[Reminiscences]Chapter 12 3. Revolutionary Comrade-in-Arms Zhang Wei-Hua (1) > 새 소식

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 12 3. Revolutionary Comrade-in-Arms Zhang Wei-Hua (1)

  

   


 

3. Revolutionary Comrade-in-Arms Zhang Wei-Hua (1) 

 

 

As I mentioned in the previous section, shortly after Kim San Ho’s return to Maanshan with cloth I sent him back again to the Fusong county town. Cloth worth 20 yuan was not enough to make clothes for all the Children’s Corps members. Cloth could be captured rom the enemy in battle, but I did not intend to fight in close combat in this county town, which had been associated with me for a long time. The new division we\organized gave the revolutionary army a new look. We exploited this success to increase its military\and political capabilities.


If we had opened fire before building up our strength, we might have been surrounded by the enemy in Fusong\and encountered many obstacles on our way to the Mt. Paektu area.


We could only obtain cloth with help rom Zhang Wei-hua. Only Zhang Wei-hua, the son of a rich man, my comrade-in-arms\and an active member of the\organization who was loyal to the cause of anti-Japanese national salvation, would regard my headache as his own\and save me rom difficulties at any cost.


Kim San Ho was somewhat astonished when I\ordered him to go to Fusong again. His bewilderment was only natural, because he had been told to go,\where he had been a short while ago. I wanted to let him relax. However, I inevitably assigned him to another heavy task for the children\and the newly-formed unit. He was the right man to deal with Zhang Wei-hua without a hitch. When Zhang Wei-hua was teaching at Samsong School in Wujiazi, under the childhood name of Zhang Ya-qing, Kim San Ho worked with the young people there in the branch\organization of the Anti-Imperialist Youth League. Although they had maintained no personal\or business relations, his backgrounds could serve as an identification card.


“I am sorry, Comrade San Ho. Whenever I have a difficult task, I feel obliged to turn to you. I don’t know why. Isn’t your commander so cruel?”


I said this, when Kim San Ho reported to me to receive a new assignment. He had been taking a rest, after returning to Maanshan together with the small unit, which had rescued him.


“Please don’t speak in a roundabout way. It’s not like you, Commander. Tell me straightforwardly what I should do,” he said in a bass voice, after looking at me with bloodshot eyes for a few seconds.


His words comforted me considerably.


“Good, you must leave for Fusong again tomorrow morning. I’ve decided to send you to Zhang Wei-hua. After all, I think we need his assistance. Do you remember a Chinese young man, who was teaching at a primary school in Wujiazi?”


“Do you mean Mr. Zhang Ya-qing? Of course, I remember. I cannot forget his eyes\and how he peered shyly at people over his spectacles. His guitar play sounded good.”


“Well, then, I will write a letter of introduction for your visit. Make a round of the town first, reconnoitring it carefully\and find Zhang Wan-cheng’s house in Xiaonanmen Street. This Zhang is Zhang Wei-hua’s father, one of the richest men in Fusong.”


Kim San Ho looked at me, beaming with a smile\and throwing out his breast. He smiled happily, as if he were going for a picnic.


This unusually tall man resembled a diligent farmer\and was respected by his colleagues. When he had work to do, he was vivacious,\whereas when he had nothing to do, he was in low spirits as if suffering rom a disease caused by pent-up rage. His looks clearly indicated whether he had something to do\or not.


I wrote to Zhang Wei-hua through the early morning hour, which was most precious to me in my daily routine.


Someone made a double-bottomed bean oil can to carry the letter in the bottom space. Kim San Ho left Maanshan, carrying this bean oil can with satisfaction. To pass him off as an oil peddler capable of clearing a search by the military\or police, Pak Yong Sun found a cloth for him, which was shabbier than a coolie cloth\and glistened with oil-stained grime.


I waited anxiously for news rom Zhang Wei-hua. I was lost in thoughts about Zhang Wei-hua throughout the several sleepless nights I spent waiting for Kim San Ho. Every second passed in my yearning for Zhang.


How good I would have felt to go down into town in the guise of a coolie with a face towel, like a dustcloth hanging rom my belt, as Kim San Ho had done,\and meet Zhang Wei-hua! How happy it would have been to be able to take a walk with Zhang along Xiaonanmen Street,\where my old house was, meet my teachers\and old classmates in Fusong Senior Primary School No. 1\and call on my father’s grave in Yangdicun!

 

If I had not had a lot of work to do\and had not been surrounded by my comrades-in-arms, who were protecting me with greater concern than they would their own relations, I might have ventured to go to Fusong at any risk. However, so many people knew me in that place,\where I was eager to go. As I had lived in Fusong for a long time in my school days, I was widely known as a man who was persona non grata to the military\and the town police as well. Fusong was another den of warlords,\where I had been arrested by the local authorities\and held in custody. But I loved this town as much as ever, because a part of my childhood had been spent there,\and my father’s grave\and dear Chinese friend Zhang Wei-hua were there.


On one side of the crossroad in Fusong, there was a distillery called Dongshaoguo,\where I met Zhang Wei-hua on my way to south Manchuria on an expedition in June 1932. The name of this distillery was changed later, but it had been restored to its\original name, when it became known that I met Zhang Wei-Hua on my way to south Manchuria there. On my 80th birthday Zhang Jin-quan (Zhang Wei-hua’s son—Tr.) presented me the famous liquor, Dongshaoguo, produced in this distillery. At that time I felt the warm hearts of the Fusong people again.


I met Zhang Wei-hua many times in this distillery. We exchanged our opinions over the revolution\and our future. Zhang told me that his wife was pregnant. She gave birth to Zhang Jin-quan, who is now living in Fusong.


Zhang Wei-hua admired the steady appearance of my men.


“Song Ju, your men are hale\and hearty. You\organized a fine army within less than one year after we last met on the train. You have achieved a great deal. You can now accomplish a great cause. Marvellous!”


He praised me profusely, turning up his thumb. His artless compliment nearly perplexed me.


“Wei-hua, don’t extol me to the skies. We have only started. We are still babies. In giving birth to these babies, the dozens of rifles you gave us produced a great result. You played the role of midwife, by rendering distinguished service to the birth of our army.”


“Don’t praise me too much. I reproach myself for my inability\and lethargy. You still trust me, don’t you?”


“Of course I trust you. I trust you very much. My affection for you will not change, even if the River Songhua may flow backwards.”


Zhang Wei-hua suddenly grasped my hands\and gazed at me eagerly. “If so, accept me into your unit. I want to take up arms\and fight the Japanese. If you don’t agree, I won’t allow you to leave Fusong.” His point-blank request made me joyful.


“Really, Wei-hua?”


“Yes, of course. Ever since your unit’s arrival in Fusong, I have only thought about this. My wife agreed....”


“Then, your father? Will he let you go?”


“It matters little whether he does\or not. If I want I can go. As you said on the train, there would be no family without the country. So we must carry out the revolution, regardless of the wishes of our parents. Chen Han-zhang has taken part in the revolution, even though he is a son of a rich man. Therefore, I can work at least among the Chinese national salvation army units.”

 

“It is a good idea for you to join the guerrilla army. But, Wei-hua, the revolution needs more than just one front: armed struggle. I hope you will stay in Fusong\and work underground for the revolution.”


“Underground revolutionary work? Do you mean that you cannot admit me into the guerrilla army?”


“No, I don’t mean that. I want you to fight on another front. The underground revolutionary struggle, to educate the masses\and rally them into an\organization, is no less important than armed struggle. Unless the fighters on this front rally the masses closely, the armed struggle will not have a strong foundation. Consequently we decided to build up a strong underground revolutionary front in Fusong. I want you to command this front.”


Zhang Wei-hua polished his glasses slowly,\dropping his head as if in low spirits.


“So you intend to send me to the second front, which cannot be reached by enemy fire. You think I cannot endure hardships because I have lived in luxury in a rich family?”


“Of course, I must admit that I have considered such a matter. Wei-hua, your physical build is not up to guerrilla warfare, which requires trekking steep mountains. I am frank with you. I do not doubt your mental strength, but I worry about your physical condition. So you should help our work as much as you can by running a photo studio\or teaching at school rather than undergo hardships in mountains. Your reputation as a rich man’s son is very useful! It can hide your revolutionary activity.”


The next day, too, I persuaded Zhang Wei-hua patiently. In the end, he accepted my advice.


On the day we left Fusong, Zhang said as he saw me off.

 

“Frankly speaking, I was determined to join the guerrilla army, because I wanted to be by your side; I had nothing against the underground struggle. My life without Song Ju is like an\orchestra without violins. You may not know how much I have yearned for you. Don’t forget me\wherever you go. I have no closer\and more precious friend than you, Song Ju. Take care of yourself.”


Zhang Wei-hua said farewell in tears. That day I enlisted him in a secret\organization of the Young Communist League.


Four years had passed since then. Four years was quite a long time. However, I had been concerned about him\and yearned for him all these years.


I waited for Kim San Ho impatiently.


On his arrival in Fusong county town, Kim San Ho peddled about the town for a while\and discovered that Zhang was running the Xiongdi Photo Studio. There was only a sign. In actual fact, it constituted the headquarters, which directed underground\organizations in Fusong. There Zhang Wei-hua maintained contacts with\organization members, while earning money. When Kim San Ho called the owner\and asked, “May I see you, Mr. Zhang?” he showed the guest into the photo development room.


“General Kim Il Sung sent me to you. He is staying in the vicinity of Fusong. He asked me to see how you are living, so I came here on his behalf,” said Kim San Ho to Zhang Wei-hua.


Zhang recognized him\and was glad to see him.


“Oh, Kim Song Ju! He is near here? Can you guide me to his place?” “It is difficult to go there right now, because it is quite away rom here. We will choose a suitable place nearby\and inform you. What about meeting General Kim Il Sung there?”

 

Zhang Wei-hua looked at San Ho dubiously, but, as he read my letter, a broad smile spread over his face.


“All right. I will wait for your message. Please tell Kim Song Ju that I received his letter with thanks.\and also report that I am healthy\and have been faithful to our promise.”


Kim San Ho came back to the secret camp in high spirits. His report, replete with news, was the greatest gift I received in spring 1936. I could not calm down, as if I were intoxicated by the fragrance of spring\and strolled about the secret camp until I was tired. I proposed as our rendezvous a cave near Miaoling, Fusong County. Most comrades agreed. But some of them, knowing that I was going to meet the son of a rich man who owned dozens of hectares of land\and many insam fields\and private soldiers, objected to my trip to Miaoling, feeling uneasy about the venture.


“Comrade Commander, may I take the liberty of suggesting that you’d be wise not to meet the son of a rich man Zhang? You say he is a friend rom primary school\and\organization member for some years, but class nature will not change. Anyhow he is the son of the exploiting class,” one of them said.


I brushed him aside.


“Comrades, I thank you for your concern for my safety. But I cannot follow your advice. You now talk nervously about class nature, as if your Commander were falling into a trap. It is an insult to my precious comrade-in-arms, Zhang Wei-hua, as well as an insult to our policy of the united front.”


“Comrade Commander, when we worked in local\organizations we were told that man’s class nature could not change\and that we must not compromise with rich men on any account. Since our enlistment in the revolutionary army, many commanding officers have taught us this. So we believe only in the principle of struggle between landlords\and peasants\and capitalists\and workers\and are convinced that we must overthrow\or liquidate any members of the exploiting class.”


They were very stubborn in their objections to my trip to Miaoling. But I did not shout them down, even though they came up with ultra-revolutionary phraseology, which ran contrary to revolutionary principle. In those days many people in our ranks still copied\or applied mechanically the propositions of the classics, instead of approaching them in a creative manner in relation to revolutionary practice. They considered the propositions of Marx\or Lenin as absolute law, which they could not deviate rom even an inch. To free them rom their dogmatic way of thinking, one had to go to unremitting efforts to teach them the principles of revolution.


I responded:


Of course, it is right to fight against the exploiting class. I also agree that landlords\and capitalists are the hostile class. But you should bear in mind that we must not tar all landlords\and capitalists with the same brush. Some of them even love the country\and fight the Japanese. Comrade Kim San Ho, who is present here, knows Wujiazi well. He knows how sincerely landlord Zhao Jia-feng helped us in our revolutionary activity. Zhang’s father Zhang Wan-cheng supported us more actively than Zhao Jia-feng. In autumn 1930, when we were preparing for the armed struggle in Wujiazi, Zhang Wei-hua gave me dozens of rifles free of charge, which his private soldiers had used. You know full well what each of your rifles cost us. Many comrades laid down their lives for a single rifle. However, Zhang Wei-hua gave us 40 rifles, when we had to obtain such rifles at the cost of our lives. Why can’t we trust Zhang Wei-hua?


I won’t tell you here how friendly Zhang’s family were to me\and the great help they accorded my family. But I must state here the losses borne by our revolution, owing to one-sided interpretations of the class spirit\and class struggle. You hold that landlord Zhang Wan-cheng must be liquidated, because he belongs to the exploiting class, no matter how much he has benefited the revolution, while an enemy’s agent of worker\or peasant\origin should be welcomed, because he belongs to the basic class of our revolution, regardless of the harm he has done to the revolution. How absurd this all is.


Communists must always be fair to other people. This means that they should appreciate good people as such\and their merits as virtues, regardless of their party affiliation, religion\or social strata. Communists must always maintain a scientific attitude in appreciating people. This means that they must judge a man correctly rom an objective point of view, mainly by his ideas\and practice, rather than a ready-made formula. If they regard a man’s\origin as absolute in judging him, they cannot make a scientific\and fair judgement of him.


What will happen, if we judge people in a Leftist manner by asserting exclusively the class spirit\and class struggle? It will no doubt throw many people over to the enemy camp. The enemy wants us to become such blind fools, who doubt people thoughtlessly\and knock them down recklessly.


Comrades, we have suffered a lot as targets of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle in Jiandao. When you were distrusted by people, who had shared life\and death living under the same roof, you wailed beating your breasts. How dare you, despite such bitter experience, suspect an innocent man, just as the cursed ones did?


After persuading them in this manner, I left Maanshan secret camp for Miaoling, accompanied by a few bodyguards.


The apprehension of opponents to my visit to Zhang Wei-hua on the charge that the class nature of rich people would never change, was superfluous. I was displeased by their imprudent remarks, which seemed to discredit the friendship between Zhang\and me\and the intimate terms between his family\and mine. They seemed to fling mud at our ten-year-old, noble\and deep-rooted friendship which had been as constant as the stream of the River Songhua. It was a sincere, profound\and genuine friendship which could not be defamed on any account. It met the interests of the revolution as a whole\and communist humanism\and morality.


If all rich people in the world were to be defined indiscriminately as reactionary, on the basis of a single point of view, which charge such people as exploiters, we communists would not need to go through an arduous path of social transformation to make ourselves rich.


Ever since childhood, I had avoided judging people by the standard of their property, going instead by their love for fellow human beings, fellow countrymen\and their motherland. I even regarded rich people in a favourable light, if they loved their fellow people\and country. I even disregarded poor people, if they lacked human love\or love for their country. In a nutshell, I evaluated people mainly by the criterion of ideology.


Kang Yun Bom, whom I have already mentioned as my first childhood comrade, was the son of a well-to-do man. His family even had a small\orchard. His family was rich beyond bounds, compared to my family at Mangyongdae. However, I loved\and trusted him, as he loved the country\and the people more passionately than others.


Paek Son Haeng whom I mentioned in Volume 1 of this book was also a millionaire, but was respected by Pyongyang citizens all her life. In fact, she became rich owing to superhuman hard work\and her austere life.


Of course, a number of misers, who have vast tracts of land\and are extremely rich, build their wealth by exploiting people inhumanely. There are also wicked rich men, who commit outrages violating human morality\and cause all social evils. But not all rich men are wicked.


Paek Son Haeng did all kinds of work. She earned money tirelessly, sparing no time to powder her face even once, selling bean sprout, bean curd\and flowers, weaving hemp cloth\and cotton cloth, raising pigs\and selling even food leftovers. She donated all her money to society—tens of thousands of won, which she had earned with the sweat of her brow for decades, ever since she was widowed at the age of 16.


She made her first contribution to society by building a stone bridge in Songsan-ri, called Solmoe Bridge. Later on, Pyongyang people, who had been moved by her noble deed called her Son Haeng (good deed— Tr.)\and renamed Solmoe Bridge as Paekson Bridge after her.


In those days, there was a city public hall for the Japanese in the new street of Pyongyang. No Koreans were admitted. Indignant at the Japanese, Paek Son Haeng proposed the construction of another public hall exclusively for Koreans\and assumed the whole burden of this project, investing tens of thousands of won . The three-storeyed stone building, which was once Pyongyang public hall still stands as it was near Ryongwang Pavilion.

 

She invested a colossal sum of money in the development of national education. Kwangsong Primary School, Changdok School, Sungui Girls’ School\and other schools in Pyongyang were financed rom the products of tens of hectares of land she contributed. By studying in Changdok School, which owed a great deal to her charitable contributions, I also benefited rom her benevolence.


Whenever she met children on her visits to schools she was sponsoring, she used to say:


“You are the sons\and daughters of Korea who shoulder the future of the country. You must study hard, day\and night, without being tempted to play\or put aside your books, when you hate studying. The independence of our country depends on how you study.”


Once a high-ranking official came rom Seoul to convey the commendation of Government-General to her\and requested an interview with her, but she declined.


My childhood principle of judging people rom their thoughts\and deeds had a considerable influence on our communist\and national liberation movements in subsequent years. If we had not called on the whole nation to rise as one on this principle, many people would not have rallied themselves behind the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland\and, now, when national reunification is the supreme task, many people in south Korea\and many overseas compatriots would not have shouted “We want reunification”, shoulder to shoulder with one another under the banner of great national unity. If we had been opposed to rich people in general on the basis of social status, without considering his\or her ideas\and real mind, such intellectuals of the property class as Jong Jun Thaek, Kang Yong Chang, Ro Thae Sok, Ri Ji Chan\and Kim Ung Sang would not have appeared on the political stage of our country after liberation\and would not have displayed the spirit of total devotion\and rendered distinguished services in developing science\and technology in our country.


I approached Chinese rich men rom the same point of view. If I had not held such a point of view, I would not have made friends with Chen Han-zhang, the son of a great landlord,\and admitted Zhang Wei-hua, the son of a man of great wealth, into our revolutionary\organization\and pledged eternal friendship. As the examples of Chen Han-zhang\or Zhang Wei-hua go to show, people rom the property class\and their sons\and daughters number among the outstanding figures who pioneered the communist movement in China.


Zhou En-lai who devoted all his life to the happiness of the Chinese nation, the communist cause\and the cause of proletarian internationalism was also the son of a rich government official in the closing years of the Qing dynasty.


I think it was largely thanks to my influence that Zhang Wei-hua devoted all his life to the communist movement regardless of his family\origin, joining hands with the communists, who regarded the property class as hostile to them. His father educated him in patriotism,\whereas my comrades\and I exercised communist influence on him. When I was enrolled in the fifth year class of Fusong Senior Primary School No. 1, he was merely a young patriot. I was also a mere patriotic-minded boy in those days. He began to adopt the communist idea when I\organized the DIU\and the Young Communist League\and expanded their network everywhere. At that time I\organized a secret communist group, which could work as the Party\organization in Fusong, arranged around my mother\and Pak Cha Sok. Zhang Wei-hua maintained relations with this group together with Jong Hak Hae\and Chae Ju Son. Ever since then, Zhang fell under communist influence.


Since the first day of enrollment in Fusong Senior Primary School No. 1, thanks to the good offices of Chairman Shi, I studied together with Zhang Wei-hua. It seemed a play of history that Kim Song Ju, an unlucky boy rom a ruined country,\and Zhang Wei-hua, the son of a millionaire, studied in the same class. It was strange, indeed, that our unprecedented friendship sprouted\and blossomed rom this anomalous link. However, our friendship did not occur only because we studied together. It also\originated rom the friendship between my father Kim Hyong Jik\and Zhang’s father Zhang Wan-cheng.


After escaping safely rom a den of bandits in Manjiang with the help of Kong Yong\and Pak Jin Yong, my father stayed for a while in Daying\where many Koreans lived. He requested sub-county head Choe, an independence fighter with whom he had been on friendly terms, to help him obtain the approval of the county authorities to reside in Fusong. Choe called on the county government, but the county head did not want Korean revolutionaries to live in the area under his jurisdiction\and so rejected his residence request on the reason that he was a refugee.


At this moment my father heard that Zhang Wan-cheng, a millionaire in Fusong, had fallen ill\and was looking for an excellent doctor. At the request of Choe, my father treated Zhang. During his treatment Zhang was charmed by my father’s calligraphy. Zhang was also a good calligrapher. This occasioned their friendship. My father requested that Zhang Wan-cheng exercise his influence on the county government to approve his residence request in Fusong. The sub-county head Choe, too, persuaded Zhang Wan-cheng\and negotiated with Chairman Shi, the most influential intellectual in Fusong. Chairman Shi’s full name was Shi Chun-tai\and he was the principal of a middle school in Fusong. As he worked as chairman of the educational association, in addition to his regular office, the Fusong people called him Chairman Shi. He promised to help my father.


Zhang Wan-cheng went to the county government\and persuaded the county head. “There is a Korean exile. I hope you will allow him to settle down in the town\and open a surgery. I know you are afraid that the Japs will provoke you, if you approve. But it is only natural that Koreans fight against the Japanese who occupied their country. If you approve it will be good, because you are not a pro-Japanese. What are you worrying about in this place,\where there is no Japanese consulate? You have only to deceive the consulate police\and spies coming rom Linjiang. You should not refuse Kim Hyong Jik’s request to settle down in Fusong.” Touched by such words, the county head inevitably approved my father’s request.


When my father was bustling about anxiously to obtain approval rom the authorities to reopen the closed Paeksan School after its reconstruction, Zhang Wan-cheng, together with other influential persons, also helped my father achieve this aim, by persuading the county authorities in the name of the deputy director of the chamber of commerce\and the committee member of the educational association. Whenever my family faced a major problem, which was difficult for us to resolve on our own, he gave us selfless assistance, exerting his efforts when required\and giving money if necessary. The help of Zhang’s family continued even after my father’s death. Zhang Wan-cheng would often send us money\and food, worrying about my mother who was going through hardships supporting children as a widow.

 

When I was studying in Jilin, my uncle Hyong Gwon was arrested\and imprisoned by the warlord authorities. As misfortunes always come in pairs, my mother became helpless when my uncle was imprisoned shortly after my father’s death. After serious thought, she called on Zhang Wei-hua’s father\and requested him to persuade the police. Thanks to his negotiations with the police, my uncle was released soon afterwards.


Zhang Wan-cheng was a conscientious nationalist, who advocated national independence\and loved his country ardently. Although he was a man of great wealth who could live in comfort, indifferent to changes in the world, he sympathized with my father who was experiencing all sorts of hardships in his attempts to liberate the country\and, after my father died of illness, he supported\and protected me, showing warm affection for my cause as fighter for national independence.


Zhang Wei-hua knew that I was a communist, but his father regarded me merely as a fighter for national independence.


Fusong was home to stooges of the warlords\and spies of the Japanese consulate, as well as many conscientious men of influence\and patriots such as Zhang Wan-cheng, Shi Chun-tai, Yuan Meng-zhou\and Quan Ya-zhong. Yuan Meng-zhou was Zhang Wei-hua’s maternal uncle. When I attended the Senior Primary School No. 1, he taught there, after graduating rom Shenyang Normal School\and later worked as headmaster of the school. His subjects, sports\and\organ practice, were the interesting lessons\and were the favourites of pupils. Quan Ya-zhong, who belonged to the left wing of Kuomintang had a good ideological tendency. He had a hospital\and watch shop, running both of them at the same time, but had progressive ideas. His elder brother Quan Ya-zhe was also a good man.

 

The friendly relations between my father\and Zhang Wei-hua’s father naturally exerted a great influence on the friendship between Zhang Wei-hua\and me. When my father went to Zhang’s house to treat him\or Zhang Wan-cheng came to our house to see my father, I also frequented Zhang’s house\or Wei-hua came to our house to study together.


Whenever Zhang Wei-hua came to my house, my mother served him Korean foods. He greatly enjoyed Korean dishes. Zhang’s family cooked Chinese dumplings for me. As Zhang liked Korean food, I liked dumplings. The people rom Shandong cooked dumplings very well. Zhang Wan-cheng came rom Shandong.


In the mid-1920s, Fusong county town was square-shaped, with a gate in the east, a gate in the north, two gates in the west\and Xiaonanmen gate\and Dananmen gate in the south. Zhang Wan-cheng’s shop was situated slightly north of Dananmen. By going straight a little further rom the shop\and turning a corner, I could find Zhang’s house. We went round all the streets of this town\and passed all the gates. We had been everywhere\and played all games. We frequently played tennis in the yard of our school\and went swimming on the River Songhua. We also took part in literary entertainment contests.


Zhang Wei-hua was stout-hearted\and enthusiastic, although introspective. He volunteered before anyone else to defend justice without hesitation\and never tolerated anybody who was unjust. He was so sharp that he could stand on the edge of a sword, if he was determined.


A policeman once knocked down a teacher of our school in the presence of his pupils, finding faults with him about a trifling matter. The pupils, who regarded teachers as divine, became furious with indignation at this surprising incident. Zhang Wei-hua\and I made speeches denouncing the police to stir up the pupils. “For the policeman to beat a teacher is an infringe on the school\and a serious insult to teachers\and pupils. How outrageous it is for a petty policeman in a county town to beat the teacher! As his pupils, we must demand an apology rom the police authorities. We must force the scoundrel to come to school, take off his cap\and apologize to the teacher.”


We surged to the county government building carrying placards with the inions: “Punish severely the brutal policeman who beat the teacher!”\and “Let us defend the rights\and interests of the teachers!”\and went on a sit-in struggle demanding the punishment of the evil policeman. But the county government would not listen to the just demand of the pupils; it tried to settle the quarrel by coaxing them. The struggle failed.


We resolved to punish that policeman by force. One night I was told that the policeman was going to the theatre. It was a good opportunity to teach him a lesson. But, if we were to escape rom the theatre in a short span after beating him, we had to destroy a gas lamp hanging on the ceiling of the stage. Who could blow out this lamp? After debating this matter repeatedly, Zhang Wei-hua assumed this task. That evening over ten pupils went to the theatre\and started their planned action. When an interval came, Zhang jumped on stage\and destroyed the lamp with a wooden pole. With my shout “Beat him!” the pupils flogged the policeman, until he begged for mercy on his knees\and then we vanished.


On the way back home Zhang said:


“I’m satisfied. I have realized for the first time tonight how pleasant it is to punish injustice by force.”


“We must not tolerate such a scoundrel. We cannot live with such people under the same sky,” I said.

 

Zhang paused abruptly\and asked me seriously, “Song Ju, which school will you go to after graduating rom primary school?”


I had not expected this question. I had never thought seriously about my future after primary school. So I replied casually.


“Well, I would like to go to middle school, if possible. But I don’t think I can afford it. What about you, Wei-hua?”


“I want to attend the normal school in Shenyang which my maternal uncle graduated rom. My father, too, advised me to do so. If you don’t mind I will take you with me to Shenyang. We can go to the same school there. After finishing normal school we will go to university together.”


“It’s very kind of you to say so. But, is it really possible for me?” “Why? Because of a school fee? You need not worry about it. I will


help you.”


“My parents will not allow me to do so. I myself don’t wish to study all the time. How can a boy of a ruined nation enjoy the luxury of studying at university?”


“Do you mean that you will join your father in the fight for independence? When you go to join in the revolution, I will follow you.” “What about Shenyang? You said you would go to a normal school.” “Only if we go together. I won’t go to Shenyang without you. I want to be with you all my life. If you go to higher school I will too,\and if you become a communist so will I.”


That was the point Zhang Wei-hua wanted to tell me that night. His words moved me deeply. I grasped his hand\and said in a whisper, “Thank you, Ya-qing, but do you know what communism is?”


“Of course. It may be what Li Da-zhao\or Chen Du-xiu is doing.”


“A communist must be ready to risk imprisonment\or his life. Are you ready for that?”

 

“I am not afraid of such things. I don’t care about prison\or death, as long as I am with you.”


His unexpected declaration dumbfounded me. I could not guess what had inspired him to declare like that. But clearly his words that night expressed his ideal\and faith, which he had long cherished in his mind. Zhang Wei-hua tried to make my ideal\and faith his own. He did not define his doctrine first\and then choose a friend who shared the same doctrine, but made a friend first\and then shared his friend’s doctrine. His way of deciding his future was simple\and yet profound. Zhang’s such attitude was based on his unqualified trust\and friendship with me. Zhang Wei-hua respected me sincerely\and followed me.


It was only natural that when I departed for Hwasong Uisuk School, he wanted in tears to follow me. My farewell with Zhang Wei-hua was unbearable. The thought of our parting depressed him so much that I had to spend two sleepless nights sharing the same bed\and persuading him. We spent one night in my house\and another in Zhang’s house consoling each other. When I left for Huadian he came as far as the ferry on the River Songhua to see me off\and said farewell in tears.


That day he asked me, “Song Ju, is the difference in social status as great as the height of Mt. Everest?”


“The difference in social status has nothing to do with this matter. Your father does not permit you to go, because he does not want you to live away rom home.”


“If my father restricts me, because of difference in social status, I will become a poor man for the sake of our friendship. Anyhow, Song Ju, remember that I will join you someday,\wherever you go\and do what you are doing.”

 

Zhang Wei-hua kept his resolve. He came to me as I attended Yuwen Middle School in Jilin. He came with a pistol stolen rom his father, telling none of his family\where he was going.


I was embarrassed by his unexpected appearance.


“Song Ju, I have left my family at last to come to you. You can see, how determined I am.”


He took out the pistol. He threw his head back amusingly\and gazed at the ceiling.


“I wonder that your father let go of you.”


“He didn’t. He\ordered me to go to Shenyang right away but I slipped out of the house.”


“Won’t your parents worry about you?”


“There may be an uproar. But I don’t care. If they don’t find me, one of them will come to Jilin. In all probability, they know that I came to see you.”


Zhang was right. Several days after he arrived, his elder brother Zhang Wei-zhong called at Yuwen Middle School, taking private soldiers with him\and asked for\whereabouts of his brother. Hearing that his brother was staying with me, he sank to the ground.


“Then, he is safe! We thought he had been kidnapped by bandits.” “Brother Wei-zhong, I will take good care of him. Don’t worry.” Zhang Wei-zhong said, “Song Ju, I’m relieved. I will leave Wei-hua under your care.” He returned to Fusong with his private soldiers without taking back the pistol.


Afterwards I sent Zhang Wei-hua to Wujiazi\and Guyushu. He worked as a teacher there for about a year before returning home on my advice that he should finish a higher school as his parents wished\and then rejoin our ranks to continue his revolutionary activity.

 

Our friendship deepened day by day\and month by month in the constant repetition of such meetings\and partings.


Apparently, the cave\where I met Zhang Wei-hua still exists in Fusong. This cave in the shape of the letter “L” was 15 metres long. It was concealed so deep in the folds of nature that nobody could imagine a better place for a secret rendezvous.


When he met me, Zhang Wei-hua cried with joy. I also shed tears, holding in my arms his shoulders, which reeked of film solution.


“Song Ju, why have you come so late?\where have you been all these years? Why have you never appeared in Fusong? You can’t imagine how eagerly I have waited for you.”


This was Zhang’s first greeting.


“I have also been anxious to see you. I wanted to come to Fusong. I wanted to see you, Wei-hua.”


“You should have written to me, then. I don’t know your address, but you know mine.”


“Wei-hua, forgive me. There was no post office in the guerrilla zones in Jiandao\where I lived.”


“No post office? Is there such a place in the world?”


I told him about all the hardships we had suffered during the past four years.


He wiped away his tears with the back of his hand while I was talking.


“Wei-hua, why do you cry all the time? Is there anything wrong with you?”


I paused for a while\and looked into his face.


Zhang put on a forced smile, as he dried his tears.

 

“I cry, because you experienced such a miserable life. The thought of being away rom you, while you went through all these hardships, rends my heart.”


“No, that isn’t true. You have always been in my mind, encouraging me.”


“Thank you, Song Ju. The mere fact that you have not forgotten me makes me happy. rom now on I will call you General\or Commander as others do.”


When Zhang Wei-hua suddenly broached the fact that other people addressed me “Commander”, I waved my hand in haste.


“Please call me Song Ju, even though others address me commander. I, too, will call you Wei-hua, rather than Mr. Zhang. Song Ju, Wei-hua! How good these sound! Wei-hua, how have you been getting along all this while?”


He shook his head like an old man\and smiled a melancholy smile.


“After hearing all your exploits, I don’t feel like talking about myself. What could I do in this Fusong which is like a hen-coop? Together with Kang Pyong Son, one of your mates at Hwasong Uisuk School, I opened the Xiongdi Bookstore\and Xiongdi Photo Studio\and guided a YCL\organization using them as bases. That is all I have done.”


He explained briefly about the activities of the YCL\organization\and the movement of anti-Japanese\organizations in Fusong.


I spoke highly of his success.\and I gave him a new assignment to form a Party\organization based on the YCL\organization.


Zhang Wei-hua was greatly embarrassed by the new assignment. “Song Ju, can I carry out such a great task? I have little experience in


underground work.”

 

“You have directed the YCL\organization for four years, providing rich experience. I will send political commissar Kim San Ho to you now\and then, to help you.”


We talked for more than three hours.


When our conversation passed rom the practical sphere to personal life, Zhang took me by the arm tightly\and asked me how my family was. I reluctantly told him the news of my mother’s passing, Chol Ju’s death in battle\and Yong Ju’s role as a Children’s Corps member, eating another’s salt. In fact I did not wish to broach these topics as I knew his sympathetic character\and was afraid that Zhang would be depressed at this news. Then, I would also feel my heart bleed. I had never wished to mention such tragic events in our first reunion in the four years.


In this way things evolved against my intentions. Hearing the news of our family, Zhang sobbed for a long time, burying his face in his hands.


“Then, you really are an\orphan. I pity Yong Ju as well. What can I do for him? Can you give me his address?”


Zhang took out his fountain-pen\and pocket-book\and looked at me. I shook my hand.


“Wei-hua, Yong Ju is already a man. At his age he can stand on his own feet. You need not think of helping him.”


Zhang did not abandon his intention\and waited for his address, holding open the pocket-book. I reluctantly jotted down Kim Jong Ryong’s address in Antu. If he had not died a tragic death at such a young age, he would have been of great help to Yong Ju in Antu.


After our meeting in the cave in Miaoling, we met again in the hot spring village of Daying. Our Headquarters, comprising 20 to 30 soldiers, was stationed in the mountain valley in front of Daying: rom there I used to go to see Zhang Wei-hua. At that time Zhang stayed in Daying on the pretext of taking hot spring baths. As the enemy shadowed my associates\and friends\and watched them tenaciously, he was very careful of the safety of our Headquarters.


I had a long talk with Zhang, taking a hot spring bath together with him. I still remember him telling me proudly that he had built a Party\organization of hard-core elements, who were trained in the YCL\organization, as I had advised. His happy look as bright as morning glow still remains fresh in my memory.


During his stay in Daying we enlisted three YCL members in our unit he had recommended. I will never forget the happy smile, which spread over his face on seeing the young men, whom he had trained with all his care, appear before him dressed in revolutionary army uniforms\and with rifles on their shoulders. Secretary Yan, one of the three young men, who was formerly a teacher, wrote many slogans on the trees around the secret camp in the latter days when we were operating in the Mt. Paektu area. Many of his slogans still remain in the sites of secret camps.


I recall now with deep emotion, rom the talks we had in Daying hot spring, the last conversation before our leave-taking. At that time Zhang asked, as he took my hand, “Song Ju, whenever I see you, one thing troubles my conscience.”


“What is that?”


As he gazed at me with shame, I also watched him curiously.


“As I married so early before the age of 20, I became a father of one child already four years ago\and will be a father of two children in a few months. When you were on arduous south\and north expeditions, I enjoyed a luxurious life with my wife bringing up my child. How shameful it is!”

 

“Don’t talk nonsense. What is wrong in your being married\and having children? It is a matter for congratulations.”


“But you are not married, although you are one year older than I. Tell me. Will you always remain single?”


“Well, I have never thought about marriage. It will take many more years for marriage to become my main concern.”


“Then, you’ll miss the right time. If you don’t mind, I will choose a suitable match in Fusong. If I fail in Fusong, I will go round all cities, Shenyang, Tianjin, Changchun, Jilin\and Harbin to find a woman of matchless beauty.”


“Say no more. Can such a beauty live in mountains, eating tough whole maize gruel?”


“See if I don’t choose such a beauty as Yang Kuei-fei for you.”


He told me such a joke\and shook my hand warmly\and left Daying. His smile at that time remains in my memory as an indelible image. This was the last time I saw his smile.


Of course, I knew that he spoke half jokingly\and half seriously\and that it would be impossible to realize what he said. But I felt real friendship in his words, which only Zhang Wei-hua could cherish towards me. Nobody other than Zhang Wei-hua could make such a promise for me so frankly, purely\and enthusiastically.


On his return to Fusong, Zhang gave our unit all his moral\and financial support. Large amounts of aid, such as cotton, shoes, socks, underwear, medicines, foods\and photographic apparatus, which he had procured of his own accord, flowed ceaselessly into the secret camps of our unit,\and provided strong economic support to the activities of the revolutionary army in the Fusong area.

 

With the 3,000 yuan he sent us, we were able to provide each of Children’s Corps members\and the main force unit soldiers with a new uniform\and obtain other materials.


Tang Zhen-dong, head of the police substation in Daying, was our close acquaintance. I had met him in Fusong, when we went to south Manchuria for cooperation with Ryang Se Bong. When we travelled to Daying again, he sent a secret messenger to us requesting that we openly send him a threatening letter: then he would send the required materials, on the pretext of acting under the threat of the revolutionary army.


After receiving the letter, he sent on numerous occasions supplies of pork, wheat flour, bean oil, knitwear\and other goods by cart. In those days our guards lived fairly well for about 20 days thanks to the goods sent by him.


In the autumn of that year, Zhang Wei-hua was arrested unexpectedly by the military police\and imprisoned. The police had been informed by Jong Hak Hae, who was my classmate in primary school\and once worked as chairman of the Fusong county branch\organization of the Paeksan Youth League. In his early days he adhered to the revolutionary spirit\and then turned his coat, before entering the appeasement squad under the manipulation of the Linjiang military police. The appeasement squad was a synonym for the “submission work corps.” As I advanced at the head of my unit to the Fusong area, the enemy dispatched many turncoats here\and there to find us.


One day Jong Hak Hae called on Zhang Wei-hua\and said, “I am going to see Kim Il Sung. Surely you know\where he is?” Zhang replied with confidence, “I know. A short time ago I met Kim Song Ju.” As Jong had taken part in the youth movement under my guidance, Zhang never suspected him. A few days later Zhang was arrested by the police. As he was used to approaching people in a friendly way, he was too innocent to be vigilant as head of a Party group who shouldered the destiny of underground\organizations. He was arrested, owing to his illusions about people\and lack of vigilance. The enemy tortured him cruelly in\order to learn clues of the\whereabouts of our Headquarters\and all the underground\organizations in the Fusong area\and thereby demolish them.


But he faced their torture in silence. He was afraid of revealing my\whereabouts\and the network of underground\organizations against his will, if the enemy torture intensified. He resolved to kill himself\and requested that his father help him receive parole for a few days. His father asked the police to parole his son on the pretext of illness, by bribing the police with money\and gifts.


On granting his parole, the enemy spies watched his house day\and night to learn the network of secret\organizations\and underground activity of our unit.


Zhang Wei-hua said to his wife, as he faced death.


“I regret\and lament that I cannot continue the anti-Japanese struggle together with General Kim Il Sung. I decided to guarantee the safety of my comrades with my death\and prove worthy of the trust\and friendship of General Kim Il Sung. Don’t grieve too much.”


He wrote to me: “The enemy sent out spies to discover the Headquarters of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army. Please move your Headquarters as quickly as possible.” He subsequently committed suicide by swallowing a doze of corrosive sublimate used in film development. This grievous event occurred on the 2nd day of the tenth month, 1937, by the lunar calendar. At that time Zhang Wei-hua had not reached 25 years of age.

 

An internationalist fighter, my close friend\and faithful revolutionary comrade-in-arms, left us in this way.


He died a heroic death at an early age for me, for the Headquarters of the Korean revolution\and the common cause of the Korean\and Chinese peoples, forsaking his dear parents, wife\and children, as well as his long-cherished dreams, which were as beautiful as glowing clouds, in the land of China,\where the roar of guns rent the air. His son Zhang Jin-quan, whom he had loved more than himself, was four years old\and his daughter, Zhang Jin-lu, was born just before his death.


Nothing is more grievous for a man than to die before his time. Although imprisoned by mistake, Zhang Wei-hua might have survived, instead of committing suicide. If his family had bribed the military police with more money\and gifts, the enemy might have shut their eyes to this “crime”\or punished him leniently after beating him on the buttocks. However, he surrendered the next chapter of his life of his own accord, by committing suicide.


Life is not easy: nor is death. A suicide is the most painful kind of deaths. The suicide of a young man, who has a greater world before him than past requires extraordinarily grim resolve. There were numerous cases of suicide mostly for self-centred reasons. We can hardly find a man, who committed suicide for the sake of others as Zhang Wei-hua did.


I assure you that this was the noblest\and most beautiful self-sacrifice of all sacrifices made for fellow people. That is why his death was more heroic\and solemn than any other self-sacrifice.


On learning the tragic news of his death, I could not sleep\or eat for several days. I felt an aching void\and shock in my heart; my soul seemed to tumble into an abyss, as if a part of the world had collapsed near me. In those grievous days the melody of a dirge rang many times in my mind.


I was full of remorse for refusing to accept his request to join the army. I felt that if he had served in the people’s revolutionary army, he would have lived longer. This thought made my heart ache.


When he asked to join the army, we should have deliberated his request\and enlisted him to our unit. Such an act would have accorded with our principles. It was unnatural that a young man’s sincere application was turned down. But I did not act on principle\and assigned him to the second line, rather than the first. I declined his enlistment, even in violation of the principles, because I loved him too much. I did not want him to suffer all the trials in mountains, a man who had lived comfortably in a rich family, who had never known what hardships meant. I thought that, even though I could endure such hardships, he would not. This feeling was motivated by my unprincipled love for him. Even if anyone blames me, I have no excuse to make.


As tens of thousands of Korean communists\and patriots including Sin Kyu Sik, Pak Yong, Yang Rim, Han Wi Gon, Jang Ji Rak, Kim Song Ho, Jong Ryul Song\and Han Ak Yon devoted their lives to the Chinese revolution, so a large number of sons\and daughters of the Chinese people laid down their priceless lives for the Korean revolution.


Just as love\and science have no national boundaries, revolution knows no boundaries, as proved by the examples of Zhang Wei-hua, Novichenko, Che Guevara\and Norman Bethune. Zhang Wei-hua\and Novichenko are worldwide models of internationalists,\and the support of the communists of different countries for the Popular Front movement in Spain\and the movement to resist America\and aid Korea initiated by the Chinese Volunteers Army, are worldwide examples of internationalism. Zhang Wei-hua’s name shines as a great star among these models.


Today Zhang Wei-hua is recognized by the Korean people as a symbol of friendship between Korea\and China. Our people, men\and women, young\and old, remember in reverence the distinguished services he rendered for the Korean revolution.



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[Reminiscences]Chapter 9. The First Expedition to North Manchuria 6. In the Bosom of the People

[Reminiscences]Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence  1. A Raging Whirlwind

[Reminiscences]Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence  2. A Polemic at Dahuangwai

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

[Reminiscences]Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence  4. An Answer to the Atrocities at Sidaogou

[Reminiscences]Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence  5. The Seeds of the Revolution Sown over a Wide Area

[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  1. Meeting with My Comrades-in-Arms in North Manchuria

[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  2. Strange Relationship

[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  3. On Lake Jingbo

[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  4. My Comrades-in-Arms to the North; I to the South

[Reminiscences]Chapter 11. The Watershed of the Revolution  5. Choe Hyon, a Veteran General

[Reminiscences]Chapter 12.To Hasten theLiberation of the Country 1. The Birth of a New Division

[Reminiscences]Chapter 12.To Hasten theLiberation of the Country 2. 20 Yuan



       

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