Having formed\and built up our\organizations we launched our practical struggle.
The struggle began with a student strike at Yuwen Middle School in the summer of 1928.
Until that time various matters concerning the running of Yuwen Middle School rangingrom the management of the dining-hall, to the financial administration\and to the operation of the library had been handled without problem in accordance with the democratic opinions of the progressive teachers\and students. Our activities at the school were relatively freerom restraint. This was a result of our struggle in cooperation with the school affairs committee.
However, the reactionary teachers manipulated by the warlords were never happy about this democratic system established through the joint efforts of the teaching staff\and students. They tried to disrupt this system\and deal with all matters at the school as they pleased. Among the teachers at Yuwen Middle School appointed by the Office of Education there were warlords’ agents who were always on the alert. Reactionary teachers, such as those in charge of school affairs, moral education\and physical training were all paid agents of the enemy’s intelligence service. They manipulated the conservative students\and young delinquentsrom the families of the landlords\and bureaucrats who followed the warlords’ administration in\order to probe constantly into the students’ ideological trends\and the activities of the revolutionary\organizations.
In the summer of 1928 we held mass rallies at the school almost every day to protest against the piratic second expedition of the Japanese imperialist troops to Shandong\and the atrocities they committed in Jinan.
This expedition was an important event by which the policy of the Tanaka government towards China could be judged. Japan’s first expedition to the Shandong area had been made immediately after the formation of the cabinet of Prime Minister Tanaka Kiichi in May 1927. At that time the National Revolutionary Army of Jiang Jie- shi was advancing towards the Shandong peninsula in pursuit of Zhang Zuo-lin’s army stationed in Fengtian. In\order to protect the warlord Zhang Zuo -lin whom the Japanese imperialists had trainedrom Jiang’s army that was advancing northward, the Tanaka government, on the pretext of protecting the lives\and property of the Japanese, dispatched 2,000 troopsrom Lushun (Port Arthur) to Qingdao\and later sent a reinforcement of 2,000 troopsrom Japan proper to the Shandong area.
Because Japan’s first expedition frustrated the northward advance of Jiang’s army\and because Jiang guaranteed the safety of the lives\and property of the Japanese resident in the Shandong area, the Japanese troops withdrewrom the area that autumn.
But Jiang’s army resumed its revolutionary advance northward in the spring of 1928, so the fascist Tanaka government decided to send a second expedition\and moved its troops in Tianjin\and 5,000 troopsrom the Kumamoto division in Japan proper to occupy the railway in the Shandong area\and seize Qingdao\and Jinan. Jiang’s National Revolutionary Army also entered Jinan,\and there was a clash between the soldiers of the two countries. The Japanese occupation army massacred many Chinese people in Jinan. A diplomat of the Kuomintang government was also killed by the Japanese soldiers.
The three shameless expeditions of the Japanese imperialist army to Shandong triggered off an outburst of resentment at the Japanese among the Korean\and Chinese peoples. It provoked a strong protest\and denunciation within Japan against the diplomatic policies of the Tanaka government.
Japan’s ultimate aim in dispatching her troops to Shandong was to separate Manchuria\and the Huabei arearom continental China\and make them her colony. She needed a lever for that aim,\and this was to be Zhang Zuo-lin. Japan calculated that she could occupy Manchuria without great difficulty if she were to tame\and support him properly. The shots that echoed in Jinan were a warning of a possible massacre of tens of thousands of people in China in later years. When the Japanese imperialists were freely killing even their compatriots in China in\order to create a pretext for sending in their troops, the Chinese people had a premonition of the imminent misfortune that would befall them.
We\organized public lectures, speeches\and protest meetings to denounce the Japanese imperialist policy of aggression\and the treacherous acts of the Kuomintang,\and thus stirred up our fellow students.
The reactionary teachers labelled our activities as communist propaganda\and thus created a pretext for repression. They suddenly raided the school library\and seized the progressive books there. They put pressure on the headmaster, Li Guang-han, to expel all the Korean studentsrom the school, pretending to have found some important evidence against them. They alleged that the Korean students were either communist masterminds\or the “spies of Japan”\and were hostile to the Chinese teachers, so they could not conduct the noisy classes they attended. By the same token, the Right-wing students wantonly violated the democratic system at the school, insulted the progressive students\and slandered the headmaster\and the progressive teachers. Shang Yue was the prime target of their attack.
If the reactionary teachers\and the students they manipulated had been left to their own devices, it would have been impossible for us to continue our academic pursuits\and the youth movement freely. With the aim of driving out the reactionary teachers\and defending the democratic system by drawing on an\organized force, we began a student strike centred on the members of the Young Communist League\and the Anti-Imperialist Youth League.
Our demands were, first, that the treatment of the students be improved; second, that subjects be taught as required by the students;\and third, that no more pressure be put on the progressive teachers\and the headmaster.
The progressive teachers also threatened the provincial government, saying that they would enlist the help of the public if the students’ demands were not met. Leaflets\and written appeals demanding the expulsion of the reactionary teachers were posted everywhere in the city. They were also thrown into the boarding houses of the reactionary teachers\and the provincial government building.
As the student strike at Yuwen Middle School reached its height, the other middle schools in the city threatened the provincial government that they would join the strike.
The provincial government sensed that the student strike was spreading across the city; they reluctantly dismissed the reactionary teachers, including the teachers in charge of moral education,\and accepted our demands.
That was our first victory in the mass struggle. In the course of this we became confident that we could emerge victorious in the struggle if we defined a proper target\and\organized the masses well.
Through our successful student strike, we gained experience\and training. The strike encouraged the young people\and students to follow us with greater confidence. We reviewed the success we had achieved in the strike\and made preparations for mobilizing the enthusiastic young people\and students in an active anti-Japanese struggle on a grander scale.
The schemes of the Japanese imperialists who had long been speeding up their preparations for the invasion of Manchuria became more blatant around this time.
In May 1928 Muraoka, the commander of the Japanese Kwantung Army, planned to send the 40th composite brigade to Fengtian (the present Shenyang) on the excuse of dealing with developments in China proper,\and to move the army’s headquarters to Fengtian. Subsequently they blew up a train on a railway bridge at the entrance of Fengtian, the bridge\where the south Manchuria railway\and the Beijing-Fengtian railway met, killing Zhang Zuo-lin who was on his way backrom Beijing to Fengtian. This was a deliberate prelude to the invasion of Manchuria.
If they occupied Manchuria, it would mean great difficulties for us who were active in northeast China. Until that time the Japanese imperialists could not deal with the Korean communists\and independence fighters as they pleased because Manchuria was under the jurisdiction of China, but their occupation of Manchuria would alter the situation.
While making careful military preparations for the invasion of Manchuria, the Japanese imperialists, who had contained Jiang Jie-shi during three expeditions\and stretched their tentacles deep into continental China, speeded up the Jilin -Hoeryong railway project they had been pushing ahead with for a long time as a part of their preparations, the project to connect Jilin, a provincial seat of Manchuria, with Hoeryong, a northern border town of Korea.
It wasrom the time of Emperor Meiji that Japan had harboured the ambition of laying such a railway, even if it meant resorting to force. The Japanese imperialists attached great strategic importance to this railway.
After the so-called “Oriental meeting” the Tanaka government submitted a letter to the Emperor in which, referring to the importance of the railways between Manchuria\and Mongolia including the Jilin-Hoeryong line, they called the project the key to Japan’s policy towards the Continent.
As is well known, the main state policy proposed in this notorious letter which underlined their ambition\and delusion of world domination, just as Hitler’s Mein Kampf had advocated the theory of world supremacy in Europe, was to invade Manchuria\and Mongolia,\and the essential lever for this invasion was the 5 railway lines between Manchuria\and Mongolia, including the Jilin-Hoeryong railway.
In this letter Tanaka hinted that with the finishing of these 5 railways Japan would have a grand rail network connecting the whole of Manchuria with Korea\and a direct line to north Manchuria, rendering it possible to move troops\and the necessary military supplies to any part of the area\and suppress the Korean national liberation movement.
The shrewd brains in Japan estimated that if the Jilin-Hoeryong line was completed\and the soldiers\and goods were transportedrom Tsuruga in Japan to Jilin in Manchuria via Chongjin\and Hoeryong in Korea, the distance\and time of their transportation could be shortened considerably. This was why the Japanese imperialists proclaimed the Jilin -Hoeryong railway project to be their state policy\and completed it in 26 years, in spite of all the difficulties.
The Chinese people at large, the young people\and students in particular, regarded it as an encroachment upon the rights of the Chinese people for the Japanese imperialists to construct railways as they pleased in Manchuria by wringing concessions on the plea of the unfair treaty they had entered into with the corrupt\and inefficient bureaucrats in the last days of the Qing dynasty. In opposition to the agreement on laying railways through the introduction of foreign capital, the masses of people rose up to have the agreement revoked.
Instead of heeding the reasonable demands of the people, the reactionary warlords tried to win them over through a grand inauguration ceremony of the Jilin-Dunhua line which had been planned for November 1, 1928, while scheming to undertake the Dunhua-Tumen railway project by force.
A daring act was needed to frustrate the Jilin-Hoeryong railway project, an act to warn the enemy that the Korean\and Chinese peoples would not tolerate his invasion of Manchuria. It would also give the popular masses a signal to resist the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.
In\order to\organize a mass struggle against the Japanese to frustrate the Jilin-Hoeryong railway project, we called a meeting of heads of the YCLK\and AIYL\organizations in the cellar of the Yaowang Shrine in Beishan Park early in October 1928.
The meeting discussed slogans, methods of struggle\and a course of action\and gave each of us detailed assignments. It also discussed the placards, written appeals\and leaflets to be used during the demonstration. In accordance with our policy that the struggle against the Jilin-Hoeryong railway project must be a joint undertaking by the Korean\and Chinese peoples, we decided to write all the propaganda such as leaflets, appeals\and placards in Chinese\and Korean\and to conduct street agitation in the two languages.
The meeting decided that such\organizations as the students’ committees formed in the schools in Jilin, the Ryugil Association of Korean Students\and the Korean Children’s Association should be activated\and that such underground\organizations as the YCLK\and the AIYL should refrain as far as possiblerom overt action.
After the meeting at Beishan we worked all night to prepare for the demonstration.
Han Yong Ae who belonged to the propaganda squad worked very hard. She, as a member of the Ryugil Association of Korean Students, had fallen under our influence during art performances\and at the gatherings\where impressions on books were swapped. Later she became a member of the Young Communist League. A pupil of Jilin Girls’ Middle School, she was good- natured but reticent\and usually passed unnoticed. However, she carried out every task given her, be it difficult\or irksome, for the sake of the revolution. During art performances she volunteered to play characters which others would not play,\and when teaching materials for the reading circle were in short supply, she mimeographed hundreds of pages of her own accord\and distributed them to the circle members.
She stayed up almost every night preparing for the demonstration. She took a mimeograph to a barn of a house\and, with a few Children’s Association members, duplicated tens of thousands of appeals\and leaflets. She was known as a girl\orator for the fiery speeches she made in Korean\and Chinese to hundreds of people in the street.
I came to work as the head of the Young Communist League of Korea even among the Chinese young people\and students because I upheld the banner of the communist movementrom my early days in Jilin. When we launched the communist movement, the Manchuria provincial committee of the Communist Party of China had not yet been formed\and there were not many Young Communist League members in Jilin.
While engaged in the work of the YCLK I also worked among Chinese young people. As we were at the helm of the YCLK, a great number of Chinese young people followed us. Cao Ya-fan who was the head of the Young Communist League\organization at Jilin Normal School,\and Chen Han-zhang who was in charge of the Young Communist League\organization in the Dunhua area, were Chinese who maintained relations with us.
In the course of making preparations for the demonstration, we were informed that the railway authorities were intending to hold the inauguration ceremony of the Jilin-Dunhua railway on November 1, 1928.
We launched the demonstration a few days earlier than we had planned, with the aim of lighting the torch of opposition to the building of the Jilin-Hoeryong line at the same time as disrupting the inauguration ceremony of the Jilin-Dunhua line.
At dawn on October 26, 1928, the propaganda squad scattered leaflets\and put up written appeals in the streets of Jilin. Observation squads, each of which consisted of two\or three members of the Children’s Association, took their designated places at daybreak.
At the appointed time the students at all the schools in Jilin held simultaneous meetings\and marched into the streets after issuing appeals against the building of the Jilin- Hoeryong railway. The streets were quickly filled with thousands of students. With placards reading, “Down with Japanese imperialist aggressors!”\and “Oppose the Jilin- Hoeryong railway project by Japan!” written in Korean\and “Down with Japanese imperialism!” “Down with the traitors!”\and “Stop the Jilin-Hoeryong line project!” written in Chinese, they marched through the streets\and gathered in the square in front of the provincial assembly building situated outside the Xinkai Gate.
Hundreds of soldiers\and policemen checked their advance. The students, confronted by them, shouted slogans, awaiting our instructions. They had to advance at any cost. So we sent into action pickets made up of the workers\and peasants living in\and around the city, as well as the students, in\order to protect them.
The students, with the pickets leading them, marched forward shoulder to shoulder in the face of the bayonets. In the square a mass rally took place. I appealed to the thousands of people gathered in the square for the young people\and students of Korea\and China to unite\and fight staunchly against the Japanese imperialists’ building of the Jilin-Hoeryong line.
After the meeting the demonstrators’ column marched in high spirits to New Street\where the Japanese consulate was situated. The street was seldom frequented by the people because of the outrageous behaviour of the consular police. The demonstrators shouted anti-Japanese slogans in front of the Japanese consulate, getting worked up,\and continued their demonstration through Dama, Beijing, Chongqing\and Shangyi Streets as well as other streets in the city.
Hard hit by the demonstration in Jilin the Japanese railway company indefinitely postponed the inauguration ceremony of the Jilin -Dunhua line. Japanese shopkeepers deserted their shops\and fled to their consulate. The windows of the\oriental Hospital run by the South Manchuria Railway Company were smashed.
The demonstration mounted higher as the days passed. We formed several student groups\and saw to it that they installed platforms in dozens of places in the city\and delivered speeches against the railway constructionrom dawn until late at night.
The anti-Japanese struggle that had started in Jilin spread all over Manchuria. The students\and citizens of Changchun, in response to our struggle, waged a fierce struggle against imperialism\and the building of the six railway lines. They also raided the house of the head of the Jilin -Changchun railway bureau. In Harbin\and Tianjin they conducted a brave solidarity struggle, with many people sacrificing themselves. Our Korean compatriots living in the Yanji area also joined the struggle. Newspapers in the homeland reported our struggle every day.
As the demonstration expanded, we pushed ahead with the campaign to boycott Japanese goods. The masses ransacked Japanese shops\and burned the goods with Japanese trademarks in the streets. Some of them were dumped into the River Songhua.
Alarmed by the possibility of the struggle against the Jilin-Hoeryong railway project combined with the boycotting of Japanese goods developing into a full- scale anti-Japanese struggle, the barbarous Japanese imperialists instigated the reactionary warlords to open fire on the demonstrators. We had tried to keep the reactionary warlords in check. But as they were suppressing us, hand in glove with the Japanese imperialists, we could no longer confine ourselves to this. The demonstration developed onto a wider scale coinciding with a funeral ceremony for the victims under the slogan, “Down with the reactionary warlords aligned with the Japanese imperialists!” That day the demonstration reached its height with the participation of many more citizens.
The struggle continued for about 40 days.
In\order to improve the situation, the Japanese imperialists sent for Zhang Zuo-xiang who was in Fengtian; but the appeasement measures the Jilin military control station adopted failed to check the surging spirit of the masses. This struggle was a heavy blow to the Japanese imperialists. They were particularly surprised at the united resistance of the Korean\and Chinese peoples to Japan’s aggression in Manchuria.
The nationalists\and those who, frightened by imperialist Japan’s invasion, had been thinking of turning tail, received a shockrom our struggle. Up until then the nationalists had slighted the young people\and students. Seeing that we, in our teens\and twenties, had carried out something they had not dared to attempt, they changed their attitude towards us.rom that time on they recognized that a fresh forcerom the new generation that was totally differentrom their own generation had appeared in the arena of the national liberation movement,\and they ceased to slight us.
Through our struggle to oppose the Jilin- Hoeryong railway project we once again became keenly aware that the strength of the masses was inexhaustible,\and we formed a firmer conviction that the masses, if properly\organized, could display formidable strength that no force of arms could ever crush.
My faith in the strength of the masses became more unshakable\and our method of leadership of the masses became more seasoned. In the practical struggle not only was I trained but also the\organizations developed.