This article is the third part of a manuscript left by my grandfather Xiangrong Cai on August 9, 1984. Some parts of the text could not be recognized and had to be omitted or guessed at, and these are not specified individually. For ease of reading, some punctuation has been modified and some subheadings have been added.
I. From Langzhong to Nanchong
I traveled from Langzhong to Nanchong on August 26, 1938. Before departure, Comrade Maoji Tang told me that I should not carry my organizational relations with me, for fear of problems. I was instructed to go to Nanchong and then to the Minzhong Education Hall1 at Jingjiang Building to find a comrade named Jingbo Chen (also known as Chen Wen)2 for contact. At the same time, Zuo Lisheng also came to Nanchong Normal School to study, and his relations were transferred separately. Jianyi Cao and Ruichen Qiu3, who lived with me at Sichuan Provincial Nanchong Middle School, also transferred their relations to Jingbo Chen with me.
On the third day after arriving in Nanchong, August 28, I found Comrade Chen Jingbo at the Minzhong Education Hall. He was short, had parted hair, and dressed very plainly. I introduced myself first as Cai Zhenyu from Langzhong. He said happily, “I know, I know. Have the students Cao and Qiu arrived?” I replied that they had arrived at the school but hadn’t come today. It seemed that our situations had already been forwarded to him. He took me to his small office on the second floor. The room was filled with books and newspapers, and there were manuscripts on the desk. He was editing a newspaper. After exchanging a few pleasantries, he briefly introduced the situation of the school to me. The gist was that the school once had a glorious revolutionary tradition and many revolutionaries had emerged, some of whom had already sacrificed under the enemy’s butcher’s knife. Since the period of the civil war and the white terror, the party organization there had been severely damaged and was unable to recover. Due to the current Nationalist Party-Communist Party cooperation, the party organization had some development. Among the students who came to Nanchong to study from various counties, some were party members. Just from Langzhong, three had arrived, and it was estimated that some would arrive when school started, and then a party branch could be established. After talking about the current situation and tasks, he said: “The Nanchong Middle School is going to establish a party branch, and I am planning to put you in charge.” At the time, I was very surprised, and quickly said: “I just joined the party, and I’m only sixteen years old this year. I can’t bear such a big responsibility.” He patiently advised me: “It’s okay. You can learn while working, and you can come to me whenever you have difficulties.” At that time, I felt very conflicted - if I didn’t do it, I would be afraid that people would say that I was not obeying the organization. But if I did it, I was afraid of not doing it well. After thinking for a moment, I finally agreed. Then Comrade Jingbo gave me three tasks:
- Expand the party’s strength by recruiting a large number of new party members.
- Actively participate in anti-Japanese and national salvation propaganda activities, widely promote the party’s stance on the united front of the anti-Japanese and national salvation, and expand the influence of the party. Discover activists through the national salvation movement and absorb the advanced individuals among them into the party.
- Strengthen the education of party members. First, require me to learn theory and knowledge, and organize party members to study.
Finally, he pointed out that although the Nationalist Party and Communist Party had already cooperated, the party organization was still in a state of being an underground party. He emphasized the importance of maintaining secrecy and minimizing “horizontal relationships”4. There should be no large meetings, and party members should have a direct relationship with me. He also specified the code for transferring relations to me: Whenever a letter mentions “my friend” so-and-so “student”, that person is a party member. Sure enough, two days later, a short, plump young man came to find me and gave me a letter. It read: “Introducing my friend, Student Jiasheng Zhang to you. He is studying in Class 7. I hope you can help him and make a friend. Chen.” From then on, we had four party members.
II. Establishment of the Organization
On September 17th, school officially started. It was on that day that I learned the results of the examination, which had been published in the newspaper. On September 17th, Jiasheng Zhang, Jianyi Cao, Ruichen Qiu and I, under the pretext of reading the newspaper at the Minjiao Hall, went to see Jingbo Chen. He announced to us: the Communist Party organization was established at Nanchong Middle School. According to the “Sixth National Congress”5 Party Constitution, a “branch affairs meeting” (later referred to as the branch committee) would not be established if there were fewer than five people. He then designated me as the branch secretary6 on the spot.
In my diary dated September 18th, 1938, it was written: “Today is the commemoration day of the establishment of the Combat Student Team”. I still remember the scene at that time. That morning, I told Jiasheng Zhang that the branch was officially established, and the junior high school department was assigned to him to be responsible for, and he was directly related to me. After dinner, Qiu, Cao and I went to the playground to play. That day was the “9.18” Day of National Humiliation7. For fear of exposure, Jiasheng Zhang did not participate. The three of us softly sang the “Exile Trilogy”, and paid a silent tribute to the martyrs who died. That was the “commemoration” activity of the establishment of the party branch. (That evening, the school held a “National Humiliation Commemoration” meeting, and Wu Song8 gave a speech.) From then on, the party organization of Nanchong Middle School was restored. After this, the situations of the subsequent branch leaders were as follows:
- September 18, 1938 - May 8, 1939. Secretary: Zhenyu Cai (In February 1939, the branch affairs meeting was established, with Jianyi Cao as the organization officer and Chuanlu Liu as the propaganda officer.)
- May 9, 1939 - Secretary: Jianyi Cao, Organization: Xiao Zhixin, Propaganda: Chuanlu Liu
During this period, the following people led our branch:
- Jingbo Chen: August 1938 - October 1938
- Chuanji Liu9: October 1938 - January 8, 1939
- Cunxin Yu: January 8, 1939 - May 1939 (official contact on November 27, 1938)
Boke Zheng10 came a few times in the capacity of an inspector. As written in the diary on October 16th, “Liu introduced us to the newcomer Zheng, and we had a long conversation in the restaurant from ten to one. This man is really amazing.”
III. Conducting Activities
After the establishment of the Party branch, we carried out some work under the leadership of comrades such as Boke Chen, Chuanji Liu, Cunxin Yu, and others, mainly focusing on the development of grassroots organizations11, spreading propaganda for national salvation, and self-learning of the Party members.
1. About Organizational Development Work:
Adapting to the circumstances of the time, we primarily identified advanced individuals as development targets in our daily activities of national salvation. The method of developing new Party members was individual development, maturing one, developing one. The places for ceremonies were the “Public Tea House,” “Guo Mountain Park,” and “Life Bookstore” on Da Bei Street, among others. There were superior leaders participating each time we developed Party members. After 1939, we held the ceremony ourselves. According to the “Diary”, the Party members I developed alone included Jianyi Cao, Ruichen Qiu, Zhixin Xiao, Lihua Jin, Song Wu, Minghuang Chen, Zhiqiao Dai. In addition, during the winter vacation (1938), I introduced Hongxian Zheng and Shangmin Tang to join the Party in Langzhong. There were also Party members transferred from other places, including Jiasheng Zhang, Angu Hu, Ziqun Jia, Chuan Liu, Shixiong Dai, Shiying Liu, and others.
In this way, by February 1939, there were more than ten Party members, with the agreement of Comrade Chuan Liu, a branch committee was established. The division of labor was: Branch Secretary Zhenyu Cai, Organization Officer Jianyi Cao, Living Officer Chuan Liu. The work of the junior high school department was still the responsibility of Comrade Jiasheng Zhang.
2. Actively Participating in Anti-Japanese National Salvation Propaganda Activities
From 1938 to the first half of 1939, the relationship between the Nationalists and Communists was relatively normal nationwide; In Nanchong, the central members of the Party did a lot of top-level united front work, The then Commissioner Xian Ying12 had progressive thoughts and supported anti-Japanese national salvation activities; At school, Principal Dazhang Yang was also a progressive person, Coupled with the support of Teacher Ziqun Jia and Guidance Director Tianming Huang in all aspects, All of these created very favorable conditions for us to carry out propaganda activities for national salvation. Under the continuous guidance of the superiors, we took advantage of this great situation, using legitimate student organizations, we started this work:
A. Form of Activity
- At school, we used forms such as student meetings, weekly meetings, and class meetings for speeches;
- Participated in the “Propaganda Team” temporarily organized by the school for verbal propaganda in rural areas;
- Self-scripted and performed art programs, performed in the city and toured in rural areas.
B. Propaganda Content
- Unite to fight to the end, implement the Anti-Japanese National United Front;
- “Donate Winter Clothes”;
- Use the National Oath Movement of the National Covenant13 for propaganda.
Several larger propaganda activities are detailed in the diary, excerpts are as follows.
3. Study of Party Members’ Own Theoretical Policies and Education of Basic Knowledge of the Party
Regarding theoretical study: The “Diary” records that the books I read in a year include “Leninism Questions”, “Twelve Lectures on Social Science”, “Basic Course of Social Science”, “On Political Party”, and others. Some even took notes. I subscribed to a copy of the “Xinhua Daily” and the “Liberation” magazine. The resolution of the “Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth Party Congress”, I read it in the “Xinhua Daily”. Regarding “Zhang Guotao’s Defection from the Party” was orally conveyed by Chuan Liu, and later read it in the “Xinhua Daily”. Chairman Mao’s “On the New Stage” was first seen in the “Liberation” magazine, and later bought at the Life Bookstore on Da Bei Street. Reading these things is all a unified arrangement from above. The superiors had higher requirements for me, requiring me to study first, The main method was extracurricular reading, and individually tell Party members about their own experiences, and requires Party members to study as well.
Regarding the study of Party member documents, In one year, our branch only saw the mimeographed document “Party Building” once. It contains “The Nature of the Party” (vanguard of the proletariat) and tasks and organizational rules, etc. This was given to me after January 1939. After I circulated it among the branch officers, we three separately conveyed it to Party members individually.
In January 1939, Liu hosted a Party training class. I went there specifically to study with someone. Zhan He, the secretary of the vocational branch. A total of four people. Time from January 16th to 18th, three nights. The content includes the organizational system, democratic centralism, iron discipline, united front.
Grandfather’s autobiography ends here. There are some appendices that record the details of his activities in the Nanchong underground party, which do not have much reading value and will not be transcribed.
The names mentioned in the text are often unrecognizable and need to be guessed. They are not noted one by one here. ↩︎
To protect secrets and ensure safety, interactions within the underground party generally occur vertically between senior and junior members, rather than horizontally among peers. ↩︎
The Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held secretly from June 18 to July 11, 1928, in the “Silver Villa” of May 1 Village near Moscow, USSR. ↩︎
Party branch secretary. ↩︎
The Mukden Incident, which took place on September 18, 1931, in northeastern China, was a war of Japanese aggression. It marked the beginning of Japan’s invasion of Northeast China in 1931. ↩︎
It is mentioned later that this person was developed as a party member, which should have been a classmate of Grandpa in Nanchong. ↩︎
Chuanji Liu once served as the Chief of the Criminal Police Division and Deputy Director of the Chengdu Municipal Public Security Bureau, and as the Executive Vice Chairman and Secretary-General of the Sichuan Poetry Society. See Baidu Encyclopedia. ↩︎
Boke Zheng once served as a member of the Fifth National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a member of the Standing Committee of the Sixth National People’s Congress. See Baidu Encyclopedia. ↩︎
According to the article “The Rebuilding and Rectification of the Sichuan Underground Party Organization in the Early Stage of the Anti-Japanese War” (Party History Research, September 2017), “In early April 1938, Fengping Zou, Secretary of the Sichuan Provincial Committee, reported the progress of Sichuan Party work to the Yangtze River Bureau in Wuhan. The Yangtze River Bureau sternly pointed out that his organizational development was too slow… After Fengping Zou returned to Sichuan in the following month, he immediately convened a provincial committee meeting to discuss the instructions of the Yangtze River Bureau, and formulated a plan to complete the 10-fold development task from June to August.” ↩︎
The Administrative Commissioner’s Office, officially known as the “Office of the Administrative Commissioner,” was the administrative inspection institution of the administrative inspection area set up by the Nationalist Government. Ying Xian once served as the Commissioner of the Eleventh District. See Baidu Encyclopedia. ↩︎
The National Covenant of China, established by the Nationalist Government of China to encourage the spirit of national resistance. The Kuomintang Central Committee decided on May 1, 1939, to hold the first National Covenant Month meeting nationwide to swear to implement the National Covenant. See Baidu Encyclopedia. ↩︎
There are large sections here recording Grandpa’s participation in propaganda activities, which are currently omitted and will be added later. ↩︎