Chinese Communist collaboration with Japanese war criminals

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CCP–Japanese collaboration
in World War II

Key people:


Mao Zedong openly thanked Japanese Fascists who invaded China and brutally murdered, raped, and tortured millions of innocent civilians.[1][2][3][4][5]
... But Japan’s invasion of China benefited the CCP long before contemporary times. Indeed, it’s virtually inconceivable that the CCP would’ve come to power at all had it not been for Imperial Japan’s invasion.

The National Interest, Mar. 27, 2014[6]

Chinese Communist collaboration with Japanese war criminals was prevalent throughout the Second Sino-Japanese War, culminating during the Communazi era[7] as the Far Eastern counterpart to the Western Front—despite Communist revisionism in later generations,[8] Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China (CPC) actively conspired with the Japanese Army solely to strengthen their own political clout, enabling the genocidal murder, rape, and decibel torture of millions of Chinese civilians at the boot of Fascist Japan's military.

Prior to the military invasion of China by Japanese Fascists, the right-wing Guomindang (GMD) under Jiang Jieshi nearly crushed the Communist forces into oblivion.[6] However, upon the attack, the Nationalists were forced to fight two fronts—the Communists benefited from the diversion, and exploited the sudden Nationalist vulnerability to gradually secure its own power,[6] later in the postwar years overthrowing Nationalist rule and facing no formal political opposition to in turn murder millions more Chinese civilians during the Great Leap Forward and related "purges."

The plain historical reality surrounding CCP complicity in quietly facilitating among the worst war crimes in history, particularly the Nanjing Massacre, has been extensively censored worldwide. American textbooks, portraying the Japanese Fascists as "anti-Communist" in order to discredit critics of Communism, ignore the history of Communist collaboration with Fascist and Nazi-esque movements.

In the United States, large numbers of first-generation Chinese immigrants, despite stressing "Chinese values" and "cultural heritage" to their children when rebuking them for slacking off in Chinese school in addition to sometimes teaching nitpicky historical details about the dynasties, hardly educate them about the extent of the Japanese war crimes in China, likely due to their own Communist brainwash whereby Mao Zedong's propaganda in the Chinese national curriculum for years watered down the available information about the Nanjing Massacre and other genocidal mass murders.

CPC "anti-Japanese" alliance: genuine or expedient?

During the 1930s, a Communist plot to create a "Chinese Soviet Republic" was disrupted by the National Government in a clean-up operation, which forced the "Long March" led by Mao during 1934–36.[9] During this time, the size of Mao's army shrank to 7% of its original numbers, and Jiang intended to complete the anti-Communist operation. However, he was arrested in the Xi'an Incident by subordinates who forced him to ally with the CPC against the Japanese.

Although the Communist Party gave the outward appearance of cooperating with the Nationalists "for the greater good" to supposedly prioritize fighting the Japanese Army, the Comintern order to form the CPC–GMD united front was only manifested out of concerns that the Communists would otherwise collapse.[9] Mao's right-hand man Zhou Enlai, a future Premier of the PRC, was carefully stationed in Chongqing to increase access to Nationalist intelligence information. Both men saw:[7] harm in maintaining a similar strategic relationship with the Japanese, against whom they were officially at war, if the mutual assistance between the Japanese and communist services meant that they were weakening their com- mon enemy, the Kuomintang.

—"Chinese Spies," p. 67

Jiang "never believed" that Mao was genuinely opposed to the Japanese.[4] Chinese curator and historian Lü Peng writes:

At the same time, Mao Zedong sought opportunities to preserve Communist strength by contacting the Japanese either directly or through the Wang Jingwei regime in order to minimize fighting with the Japanese and even discuss a ceasefire. As Mao Zedong later commented in an off-hand remark to Japanese visitors, it was the Japanese who helped the CPC.

—"A History of China in the 20th Century," p. 560

The CPC's Central Revolutionary Military Commission ordered its army belligerents, comprised of Jiangnan scattered forces, to become the New Fourth Army under the National Revolutionary Army; its leader Gu Zhutong was the commander of the Third War Zone.[4] Amidst the growing "united front," however, the Communists stayed in the back lines while the Nationalists fought on the frontline battlefields—the CPC focused on expansion of guerrilla warfare techniques behind enemy lines, sparking fears by Jiang that the Communists' real intention was to prepare for an anti-Nationalist attack in the future.[4]

Pan Hannian affair(s): Communists give Japanese key information

One of Mao's key spies from the Communist Party was Pan Hannian, a "professionally-minded intelligence officer"[10] planted during 1939 in a local Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs group, Madison Iwai.[9] Pan, of the Communist's Central Intelligence Group's Secret Service Division, had received Comintern training in Moscow.

Pan, after requesting "spy of the century" Yuan Shu for a meeting with Special Consul of Shanghai Iwai Eiichi, handed military intelligence about the GMD to Japanese forces.[9] Iwai then paid Pan, using Ministry on Foreign Affairs secret funds, five times that of an average policeman's annual wage. Fascist Japan, at war with the Nationalists which recently moved its capital from Chongqing to Nanjing,[9] benefited from the intelligence data about the GMD government given by Pan. He also proposed ceasefire when in contact with Japanese intelligence officer Kagesa Sadaaki, a senior officer in Fascist Japan's 2nd Bureau.[7]

Mao actively plotted a truce between the CPC and the Japanese Army. Amidst Pan's spy activities in Shanghai, a Communist Hong Kong–situated underground organization as part of the party's Secret Service was where he and fellow CPC spy Liao Chengzhi was reported to have received top orders to conspire with Koizumi Seiichi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and establish a collaborative intelligence agency between the Communist Party and the Japanese Army.[9] As described in Memoirs of Shanghai (1983) by Iwai, Pan told him:

Actually, we would like to request a truce between the Japanese army and the CPC forces in Northern China.

—Pan Hannian to Iwai Eiichi

Pan Hannian–Wang Jingwei treachery

Rogue, left-wing,[7][11][12][13][14][15] and nominal GMD figure Wang Jingwei, the leading treacherous Chinese collaborator with the Japanese Army who found support from "a motley band of former communist representatives, disgraced nationalists, opium traffickers, brothel keepers, and criminal elements from the underworlds of Shanghai and Nanjing,"[7] "well-liked" Mao, even regarding him as a brother figure; during the time period when Wang served as President of the National Government, Mao held the position of Director of the National Government's Propaganda Department.[9] Wang broke with the regular right-wing Nationalists and formed as a client state of Fascist Japan the National Nanjing Government, which Pan was brought into contact with at the behest of Mao.

The second-prominent figure in the Wang puppet regime was Zhou Fohai (a founding member of the CPC[16]) and his subordinate Li Shiqun, the leader of Secret Service #76.[9] Zhou's diary, as well as his son's account, mentions meetings by Pan between both Li the senior Zhou. One of the founders of the Communist People's Liberation Army, Ye Jianying, placed in Agency #76 Guan Lu, a female writer, as Li's secretary. Pan and CPC Central China Bureau General Secretary Yang Fan were also ordered by Communist Deputy General Secretary Rao Shushi to quietly contact the Japanese Army as Communist spies. Mao's strategy forced the Nationalists to fight the Japanese invaders particularly in Chongqing with minimal Communist help, thereby strengthening the CPC military position against the GMD.[9]

Pan after 1940 was largely present around Shanghai.[17] As Japan's brutal "Southern Advance" began, Pan increasingly conferred with Li, even staying at his Nanjing house to evade Japanese attention. Later in 1943, a meeting between Pan and Wang was arranged by Li, where the Communist spy promised the "Chinese Pétain"[7] personal safety such that the subsequent future turns against Wang.[17]

A consultant to Jiang declared:[18]

The Japanese, the traitor Wang Jingwei, and the Communists are all our enemies. The Japanese and Wang Jingwei are absolute enemies. The Communists are dispersed between their units and ours. They are even more difficult to deal with.

—Advisor to Jiang Jieshi, 1940

Mao prolongs the war

The CPC’s ultimate goal is simply to overthrow the Chongqing Government and seize control of the whole of China itself. However, the CPC is still weak at present and is not strong enough to replace the GMD and take power. And so the mission of the CPC forces for the time being is to make Japan and the Chongqing Government fight each other as long as possible and build up their own strength in the meantime. This is why, outwardly, they look like they are obeying the Chongqing Government, believing that intensifying the opposition between the KTM and CPC forces is detrimental to the expansion of their own troops, when in actual fact they are moving to prevent Japan engaging in peace talks with the Chongqing Government. Because unless the Japanese Army and the Chongqing Government keep on fighting as long as possible, the CPC forces will not have the time they need to grow stronger.

—Truth of Mao Zedong's Collusion with the Japanese Army[9]

As has been noted, "Mao Zedong was an extraordinary strategist."[9] He intentionally dragged the Second Sino-Japanese War into as long a duration as possible, forcing the Nationalist Army to be increasingly weakened in size as a result of fighting the Japanese. In key combats such as the Battle of Shanghai, it was the Guomindang which fought on the frontlines to defend cities from Japanese invaders, albeit without success due to their disarray.[19]

Pan was ordered to negotiated with the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Army Ministry of Japan to actively prevent potential negotiating peace talks between Fascist Japan and the Nationalist government situated in Chongqing. Pan told Iwai Eiichi that Jiang's brother-in-law Song Ziwen of the Chongqing government was a sham. After Iwai, who believed Pan, relayed the news to other Japanese officials, the peace talks involving Nationalist China failed.

Postwar years

Mao Zedong’s strategy was ultimately to weaken the GMD forces led by his political opponent Chiang Kai-shek, in order to take power. To this end, he joined forces with anyone, be it the Japanese army or Wang Jingwei’s puppet government. The whole point was for Mao Zedong to take power. He did anything to achieve that goal. That’s all there was to it.
— Truth of Mao Zedong's Collusion with the Japanese Army[9]

During Maoist rule of China, the truth of the Nanjing Massacre was explicitly censored from the knowledge of younger generations in public schools. A Chinese-American university researcher noted that it was because:[9]

...around 13 December 1937 when the Nanjing Massacre occurred, the CPC forces led by Mao Zedong and his supporters had fled so deep into the mountains that they could not be attacked by the Japanese army. That was the mountainous region of Yan’an in Shaanxi province. It was the KMT forces led by Chiang Kai-shek who fought on the frontline in Nanjing.

—Han Meng, University of Ohio

Even after the Second Sino-Japanese War ended, Mao continued to collude with Japanese war criminal leaders.[9] Generals from the Imperial Japanese Army were recruited due to their open collaboration with the CCP during the war—Okamura Yasuji of the "China Expeditionary Army" (stationed in Nanjing where hundreds of thousands of Chinese residents were brutally tortured) was heavily pleaded by Mao to join his side, though refused. Mao subsequently met with Endo Saburo instead in 1956, one year after his own lackey spies were sent to prison by his decree.[9]

Mao jails his lackeys

In Communism, individuals who "know too much" from the beginning are eventually disposed. After Mao established the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, he ordered the arrests of his own spies six years later who complied with his bidding to secretly collude with Japanese war criminals and drag out the war between Nationalist China and the Japanese Army.[9] Pan, Rao, and Yang Fan, along with around a thousand other spies, who knew the truth because of their active complicity, were silenced to prevent any light from being shed unto the public.

Pan was accused by the Communists of betrayal for meeting with Wang Jingwei without supposedly reporting the occurrence to the party.[20] However, it has been noted that Pan's time in custody, along with the imprisonment of Rao Shushi, was considerably luxurious—Rao particularly was paid 100 renminbi monthly, thrice the average worker's income, also being given chefs, secretaries, and even subscriptions for newspapers and magazines. Zhou Fohai, on the other hand, was nearly executed though his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, dying in 1948.[16]

Only three CCP spies avoided imprisonment: Liao Chengzhi, Ye Jianying and Zhou Enlai.[9] Liao's fluency in Japanese was reportedly of such prestigious extents that "even a Japanese would have been put to shame"—he and Takasaki Tatsunosuke facilitated trade between Communist China and Japan under the title "LT Trading" (combining their initials); Ye was considered most trustworthy to keep Mao's secrets, and counted upon as too dependable; Zhou, even better at keeping secrets, was a principal right-hand man.[9]

Pan died in 1977, pronounced a traitor to the Chinese people by ironically none other than Maoist China.[9] His personal honors were not restored in the last year of his life despite Mao's death in 1976, due to the supreme chairman having issued a personal order for Pan's imprisonment. Only in 1982 were Pan's honors posthumously given back.[9]

Censorship history

According to the memoir of Zhang Guotao, the Communist-aligned Chairman of the Military Commission of the Fourth Red Army, Mao cheered upon the news of the Lugou Bridge Incident that marked the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, crowing that "this would weaken the KMT forces." In "The Life of Mao Zedong" edited by the Party Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee, there was only one mention of the Nanjing Massacre, euphemized as the "fall of Nanjing."[9] Had the public been informed of the sheer graphic details of the Rape of Nanjing, the details of Mao's larger collusion with the Japanese Army would risk being exposed as well, and therefore Chinese textbooks during Maoist China ignored the atrocious crime against humanity.

Maoist China refused to celebrate Victory over Japan

Upon the inception of Communist China as a nation, the Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government (today known as the State Council of the PRC) issued on December 23 a commemoration in August 15th annually victory against Japan. Later in 1951, the CCP declared September 3 a day of commemoration, although the statement proved empty.[9]

Due to the PRC's creation being a result of the Chinese Communists' victory over the Nationalists in the Chinese Civil War and rather than against the Japanese in World War II, they failed to follow up on the commemoration statement. "The Life of Mao Zedong" by the Party Literature Research Center of the CPC Central Committee notes that the chairman never once in his lifetime held a celebration of Victory over Japan.[9] The historical record, understood clearly by the Communists, is that the Chinese battle against brute Japanese invasion was comprised almost entirely of Nationalist forces—if the CCP were to celebrate Victory over Japan, they would ostensibly laud their Nationalist enemies.

See also


  1. Dent, Christopher (2008). China, Japan and Regional Leadership in East Asia, p. 89. Google Books. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  2. Black, Jeremy (2017). The Second World War, Vol. III: The Japanese War 1941–1945, p. 1. Google Books. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  3. Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party. Google Books. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Lü Peng (August 14, 2013). A History of China in the 20th Century, pp. 560–564. Google Books. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  5. Lu Xing (2017). The Rhetoric of Mao Zedong: Transforming China and Its People. Google Books. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Keck, Zachary (March 27, 2014). China's Communist Party and Japan: A Forgotten History. The National Interest. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Faligot, Roger (2019). Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping, pp. 67–69a. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  8. Keck, Zachary (September 4, 2014). The CCP Didn’t Fight Imperial Japan; the KMT Did. The Diplomat. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 Han Meng (July 2, 2016). MCLC: Truth of Mao Zedong's Collusion with the Japanese Army. Ohio State University. Retrieved September 19, 2023.
  10. Mattis, Peter (January 20, 2015). The Dragon's Eyes and Ears: Chinese Intelligence at the Crossroads. The National Interest. Retrieved September 19, 2023.
  11. Elleman, Bruce A.; Paine, S. C. M. (2010). Modern China: Continuity and Change, 1644 to the Present, p. 339. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  12. Perkins, Dorothy (1999). Encyclopedia of China: History and Culture, p. 558. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  13. Mackerras, Colin (2008). China in Transformation: 1900-1949, p. 48. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  14. Zhao Suisheng (2000). China and Democracy: Reconsidering the Prospects for a Democratic China, p. 43. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  15. Zhao Suisheng (1996). Power by Design: Constitution-Making in Nationalist China, p. 103. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Luo Liang (July 15, 2014). The Avant-Garde and the Popular in Modern China: Tian Han and the Intersection of Performance and Politics, p. 229. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  17. 17.0 17.1 van de Ven, Hans (June 12, 2003). War and Nationalism in China: 1925-1945, p. 286. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  18. van de Ven, Hans (2017). China at War: Triumph and Tragedy in the Emergence of the New China, p, 147. Google Books. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  19. Karl, Rebecca E. (2010). Mao Zedong and China in the Twentieth-Century World: A Concise History, pp. 54–55. Google Books. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  20. Guo Xuezhi (2012). China's Security State: Philosophy, Evolution, and Politics, pp. 74–75. Google Books. Retrieved September 28, 2023.