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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 11 2. Strange Relationship

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-13 10:54 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 11  2. Strange Relationship

  

   


 

2. Strange Relationship 

 

The Emu area in north Manchuria was connected to me rom my days in Jilin. Up till then Jiaohe, Xinzhan\and Shansong,\where I formed the Ryosin Youth Association, a revolutionary\organization, in touch with Kang Myong Gun\and worked among its members, belonged to Emu County. Apparently this county was renamed Jiaohe County in the late 1930s.


We marched thousands of miles in the Emu area during our second expedition to north Manchuria. Qinggouzi, Pipadingzi, Nantianmen, Sandaogou, Malugou, Xinxingtun, Guandi, Liucaigou, Sankesong, Mudanjiangcun, Heishixiang,\and Tuoyaozi were all developed as the theatre of our operations at that time. They constituted unforgettable battle sites,\where the expeditionary force to north Manchuria performed military feats.


I experienced many interesting events\and met a number of impressive people during that period. Until our second expedition, many parts of this area had been beyond revolutionary influence. It was not accidental that Zhou Bao-zhong was so worried about our campaign in Emu when we debated the matter. He said: “Commander Kim, I don’t think it necessary to worry about you, since you won over that bigoted Wu Yi-cheng in a single day, but we were shut out at every door, when we were there this spring. They abused us, calling us Honghuzi.”

 

The word Honghuzi that Zhou mentioned is the Chinese word for “bandits”. Wu Yi-cheng, who did not like communists, once abused Zhou Bao-zhong, calling him Honghuzi. rom then on, this epithet was applied to the communist army in general.


True to Zhou’s warning, we were treated as Honghuzi, as soon as we set foot in Emu. The immediate desertion by the people of Emu of their village, at the sight of the expeditionary force, calling it the “Koryo red army”, means that they were steering clear of us as much as of the Honghuzi. Evidently, the word Hong (Red) was synonymous for them with immorality\and cruelty.


Taking this situation into consideration, we devoted a great deal of time to working among the masses during the expedition. It was not a waste of time, as our efforts led the people who had shunned the people’s revolutionary army to become its close friends\and supporters. When these efforts brought former enemies into an alliance\and alignment with the communists, we felt the greatest delight which could not ever be compared with the joy one would feel in winning a windfall.


At a time when the faces of people, who abandoned the guerrilla zones in tears after the Yaoyinggou meeting, still flashed before our eyes,\and when anxiety over the revolution weighed heavily on our minds\and body, it was marvellous for us to win such a big success in Emu. The greatest pleasure for a revolutionary is to gain comrades\and friends, his greatest misery to lose them.


Before entering Emu County, we had already made friends with Chai He, a naive Chinese fisherman, on Lake Jingbo at Xiaoshanzuizi,\and crossed the lake with ease. Chai had shunned the revolutionary army before meeting us. A fisherman, he had lived by the lake for 30 years since the age of nineteen; he had been fooled by the Japanese propaganda that the “Koryo red army” was a group of “bandits”. However, after seeing the stately,\orderly appearance of the expeditionary force\and won over by the men’s simple, open-hearted personalities, he changed his stand\and treated the revolutionary army cordially.


An army finds it as hard to cross a river as to march hundreds of miles. So I shall never forget the trouble Chai took to help enthusiastically the expeditionary force cross Lake Jingbo, behind the enemy’s back. A group of Korean visitors to China returned in 1959, bringing his photograph with them. In the picture Chai was an old man, who was past seventy, with a wrinkled face. But I felt deep emotion on seeing his old figure with his great stature\and long neck.


We gained many friends\and won over a large number of people in Emu, including Liu Yong-sheng, the head of one hundred households, who supplied us with some necessities at the risk of his life during the battle at Qinggouzi\and an old man, Liu Chun-fa, who sent his son to the guerrilla army in the vicinity of Heishixiang.


While working among people of various strata, we achieved friendly relations with a regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army.


The event happened one day, when the expeditionary force was engaged on a forced march for a whole night, to attack a lumber station in Dunhua County, so it must have been the beginning of 1936. In the grey light of dawn, we stopped\and billeted on a landlord’s house by a roadside. It was no\ordinary house; it was surrounded by earthen walls with forts. But he had no guards, as it occurred after the formation of the puppet Manchukuo army\and the Japanese did not allow anyone to keep private soldiers.

 

The landlord’s house consisted of two wings. The rank\and file occupied one wing, while the headquarters\and supply officers were located in the other. We posted three men at the gate in the guise of farmhands to guard the house by turns, while the others rested.


At about 4 p.m. the sentry reported that a carriage was approaching the house we were staying at. Soon it pulled up in front of the house\and a lady stepped out with the help of a soldier; she entered the yard, saying that she would like to warm herself for a while. I looked out of the window to glimpse a beautiful lady wrapped in two fox-fur overcoats standing in the snow-drifted yard. My comrades struck by the luxurious coats, had already swarmed out to the yard\and surrounded the strange lady in her dazzling outfit. They were questioning her.


When I inquired as to her presence, a young guard, in high spirits, as if he had captured a top-rate secret agent, responded, “She’s a suspicious woman, Comrade Commander.” He maintained his sharp gaze on the lady.


The young Chinese lady turned pale, trembling in silence. I sternly rebuked the guard, who was trying to search her,\and\ordered, “Let her come inside so that she can warm herself.”


In the room she still trembled slightly. She kept her head lowered. I spoke in Chinese to calm her, “Please, madam, don’t be afraid. Make warm yourself. The young guard may have taken you for someone else\and treated you impolitely. Please forgive him.”


I offered her a cup of tea\and pushed the brazier closer to her, so that she could keep warm.


“I don’t know what you think of us, but we’re the people’s revolutionary army. The people here call us the ‘Koryo red army’. Have you ever heard about the ‘Koryo red army’, madam?”

 

“Yes, but only a little,” she answered almost in a whisper, still with her head lowered.


“Then, we’re fortunate. The ‘Koryo red army’ is not a gang of ‘bandits’, which harms people’s lives\and property, as the Japanese allege. Our revolutionary army is a people’s armed force, which aims to secure national salvation. We only fight against the Japanese imperialists\and their lackeys who trample on Korea\and China; we never do any harm to people’s lives\and property. Consequently, please set your mind at rest, madam.”


She clasped her hands together as a token of gratitude. But her gaze still indicated mixed feelings of uneasiness, fear\and uncertainty.


“We won’t blame\or punish you for taking a soldier of the puppet Manchukuo army with you. Nor will I ask you why he is escorting you. Why should we humiliate\and harass travellers, if they don’t harm the people\and the revolutionary army? We are also travellers, enjoying a moment’s rest in this house with the host’s permission, so don’t think otherwise; please warm yourself before leaving,” I continued, until she looked more relaxed.


It was only then that she breathed a sigh of relief\and raised her head cautiously. As she glanced at me, there was a hint of surprise in her eyes. She lifted her clasped hands to her breast\and bit her lips. “What’s worrying you? Do you still not believe me?”


“No, it’s not that... Frankly speaking, your face... I know that you are a kind-hearted man by nature...” she murmured incoherently\and again gazed at me.


Then O Paek Ryong, who had been interrogating the escort, appeared at the door like a hunter who had just caught a tiger. He said in Korean, a language the Chinese lady could never understand, “General, the escort told me that the woman is the wife of the commander of the 12th Regiment of the puppet Manchukuo army. A big fish has entered the mesh of its own accord.”


“Comrade O Paek Ryong, don’t talk so big. Let’s wait\and see whether it is a big fish\or small fry.”


To be candid, although I rebuked him, I was surprised to hear that she was the wife of a regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army. A regimental commander was not small fry. In the hierarchy of the puppet Manchukuo army it was the fourth rank down rom the top which could only be occupied after rising 13 rungs rom the bottom. In some cases a regiment in that army had a few counties under its jurisdiction, so that there was no need to go to the length of explaining the authority of a commander, who controlled those counties. In those days the 12th Infantry Regiment of the 9th Composite Brigade of the puppet Manchukuo army based in Jiaohe was stationed in Emu.


I found it interesting to meet the wife of a regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army, as we conducted a major strategic psychological warfare against the enemy armies. The knowledge of her identity made no change in my countenance at all.


“Well, madam, did you think we would inflict some severe punishment on you, because you’re the wife of a regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army?”


She rubbed her palms in confusion, saying, “Not at all. Perhaps I am wrong, Mr. Commander ... excuse me, but aren’t you Kim Song Ju?”


I was indeed surprised at the unexpected question. This was something unusual. I could not disregard the fact that the wife of a regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army, whom I had met by chance in north Manchuria far away rom Jiandao, knew my childhood name. How could this lady I had never seen\or met before know my name? I was astonished\and, at the same time, curious to solve the puzzle.


“It’s indeed strange to hear my childhood name in this land of Emu. I am Kim Song Ju\or Kim Il Sung. But how on earth do you know me, madam?”


She blushed deeply. I guessed rom her looks that she wanted to say something, but was hesitating.


“When you led the student\and youth movement in Jilin, I attended a girls’ middle school there. I have known you ever since then.”


“Oh, is that so? I am very glad to meet you.”


I only now realized what her sparkling eyes meant when she glanced at me before, with her head raised. But still, it was rare to see a former student of a girls’ middle school in Jilin in this strange land of Emu. The word Jilin evoked in me a tingling feeling tantamount to nostalgia. As is the case now, I cherished a strong attachment at that time for the city\where I had lived for years.


When she saw that I was recalling those bygone days, she asked in a somewhat calmer voice, “Surely you haven’t forgotten autumn 1928, when the campaign against the projected railway between Jilin\and Hoeryong was launched? How violently Jilin seethed that autumn! You may not believe me, but I also took part in the students’ demonstration. I still remember seeing you making a speech in the square in front of the provincial assembly building.”


A student of Jilin Girls’ Middle School who had shouted slogans among the demonstrators, was now the wife of a regimental commander travelling to her parent’s home in fox-fur coats, escorted by a guard. Tears were trickling down her cheeks. Feeling as if ages had passed since her school days, I looked at her in a different light. This woman, who had opposed the Japanese until only yesterday, was now living the life of a pro-Japanese. I gave deep thought to the reasons beyond her transformation. Did it reflect a degeneration, caused by the hopeless destiny of her nation? Looking at the earnest gaze of the woman, now recalling her days in Jilin, however, I realized that the bygone days, when she had fought against the Japanese imperialists, still lingered in her mind. Moreover, she had repented of her folly, here in front of me, with tears in her eyes,\and recalled her school days. What made her start\and tremble so much on seeing me? It must have been the prick of her conscience.


“Why are you silent, Mr. Song Ju? Please forgive me, a girl, who responded to you, by shaking her fists when you made a speech... I am deeply moved to see you going through hardships in military uniform\and feel so ashamed.”


Tears streamed down her cheeks again.


“Calm yourself, madam. Don’t feel too mean. The days are too grim for us to be driven to despair\and self-abandon. The situation at home\and abroad calls on all the sons, daughters\and intellectuals of the Chinese nation, who love their motherland\and fellow countrymen, to fight the Japanese\and save the country. There’s no reason to think that you shouldn’t fight the Japanese imperialists, because you’re a regimental commander’s wife.”


As I said this, she wiped away her tears\and raised her head. “You mean that there’s a way for me to fight the Japanese?”

“Of course! If you influence your husband positively\and make sure that he doesn’t carry out ‘punitive’ operations against the revolutionary army, then you will be contributing to the anti-Japanese struggle.

 

Frankly speaking, a regimental commander is an important person. But I don’t think his rank is the moot point. Most importantly, he shouldn’t forget that he’s Chinese.”


“Although a regimental commander, my husband is not doing it, because he wants to. He remains true to the national conscience. I will prevail on him as you say, Mr. Song Ju, so that he won’t mobilize his men in ‘punitive’ action. Please believe me.”


“How good it would be, if you do! If you managed to convert a regimental commander rom pro-Japanese to anti-Japanese it would mean that his subordinates become patriotic. Madam, this will lead to your revival\and that of your husband.”


To make her feel more confident, I enumerated the instances in Jiandao of puppet Manchukuo army officers, who had converted rom the pro-Japanese to the anti-Japanese struggle.


She replied that it was like a godsend to meet me that day; she had many things to think over after hearing my words. She said I had revived her days in Jilin,\and had now led her\and her husband along the path of renewal. She decided to remember it for the rest of her life\and live like a daughter of the Chinese nation.


I showed her the propaganda materials we had made\and the six-point anti-Japanese national salvation programme published by Song Qing-ling, Zhang Nai-qi\and others in Shanghai. It was the programme Wu Ping had shown us in Zhou Bao-zhong’s hut in Ningan during the first expedition.


After glancing at her watch, she fumbled in her inside pocket\and produced something wrapped up in a sheet of white paper. They were Chinese banknotes. Saying that she had obtained them by selling opium, she requested that I use the money as war funds.

 

I was thankful, but declined.


“Keep it. Today I regained my anti-Japanese schoolmate who had been lost,\and this is my great fortune.”


My words induced her tears.


Before parting, we prepared a rich dinner for her. On leaving she told me her full name, but I only remember her surname Chi. To my regret, I have forgotten her name.


Some days later we received a letter rom the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army. It was a long letter, written in bold strokes, which stated that we were the noblest people in the world,\and that he would help us with all his will, as we had protected his wife\and saved him rom a quagmire of crimes to follow the path of patriotism. His name was Zhang so-and-so, but my memory fails me in this matter.


In later days we sent our supply officer to the vicinity of Emu county town, to prepare for New Year’s Day celebrations, according to the lunar calendar. To obtain various produce, such as frozen pork used to make New Year festive dishes, he went as far as the town, but was caught by the county police before he had fulfilled his mission. This fact became known to the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army through a certain channel. He demanded that the police hand over the supply officer, as the army dealt with matters related to the people’s revolutionary army.


At first the supply officer believed that the regimental commander was going to kill him. But the commander allowed his wife to prepare a feast for our supply officer\and treated him as an honoured guest. Then, he said: “I am extremely grateful to Commander Kim’s unit for the great assistance it accorded my wife; I will never carry out a ‘punitive’ mission against you whatever the circumstances; I swear on my life, so please believe me; if we come across your unit, we’ll fire three shots in the air; at these moments, remember that it is my unit\and that you can pass; I’ll never forget Commander Kim’s kindness; please convey my heartfelt greetings to him.”


He kept his promise faithfully in the subsequent years, exactly as he had told our quartermaster.


When we were billeted in the village of Sankesong, a Japanese army unit was stationed in the village of Guandi\and the puppet Manchukuo army regiment was located near Emu. The two units travelled rom place to place to carry out “punitive” operations, but the 12th Regiment avoided engagements with us, whenever it came upon our unit. We also attacked only Japanese soldiers. The Japanese army could be distinguished rom the puppet Manchukuo army at that time by the helmets. All guerrilla units knew that soldiers with helmets were Japanese\and that those without were puppet Manchukuo army soldiers. But in later days, the puppet Manchukuo army soldiers also wore helmets when they were on the battlefield. Consequently we told them we would shoot any one wearing a helmet, taking him for a Japanese,\and that all those soldiers, who refused to fight against the guerrilla army, had to remove their helmets. In response to this warning, the puppet Manchukuo army soldiers indicated who they were by removing the helmets when they approached us.


When the soldiers with helmets on their heads headed their columns, the guerrilla army attacked the front ranks; when they were in the rear, we attacked only the last ranks. The Japanese shouted; “The guerrillas only strike us!” We demanded that the puppet Manchukuo army unit give a signal, by firing chance shots when they were conducting “punitive” mission,\and they agreed. When they were unable to fire the shots, they would gather in one place in hundreds\or thousands\and raise a clamour thereby letting us know their position.


The regimental commander, Zhang, sent us many supplies. He would often leave his barracks with pork\and frozen dumplings on carts, saying that he intended to carry out a “punitive” mission,\and then\ordered his subordinates to bring them to the place agreed upon with our unit. He would then take his men somewhere far rom the guerrilla army\and wander around there for hours, before returning to the barracks.


One day when our unit was billeted on a village near Guandi, some commanding officers came to me\and reported on the soldiers’ state of mind on New Year’s Eve. They then requested my permission to obtain some buckwheat flour\or starch rom the villagers, so that they could make noodles on New Year’s Day.


In view of the trouble we would cause the villagers, I refused\and\ordered the unit out of the village before long. The villagers had been pleased to know that they would be able to celebrate the New Year with Commander Kim’s unit\and had been arranging a grand banquet. I feared that the villagers might spend months’ provisions on the banquet to be given in honour of my unit. Consequently my unit suddenly left the village. Although we\ordered the withdrawal rom the village to avoid harming the interests of the people, all the men were sulky.


The expeditionary force moved to the dead end of the valley of Huangnihezi, mended the huts abandoned by the lumberjacks\and celebrated New Year’s Day there. Although it was a festive meal, a bowl of boiled foxtail millet was everything that was accorded to each of us. The men had already swallowed their shares, when the pork\and dumplings sent by the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army arrived, much to our delight.

 

As our friendship deepened, the regimental commander even sent weapons\and military information to the expeditionary force. The kindness we had accorded a woman was lavishly rewarded with tied grass—as the Chinese legend goes. Although he remained commander of a regiment appointed by Manchukuo, he bravely atoned for this before history\and the people via his alliance with the communists.


Our policy of demoralizing the enemy forces, by winning over the rank\and file, the overwhelming majority of the puppet Manchukuo army preferentially,\and also middle-\and low-ranking officers\and some of the conscientious high-ranking officers,\and thereby isolating\and striking at a handful of evil officers, proved very effective in our work with the regimental commander. This enormous gain went beyond our expectations. The regimental commander, who never met us, was converted rom a henchman of the counterrevolution to a patriot\and an ally of the communists, influenced by his wife. I think his wife, a former student of Jilin Girls’ Middle School, must have waged quite an active ideological campaign to transform her husband. She was a very wonderful woman.


The regimental commander was subsequently transferred to the Huadian area. I turned him over to Wei Zheng-min. Subsequently, I did not hear rom him for a long time. It was only in 1941 that I heard about him rom Kwak Ji San, who had been an assistant to Wei Zheng-min in Huadian. Kwak said that the 12th\and 13th Regiments of the puppet Manchukuo army in Huadian would soon transfer to Jehol\and that the commanders of the two regiments wished to join the anti-Japanese revolutionary army before moving. But at that time there was no unit in Huadian capable of dealing with two whole regiments at one time\and no cadre could give an authoritative answer to their bold decision. He came for my advice. As Wei Zheng-min had fallen in battle, the military\and political cadres of the 2nd Corps used to come to obtain my decisions on all matters, big\or small, related to the activities of the corps.


I entrusted him with the urgent task of accepting them before their move to Jehol\and sent him to Huadian. To our regret, however, it was too late,\and their righteous action fell through. Later on, I heard that the regimental commander had been relieved in Huadian by a new commander with the surname of Yang. When he was being relieved, he had persuaded his successor to operate against the Japanese\and advised the commander of the 13th Regiment, who had been his friend\and neighbour, to help the anti-Japanese revolution.


I heard nothing about the 12th\and 13th Regiments, after their move to Jehol. Only recently, when researching the collapse of the puppet Manchukuo army during our final operations against Japan, I found that they had rebelled at a decisive moment against the Japanese imperialists.


One conscientious friend in the enemy forces provided us with tens of thousands of friends. Consequently, ever since the early days of the anti-Japanese armed struggle, we proposed the slogan, “Let Us Build a Revolutionary Battery among the Enemy Soldiers!” which meant creating positions in the enemy forces. In other words, it meant creating our revolutionary forces within the enemy camp in\order to demoralize it.


In those days enemy break-up operations were commonly referred to as political work with the enemy. Destroying the enemy by force\and disintegrating them through political work constituted, so to speak, the strategic lines of the anti-Japanese struggle. Throughout history, war has always been fought by both belligerents along two lines—one, fights by the force of arms,\and the other, by psychological\and ideological propaganda.


To maintain public peace\and\order, the Japanese imperialists established their three policies: the implementation of tentative measures, ideological\and radical measures. Generally speaking, these policies had two aspects—one implied the “removal of bandits” through armed forces,\and the other “ideological operations” through propaganda\and appeasement. The enemy also went to desperate efforts to psychologically break our revolutionary ranks.


However, when we first proposed the idea of forming revolutionary\organizations within the enemy camp for political work among enemy soldiers, a number of people were reluctant to agree.


Needless to say, none of them objected to the idea for cowardly reasons. They simply viewed it as a deviation rom the class line. They would set the following objections: “We’re an army of workers\and peasants\and our opponent is an army of the bourgeoisie: they are poles apart. This truth is as clear as daylight, just as water\and fire are incompatible. Even a child knows that. It’s ridiculous to form revolutionary\organizations inside the enemy camp.”


Proponents of Marxism branded it Rightist deviation, similar to class collaboration. They argued that it implied alignment with the class enemy, who maintained an antagonistic relationship with us,\and that the classic Marxist works did not mention the break-up of enemy forces. Our young people may now denounce them for being so stiff-necked, but in those days, when you could not move an inch without referring to the propositions of the classics, such a unilateral view gained the upper hand in many cases.

 

Few people considered such a stand a serious deviation, as an uncompromising class struggle was under way\and everyone in those days maintained a bitter hatred for the class enemy. Many people started the revolution\and endured all the hardships on the strength of their hatred for the class enemy,\and, consequently refused to admit the slightest compromise on the matter of “class”. Worse still, the dogmatic approach of many communists to the Marxist theory of class struggle led them to feel more hatred than love,\and yearn more for relentless punishment\and condemnation than admit a generous quality of mind capable of forgiving\and winning over the enemy. Pretentious Marxists even claimed that uncompromising behaviours typified in any circumstance revolutionaries,\and transformed young people, who were ideologically\and mentally immature, into narrow-minded individuals\and literally cold-hearted Honghuzi. The Marxist revolution suffered bitterly because of this childish practice\and the image of the communists was tarnished. Advocating one-sided class interests, under the slogan that they should defend their own class\and not compromise with the hostile class, the Leftist elements\and dogmatists led many people to reject the communist revolution\and join the enemy camp. The central issue was not whether there were propositions in the classics on the disintegration of the enemy forces, but that they did not try to formulate lines\and policies in the fundamental interests of the revolution.


We believed that we should begin the revolution with a feeling of love for our fellow countrymen; when studying the Marxist classics, we first sought love\and unity rather than an uncompromising spirit. We believed that we could build revolutionary forces within the enemy camp, because we were convinced that their high-ranking officers, to say nothing of the overwhelming majority, the rank\and file, who were sons of workers\and peasants, as well as middle-\and low-ranking officers, included conscientious individuals, who sympathized with our revolution\and pitied those suffering in an exploitative society. If we won them all over to the side of the revolution\and made them our allies, the enemy would be broken up to major extent\and our revolutionary forces would expand far more. It would constitute an enormous offensive, annihilating the class enemy without any rifle\or gunfire, a great propaganda success which would convince the people of the noble ideals of the communists, devoted to the cause of humanity’s happiness\and harmony.


With these ideals\and purposes at least, we raised the slogan “Let Us Build a Revolutionary Battery among the Enemy Soldiers!” as the main slogan in political work with the enemy.


The belief that we could build revolutionary fortresses in the enemy camp was based on the Juche-oriented view of man’s essential qualities. Man is the greatest being endowed with independence, creativity\and consciousness\and, at the same time, a beautiful creature who champions justice. Man, by nature, aspires to virtue\and ennobling qualities\and detests all that is evil\and dirty. These unique features constitute his human traits.


The majority, including the middle\and lower strata\and some of the upper stratum, apart rom a handful of reactionaries, can be encouraged to support the revolution, sympathize\and assist it, if we exert a positive influence to them with magnanimity. If a man retains his human nature\and loves his country\and nation with a humane aroma, although he is a servant of the landlord\and capitalist class, then such a quality will be the basis for winning him over to our side. Our policy is derived rom this stand, based on the view that we can unite all the members of the nation, excluding a tiny handful of reactionaries\and villains, under the banner of great national unity.


After liberation, our people named Kim Ku13 the chief terrorist\and identified him with Syngman Rhee, a reactionary. Admittedly, he had been malignant\and hostile towards communists nearly all his life. There was a caricature in those days of Kim Ku\and Syngman Rhee, crawling into a pigsty with pumpkins on their heads. The caricature indicated how bitter the hatred was. The workers of Kangson Steel Plant wrote “Down with Kim Ku!” on the plant’s chimney. None of our people in those days thought that Kim Ku could ever be transformed. During the April North-South Joint Conference,14 however, he transformed himself rom anti-communist to pro-communist\and allied himself with the communists under our influence. He did so under our influence, but more importantly he did it, because his love for the country\and nation he had devoted his life to had been roused to the highest degree\and his humanity had been developed to the fullest extent while witnessing the realities of the northern half of the country.


If we did not consider patriotism\and human nature, we would not have joined hands with Choe Tok Sin,15 who had levelled guns at us on the anti-communist front line,\and we would not have held dialogues with the present south Korean rulers. We sit at the negotiation table with the south Korean authorities to reunify the country through dialogue, because we place our hopes on their national conscience\and human nature, albeit\limited,\and we also believe that both these traits will come to full bloom one day in the grand flower garden of national harmony.

We had long discussions on which enemy forces we should win over\and how. No agreement was reached on the need to do political work to win over the Japanese army in particular. Most comrades admitted that the middle\and lower strata of the puppet Manchukuo army could be won over to our side, but they argued that it was impossible to win over the Japanese soldiers who had been steeped in “Yamato-Tamashii” (Japanese spirit—Tr.) since childhood\and blindly worshipped their “Emperor”, had been tamed by a coercive discipline\and therefore constituted our enemy. They said it was difficult to eradicate anti-communist ideas rom the minds of the Independence Army commanders, who had been trained at the Japanese military academy, let alone the Japanese soldiers\and officers.


However, an unexpected incident negated this argument. One year typhus spread through some of the villages in Jiandao,\and the Japanese soldiers locked the patients up in their houses\and burnt them to death. The “punitive” force then came to the village,\where Tong Chang-rong was bedridden. When a Japanese officer saw him lying in bed, he commanded his subordinate to lock the door\and set fire to the house. As\ordered, the Japanese soldier rushed to obey. Tong thought his last moment had come\and, determined to die an honourable death by propagandizing for the last time, he condemned the Japanese atrocities, beating the floor of the room with his fist.$As he had graduated rom a university in Japan, he spoke fluent Japanese. He said, “You must be the son of a worker\or a peasant: why on earth did you come here\and why are you killing the poor people at random? What do you get for this murder? How can a man be so immoral? How can you kill a sick man in this way?”


The Japanese soldier was touched by his fiery speech, which pricked his conscience. He kicked the back door open\and sent Tong out, unbeknownst to his officer,\and then set the house on fire. Tong hid in the furrows of the field\and thereby narrowly escaped death.

 

This incident refuted the contention of individuals who had insisted that it was impossible to win over Japanese soldiers. It instilled us with confidence: we picked out stalwart, brave, clever\and resourceful men\and infiltrated them in the enemy camp.


Thanks to the efforts of a large number of sung\and unsung heroes who acted single-handed, engaging in efficient political work among the enemy, without abandoning their principles in hostile surroundings, mutinies occurred almost every day in the puppet Manchukuo army\and self-defence corps.


We trained the guerrillas to do political work among the enemy in diverse forms both\orally\and by circulating publications, influencing public opinion\and disseminating songs.


Thanks to our enthusiastic\and impressive propaganda offensive, conducted both inside\and outside the enemy forces, with both individuals\and collectives, many of the puppet Manchukuo army units stopped fighting against the guerrilla army\and became faithful “weapons suppliers”.


They would respond to our letters by bringing weapons, ammunition\and provisions. When we shouted “Yaoqiang buyaoming !” (We need your guns, not your lives!) on the battlefield, they surrendered\and offered their weapons.


The enemy’s “punitive” forces killed our people indiscriminately, while we treated prisoners like human beings, whether they were rom the puppet Manchukuo army\or rom the Japanese army: we benevolently educated them\and then set them free, even paying for their travelling expenses. One soldier of the puppet Manchukuo army was taken prisoner by our unit seven times. Each time he would bring a rifle with him. When our soldiers jokingly remarked, “Hey, this chap’s here again!” he would answer with a smile, “I’ve come to give a rifle to the revolutionary army.”


During our operations in east Manchuria, we won many enemy company commanders\and higher-ranking officers over to our side, including the company commanders of Wen’s battalion in Luozigou, Wangqing County. “Qian Lianzhang”, who so efficiently broke up Ma Gui-lin’s unit in Nanhamatang in 1934 had been a company commander of the puppet Manchukuo army before we influenced him to switch to the communist cause.


We had some friends assisting us among the Japanese soldiers, whom we shall never forget.


During the defence of Xiaowangqing, O Paek Ryong once brought me a note, addressed to the guerrilla army, which he had found on the body of a driver of the Japanese imperialist aggressor army while searching the battlefield. The writer of the note was of working-class\origin\and a member of the Japan Communist Party. He had been on the way to us, with 100,000 cartridges loaded on his lorry, but his plan had been discovered by the enemy at the foot of a mountain near the guerrilla zone; he had written the note\and stuffed it in his pocket before committing suicide. The profound revolutionary spirit of this proletarian internationalist affected us all. The image of this member of the Japan Communist Party who had surpassed boundless spaces of water\and steep mountains to help us, leaving behind his dear parents, wife\and children in Japan,\and was now buried quietly at the foot of a mountain in a foreign land moves our hearts deeply even now. I heard that the people of Xiaowangqing had named the primary school in their village after him. However, I don’t know if today the school is still called by his name.

 

Drawing on our experience gained while winning over the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army in Emu, we successfully undermined the enemy forces in Dapuchaihe on the border of the Antu\and Dunhua Counties. A battalion of the puppet Manchukuo army, notorious for its “punitive” operations against the guerrilla army was located in that place. It was a vicious battalion with rich combat experience. It was managed very well\and used a well-organized command system. Although we wanted to send our operatives, it was impossible to infiltrate them there. We studied the unit rom various angles to find some weakness. We thereby learned that the battalion commander was dissatisfied with his superiors, because he was paid such a low salary,\and was so hard pressed for money that he had become involved in drug-trafficking through his aide-de-camp. We profited rom this fact to make a breakthrough in our break-up efforts.


One day, our operatives lay in ambush by a road\and seized the aide-de-camp who was returning with large quantities of opium he had bought. He was afraid that the revolutionary army would take the battalion commander’s opium, which was as valuable as money. However, our comrades did not touch it; they merely educated him well\and sent him on his way. Moved by the way he was treated, he reported to his battalion commander on his return that, although he had believed the communist army to be “bandits” as the Japanese stated, he had found them gentle\and well-mannered. The battalion commander was also deeply moved.


Later I sent the commander my visiting card\and a letter through his aide-de-camp. The letter stated: The guerrilla army doesn’t want to fight you; although you committed many vicious deeds while chasing our unit, we won’t settle accounts with you; we don’t want that much rom you;

we only want you never to harm the people\and the people’s revolutionary army; if you mean to repent your past actions\and want to maintain friendly relations with the revolutionary army, then send us Tiejun (Invincible Army —Tr.)\and other publications now\and then.


In response to my letter, the aide-de-camp brought us the magazine Tiejun , agreed on the secret place,\where he could\drop the publications\and returned. Since then, they sent us on a regular basis, through a certain hollow in an old tree, a variety of papers\and periodicals published in\and outside the army as well as important military information. When we gave them money to buy some necessities for our unit\and military supplies, they fulfilled all our requests.


Touched by our goodwill, the battalion commander voluntarily treated our wounded guerrillas. He would hide them in his barracks\and take good care of them; he made sure that they received excellent treatment until their wounds healed. He regarded the people’s revolutionary army as a genuine army of the people\and, as our friendly relations intensified, he sent me a passionate letter, entitled “An Appeal to the Comrades-in-Arms on the Mountain”.


Human conscience follows the truth\and sings the praises of love. I always stressed to my comrades that,\whereas the enemy were trying to demoralize our ranks through deception\and fraudulence, threats\and blackmail, we communists must imbibe the hearts of the enemy soldiers with truth\and love.


The operatives, who took my words to heart\and faithfully conducted political work among the enemy included a young girl guerrilla. Her name was Im Un Ha. The well-known play, entitled Sunflower, describes her actual struggle.

 

I met her for the first time at a secret camp in Mihunzhen in spring 1936. When we debated some important matters on the formation of a new division of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army\and the preparations to found the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland, she became extremely excited as she thought that she would follow us to the area of Mt. Paektu in the future. She was a charming, pretty girl, who was not very talkative but, at the same time, very determined. She was then not quite twenty\and small in build for her age. Whenever she saw me, she would try to coax me into assigning her to the main unit of the KPRA under my command, saying, “You’ll surely take me with you this time, won’t you, General?”


But we left her with Wei Zheng-min who was ill. As her hope of following me to the fatherland had not materialized, tears welled up immediately in her eyes.


I consoled her. “Don’t feel so disappointed”, I said. “When we’ve established ourselves in the area around Mt. Paektu, we’ll take Comrade Wei there for treatment.\and you’ll come with him.”


“I see, General. Don’t worry about me.”


Although she said that to comfort me, she was gazing absent-mindedly towards the southernmost sky of the fatherland in low spirits.


A few days later, we left Mihunzhen\and billeted on a village near Xiaofuerhe. Unexpected misfortune hit this remote mountain village with its four\or five households. The enemy rom Dapuchaihe attacked it at dawn. We quickly occupied one vantage-point\and fired at the enemy, but those who billeted on a house on the opposite side of the valley did not escape in time. They were Wei Zheng-min, Chairman Li, who had been sent to us on graduation rom the Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow, the wife of Cao Ya-fan,\and Im Un Ha.

 

We searched the battle site after repulsing the enemy\and found Wei in the attic. His wounded thigh was bleeding. I was told that Wei’s condition had turned for the worse that day\and could not be moved. Im Un Ha had managed to hide him in the attic. But she had been wounded in the leg while running up the mountain to escape rom enemy fire\and had been captured. Cao Ya-fan’s wife\and Li had been killed that day.


The enemy took Im Un Ha to a company of the puppet Manchukuo army stationed in the vicinity of Dapuchaihe,\and made her laundress\and cook. At first the Japanese instructor cruelly tortured her, in a bid to make her talk, but as this proved futile, he changed his method; he tested her by giving her odd jobs. Im, lonely in the enemy camp, thought again\and again about how she could be of service to the revolution. She decided on the bold plan of trying to persuade the whole company to switch to the side of the revolutionary army.


She decided to try\and stir the men’s hearts by singing some beautiful songs\and awaken the hearts which had become so uncouth owing to exhaustive military service. To make contact with the soldiers, she stretched out a clothesline in the yard of the barracks\and sang a plaintive, nostalgic song, frequently touching the clothes. We composed a good song for political work with the enemy. We had set revolutionary words to the tune of a mournful old song, sung by a widow over the grave of her husband, killed at the construction site of the Great Wall. She sang this song for rank-and-file soldiers,\and other\ordinary songs for the officers. The company had previously belonged to the national salvation army, but it had been reassigned to the puppet Manchukuo army when the commander of the NSA had deserted. Consequently the soldiers had a strong anti-Japanese spirit. Her lovely singing captivated the soldiers’ hearts. When they heard her singing that plaintive song, even officers gazed at a distant sky absent-mindedly, deep in thought.


As the prisoner’s good voice became common knowledge, soldiers came up\and asked, “Will you sing a song for us, girl guerrilla?” She would reply, smiling, “Of course, as it’s free I can sing hundreds of times.”\and she would sing in a sorrowful way, adjusting her voice. The plaintive song carried the grievances of the Chinese people who were bleeding\and dying under Japanese oppression.


The labour involved in the construction of the Great Wall Built the tombs of the Chinese in the past. Today the bayonets of the Japanese


Dig our graves.


Arise,\and advance,


To take vengeance on the enemy of the Chinese.


The uncouth soldiers, as well as the girl would shed tears when she sang. She sang songs for them\and also did their needlework\and left them the food they liked\and later gave them extra portions.


Thereby, a friendship sprang up between Im\and the soldiers. A few greenhorns followed her around as they would their own sisters. They had been\orphaned in childhood\and had roamed about begging, before joining the army for the food. She took loving care of these poor lonely young men. Im soon became as dear to them as their own sister\and mother for the soldiers had been so hungry for human warmth.


One day three young soldiers came to her\and requested that she swear brotherhood with them. They said, “You’re our eldest sister, Un Ha. We’ll sacrifice our lives for you, sister.”

 

Their pledge was solemn\and earnest. Needless to say, she accepted\and grasped their hands warmly, saying, “I’ll sacrifice my life for you, brothers.”


With these three soldiers as the hard core, she expanded brotherhood still further\and developed it gradually into an anti-Japanese association. Meanwhile, she decided to approach the company commander to discuss rebellion. The company commander, too, had been in the national salvation army,\and had always been aggrieved by the tyranny of the Japanese instructor. Grasping his state of mind at the right moment, she went to see him one day\and told him in detail how former puppet Manchukuo army soldiers, who had defected to the guerrilla army lived. Then she ventured, “Why don’t you defect with your soldiers?”


At first the company commander was embarrassed by her unexpected suggestion.


“How long do you plan to carry on being maltreated like a horse? Yesterday Wang, your most cherished man, was beaten by the Japanese instructor until he lost consciousness. However, you didn’t utter a word of protest.”


As the company commander trembled with anger, she continued, “I’ll help you defect. All of your men are my sworn brothers\and members of the anti-Japanese association.”


He looked at her glowing eyes in amazement. What had this young girl guerrilla been doing up to that time? The company commander was shocked to find that she had such a big heart for such a small body.


He said, “As a man, I’m ashamed.”


And he left hastily.


The next day the soldiers under her influence lodged a protest, demanding their salary which was now six months overdue. That day, too, the Japanese instructor beat the soldiers’ representative to a pulp, hurling abuse at him. The girl thought this to be a critical moment\and faced the soldiers boldly, appealing, “My dear brothers! Get rid of that cruel Japanese instructor! End your shameful service to the puppet Manchukuo army\and follow me to the anti-Japanese guerrilla army!”


Responding to her appeal, the soldiers killed the Japanese instructor, swiftly formed ranks\and set out in search of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. They took along three Czech-made machine-guns, 19 rifles, one pistol\and 4,700 cartridges.


History hardly knows of a case when a girl, scarcely twenty years of age, persuaded an enemy company to mutiny. A secret document of the Japanese imperialists mentioned this incident as an unprecedented, miraculous event.


Im Un Ha was the flower of the guerrilla army, a daughter of Korea possessing a capacious heart, a girl who, as we had expected, had led the soldiers of the puppet Manchukuo army along the right road with the sincerity, love\and magnanimity of a communist.


Our political work among the enemy troops intensified rom the latter half of the 1930s onwards\and the revolutionary\organizations spread their network to the vicious Jingan army units as well. Our\organizations held sway in many units of the self-defence corps\and puppet Manchukuo army\and police. Accordingly, most of the puppet Manchukuo army soldiers turned their guns on the Japanese imperialists\or were about to break up during our final anti-Japanese campaign for the liberation of the country.


The inglorious defeat of the Japanese imperialist aggressor army\and the puppet Manchukuo army, serving an unjust cause, was inevitable, dictated by the laws of history. Somehow\or other, man is bound in the end to take the side of justice\and truth by a straight\or roundabout path.


I still don’t know what happened to the regimental commander of the puppet Manchukuo army I made friends with in Emu. But I’m certain that if he, his wife\and children are alive somewhere, they will devote themselves to their fatherland\and the Chinese nation.



 

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