Tag Archives: kmt

The Rise of the Communists and the Fall of the KMT

This week I read Strategy and the Chinese Civil War by my friend, Adam Elkus. The piece appeared in a special edition, “Strategic Misfortunes,” of Infinity Journal. IN a private communication, Adam told me the piece “dispense[s] with some of the CPP’s own myth-making,” which I agree with. It’s a fascinating article, and one that knee-caps the idea that Mao Zedong was particularly unusual in his knowledge of agrarian guerrilla warfare. (Mao certainly, however, was a fantastic self-promoter.)

KMT China Was A Failed State

I think I disagree with Elkus’s article in one area. Throughout the article Adam writes as if the KMT was an effective government; that is, as if China was not already a failed state by the time that Chiang Kaishek seized power. While this point does not problematize Elkus’ assertion that the rise of the Communists was result of KMT military failure, it should clarify that KMT military failure was primarily a result of KMT political failure, and not simply the result of a few bad strategic decisions.

In the rest of this post I want to take issue with several points of the KMT chronology laid out by Elkus, including

1. The “KMT” that ran mainland China between and 1949, and Taiwan from 1946-2000, is a successor to the “KMT” founded by Sun Yatsen in Beijing.
2. The KMT conducted a White Terror in mainland China in the 1920s
3. The KMT attempted to use the NRA to eliminate the Communist Party
4. The KMT embarked on the Strong Point offensive for primarily military, and not political, reasons

The [Chinese] KMT Was  Never A Secret Society

China’s defeat in the first Sino-Japanese War motivated the Qing leaders to create a powerful and bureaucratic military organized around European lines with the aid of German advisers. The 1911 revolution was not won by mass mobilization; Sun Yat-Sen’s GMD was a secret society that focused its efforts on winning over intellectuals, economic elites, and soldiers in Qing military forces. Yuan Shikai, Marshal of the Qing’s forces, defected with his elite Beiyang Army to Sun’s side and tilted the military balance in favor of the rebels. A lack of political consensus over the structure and distribution of political power helped fragment the military balance and thus create the impetus for China’s infamous ‘warlord period’.

In Chinese histories there are two political parties known as “KMT,” which Adam calls “GMD.” The first, known in simplified hanzi as 國民黨 and literally translated as National People’s Party, was a reorganization of secret societies founded by Sun Yatsen for the purpose of overthrowing the Qing dynasty and institution an anti-Manchu race war in mainland Chinese. The others, sometimes known as the “KMT” or the “Chinese KMT,” known in traditional hanzi as 中國國民黨, and literally translated as the “China National People’s Party,” was founded by Sun Yatsen in 1919-1923 with Soviet Assistance (in nearly the same time and place and with nearly the same cast as the founding of the Communist Party), for the purpose of overthrowing the Beijing Government and reconquering the foreign concessions on Mainland China.

More seriously, the and its predecessors (the Revolutionary Alliance, the Revive China Society, etc) played only a marginal role in the collapse of the Qing. The Qing collapsed because of an outbreak of racial violence (including genocide) along Rwandan lines against the Manchu minority, combined with the military coup by the Yuan Shikai. Sun, the foreign face of the intervention, was not involved.

(Throughout this article I will reference to both parties simply as “KMT.” Elkus uses the term “GMD,” based on the pinyin transliteration of the name, that was never used at the time to refer to the KMT, and is only rarely used to refer to the Chinese KMT.)

The KMT Was Incapable of Conducting a White Terror

German influence may have been eventually eclipsed by the Soviets, but German ideas still figured strongly in GMD doctrine and operations. GMD and CCP political-military commanders both had military training in Europe and received training from Soviet advisers in the Whampoa Military Academy, before the White Terror suppression of CCP forces in Shanghai and beyond by the GMD that ended their putative alliance in the late 1920s. Both the GMD and the CCP adopted political commissar systems and were strongly influenced by the Soviet idea of the party army

Adam Elkus is not alone is calling the April 12 Incident a “White Terror,” but the term “White Terror” dramatically exaggerates the scale and competency of the KMT at the time.

Here is are some comparisons of other “White Terrors

  • April 12 Incident: 350 dead
  • Greek White Terror: 1,200 dead
  • Hungarian White Terror: 1,300 dead
  • Taiwanese White Terror: 3,500 dead
  • Bulgarian White Terror: 5,000 dead
  • German White Terror: 15,000 dead
  • Finnish White Terror: 20,000 dead
  • Russian White Terror: Tens of Thousands
  • Spanish White Terror: 200,000 dead

While the April 12 incident was aimed at destroying the urban wing Chinese Communist Party, the KMT had neither the capability or will to enforce a “terror.”

The KMT Allowed the Communists to Escape

The final encirclement campaign severely reduced the CCP base areas. The GMD’s aggressive pursuit of the Communist remnants during the torturous Long March destroyed nine tenths of CCP military power. Were it not for the onset of Japanese aggression, it is quite likely that the GMD would have completely destroyed the weakened CCP forces. The Second Sino-Japanese War not only provided breathing room for the CCP, but also allowed the CCP the opportunity to finally compete for political authority on a national scale. CCP forces infiltrated behind Japanese lines to organize the masses against the Japanese and build up a power base.

As in contemporary mainland China, the relationship between the Army, Party, and Government is ambiguous. As this is the only section of my post that deals primarily with military matters, I will refer to the armed-wing of the KMT’s State-Military-Party triarchy by its name at the time, the “National Revolutionary Army” or NRA.

The only area where Elkus succumbs to Communist myth-making is in two sentences, where Elkus claims

1. The National Revolutionary Army aggressively persued the remnants of the Chinese Soviet Republic. Thus, the collapse in Communist personnel from 86,000 to 7,000 in one year was because of successful attacks by the NRA on the CSR troops
2. The Japanese invasion for the major obstacle to the NRA destruction of the CSR in Yan’an

Both of these claims are incorrect.

First, the CSR military was composed of informally conscripted troops, the majority of whom defected as soon as they were able. The collapse of the CSR terror apparatus during the beginning of the long march thus began wave after wave of escapes, leaving the CSR to be composed exclusively of (a) a small group of fanatical believers and (b) warlords and fighters who had death sentences from the KMT that they were unable to negotiate away. The KMT’s decision to have the NRA allow the CSR forces to escape is in keeping with Sun-Tzu’s maxim to avoid a victory of annihilation, and instead allow one’s enemy a means of escape.

Second, the NRA was unable to destroy the Communists, not because of the Japanese, but because the NRA was a simply the strongest of many militias operating in mainland China at the time. The true battle was not military, but political. Rival claimants to KMT supremacy, such as the “Christian Warlord” Feng Yuxiang (and his confusingly named “KMA,” or Nationalist Army), Wang Jingwei (who may or may not have been the legitimate President of the Republic of China), and Song Qingling) (the ultra-hot widow of Sun Yatsen), and the father-and-son duo Zhang Zuolin and Zhang Xueliang (who kept Mussolini’s daughter as a mistress and later was powerful enough to kidnap Chiang Kaichek, eventually going on to the longest-serving political prisoner in recorded history) prevented Chiang and the KMT from being able to consider the liquidation of any one faction as either necessary or desirable.

The KMT Was Fighting For Bargaining Position, Not Victory

Thus, the GMD decided to embark on the Strong Point offensive, an attempt to destroy the CCP’s political apparatus to the west in Yan’an as well as the trapped CCP army in the east.[xxxi] The Strong Point offensive was based on the tenuous assumptions that the GMD had secured its conquered territory and could afford to shift its effort away from the northeast and northern theaters. It failed to finish off the CCP, even though it came close enough that the party headquarters in Yan’an were evacuated.[xxxii] By the end of the Strong Point offensive in 1947, the CCP still had its strategic base in the northeast, and the GMD had failed to fully pacify a single region or completely destroy the Communist mobile armies. The GMD’s strategic reserves were exhausted, and it lacked the resources to properly defend all of its gains. The GMD held the coastline and all of the major cities and railroads from Shaanxi to Shandong, but this counted for little as long as Communist armies remained intact.

The Strong Point offensive was founded on a political, and not military, assumption: that a partition of China was now inevitable. China in 1947 was believed to be divided by three large patrons, each with client regions

  • Britain, and her client Tibet and colony Nepal
  • Russia, and her clients Manchuria, Mongolia, East Turkestan
  • The US, and her client KMT, on the mainland and Taiwan

The KMT correctly concluded that it was inconceivable any of the major foreign powers would completely abandon all of their Chinese clients. Thus, national reunification was impossible. The KMT’s strategy at that point was to abandon attempts to reunify by force any area in the zone of a patron state, and instead attempt to consolidate the zone within the patronage of her patron, the US. The KMT also realized that time was not on its side: in the absence of a home-grown military solution, the large powers would likely partition China at the Yellow River.

Thus, the Strong Point’s assumption was not that the Communists had been defeated in Manchuria, but that the Communists were about to win a political victory everywhere north of the Yellow River unless the facts on the ground changed, rapidly.

Final Analysis

Elkus’s Strategy and the Chinese Civil War is a vital piece, in that it shatters the myth that Mao was a particularly insightful guerrilla leader, or that Communism was particularly attractive to the Chinese people in the 1930s and 1940s. It can be improved by further recognizing that the KMT, another Leninist Party, was likewise unpopular, ill-equipped, and indecisive.

Review of “The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers,” by Richard McGregor

Despite the claims of mythologists from both sides, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were created in their modern form at the same place, at the same time, by the same people. The (re)creation of both parties was sponsored and guided by the Soviets as part of a strategy to throw out the western Empires from the East. As originally intended, the KMT would be the ruling party of a united China that would sustain the national resistance to the encroachments of Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and other Empires. The CCP would serve the dual roal of ’tiling’ the internal dynamics of China in the direction of the Soviet Union, while also serving as a mechanism for the Soviet Union to guarantee that restive leftists stay with the KMT, even when their short-term interest would lead them into an alliance with the west against the KMT.

As Lenin wrote in “The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination:”

Thirdly, the semi-colonial countries, like China, Persia, Turkey, and all the colonies, which have a combined population amounting to a billion. In these countries the bourgeois-democratic movements have either hardly begun, or are far from having been completed. Socialists must not only demand the unconditional and immediate liberation of the colonies without compensation—and this demand in its political expression signifies nothing more nor less than the recognition of the right to self-determination—but must render determined support to the more revolutionary elements in the bourgeois-democratic movements for national liberation in these countries and assist their rebellion—and if need be, their revolutionary war—against the imperialist powers that oppress them.

The establishment of such a free “bourgeois-democratic” China was nearly completed under the benevolent sponsorship of V.I. Lenin and Josef Stalin, the tireless efforts of Zhou Enlai, and the hard-bargaining cooperation of Chiang Kaishek. While the establishment of a Chinese government of China of the people, by the people, and for the people was delayed quite a while because of a librarian, the important point is that the CCP and KMT are purposefully mirror images of each other.

Thus, The Party, about the CCP in the 2000s, could have been written with very few modifications about the KMT in, say, the 1970s. In both cases, the following is oftne overlooked by foreign observers:

  • The Government is an Emanation of the Party. Government officials are not decision makers. They are managers.
  • The Military is an Emanation of the Party, not the State. Thus, the Military can be expected to be more concerned with political threats to the Party’s leadership than international threats to the Government.
  • The Party is run along the Leninist principle of ‘democratic centralism.’ That is, once the ‘center’ makes a decision, all members are expected to support it without question. In practice this is similar to the role of MPs to Ministers in the Westminster Cabinet System.
  • The Party is concerned about private organizations not because they are private, but because they are not infiltrated by the Party.
  • Corruption is a benefit for the Party’s control, by aligning the interests of ambitious officials with the political interests of the Party.
  • Activities that would be considered “criminal” in a western context, because it involves explicit violation of the laws of government, way be wise if they are directed or guided by the Party.
  • The Party cultivates an environment of self-censorship, not out of fear, but out of desire for promotional opportunities within the Party. An individual can leave the Party at any time, but ambitious individuals are more likely to ingratiate themselves to the Party.
  • The Party is secretive and distributed, which provides a form of shadow federalism. Competing bureaus and committee operate without each others knowledge.

The Party’s greatest trick, perhaps, is acting as if it did not exist. In the People’s Republic of China on the Mainland, the [Chinese Communist] Party does not legally exist, it has no property, no income, no employees, and no registration number. In the Republic of China on Taiwan, the [Chinese Nationalist] Party sustains hegemony in a democratic system.

The Parties may well form a United Front in the future, combining their operations under the mandate to bring a government of, by, and for, the people to the China. The ability of the Parties to thrive may well owe a lot to the combination of Confucian Bureaucratic Theory and the National Examinaiton System which has guided China for two thousand years.

Indeed, that combination has been so strong only one man has posed a serous threat to the survival of the Parties since their establishment by Sun Yatsen, Song Qingling, Wang Jingwei, and Mikhail Borodin in 1924.

But that former librarian, and the hell he unleashed in his failed attempt, are the subjects of a post for another time…

I recommend The Party, which is available from Amazon in hardback and kindle editions. Also check out the take from CNReviews.

Review of “The Generalissimo’s Son: Chiang Ching-kuo and the Revolutions in China and Taiwan” by Jay Taylor

In The Microsoft Way, historian Randall Stross argues that the market for IBM-compatible PC software in the 1980s and 1990s was contested by two competent companies, Microsoft and Inuit, and a train load of incompetent competitors. While most entrants to that market got lucky once or twice, and rode that cash cow as long as it could, Microsoft and Intuit were able to execute short-term tactics and long-term strategies. If such a view can be transplated to Chinese history, the Chinese Civil War was a multi-way battle with a large number of incompetent, violent and lucky competitors, and three factions actually capable of both winning and ruling

The Returned Students

The Whampoa Clique

The Youth Corps

In this view of history, the fight for China was not between Chiang Kaishek and Mao Zedong, two lucky competitors, but by these three interlocking factions which used allegience to Chiang or Mao as a way of deflecting charges of ambition. The first of these three factions, the Returned Students, were those who had earned a Continental education in the west, either from a study-abroad program in France or from Sun Yatsen University in Moscow. The second of these factions, the Whampoa Clique, where those who were faculty or students at the “West Point of China,” the Whampoa Military Academy in Canton City. The third of these factions, the Youth Corp, established as a cannibalizing agent, “in but not of” the KMT.

These three factions overlapped. Zhou Enlai, Mao’s second-in-command, was a Returned Student who taught at Whampoa. Chiang Chingkuo, Chiang’s second-in-command after the relocation to Taiwan, was a Returned student who was the Vice Chairman of the Youth Corps.  These factions even overlap with my own life — my wife’s grandfather studied at Whampoa.

These three factions, like Microsoft and Intuit, shared a focus on a high-quality work force. The active members of these three organizations during their youth were young men who wanted to make a difference and despised corruption. It is easy to forget that Zhou Enlai was only 30 when he met a much younger Chiang Chingkuo in Moscow, and told him to tone down his criticizing   father, because it was unbecoming of a son. It is easy to forget that Lin Biao was only 27 during the Long March. It is even easier not to know that Ching Chungkuo, as director of Taiwan’s security services, warned Zhou Enlai of an upcoming attempt on his life — and that Zhou Enlai seemingly did not inform Mao of this. While most factions in the civil war — the Kwantung Army, the Left KMT, the Chinese Nationalist Army, and others were to varying extents patriots of their cause, only these three were able to generate the high internal cohesion among young men required to revolutionary China.

My first reaction on reading The Generalissimo’s Son: Chiang Ching-kuo and the Revolutions in China and Taiwan was that the 20th century was simply one long tragedy. So easily, so many things could have gone so much better. What if Chiang had given Zhou Enlai the freedom at Whampoa that he later gave that other Communist, Chiang Ching-kuo? What if General Stillwell, who despised Chiang and helped lead American public opinion against the KMT, and met the up-and-coming Chingkuo (who substantively agreed with him on every important issue)? What if, what if?

But to do so, I think, ignores the utter chaos that befell China twice: after the fall of the Benedict Arnold of China, and after the Japanese Invasion.While a unified front would have been better, the emergence of three competent factions (composing a total of, say 100 able individuals) was a miracle in itself. That the old men of the east were stuck in the poetic worlds of Confucius and the Water Margin, and thus their attempts to modernize China were poisoned by a lethal dose of corruption and internal violence, is perhaps not as notable as the men they had around them.

The difference between Kaishek and Zedong was not their military strategy (both were adherents of the Strategic Retreat), their cosmology (Mao famously scored Zero Points on the mathematics portion of his college entrance exam; Chiang Kaishek famously expressed astonishment that Burma had a rainy season that would interfer with military operations), their management style (“working toward the Chairman,” allowing them to capture all glory and escape all blame), or their willingness to betray their followers. Rather, the difference was this: Chiang was capable of trust, Mao was not. As they reached the age when succession planning became increasingly important: Chiang turned Taiwan over to the men of the Youth Corps.  Mao turned on the Returned Students and the Whampoa Clique in a holocaust of violence.

Sun Yatsen, the (theoretically) Hawaiian-born first President of China, had this has his political motto: That a government of the people, by the people, and for the people should be established in China. Through this Youth Corps, Taiwan finally realized these Three People’s Principles through the integration of the Mainland and Taiwanese political elites, economic development, and last through democracy. A government “by the people” was established on Taiwan in stages, from the lifting of Martial Law in 1987, the legalization of a free press in 1988, the first fair elections to the Legislative Yuan in 1992, the first direct Presidential election in 1996, the first election of an opposition President in 2000, and the democratic return to power of the previously ruling party in 2008. Perhaps China, now firmly ruled by those given positions by the Returned Students and the Whampoa Clique, will soon begin on this last, trickiest path.

Jay Taylor’s The Generalissimo’s Son: Chiang Ching-kuo and the Revolutions in China and Taiwan is an excellent book, and a worthy “prequel” to Taylor’s more recent book, The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Struggle for Modern China. But just as that book does not stand alone, this does not either. Taylor’s biography of Kaishek should be read with Tuchman’s biography of General Stillwell, as otherwise the public declarations of America’s general in China that, if he were a young man, he would grab a gun and fight for Mao is inexplicable. In the same way, Taylor’s biography of Chingkuo must be read with Gao’s Zhou Enlai: The Last Perfect Revolutionary to understand that the Youth Corps’ true competitors were not the incompetent and lucky, like the Soong Dynasty and the C-C Clique, but those on the other side of the Straits — the Returned Students and the Whampoa Clique.

The Microsoft-Intuit battle very nearly ended in 1995, after the leadership of the Microsoft and Intuit cliques agreed to a cash-and-stock buyout of Intuit by Microsoft. This was only averted through direct U.S. Government actions. The parallels to the possible near future are striking.

China News

United States Taiwan Defense Command has to be the coolest military-related website, ever.

An unclassified DIA report was released last month on the military of the Republic of China on Taiwan. In related news, the USS Nimitz visited Hong Kong, as the Google-China spat blows over.

The formula “The Republic of China on Taiwan” is back in vogue again, following the KMT’s recent election victory. The previous government preferred The Republic of China (Taiwan). Adoption of this change in formula varies by office. The Information Office is “Government Information Office, Republic of China,” while the Diplomatic Missions is “Portal of Republic of China (Taiwan) Diplomatic Missions

Whatever you call it, Taiwan is now a thriving democracy, which means embarrassing Presidential by-elections, critical election movies, and all the other fun of a modern, democratic society.

Review of “Stilwell and the American Expeirence in China, 1911-1945,” by Barbara Tuchman and “The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China” by Jay Taylor

I was speaking with my father-in-law, and noted that I had now read biographies of many of the Communist leaders of China: Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Zhou Enlai, Zhao Ziyang, and the rest, who by their actions also highlighted the personalities of men like Mao Zedong and Lin Biao. Who should I learn about next?

“Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT,” he said.

So here are two overlapping stories of the KMT and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek: Stillwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 and The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China. Chiang, of course, was the leader in the KMT who lead the Republic of China both on the mainland and Taiwan (and for a very short period, both). Stilwell was the Chinese-speaking American general, probably the best we had going into World War I, who was picked by Marshall to turn the Chinese army into a force that could expel the Japanese from the mainland of Asia. Stillwell and Chiang were allies against Japan. They shared a deep distrust of the British. And, disastrously, they despised each other.

Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 is the third book by Barbara Tuchman I have read, after Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour and Notes from China. Stilwell is a professional biography of Joseph Warren Stilwell (1883-1946), Chief of Staff of Chiang Kai-shek. Through Stilwell, Tuchman gives a history of the Republic of China, from its birth in the revolution of 1911 to shortly before the general collapse of 1949 (a collapse which left it in control of only one province, Taiwan))

In the Philippines, Stilwell conducted counter-insurgency operations.
In the first World War, Joseph Stilwell worked under John Pershing to create America’s 3GW force in Europe. Stilwell served as an American liaison officer to China’s Beiyang (Warlord) Government.

One of the trageies of the books is that Joseph Stilwell and Chiang Kai-shek worked at cross purposes. Stilwell was interested in defeating Japan. Chiang believed that China was too weak to defeat Japan, and therefore should hang back while Americans would do the fighting. Stilwell was interested in defeating America’s enemies, and so saw the Communists as potential allies. Chiang was interested in defeating the enemies of the Chinese Party-State, and so saw the Communists as the prime enemies.

This must be emphasized: Stillwell was perhaps the best offensive thinker to be an American General in history. In the largest ever wargames conducted in the United States, Stillwell, as the “red” team invading from Mexico, rapidly seized the south-west and was prepared to march on the capital. Likewise, Chiang was perhaps the best defensive thinking to be a Chinese General in centuries. Just as Stilwell emphasized rapid transits, mission-based orders, cutting enemy communications, and taking risks, Chiang emphasized multiple redundant layers of protection, clear lines of escape, atttrition-based fronts that played to his advantages, and so on.

When it became clear that Chiang had no intention of launching an offensive against the Guandong Army, Stilwell realized that if the Soviet Union did not intervene, an unimaginably bloody American invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would simply be followed up with an Imperial retreat to East China, and the hellish prospect of a land-war in Asia against the Japanese. To Chiang, this was fine: the “Imperial” overseas powers would wear each other down, and a Chinese force would pick up the pieces. To America, this was completely unacceptable. From then on, American planners were generally indifferent between the KMT and its mini-me cousin, the Chinese Communist Party.

During the war, Chiang remarks that the Party-State could survive even if it held only four provinces. Indeed, had that happened, China’s history may have been happier. Chiang’s weakness meant that his Whampoa Clique could not hold China, and so the Party-State had to rely on local warlords. After the collapse to Taiwan, the Party-State reformed itself, the Chiang Clique was firmly in control, and the Republic of China Military Academy was formed to crate the next generation of leaders. Strikingly, Chiang seems to have realized that control over a large country did not suit his retinue of followers: he, Zhou, and Mao repeatedly turned down Soviet offers to partition the country into a Communist “Red” China and a KMT Congress-style China.

These are long books, but excellent for understanding the dynamics of china immediately before Mao became an Emperor. Both the biographies of Chiang Kai-Shek and Joseph Stilwell are must reads

KMT Soldiers Defect to the People’s Republic

The story is true, but not as world-shaking as you might think. Surviving soldiers from the Chinese Expeditionary Force in Burma have repatriated to the People’s Republic of China. The KMT first occupied Burma as part of the disastrous in-all-senses China-Burma-India Theater in World War II. After the Civil War, some more KMT forces retreated into China, rather than surrender to Mao or follow Chiang to Taiwan. Some National Revolutionary Army / Army of the Republic of China soldiers would eventually get quite wealthy on the drug trade, though these survivors seem not to have been so prosperous.

In Myanmar 67 years, the ride was not an easy country to live, “Myanmar itself is a poor country. Such as those of us living in this old soldier in order to stay, but also can have food to eat and clothing to survive is not easy to . “upon by the country said that in Myanmar, many veterans like him can only be regarded as the lowest level of society, some people make a living by selling firewood could not have the money returned. And his relatives in China can not afford the fee.

Article are available from Xinhua (Chinese, Google Translate) and China News (Chinese, Google Translate).

Before those Nobel Prizes…

If Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (and also President of the People’s Republic of China) Hu Jintao and Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (and also President of the Republic of China) Ma Ying-jeou can sign a peace agreement between their parties, ending the Chinese Civil War, they should both earn the Nobel Peace Prize.

If such an events happens, the wise leadership of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama on intenrational matters will be contributing factors to that peace.

Currently both the Communists and the Nationalists are acting in ways that are embarrasing to themselves. So, for example

Hopefully, both the Communists and Nationalists can continue to mature, and put peace (and their peoples interests!) first.

On those Mysterious Olympians

Earlier, I had visited a rather long-windedly-named museum, and noted a strange flag in the special Olympics exhibit:

Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

I have made some progress in understanding the situation, thanks for the “Concerning China” (a PDF posted by the LA 84 Foundation) and the wikipedia articles, “Chinese Taipei” and “Chinese Taipei Olympic Flag.”

Here is a brief diplomatic history of the Olympic Committees of the Chinas. Of course, there are many other histories of the names of the Chinas, some of which are rather photogenic:


But for now: The Names of the Chinas in the Olympics, 1936-1989!

1936 Berlin Games: KMT participates
1945-1946: Olympics receives Chinese IOC Committee headquarted in KMT Shanghai
1946-1949: Olympics receives Chinese IOC Committee headquartered in KMT Nanking
1949-1951: Olympics receives Chinese IOC Committee headquartered in CCP Nanking
1952 Oslo Session: No KMT or CCP participation
1952 Helsinki Session: Olympics refer to “Chinese People’s Republic” and “State of Taiwan”
1952 Games: CCP participates
1953: CCP establishes a National Olympic Committee
1954: Olympics recognizes CCP “Olympic Committee of the Chinese Republic”, alongisde KMT “Chinese Olympic Committee”
1956 Melbourne Games: KMT boycotts
1957: Olympics renames “Olympic Committee of the Chinese Republic” to to “Olympic Committee of the People’s Democratic Republic of China”
1958: CCP begins boycotting Olympics
1959: Olmpics expels KMT “Chinese Olympic Committee”
1960 Rome Games: KMT “Olympic Committee of the Republic of China,” under the banner “Formsa”
1964 Tokyo Games: KMT “Olympic Committee of the Republic of China,” under the banner “ROC”
1968 Olympic Games: KMT “Olympic Committee of the Republic of China,” under the banner “The Team of the Republic of China”
1979: Olympics recognizes KMT “National Olympic Committee of Chinese Taipei” under the banner “Chinese Tapei”and CCP “Chinese Olympic Committee.” KMT sues Olympics
1980 KMT loses court case in Switerland. Moscow Games: KMT boycotts
1989: KMT “”National Olympic Committee of Chinese Taipei”” and CCP “Chinese Olympic Committee” both agree to translate “Chinese Taipei” as “中华台北,” meaning “(Culturally) Chinese Taipei”

Since then, Olympic Peace has reigned between the Chinas and their names.

Bad news from Taiwan

The extent that this is the fault of the political immaturity of the KMT (jailing an opposition figure), the Communist Party (encouraging it), or the Democratic People’s Party (perhaps committing the crimes implied)… Taiwan’s arrest of its former President is a bad sign:

Taiwan’s former president jailed in corruption probe | csmonitor.com
Taipei, Taiwan – Former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian was detained on suspicion of corruption Tuesday, continuing the fall from grace of a prominent champion of the island’s pro-independence cause.

Taiwan TV showed Mr. Chen being led in handcuffs from a prosecutor’s office to a courthouse-bound car, as police lined the streets. He raised his cuffed hands before getting into the car, yelling “Political persecution!” and “Go Taiwan!”

Late Tuesday night he was taken to a hospital and reportedly claimed to have been injured by police while in custody.

The detention of the defiant nationalist comes amid a warming trend in cross-strait relations under the current, China-friendly president Ma Ying-jeou. Last week China and Taiwan signed another raft of economic agreements during a visit by a top Chinese negotiator, though the visit was marred by violent anti-China protests here.

The KMT ruled Taiwan as a dictatorship for generations, and is currently showing what happens to successful politicians who oppose it. A disturbing move for this little democracy near mainland China.