The Jiangxi Soviet, formally called the Chinese Soviet Republic (Template:Zh-tsp), also translated as the Soviet Republic of China or the China Soviet Republic, existed from 1931 to 1934, as an independent government established by the Communist leader Mao Zedong and his comrade Zhu De in Jiangxi province in southeastern China. It was from this "small state within a state" that Mao gained the experience in guerrilla warfare and peasant organization that he later used to accomplish the Communist conquest of China in the late 1940s. Mao Zedong was the chairman for most of the time.
On November 7th 1931, the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, a National Soviet People's Delegates Conference took place in Ruijin (瑞金), Jiangxi province, establishing the provisional Soviet Republic. Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, Jiangxi Soviet gradually expanded and reached its peak in the early 1930s, with a size more than 30,000 square kilometres, larger than many provinces in China, and a population numbered more than three million. Furthermore, its economy was doing better than most area under the control of the Chinese warlords. In addition to the militia and guerrilla, its regular Chinese Red Army alone already numbered more than 140,000 by the early 1930's, and they were better armed than most Chinese warlords' armies at the time. For example, not only the Chinese Red Army already had the modern communication means such as telephones, telegraphs and radios which most Chinese warlords' armies still lacked, it was already regularly transmitting wireless messages in codes and breaking nationalist codes. Only Chiang Kai-shek's army could match this formidable communist force.
Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, felt threatened by the Soviet republic and lead other Chinese warlords to have the National Revolutionary Army besieged this Soviet Republic repeatedly, launching what Chiang and his fellow nationalists called encirclement campaigns at the time, and the communists called their counter attacks counter encirclement campaigns. Chiang Kai-shek's first, second and third encirclement campaigns were defeated by Chinese Red Army led by Mao. However, after the third counter encirclement campaign, Mao was removed from the leadership and replaced by the Chinese communists returning from the Soviet Union such as Wang Ming, and the command of Chinese Red Army was handled by a three man committee that included Wang Ming's associates Otto Braun (Li De), the Comintern military advisor, Bo Gu, and Zhou Enlai. The Jiangxi Soviet thus begun its inevitable rapid downfall under their policy of extreme leftism and incompetent military command, though the new leadership could not immediately rid of Mao's influence which prevailed during the fourth counter encirclement campaign, and thus saved the communists temporarily. However, as a result of the complete dominance of the new communist leadership achieved after the fourth counter encirclement campaign, the Red Army was nearly halved, with most its equipment lost during Chiang's fifth encirclement campaign in started in 1933 orchestrated by his German advisors that involved the systematic encirclement of the Jiangxi Soviet region with fortified blockhouses. This method proved to be very effective. In an effort to break the blockade, the Red Army under the orders of the three man committee besieged the forts many times but suffered heavy casualties with little success, resulting the Jiangxi Soviet shrunk significantly in size due to the Chinese Red Army's disastrous manpower and material loss.
By the fall of 1934, the Communists faced total annihilation. This situation had already convinced Mao Zedong and his supporters to believe that the Communists to abandon their bases in the Jiangxi Soviet republic. However, the communist leadership stubbornly refused to accept the inevitable failure and still daydreamed defeating the victorious nationalist force. The three man committee devised a plan of diversions, and then regroup after a temporary retreat. Once the regroup was complete, a counterattack would launched in conjunction with the earlier diversion forces, driving the enemy out of the Jiangxi Soviet.
The first movements of the retreating diversion were undertaken by Fang Zhimin. Fang Zhimin and his deputy Xun Weizhou were first to break through Kuomintang lines in June, followed by Xiao Ke in August. These movements surprised the Kuomintang, who were numerically superior to the Communists at the time and did not expect an attack on their fortified perimeter. However, things did not turn out as the communist had hoped: Fang Zhimin's force was crushed after its initial success, and with Xun Weizhou killed in action, nearly every commander in this force was wounded and captured alive, including Fang Zhimin himself, and all were executed later by the nationalists. The only exception was Su Yu, who managed to escape. Xiao Ke fared no better: although his force initially managed to break through and then reached He Long's communist base in Hubei, but even with their combined forces, they were unable to challenge the far superior nationalist force besieging Jiangxi Soviet, never to return until the establishment of the People's Republic of China 15 years later.
The failure of the diversion forces resulted in their loss of contacts with the Jiangxi Soviet, and the communist leadership failed to coordinate its next proper move in a timely fashion, still believed that a temporary retreat near or within the Jiangxi Soviet would allow them to recover and counterattack, eventually driving out the nationalist force.
Zhou's spy ring Edit
The communists seemed to be doomed under the crushing blows of the nationalists, however, the capable Zhou Enlai had previously achieved a brilliant intelligence success by planting more than a dozen moles in Chiang Kai-shek's inner circle, including at the general headquarters for the nationalist forces at Nanchang. Surprisingly, the most important of the agents, Mo Xiong (莫雄), was actually never a Communist, but his contribution eventually saved the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Red Army.
- Mo Xiong (莫雄), (1891 - February 1980) was born in Yingde, and was a close friend of Sun Yat-sen, and member of Tongmenghui, a member of Kuomintang, and a Communist sympathizer / agent. He served high-ranking positions in both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China. Both Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai credited Mo Xiong (莫雄) with saving the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Revolution in 1934, when he provided important intelligence on Chiang Kai-shek's military plans, thereby assisting the Communists to avoid total annihilation.
- Mo Xiong was originally an ardent revolutionary, following the footsteps of Sun Yat-sen in his struggle to overthrow the Qing dynasty, such as participating in the Huanghuagang Uprising. Later, he distinguished himself in the National Protection War and campaigns against Chen Jiongming, and finally, the Northern Expedition, steadily rose from regimental commander to brigade commander, and finally to the divisional commander. However, Mo became disillusioned with Kuomintang after witnessing its corruptions and power struggles and left the army. With the help of T. V. Soong, he managed to get a job in the finance ministry in Shanghai by 1930. Due to his leftist nationalistic stand within Kuomintang, he was obviously sympathetic toward communists. After an accidental contact with Liu Yafo (刘亚佛), a communist, Mo kept his contact with the communist party and eventually asked to join the Communist Party of China. The Chinese communists, however, believed that Mo would be much more valuable if he remained as a non communist member, convinced him to give up the idea.
- Under the recommendation of Chiang Kai-shek's secretary-general Yang Yongtai (杨永泰), who was unaware of Mo's Communist activities, Mo Xiong (莫雄) steadily excelled in Chiang Kai-shek's regime, eventually becoming an important member within Chiang Kai-shek's general headquarters in the early 1930s. In January 1934, Chiang Kai-shek named him as the administrator and commander-in-chief of the Fourth Special District in northern Jiangxi. Mo used his position to plant more than a dozen Communist agents within Chiang's general headquarters, including Liu Yafo (刘亚佛),the Communist who first introduced to the Communist Party of China, Xiang Yunian (项与年) his Communist handler, whom he hired as his secretary, and Lu Zhiying (卢志英), the Communist agent who was the acting head of the spy ring, which was directly under the command of Zhou Enlai.
- After successfully besieging the adjacent regions of Ruijin, the capital of the Jiangxi Soviet and occupying most of Jiangxi Soviet itself, Chiang was confident that he would finish off the Communists in a final decisive strike. In the late September of 1934, Chiang distributed his top secret plan named "Iron Bucket Plan" to everyone in his general headquarter at Lushan (the alternative summer site to Nanchang), which detailed the final push to totally annihilate the Communist forces. The plan was to build 30 blockade lines supported by 30 barbed wire fences, most of them are electric in the region 150 km around Ruijin, to starve the communists. In addition, more than 1,000 trucks were to be mobilized to form a rapid reaction force in order to prevent any Communist breakout. Realizing the certain annihilation of the Communists, Mo Xiong (莫雄) handed the document weighing several kilograms to his Communist handler Xiang Yunian (项与年) the same night he received it, risking not only his own life, but that of his entire family.
- With the help of Liu Yafo (刘亚佛) and Lu Zhiying (卢志英), the Communist agents copied the important intelligence onto four dictionaries and Xiang Yunian (项与年) was tasked to take the intelligence personally to the Jiangxi Soviet. The trip was hazardous, as the nationalist force would arrest and even execute anyone who attempted to cross the blockade. Xiang Yunian (项与年) was forced to hide in the mountains for a while, and then used rocks to knock out 4 of his own teeth, resulting in swollen face. Disguised as a beggar, he torn off the covers of the four dictionaries and hide them at the bottom of his bag with rotten food, the successfully cross several lines of blockade and reached Ruijin on October 7, 1934. The valuable intelligence provided by Mo Xiong (莫雄) finally convinced the communists in Jiangxi Soviet to abandon its base and started a general retreat before Chiang could completing the building of his blockade lines with supporting barbed wire fences, and mobilizing trucks and troops, thus saving themselves from total annihilation.
- The intelligence was so secret that only the Zhou Enlai, Bo Gu and Otto Braun (Li De) of the three men committee of the communist leadership had known about it, not even Mao Zedong was aware it. The seriousness of this valuable intelligence finally made the communist leadership realized the dire situation they were in, and the temporary retreats originally planned were altered hastily into a general retreat that eventually resulted as the Long March.
- Mo Xiong (莫雄) was not forgotten by the communists. Mao Zedong learned Mo Xiong's contribution and after the final communist victory, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai personally ordered Mo Xiong (莫雄) to be escorted from Guangzhou to Beijing to witness the national day celebration on October 1, 1956, and Ye Jianying held a special banquet specifically dedicated to him and Xiang Yunian (项与年), who was escorted to the capital from Fuzhou for the same ceremonies. Mo was awarded with high ranking positions in both the provincial and the national Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
On October 10, 1934, the three-man committee Communist leadership formally issued the order of the general retreat, and on October 16, 1934, the Chinese Red Army begun what was later known as the Long March, fully abandoned the Jiangxi Soviet. 17 days after the main communist force had already left its base, the nationalists were finally aware that the enemy had escaped after reaching the empty city of Ruijin on November 5, 1934. Contrary to the common erroneous belief, the original destination was the He Long's communist base in Hubei, and the final destination Yan'an was not decided until much later during the Long March, well after the rise of Mao Zedong. To avoid panic, the goal was kept a secret from most people, including Mao Zedong, and the public was told that only a portion of the Chinese Red Army would be engaged in mobile warfare to defeat nationalist force, and thus this part of force would be renamed as Field Army.
The retreating force Edit
However, the so-called the portion of the Chinese Red Army engaged in the mobile warfare was actually the majority portion of the communist force making a general retreat, but the bulk of this force was only a fraction of what used to be more than 140,000 men army at its peak. With most of its equipment lost, many of the surviving members of the Chinese Red Army were forced to arm themselves with ancient weaponry. According to the Statistical Chart of the Field Army Personnel, Weaponry, Ammunition, and Supply completed by the Chinese Red Army on October 8, 1934, two days before the Long March begun, the communist Long March force was consisted of:
- 5 combating corps totaling 72,313 combatants:
- The 1st Corps (The largest of the five, with 19,880 combatants)
- The 3rd Corps
- The 5th Corps
- The 8th Corps (The newest and smallest of the five, with 10,922 combatants)
- The 9th Corps
- 2 Columns
- Central Committee 1st Columns
- Central Committee 2nd Columns
- The 5 corps and the 2 columns had a total of 86,859 combatants.
The Statistical Chart of Field Army Personnel, Weaponry, Ammunition, and Supply (Currently kept at the People's Liberation Army's Archives) also provided the weaponry and provision prepared for the Long March, and the weapons deployed included:
- Artillery: 39 total
- Mortar: 38
- Mountain gun: 1 (originally not included, but was added later on)
- Breechloading Firearms: 33,244 total (with 1,858,156 rounds of munition), and of these, a total of 29,016 were distributed to the 5 corpses, including:
- Other weapons included:
- Lance: 6101
- Chinese saber: 882
- Various weapons were also deployed but their numbers were not counted, and these included:
muzzle-loading rifled muskets and smoothbore muskets
Postage stamps Edit
In April 1932, a Central Postal Office (郵政總局) was created, and printed several designs of postage stamps for use in provinces under the rule of the Soviet Republic. Most of the stamps are imperforate and are printed on white newspaper-quality paper. The numerals printed on the stamp are of the complex style to prevent forgery.
They are quite rare today, with prices ranging from US$1,000 to over $25,000.
The Central Mint of the Jiangxi Soviet issued three kinds of currency, including the paper bill, the copper coin, and the silver dollar.
Paper bill Edit
The Central Mint briefly issued both the paper bills and copper coins, but neither circulated for long, primarily due to the fact that the currency could not be used in the rest of China.
The paper bill had the Chinese Soviet Republic (中華蘇維埃共和國)printed on the bill in the traditional Chinese character, and a the head picture of Lenin. Due to the lack of raw material, the quality the paper bill was very poor and did not last long. This coupled with the fact that the bill could only be used within the Jiangxi Soviet resulted in the very limited issue and circulation of the paper currency.
Copper coin Edit
Like the paper bill, the copper coins issued by the Central Mint also had the Chinese Soviet Republic (中華蘇維埃共和國) in the traditional Chinese character engraved, and due to the fact that the coin lasts longer than the paper bill, these coins were issued and circulated in much greater extent. However, these coins are currently rarer than the paper bill survived, mainly because the copper used were in dire need to make cartridges so that these copper coins were recalled and replaced by silver dollars.
Silver dollar Edit
The largest and most predominant currency produced by the Central Mint was the silver dollar. Unlike the paper bills and the copper coins, the silver dollars had no communist symbols and instead, they were the direct copy of other silver dollars produced by other mints in China, including the most popular Chinese silver dollar with Yuan Shikai's head engraved, and the eagle silver dollar of Mexican peso. This and the fact that the coin was made of the precious metal silver, enabled them to be circulated in the rest of China and thus the trade currency of choice.
- 2 photos of a handwritten official declaration document and the Conference
- flags from FOTW website
- 12 stamps (explanatory caption in Simplified Chinese)
- Yang's Postage Stamp Catalogue of The People's Republic of China (Liberated Area)