Whither the Nanking Government?

Mao Zedong


4 April 1949

Two roads are open to the Nanking Kuomintang government and its military and administrative personnel. Either they cling to the Chiang Kai-shek clique of war criminals and its master, US imperialism, that is, continue to be the enemy of the people and so perish together with the Chiang Kai-shek clique of war criminals in the People’s War of Liberation. Or they come over to the people, that is, break with the Chiang Kai-shek clique of war criminals and US imperialism, perform meritorious service in the People’s War of Liberation to atone for their crimes and so obtain clemency and understanding from the people. There is no third road.


There are three different groups of people in the government of Li Tsung-jen and Ho Ying-chin at Nanking.[1] One group stubbornly persist in following the first road. No matter how plausible they are in words, in deeds they are continuing to prepare for war, to betray the nation and to oppress and massacre the people who are demanding genuine peace. They are Chiang Kai-shek’s followers even unto death. Another group want to follow the second road but have not yet beenle to take any decisive action. The third group are hesitating at the crossroads, and it is uncertain which way they will go. They do not want to offend Chiang Kai-shek and the US government, yet they hope that they will be understood and admitted by the camp of people’s democracy. But this is an illusion and is impossible.


The Nanking government of Li Tsung-jen and Ho Ying-chin is mainly a mixture of people from the first and third groups, with only a handful from the second. To this day, this government remains a tool of Chiang Kai-shek and the US government.


The massacre which occurred in Nanking on 1 April,[2] was no accident. It was the inevitable result of the actions taken by the government of Li Tsung-jen and Ho Ying-chin to protect Chiang Kai-shek, his sworn followers and the forces of US aggression. It was the result of the absurd trumpeting about ‘honourable peace on an equal footing’ by the government of Li Tsung-jen and Ho Ying-chin and by the sworn followers of Chiang Kai-shek, which had the purpose of countering the Chinese Communist Party’s eight terms for peace, and particularly the punishment of war criminals. Now that the government of Li Tsung-jen and Ho Ying-chin has sent its delegation to Peiping to negotiate peace with the Communist Party of China and has indicated its willingness to accept the Communist Party’s eight terms as the basis for negotiations, it should, if it has the slightest good faith, start by dealing with the Nanking Massacre, arrest and severely punish the chief criminals, Chiang Kai-shek, Tang En-po and Chang Yao-ming, arrest and severely punish the thugs of the secret police in Nanking and Shanghai and arrest and severely punish the chief counter-revolutionaries, who are obstinately opposing peace, actively disrupting the peace negotiations and actively preparing to resist the advance of the People’s Liberation Army to the south of the Yangtse River. ‘Until Ching Fu is done away with, the crisis in the state of Lu will not be over.’[3] Until the war criminals are eliminated, there will be no peace in the country. Isn’t this truth clear enough by now?


We should like to speak plainly to the Nanking government. If you are unequal to this job, you should at least help the People’s Liberation Army do it, as our army will soon cross the Yangtse River and advance south. At this late hour, you should not indulge in idle talk and had better do some real work to atone for your crimes. In that case you will not have to flee for your lives, you will not have to submit to the bullying of Chiang Kai-shek’s sworn followers, and you will not be spurned for ever by the people. This is your last chance. Don’t lose it. The People’s Liberation Army will soon advance south of the Yangtse River. We are not bluffing. The People’s Liberation Army will advance, whether or not you sign the agreement accepting the eight terms. An agreement signed before our army advances, will be advantageous to many—to the people, to the People’s Liberation Army, to all those in the Kuomintang government who wish to atone for their crimes by performing meritorious service, and to the broad ranks of officers and men in the Kuomintang army; it will be disadvantageous only to Chiang Kai-shek, his sworn followers and the imperialists. If the agreement is not signed, the situation will be about the same; solutions can be achieved by local negotiations. There may yet be some fighting, but not much. Over the vast area and long front extending from Sinkiang to Taiwan, the Kuomintang has only about 1,100,000 combat troops left, and so there will not be much fighting. Whether a general agreement is signed, or whether no such agreement is signed but instead many local agreements are signed, it will be all the same for Chiang Kai-shek, for his sworn followers and for US imperialism, in a word, for all those reactionaries who will not change even unto death; they are irrevocably doomed. Perhaps it will be slightly more advantageous to Nanking, as well as to ourselves, to sign rather than not to sign a general agreement, and that is why we are still striving to conclude it. But if a general agreement is to be signed, we must be prepared as a consequence to deal with many messy matters. It would be very much neater for us not to sign a general agreement but instead to sign many local agreements. Nevertheless, we are still ready to sign a general agreement. If the Nanking government and its delegation are also willing to do so, they must make up their minds in the next few days; all illusions and all empty talk should be discarded. We are not forcing you to make up your minds. The Nanking government and its delegation are free to make up their minds or not to. That is to say, you may either listen to Chiang Kai-shek and Leighton Stuart and side with them irrevocably, or listen to us and side with us; you are free to choose. But there is not much time for you to make your choice. The People’s Liberation Army will soon start its march, and there is no opportunity left for hesitation.




This is the official translation of Mao’s essay, as are the footnotes. See the online Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung. For the original, see 南京政府向何处去?


[1] After Sun Fo’s resignation, Li Tsung-jen appointed Ho Ying-chin to succeed him as president of the bogus Executive Yuan on 12 March 1949. 一九四九年三月十二日,李宗仁在孫科辭職後,任命何應欽繼任行政院長。
[2] On 1 April 1949, over six thousand students from eleven colleges and universities in Nanking demonstrated, demanding that the reactionary Kuomintang government should accept the eight peace terms of the Chinese Communist Party. On the instructions of Chiang Kai-shek, Chang Yao-ming, commander-in-chief of the Kuomintang garrison forces at Nanking, ordered soldiers, policemen and secret agents to beat the students brutally; two were killed and more than a hundred wounded. 一九四九年四月一日,南京十一個專科以上學校的學生六千餘人舉行遊行示威,要求國民黨反動政府接受中國共產黨的八項和平談判條件。國民黨南京衛戍總司令張耀明在蔣介石授意下,指使軍警特務凶毆示威學生,死學生二人,傷一百餘人。
[3] According to Tso Chuan, an ancient Chinese historical work dealing with the important events of the Spring and Autumn Era (770-475), Ching Fu, a noble in the state of Lu, repeatedly stirred up internal strife and murdered two reigning princes of that state. The saying in the text was then current among the people of Lu, and Ching Fu’s name has since become a byword for those who stir up internal strife. 事見《左傳·閔公元年》。慶父是春秋時魯國的公子,曾經一再製造魯國的內亂,先後殺死兩個國君。當時的人有「不去慶父,魯難未已」的說法。後人常常把製造內亂的人比之為慶父。