Li Fu-jen

Nanking’s Fall Ends First Phase of War

(December 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 18, 11 December 1937, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

With the capture of Nanking, China’s capital, by Japan’s invading legions, the first phase of the Sino-Japanese war is drawing to a close. Through five months of struggle, the Kuomintang government and Chinese bourgeoisie have demonstrated, not for the first time, their utter incapacity to conduct with any degree of success the liberating campaign for China’s national independence against imperialism.

Already there is talk that Chiang Kai-shek, having fled from Nanking, is about to go into “retirement.” According to a Shanghai dispatch to the New York Times, a reorganized government will assume “the onerous task of negotiating the best peace terms available.” The same message relates that the “Japanese authorities have already been approached with this plan, and it is understood they suggested that General Ho Ying-ching (Minister of War in the Nanking government) succeed General Chiang Kai-shek in control of the army.”

There can be no illusions as to the terms which the Japanese imperialists will impose. The Kuomintang government will be obliged to abandon the military struggle and put its signature to an agreement which will make it a pliant tool in the hands of Japan. There will be the first fruits of the war as it has been conducted hitherto by the Kuomintang and Stalinists under the banner of the “People’s Anti-Japanese Front.”

New Phase Opening

The surrender and capitulation of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, however, will not mean the end of China’s struggle against imperialism. A new phase is opening, in which the exploited masses of China, held in passivity by the Kuomintang and the Stalinists, will march to the front of the war stage. Reports from North China already indicate the opening of guerrilla warfare over a widespread area. This movement will grow and extend throughout the country. Goaded by the bestialities of the armies of Japanese imperialism, the masses will arise everywhere against the invaders.

The task of the Chinese revolutionists is to link themselves to the masses by means of a practical program of struggle based on revolutionary perspectives, to organize and mobilize the workers and peasants for the struggle, to blast the last illusions which the masses still retain concerning the Kuomintang and the Stalinists, who stand exposed before the entire country as the organizers of defeat.

Japanese Victories Episodic

Military victories won so far by the armies of Japan have only an episodic character. Japanese imperialism, in attempting to subdue all China, will encounter difficulties a thousand times greater than it has encountered in Manchuria. The first serious reverses will set in train a series of social explosions in Japan, whose economic fabric has already been terribly strained by the war. Thirty million Chinese in Manchuria, 21,000,000 inhabitants of Korea and 5,000,000 inhabitants of Formosa will rise up against their Japanese oppressors.

The activity of the Chinese Bolshevik-Leninists in organizing the masses for struggle against Japanese imperialism around revolutionary slogans must be linked with the struggles of the Japanese proletariat and peasantry and with the corresponding struggles of Japan’s colonial slaves. Together, these masses represent a force which all the hosts of imperialist Japan will not be able to vanquish – provided they are armed, not only with guns, but with revolutionary objectives.

Last updated on 19 November 2014