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Digital Archive International History Declassified

June, 1934

LETTER OF GOVERNOR SHICAI SHENG TO CDES. STALIN, MOLOTOV, AND VOROSHILOV

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    Governor Shicai Sheng expresses his firm belief in Communism, his desire to overthrow the Nanjing Government and construct a Communist state in its place, and the need to establish a Communist Party branch in Xinjiang. Emphasizing his long study of Marxist theory, he requests that Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov allow him to join the Communist Party.
    "Letter of Governor Shicai Sheng to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov," June, 1934, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI f. 558 op. 11 d.323, l. 3-11. Translated by Gary Goldberg. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121894
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I. Stalin

Top Secret

Translation from Chinese

LETTER OF GOVERNOR SHENG SHICAI TO CDES. STALIN, MOLOTOV, AND VOROSHILOV

1. In August 1932 I sent letters to the Comintern and Mr. Stalin in which I briefly laid out my world view.

2. In this [letter] I consider it my duty to express deep gratitude for the great assistance you have given in calming Xinjiang and killing the bandit, Ma Zhongying.

3. In spite of the fact that I still am not a member of the Communist Party I have engaged in the study of Marxism and my faith in the triumph of Communism was a consequence of the study of historical materialism, "Das Kapital", "The Communist Manifesto", and "Critique of the Gotha Program", which gives me the ability not to put myself in the ranks of blind imitators or collaborators.

A. The main importance of historical materialism is in the scientific explanation and interpretation of social development, in the evidence for the need to reorganize society, and in pointing out the ways for this reorganization.

B. On the basis of scientific methods and firmly established laws [like] "the law of the fall of profit" "Das Kapital" shows the inevitable demise of the hated capitalistic system at a certain stage of its development and the inevitability of the rise of Communism. Then he reveals a picture of the exploitation of the workers by the capitalists and the perniciousness (harm, malignance) of the surplus value they have created, and which factors are the causes of the appearance of the socialist revolution.

C. The "Communist Manifesto" lays out the history of the class struggle beginning with ancient times, and explains that the class struggle is a means toward the accomplishment of a socialist revolution.

D. The critique of the Gotha Program explains the methods and means of building a Communist society after the conclusion of a Communist social revolution.

My faith in the triumph of the ideas of Communism and my firm decision to fight to destroy capitalism and imperialism are my firmly established, deeply thought-out world view. The accomplishment of enormous tasks rests on the young generation of our century. We have these tasks because the great teacher and revolutionary Marx armed use with the real, correct philosophy of scientifically-based theory and the richest knowledge.

In 1917 the leaders of the revolution, Lenin, Stalin, and the others, armed with the philosophical and scientific revolutionary theory of Marxism, overthrew one of the main bulwarks of world imperialism and began organizing a new socialist society, creating the Soviet government. With this fact my faith in the triumph of Communism received even great reinforcement in its correctness.

4. Being a real follower of the teaching of Communism and desiring to completely eradicate the system (of rule) which now exists in China, to help and support the Chinese Soviet Government in Jiangxi, and to begin building a new state based on the principles of Communism which would act as a united front with the Soviet government in the fight for a world revolution, I express my sincere desire to carry on my further work to govern Xinjiang under the leadership of the Comintern.

5. In spite of the fact that I am an official appointed by the Nanjing Government, I not only do not intend to support this government but, on the contrary, I will exert every effort to overthrow it because the Nanjing Government has capitulated to British and Japanese imperialism, has transferred my dearly beloved homeland, Manchuria, to Japan, without any resistance, beats the most glorious and worthy soldiers of the 19th Army (the army of Cai Tingkai) and the army of Sun Dianying, who fought Japan, etc. etc. They are preparing themselves a grave with such acts.

Further, the foundation of the Guomindang [Kuomintang] is the teaching of the three principles of a completely bankrupt teaching having no philosophical or scientific basis, and that is why it cannot win trust among Chinese youth. Therefore there remains only one way to save China and Xinjiang, to overthrow the bloodthirsty, dissolute Nanjing government, create a Soviet Government, and fight imperialism in a common front with the USSR under the leadership of the Comintern.

6. I am a convinced supporter of Communism. My conviction is a consequence of a preliminary study (of Communist literature). In this regard I cannot put myself in the same class with such collaborators as Jiang Jieshi [Chiang Kai-shek], Feng Yuxiang, and other collaborators. During the period that the Guomindang cooperated with the Communist Party Jiang Jieshi and Feng Yuxiang, although they expressed their agreement with the principles of Communism, they were expelled from the Communist Party in view of Jiang's and Feng's complete unfamiliarity with the principles of Communism and waged a vigorous fight against the Communist Party.

7. I am in no way unable to consider myself mercenary. If even one case of my striving for personal enrichment becomes known to the Comintern I agree that in such an event to be put in the ranks of the militarists, but not the followers of Communism.

8. I have firmly decided to fight to the end against all manifestations of imperialist influence in Xinjiang and for the creation of support for the Comintern from the province.

9. I have decided to take all necessary steps to root out the influence of the Guomindang in Xinjiang. I think that in the international situation Xinjiang has great importance not only for the USSR, but will become an extraordinarily important factor in a future world war and in a world revolution. My firm decision is to create a strong barrier in the southwest (?) of the USSR in peacetime, and in case of war to be the vanguard of the Comintern in battles with the imperialist countries.

In addition, with the permission of the Comintern, Xinjiang's army can help the Chinese Soviet Government in Jiangxi for a joint offensive on the Nanjing Government.

10. I am a convinced follower of Communism and hope the join the ranks of the Communist Party. I have no desire for glory, militarist inclinations, desires to be made a hero, or a desire for wealth. I am not a collaborator and not a bureaucrat.

If the Comintern has any doubts with respect to me then the Comintern can recall me to Moscow at any time, where I can continue my education. I will immediately abandon political work since, in spite of my personal desire to take part in the political arena to participate in the struggle for a world revolution, I feel myself insufficiently prepared for this and would happy to engage in the study of Marxism, historical materialism, and the works of Lenin and Stalin anywhere in a district, a quiet place (village), or library.

11. I would very much like to be in Moscow and see Mr. Stalin and the other prominent revolutionary leaders; however, I do not know when I can accomplish this desire.

12. It is necessary to unite the forces of the first Communist State, the USSR, with the Communist Parties of other countries to complete the world revolution. However, the main factor for the achievement of this task is in the opportunity to achieve Communism in China. If Communism triumphs in China then joint work of the USSR and China will be assured, which will make the task of completing the world revolution easier. It is necessary to work out the tactics with respect to the southeastern and northwestern parts of China to establish Communism in China. The tactics with respect to southeastern China are in the adoption of measures to strengthen the position of the Soviet government in Jiangxi in every way, and also to strengthen the revolutionary movement in other regions in every way.

The tactics with respect to the northwest are in the fastest possible implementation of Communism in Xinjiang and its spread to the provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi, which would provide an opportunity for the southeast and northwest to help one another and ensure the achievement of Communism in all of China.

With the achievement of Communism in Xinjiang the latter should nominally continue to be under the rule of Nanjing, a Communist Party in fact being organized in Urumqi which quickly groups its members around itself and educates [them].

Firstly, it is necessary to try and increase the number of Party members in order to oppose the subordination of the best representatives of the young generation by the Guomindang and fascism to their influence, and also to fight the work of reactionary groups.

Second, it is necessary to try for a gradual appointment of Communist Party members to the most senior posts in the army, Government institutions, in educational institutions, in commerce, agriculture, and industry, and at the same time to fight the penetration of the influence of imperialism into Xinjiang.

Based on the ideas presented above, the organization of the Communist Party in Xinjiang is absolutely necessary.

Further delays and vacillation in the solution of this problem not only deprive [us] of the opportunity to realize Communism in Xinjiang but can promote a gradual strengthening of imperialist influence in Xinjiang.

In addition, British and Japanese imperialism will inevitably use such a situation in order to create a Muslim state in Xinjiang with the aid of the Muslim population in order to suppress the revolution both in the USSR and in China.

In addition, the only way by which the USSR could help the revolutionary movement in China, the Siberian Railroad, was cut from the moment the Japanese troops invaded Manchuria. Therefore in the future Xinjiang, Gansu, and Shaanxi can be such a way.

13. When I was in a military school in Shao-Zhou [sic], Guangdong Province, I familiarized myself with the history of economic sciences and engaged in the study of Marxism with great enthusiasm.

From 1923 to 1927 I studied in Japan, where I continued to study the works of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and other theoreticians of Marxism, as a consequence of the study of which I was made a supporter of Marxism.

Returning to [my] homeland I worked in Nanjing and continued the study of Communism as before. For this reason I did not join the Guomindang Party, which drew the displeasure of the Guomindang Party members who had tried to lure me into the KMT. Feeling not quite calm, I decided to leave Nanjing, which was under KMT rule, as a consequence of which I arrived in Xinjiang.

After arriving in Xinjiang I repeatedly sought an occasion to become friends with the Soviet Consul General in Urumqi; however, in view of the categorical prohibition of Zhuxi [Chairman] Jin [SIC] for military people to visit the General Consulate I was deprived of an opportunity to accomplish my desire.

After the 12 April coup I was elected to the post of Governor of Xinjiang and immediately after this I made a visit to Zlatkin, the Soviet Consul General in Urumqi. After the first visit I declared that I was a supporter of Communism and friendship with the USSR.

Soon after this I sent Cheng Deli and Yao Xun to Moscow to buy weapons and to express my friendship. Besides this, I wrote personal letters to the Comintern and Cde. Stalin in which I expressed my faith in Communism and a wish to be under the direction of the Comintern.

On arrival in Xinjiang I decided to accomplish my desire to join the Communist Party. Unfortunately, to date I have not had a suitable occasion to carry out this desire.

At the present time, having received an opportunity to meet and openly talks with the Consul General with special powers, Mr. Apresov, just as with other members of the Communist Party, and having also received an opportunity to communicate in writing and by telegraph with Mr. Stalin, I think that a suitable occasion to accomplish my desire to join the Party—has come and I can fulfill this desire of my whole life.

The reasons for my desire to join the Party are the following:

A) Human life, being the clearest to the young generation, is justified only when there is faith in certain ideals, when there is an understanding of one's own duty. The goal of this life should not be in enrichment, not in winning personal glory, not in the problems of fighting for the fortunes of just one country or one life, but in the destruction of the evil capitalists and exploiting imperialism, and in this struggle for the happy existence of an oppressed people.

B) The teachings of Marxism-Leninism just teach the struggle with brutal imperialism and the struggle for the happiness of an oppressed people. This teaching just coincides with the goal and duty of a person's life. Therefore, everyone who correctly understands the goal and duty of human life should be a supporter of Communism.

C) The enormous and serious tasks of affiliating with Communism and becoming the vanguard of the proletariat, by joining the fight with imperialism, rest on the current young generation.

D) I have explained the goal and tasks of a human life to myself well, became well-acquainted with the principles of the teachings of Communism, and am a complete supporter of the teachings of Communism; I realize quite well the enormous tasks resting on the current young generation, and therefore I have decided to join the Communist Party.

E) I am not only a supporter of Communism, but I want in addition to take an active part in its accomplishment since anyone can be a supporter of the teachings of Communism, but the accomplishment of Communism is to be done under the leadership of the Party and therefore I have decided to join the Party.

F) I have been studying Communism-Leninism [SIC] for 10 years and I am fully confident that the demise of capitalism is unavoidable.

G) This position is not just theoretical. The existence of an economic crisis on an international scale at the present moment makes it hard for individual capitalist countries to get out of the economic crisis and reduce the growth of the unemployed in these countries. At the very same time, on the other hand, the socialist state of the USSR, led by a Proletarian Dictatorship, has successfully completed the first five-year plan in four years and not only is strengthening the national economy, but has successfully solved the problems of the economic crisis and completely eliminated unemployment.

I understood the difference in the situations of these two worlds perfectly.

H) As regards Chinese feudalism and the militarists, who are a tool of imperialism, then both of them are without doubt agents of imperialism helping the latter to repress and oppress the working masses of China. Therefore to destroy imperialism it is first necessary to liquidate these agents of imperialism and only in such an event can the oppressed population of China be liberated.

I also became completely clear about this truth. Therefore, desiring to put myself under Party guidance, I have [made] the firm decision to fight militarism and its imperialist masters to the end in order to complete the Chinese revolution.

I) From the revolutionary point of view he who is not a revolutionary is a counterrevolutionary and therefore is in the ranks of those whom it is necessary to fight to the end.

If there are any counterrevolutionary acts behind me then I request that I be immediately removed from any political work and in such an event I am ready to learn Party discipline since in no event do I agree that oppression, theft, or suppression of the interests of the mass of the popular have occurred for the sake of my personal interests.

J) If the Moscow revolutionary leaders deem it proper to admit me to the Party then please accept me as a Party member.

Otherwise I do not want to remain in my work in Xinjiang and want to go to Moscow to continue studying Marxism under the supervision of Cde. Stalin.

14. The substance of the above points is almost completely an exposition of my personal world view and touches on my personal issue.

As regards the instruction just now received from Moscow I have the following opinions about this:

a) I fully subscribe to the suggestion in the instructions about the organization of an Alliance to Fight Imperialism and I will do everything that depends on me for the successful organization of this Alliance.

In addition, I express my hope that this Alliance will not only pursue work to Fight Imperialism, but will at the same time be a responsible and leading organization in the accomplishment of work in the field of management, education, law, railroads, industry, cultural development, and in all other respects of Xinjiang life.

b) I express my sincere gratitude to the Moscow Party for assigning 25 Party members to Xinjiang and appointing a financial adviser, whose arrival in Xinjiang is extremely desirable.

c) The instructions received impose a responsibility on me to lead the Alliance being organized; I express my appreciation for the trust of the Party, which is charging me with this responsible work; however, I fear that I will not justify the Party's trust and not cope with the task entrusted to me in view of my lack of the necessary education and experience of Party work.

Nevertheless, I will obey the instructions I received and apply all my efforts to meet the task of the leadership of the Alliance being organized, which will be accomplished under the leadership of Moscow and in accordance with the decision of the Committee, with members of the Alliance accepted by majority vote, and also the work of which will be coordinated with Plenipotentiary Representative Apresov.

However, not being a Party member, I think that in spite of all my efforts to arrange the management of the Alliance to Fight Imperialism, to a proper level. this work will extraordinarily difficult for me, chiefly because I am not a Party member, and therefore to ensure the great success of this work I express my hope that this aspect will also be taken into consideration when deciding the issue of my joining the Party.

d) The Charter about the organization of the Alliance to Fight Imperialism is attached separately.

[Please] accept [my] best wishes for [your] health.

Warmly and sincerely wishing to join the Party

SHENG SHICAI

June 1934

Authenticated; [Melikhov]

2-li

The original of the note is in

Delo 46 - China, the domestic

political situation in Xinjiang.

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