When it comes to contemporary Chinese historical figures, the three sisters in the Song Family are inescapable. The eldest sister, Soong Nui-ling, was married to Kong Xiangxi, the 75th generation grandson of Confucius and a major Shanxi family member, who served as president of the central bank and minister of finance during the Republican era, and died in the United States in 1973. The second sister, Soong Ching-ling, married Sun Yat-sen, the “Father of the Nation”, and later joined the Communist Party, dying in 1981 on the mainland in silence. The younger sister, Soong Mei-ling, married Chiang Kai-shek, the president of the Kuomintang, and died in the United States in 2003 at the age of 106, after a lifetime of anti-communism.
Obviously, among the three Soong sisters, Song Qingling was an alternative, not only marrying Sun Yat-sen, 27 years her senior, against her Parents‘ wishes, but also working for the Communist Party after Sun Yat-sen’s death, against her Life‘s ideals, finally putting herself in an embarrassing situation.
After her death, Song Meiling had this to say about her: “Second sister is strong by nature, but she is always confused in every major event in her life. In the end, she was not loyal to the country, not benevolent to the people, not filial to her parents, not temperate to her husband and wife, not righteous to her friends and relatives, not thinking about the greater good, not respecting heaven and earth, not admonishing the tyrant, not pacifying the fierce people. It is sad! …… finally ended up in the rebellion of all the relatives, lonely and miserable, above insulting parents and ancestors, and below ashamed of the many disasters of the people.”
How did Song Qingling embark on this road of disloyalty, filial piety, modesty and injustice?
Betraying Sun Yat-sen and joining the Communist Party
In 1914, while working as Sun’s secretary in Japan, she fell in love with him and chose to marry him despite her father’s opposition. Sun, who was married with a son and two daughters, also chose to divorce her ex-wife despite the age difference and the world’s opinion, and instead tied the knot for a hundred years.
During the ten years of Marriage, Soong Ching Ling worked tirelessly to accompany Sun Yat-sen around for the cause of democracy in China. She not only became Sun’s right-hand woman, but also won the respect of the Nationalists.
During her lifetime, Sun adopted the policy of “United Russia and Communism” in order to obtain assistance from the Soviet Union, i.e., she agreed to allow members of the Chinese Communist Party to join the Kuomintang as individuals. This policy brought great disaster to the KMT, and the Chinese Communists who infiltrated the KMT violated Sun’s principles and seized the opportunity to seize power in all aspects of the KMT. The Kuomintang gradually split internally.
Despite the danger of the KMT being usurped by the CCP and the erosion of the KMT, she continued to adopt the “United Russia and Communist Party” policy and stood firmly with the leftists of the KMT on the side of the CCP, which was harming the KMT, because she believed that only the Communist Party could carry forward the legacy of Sun Yat-sen. She believed that only the Communist Party could carry forward the legacy of Sun Yat-sen. Unfortunately, she was wrong, for it was the Chinese Communist Party that did not abide by Sun Yat-sen’s “United Russia and Communist Party” policy.
In 1927, when the Nanking government established by Chiang Kai-shek launched a purge in Shanghai, Song Qingling issued a statement in July to protest against the violation of Sun Yat-sen’s revolutionary principles and policies, claiming that “some of those who had led the revolution had gone astray” and broke with Chiang Kai-shek’s lineage from then on. In the same month, Wang Jingwei, who saw the true face of the Chinese Communist Party, also began to purge the party, and Song Qingling then left China for Europe via Moscow.
During her stay in Moscow, Soong was treated well by the Soviet Communist Party. At this Time, the Nanking government broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union because of its support for the Communist armed insurrection in Nanchang and other places, and Song Qingling, together with Chen Youren and others, denounced the Kuomintang government in Moscow. Soong also met Smedley, who was also working for the Communist International, for the first time in Moscow.
In the spring of 1929, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum was completed. The Nanjing government held a state funeral ceremony for Sun Yat-sen, and Soong Ching-ling returned to China to attend the funeral, while Smedley went to cover the state funeral. At this time, Soong once again publicly denounced the National Government, saying: “The perfidious nature of the counter-revolutionary Kuomintang leaders has never been so shamelessly exposed to the world as it is today. Having betrayed the National Revolution, they have inevitably degenerated into tools of imperialism, attempting to provoke a war against Russia.” It is obvious that Song Qingling had fallen into the hands of the Communists and lost her normal judgment, otherwise she would have realized that it was the Communists who had betrayed their trust and justice in the first place, while the Kuomintang was only forced to resist.
Since there was little support for what Soong said, she had to leave China again and go to Europe, where she did not return until 1931 to mourn for her mother, and thus began to carry out the Communist International’s mission to rehabilitate China. Soong’s curriculum vitae was blank from 1929 to 1931, and perhaps she received secret training from the Comintern during this period. Anyway, when she returned again, she soon became a secret member of the Comintern.
Two major proofs of Song Qingling’s entry into the Party
The fact that Song Qingling joined the Communist Party can be gleaned from the recollections of Liao Chengzhi, a leader of the Chinese Communist Party. According to Liao Chengzhi’s recollection, during May 1933, Song Qingling suddenly and mysteriously came to his Home to meet with him secretly and told him clearly, “I am here on behalf of the highest party.” This supreme party was the Communist International.
At that time, Song Qingling asked Liao Chengzhi two questions: “First, can the secret work in Shanghai still be maintained? Second, the list of traitors you know.” After receiving the answer, Song Qingling quickly left. Liao Chengzhi wrote: “Although nearly 50 years have passed, I remember every minute of that brief period of less than half an hour clearly.” (Liao Chengzhi, “My Memories”) It is not difficult to judge that Song Qingling, who came to meet secretly on behalf of the “highest party” at this time, had already joined the Communist Party.
Moreover, a document from the archives of the Communist International, which was made public after the collapse of the Soviet Union, shows that Song Qingling had not only requested to join the Party, but had already joined it in the early 1930s. This document is a memorandum of a conversation between a representative of the International Liaison Bureau in the Far East and the head of the International Liaison Bureau in May 1934.
The last part of the conversation specifically mentions the relationship between the Far East Bureau of the Communist International and Soong Ching Ling. The reporters stated: “On the question of Sun Soong Ching-ling (Mrs. Sun). She is a good comrade and can stay in the Party. However, it was a big mistake to absorb her into the Party. It was the delegate (meaning the political representative previously sent to China by the Communist International) who offered to accept her into the Party. She was willing to give everything. She had a very deep understanding of secret work. She excelled in holding anti-imperialist congresses under extremely difficult conditions. Once she became a member of the Party, she would have lost her characteristic value.”
It is clear that Soong Ching Ling not only joined the Communist Party, but also worked secretly for the Communist International.
Working for the Communist International
One of the important orders that Soong Ching Ling carried out from the Comintern was to rescue the spies in Shanghai, Paul and Gertrude Niu Lang, who had Swiss passports. In June 1931, the Niu Lan couple was arrested by the Shanghai Public Constabulary and transported to Nanjing in August.
Niu Lan and his wife were so important to the Comintern that the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist Party immediately launched an emergency rescue effort. In July of that year, Song Qingling returned to Shanghai from Germany via Moscow to attend the funeral of her mother. On the way, she was instructed by Stalin to ask Chiang Kai-shek to exchange Niu Lan and his wife for Chiang Ching-kuo, who was detained in the Soviet Union, but Chiang refused to do so.
The book “Chiang’s Secret Files and the Truth about Chiang Kai-shek” by mainland scholar Yang Tianshi quotes Chiang’s diary entry of December 16, 1931: “The Soviet Communist Party’s Eastern Minister, whose guilt is already very clear. Mrs. Sun wanted to force me to release him and tempted him with the repatriation of Jingguo. I would rather let Jingguo throw himself into the wilderness or let Soviet Russia kill him, than to exchange a criminal who had harmed the country for his own son. How dare I hope to be spared? But seek the law is not destroyed by me, the country is not sold for me, in order to preserve the name of my parents, not to miss this life is a few. A small area of Ziyin, not enough to oppose my feelings.” From the diary can be seen, for the sake of the country, for the sake of the rule of law, Chiang Kai-shek would rather sacrifice his own son, but never make this deal. This shows that Chiang is a man.
And Yang Tianshi also believes that “this condition was made through Song Qingling, which also shows the close relationship between Song and the Moscow side. Some materials say that Song Qingling was a secret member of the party developed by the Communist International. This is possible.”
After being rejected by Chiang Kai-shek, Song Qingling continued to publicly slander the Kuomintang, visited the Niu Lan couple in prison herself, and hired a lawyer from Switzerland to defend them, while setting up an alliance organization, making herself chairman and organizing a rescue committee. Since the response from the society was not great, the organization was expanded and renamed as “Civil Rights Protection”, and a group of heavy-weight cultural and educational celebrities joined the organization, but its purpose was still to rescue Niu Lan and her husband. Because the name did not match the reality, the alliance soon collapsed. It was not until 1937, after the outbreak of the war, that the Niu Lan couple was released at the urging of Song Qingling and others.
Working for the Chinese Communist Party
Song Qingling used her special position to become a pawn of the Communist International and the CCP. She helped the CCP rescue several key CCP members, while also secretly passing on information about the Kuomintang to the CCP. Li Yun (Zhu Xiuzhen), a CCP member who was in charge of its liaison with the CCP back then, recalls that the CCP underground in Shanghai was unable to get in touch with Mao and the Central Red Army in Shaanxi Province because its radio station had been broken. Song Qingling then helped to find a special pass issued by Zhang Xueliang and provided the travel expenses, and the CCP sent Dong Jianwu to Shanbei to connect the Shanghai underground with the Red Army in Shanbei.
According to the Chinese Communist Party media, Pan Hannian, a major secret agent who was once engaged in the intelligence work of the Chinese Communist Party and later responsible for secret liaison between the Communist Party and The Japanese army, brought Mao Zedong’s personal letter to Song Qingling in 1936, and Song Qingling thus actively cooperated with Pan Hannian in the negotiations with the Kuomintang. Pan Hannian had this to say about Song Qingling in 1937: “Madame Sun has steadfastly cooperated with our Party; she has played a special role with her special status and position, and no one can replace her.”
After the outbreak of the war, Soong Ching-ling went to Hong Kong and, with the support of Liao Chengzhi, formed the Alliance for the Defense of China, which collected a large amount of medical supplies to support the Chinese Communist Party in a continuous manner.
In 1941, the Kuomintang army besieged Ye Ting’s division of the Communist Party, which is known in history as the “South Anhui Incident”. Song Qingling ignored the fact that the Chinese Communist army did not resist Japan, but only fought against the national army, thus causing this scourge, and came forward to condemn the Kuomintang by telegram.
Before the San Francisco Conference in 1945, China, the Soviet Union and the United States had debated whether to accommodate the Chinese delegates in the San Francisco Conference. The Soviet Union had put a lot of pressure on Chiang Kai-shek, but Chiang refused to accept it, and Song Qingling had also discussed with Chiang Kai-shek to let him accept the participation of the Chinese delegates, which made Chiang very unhappy. Chiang Kai-shek wrote in his diary in March of that year, “The Communists knew that I would never appoint their representatives to the San Francisco Conference, they were indirectly campaigning for Song Qingling to speak to me, and this was the first time in fifteen years that Qingling had mentioned the Communists to me, knowing that she never wanted to talk to me about politics and the Communists. I tolerate the Communist Party.”
From the fact that Chiang Kai-shek addressed Song Qingling directly by her first name instead of “Madam Sun” or “Second Sister,” it is clear that Chiang Kai-shek was very disgusted with Song Qingling’s behavior.
Soong’s family knew of Song Qingling’s communism
In the June 3, 2008 issue of Writer‘s Digest, “Interpreting Song Qingling’s Secret Letter to Wang Ming”, it is mentioned that in January 1937, Song Qingling wrote a letter to Wang Ming, the leader of the Communist Party of China, who was in Moscow at the time, mentioning a sum of money in addition to Smedley’s leaking of secret documents to the outside world. The letter reads: “Some time ago, in response to Comrade Mao’s letter asking for help with funds, I sent him a sum of money three months ago, which was known to only one person here, who acted as a liaison and through whom I received the letter and forwarded the money. (In the same article it is mentioned that Mao handed a letter to Song Qingling through Pan Hannian in 1936, and that Song Qingling asked Pan Hannian to forward that sum of money a month after receiving the letter.)”
“A few weeks ago, after receiving assurances of Chiang’s release from Xi’an, Soong wanted to meet with me …… At that time Soong asked me: ‘If I told you that Zhou Enlai had told me that not long ago you had sent them $50,000, would you still deny that your comrades had betrayed had betrayed you?’ And he also said to both of us (Song and I) that we could get in touch with the representatives of the Red Army through you.”
This letter not only reconfirmed Song Qingling’s true identity as a Communist, but also showed that Song Ziwen, Song Meiling, and even Song Yiling and Chiang Kai-shek were aware of her secret communication with the Communists, but they took an indulgent attitude towards it, which is probably why Chiang Kai-shek tolerated Song Qingling repeatedly.
From hot pursuit to cold treatment after the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party
Soong Qingling, who was a willing pawn for the Communist International and the CCP, was rewarded after the establishment of the CCP’s government: she was elected vice president of the state.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Professor Shen Zhihua of East China Normal University, who went to the Soviet Union to purchase archives, collected 14 declassified files involving Song Qingling. The files reveal that on the eve of the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, the Communist Party had envisioned and told the Soviet Union that it would ask Song Qingling to be the president of the Communist Party’s state government because “she enjoys great prestige among the people. The file also reveals that Ren Bishi, who attended the talks, said that, in his opinion, it would be better for Mao to be the chairman of the Presidium. Zhou Enlai supported this opinion, saying that if Mao did not become chairman, the people would not understand. This suggestion was supposedly a way for the CCP to test the Soviet Union’s thinking; after all, Song Qingling was a member of the Communist International. However, apparently the Soviet Union did not oppose the proposal to make Mao the chairman, and Soong Ching-ling became the vice-chairman.
It can be said that after the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, Song Qingling had a great time, wearing various titles, such as Chairman of the Chinese People’s Relief Association, Honorary Chairman of the All-China Democratic Women’s Federation, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in addition to Vice Chairman, and she visited abroad frequently.
In 1953, after Mao announced the public-private partnership, Song Qingling wrote to the CPC Central Committee, expressing her dismay, saying, “The Communist Party has made promises to industry and commerce about long-term coexistence and protection of industrial and commercial interests. In this way, it has become a self-fulfilling promise, hasn’t it? The capitalists already have doubts and fears about the policy of the Communist Party, and many of them regret and complain. Mao’s instruction was that “Vice Chairman Song has opinions and should speak on behalf of the capitalists”.
When Mao launched the anti-rightist campaign in 1957, Song wrote again to express her incomprehension: “I am very puzzled by this campaign. I have been thinking about it for two months, but I still can’t figure it out: are there so many people inside and outside the Party who will stand against the Communist Party and the People’s Government? To overthrow the Communist Party?” Mao’s comment that “we are of a different class from her” led Mao to vote against Song Qingling’s appointment as Vice President of the State Council at the 1959 National People’s Congress.
After the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, Song Qingling wrote seven letters to Mao and the Central Committee in succession, expressing her discontent with the Cultural Revolution and denouncing it: “The sky has fallen overnight, and some of my colleagues who worked with me have become capitalists, anti-party groups, ambitious people, cattle and snake gods. The Central Committee wants me to study and criticize Liu Shaoqi, which I will not do. Chairman Liu Shaoqi, who has worked in the Party Central Committee for 30 or 40 years, would be a traitor, an insider today! I don’t believe that a traitor and traitor has been the president of the country for seven years. Is the Constitution still valid now? How can you arrest people indiscriminately, fight people indiscriminately and force them to death?”
What was even more painful for Song Qingling was that the graves of her parents in Shanghai were dug up and exhumed, and the rebels stormed into Song Qingling’s residence to cut her hair; the bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing was also removed.
However, Mao, who by this time had assumed supreme power, no longer tolerated Song Qingling’s criticism, and told Zhou Enlai, “She does not want to see the changes today, she can go across the strait, she can go to Hong Kong, to a foreign country, I will not stay. Since then, Song Qingling has chosen to make as few public appearances as possible. At this time, she may have realized that she was after all just a decoration of the Communist Party, and that she no longer had the face to go abroad to meet her friends and relatives.
After the end of the Cultural Revolution, Song Qingling wrote a long letter to the CPC Central Committee, angrily denouncing the mistakes made since the establishment of the government, especially during the Cultural Revolution, and expressing her dissatisfaction.
Refusing to join the CCP at the end of her life
After the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, Song Qingling had raised the issue of joining the CCP, but Mao said that her role outside the Party was greater and thus let her stay outside the Party.
In May 1981, Song Qingling died of leukemia. According to official CCP materials, before her death, she strongly requested to join the CCP, and the CCP approved her as a full member. However, in the article “Song Qingling said in her later years: “No reluctance!” written by He Fang, an expert in CCP party history an article written by He Fang, an expert in CPC history, mentions that Song Qingling smiled when she heard that the CPC intended to accept her as a full member and said, “I don’t want to force it! 31 years have passed, my heart is cold, and my life’s path is about to be finished.”
One of the last words left by Song Qingling, who was about to finish her life, was: Please don’t put me together with the Founding Father, I am not qualified. Why not? Besides betraying Sun Yat-sen’s Three People’s Principles, another reason was her failure to keep her word. Rumor has it that Song Qingling became attached to her married husband’s son’s security secretary, Sui Xuefang, and lived with him before secretly marrying him.
As Song Meiling said, Song Qingling’s life was not loyal to the country, not benevolent to the people, because she helped an evil party that harmed the Chinese people; not filial to her parents, because she let them die and suffer the bad luck of having their coffins dug up; not temperate to her husband and wife, not righteous to her friends and relatives …… It can be said that Song Qingling insulted her parents and ancestors, and shamed the disaster-stricken people, and on her deathbed, she Perhaps she understood this point.