Policies, Measures and Perspectives for Resisting the Japanese Invasion

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Policies, Measures and Perspectives for Resisting the Japanese Invasion  (1937) 
by Mao Zedong, translated by Foreign Languages Press, Peking
On July 7, 1937, the Japanese imperialists staged the Lukouchiao Incident in their attempt to annex the whole of China by armed force. The Chinese people unanimously demanded war against Japan. Ten days elapsed before Chiang Kai-shek tardily made a public statement at Lushan announcing armed resistance to Japan. He did so under nation-wide popular pressure and as a result of the serious blow the Japanese invasion had dealt to the interests both of the British and U.S. imperialists in China and of the big landlords and the big bourgeoisie whom Chiang Kai-shek directly represented. But at the same time the Chiang Kai-shek government continued to parley with the Japanese aggressors and even accepted the so-called peaceful settlements they concluded with local authorities. It was not until August 13, 1937, when the Japanese aggressors launched a major attack on Shanghai and thus made it possible for Chiang Kai-shek to maintain his rule in southeastern China, that he was compelled to embark on armed resistance; but Chiang never ceased his clandestine attempts to make peace with Japan right up to 1944. Throughout the War of Resistance Chiang Kai-shek opposed all-out people’s war in which the entire people are mobilized, and pursued the reactionary policy of passively resisting Japan but actively opposing the Communist Party and the people; thus his actions completely violated his own Lushan statement that “once war breaks out, every person, young or old, in the north or in the south, must take up the responsibility of resisting Japan and defending our homeland”. The two policies, two sets of measures and two perspectives discussed by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in this article reflect the struggle between the line of the Communist Party and Chiang Kai-shek’s line in the War of Resistance. The source from which this work was transcribed comes from the Marxists Internet Archive.

Two Policies[edit]

On July 8, the day after the Lukouchiao Incident,[1] the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued a manifesto to the whole nation calling for a war of resistance. The manifesto reads in part:

Fellow-countrymen! Peiping and Tientsin are in peril! Northern China is in peril! The Chinese nation is in peril! A war of resistance by the whole nation is the only way out. We demand immediate and resolute resistance to the invading Japanese armies and immediate preparations to meet all emergencies. From top to bottom the whole nation must at once abandon any idea of being able to live in submissive peace with the Japanese aggressors. Fellow-countrymen! We should acclaim and support the heroic resistance of Feng Chih-an’s troops. We should acclaim and support the declaration of the local authorities of northern China that they will defend the homeland to the death. We demand that General Sung Cheh-yuan immediately mobilize the entire 29th Army[2] and send it into action at the front. Of the Central Government in Nanking we demand the following:

  • Give effective aid to the 29th Army.
  • Immediately lift the ban on patriotic movements among the masses and let the people give full play to their enthusiasm for armed resistance.
  • Immediately mobilize all the country’s land, sea and air forces for action.
  • Immediately weed out all the hidden traitors and Japanese agents in China and so consolidate our rear.

We call on the people of the whole country to throw all their strength behind the sacred war of self-defence against Japan. Our slogans are:

  • Armed defence of Peiping, Tientsin and northern China!
  • Defend our homeland to the last drop of our blood!
  • Let the people of the whole country, the government, and the armed forces unite and build up the national united front as our solid Great Wall of resistance to Japanese aggression!
  • Let the Kuomintang and the Communist Party closely co-operate and resist the new attacks of the Japanese aggressors!
  • Drive the Japanese aggressors out of China!

This is a declaration of policy.

On July 17, Mr. Chiang Kai-shek made a statement at Lushan. Setting out as it did a policy of preparing for a war of resistance, the statement was the Kuomintang’s first correct declaration on foreign affairs for many years and it has consequently been welcomed by all our countrymen as well as by ourselves. The statement listed four conditions for the settlement of the Lukouchiao Incident:

  1. Any settlement must not infringe China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
  2. there must be no unlawful change in the administrative structure of Hopei and Chahar Provinces;
  3. there must be no dismissal and replacement, at the demand of others, of local officials appointed by the Central Government;
  4. the 29th Army must not be confined to the area in which it is now stationed.

The concluding remarks of the statement read:

Concerning the Lukouchiao Incident, the government has decided on a policy and a stand to which it will always adhere. We realize that when the whole nation goes to war, sacrifices to the bitter end will be called for, and we should not cherish the faintest hope of an easy way out. Once war breaks out, every person, young or old, in the north or in the south, must take up the responsibility of resisting Japan and defending our homeland.

This, too, is a declaration of policy.

Here we have two historic political declarations on the Lukouchiao Incident, one by the Communist Party and the other by the Kuomintang. They have this point in common: both stand for a resolute war of resistance and oppose compromise and concessions.

This is one kind of policy for meeting Japanese invasion, the correct policy.

But there is the possibility of the adoption of another kind of policy. In recent months the traitors and the pro-Japanese elements in Peiping and Tientsin have been very active, they have been trying to get the local authorities to acquiesce in Japan’s demands, they have been undermining the policy of resolute armed resistance and advocating compromise and concessions. These are extremely dangerous signs.

The policy of compromise and concessions is the diametrical opposite of the policy of resolute armed resistance. If it is not speedily reversed, Peiping, Tientsin and the whole of northern China will fall into the hands of the enemy, and the entire nation will be seriously imperilled. Everyone must be on the alert.

Patriotic officers and men of the 29th Army, unite! Oppose compromise and concessions and conduct resolute armed resistance!

Fellow patriots of Peiping, Tientsin and northern China, unite! Oppose compromise and concessions and support resolute armed resistance!

Fellow patriots throughout the country, unite! Oppose compromise and concessions and support resolute armed resistance!

Mr. Chiang Kai-shek and all patriotic members of the Kuomintang! We hope that you will firmly adhere to your policy, fulfil your promises, oppose compromise and concessions, conduct resolute armed resistance, and thus answer the outrages of the enemy with deeds.

Let all the armed forces in the country, including the Red Army, support Mr. Chiang Kai-shek’s declaration, oppose compromise and concessions and conduct resolute armed resistance!

We Communists are whole-heartedly and faithfully carrying out our own manifesto, and at the same time we resolutely support Mr. Chiang Kai-shek’s declaration; together with the members of the Kuomintang and all our fellow-countrymen, we are ready to defend the homeland to the last drop of our blood; we oppose any hesitation, vacillation, compromise or concessions, and will conduct resolute armed resistance.

Two Sets of Measures[edit]

To achieve its purpose the policy of resolute armed resistance calls for a whole set of measures.

What are they? The principal ones are the following:

  1. Mobilize all the armed forces of the whole country. Mobilize our standing armed forces of well over two million men, including the land, sea and air forces, the Central Army, the local troops of the Red Army, and immediately send the main forces to the national defence lines, while keeping some forces in the rear to maintain order. Entrust the command on the various fronts to generals loyal to the national interests. Call a national defence conference to decide on strategy and to achieve unity of purpose in military operations. Overhaul the political work in the army in order to achieve unity between officers and men and between the army and the people. Establish the principle that guerrilla warfare should carry the responsibility for one aspect of the strategic task, and ensure proper co-ordination between guerrilla and regular warfare. Weed out traitors from the army. Call up an adequate number of reserves and train them for service at the front. Adequately replenish the equipment and supplies of the armed forces. Military plans on these lines must be made, in keeping with the general policy of resolute armed resistance. China’s troops are far from few, but unless these plans are executed, they will not be able to defeat the enemy. However, if the political and material factors are combined, our armed forces will become unmatched in East Asia.
  2. Mobilize the whole people. Lift the ban on patriotic movements, release political prisoners, annul the “Emergency Decree for Dealing with Actions Endangering the Republic”[3] and the “Press Censorship Regulations”,[4] grant legal status to existing patriotic organizations, extend these organizations among the workers, peasants, businessmen and intellectuals, arm the people for self-defence and for operations in support of the army. In a word, give the people freedom to express their patriotism. By their combined strength the people and the army will deal a death-blow to Japanese imperialism. Beyond doubt, there can be no victory in a national war without reliance on the great masses of the people. Let us take warning from the fall of Abyssinia.[5] No one who is sincere about waging a resolute war of resistance can afford to ignore this point.
  3. Reform the government apparatus. Bring representatives of all political parties and groups and public leaders into the government for joint management of the affairs of the state and weed out the hidden pro-Japanese elements and traitors in the government, so that the government can become one with the people. Resistance to Japan is a gigantic task which cannot be performed by a few individuals alone. If they insist on keeping it in their own hands, they will only bungle it. If the government is to be a real government of national defence, it must rely on the people and practice democratic centralism. It must be at once democratic and centralized; it is this kind of government which is the most powerful. The national assembly must be truly representative of the people; it must be the supreme organ of authority, determine the major policies of the state and decide on the policies and plans for resisting Japan and saving the nation.
  4. Adopt an anti-Japanese foreign policy. Accord the Japanese imperialists no advantages or facilities, but on the contrary confiscate their property, repudiate their loans, weed out their lackeys and expel their spies. Immediately conclude a military and political alliance with the Soviet Union and closely unite with the Soviet Union, the country which is most reliable, most powerful and most capable of helping China to resist Japan. Enlist the sympathy of Britain, the United States and France for our resistance to Japan, and secure their help provided that it entails no loss of our territory or our sovereign rights. We should rely mainly on our own strength to defeat the Japanese aggressors; but foreign aid cannot be dispensed with, and an isolationist policy will only play into the enemy’s hand.
  5. Proclaim a programme for improving the livelihood of the people and immediately begin to put it into effect. Start with the following minimum points: Abolish exorbitant taxes and miscellaneous levies, reduce land rent, restrict usury, increase the workers’ pay, improve the livelihood of the soldiers and junior officers, improve the livelihood of office workers, and provide relief for victims of natural calamities. Far from making a mess of the country’s finances as some people argue, these new measures will increase the people’s purchasing power and lead to thriving commercial and financial conditions. They will add immeasurably to our strength for resisting Japan and consolidate the government’s foundations.
  6. Institute education for national defence. Radically transform the existing educational policy and system. All projects that are not urgent and all measures that are not rational must be discarded. Newspapers, books and magazines, films, plays, literature and art should all serve national defence. Traitorous propaganda must be prohibited.
  7. Adopt financial and economic policies for resisting Japan. Financial policy should be based on the principal that those with money should contribute money and that the property of the Japanese imperialists and Chinese traitors should be confiscated, and economic policy should be based on the principle of boycotting Japanese goods and promoting home products—everything for the sake of resistance to Japan. Financial strain is the product of wrong measures and can surely be overcome after the adoption of new policies such as these, which serve the interests of the people. It is sheer nonsense to say that a country with so vast a territory and so huge a population is financially and economically helpless.
  8. Unite the entire Chinese people, the government and the armed forces to build up the national united front as our solid Great Wall. The application of the policy of armed resistance and of the above measures depends on this united front. Here the key is close cooperation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. Let the government, the troops, all the political parties and the whole people unite on the basis of such co-operation between the two parties. The slogan “Unity in good faith to meet the national crisis” must not be limited to fine words but must be demonstrated in fine deeds. Unity must be genuine, deception will not do. There must be more large-mindedness and a broader sweep in the conduct of state affairs. Petty niggling, mean tricks, bureaucracy, and Ah Q-ism[6] are of no use at all. They are of no avail against the enemy and simply ridiculous if practiced on one’s own countrymen. There are major and minor principles in everything, and the minor principles are all subordinate to the major. Our compatriots must think things over carefully in the light of the major principles, for only then will they be able to orientate their own ideas and actions properly. Today, anyone who has not begun to have some genuine desire for unity ought to examine his conscience in the stillness of the night and feel some shame, even if no one else censures him.

The set of measures for resolute armed resistance described above may be called the Eight-Point Programme.

The policy of resolute armed resistance must be accompanied by this set of measures, or otherwise victory will never be achieved and Japanese aggression against China will never be ended, while China will be helpless against Japan and hardly be able to escape the fate of Abyssinia.

Whoever is sincere about the policy of resolute armed resistance must put this set of measures into practice. And the test of whether or not he is sincere about resolute armed resistance is whether or not he accepts and carries out this set of measures.

There is another set of measures which is contrary to this set in every respect.

Not the total mobilization of the armed forces, but their immobilization or withdrawal.

Not freedom for the people, but oppression.

Not a government of national defence based on democratic centralism, but an autocratic government of bureaucrats, compradors and big landlords.

Not a foreign policy of resisting Japan, but one of fawning on her.

Not the improvement of the people’s livelihood, but continued extortions so that they groan under their sufferings and are powerless to resist Japan.

Not education for national defence, but education for national subjugation.

Not financial and economic policies for resisting Japan, but the same old, or even worse, financial and economic policies benefiting the enemy rather than our own country.

Not building up the Anti-Japanese National United Front as our Great Wall, but tearing it down, or talking glibly about unity while never doing anything to advance it.

Measures stem from policy. If the policy is one of non-resistance, all measures will reflect non-resistance; we have been taught this lesson over the last six years. If the policy is one of resolute armed resistance, then it is imperative to apply the appropriate measures—the Eight-Point Programme.

Two Perspectives[edit]

What are the perspectives? This is what everyone is anxious about. Pursue the first policy and adopt the first set of measures, and the perspective will definitely be the expulsion of Japanese imperialism and the attainment of China’s liberation. Can there still be any doubt about it? I think not.

Pursue the second policy and adopted the second set of measures, and the perspective will definitely be the occupation of China by the Japanese imperialists, with the Chinese people being turned into slaves and beasts of burden. Can there still be any doubt about it? Again, I think not.

Conclusion[edit]

It is imperative to carry out the first policy, to adopt the first set of measures and to strive for the first perspective.

It is imperative to oppose the second policy, to reject the second set of measures and to avert the second perspective.

Let all patriotic members of the Kuomintang and all members of the Communist Party unite and steadfastly carry out the first policy, adopt the first set of measures and strive for the first perspective; let them steadfastly oppose the second policy, reject the second set of measures and avert the second perspective.

Let all patriotic people, patriotic troops and patriotic parties and groups unite as one and steadfastly carry out the first policy, adopt the first set of measures and strive for the first perspective, let them steadfastly oppose the second policy, reject the second set of measures and avert the second perspective.

Long live the national revolutionary war!

Long live the liberation of the Chinese nation!

  1. On July 7, 1937, the Japanese invading forces attacked the Chinese garrison at Lukouchiao, some ten kilometres southwest of Peking. Under the influence of the ardent nation-wide anti-Japanese movement, the Chinese troops put up resistance. This incident marked the beginning of the Chinese people’s heroic War of Resistance Against Japan which lasted for eight years.
  2. The 29th Army, which was originally part of the Kuomintang’s Northwestern Army under Feng Yu-hsiang, was then stationed in Hopei and Chahar Provinces. Sung Cheh-yuan was its commander and Feng Chih-an one of its divisional commanders.
  3. The Kuomintang government promulgated the so-called “Emergency Decree for Dealing with Actions Endangering the Republic” on January 31, 1931, using the trumped-up charge of “endangering the Republic” to persecute and slaughter patriots and revolutionaries. This decree imposed extremely brutal measures of persecution.
  4. “Press Censorship Regulations” was another name for the “General Measures for Press Censorship” issued by the Kuomintang government in August 1934 to stifle the voice of the people. They laid down that “all news copy must be submitted to censorship”.
  5. See “The Tasks of the Chinese Communist Party in the Period of Resistance to Japan”, Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Eng. ed., Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1965, Vol. I, p. 67.
  6. Ah Q is the leading character in The True Story of Ah Q, the famous work by the great Chinese writer Lu Hsun. Ah Q typifies all those who compensate themselves for their failures and setbacks in real life by regarding them as moral or spiritual victories.
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