The CCP in the 1930s: The View from Defectors’ Declarations (脱离共党宣言)

Joseph W. Esherick. The CCP in the 1930s : the view from defectors’ declarations (脱离共党宣言). The PRC History Review, vol. 2, n° 2 (April 2017), pp. 1-6. (“Research Paper Series”). URL :

On July 28, 1933, Du Heng, the secretary of the Chinese Communist Party’s Shaanxi provincial committee was meeting with party colleagues in a Xi’an restaurant. That spring, a foolish attempt at May Day demonstrations had attracted police attention to the Xi’an party, and Shao Lizi ’s replacement of Yang Hucheng as the civilian governor of Shaanxi had increased the local influence of Chiang Kai-shek’s resolutely anti-Communist Nanjing regime. During the summer, several Xi’an Communists had been arrested, and while none of their comrades were exposed, the party’s  usual meeting places came under surveillance. The restaurant gathering was supposed to avoid undue attention, but a couple of male patrons entered, sat at a nearby table, then departed. Du’s suspicions were aroused, so he and his comrades cut their meeting short and left separately. Too late. The secretary and one other were arrested, while two more escaped. One of those arrested soon defected and began identifying other members of the Shaanxi organization. By September, after various forms of enhanced interrogation, Du Heng also cracked, and together with nine of his comrades, published an open letter in the Xi’an press.

Their “Declaration on Leaving the Communist Party” (Tuoli gongdang xuanyan 脱离共党宣言) appeared in six successive issues of the Nationalist Party (Guomindang) local paper, Xijing ribao.

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The PRC History Review, vol. 2, n° 2 (April 2017)

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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