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[Reminiscences]Chapter 10  3. Revolutionaries Born of the Young Communist League




3. Revolutionaries Born of the Young Communist League 


Youth work is an important activity to which I have been devoting painstaking efforts throughout my life. My days in Jilin are an illustration of the fact that my revolutionary activities began with the youth\and student movement. Before my imprisonment in the Jilin prison I worked among young people\and students,\and after my release, too, I continued to do so, but now in the form of underground work. In the summer of 1930 when I contacted workers of the Comintern liaison office for the first time, I was appointed chief secretary of the Young Communist League in the eastern region of Jilin Province\and rom then on I worked in the YCL.

Needless to say, youth work was part\and parcel of my military\and political activities while in Wangqing. To direct the work of the YCL in the guerrilla army was a natural part of my duty as the commander responsible for political affairs in the army. In addition, at the request of the leadership of the east Manchuria Party\organization\and the workers of the Wangqing County Party Committee, I devoted much time to YCL work outside the army.

In those days the Party, the Young Communist League\and the Children’s Corps were called the Alliance of Three Generations. In this alliance the YCL occupied an important place next to the Party. People called the YCL the relief of the Party, the reserve of the Party\or the reservoir of the Party;\and in\order to emphasize the importance of its mission\and role, they named it the second Party.

The Party meetings discussing strategic\and tactical questions that were important in the development of the revolution\and the measures to implement them were always attended by the YCL secretaries together with the Party members. The east Manchuria Party\organization called a meeting like this a joint Party-League meeting. At the joint meetings the YCL secretaries\and the Party members had equal rights to speak\and to vote. In places\where there were no Party members\or the Party was weak, the YCL activists had the major role of guiding the mass movement.

On my arrival in Jiandao rom my expeditions in north\and south Manchuria, I became fully acquainted with the real state of YCL work in east Manchuria through Jo Tong Uk, YCL secretary of the special detachment under the command of Ri Kwang, Han Jae Chun, Wangqing county YCL secretary, Kim Jung Gwon, head of the\organizational department of the YCL in Wangqing County,\and others.

In those days serious Leftist\and Rightist deviations were being exposed in YCL work in east Manchuria, deviations which hindered the building of the YCL\organizations\and the revolutionary development.

The greatest difficulty in YCL work in the Wangqing area was the shortage of capable leaders. YCL cadres were badly needed for skilfully\organizing\and dealing with work to meet the requirements of the situation in those days when the Korean revolution as a whole was rapidly advancing in an upward spiral, centring on the armed struggle. Most of the Young Communist Leaguers were illiterate\or could scarcely read\and write the Korean alphabet,\and only a few attained the intellectual level of middle-school leavers.

The factionalists confined the youth movement to the narrow guerrilla zones\and conducted youth work mostly among the young workers\and peasants, claiming that only a few special well-informed people of good family background could do the YCL work. This tendency resulted in neglecting to recruit new members for the YCL. Under the pretext of ensuring the purity of the composition\and secret of the YCL\organizations, the factionalists closed the doors of these\organizations\and indiscriminately rejected the applicants for various reasons. They refused to admit students on the pretext that they were too young\and that their family backgrounds were undesirable; they also rejected simple young workers\and peasants on the grounds that they were ignorant.

The applicants were required to master at least The Fundamentals of Socialism\and read\and interpret The Communist Manifesto, Wage Labour\and Capital\and some other classics. If some applicants were found not to have read The Communist Manifesto during the deliberation of their admission, the examiners used to find fault with them saying, “How could you lead YCL life without a knowledge of The Communist Manifesto ?”

A young applicant in Dawangqing was rejected because his cow had been confiscated by the Soviet government. He was told that if his draught animal was confiscated, then his family must belong to the propertied class,\and therefore, he, whose property had been confiscated by the Soviets, was not qualified for YCL membership.

The Leftists who shut the YCL’s door to applicants were reluctant to admit even the young people who had loyally worked in the Peasants’ Association, the Anti-Imperialist\union, the Revolutionary Mutual Aid Society\and the Children’s Vanguard. In the district\where the Leftists barred the way for recruiting new members, a mass\organization with a hundred members contained only three to four YCL members. There were many similar instances. The recruiting of new YCL members in the Wangqing area was strictly restricted, probably because the headquarters of the east Manchuria Party\organization was located in that area. No matter how loyal they had been in the\organizational life in other counties, the young people who came to Wangqing rom other areas were not permitted to join the YCL unless they had certificates of transfer\or references rom the\organizations they had belonged to.

Jon Mun Jin was engaged in underground revolutionary activities in the Dongning county town\and arrived in Wangqing, having escaped rom wholesale arrest by the warlord authorities. However, she was not registered as a YCL member because she did not have a certificate of transfer, although she was a loyal worker in the sewing unit of the guerrilla army.

One day I went to the sewing unit to express my thanks to them for my uniform,\and found her despondent for some reason. I went there on several occasions in subsequent months, but she was just as depressed as before. I talked to her. She was a timid woman, but she spoke frankly about her troubles. Although she had joined the guerrilla army as she had wished to do in the new place, she had not been admitted to the Young Communist League. That was why she was in as low spirits as a solitary wild goose. Having learned why she was troubled, I discussed it with the workers concerned\and saw to it that she resumed her life in the YCL.

Some YCL\organizations allowed heterogeneous, faithless, chance\and unsteady elements to find their way into their ranks with the help of their fellow townsmen, schoolmates, relations, friends, acquaintances and through other unprincipled channels. Other YCL workers, who regarded family backgrounds as absolute, accepted even spies, who had wormed their way into the guerrilla zone, fooled by their statements of having been servants for landowners. Some YCL members, who lacked revolutionary training, defected to the enemy area in these circumstances, unable to endure the hardships.

The deviations disclosed in the work of the Young Communist League gave rise to distrust in communism among a considerable number of young people\and resulted in their not taking any part in the revolutionary movement led by the communists. As a consequence, these deviations badly affected the work of the YCL in the guerrilla army\and the united front movement that rallied young people, students\and patriotic people rom all walks of life under the banner of the anti-Japanese struggle.

These Leftist\and Rightist deviations in YCL work in the guerrilla zones were due to the fact that the leaders of the YCL did not have a proper\organizational line suited to the real state\and interests of the Korean revolution,\and either dogmatically applied the propositions of the classics\or copied foreign experience.

In March 1933 when the leaders of the guerrilla zones were intent on finding ways\and means to correct the mistakes in YCL work\and to renovate youth work, a meeting of YCL workers was held at Macun, Xiaowangqing. The meeting was attended by approximately 30 people involved in youth work, including YCL committee members\and heads of children’s departments in the Wangqing area, delegates of young people rom Yanji,\and student delegates (underground workers) rom Longjing. Comrades there whose names I still remember were Kim Jung Gwon, Pak Hyon Suk, Jo Tong Uk, Pak Kil Song, Ri Song Il, Kim Pom Su,\and Choe Pong Song.

Whenever I look back on the meeting I, for some reason, vividly remember Pak Kil Song’s unusually sparkling eyes which were fixed on me all through the meeting. I probably recollect his eyes especially because he lost one eye later in an encounter with a Kwantung Army unit. He laid down his life as a remarkable guerrilla commander in north Manchuria at the young age of 26. But in 1933 he attended the meeting merely as an exemplary YCL member, with no special office in the YCL.

On the closing day of the meeting, the county YCL workers\and the delegates requested me to speak. They seemed to have discussed the fact that Kim Il Sung had done a great deal of YCL work in Jilin,\and in the capacity of chief secretary of the Young Communist League in the eastern region of Jilin Province had worked among many young people in Jiandao, he, therefore, must have valuable experience to offer, so that they wanted to hear my opinion. In compliance with their request I made a long speech about the tasks facing the YCL\organizations. The major part of my speech was recollected in detail by Jo Tong Uk a few decades ago.

Historically, philosophers, statesmen,\and educationists in the East\and the West had expressed valuable opinions about the place\and mission of the younger generation in the struggle for social changes\and transformation. Classic Marxists unanimously regarded young people as a bridgeway to the revolution\or as the reserve force of the revolution. Even Aristotle, that ancient philosopher, said that the future of a country depended on how its younger generation was brought up\and educated. Both materialist\and idealist philosophers\and both Eastern\and Western scholars had expressed much the same views about the importance of the younger generation, who would shoulder the destiny of the future.

My opinion did not differ rom theirs in appreciating the younger generation as the pillar of the future. But I did not rest content with\limiting the young people’s position to a bridgeway to the revolution\or to a reserve force of the revolution. I did not agree with the authors of the classics\and theoreticians in the previous age defining the younger generation as an auxiliary stratum in the revolution, relying upon the older generation\and receiving the latter’s guidance\and education. Considering the process\and events of the Korean revolution, I did not think the view of the young people being no more than an auxiliary force a correct one.

I have always regarded the young people as the vanguard of the revolution. They were the vanguard, the main force, the backbone force which took the brunt of the revolutionary struggle\and the social movement\and shouldered the destiny of the future. This was fully verified in reality. Even today, in my eighties, I do not change this view about the position\and role of young people as the vanguard of the revolution. Had we not pioneered the revolutionary movement independently, relying on the older generation\and spending time doing just what they told us to do\and following them passively, it would have been impossible for us to break with the trend of outmoded way of thinking in the darkest period of Japanese imperialist colonial rule, to blaze the trail for the Korean revolution, in the van of the nation united under the banner of the Juche idea, to found the anti-Japanese guerrilla army,\and develop the anti-Japanese revolution on all fronts, centring on the armed struggle, in\order to meet the requirements of the new age.


The history of the national liberation struggle in our country clearly shows that young people were always in the forefront of the struggle. They fought courageously, fearing neither prisons, death nor the gallows. The young people of Korea were in the van of the March First Popular Uprising (1919—Tr.) risking their lives,\and shouted patriotic slogans as the main force of the June Tenth Independence Movement (1926—Tr.) that swept the streets of Seoul. The young people\and students were also the motive force of the student incident in Kwangju in November 1929: though not directed by anybody, they rose in revolt, closed ranks\and swept through the streets to the open square of struggle like angry waves at the point of a bayonet. The young communists of the new generation had emerged as the motive force of the national liberation struggle rom the middle of the 1920s\and marked a new chapter in the history of the anti-Japanese revolution.

The fact that my youth had begun with Young Communist League activities was written in detail in the previous volumes. The whole period of the revolutionary struggle against the Japanese coincided with my youth. At that age I commanded regiments, divisions\and corps. At one time some of our people had imagined me to be a grey-haired general. But I was scarcely 34 years of age when I made a speech at the Pyongyang Public Stadium on my triumphal return home.

Guerrilla warfare was not like wars of old\where generals of the opposing forces had single combats on horseback, wielding spears, while their men beat drums in encampments fortified with palisades,\or in which soldiers shot arrows rom high walls, nor was it like a modern war in which sophisticated weapons are employed\and commands are given by telephone\or radio. Generals in their fifties\and even in their seventies can give commands in such battles. In guerrilla war, by contrast, both men\and their commanders must fight in the biting cold\and icy snow.

Commanders, too, had to shoot machine-guns at times\and charge into a bayonet attack when the situation demanded it. A man without the physical health\and strength, possessing a sound mental power could not withstand a burden like that.

Most of the fighters were in their twenties who fought in the anti-Japanese revolution. Yang Jing-yu became the commander of the 1st Route Corps of the Northeast Anti-Japanese Allied Army at the age of 32,\and Chen Han-zhang commanded the 3rd Directional Corps rom the age of 27. O Jung Hup died at the flowery age of 29 while discharging his strenuous duty of a regimental commander.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the anti-Japanese armed struggle was conducted by the young people on their full responsibility. How can we regard the younger generation in this context as a mere bridgeway to the revolution\or as a reserve force of the revolution?

This standpoint of mine was reflected in my speech\and talks that day:

“Young people are the backbone of the main force that propels our revolution. The history of any country in the world shows that young people were always in the forefront of the struggle for social transformation. They have the strength to level mountains\and to wall off the sea. It is precisely work with the youth that will awaken them to political consciousness,\organize\and encourage them to stand in the front line of the revolution.

“How deplorable it is, however, that the Young Communist League is shutting out the masses of the young people! Some YCL\organizations are not recruiting fine young people on the pretext that they are too young. That’s a typical example of closed-doorism, so to speak. Is Ryu Kwan Sun remembered as a heroine, a product of the March First Movement, in the history of our nation because she was old at the time?

“General Nam I said, ‘Should a man at twenty fail to subdue the land, who will in later years call him a man of calibre?’

“If we reject\or ignore young enthusiasts in their teens, on the excuse of their being too young, the Young Communist League will become a middle-aged people’s\organization, not that of young people. If the YCL admits sages\and wise men, who have had ten\or twenty years of training, how can it then be an\organization of young people?”

The next subject that interested the delegates was on the method\and style of work.

I spoke lengthily on this subject, also:

“The YCL workers must acquire a proper method\and style of work in\order to\organize broad sections of young people. Supposing a YCL member failed to kill an enemy soldier though shooting five rounds of ammunition. The guerrilla army has a motto that a single shot must kill an enemy. Therefore, if all five shots missed the target, something was obviously wrong.

“If the YCL member who made that mistake was criticized\and disciplinary measures were taken against him by his\organization, are such dealings to be considered appropriate? You, comrades, must not deal with such a matter in any old way. You must first study the nature of the mistake rom various angles, rom the sides\and rom behind, whether the weapon worked properly\or not, whether the front\and rear sights were at a good level, whether the rifleman had the butt against his shoulder securely\and pulled the trigger softly, whether he breathed properly while pulling the trigger\or not. You must closely examine everything.\and you must also find out whether he has any physiological weakness\or not, whether he is short-sighted\or far-sighted,\or astigmatic,\and whether he is a coward\or not.

“Such a case should be discussed after studying it rom various angles, instead of being attributed to an unsound ideology\and subjected to an ideological struggle without discrimination.

“Criticism must always be made to save comrades. Shortcomings must not be connived at, but be criticized in a scientific manner, so that the criticism would be acceptable to the man concerned. Criticism must not be made in a way to expose his mistakes, to abuse\or insult him.”

I talked about all the aspects of YCL work at the meeting that day, ranging rom the matter of strengthening the YCL’s\organizational\and ideological basis, improving propaganda, agitation,\and education, about criticizing oneself\and each other honestly, training the Children’s Corps into the reserve of the YCL,\and up to the work of assimilating the good points of the young patriots’ struggle in the previous age.

In the subsequent days, too, I took every opportunity to emphasize that YCL workers must become the standard-bearers in work, mixing with the masses at all times,\and that they must behave like their own mothers in dealing with them.

After the meeting, an innovation occurred in the work attitude of the YCL officials. The YCL\organizations broke the outmoded pattern of bureaucracy, closed-doorism\and formalism, became vivacious, living\organizations mixing closely with the young masses.

One day I went to the county YCL committee to see Kim Jung Gwon. But the county committee was empty except for a messenger. I asked him\where everyone else was,\and he answered that they had all gone to visit district\and branch\organizations. I was unable to hide my satisfaction on learning this.

Previously, the officials of the county YCL committee had worked in a leisurely manner, cooped up in the office, summoning district\and branch secretaries to them, giving assignments\or receiving reports of the fulfilment of their assignments rom them, instead of going to visit the YCL members. The county YCL committee had been so ignorant of situations at its subordinate\organizations that it would have believed it if anybody had told them that a stallion had given birth to a foal.\and yet, it had been in the habit of holding meetings for an ideological struggle\and shouting hurrah as if everything had been settled. The YCL\organizations had considered meetings\and criticisms to be solutions to all problems.

But this conventional method of work began to disappear rom the attitude of the YCL officials. YCL workers now started to visit branch\organizations in the guerrilla army\and local areas\and to help them in their work in a responsible manner. The people who had been spending time on empty talk\and paper work in the office of the county YCL committee were now going out to their subordinate\organizations, were mixing in with YCL members, attending meetings of groups\and branch\organizations\and helping their secretaries in drafting work plans. Cadres of the YCL gathered in the office of the county YCL committee only on the day designated for a meeting.

Many able workers emerged rom the ranks of YCL activists capable of skilfully dealing with every situation\and condition as well as many seasoned leaders who gained a good method\and style of work.

Kim Pom Su, head of the YCL’s\organizational department of district No. 8 of Yanji County, was a man who had participated in the meeting at Mingyuegou; his parents, however, did not even know that their son was an able YCL worker who was loved by the young people.

When Kim Pom Su was a primary schoolboy, his mother was so proud of her only son that she used to carry him to school on her back. He grew up, thus basking in his parents’ love,\and when he reached adolescence he was already married, much earlier than usual.

Even after his marriage, his parents controlled his outings strictly in\order to keep their son rom participating in the social movement.

Nevertheless, Kim Pom Su made the back-room of his house a meeting hall\and secretly made a doghole in his fence, a hole large enough for a man to pass through,\and then would summon young people to the meeting hall. His parents were glad that their son, staying away rom outings, was making a “good” husband of himself. Their son, however, was inviting young people to the back-room to do YCL work every night, with no time to even glance at his wife. He trained dozens of YCL activists in this back-room.

The secretary of the county YCL committee worked mainly with the young people of the YCL\organizations in the guerrilla army,\and the heads of\organizational\and propaganda departments directed the youth movement through contact with the YCL\organizations in the guerrilla zones\and in the enemy area. When necessary, the secretary of the county YCL committee joined the guerrillas in battle, guiding the masses.

One day during Operation Macun, a company branch of the YCL, which was manned on a hill in front of Macun, held an extraordinary meeting, attended by the secretary of the county YCL committee. Anticipating a decisive battle, each of the YCL members made an oath, speaking vehemently:


“Let the hearts of the Young Communist Leaguers defend the land which has been won at the cost of our blood!”

The YCL members opened a barrage of fire\and destroyed the attacking enemy\and revenged him. The enemy suffered hundreds of casualties in that battle alone.

When attacking the Dongning county town\and Luozigou, in cooperation with the national salvation army, the secretary was in the forefront of the guerrilla formation.

In the months subsequent to the YCL workers’ meeting, I frequently met YCL officials, discussing matters relating to YCL activity. In connection with YCL work in those days I stressed above all the need to strengthen education in patriotism, revolutionary\and class education, anti-imperialist\and communist education\and also education in optimism among the young men\and women, to intensify military training, to establish a correct outlook on the masses among the YCL officials\and members\and for them to attain a communist method\and style of work.

We directed the YCL\organizations to pay preferential attention to political, military\and economic questions on hand\and to exert all their efforts to finding solutions to those problems. The Young Communist League was not an academic\or enlightenment\organization, nor was it a club. It was an\organization to educate\and to unite the masses of young people for the victory of the revolution. Therefore, all its activities were always subordinated to the political, military\and economic practice at the time. That was the way to make each of the YCL\organizations a living, working\organization\and a source of strong motive power.

In those days the people, including the youth, in the guerrilla zones were neglecting economic problems, namely, the problems of food, clothing\and housing. The food needed by the people in the guerrilla zones was met mostly with provisions captured rom the enemy. The arid land in the guerrilla zones could not yield enough food for the people for the year. Whenever they ran out of food, the people turned to the army. In this way the tendency to depend on the guerrilla army developed among many officials\and inhabitants of the guerrilla zones. Some people even neglected preparations for farming in the hope that, when their food ran out, the army would naturally attack the enemy\and capture provisions for them.

In the spring of 1934 I celebrated May Day with comrades of the 3rd Company at Dahuangwai. In addition to giving guidance to the company, I asked about the farming preparations\and found them deplorable. Even though it was the ploughing season, the people in that place were idling the time away leisurely, without making any preparations for spring sowing. What were they going to do then? I was not alone in my surprise. The secretary of the county YCL committee, who was there, did not hide his dissatisfaction either, saying, “How is it these people are so lazy?”

A few days later, we held an enlarged meeting of the county YCL committee at a secret meeting place in Yaoyinggou\and discussed the young people’s task in spring sowing. Just as harvesting teams were formed to ensure the reaping of crops in the no-man’s land in the autumn of 1932, young people’s production shock brigades were\organized throughout Jiandao. They launched a campaign for spring sowing in the guerrilla zones. These shock brigades comprised YCL activists\and all other hard-core young men\and women in the guerrilla zones. They took upon themselves not only the ploughing, but also obtaining the seeds\and putting the farm implements into\order. Broken-down tools were repaired at smithies through the joint efforts of the young people. In places\where there was a shortage of work cattle, the fields were ploughed with picks\and shovels\and sowing was done properly. In the spring of 1934 the sowing was finished successfully.

Thanks to the efforts of the shock brigades, the Young Communist League in the guerrilla zones was held in high prestige,\and the social position of the young people rose immensely. The Party\organizations supported whatever the YCL wanted to do\and planned,\and encouraged its officials to boldly push ahead with youth work. The people’s revolutionary government, the peasants’ association, the women’s association\and other mass\organizations also backed YCL work in every possible way.

The anniversary functions of the September Youth Day in 1934 could well illustrate the importance the people in the guerrilla zones attached to YCL work. The September Youth Day is the International Young Proletarians’ Day.

The world’s young proletarians had marked their day for the first time in 1915. Since then they have observed the day every year. The anniversary functions were held in China also\and in our country.

The Wangqing people prepared for the celebration of the September Youth Day of 1934 on a large scale. Anticipating the function, we sent operatives to the enemy area\and invited groups of visitors rom different villages on the one hand,\and, on the other, we obtained rice, flour, meat\and other supplies needed to treat the visitors on the anniversary day. Some supply officers even brought tea with them. The guerrilla army attacked the enemy, capturing the essential products needed for the festival.

An arch decorated with pine needles was set up in the square of Yaoyinggou,\and an array of pictures describing the battle results of the guerrilla army were on display around the square. Propaganda slogans were also put up in the spaces between the pictures. There was an excellent painter in the 5th Company in those days. He had come rom the Soviet\union\and was also surprisingly good at calligraphy. He even drew a sketch-map showing the achievements of the people’s revolutionary army\and exhibited it on the outskirt of the square. The pictures he had drawn were so vivid that they seemed to be alive\and moving.

We emptied the government building to arrange lodgings for the guests\and also set up posters to show to the visitors.

Prior to the September Youth Day, Jiguanlazi, Yingbilazi, Tianqiaoling, Zhuanjiaolou\and other villages in the guerrilla zones\and in their vicinities had\selected delegates\and sent them to Yaoyinggou. Because the enemy had set up concentration villages\and strictly controlled people passing through the wall gates, the delegates rom the enemy area were unable to arrive in groups; they came singly, in work clothes with sickles in their hands\or baskets on top of their heads, as if they had been coming to do field work.

On the day of the function the young men\and women\and other people in the guerrilla zone, dressed up in new silk\and serge suits made rom trophies captured at Beisanchakou, gathered in the square. The county YCL officials, too, came to the square in new suits\and supervised the start of the celebrations. The sturdy appearances of the guerrillas marching into the square in new uniforms won the admiration of the delegates rom the enemy area.

The opening of the gathering was marked by the sound of a Yongil bomb. The visitors became wide-eyed at the sight of the fluttering of dozens of red flags in the square, shouting of slogans, hand clapping\and beating of drums, sounds which reverberated up into the sky over the square.

A report was made about September Youth Day, which was followed by militant speeches by delegates of different sections praising the achievements of the Young Communist League\and calling on the people to fight against the Japanese. In those days speeches of this type were termed expressions of feelings. At the end of the function, a grand welcoming party was given in honour of the visitors rom the enemy area. At the request of the officials of the county Party committee\and the county YCL committee, I made a speech during the welcoming gathering, appealing to them to give active support to political\and military activities of the people’s revolutionary army. A delegate rom the enemy area asked that he be allowed to speak in reply to my speech; however, his strong emotions prevented him rom uttering a single word; he only bowed to all sides of the audience.

Hearing my speech, the delegates to the anniversary function rom the enemy area volunteered to join the guerrilla army. We had to dissuade many as they all volunteered. Taking into consideration their family\and work, we accepted only some to the revolutionary army.

The programme staged by the 5th Company was the most spectacular of the welcome performance of that day. A Russian dance, performed by a guerrilla who had been an underground worker in Laoheishan before joining the army\and had learnt it when he had been in the Maritime Province, was really splendid.

When the visitors were leaving the guerrilla zone, we gave them the share of the trophies which we had kept for the people rom the enemy area.


I have gone into great details here about the September Youth Day function of 1934 because it was the largest\and most impressive of the young people’s festivals in the guerrilla zones.

In those days we considered international anniversaries very important\and attached great significance to the Comintern, the Communist Youth International, the International Labour\union, the International Peasant\union\and other international\organizations. Just as the Comintern was the international centre of the Communist Parties throughout the world, the KIM was the international centre of the Young Communist Leagues of all countries. KIM is the Russian abbreviation of the Communist Youth International. The\organization which we were in touch with while working in Harbin was an\organization under the KIM,\and the\organization which recommended us to study in Moscow was a KIM\organization which was functioning as the youth department of the Comintern.

The practical struggle to implement the programme of the Young Communist League produced a large number of excellent young revolutionaries who adorned a record of the history of the national liberation struggle. The young man nicknamed “13 bullets”5, “Steel Spade” (Kim Pong Uk), Pak Kil Song, Hwang Jong Hae, Kim Thaek Man, Kim Chung Jin, Ju Chun Il, Ri Sin Sun, Kim Pom Su,.Ri Tong Hwa, Ri Sun Hui, Pak Ho Jun\and other innumerable anti-Japanese heroes\and heroines were trained\and educated through life in YCL\organizations. Among these renowned heroes\and heroines were guerrilla commanders, underground workers\and educationists.

The meeting of the Young Communist League held in the secret hall at Yaoyinggou also discussed the matter of extending\and intensifying activities in the enemy area, along with other items on the agenda.


There were few hard-core politically\and practically qualified YCL leaders in the enemy area. Because of the erroneous policy of the Leftist elements, holding leading positions in Party\and YCL\organizations at different levels, the YCL’s activities in the enemy-ruled area were neglected. Taking the state of affairs into full consideration, the YCL meeting raised the militant slogan, “Let Us Build a Battery in the Enemy’s Heart!” This was similar to the slogan, “Let Us Build a Revolutionary Battery among the Enemy Soldiers!” The slogan, “Let Us Build a Battery in the Enemy’s Heart!” meant strengthening our\organizations in the very heart of the enemy.

According to the decision of the meeting, a large number of YCL cadres undertook the difficult task of working in the enemy area\and began to infiltrate into a vast area, including east Manchuria\and Korea. Pak Kil Song, who was at the head of the children’s department of the East Manchuria Special District Committee, was sent to Luozigou. Along with competent YCL activists, he enlarged\organizations\and trained young people through practical struggle. The line of his operatives stretched deep into the Luozigou Distillery, one of the largest of its kind in Jiandao, employing a great number of seasonal child labourers.

Choe Kwang, the head of the Luozigou children’s department, also went to work in the distillery by instruction of the YCL\organization.

The distillery owned by a Yu annually employed only child labour between February\and May,\and between September\and October, because child labour was cheap\and children worked longer hours. The owner paid a child 30 fen a day, less than half the pay for an adult labourer. Worse still, he paid them not in cash, but in liquor. Thirty fen could only buy a bottle of liquor.\and to earn a bottle of this liquor the children had to toil rom early morning till late at night. After work they had to peddle the streets all night to sell the liquor they had received as their wages.

Under the guidance of the YCL\organization, Choe Kwang stirred up the child labourers to the struggle for higher wages. Mustering a dozen colleagues whom he had admitted into the Children’s Corps\organization after being employed in the distillery, he agitated them to go on strike. Posting guards at each entrance of the barrack-type dining-hall, he himself made speeches. He found it hard to rouse the children, who were not accustomed to\organized life, to strike. He patiently persuaded them, repeating, “A bottle of liquor isn’t adequate to provide you with enough to live. Let’s unite\and get paid as much as we have worked. If we join our efforts we can bring the owner of the distillery to his knees!”

In response to his call, the children refused to go to work for three days. Even the children who were going to work, afraid of losing their jobs, were persuaded to resolutely join the ranks of the strikers. Through two strikes, they defeated their employer\and raised their daily wages rom 30 fen to 40 fen.

Pak Ho Jun, a member of the Luozigou YCL committee, was very successful in his work in the enemy area, thanks to his great\organizational ability\and skilful work among the masses. He was the man behind the scenes who guided the work of rallying the child labourers of the distillery behind the anti-Japanese\organization\and led the strike to victory. But he was arrested in the course of his work.

The enemy rejoiced immensely over his arrest, just as if they had found all the secret\organizations in the Luozigou area. But they were mistaken. They did not succeed in bringing Pak Ho Jun to his knees.


In an attempt to placate him although half dead, the enemy said, “You’re still young\and have the world before you. You’re too young to die. Have you no pity for your mother living alone with all her hopes pinned on you? If you tell us about the YCL\organization\and the names of its cadres, you’ll receive a big premium\and live in luxury. How about abandoning your fantastic dream about an impossible revolution,\and finding the way to survival?”

With a bitter grin, Pak Ho Jun replied:

“I’ll tell you about the YCL\organization\and the names of its cadres. Write them down. The name of the cadre who directs me is ‘Communist’\and his surname is ‘Party’.”

Seeing the surprise on the enemy’s face writing down the name “Communist Party”, Pak Ho Jun rose, leaning his hand against the wall,\and mocked at the enemy, “What’s the use of jotting down the name of the great cadre who has trained me into your notebook? Now the Communist Party will take revenge on the enemy for me.”

That is how Pak Ho Jun chose death. Just imagine the indomitable image of this Young Communist Leaguer who was striding, with the skirts of his coat flying open, towards the execution site. He looked so imposing that even the enemy soldiers were struck with terror, whispering, “Communists are really great men.”

One man, a heavy smoker, slipped some cigarettes into his hand as he was striding to his execution. Girls threw bunches of flowers in his path.

Thus the first generation of the Young Communist League, who had been trained through the anti-Japanese revolution, fought loyally,\and knew how to die honourably.

The YCL members who had been trained in its ranks subordinated all their interests to the interests of their\organization\and the revolution.

YCL member Rim Chun Ik was this type of fighter, too.

He was the secretary of the Nanxian special branch of the YCL, district No. 8, Yanji County. He was an able political worker who had already formed an underground YCL\organization. While guiding the\organization he was arrested.

He was also brutally tortured often, but he kept the secret of the\organization intact to the end.

Rim Chun Ik stated that the secret operations conducted by other comrades were all his doing. Thanks to his statement, the other comrades who had been arrested were all released. He died heroically at the fine age of eighteen.

It is said that even the enemy bowed their heads before the noble character of the eighteen-year-old YCL member who stood alone on the execution site, after having saved his\organization\and his comrades by displaying such a beautiful, noble spirit of self-sacrifice.

YCL member Ri Sun Hui was also an indomitable fighter born of the anti-Japanese revolution. I think I met her for the first time in the winter of early 1934. I met her while visiting the Children’s Corps school to see the children who had lost their parents in the enemy’s “punitive” atrocities. This was shortly after she had come to Wangqing County as the head of the county children’s department, having been transferred there rom the office of the head of the Yanji county children’s department.

As I stood in the playground of the Children’s Corps school surrounded by the children, Ri Sun Hui hurried over to me, greeting me. Her large, bright eyes sparkled, she was full of youthful vigour\and reminded you of a forget-me-not growing by a riverside.


A dreary, cold wind was blowing there. Among the children clinging joyfully to me were many who were dressed in thin unlined clothes\or wearing short tattered skirts\and straw sandals on their bare feet. Some had burns on their faces, they probably had escaped rom the fire at the time of the enemy’s “punitive” action. Most of the Children’s Corps members, who had been\orphaned in the enemy area before they came to the guerrilla zone, were in rags.

Caressing the hand of a child who had a burn on it, I scrutinized each of the Children’s Corps members.

The sparkling, dark eyes of the children seemed to eagerly expect something rom me.

The feeling of pain I felt at that time shocked me. I vowed in my mind to destroy all the Japanese who had made them\orphans.

I calmed down\and, rom the bottom of my heart, said, “You are the flower-buds of our country\and the pillars of its future. When you’re cheerful, we’re also cheerful. When you grow up well, we feel strong...

Grow up quickly\and sturdily\and become fine pillars of the country.” “Yes, we will,” the children chorused vigorously\and murmured

something joyfully. But tears were trickling down like raindrops rom the eyes of the head of the children’s department, Sun Hui.

“Forgive me, General,” she said, “the YCL\organization appointed me the head of the children’s department, but the children are in such rags...”

She was embarrassed to see me, just as if she herself were guilty of that. Her face, wet with tears, revealed the remorse she felt.

How could she be held responsible for the ragged children? She had had to work through nights, mending their worn-out clothes\and shoes\and making notebooks for them.


Her revolutionary, self-critical attitude towards all the shortcomings\and mishaps that occurred in the range of her work made a strong impression on me rom our first encounter.

A few days after, I attacked the enemy for the sake of the Children’s Corps members. All the goods we captured were sent to the Children’s Corps school to provide the children with cotton quilts, new clothes\and shoes\and notebooks.

I still remember Ri Sun Hui shedding grateful tears\and burying her face in the children’s new clothes that had cost the blood of guerrillas.

Out of gratitude for the gifts, she arranged a performance of the children’s art group she had set up\and came to see us.

“General, the children have brought an art group to express their humble thanks to you for the cotton quilts\and the new clothes you’ve sent them.”

Her words touched me to the heart.

That day I assembled all the soldiers\and the people of the guerrilla base to enjoy the children’s performance\and had a very pleasant time with them.

A narrative was one of the numbers on the programme; it moved our hearts deeply.

A little girl in a new dress, with a red scarf around her neck, appeared on the stage\and began her narrative:

“My father\and mother were killed by the Japanese, but I am growing up sturdily, wearing new clothes\and a red scarf. The new clothes I am wearing have cost the blood of our sisters\and brothers in the guerrilla army.”\and then, she opened her little hand which had a burn on it.


She went on: “Caressing this hand wounded in the Japanese ‘punitive’ atrocities, the General said that when we were cheerful he was also cheerful,\and that when we grew up well he, too, felt strong.

“Brothers\and sisters of the guerrilla army, we are growing well cheerfully. Please be happy with us\and be strong. True to the General’s words, I will grow up quickly\and sturdily\and take up arms to fight the Japanese just as you, brothers\and sisters of the Young Communist League, do....”

The entire audience were in tears, listening to her.

We found implications of Ri Sun Hui’s unremitting efforts on the stage devoted to the children just as one could see large\drops of a diligent farmer’s sweat in the well-ripe ears of his crops.

One day Ri Sun Hui came to see me\and unexpectedly asked me to send her to work in the enemy area.

I was surprised at her request, for she had been working with such warmth for the Children’s Corps, sensing life’s greatest worth in this task.

Afterwards, she suggested it again to her YCL\organization. Finally she was sent to Luozigou with Pak Kil Song.

The numerous ranges of blue mountains surrounding the Luozigou area on three sides\and the fertile land were marked with traces of bloody battles against the Japanese invaders\and with the revolutionary spirit of the courageous YCL members who had worked behind enemy lines.

I do not wish to go into details here about her work in the enemy-ruled area. The point of emphasis here is the source of the moral power that enabled her unhesitatingly to risk her life at such a young age.

At that time she was working rom her base at a grass hut not far rom Luozigou. She spent the spring,\and then the summer\and now greeted the autumn in that grass hut which could hardly keep off the cold wind\and rain. In the meantime, the YCL\organization was extended,\and the Children’s Corps\organization grew up in Luozigou. A strong revolutionary battery was built in the enemy’s citadel.

In\order to build this battery she had walked day\and night in disguise along dangerous lanes in the enemy-held area, braving the bayonets of the army\and the police\and the surveillance of the secret agents, who incessantly spied on her.

But she was finally arrested, tracked down by a wicked enemy agent named Ri Pong Mun.

In\order to ferret out the underground\organization in Luozigou, the enemy locked her up in a dismal gaol\and tortured her brutally. The fate of the underground\organization depended on her. If she had disclosed the secret, the\organizational network in the Luozigou area would have been discovered\and the revolutionary battery which had cost her so much effort would have crumbled overnight.

The enemy tried to coax Ri Sun Hui with false promises\and sugary words. But they could not squeeze any secret out of her except the fact that she was a member of the Young Communist League. Probably she felt the meaning of belonging to the YCL more strongly while in prison.

The Luozigou provost-marshal directing her torture grew angry\and\ordered her to be shot.

But an incident occurred on the eve of her execution.

After giving his\order to shoot her, the provost-marshal went to see her in the company of his men in an attempt to coax her for the last time.

Sun Hui was mending her clothes just then. Although her clothes were stained with sweat\and streaked with blood\and torn to shreds, she probably wanted to appear neat at her execution.


Ri Pong Mun, the running dog of the provost-marshal, came close up to her\and said that this was her last opportunity to save herself, that, out of pity for her flowery youth, he advised her to tell at least the name of one member of the underground\organization in Luozigou in\order to save herself. The girl remained silent. She simply combed her blood-clotted hair with her fingers,\and then slipped her hand inside the breast of her torn jacket\and produced a grey pouch.

Ri Pong Mun turned pale at this\and leapt out of the gaol. The other butchers followed him, screaming. Ri Pong Mun took the pouch for some explosive, like a grenade. It was not an explosive, however. It was a pouch that contained some soil. The pretty pouch had been bequeathed to her by her father when he fell in battle in the guerrilla base.

“Don’t be frightened,” she told them. “This is a pouch that contains the soil of my country. Are your dirty lives so precious that you run away to save them?”

Some people compared the personalities of the YCL member Ri Sun Hui who, cherishing the soil of the country in her bosom, was picturing the day of national liberation,\and the turncoat Ri Pong Mun to the Ponghwang (a beautiful legendary bird—Tr.)\and to a crow. I think the comparison was not an unreasonable one. Could the traitor Ri Pong Mun ever appreciate the value of that pouch of soil?

The next day when she was shot, Ri Sun Hui shouted, “Long live the revolution!” Here is the Song of the Young Communist League she sang during the last moments of her life:

March on towards dawn\and morning, Our Comrades-in-arms! We’ll use bayonets\and bullets


To clear the way!

Brace up\and be courageous

Under the banner of youth!

We are the young guards

Of workers\and peasants.

Ri Sun Hui\and I had once sung this song, playing the\organ at the Children’s Corps school. The song was sung widely not only by Young Communist League members but also by members of the Communist Party, the Children’s Corps\and Women’s Association, because it expressed the unanimous desire of the working masses for a new society, their ardent love for the future,\and the young people’s unshakable will to hasten the advent of the new world. Many YCL members sang it on the gallows just as Ri Sun Hui had done.

That song did not\originate with us. It had been sung by Russian young men\and women. The thoughts\and feelings that run through the words\and melody gripped the hearts of the young people of the whole world who loved freedom\and justice. Just as Eugene Pottier’s Internationale became the Party song in many countries, so the Song of the Young Communist League became the international song of young people.

The emergence of a loyal woman like Ri Sun Hui can no doubt be said to be attributable to the efforts of the YCL\organization which lent her political integrity light\and wings. But for the\organization\and the process of her development through\organizational training, could it have been conceivable for such a young girl as Ri Sun Hui to be so courageous in the face of her executioners\and to meet the last moment of her life with such staunch pride\and honour?


That is why I still say that the\organization is a house\and a university which gives birth to heroes\and heroines. One member of the Young Communist League\or of the League of Socialist Working Youth, who has been trained through\organizational life, has the strength to defeat a hundred\and even a thousand of the enemy. Each one of our people is a match for a hundred foes because every one of them has been hardened through\organizational life; each soldier of our People’s Army is a match for a hundred\and even a thousand foes because every one of the army has been fully tempered politically\and ideologically, militarily\and technically in the furnace that is called an\organizational life.

Nowadays, young people grow up into fighters, heroes\and heroines\and revolutionaries through the\organization of the League of Socialist Working Youth. It can be said that the Young Communist League in the years of the anti-Japanese war was a school that trained professional revolutionaries,\whereas the League of Socialist Working Youth today is the base which trains the vanguard of socialist construction. The young people are still fighting in the main direction of attack on all the fronts of building socialism just as they did in the revolution against the Japanese. The LSWY is a reliable main force which our Party holds very dear\and takes loving care of.\wherever this main force advances, great exploits are performed\and miracles achieved. The West Sea Barrage, the northern railway, Kwangbok Street, the May Day Stadium, the Mangyongdae Schoolchildren’s Palace, the Taekwon-Do Palace\and other monumental structures, the lasting wealth of our country, are full of the precious efforts\and sweat of young men\and women of the age of the Workers’ Party. That is why our people love the Young Speed Campaign Shock Brigades.


The members of the LSWY\and other young people in our age display innumerable communist, commendable deeds winning everyone’s admiration. No man can be born twice, but young people in our country lay down their lives without hesitation to save their fellow countrymen. There are innumerable girls who have determined to become the hands\and feet for the rest of their lives of honourably disabled soldiers by marrying them. A single woman member of the LSWY in our country has brought up\orphans as their own mother would do. At a time when young people in some other countries are exerting themselves to obtain the citizenship of their capital cities, the young people in our country willingly leave their beloved capital\and volunteer for work at farms, coal-mines,\and reclaimed land. To be candid, I would like to seat these young people on cushions of gold.

Whenever I hear news of the communistic, laudable deeds of the young people of our age, I recollect the efforts of the Korean communists devoted to the youth movement,\and think of the LSWY which is excellently continuing the traditions of that movement. The ceaseless, commendable deeds of these young people, which are winning world admiration, can be attributed to the work of the LSWY. A large army of young people trained through\organizational life is, in effect, mightier than atomic bombs.

No work in the world is more worthwhile\and honourable than work among young men\and women. If I were fortunate enough to begin my life anew\and if I were given the right to choose a job, I would devote myself to youth work as I readily did when in Jilin.

When the guerrilla zones were dissolved, we sent many political workers to the enemy-ruled area. At that time we decided to send people to Antu, Dunhua, Fusong, Changbai, Linjiang\and other places to form a central county YCL committee around Liaoning, Jilin\and Jiandao\and step up underground youth work in the enemy area. We also made a far-reaching plan to form underground youth\organizations in Musan, Kapsan, Phungsan, Hoeryong\and other parts of the northern border area of Korea first,\and then in Pyongyang, Seoul, Pusan\and other parts of central\and southern Korea.

In\order to put this plan into practice, Jo Tong Uk, secretary of the Wangqing County YCL Committee, was reappointed secretary of the Central County YCL Committee\and left for the enemy area.

Jo Tong Uk was an experienced YCL worker. Because of his participation in the May 30 Uprising (1930—Tr.), he had served more than a one-year term in the Harbin prison which was called the third prison in Jilin Province. While in prison, he had studied Chinese\and joined the Young Communist League. He was well-informed for a middle-school leaver\and was eager for knowledge. He had been sent to a unit of the national salvation army with an assignment rom the Ningan County YCL Committee. In that unit he had done YCL work\and came to Wangqing in September 1932, in command of more than 40 armed men.

I think I met him for the first time in the autumn of that year. We appointed him the secretary of the YCL committee in Ri Kwang’s special detachment\and attached the armed men rom Ningan to the special detachment. We sent some of our men to north Manchuria to bring over his family. His stepfather, Chang Ki Sop, was a loyal Party member who was nicknamed “Communist Uncle”.

Jo Tong Uk witnessed my negotiations with Wu Yi-cheng on the spot,\and, along with Wang Run-cheng, assisted me in every way in the negotiations. After they had ended, I sent him\and Wang Run-cheng to work in the Joint Anti-Japanese Army Coordination Commission in Luozigou.

They swore to be very close friends with the liaison officers who came rom various anti-Japanese nationalist army units\and formed Communist Party branches\and Young Communist League branches among the field-\and company-grade officers\and men.

Through his work in the Joint Anti-Japanese Army Coordination Commission, Jo Tong Uk’s political activities became still further seasoned. The place in the enemy area he went to for the first time was Liangjiangkou, Antu County. He opened a small shop\and, through his skilful dealings with soldiers of the puppet Manchukuo army, swore to be very close friends with 15 field-\and company-grade officers\and men\and won over a company completely. According to Jo Tong Uk’s plan, the company rose in mutiny\and then escaped into a mountain.

Jo Tong Uk went to Chechangzi to establish contact between the mutineers assembled in the mountain\and the guerrilla army. But the Leftists suspected him as a “Minsaengdan” member\and tried to arrest him.

Later he said, recalling the event:

“At that time, the Leftists on the East Manchuria Special District Committee questioned me as follows: Song Il was a ‘Minsaengdan’ member\and was executed. When he was the secretary of the Wangqing County Party Committee, you worked under him as the county YCL secretary. Since Song Il was a ‘Minsaengdan’ member, you, too, must be a ‘Minsaengdan’ member. You had better speak the truth before we produce evidence. That is how they tried to intimidate me.

“I made up my mind to run away. Comrade Kim Jong Suk, who was serving me meals, supported my decision. She even gave me my travelling expenses. With that money I returned to Liangjiangkou,\and then crossed to Korea with my mother.”

He continued to do youth work in subsequent years in many parts of Korea.

Just as Kim Jin’s6 soul was inherited by Ri Su Bok7, Ri Su Bok’s soul by Kim Kwang Chol8\and Han Yong Chol9, the lifeblood of the Young Communist League was carried forward by the Democratic Youth League,\and the latter’s lifeblood has been inherited by the League of Socialist Working Youth. At a time when young people\and students in some countries have become the cause of social trouble\and minions of counterrevolutionaries\and are pulling down the towers which their grandfathers’ generation had built, our young men\and women are reliably carrying on the revolutionary cause as a bulwark\and shield pioneered by their revolutionary forerunners.

Millions of young men\and women, who are unfailingly loyal to the leadership of\organizing Secretary Kim Jong Il, are now affiliated with the League of Socialist Working Youth. Our country in the twenty-first century will become a paradise through their efforts\and a still better to live in.


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