My books on the history of the Chinese Communist Party

When I arrived in Hong Kong from Shanghai in 1976, I continued my habit of visiting bookstores, and the books I was most interested in at that time were about the history of the Chinese Communist Party, wondering how it differed from the content of my major at Renmin University back then. I also needed some tools, especially because I was going to write a column on Chinese affairs two months after I arrived in Hong Kong. But at that time, I really had two sleeves to clean up, so I needed to choose carefully and prioritize my purchases. The earliest book I bought was Huang Zhenhua’s “Journal of Chinese Communist Soldiers”. At that time, the top personnel of the Chinese Communist Party were frequently moved by the Gang of Four, and what I needed most was the Chinese Communist Party Directory published by the National Customs Center of National Chengchi University.

At that time, my favorite place to go was the Yishan Bookstore in Wanchai, which was said to have the most complete literature and history books on China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and after it closed, I went to the nearby Qingwen Bookstore. Yishan even sold the October Review, a publication of the Trotskyist organ. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party was reforming and opening up, and I hoped that they would follow the “two revolutions theory” of Chen Duxiu, the founding General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, which meant that capitalism would be realized first, and communism would be realized after the parliamentary struggle. I bought a number of books on Chen Duxiu, but unfortunately, the Communist Party has never rehabilitated Chen Duxiu. Because the Communist Party wanted both capitalism and the Marxist-Leninist theory of dictatorship to maintain its privileges.

Chen Duxiu died of poverty and illness

I was fortunate enough to buy some of Chen Duxiu’s articles and letters published in his later years, denouncing the Soviet dictatorship, but unfortunately the book was borrowed by a friend and not returned, but there are still some gems in books such as The Chronicle of Chen Duxiu, which I have quoted extensively in my old works. In short, he denounced the one-party dictatorship and leader dictatorship of the Soviet Union as “brutal, corrupt, hypocritical, deceitful, corrupting and degenerate, and in no way capable of creating any socialism”. In 1929, when the Sino-Soviet conflict broke out on the East China Road, the Chinese Communist Party shouted the slogan “Defend the Soviet Union”. Chen Duxiu was publicly expelled from the Party, and became a “To Chen gangster” in the mouth of the Communist Party. After the outbreak of the war, the Chinese Communist Party in Yan’an vilified him as a “traitor” and he died in poverty and illness in Jiangjin, Sichuan.

Wang Shudie, one of the four editors of the “Compilation of Chen Duxiu’s Arrest” and “Selected Commentaries on Chen Duxiu” published in China in the 1980s, was in my second class, and seemed to be interested in making Chen Duxiu better known to the Chinese people and helping to restore his reputation. But by the centennial of the Communist Party, Chen Duxiu, as the main founder of the Party and the founding general secretary for five terms, had still not been rehabilitated, showing that Xi Jinping’s so-called “original intention” was simply false. Tang Pauling, who is at the level of my “junior”, has more academic achievements, but unfortunately I have only bought “The History of Chinese Trotskyism”, which I got in Taiwan before settling there more than ten years ago. In the political environment of China, his research work was very hard and his findings were difficult to publish.

I also bought in Hong Kong the memoirs of early Chinese Communist leaders or dignitaries such as Zhang Guotao and Gong Chu, all in an attempt to learn from them the party history that had been concealed from the Chinese Communist Party in the past. Sima Lu, who died not long ago at the age of 103 in New York, also published his memoirs “Witnesses to the History of the Chinese Communist Party” more than ten years ago. He also visited Yan’an, then left earlier when he saw that the seeds were not right, and later engaged in long-term research on Party history, published the magazine “Prospect” in Hong Kong, and later gave me a 12-part set of “Selected Party History and Documents of the Chinese Communist Party”.

Mao Tse-tung thanks the Japanese for overthrowing the Kuomintang

The greatest reward at Ilsan Shuyuan should be to buy “Long Live Mao Zedong Thought” which I could not see in China, reprinted by Japan, some internal speeches of Mao Zedong in the 1950s and 1960s, which gave me further understanding of the state of Mao’s thought during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Mao’s apology for stopping the Japanese delegation and even thanking the Imperial Army for invading China to help him overthrow the Kuomintang was also from this book. I buy all the important writings about Mao Zedong. For example, Li Zhisui’s and Zhang Rong’s, and I have read them all. I bought more than 20 copies of Li Zhisui’s book to give to Chinese friends, and one copy reached a vice premier. When Tong Dalin, who was once the vice minister of the Chinese Propaganda Department, came to Hong Kong, simply a Chinese company bought a copy and gave it to him.

The most thorough analysis of the Chinese Communist system and Mao Zedong from party history was published by Gao Hua, a young professor from Nanjing University, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, How the Red Sun Rises, for which I wrote two book reviews with different contents in Hong Kong’s Letters Monthly and Open Magazine respectively. It is one of the regrets of my life that he passed away before I could meet Gao Hua. The anniversary of his death is Mao Zedong’s birthday, so is it providential that the two are mutually exclusive?

The Communist Party betrayed Outer Mongolia

Another valuable book is “The United Communist Party, the Communist International and China (1920-1925) Volume 1”, translated into Chinese from the Soviet Union’s declassified archives, is a collection of letters, messages and even minutes of meetings between the Kuomintang, the Communist Party and the Communist International during those years. Inside are the contents of the Communist Party’s comments on the betrayal of Outer Mongolia, which both Sun Yat-sen and Mao Zedong had expressed in favor of. The translator, Li Yuzhen, works at the Institute of Modern History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and must be older than me. The book on the Chinese Communist betrayal could not have been published in China, so it was published in Taiwan, and I bought it by chance when I came to Taiwan.

The other treasure book I bought is “The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong” published in Hong Kong in 2012, written by Jiang Guangsheng, a veteran media person in Hong Kong, quoting many local Chinese Communist Party archives and diaries of related people that no one has noticed. At a time when the Chinese Communist Party is currently destroying Hong Kong, one cannot help but cry foul for the contributions Hong Kong made to the Chinese Communist Party back then. Only a fool would destroy Hong Kong in this way.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when ideas were more active, some lesser-known publishers dared to publish more avant-garde books, including books about Party history, with relatively rudimentary designs and bindings, and I went to Shenzhen to buy a number of them to try to find gold in the sand, such as Mao’s framing of the West Road Army and the Battle of Kinmen (Gu Ning Tau), the latter of which was also lost. Unfortunately, after buying many did not have time to read.

When I arrived in Hong Kong, I also bought Guo Hualun’s A Treatise on the History of the Chinese Communist Party and Wang Jianmin’s Draft History of the Chinese Communist Party. When I left Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States, I gave too many books to my friends from China because I thought they needed to know more about the real history of the Communist Party. And these books have since gone out of print. These two books were written only up to the occupation of Yan’an by the Nationalist Army. Afterwards, the Nationalists were defeated in successive wars, so they don’t count as history and don’t have to write about it? This is a very similar view of the history of the Communist Party.

In the early 1980s, the CCP documents that only Party members could see when I was a student were also published publicly, which made me very excited for a while. I remember that Yishan Bookstore sold a set of a dozen or so CCP documents that were published by the Central Propaganda Department when I was a student, but they were not bound and were packed in three kraft paper bags (with a table of contents printed on the bags), and because of the limited quantity, they were basically sold only to Party members. The price at Yishan Bookstore was more than 2,000 Hong Kong dollars, which scared me, but the second time I went to see it, it was no longer available. In addition, I also saw in Sanlian Bookstore that we could not read “Since the Sixth Congress” (the study documents of the Yan’an Rectification), because it was also more expensive, I did not buy it, thinking at that time that I could not specialize in party history research anymore. I felt very sorry afterwards. If I had been better off two or three years later, I would have bought it. Later, the CCP tightened its ideology, and I no longer saw these formal Party publications.

Now that Xi Jinping wants to commemorate the 100th year of the CCP, he has the guts to publish these internal documents publicly, so that everyone can see the real history of the Communist Party. The earlier the documents, the more primitive they are. If you continue to hide them, what is it if you don’t have a ghost inside?