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북녘 | [Reminiscences]Chapter 14. The People In Changbai 1. West Jiandao

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작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-28 18:04 댓글0건

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 14. The People In Changbai  1. West Jiandao

  

   


 

Chapter 14 The People In Changbai

1. West Jiandao 

  

Ever since the several counties north of Tuman River, which flows eastward rom Mt. Paektu, have been called Jiandao\or north Jiandao. The area north of Amnok River, which flows westward rom Mt. Paektu, has been called west Jiandao.

West Jiandao is a historic area directly associated with the activities of the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army in the latter half of the 1930s. The Paektusan Base covers the wide area of west Jiandao\and the homeland around Mt. Paektu. The vast area of west Jiandao, along with the Paektusan Secret Camp established by the KPRA in the homeland, holds an important place in the Paektusan Base. In this context, whenever the Paektusan Base implies only the area on the Chinese frontier, it may be termed the West Jiandao Base.


Some people used to refer to it as the Changbai Base. However, I feel this is wrong, as one gains the false impression that the Paektusan Base covers only the area of west Jiandao including Changbai,\whereas in actual fact the base was not\limited to the Changbai area; it was very big, covering several counties in west Jiandao on the upper reaches of the Songhua\and north of the Amnok\and a vast area of homeland, around Mt. Paektu.

The latter half of the 1930s marked a heyday for the KPRA’s military\and political activities. This period should be embossed with gold letters. After building dozens of secret camps near Mt. Paektu, we started to carry out new strategic tasks, determined at the Nanhutou meeting, operating in west Jiandao. Now the area became a battlefield,\where fighting was most frequent\and gunshots were the loudest.

 

I often said that west Jiandao was a good place. Although the scenery is beautiful, I meant that its inhabitants are good. No matter how beautiful, a place cannot be considered good, if its inhabitants are ill-disposed. On the contrary, a barren land,\where trees do not thrive, is called a good place when its inhabitants are kind-hearted.

In those days many Koreans lived in west Jiandao. Poor Korean immigrants grew potatoes in slash-and-burn patches, in insufficient quantities for their wretched existence. They built villages on barren plateaus\and valleys in west Jiandao, calling them Phungsandok, Kapsandok, Kiljudok\and Myongchondok after their native villages in the homeland,\and toiled away in a laborious life, recounting the tale of Tangun9, the Founder of Korea,\and The Tale of Ondal10 under the pine-knot light.

Most landlords were Chinese. Although there were Korean landlords in some places, they were few\and far between. Owing to the size of land they owned, they were petty landlords, acting no better than rich farmers.


Most Koreans living in west Jiandao had drifted there rom their motherland to seek livelihood\or were patriots, who had embarked on the road of the anti-Japanese independence movement to remove the disgrace of a ruined nation, after Japan’s annexation of Korea.

We met in all the villages of slash-and-burn peasants in west Jiandao we visited, people who had devoted themselves to the movement of the Independence Army in the bygone days, as well as people who had assisted the army. As I already mentioned in preceding chapters, Kang Jin Gon, a veteran of the Independence Army, had also lived in Changbai County, while Hong Pom Do, O Tong Jin\and Ri Kuk Ro had frequented there via Kuandian, Fusong\and Antu. My uncle on my mother’s side, Kang Jin Sok, had formed the Paeksan Armed Group in Linjiang\and conducted his activities.


In west Jiandao quite a few people, who had failed in attempts to launch peasant\union movements in various places in the homeland, brought their families there to settle. They opened night schools at almost every village in Changbai\and worked to enlighten the masses. Most renowned revolutionaries in Changbai area, including Ri Je Sun, Choe Kyong Hwa, Jong Tong Chol, Kang Ton\and Kim Se Ok, taught at night schools. Many private schools for Korean children were established in the area by exiles\and patriotic, public-minded people, who had emigrated rom the homeland.

These private schools devoted considerable time to patriotic education. Mass enlightenment through night schools, as well as the school education of children\and youth, produced many Korean patriots in west Jiandao.

The strong national spirit of the people in this area\and their bitter hatred for the Japanese emanated naturally rom their miserable living conditions, as well as rom the consistent enlightenment movement, conducted by patriotic thinkers\and their precursors. They had such intensified national\and anti-Japanese feelings that our operatives could easily recruit hardcore elements\and use them to\organize many people.

By the early 1930s we had already sent operatives of the Korean Revolutionary Army to west Jiandao\and blown “Jilin wind” there. Thanks to their efforts, a considerable number of revolutionary\organizations sprang up in the area. After debating the establishment of a new type of base in Nanhutou\and Donggang, we dispatched a small unit, headed by Kim Ju Hyon, to the area. The small unit roved many villages around Mt. Paektu, focussing on Changbai County, learning about the state of the revolutionary movement in that area, recruiting hardcore elements, educating the masses,\and thereby laying the foundations for the political\and military activities, due to be launched by the main force in the future. Their efforts spawned solid foundations, facilitating assistance to the activities of the main force of the KPRA\and promoting the mass development of the anti-Japanese national united front movement.


This was the prime factor, which enabled us to rapidly transform west Jiandao area into a revolutionary area, without experiencing any hitches.

We learned another valuable lesson during our activities in west Jiandao; qualified operatives could\organize the masses\and transform them into revolutionaries very quickly, by instilling revolutionary ideas, relying on favourable mass foundations.

We also discovered that the rule of Manchukuo had had virtually no effect on west Jiandao. Most inhabitants were poor peasants, who subsisted on the potatoes they cultivated. Very few people could afford to pay taxes. Only a few government officials, apart rom the county headman, ruled over the people in Changbai County.

After some months in Fusong, I discovered that only a small number of people in the government office of the county could conduct land surveying\and registration properly. This led to such a pass, that the officials deplored the fact that many people were tilling unclaimed land without obtaining a permission.

Police operations in Fusong area were crippled by the ties of kinship\and hometown links. Moreover, many of the policemen had been hunters in former days. As they had been picked out on the merit of their marksmanship, the policemen were all ignorant\and unable to control the people properly. This led to ineffective administration.

I discovered the situation was very similar in Changbai. These factors facilitated the awakening of the masses to revolutionary consciousness\and their\organization.

In west Jiandao no people persecuted the Korean communists, stigmatizing them as “Minsaengdan” members, no one censured Koreans for fighting to liberate their country under the banner of the Korean revolution\or put brakes on their efforts. In other words, nobody held us contemptuous for living in a foreign country\and discriminated against us. This was another favourable factor, enabling us to conduct free political\and military activities in the areas along the Amnok\and deep in the homeland round Mt. Paektu, unaffected by any restraint\and restriction, acting in accordance with our own conviction\and determination to bring about an upsurge in the anti-Japanese revolution.


We did not feel any restraint in forming our own party\organizations; we could launch the drive to form independent party\organizations in a big way, in accordance with our plan for both west Jiandao\and Korea.

In a word, no particular people in that area put a spoke in our wheel. We could attack walled towns, formed party\organizations\and advanced into the homeland in large units, as we deemed necessary.

By contrast, things were different during our struggle in the guerrilla bases in north Jiandao. In those days, our short visits to the people in the homeland across the Tuman had been criticized as a practice of nationalism. When we had proposed the creation of a people’s revolutionary government, the East Manchuria Special District Party Committee\and the county Party committees had objected\and tried to force us to build a soviet government, saying that this was the line of the central authorities.

Another favourable factor enabled us to expedite the rapid transformation of the people in west Jiandao into revolutionaries\and encouraged them to render active support to our independent line of struggle; the people did not worship Russia. They yearned for socialism, but were virtually unaffected by Russia.


However, north Jiandao, bordering the far eastern region of Russia by land, had been considerably influenced by Russia. The people there used many words borrowed rom Russian in their everyday language. Just as the elderly in North Hamgyong Province today call match pijikkae, the people in north Jiandao in those days called it the same way in Russian. The people in Wangqing, Hunchun, Yanji\and Helong more frequently said the Russian words “pioner”, “kolkhoz”\and “yacheika” than “children’s corps”, “collective farm”\and “cell”. Some used Russian words on purpose to show off their knowledge, but most people used Russian words to express their craving for socialism\and intimacy with the Soviet people, who had emerged victorious in a socialist revolution for the first time in the world. In a sense, their use of Russian words could be regarded as a simple expression of their sympathy with the communist ideal.

 

All the people in north Jiandao, men\and women, young\and old, could sing a few Russian songs. They danced Russian dances skilfully. The dance of sitting\and standing while slapping his leg with one hand as well as dances, which are staged today at the April Spring Friendship Art Festivals, were staged in the guerrilla zones.

In such places as Hunchun\and Wangqing we frequently came across self-styled communists, clad in the rubashka (shirts—Tr.) worn by Russians, who shouted for victory in the world revolution\and the proletarian dictatorship.

While living in Russian dress, using words borrowed rom Russian, singing Russian songs\and dancing Russian dances,\and feeling sympathy with Russia, the first socialist country in the world, worship of Russia\and a belief that it was the best country in the world\and that her people were the best in the world, wormed its way into the minds of the people in north Jiandao before they even realized.

They also worshipped China to some extent. Quite a few of them thought that the Korean revolution could only succeed in the wake of victory in the Chinese revolution\and that the Korean revolution could only be completed only with aid rom the Chinese people. They used words borrowed rom Russian\and also Chinese. The people there called spade guangqiao.

However, the people in west Jiandao never pronounced Chinese\or Russian. They used the untainted dialects of the Hamgyong\and Phyongan Provinces, as they had done in their motherland. The Koreans there preserved their own national character in their lifestyle, manners, diet, language\and all other aspects.

After advancing to the Mt. Paektu area, we toured west Jiandao\and became acquainted with the physical geography\and tendencies of the masses; we realized that the area offered favourable conditions in every aspect for guerrilla activities. Our determination to build up a revolutionary stronghold near Mt. Paektu\and launch a vigorous armed struggle grew firmer\and unchangeable, during contacts with the people there\and acclimatization there.

 

The movement of the main force of the KPRA to west Jiandao constituted a momentous event, ushering in a great new era, termed by our historians\and people as the heyday of the anti-Japanese revolution. It was a historic event, casting a beam of light on a ruined motherland in a pitch-dark night. The sons\and daughters of Korea, faithful to the ideal of patriotism, not only grieved over the destiny of the nation, which was at stake. They advanced to Mt. Paektu in stately strides, in\order to relieve their compatriots rom distress. They were determined to seal their fate with the advent of time.


In retrospect, we had prepared for the advance to Mt. Paektu for 10 long years, since the formation of the Down-with-Imperialism\union. We had been forced to experience many ups\and downs, before transforming the determination into practice; this was the determined desire we had proclaimed at Huadian to raise an armed struggle on Mt. Paektu, when the time came\and launch a sacred struggle for independence. The thousands of miles we traversed had not been straight; they had been steep.

If we had taken a direct route rom Huadian to west Jiandao, after\organizing the DIU, we would have reached Mt. Paektu in five\or six days at the latest. But we had not chosen the direct route; we had laid foundations by building up revolutionary ranks in Jilin\and its surrounding areas. After moving the theatre of our activities to eastern Manchuria, we had continued this work. Why? To train the soldiers we would take to Mt. Paektu,\and rally the masses, who would render hearty assistance to the soldiers.

When the guerrilla army had been\organized in Antu, I could not repress an urge to lead the unit to Mt. Paektu. The mountain was within hailing distance rom Antu. However, this was a mountain nobody could climb, even if he wanted to. Our ranks had been so delicate\and small in size, compared to the grandeur of Paektu. We had resembled a new-born eagle. A bright blue sky spread over our head, but we still lacked the wings to fly across the sky. To base ourselves on Paektu, we had had to expand our ranks\and cultivate our strength.

 

Paektu was not a mountain we could climb, whenever we wanted to. Our inability to climb as we pleased was the true meaning of Paektu; the more restrained we were rom going there, the more we felt that its ascent represented the true bewitching power of Paektu.

Mt. Paektu awaited the steel-strong units\and fighters of the revolutionary army, capable of defeating the crack divisions\and corps of the Japanese army.

During the establishment of the guerrilla zones\and their defence, a steel-strong army, with each man the match for a hundred, had been prepared. The indomitable, steel-strong soldiers had been brought up via hundreds of engagements with the enemy. During the dynamic advance along the lines, set forth at the meetings held at Kalun, Mingyuegou, Dahuangwai, Yaoyinggou, Nanhutou\and Donggang, the Korean revolution had accumulated sufficient strength to launch into Paektu. We advanced to west Jiandao, drawing on this strength.


In retrospect, the history of our anti-Japanese revolution involved the transmission of a banner to our fellow countrymen, who had been scattered with a shame of national ruin\and arming them to lead them to Mt. Paektu,\and defeating Japanese imperialism on Paektu.

The meetings in the forests of Nanhutou\and Donggang marked a decisive turning-point in that process. After those two meetings Paektu was the main theme of our topic: The motherland is calling us; Mt. Paektu is awaiting us; let us climb the mountain as soon as possible, to expedite preparations for the founding of the party\and expand on a mass scale the network of the Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland\and thereby vanquish the Japanese imperialist aggressors through do-or-die all-people resistance!

We should ring the bell of national resurrection on Paektu, the ancestral mountain, to inspire the whole Korean nation with love for their country\and dedication to national salvation; we should instil courage in people, who had lost faith\and been dispirited, so that they rise up; we should stand in the vanguard\and launch the advance into the homeland, by checking the separation of the nation\and rallying them—this was the will\and faith we had when advancing to Paektu.

We did not believe that Mt. Paektu was a gateway to the sky, as our forefathers had done. Instead, we regarded it as a gateway to the homeland, a bridgehead to meet our compatriots there. Mt. Paektu was an important strategic vantage point,\where the boundaries among west Jiandao, the homeland\and north Jiandao, converged.

By basing ourselves on Paektu, we aimed to draw together the people in the homeland, patriots in west Jiandao\and communists in north Jiandao\and ensure our unified leadership to the revolutionary movement in the homeland, the independence movement in west Jiandao\and the communist movement in north Jiandao. On this mountain we could also establish, with the homeland as a stepping-stone, relations with Japan, form a link with the anti-Japanese movement, conducted in China proper beyond Shanhaiguan,\and realize, via north Jiandao, cooperation with the communists\and anti-Japanese independence champions in northern Manchuria\and Maritime Provinces of the Soviet\union.


Aware of the many lessons gained rom building\and defending guerrilla zones in eastern Manchuria, we did not try to transform west Jiandao into a full-scale guerrilla zone as we did in north Jiandao; we turned it into a semi-guerrilla zone, which was the enemy’s ground by day\and our ground by night, as I previously mentioned. Almost all the posts of ten-household head, district head\and sub-county chief were all occupied by people under our influence. They pretended to work for the Japanese army\and police\and Manchukuo authorities by day, but at night were busy holding meetings, teaching at night schools,\and collecting goods\and cleaning rice to be sent to the revolutionary army.


Ri Je Sun, Ri Ju Ik, Ri Hun, Choe Pyong Rak, Jong Tong Chol, Ri Yong Sul,\and Ryom In Hwan constituted the typical embodiment of the situation in semi-guerrilla zones.

Previously  the  leaders  of  party \organizations  in  eastern  Manchuria established guerrilla zones in the form of a liberated area\and cold-shouldered the people living outside the zones. Worse still, they had shown enmity towards the people in enemy-ruled areas, calling them “White people”; they had given wide berth to the people in the intermediate zones, calling them “double-faced”. It had been a serious error to divide the masses into “White”\and “Red”. It had only helped the enemy blockade the guerrilla zone. Consequently, it had hindered our attempts to create a united front, aimed at rallying the revolutionary forces more firmly.


This painful experience led us to turn the whole area of west Jiandao into a semi-guerrilla zone\and put all the masses there under our influence, without defining them as either “Red”\or “White”.

Many Self-Defence Corps men guarding the concentration villages came under our influence.

On one occasion we went to the concentration village of Badaojiang to obtain food grain. The Self-Defence Corps of that village included an operative we had dispatched. On receiving information rom him, our small unit raided the village, singing revolutionary songs\and firing blank shots. But we did not disarm the Self-Defence Corps men; we only returned with the grain prepared by the operative beforehand.

After the guerrilla unit had withdrawn, the operative went to the Japanese police\and said that the guerrillas had raided the village\and plundered grain, but had failed to occupy the fortress\and that the Self-Defence Corps could survive owing to the fortress. In this way, he managed to deceive the enemy.

As the people in west Jiandao were friendly towards the guerrillas\and disloyal to the Japanese army, police\and Manchukuo government, we could achieve all our goals to our satisfaction.

West Jiandao was the main theatre of our activities, developed by the KPRA on its own initiative\and controlled for 3-4 years rom the day we advanced to the Mt. Paektu area to the day, when we switched to large-unit circling operations. In the days after the arduous march (December, 1938—March, 1939), eastern Manchuria once again became the main theatre of our operations. After the meeting at Xiaohaerbaling (August 10-11, 1940), we had another base in the Soviet\union, as well as the one in Mt. Paektu\and made preparations for the great event of national liberation.

As a whole, the centres of the KPRA’s actions during the anti-Japanese revolution were first, north Jiandao, second, west Jiandao\and third, the area of Mt. Zhanggu along the Tuman; they were important bases, which ensured our victory in the anti-Japanese revolution.

As we had experienced during our activities in eastern Manchuria, we keenly felt once again in west Jiandao that the more intensified\and outrageous the enemy’s offensive, the better the semi-guerrilla zone was in every aspect. The transformation of west Jiandao into a semi-guerrilla zone\and our world of influence was a factor behind the successes\and victory we gained in several fields after our advance to the Mt. Paektu area.

After developing the area into a semi-guerrilla zone, we conducted brisk, military activities. Armed units of 20\or so men attacked the enemy almost everyday, moving freely in the west Jiandao area. We frequently dispatched small units to the homeland.

We dispersed our forces\and operated in small armed units instead of a large unit to refrain rom imposing any burden on the people, who were leading tough lives on scanty meals of potato\and oats. It was extremely hard to obtain food for a unit of 200 guerrillas, to say nothing of a larger unit of more than 500-600.

The enemy finished building concentration villages in eastern\and southern Manchuria by 1938\or so. Since then it had become harder for the revolutionary army to obtain food. We had to fight big battles to get food, which meant, in the long run, exchanging food for the blood of our comrades. So we conducted small-unit activities in many cases\and solved the problem of food in this way. I thought that we should not spill comrades’ blood, even if it meant going hungry for some days.

 

Under the direct influence of the anti-Japanese armed struggle, the people’s spirit to fight the Japanese rose\and our revolutionary advance was stepped up in west Jiandao. 

During an interview with elderly people in the area, I discovered that the people in Changbai had heard a great deal about us since 1932-1933.

In the early 1936 Ri Je Sun\and Ri Ju Ik met Kwon Yong Byok\and Kim Jong Phil, political workers rom the guerrilla army, who had gone to west Jiandao disguised as opium traffickers\and acquired information about the KPRA’s activities rom them. On learning that the restructuring of the guerrilla army was under way, they realized that the main force of the KPRA might advance to the Changbai area. The news soon spread throughout Changbai County\and as far as Kapsan Working Committee in the homeland.

I was told that Ri Yong Sul, who had been a ten-household headman in Tianshangshui, had been spreading propaganda about us among his friends since 1932. He had said that General ‡ was engaged in guerrilla activities in north Jiandao\and would lead his unit to Mt. Paektu at any moment to liberate the motherland; he had called on them to continue anti-Japanese patriotic activities without changing their mind.

Encouraged by news of the activities of the KPRA, the young people in the Changbai area had for a long time tried hard to join our guerrilla army. Kang Hyon Min, who had been working with the youth in Dadeshui, had told his friends, “I can no longer wait for General Kim with arms folded. I am going to his unit to join up; please take good care of my family when I am gone.” Then, he came to the direction of Fusong\and joined our guerrilla army.

After our advance to Changbai, the whole west Jiandao was afire with passion to join the guerrilla army. After meeting us, many young people called on Headquarters\and asked to join the army. We only admitted some of them, as we had to leave a great number of young people in the enemy-ruled area to intensify underground activities.

However, after the concentration villages had been built, we recruited all the volunteers. If they had been left in the earthen walls, the young people would have to be drafted for forced labour,\organized by the enemy, doing nothing for the revolution.

Since the first gun report at Dadeshui after our advance to Changbai, the anti-Japanese spirit of the people in west Jiandao soared.

Witnessing the ignominious defeat of the Japanese army in Dadeshui\and Xiaodeshi, the old men at Shiliudaogou could not hide their rapture, saying, “Every devil rom the old days, who molested the people, has gone ruined,\and the Japanese swines are no exception.” The young people released a shout of joy, saying, “Hurrah! We thought Korea had been destroyed forever but she is not totally collapsed. We can feel her heart beating fast.”

Following the brisk armed struggle of the KPRA in west Jiandao, the people on both sides of the Amnok produced legend after legend about us. Spreading the news of the might of the guerrilla army, some of the elderly people believing in Chondoism said that Commander Kim Il Sung was employing the “art of shortening distance” to defeat the Japanese imperialists, appearing in the east\and west. They even concocted such stories that, whenever a policeman made a phone call, the guerrillas appeared, when they fired a shot, his ear was cut\and, when he tried to take flight, they fired another shot\and his legs would break.


Such stories produced by the people in west Jiandao spread deep into the homeland across the Amnok. When one person shouted, “The revolutionary army raided Banjiegou last night!” on the Changbai bank of the Amnok, the people in Samsu across the river could hear it all.

When operating in west Jiandao, we received considerable assistance rom the people. The many written recollections kept in the archives of our Party patently indicate how passionately the people in west Jiandao supported the People’s Revolutionary Army.

They backed the revolutionary army with all sincerity. They regarded sincere assistance to the army as a token of their conscience. They labelled any rejection of the revolutionary army to pursue one’s own interest\and luxury as little-minded.

After our establishment in west Jiandao, the Japanese imperialists made desperate efforts to cut off the relations between the revolutionary army\and the people\and prevent support of the people rom reaching the revolutionary army. They even kept watchful eyes on Koreans, who shook hands in greeting, claiming that they were tainted by communism.

In west Jiandao the commoners had to obtain permission rom the village head to pay a visit to the neighbouring village. They had to keep a spoon for each family member. The enemy carried out searches at all hours\and took away all surplus spoons, claiming that even one surplus spoon would help the revolutionary army.


The enemy issued a proclamation, announcing a 50 yuan reward for anyone, who beheaded a revolutionary army soldier\and a greater reward for anyone, who captured a soldier alive. Several documents proved that a larger sum of money had been offered for my head. Sometimes they would force people to scatter leaflets, inciting us to surrender,\and send poisoned salt to the revolutionary army as “aid goods”.


These were all tricks to disconnect the blood-sealed ties between the revolutionary army\and the people. The people of west Jiandao were not taken in by this trickery. The more frenzied efforts the enemy made, the more they strengthened their relations with the KPRA\and the more rapidly they offered support en masse. When the enemy\organized a night guard corps in every village to check the activities of the guerrilla army, the corps men would help the underground operatives\and guerrillas infiltrate the concentration village by standing guard for them, while pretending to be on patrol.


The enemy burned mercilessly any village, which revealed the slightest sign of support for the guerrillas,\and killed all others, young\or old, involved in the supporting scheme. Diyangxi, Dadeshui\and Xinchangdong were totally burned in this whirlwind. A teacher in Dadeshui was shot to death for sending a fountain-pen to the guerrillas. The west Jiandao people did not yield, however; they assisted the guerrillas as one at the cost of their blood.

The enemy constantly sustained heavy casualties rom the military offensive of the KPRA, but acted in front of the people as if it were winning victory after victory. When we had an engagement with the enemy in Xiaodeshui, the people thought that the revolutionary army had lost the battle, as the enemy had displayed its troops after the battle, blowing bugles, as if it had won the battle. They soon realized the truth, after seeing dozens of dead bodies of Japanese soldiers scattered on the battlefield.

When carrying off the dead bodies of its soldiers, the enemy said that it was carrying the corpses of communist soldiers.

After our withdrawal following the attack on Shierdaogou, the rumour about our guerrilla army spread widely in Shierdaogou\and its vicinity. The enemy felt awkward: So it hung the head of a Japanese army officer on the entrance of the north gate, which the revolutionary army had just stormed through before withdrawing; it propagandized that the men had killed a leader of the communist army. It was soon revealed as a fake, when the officer’s wife later saw the head on a pole in front of the gate\and wailed, saying, “Oh, my! How could this happen to you?”


Such a tragi-comedy was staged regularly. A similar farce was staged in Fusong\and Linjiang.

To win the reward rom their Japanese bosses, the Jingan army soldiers one year hung the head of an unidentified man\and a Mauser rifle inscribed “Kim Il Sung” respectively in the downtowns of Fusong\and Linjiang\and spread the false rumour that our unit had been vanquished. However, when my primary schoolmates\and friends in Fusong\and Linjiang went to the site\and revealed that the Jingan army’s propaganda was false, this dirty deceptive farce also collapsed. Indeed it had the opposite effect, giving the impression that the KPRA\and its commander were sturdy\and offering continued resistance.


The enemy could not deflate the anti-Japanese spirit of the people of west Jiandao\or suppress their sympathy\and support for the People’s Revolutionary Army. Support for the guerrillas was not stamped out; the more intensified the suppression, the more support increased.

I will describe the support-the-guerrillas movement, conducted by the west Jiandao people in subsequent sections\and will therefore introduce a few bits about information\and the people here.

Whenever we passed through a village in west Jiandao, the villagers would come out with dark toffee made rom potato\and place it in the pockets of the soldiers.

After the establishment of concentration villages, they sincerely helped the guerrilla army. Given that the Japanese imperialists confined all the people in those villages\and exercised strict control over grain, inquiring into the size of the field\and crops harvested, they assisted us by employing clever methods. They would only clear away creepers during the season for harvesting potatoes; they did not dig potatoes, so that the guerrillas could lift them\and take them away to eat. They kept the unshucked corn in reserves built in the forests\and informed the guerrillas to take it away. If corn is stored unshucked, it does not rot. They did not harvest the beans\and informed the revolutionary army, so that they could bring them away. One year we spent the winter on boiled ground bean.


West Jiandao was the first place,\where the guerrilla army received food grain rom the people in such a way; the grain was left on the field so that the soldiers could take it away.

The chief of the police department of South Hamgyong Province made his well-known remarks in Hyesan: During my current inspection of this area, I discovered a problem with west Jiandao. First, the people there clearly maintain a secret communication with the guerrilla army. The size of the guerrilla army runs into at least tens of thousands,\whereas apparently only three mal (a mal approximates to two pecks—Tr.) of rice was sent to them. Suppose 300 guerrillas came; they would consume several mal of rice a day, but they reported that they had given only three mal. This proves that they are secretly communicating with the guerrilla army. Second, they have become Reds. When we ask if they have seen people in the mountains\or bandits, even children say they haven’t; but when we ask if they have seen the revolutionary army, they say yes. This testifies that the west Jiandao people regard the guerrilla army as their army\and that they have become Reds. Third, west Jiandao has become a permanent base of the guerrilla army’s activities. Previously the Independence Army units\and bandits would stay there in summer\or autumn\and move to other places in winter. However, Kim Il Sung’s unit operate here even in winter. So we must build concentration villages in this area.


This is impressive evidence, which indicates the strength of the ties between the revolutionary army\and the people\and provides vivid material, revealing how daringly the latter championed\and supported the former.

Maintenance of peace in west Jiandao was causing such problems that the enemy cried in distress that both communism\and the three principles for the people had become a beacon-light, illuminating the road ahead for the people, saying, “To win the masses rom the communist bandits\and the anti-Manchukuo, anti-Japanese bandits\and defeat these bandits, we must set up an objective more dazzling than their political objective, indicate a clear-cut road to that objective\and run a more popular government. In other words, we must advance the ideal of building Manchukuo more clearly, by enlisting the masses more easily\and peacefully than the communist bandits\and create a policy capable of meeting the requirements to lead them to that ideal. Only treatment of the bandits as a special sector of the political, economic, ideological\and social, national movement, guided by this policy, will enable us to effectively disintegrate the foundations of the political\and ideological banditry\and overcome them.”


The words “communist bandits” constitute a derogatory term for the People’s Revolutionary Army,\and “anti-Manchukuo, anti-Japanese bandits”, for all armed forces opposed to the puppet Manchukuo\and Japanese imperialism.

The enemy resorted to every possible means to vanquish the People’s Revolutionary Army\and disconnect ties between the revolutionary army\and people, but to no avail.

After their village had been totally burned, owing to “punitive” operations of the Japanese imperialists, the peasants in Diyangxi felt a tremendous difficulty for lack of draught animals. They had to till the land\and carry timber rom the mountain for pay before long, but had no single draught ox. After discussions, they decided to solve the problem through negotiations with the county administration,\and sent a Ri as a delegate for the negotiations\and some young people as his escorts. Apparently, he was the most sociable\and eloquent person in the village.


As he arrived at the county office, Ri complained in this way: The people in our village have never maintained secret contacts with the communist army; however, the Japanese army turned the village into a heap of ashes in a night, without waiting for clear evidence;\where on earth can you find such an unfair incident?; what the hell was the county administration doing?; you mentioned that you would create “a village of good citizens” at every opportunity, but you did not check the advance of the “punitive” forces, even though you saw them coming; the construction of “a village of good citizens” has now fizzled out, as we have no ox to till the land with,\and can’t take meals, as we can’t farm.


That complaint touched the heartstrings of the county officials so greatly that they lent about 20 oxen to the peasants in Diyangxi.

As the negotiations proceeded as he had intended, Ri changed his mind. He was overcome by thoughts that the guerrillas were going through hardships on the mountains, without eating a piece of meat. He thought: We should send these oxen to the revolutionary army for their meals, even though this means that we cannot plough the land\and carry timber for pay with them. He transmitted his thought via the underground\organization in the county. He noted that, as he\and his friends were returning to their village with the oxen, we could “raid” them rom an ambush\and take the oxen to our secret camp.

On receiving this information rom an underground\organization, we dispatched an ambush party to a key position on the road between the county town\and Diyangxi. The party played the drama very skilfully. At that time the county administration provided Ri with armed escorts rom the puppet Manchukuo army so that he could take the oxen in safety. Needless to say, the escorts were caught by the guerrilla raid.

After disarming the escorts, the guerrillas intentionally bound Ri\and other young people rom Diyangxi within their sight\and took them all to the secret camp, threatening that they would shoot them to death, as they were vicious traitors, fawning upon Japan\and Manchukuo. The young people, who came to the camp, all joined the guerrilla army. We killed two birds with one stone.

This is only one piece of episode, which shows the relationship between the army\and the people in our days in west Jiandao.

The movement to assist the KPRA materially\and morally, initiated since the first day of our advance to the Changbai area, not only involved the basic class of workers\and peasants; it also attracted the strata, some communists stained with dogmatism, considered as objects of our struggle\and regarded with hostility.

There was a big Chinese landowner, named Cao De-yi, in Shijiudaogou, Changbai County. Inheriting a fortune rom his deceased uncle, he had suddenly become a man of great wealth in his 30s, with 80\or so hectares of land. Half the crop land there was owned by him. He kept six concubines\and had sworn brotherhood with policemen. In the dogmatists’ view he had to be liquidated. His strong national consciousness could be called something noteworthy.

When the People’s Revolutionary Army defeated the Japanese\and puppet Manchukuo soldiers\and policemen at Dadeshui\and Xiaodeshui, Cao was scared out of his senses\and fled with his concubines to Changbai county town. He left his house\and land in the care of his agent.


Ri Hun, a district head, placed that landlord under our influence. The way in which he won over Cao was dramatic.

After the establishment of secret camps in the area around Mt. Paektu, I\ordered the logistical personnel to make preparations for the New Year’s Day of 1937. I attached great importance to that day, as this was the first New Year’s Day for us on Mt. Paektu. That year my men also looked forward eagerly to New Year’s Day. Kim Ju Hyon, the supply officer of the unit, was busy travelling around villages in west Jiandao in\order to obtain supplies.

The basin of the Amnok at Shijiudaogou was the only area,\where rice was cultivated. Even though rice was cultivated, every grain of rice was carried off to the stores of the landlords.

The message that Cao De-yi had a great store of food grain, meat\and sugar for the feast on New Year’s Day was delivered to Kim Ju Hyon rom Ji Thae Hwan, a political operative. On receiving the message, Kim Ju Hyon, in collaboration with Ri Je Sun, wrote a notice there\and then addressed Cao in the name of the People’s Revolutionary Army, which read: We believe that you have not abandoned your national conscience as a Chinaman; consequently, on the principle of protecting the properties of all people, except that of the pro-Japanese lackeys, we have not damaged your property; you should repay our just measure in deeds; you should help the revolutionary army, by living up to our expectations; please reply immediately, explaining when\and how you will assist us.


On receiving this note, Cao broke with the world\and, bed-bound, was plunged into mental agony. He was too afraid of the Japanese to help the People’s Revolutionary Army as required by the note; he was too afraid of possible punishment by the revolutionary army to ignore the note. Even though his concubines played coquetry by his bed, he did not respond; he only heaved sighs. His concubines made a great fuss of the fact that a misfortune had befallen. Around this time Ri Hun, as directed by Ri Je Sun, came to the county town to sound out the landlord Cao’s thoughts. In the town he came across one of Cao’s concubines, who told him that Cao had not been taking meals\and sleeping for several days\and asked him to console him while having lunch with him. Believing that everything was going as planned, Ri Hun visited the landlord’s house with an air of reluctance.

Cao welcomed Ri Hun warmly, as if he were his saviour. After drinking some cups of wine, he showed Ri the note rom the revolutionary army\and asked, “What should I do, my dear younger brother?”

Ri Hun gave a cursory look at the note\and, gripping his hands, said: Don’t worry too much; they will not kill you; I was once captured by them a few months ago\and taken to their camp, but they differed rom the bandits; the revolutionary army, which does not harm the people’s lives at random, will be deeply impressed, if you offer them a treat\and they will protect you.

Cao replied that he did not stint his property, but hesitated out of fear of the Japanese, afraid that his act might be divulged. He went on that he would do whatever Ri would suggest.

Ri said, “If you do not feel so sorry for your property, why don’t you send it to them? What’s all this worry? Please behave yourself in front of the revolutionary army; otherwise I will not remain district head in Shijiudaogou\and the peasants there will not live in peace.”

Hearing him out, Cao requested that he take care of sending materials to the revolutionary army, making sure that he avoided causing trouble.

On learning that Cao had decid

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