Xiang Zhongfa ( Chinese trad. 向 忠 發 , ex. 忠 发 , pinyin : Xiàng Zhōngfā , 1880 , Shanghai - June 24, 1931 , Shanghai ) - Chinese Communist, leader of the Chinese labor movement in the 1920s . General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in the years 1928-1931. Shot by the Kuomintang in 1931.
|Successor||Wang Ming (Acting)|
Shanghai , Qing Empire
|Death||06.24.1931 (50-51 year)|
Shanghai , Republic of China
|The consignment||Chinese Communist Party|
Xiang Zhongfa was born in Shanghai in 1880 to a poor family. He was forced to leave school early and, together with his parents, move to Hubei , where his ancestors lived. When he was 14 years old, he became an apprentice at the Hanyansk Metallurgical Plant in Wuhan . When the factory closed, Xiang began to labor on the landowner in Jiangxi . Three years later, he went to work for a large shipping company. Within four months of work, he became the second mate of the ship's captain, and two years later he was promoted to senior mate. For his literacy and active participation in the labor movement, he was elected to the union of the shipping company. In 1921, Xiang became deputy chairman of the trade union organization in the company. In 1922, Xiang joined the CCP .
Starting CPC Activities
During the Northern Expedition , the Kuomintang army captured part of the territory of Hubei Province and marched on Wuhan . To support the offensive, Xiang Zhongfa, as well as another well-known CCP activist, Xu Baihao , organized a strike by workers against local militarists and formed a trade union in Hubei Province, which provided substantial assistance to the Guomindang’s advancing army. After the CCP headquarters moved to Wuhan, Xiang was elected a member of the CCP Central Committee .
The uncertainty in the relations between the CPC and the KMT has repeatedly manifested itself in petty conflicts between parties, aided by the compromise-oriented position of the CPC leader, Chen Duxu , who did not attach importance to the working leaders. In contrast, Xiang openly expressed discontent with the situation prevailing in the party. His intransigent position was appreciated in the Comintern , which had a similar assessment of the policy of the CPC leadership and issued a telegram on July 14, 1927 accusing the central organs of the CPC of opportunism in relations with the Kuomintang and calling on the CPC members to fight against this opportunism and nominate workers and peasant leaders for leadership positions .
On August 7, 1927, at the extraordinary extended meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Chen Duxiu was removed from the party leadership, and Su Zhaozhen and Xiang Zhongfa were elected temporary members of the Political Bureau. However, the new leadership of the CCP, led by Qu Zubo and Li Weihan , still basically consisted of intellectuals .
Commanding in the USSR
In October 1927, the Comintern requested the CPC to organize a delegation to Moscow to participate in the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution . Since many of the leaders of the CCP were in disgrace and hid in Guangdong and Hong Kong after the failure of the Nanchang uprising , Su Zhaochen and Li Weihan were still on their way from Wuhan to Shanghai , and the central organs of the CCP practically did not function, Xiang was easily elected head of this delegation .
On October 15, 1927, Xiang and eight other delegates went to the Soviet Union . Upon arrival in Moscow in November, they were warmly received by their Soviet colleagues. Xiang took part in celebrations and a number of major meetings of the Comintern and communist activists, spoke on the radio. His experience and understanding of the labor movement in China gave him credibility in the Comintern. The Eastern Secretariat of the Comintern Executive Committee (ECCI) involved Xiang in solving many issues related to China, for example, to pacify protests by students of the Chinese Communist University of Chinese Workers , who spoke in favor of improving the educational process, combat training, and living conditions. In particular, on January 28, 1928, Xiang sent a letter to the ECCI Political Secretariat, in which he wrote that the reasons for the unrest of Chinese students should be sought not in “ anarchism ” and “liquidationism”, but in flaws in the general and party leadership of the university, the need for a radical reorganization of the military policies and increase their logistics.
At the same time, the provisional Politburo of the CPC Central Committee held an extended meeting in Shanghai. Since the newly elected members of the Central Committee, Zhou Enlai and Luo Inun, came from the intelligentsia, Wang Hebo had been killed by the Kuomintang shortly before, and Su Zhaozhen left for Moscow as a delegate of the Comintern, there were no workers left in the central government bodies of the CCP, which did not comply with the Comintern’s policy.
In January 1928, Xiang wrote two letters to Stalin and Bukharin in which he condemned the “wrong” course of the CCP. These letters attracted the attention of the Comintern leadership to the problems in the CPC. In March 1928, the Comintern requested the CPC to hold its next congress in Moscow. At the 6th CPC Congress in Moscow, which opened on June 18, Xiang was appointed chairman, which added to his fame. At the congress, Xiang criticized both the left bias of Qu Zubo and the right bias, which was represented by Zhang Gotao  . The day before the congress was closed, Pavel Myth , the rector of the University of Sun Yat-sen , on behalf of the Comintern made a list of candidates for the CPC Central Committee, which consisted of 36 members, 22 of whom were workers. Xiang Zhongfa was elected a member of the Politburo and general secretary of the CCP. The current situation reflected the views of the congress, as of the 84 delegates present at this congress, there were 50 representatives of the proletariat, whereas at the previous congress two years ago 71 of the 82 delegates were intellectuals.
Since Xiang Zhongfa was elected leader of the CCP, he could no longer be in Moscow. After he transferred his affairs to the new CCP delegate to the Comintern, Qu Zubo Xiang returned to Shanghai to work at the CCP headquarters with a new Politburo member, Cai Hesen, and candidate member Li Lisan .
After Xiang officially started his business in September 1928, a number of steps were taken under his leadership to change the way things work in the CCP. Xiang issued a document of the CPC Central Committee for all members of the CPC, in which he stressed the need to correct the “wrong ideas” in the revolution, and the CPC must fight against the threat from the bourgeoisie . He also proposed a series of reforms of the CPC bodies, such as the union of trade unions with workers' committees, propaganda departments with peasant committees, and the creation of a military committee in the Politburo . He also proposed to merge the CCP headquarters in Shanghai with the CCP Committee in Jiangsu . This proposal met with objections from Zhou Enlai with the support of other CCP leaders, and Xiang was forced to abandon it.
While Xiang Zhongfa was the Secretary General , the role of Li Lisan in the party gradually increased. When Cai Hesen was removed from the CPC Central Committee, Xiang Zhongfa chose Li Lisan, who became one of the four permanent members of the Politburo and the head of the CPC propaganda department in October 1928, to take his place. When, in 1929, the Far Eastern Bureau of the Comintern issued an order to combat right-wing deviation and accused the CCP of its lack of active activity in the struggle, Xiang protested against this decision. He believed that the eloquent and energetic Li Lisan was a suitable candidate for the negotiating work. Thus, Lee set about settling conflicts with the Comintern. When Xiang sent Zhou Enlai to Moscow for further explanation, Li assumed Zhou's duties, which gave Lee another way to prove his talents.
When Xiang learned from the Comintern’s decision to fight the right wing of the CCP, he declared that the Chinese revolution was at its peak. Subsequently, Li Lisan brought these views to the extreme. The Lilisanevshchina policy is an adventurous policy of calling for an armed uprising in the cities and the subsequent spread of the revolution throughout the country in a situation when the objective prerequisites for an uprising have not yet appeared. With the support of Xiang Zhongfa, Li Lisan’s course began to gain influence. The CCP gave daily instructions from its headquarters to branches in all provinces, created new committees in all provinces, and prepared for a full-scale uprising in October 1929. But the Comintern expressed its dissatisfaction, stating that a systematic position on the Chinese revolution is needed, the CCP should instead focus its attention on the uprising in one or several provinces. During several stages of discussion, tensions between Xiang, Lee and the Comintern increased significantly.
The blindness and extremism of the Li Lisan course brought great losses to the CCP. In August 1930, the Comintern sent Qu Zubo and Zhou Enlai back to China to carry out their policies. The Group of 28 Bolsheviks also sent its representatives back to change the course of the CCP and remove Li Lisan and his supporters from the leadership. Xiang and Li have not paid enough attention to the criticism of these young students. Then the Comintern sent a telegram calling Li to come to Moscow. Pavel Myth went to Shanghai as an envoy of the Comintern. Under the direction of Myth, the IV Plenum of the Central Committee of the CCP of the VI convocation was held. On it, Li Lisan was replaced by Van Min , and his supporters from the Group of 28 Bolsheviks occupied other important posts. Although Xiang was offered to resign, the Comintern and other senior leaders of the CCP, such as Qu and Zhou, felt that Xiang, as a working leader, could be useful for the revolution, so they all spoke out against rejection.
But Xiang’s role as a leader by that time came to an end due to the fact that the CCP’s main focus shifted from working in the city to creating Soviet territories in rural areas, which Xiang was not familiar with and had no such experience. In addition, opposition to him and Wang Ming, who was actually the leader of the CCP at the time, was opposed by a number of old CCP members, such as labor activist He Manxun and Luo Zhanglong . Because of the split, as well as the fact that He Mansung and another 24 members of his group were arrested and killed by the KMT, the influence of the CCP in Shanghai was significantly weakened. At this time, Xiang lost faith in the ideals of the revolution, began to allow moral liberties and a violation of party conspiracy.
Arrest and death
After being arrested on April 25, 1931 in Hankou by the Kuomintang police, one of the subordinates, Zhou Enlai, the commander of the “red squad” Gu Shunzhang , who knew the turnout and the safe houses of the central organs of the CPC in Shanghai and other cities, the Kuomintang members went on the trail of Xiang Zhongfa. Zhou Enlai was going to smuggle Xiang to one of the Soviet districts, but on June 21, Xiang was identified and arrested the next day at a jewelry store in a French concession in Shanghai . French police issued his Kuomintang counterintelligence. Already on June 24, Xiang began to testify against his party comrades.
Immediately after the arrest of Xiang Zhongfa, the Shanghai police reported to the headquarters in Nanjing that the leader of the Communists was arrested. However, fearing that the CCP would try to repel its leader, Chiang Kai-shek , who was in Lushan , immediately after reading the telegram gave the order to shoot Xiang Zhongfa. The order was immediately executed. Before being executed, kneeling on the ground, Xiang begged to save his life. So on June 24, 1931, the life of one of the founders and leaders of the CPC was interrupted.