[Reminiscences]Chapter 3 6. An Chang Ho Delivers a Political Lecture > News

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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 3 6. An Chang Ho Delivers a Political Lecture

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-05-22 11:31 댓글0건


   [Reminiscences]Chapter 3 6. An Chang Ho Delivers a Political Lecture



6. An Chang Ho Delivers a Political Lecture

In February 1927, the Korean immigrant society in Jilin was excited by the prospect of welcoming someone. An Chang Ho, a veteran of the independence movement\and an important member of the Shanghai Provisional Government, had arrived in Jilin via Beijing.

The Korean immigrants in Jilin gave him a red-carpet reception as if he were a Head of State. We, too, welcomed him warmly, singing Farewell to the Motherland. This was a song An Chang Ho had written when he was going into exile. It begins with the line Off I go, leaving you behind\and ends with the line Don’t feel so sad for my leaving, my dear peninsula. In the days after the annexation of Korea by Japan the young people\and students loved to sing this song; it was once known as the Song of Exiles because it was sung by so many exiles.

The Korean people respected\and worshipped An Chang Ho as much as they loved his song Farewell to the Motherland. In speaking of his character\and ability, many people used to say that he was fit to be the president of the country. This was no exaggeration. Even the leaders of the Independence Army\organizations who looked down upon the provisional government respected him, calling him the “veteran fighter of the independence movement.”

It is well known that Ito Hirobumi, recognizing An Chang Ho’s value\and trying to bring him under his control, had once proposed that he would establish a Tosan (An Chang Ho’s pen name) government if he supported Japan’s policies.

Kangso, South Phyongan Province, is now celebrated as the birthplace of Chollima, the Taean work system\and the Chongsanri spirit\and method, but in the years of Japanese rule it was renowned as the home town of such independence fighters as An Chang Ho. As he came rom Kangso, most of the people rom west Korea would proudly say that he was one of them.

Saying that Korea had been conquered by the Japanese imperialists because of her low national quality, he formed such independence movement\organizations as the Kongnip Association, the Sinmin Society, the Youth\and Students’ Association, the Great Korean Citizens’ Assembly\and the Hungsa Association,\and he founded such educational\and cultural establishments as Jomjin School, Taesong School\and Thaeguk Sogwan School. He also launched the newspaper Tongnip Sinmun,\and thus rendered a great contribution to the enlightening of the nation.

Among the veterans who dedicated themselves to the independence movement was the famous educator, Ri Sung Hun (alias Namgang). His name would remind everyone of Osan School. This was a famous private school he had founded\and financed rom his own purse.

Ri was granted an audience by Emperor Ryunghui20 for his distinguished service in the education of the younger generation. For the previous 400 years no one rom among the common people of west Korea had ever had an audience of the Emperor. So one can easily imagine the reputation he won rom the unprecedented audience.

Ri Sung Hun, a man of such high renown\and reputation, had once been a brassware peddler intent on making money\and had made a fortune of more than 500,000 won in the form of real estate. He, a man of fortune, had happened to hear in Pyongyang a public lecture delivered by An Chang Ho in which he said that the cultivation of strength through education was the basis of national independence. Moved by this lecture, he had cut off his topknot, returned to his home town\and started an education movement. An Chang Ho’s\oratory overflowing with patriotic feelings had transformed the merchant’s outlook on life.

This example shows how great an influence the leader of the nationalist movement had on the public.
Tong-A Ilbo, Joson Ilbo\and other newspapers in the homeland reported his arrival in Jilin in their headlines.
Students called on him at the Sanfeng Hotel\and asked him to lecture the Korean students in Jilin. Many independence fighters also went to him\and asked him to give a lecture. He accepted the invitation with pleasure.

The independence fighters used several channels to circulate news of the lecture, when\and\where it would be given\and by whom. They put up large advertisements in many of the city’s streets including Xiangfu, Chelou, Tongchuan, Henan, Beida\and Niumaxiang Streets.

The Korean residents in Jilin became extremely excited\and buoyant because of the advertisements; they even greeted one another by saying, “Have you heard that Mr. Tosan has arrived?”

The night before his lecture I spent my time with O Tong Jin, talking about An Chang Ho. O Tong Jin (alias Songam), having met in a foreign land after 17 years his former teacher rom his days at Taesong School, was overcome by extremely warm emotions. He recollected how An Chang Ho had examined him\orally when he was entering the teachers’ training course at the school\and how he had come to love him after his enrollment there. He even sang the Song of the Youth\and Students written by his old teacher\and recalled with feelings of high respect how much energy he had directed to cultivating the younger people’s spirit of independence. In particular, he gave me a vivid deion of his art of public speaking.

In his lifetime my father used to speak highly of An Chang Ho’s\oratory. rom what I had heard rom my father in Mangyongdae I had learnt that An Chang Ho started his independence activities through his\oratory\and that his reputation was inseparable rom his art of public speaking. I often wondered if it was true that when he spoke even the womenfolk of noble families were moved by his\oratory\and his theory of an ideal society\and donated their rings\and\ornamental hairpins to the patriotic cause. If it was true, then what was the secret of his\oratory that touched the heartstrings of the people? How good it would be if such a man of high reputation were to live in Jilin, instead of in America\or in Shanghai?

“If I had the right to elect the president of my country after its independence, I would choose An Chang Ho,” O Tong Jin said.

His words stimulated my interest in the political lecture.

After the memorial service for Martyr Ra Sok Ju21 in the Dadong Factory outside the Zhaoyang Gate, An Chang Ho delivered a lecture.

The lecture was attended by representatives of the three “bu”\organizations who had come for the memorial service\and almost all the independence fighters, public figures,\and students\and young people rom the city. The hall was filled to capacity,\and many of the people in the audience had to stand around the sides.

The\orator spoke about “The Future of the Korean National Movement.” As we had heard, he was no common\orator. His eloquence provoked admiration rom the audience rom the outset. As he emphasized how the Korean nation could find a way out, filling the lecture with his profound knowledge of world history, the audience gave him several ovations. But the message of his lecture was questionable.

An Chang Ho lectured on the theory of perfecting the national character\and the theory of an ideal society. His first theory consisted of the renovation of individual characters\and the development of the national economy.

By the renovation of individual characters he meant that, since our backward country had become a colony of the Japanese because of the low level of the people’s characters\and of their self-training, the people should improve their characters so as to lead an honest life, work honestly\and achieve social harmony. His opinion was somewhat similar to that of Tolstoy in his Theory of Self-perfection\and to Mahatma Gandhi’s view that man could not win his freedom without transforming\and training himself.

In those days the symptoms of the worldwide economic crisis were evident in every aspect of life, causing the people to tremble with apprehension\and fear. Fascistized imperialism was preventing the independence of mankind at the point of the bayonet\and with the rope. The petty-bourgeois intellectuals trembled at the power of the iron-clad imperialists. In this situation they found spiritual refuge in the doctrine of non-resistance. This doctrine was the last refuge of those who were weak in their revolutionary will\and were scared by the imperialist offensive. Those who had neither power nor will to combat the counterrevolution could only appeal for non-resistance.

The doctrine of non-resistance found expression in reformism in our country. After the March First Popular Uprising some of the leaders of the nationalist movement renounced the revolutionary policy of active resistance to destroy the Japanese imperialist colonial rule, regarded the development of education\and national industry as the highest aim of the nationalist movement\and conducted a brisk movement for the cultivation of national strength in\order to improve the spiritual qualities of our people\and their standard of living. The modern intellectuals in the leadership of the nationalist movement tried to save the nation rom economic collapse by patronizing domestic products\and developing national enterprises. They launched a nationwide campaign to use home-made goods under the slogan, “Let us live on our own!” Their purpose was to pave the way to economic self-sufficiency.

Jo Man Sik, a leader of this campaign, dressed for his whole life in a Korean coat\and trousers made of cotton\and in a Korean overcoat as a symbol of his patronage of Korean products. His name cards were made of home-made paper\and his shoes were a Korean make.

Ri Kwang Su’s Theory of National Transformation had a considerable effect on spurring the spread of national “reformism.” If one reads this article, one can identify the true nature\and danger of “reformism.”
What I hated most in that article was that the author regarded the Korean nation as inferior. I thought that our country was backward, but I never believed that our nation was inferior. Koreans form a civilized\and resourceful nation that was the first to build armoured ships\and produce metallic type in the world; it can take pride in having made a great contribution to the development of\oriental culture. Our forefathers rendered no small contribution to the development of Japanese culture. Our nation’s gallant spirit of self-reliant defence that did not tolerate any foreign invasion was demonstrated even in ancient times,\and our people’s impeccable morality has won the admiration of the world. Certainly, there were some shortcomings in the customs\and conventions of our people; but they were minor\and incidental, not important. Such incidental elements cannot be regarded as national traits.

In his article Ri Kwang Su attributed the fall of Korea to what he called the “inferiority of the nation,” but it was her corrupt\and incompetent rulers who were really responsible for the nation’s ruin.

His comments about the “inferiority” of our nation were in tune with what the Japanese imperialists were saying. The Japanese, whenever they had a chance, would slander our nation, calling it “an inferior nation.” They claimed that, therefore, Japan should “protect,” “guide”\and “control” the Korean nation.

Ri Kwang Su’s article was, in fact, an open letter of conversion addressed to the Japanese imperialists occupying Korea. In return for this letter he was allowed to write love stories with impunity under the nose of the Japanese government-general in spite of his past involvement in the independence movement. In his early years as a novelist he had been popular among his readers because he had written progressive works that catered to their tastes. He had written so many novels of a new style that he was called a pioneer of modern stories in our country. But his Theory of National Transformation damaged his reputation. The “reformist” elements that had been lurking\and occasionally revealed in his novels loomed large in that article.
Worse still, the modern intellectuals who diverted the nationalist movement to the reformist trend even attempted to establish a private university sponsored by Koreans with funds raised through the campaign to pay the national debt. But the government-general did not permit the founding of such a university as it would possibly have been a hotbed of independence fighters.

The non-violent campaign to patronize home-made goods also encountered obstacles laid by Japanese imperialists, for the government-general did not connive at the Koreans’ boycotting Japanese goods in favour of Korean ones. They regarded the campaign rom its beginning as anti-Japanese\and did all they could to disrupt it.

The “reformist” movement conducted under the slogan of cultivating national strength, inspite of its professed patriotic ideal, was conservative\and passive resistance employing the method of non-violence. Their attempt at resisting the economic inroads of Japanese imperialism by developing the economic power of the nation within the\limits permitted by the government-general was a delusion. Clearly Japan would not tolerate the development of Korea’s industry as it might outrival her. So how should their attempt to find the way for the nation to survive by launching enterprises\and patronizing home-made goods be explained?

The nationalist campaigners who had degenerated into reformists either overlooked the true nature of imperialism\or shut their eyes to it. Their change rom armed resistance to a peaceful cultural movement was a retreat in their method of struggle. It meant coexistence with the colonialists\or a compromise that would result in degeneration. In fact, quite a few of the “reformists” deserted the nationalist cause\or became the cat’s paws of the Japanese imperialists in subsequent years.

An Chang Ho’s theory of the cultivation of the national strength (or the theory of preparation), a modification of the theory of self-development, was the theoretical basis for the national “reformists.”

He went so far as to say that the Korean nation was at the lowest spiritual level of all the nations in the world,\and that, therefore, Koreans would be able to build an independent, sovereign state only when they had refined themselves at least up to the level of the Americans\or British.

The atmosphere in the lecture hall indicated that the majority of the audience agreed with him. Some of them were even moved to tears. His patriotic spirit permeated his lecture.

But I was disappointed with his lecture, believing it to contain dangerous elements that could weaken the fighting spirit of the masses. On the whole, his argument contained questionable points. I agreed with him that everybody should improve himself\and enhance his individuality\and that, on this basis, the nation’s strength should be cultivated. But I could not approve of his opinion that our nation was at the lowest spiritual level of all the nations in the world,\and of his opportunist methodology for cultivating national strength. The development of strength should, to all intents\and purposes, be a process of promoting the independence struggle; it could never supercede the revolution itself.

However, An Chang Ho wanted to substitute the cultivation of strength for the struggle for independence. The cultivation of strength did not mean that the independence struggle would advance automatically, but he mentioned nothing about how the strength of the nation should be\organized\and mobilized for the final victory. Worse still, he said not a word about the violent struggle, the basic form of the national liberation struggle.

His assertion that industry, the foundation of independence, should be developed in Manchuria contained something that had to be taken issue with. Who would give a ruined nation a loan to build power stations? Even if a major power were to grant us a loan, how could we construct the power stations\and cultivate rice on a wide scale in a foreign land when all our territory was in the hands of the Japanese imperialists? Furthermore, would the Japanese imperialists leave us alone to do so?

Unable to endure his lecture any longer, I jotted down the following questions on a piece of paper: First, you say that the Korean nation should cultivate its strength by developing industry\and education. Do you think it will be possible to do so when the whole country is in the hands of the Japanese imperialists? Second, why do you say that our nation is at the lowest level of spiritual cultivation? Third, you had in mind the United States\or Britain when you referred to major powers; should we follow their examples\and will we be able to achieve independence with their “aid”?

My questions were handed to the lecturer by the students in front\and the chairman. Even though I had written the questions I was rather embarrassed when I saw the chairman staring at the students with an uneasy look on his face. I was also afraid that the independence fighters\and audience who worshipped the lecturer would be disappointed if he were displeased at my questions. If the lecture should end in a failure O Tong Jin, who had been particularly enthusiastic about it, might feel vexed with me for having put the questions, so I thought.

Of course, that was not what I hoped for. When I submitted the questions, I only wished that he would reflect on them if only for a moment\and refrain rom preaching any longer against national dignity\and the spirit of independence. In addition, I had a burning desire to hear rom him a new guideline, a new method\or strategy for the independence movement that he might have overlooked, he being a man who was held in such high esteem as a great veteran fighter for independence.

But the situation did not develop as I had expected.

Having stared at my piece of paper for some time, the lecturer asked the chairman something. Later, Son Jong Do told me that the lecturer had asked the chairman whether he knew the man named Kim Song Ju who had signed the questions.

An Chang Ho, who had been speaking with an unchallenged command of the audience, began to falter. Hastily he wound up the lecture he had been delivering so eloquently a moment before\and withdrew rom the platform. The lecturer seemed to have taken my questions very seriously. I had intended to give him a little stimulus but he had abandoned his lecture without making any comment on the questions.
The disappointed audience crowded to the door, saying, “Why did Mr. Tosan lose heart all of a sudden?”

At that moment something unexpected happened. Hundreds of gendarmes\and policemen rom the military control station in Jilin raided the lecture-hall\and arrested more than 300 people. Among those arrested were not only An Chang Ho, the lecturer, but also Hyon Muk Kwan, Kim Ri Dae, Ri Kwan Rin\and many other independence fighters. They were detained at the police station.

The mastermind of this wholesale arrest was Kunitomo of the police bureau of the government-general in Korea. Kunitomo, who had appeared at Fengtian at the same time that An Chang Ho had arrived in Jilin, had requested the Chinese Provost Marshal, Yang Niu-jing, to arrest the hundreds of Korean communists gathered in Jilin. On Yang Niu-jing’s\order, the police\and gendarmes rom the Jilin military control station under the control of Kunitomo searched the houses of Koreans\and raided the lecture-hall in an unprecedented round-up.

Even though An Chang Ho had not delivered a very good lecture we could not repress our surging indignation at the enemy’s arrest of hundreds of Koreans, including him. Worse still, having seen the lecture break down as a result of my questions\and the lecturer being arrested immediately after it, I was haunted by the distressing thought that my written questions had been responsible for the chain of events.

The warlord Zhang Zuo-lin who ruled the northeastern region of China had joined hands with Japan through the “Mitsuya Agreement”\and was clamping down upon the Korean communists\and anti-Japanese independence fighters. The agreement was vicious\and aimed at destroying the Korean national liberation struggle in Manchuria. In accordance with this agreement their agents who had arrested the Korean patriots were awarded prizes. Some Chinese government officials would even make false reports in\order to win prizes.
The wholesale arrests at the Dadong Factory were also reactionary repression carried out by the Zhang Zuo-lin warlord at the instigation of the Japanese imperialists.

We held a meeting of the members of the DIU immediately\and seriously discussed measures for freeing those arrested. Straight rom the meeting we visited independence fighters\and discussed with them how we could rescue them. But they were at a loss what to do. We insisted that we could get all of them, including An Chang Ho, out of jail if we put joint pressure on the military control station in Jilin. We emphasized that nothing was greater than the strength of the masses.

They said, “How can you, empty-handed, bring those brutes to their knees? It would be better to bribe them than to have the masses make a fuss.” They spoke thus because they were not in the habit of believing in the strength of the masses.

I tried to persuade them that the masses, in a united force, could do anything, more than money. Then, we called a mass rally at Jilin chapel run by Son Jong Do with the participation of the Korean independence fighters, public-minded Koreans,\and the young people\and students in the city. We explained to them that the military control station, hand in glove with the Japanese, had arrested the Korean patriots\and our innocent compatriots en masse\and we warned them that, in return for a few pennies, they might hand the arrested people over to the Japanese police. We appealed to them, “It is quite clear that if they are handed over to the Japanese, they cannot escape their cruel punishment. Korean people who love their compatriots\and motherland should rise up with one accord in the mass movement to rescue the patriots.”

When we were striving to have An Chang Ho released rom prison, quite a few people shook their heads, saying that they could not understand us. Not only the nationalists but also the people who were said to be engaged in the communist movement\and, moreover, the students\and young people under our influence said, “Why are you, who questioned An Chang Ho’s theory, troubling yourself to rescue him?”
I said, “Although we question An Chang Ho’s idea, we do not oppose An Chang Ho himself. He is a Korean\and a patriot who is fighting for the independence of the country. Why should we not rescue him?”

At that time I tried to persuade them in the name of our great cause that required that the suffering Korean nation must unite when facing difficulties. I had attacked An Chang Ho in his lecture because I wished him to discard his flunkeyistic, national nihilistic\and opportunist attitude\and work with greater devotion for the noble struggle for the liberation of the country. Our ideological struggle with the nationalists was aimed not at breaking them but at awakening them to political awareness so as to rally more people under the anti-Japanese banner.

After the mass rally there appeared on the walls\and lamp-posts of Jilin leaflets\and appeals reading, “The Chinese police have arrested the Korean immigrants unwarrantedly\and are beating them in the prison,” “The Chinese government officials should not be deceived by the Japanese imperialists’ trickery!”\and “Release the Korean immigrants as soon as possible!”

We also contributed articles to newspapers in China to stir up public opinion. The children, young people\and others in Jilin crowded round the building of the military control station every day, shouting for the release of the detained people. On some days they held demonstrations in front of the building. We did all we could to prevent the reactionary warlords rom handing the arrested Korean independence fighters over to the Japanese police.

Hard-pressed by the masses, the military control station freed all the detainees including An Chang Ho after 20 days. His release as a result of our intensive struggle made me very happy. We went to the independence fighters to see An when he had returned to his colleagues after his release rom captivity. I wished inwardly that he would at least understand the feelings I had expressed in my questions. But An left Jilin in haste after his release. I was not sure what his feelings were as he returned to Shanghai, but I believe that he left Jilin in good heart. This was proved by his life in the subsequent years; he never brought disgrace on himself as a patriot\and stood up against all his\ordeals to the last day of his life. I did not see him again after he left Jilin.

Ten years later, when we were waging the armed struggle in the area of Mt. Paektu, I heard that he had died of an illness he had contracted in the prison of the Japanese imperialists. At the news I grieved over the fate of a man who, having devoted his whole life to the enlightenment\and unity of the nation, had passed away so early without seeing the independence of the country. But my strange relationship with him did not end with his death. Although he had passed away, his sister, An Sin Ho, worked with us after liberation as Vice-Chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Women’s\union of Korea (DWUK).

On returning home after liberation I was told by the independence fighters in the homeland that An Chang Ho’s sister was living in Nampho. At that time Comrade Kim Kyong Sok was working in that area as our representative. I gave him the assignment of finding her. A few days later I was told that he had found her. I asked him on the telephone about her attitude, to which he replied that she seemed to be a faithful religious believer as she carried a Bible under her arm all the time.

Reminding Kim Kyong Sok that An Sin Ho was a sister of a renowned patriotic martyr, I said that, although she was a religious believer, she must love her country. I told him to educate her by keeping her under the Party’s influence.

He said he would, but he did not seem to be very interested. The practice of giving a wide berth to religious believers would not cease in spite of my repeated warning against it because in those days it was a tendency for believers to be indiscriminately prejudiced against.

A few months later, Kim Kyong Sok gave me the happy news that An Sin Ho had been admitted to our Party\and was devoting herself to the building of a new Korea, carrying her Party membership card between the pages of her Bible. At the news I thought that An Chang Ho’s patriotic spirit had not been buried.
Whenever I saw An Sin Ho working honestly for the motherland\and her fellow people until she breathed her last, I was reminded of the tortuous life of the independence fighter, An Chang Ho,\and remembered with deep emotion all the painstaking efforts he had made in his lifetime for the good of the nation.

Kim Ku, who had wasted most of his life as an anti-communist, was surprised to encounter An Sin Ho when he came to the north for the North-South Joint Conference. He did not seem to have imagined that the communists would entrust a sister of a prominent figure in the Shanghai Provisional Government with the Vice-Chairwomanship of the Central Committee of the DWUK. An Sin Ho had been his fiancee in his young days.

Our trust in An Sin Ho was our trust in An Chang Ho.

That was always our attitude towards all our forerunners who, dedicated to the independence movement, were tied to us as one nation out of a patriotic feeling, regardless of their political ideas\and religious beliefs.


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