History Lessons from Three U.S. Misjudgments of the Chinese Communist Party (5)

(2) A coalition government that recognizes enemies as friends

One of the main tasks of Marshall’s visit to China on Truman’s orders was to establish a so-called “democratic coalition government” including the Chinese Communist Party to achieve peaceful reunification of China. But the Nationalist government had already made an attempt during the Chongqing negotiations, which proved to be a wishful fantasy.

After the victory of the war, the Chinese Communist rebellion became the main obstacle to the peaceful establishment of the national government. Jiang Zhongzheng was prepared for this on two fronts. Internationally, the United States had always been dissatisfied with the one-party government of the Kuomintang, the Soviet Union had promised to support the Kuomintang in the recently signed Treaty of Friendship and Alliance between China and the Soviet Union, and the Chinese Communist Party had indeed grown in size, so Chiang invited Mao Zedong to Chongqing to negotiate a political solution, that is, to accept the Communist Party into the coalition government under the premise of unified political and military orders. He had revealed in his diary that he was prepared to appoint a number of provincial chairmen if the Communists did repent. However, Chiang, who was well aware of the nature of the Communists, at the same Time reissued the “Handbook for the Suppression of Bandits” to the National Army and prepared for a military solution once the road to peace failed.

If Chiang had a glimmer of hope that the Communists would repent, Mao had no interest in reconciliation between the Communists and the Chinese, and his trip to Chongqing was a last resort. Chiang repeatedly met with Mao to try to persuade the Communists to change their course, to give up their army and cut-off territories, and to compete politically and economically instead. This was indeed the only reasonable way to build a country peacefully. But what Mao was thinking was: If the Communist army and regime were abolished, what power would the Party have even if it could legally exist? That is why the army and the regime must never be given up. Mao’s ambition was always to seize power with arms, to terraform all of China, and to be the communist emperor by itself.

Therefore, during the negotiations in Chongqing, the Communists demanded the formation of 48 divisions, four times the maximum of 12 divisions allowed by the state government. At the same time, the government was forced to recognize the “democratically elected” government of the Communist areas and appoint them as the chairmen of the five provinces in North China, and as the mayors and vice mayors of Pingjin. Chiang said frankly in his diary that his brain was deeply stimulated, lamenting that the Communists were faithless and insincere, and that the animals were not as good. At one point he considered detaining Mao and trying him for traitorous treason. Although Chiang eventually sent Mao out of the country as a gift, he also discouraged the idea of a political solution to the Chinese Communist problem.

The Chongqing negotiations failed to achieve the goal of unifying political and military orders, and the loss was completely outweighed by the gain. The Communists, on the other hand, had a great deal to gain. The peace talks provided a good opportunity for unification propaganda and deception. A red terrorist organization, formerly wanted by the government and still in rebellion, earned a paper that concealed its true demonic appearance, the Double Ten Pact, and a political status equal to that of the legitimate government, with only a cheap set of democratic masquerades.

Marshall’s arrival in China and the re-firing of the coalition government’s cold rice was totally unappetizing to Chiang. With the failure of the Chongqing negotiations in the first place, Chiang was extremely reluctant to continue to seek an illusory political rapprochement. In his view, the Republic of China had fallen into an unprecedented post-war security crisis due to the full-scale rebellion of the communists. Insightful people in the Nationalist government, such as Bai Chongxi, also believed that the time for political democratization had not yet come and that there was no alternative to a military solution to the Chinese Communist problem. The Nationalist government had an urgent need to suppress the Communist Party and put down the rebellion. But under the international pressure of strong American intervention, Chiang could only hope that Marshall could do justice and work together with his Anti-Communist allies to force the communists to give in.

However, Chiang soon found out that Marshall was extremely ignorant of the CCP, just like the U.S. Army Observation Team, and had fallen prey to Zhou Enlai’s bent and fanciful United Front lies, believing that the Communists genuinely aspired to democratic politics. Ignoring the fact that the CCP had an illegal armed and secessionist regime, he submitted the Organic Law of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China to Chiang, granting the Communists powers they did not dare to hope for, and Chiang marveled that it was “enough to call for the downfall of the country”.

The Chinese Communists had already broken with the government militarily, and Marshall’s arrival in China showed them the advantages of playing the political card again. The first was to paralyze the U.S. with democratic demands, so that Marshall would feel that there was “something reasonable to say and something to do” politically, thus blocking the Nationalist government from attacking the Communists by force. The second was to launch a public opinion offensive at the political consultation to discredit the National Government and gain political and public opinion advantages. Therefore, on the same day that Truman issued his statement on China, the CPC restarted the negotiations between the Nationalists and Communists on the Political Consultative Conference. Mao Zedong had explicitly instructed Zhou Enlai that the resolution of the Political Consultative Conference could be signed and ostensibly it could still be said to be good. This Chinese Communist plot to unify the war was quite successful.

Although the Political Consultative Conference did not come from Marshall, the U.S. actively supported and was happy to see the Communist Party participate in the constitution-making and democratic coalition government along with regular parties such as the Democratic League, the Youth Party and the Democratic Socialist Party, and even saw the Communist Party as a democratic counterweight to the Kuomintang. The Communists, who were also skilled in unification and deception, took advantage of the CPPCC meeting like a fish to water, and once again fooled the nation and public opinion by falsely claiming that the liberated areas had been democratically elected, with a positive image of being the first to realize democracy and freedom, and in turn attacking the dictatorship of the Kuomintang. The CPPCC meeting was like a stage for the communists, and Chiang knew that the communists were only acting, but he had to cooperate against his will to show the Americans. Therefore, he confessed in his diary that the three weeks of the CPPCC meeting were the most painful period of his Life, and he was begging for what he could get.

However, even though Chiang was “dictatorial”, he still made many concessions at the CPPCC, such as the draft constitution, which basically adopted the CCP’s version, including limiting the power of the president, actively protecting human rights, and directly electing legislators. But to the Communists, the Chongqing negotiations and the CPPCC meetings were nothing but a united-war strategy to weaken their opponents and protect themselves. Therefore, no matter how much goodwill the government released, the communists insisted on maintaining the status quo in their illegal regime in the “liberated areas” and the CPPCC meeting repeated the same mistake as the Chongqing negotiations.