year's Day message, Stuart told a correspondent of the Central News Agency that this was "what I myself have consistently worked for". According to U.S. news agencies, that correspondent lost his rice bowl for publishing this "off the record" remark. The reason the Chiang Kai-shek clique did not dare to obey this American order for quite a long time was clearly explained in a directive issued by the Propaganda Department of the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee on December 27, 1948:

If we cannot fight, we cannot make peace. If we can fight, then to talk about peace will only demoralize the troops and the people. Hence, whether we can fight or not, we have everything to lose and nothing to gain by talking about peace.

The Kuomintang issued this directive at that time because some Kuomintang factions other than Chiang's were already advocating peace talks. Last December 25, Pai Chung-hsi and the Hupeh Provincial Council under his direction raised the question of a "peaceful settlement"[1] with Chiang Kai-shek, who was compelled to issue a statement on January 1 about holding peace negotiations on the basis of his five terms. He hoped to snatch the patent for inventing the peace offensive from Pai Chung-hsi and to continue his old rule under a new trade mark. On January 8 he sent Chang Chun to Hankow to enlist the support of Pai Chung-hsi and on the same day he asked the governments of the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union to intervene in China's civil war.[2] But all these moves failed completely. The statement by Chairman Mao Tse-tung of the Communist Party of China on January 14 dealt a fatal blow to Chiang Kai-shek's plot for a sham peace and compelled him to "retire" backstage a week later. Although Chiang Kai-shek and Li Tsung-jen and the Americans had made all kinds of arrangements for this plot and hoped to put on a fairly good puppet show, the result was contrary to their expectations; not only did the audience dwindle, but even the actors themselves vanished from the stage one after another. In Fenghua, Chiang Kai-shek continues to direct his remnant forces in his "status of retirement", but he has lost his legal status and those people who believe in him are getting fewer and fewer. On its own initiative, Sun Fo's "Executive Yuan" has proclaimed "the moving of the Government to Canton"; it has broken away not only from the "president" and "acting president" of the government but also from the "Legislative Yuan" and "Control Yuan". Sun Fo's "Executive Yuan" calls for war, [3] but the "Ministry of National Defence", which is charged with conducting the war, is neither in Canton nor in Nanking, and the only thing that is known of it is that its spokesman is in Shanghai. Thus, all that is left for Li Tsung-jen to see from the ramparts of the "Stone City" is,

The sky brooding low over the land of Wu and Chu,
With nothing between to meet the eye.[4]

None of the orders issued by Li Tsung-jen since he assumed office on January 21 has been carried out. Although the Kuomintang no longer has any "total" "government" and although activities for local peace are going on in many places, the Kuomintang die-hards oppose local peace and demand a so-called "total peace", and they actually aim at rejecting peace in the vain hope of carrying on the war; they are terribly afraid that these local peace activities will spread and get out of hand. The farce of the badly split and disintegrating Kuomintang's demand for a "total peace" reached its climax in the statement issued on February 9 in Shanghai by the war criminal Teng Wen-yi, head of the Bureau for Political Work of the bogus Ministry of National Defence. Like Sun Fo, Teng Wen-yi repudiated Li Tsung-jen's January 22 statement, which accepted the eight terms of the Communist Party of China as the basis for peace negotiations; instead he demanded a so-called "peace on an equal footing, a total peace", failing which, he said, "we will stop at no sacrifices in order to fight the Communists to the bitter end". But Teng Wen-yi failed to mention with whom we, his opponents, should now negotiate for a "peace on an equal footing, a total peace". It seems that to approach Teng Wen-yi will get us nowhere and that not to approach Teng Wen-yi or anyone else will also get us nowhere. How very trying this is! According to a Central News Agency dispatch from Shanghai on February 9:

Teng Wen-yi was asked by a reporter, "Has Acting President Li approved the four points in your public statement?"[5] Teng Wen-yi answered, "I am speaking from the stand of the Ministry of National Defence, and the four points made today were not submitted beforehand to Acting President Li."

Here, Teng Wen-yi is not only inventing a partial stand of the bogus Ministry of National Defence, as distinct from the total stand of the bogus Kuomintang government, but is in fact inventing a smaller partial stand of the Bureau for Political Work of the bogus Ministry of National Defence, as distinct from the larger partial stand of the bogus Ministry of National Defence. For Teng Wen-yi openly opposes and maligns the peaceful settlement in Peiping, while the bogus Ministry of National Defence hailed it on January 27 as an act "to shorten the war, secure peace and thereby preserve the foundations of the ancient capital, Peiping, and its cultural objects and historic monuments" and declared that "cessation of hostilities will be effected" in the same way in places like Tatung and Suiyuan.[6] From this it can be seen that those reactionaries who are the most energetic in their clamour for "total peace" are the very reactionaries with the least total stand. A Bureau for Political Work of the Ministry of National Defence can contradict the Ministry of National Defence as well as the acting president. These reactionaries are the greatest obstacle to the realization of peace in China today. They dream of agitating for a total war under the slogan of a "total peace"; in their own words, "if there is to be war, let it be a total war; if there is to be peace, let it be a total peace." But as a matter of fact they have neither the power to bring about a total peace nor the power to wage a total war. Total power is in the hands of the Chinese people, the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the Communist Party of China and the other democratic parties, not in the hands of the badly split and disintegrating Kuomintang. One side wields total power, while the other is hopelessly split and disintegrated, and this is the result of the prolonged struggle of the Chinese people and the prolonged evil-doing of the Kuomintang. No serious person can ignore this basic fact of the political situation in China today.


1. Taking advantage of the extremely unfavourable situation then facing Chiang Kai-shek, Pai Chung-hsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Central China "Bandit Suppression" Headquarters of the Kuomintang, proposed a "peaceful settlement" of the civil war to Chiang, with the purpose of forcing him to step down and of raising the position of the Kwangsi clique to which Pai belonged. Under Pai Chung-hsi's direction the bogus Hupeh Provincial Council sent a telegram to Chiang Kai-shek, warning him that "if the disaster of war continues to spread and no attempt is made to change the course immediately, both the state and the people will be ruined", and advising him to "follow the normal course of political settlement and seek ways to resume peace negotiations".

2. The request for intervention was rejected by the governments of the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. In its aide-mémoire to the Kuomintang government on January 12, the U.S. government explained that the United States had rejected the request of the Kuomintang government because "it is not believed that any useful purpose would be served". This meant that the U.S. government was already aware that it could no longer avert the doom of the reactionary Chiang Kai-shek regime it had fostered.

3. On February 6 and 7, 1949, Sun Fo, president of the bogus Executive Yuan of the Kuomintang government, made two statements at Canton opposing Li Tsung-jen's statement about accepting the eight terms for peace put forward by the Communist Party of China as the basis for negotiations. He said that "the Government has begun functioning in Canton where it has moved, and we should make a critical review of our past". He also said that "the term on the punishment of war criminals proposed by the Communists is absolutely unacceptable".

4. Lines from an ode by the 14th century Chinese poet, Sadul, of the Yuan Dynasty. The first half of the ode reads:

From the ramparts of the Stone City
One sees the sky brooding low over the land of Wu and Chu,
With nothing between to meet the eye.
Pointing to strategic points famous in the Six Dynasties,
Only the green hills stand like walls.
Where army flags blotted the sun
And masts of war vessels touched the clouds
Snow-white skeletons lie scattered.
North and south of the River
How many warriors died!

The "Stone City" was an ancient name for Nanking.

5. In his written statement on the "Development of Peace and War", Teng Wen-yi set forth the following "four points": (1) "The Government wants peace"; (2) "The Chinese Communist Party wants war"; (3) "The local peace at Peiping has become a hoax"; (4) "We will stop at no sacrifices in order to fight the Communists to the bitter end".

6. After the liberation of Tientsin and Peiping, only a few isolated strong-points in northern China remained in the hands of the Kuomintang forces. They included Taiyuan, Tatung, Hsinhsiang, Anyang and Kueisui. The enemy at Taiyuan was completely wiped out on April 24, 1949. The enemy at Tatung submitted to peaceful reorganization on May 1. The enemy at Hsinhsiang surrendered on May 5. The enemy at Anyang was wiped out on May 6. Kueisui was peacefully liberated on September 19.

Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung