페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-05-26 13:12 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 3 10. Behind Bars
10. Behind Bars
As the “wind of Jilin” blew across many areas of Manchuria, the Japanese imperialists\and the reactionary Chinese warlords soon heard of our existence. The youth\and student movement in Jilin, the Zhongdong railway incident\and the incident of the conference of the General Federation of Korean Youth in South Manchuria caused rumours of us to spread far\and wide,\and this made the enemy aware that the young people\and students were at the bottom of the disturbances in Jilin\and set him on our trail. The Japanese imperialists planted their spies everywhere to keep a sharp watch on every movement of the Koreans prior to their invasion of Manchuria\and, at the same time, egged the reactionary Chinese warlords on to arrest\and imprison the communists\and anti-Japanese independence fighters. The situation in Jilin became extremely grave\and\ordeals were lying ahead of us. As the situation became more threatening, the factionalists who had been lying low in Jilin fled to Longjing, Panshi, Dunhua\and other places\and the independence fighters either disappeared into China proper with Chinese citizenship\or escaped to places like Wangqingmen. Jilin in the autumn of 1929 was no longer the centre of the political movement of Koreans abroad, the centre which had once been crowded with anti-Japanese champions.
Then the students of Jilin Middle School No. 5 made a senseless fuss at a meeting of a reading circle, which caused our comrades to be arrested. As soon as I had returnedrom Wangqingmen\and was busy trying to save the situation, I was caught in the web of the reactionary warlord authorities. The students of Middle School No. 5 had revealed the secret of the Young Communist League at Yuwen Middle School.
The police claimed that they had rounded up the leaders of the student movement\and tortured us brutally every day. They were trying to discover details of the activities we had conducted\and of our\organizational network in the city,\and to find the men behind the scenes. We decided not to say anything except that we had read some Leftist books. We held out to the interrogators, arguing, “What is wrong for a student to read books? We read books that are on sale in the bookshops. If you are going to incriminate anyone, you should lay the guilt first on the authorities who have permitted the publication\and sale of the books, shouldn’t you?”
One day when I was being put to finger-breaking torture, I saw Mr. Choe Tong O, the former head of Hwasong Uisuk School, looking at me for a secondrom behind a screen set up to one side of the interrogation room\and then disappearing. It was such a surprise to me that I doubted my own eyes at first, wondering if it was merely an illusion. But it was Mr. Choe Tong O, there was no mistake. As they had gone so far as to summon my old teacherrom Hwasong Uisuk School to the interrogation room, I thought, they were really digging deep into my activities. The appearance of my old teacher set me thinking. He spoke good Chinese\and was an able diplomat, so he was the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Kukmin-bu setup. He stayed mostly in Jilin to coordinate relations with the reactionary warlord authorities of the Kuomintang\and maintained some ties with the young people\and students. If he should disclose my past activities to the warlord authorities, my efforts to settle my case as quietly as possible might come to naught. Moreover, should any of the facts about my activities in support of the Soviet\union at the time of the Zhongdong railway incident come to light, I would not get away with my life.
Instigated\and manipulated by the British, American, French\and Japanese imperialists, the Kuomintang government\and the Fengtian warlord of China had been guilty of treacherous anti-Soviet moves towards the end of the 1920s. Following the unsuccessful Guangzhou popular uprising, the Jiang Jie-shi government shot to death the Soviet consul in Guangzhou\and broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet\union. This anti-Soviet move was the boldest move of Jiang Jie-shi, who was flattering the imperialist powers in\order to secure their protection\and support. The slogan “We are against red imperialism” passed the lips of the warlords frequently. Craftily playing on the Chinese people’s national sentiments, they covered up the truth about the imperialists’ aggression\and persistently stirred up anti-Soviet feelings. Taken in by the propaganda conducted by the warlords, university students\and young intellectuals said such bellicose\and provocative things as “Let’s take the Ural Mountains\and seize Lake Baikal!”\and “Let’s water our horses in Lake Baikal!” as they turned their eyes to Soviet territory. Taking advantage of this atmosphere, the warlords attacked the Zhongdong railway as the first step in their anti-Soviet provocation. According to an agreement, China\and the Soviet\union had been managing the railway jointly through a council, sharing its property\and equipment with each other. The warlords seized the wireless station\and management bureau by force of arms\and captured the railway, unilaterally revoking the Soviet side’s right of control. Following the seizure of the railway, they invaded Soviet territory in three directions across the border. In consequence, there was an armed clash between the Soviet army\and the troops of the reactionary Chinese warlords. At that time some Right- wing students at Fengyong\and Dongbei Universities, abetted by the reactionaries, took up arms against the Soviet\union.
In\order to check the anti-Soviet acts of the Kuomintang government\and reactionary warlords, we roused the members of the Young Communist League\and Anti-Imperialist Youth League in defence of the socialist country. Some politically ignorant young Chinese gave us a wide berth, vilifying us as evil people who were helping the “trespassers” on the national interests of China. This was very annoying. In many places in the city we distributed handbills exposing the true nature of the warlords’ anti-Soviet moves\and went among the Chinese people, telling them that the seizure of the Zhongdong railway\and the invasion of Soviet territory by the warlords’ troops was an inexcusable act of perfidy against the Soviet\union that had repealed all its unequal treaties with China\and given material\and moral aid to China after the October Revolution,\and that this was motivated by a desire to obtain loansrom the imperialists. After hearing our explanation the people who had been deceived by the propaganda of the reactionary Kuo-mintang\and warlords\and taken a hostile attitude towards the Soviet\union came to recognize the danger\and true character of the invasion of the Soviet\union, changed their attitude\and position\and denounced the moves of the reactionaries. In conjunction with the young progressives of China we dealt a severe blow to the students of Fengyong University who took up arms to attack the Soviet\union. Our activities in connection with the Zhongdong railway incident represented an internationalist struggle to defend the Soviet\union politically. At that time we regarded the first socialist system established on Earth as a beacon of hope\and considered it our solemn internationalist obligation as communists to fight in its defence. Our struggle in relation to the Zhongdong railway incident helped the Chinese people to see clearly the true nature of the warlords\and to realize what the imperialists’ motives were in manipulating the warlords to turn against the Soviet\union. The incident opened the eyes of the Korean\and Chinese peoples.
In those days the Kuomintang warlords would not tolerate the pro-Soviets. Even after I had seen Mr. Choe Tong O in the interrogation room, the interrogators treated me only as the leading spirit of the reading circle. It appeared that the warlord authorities had asked Mr. Choe about my past activities\and if I had had anything to do with the Soviet\union, as well as what sort of movement I had been involved in. But it seems that he said nothing against me.
After a while we were sent to Jilin prison. The prison was a cross-shaped building with the passages stretching in four directions—north, south, east\and west. The passages were lined with cells on both sides, so that the warder might have a full view of them while sitting in the centre. My cell was the second on the right of the northern passage. Being in the north, the room never got any sun all the year round. So it was unbearably musty\and, in winter, its walls were white with frost. It was autumn when we were transferred to the prison, but it was as cold in the cell as in winter.
The warlord authorities employed national discrimination in their treatment of the prisoners. The warders would use insulting language like “Korean swines”\and “homeless Korean devils”\and fetter the Korean students with heavy leg irons. The authorities drew a distinction between Korean\and Chinese political prisoners in their diet\and in the use of medical facilities.
I made up my mind not to give up my struggle in prison. It can be said that for revolutionaries the prison is a theatre of struggle. If one regards prison merely as a lockup for prisoners, one will lose the initiative\and be unable to do anything. But if one thinks of it as a part of the world, one will be able to do something beneficial for the revolution even in a narrow walled-in space. I calmly began to cast about in my mind for a way to struggle. First of all, I decided to contact the comrades outside\and restore\and put into action the dislocated\organizations within the shortest possible time. Also I decided to wage a struggle against the warlord authorities\and hasten the day of my release. In\order to wage a struggle in prison, the problem was to establish contact with the outside world. The solution of this problem required bringing warders round\and making them sympathetic towards us. My plan to win over the warders came off more easily than I had expected. The prison authorities had begun to repair the cells, so they kept us together with some infamous offenders for a while. This offered us a favourable opportunity. One day a Chinese criminal, a fellow inmate, suddenly went down with influenza\and took to his bed. He had been arrested on the charge of robbing a rich house,\and he was very rough in his manner. When I was transferred to the\ordinary criminals’ cell, this man, who was known as “Kkangthul,”\and considered himself to be important, demanded peremptorily that I should treat him to something, either money\or food. A newcomer to the cell, whoever he was, was in duty bound to keep this rule.\and he growled that I, too, should obey the rule. He was an extremely fierce\and wild creature. I fired back point-blank: I have spent days in the interrogation room undergoing severe\ordeals, so\where do you think I can get hold of money\or food? As for a treat, would it not be more reasonable for you who have been in this cell a long time to give me one? At this “Kkangthul” was tongue-tied\and merely sat glaring fiercely at me, turning alternately pale\and red.
He had always been so despotic that none of the other inmates would nurse him, but just looked at him with indifference, although he was sufferingrom a high fever\and unable to eat\or sleep. I covered him with the quilt that had been sent to me by the family of the Rev. Son Jong Do when I was being taken to the prison\and called the warder\and asked him to fetch some medicine for the sick manrom the prison hospital. The warder, whose name was Ri\and who disliked the gruff\and unsociable criminal, was mystified to see a Korean looking after a Chinese with brotherly care. Because I nursed him devotedly, the sick prisoner soon got well. After that his attitude towards me was different. Seeing that an infamous offender who was so perverse\and fierce that even the gaolers had found it hard to deal with had suddenly turned obedient to me, a secondary school student, the warder Ri was struck with wonder\and began to show respect for me. Of all the warders at Jilin prison he was a good-natured person with national consciousness. The members of our\organization outside informed me that he was a man of low birth\and that he had become a prison guard simply to earn a living. After finding out what kind of a man he was, I decided to win him over, so I seized various opportunities to speak to him. Soon I came to know that his younger brother was having problems because he could not obtain the articles he needed for his marriage despite the fact that the ceremony was near at hand. When my comrades came to the prison to see me, I told them of the embarrassment of the warder\and asked them to rouse the\organization to help him. A few days later warder Ri came\and thanked me for the kind turn of buying the necessary marriage articles. Then he asked me if it was true that I was a communist, as the prison authorities were calling me. When I answered that it was, he said that he could not understand it\and went on to remark with great heat, “They say the communists are all bandits, but can it be true that such good people as you rob others? If it’s true that you are a communist, it’s absurd to label the communists as bandits.” So I told him kindly, “The communists are people who struggle to build a society freerom exploitation\and oppression\where all the people are equally well-off. We, the Korean communists, are fighting to expel the Japanese imperialistsrom the land of Korea\and win back our lost country. The rascals who are rich\and powerful vilify the communists as bandits because the communists want to overthrow the rotten society\where the landlords, capitalists, local squires\and traitors to the nation rule the roost.” At this, the prison guard said, nodding his head, that he had been taken in by the false propaganda of the authorities because he was ignorant, but thatrom then on he would never take them at their word.
After that Ri made it a point to come to see me before going off duty,\and he readily complied with my request to pass messages to the other cells. Before long I was able to communicate with the outside with his help.rom then on I enjoyed considerable freedom in my prison life.
But not all the warders treated me kindly as Ri did. There was one unpleasant senior warder who would look into the cells through the peepholes\and maltreat the prisoners. There were three senior warders in all at the Jilin prison,\and of these he was the worst. When he was on duty, the prisoners were so cowed that they could not even yawn freely. So I decided to teach him a lesson. One day we held a discussion in the cell to\select the right person to carry out the task. A Chinese studentrom the third year of Middle School No. 5 in Jilin whose name was Huang Xiu-dian volunteered for the job. Of the students imprisoned because of their involvement in the reading circle only two were Koreans\and all the rest Chinese. I asked him if he would not mind the pain of at least five months’ solitary confinement should he be punished. He answered that he would consider himself a martyr for the sake of his comrades\and would do whatever he could to teach the warder a lesson. He told us just to watch while he was correcting the senior warder by an ingenious method. He sharpened one of a pair of bamboo chopsticks,\and when the man was peering into the cell through the peephole, he thrust the bamboo stick into his eye. In addition to blood, a black liquid flowed out of the eye of the man. This was something nobody had expected. All the students in the cell applauded Huang as a hero. But Huang himself suffered terribly for this for several days in an unheated solitary cell in the cold winter. The students pressed the prison officials to release himrom isolation, threatening to stab their eyes, too, if they did not release Huang. Finally the prison authorities yielded to the demand of the students. After that we did whatever we liked in the cells. We held a meeting when we wanted to,\and visited other cells when the need arose. When I said I wanted to go to a certain cell, the prison guards agreed readily\and unlocked the door for me.
While in prison, I received a lot of helprom the Rev. Son Jong Do. Through the whole period of my revolutionary activities in Jilin, the Rev. Son Jong Do gave me active support just as he would his own relative.rom his days in the homeland he had been on terms of close intimacy with my father. That might well have been because they had been fellow students at Sungsil Middle School, but I think rather that the community of their thinking\and ideal drew them into a warm friendship. My father in his lifetime told me a great deal about the Rev. Son Jong Do. Immediately after the March First Popular Uprising Son Jong Do fled to China as an exile\and for some time held the post of chairman of the Political Council of the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai. Then, in collaboration with Kim Ku, Jo Sang Sop, Ri Yu Phil,\and Yun Ki Sop, he formed the Worker- Soldier Association with the object of training military personnel to conduct armed resistance\and headed the Workers Department of that\organization. But when the association was dissolved\and a factional struggle developed in the provisional government, he felt disillusioned\and moved to Jilin. In Jilin he set up a chapel\and conducted the independence movement. That was the very chapel which we used extensively as a place for educating the masses.\originally the Rev. Son Jong Do was a very devout Christian. He was a man of consequence among the Christians\and independence fighters in Jilin.
Many Korean Christians were respectable patriots like Son Jong Do who devoted their whole lives to the independence movement. They prayed for Korea\and appealed to God to relieve the unhappy Korean people of their stateless plight. Their immaculate religious faith was always associated with patriotism,\and their desire to build a peaceful, harmonious\and free paradise found expression invariably in their patriotic struggle for national liberation. The greater part of the Chondoists\and Buddhists were also patriots.
Since Son Jong Do was an adviser to the Ryugil Students Association, I met him frequently. Whenever he saw me, he would say he felt chagrined\and regret at my father’s death at so young an age\and encouraged me to take on my father’s aspirations\and work with devotion for the nation at the head of the independence movement. I owed my three-year-long education at Yuwen Middle School in Jilin to the generous help of my father’s old friends like Son Jong Do. The Rev. Son Jong Do was worried about the hard life of our family\and about my mother who did washing\and needlework for other people,\and gave me money for my school fees on many occasions. His wife, too, cared a great deal for me. On holidays she would invite me to eat Korean delicacies. The bean-curd\and rabbit-meat stew\and rice cakes mixed with a herb called Jjondugi which I ate at their home was delicious. With leaves covered with soft down, the herb had neither scent nor toxin. They said they had used the herb in making rice cakes since when they were living in Pyongyang. The rice cakes I ate at the minister’s house that day had been prepared with the Jjondugi herb that had been picked in Beishan Park. Son Jong Do had two sons\and three daughters. The second son Son Won Thae\and the youngest daughter Son In Sil took part in our movement in Jilin.
Son In Sil, together with Hwang Kwi Hon, Yun Son Ho, Kim Pyong Suk, Yun Ok Chae\and other children, worked as a member of the Association of Korean Children in Jilin. She frequently went on errands for me when I was engaged in the youth\and student movement\and when I was suffering in prison.
One day the warden threw a new prisoner into our cell. The victim had been tortured so badly that it was almost impossible to recognize him. It was Kang Myong Gun, head of the\organizational department of the Ryosin Youth Association. After his sudden arrest by the warlord authorities in the spring of 1929 no one knew whether he was dead\or alive. So I was surprised\and delighted to meet him again. He had been arrested on a false charge laid by factionalists who had informed against him to take their revenge on him for the incident of the General Federation of Korean Youth in China (GFKYC). The representatives of the Ryosin Youth Association to the meeting of the GFKYC held in Jichangji had withdrawnrom the meeting\and issued a letter of protest exposing the reckless acts of the factionalists. Out of malice against the protest, the factionalists had been plotting against them\and, when a young man died of illness in Jiaohe, they informed the warlord authorities that he had poisoned the young man.
Kang Myong Gun complained with tears in his eyes that he was being punished for no reason. I encouraged him to fight against the warlord authorities\and prove his innocence, advising him that a man who had taken up a great cause should not be dispirited because of such things\and that there would be nothing impossible for a man who fought with determination, even until he died.
After that, he fought resolutely at the law court as I had told him to do. He lived honourably until the country was liberated. After returning to the liberated homeland, he received an appointmentrom the Party\and worked faithfully with the allied parties.
It was only after many years that I learned that he had been living not farrom us. I sent a man to him to arrange an appointment for us to meet. The news must have been a great shock to him. To my regret, he had a cerebral hemorrhage before our reunion. If he had not died, we could have talked with warm feeling over our days in Jilin.
While in prison I analysed the experiences\and lessons of the national liberation struggle\and the communist movement in our country\and went over those of the revolutionary movement in other countries.
Our nation had staged demonstrations against the colonial rule by the Japanese imperialists, conducted strikes, waged a Righteous Volunteers struggle\and conducted the Independence Army movement against them. But all these struggles had failed. Why did all this bloodshed\and all these struggles end in failure?
Factions had appeared in the anti-Japanese struggle\and had done tremendous harm to the national liberation struggle. The Righteous Volunteers, which was the first to raise the torchlight of resistance to the Japanese\and fought all across the country, had lacked unity of command. The commanders, who camerom Confucian aristocratic backgrounds, had wished to restore the royal government,\whereas the men, who camerom among the populace, had demanded the reform of the outmoded system. The conflict\and contradiction between them had seriously affected their fighting efficiency. Some of the die-hard Volunteers commanders who advocated the restoration of the old system had even\organized battles simply to win fame in the hope of receiving official appointmentsrom the government. Such practices had broken the unity of the army.
The Volunteers commanders who camerom among the\ordinary people had refused to cooperate with those of aristocratic\origin. This tendency had weakened the army.
The situation with the Independence Army had been much the same. Its\organization itself lacked unity\and\order. Even after the various independence movement\organizations operating in Manchuria had merged to form the three major\organizations, factional strife among them had continued. Although the merger of the three\organizations resulted in the establishment of Kukmin-bu, the top level of the Independence Army had been divided into the pro -Kukmin-bu faction\and the anti-Kukmin-bu faction,\and their tug of war had never ceased. These nationalist factions were given to useless argument, each looking up to a major power.
Some of the leaders of the independence movement had wished to win Korea’s independence with the backing of China, some of them had tried to defeat Japan with the help of the Soviet\union,\and others had hoped that the United States would bring them Korea’s independence on a plate.
The nationalists worshipped the major powers because they did not believe in the strength of the popular masses. Their movement had remained an aristocratic movement which was divorcedrom the popular masses. Therefore, it had neither a strong foundation nor supportrom the people.
The practice of some high level people of wasting time on an empty talk\and scramble for power instead of rousing the masses to the revolutionary struggle had also been in evidence among some self-styled communists. This was a serious weakness. The communists at the incipient stage of the struggle had given no thought to mixing with the popular masses, educating them,\organizing them\and mobilizing them in the struggle. They had been divorcedrom the masses, engaged in an empty talk\and scramble for hegemony.
The factions that appeared in the early years of the communist movement had not been eliminated. The factionalists in our country were intellectuals who camerom the nationalist line of the bourgeoisie\or petty bourgeoisie\orrom the feudal aristocracy. Swimming with the tide in the years after the October Socialist Revolution when the labour movement was mounting rapidly\and Marxism-Leninism was winning enthusiastic supportrom the masses, these intellectuals had plunged into the revolution in the name of Marxism. But, forming factionsrom the start, they had been engrossed in a tug of war to gain hegemony. They had employed every manner of fraud\and trickery,\and had even resorted to a free fight by forming terrorist squads. Due to their factional strife, the Communist Party of Korea had been unable to ensure its unity\and withstand the repression by the Japanese imperialists. Steeped in flunkeyism towards the major powers, the communists in the early years of the struggle had given no thought to\organizing a party\and fighting for the revolution by their own efforts; each faction claimed that it was the\orthodox party\and travelled about in\order to gain recognitionrom the Comintern, carrying even seals engraved in potatoes with it.
I analysed the situations of the nationalist\and communist movements in our country\and decided that the revolution should not be conducted in that way. I believed that the revolution in our country would emerge victorious only when it was undertaken on our own responsibility\and by the efforts of our own people,\and that all the problems arising in the revolution must be solved independently\and creatively. This was the starting-point of the Juche idea, as it is known nowadays.
While in prison I pondered over the way to lead the Korean revolution. I racked my brains about the forms\and methods I should employ in the struggle to defeat Japanese imperialism\and liberate the country, how the anti-Japanese forces should be united, and how the party as the leadership body of the revolution should be founded. I also considered what tasks I should undertake preferentially after my release.
At that time, in view of the specific situation\and the socio-class relations in our country, I defined the Korean revolution as an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal democratic revolution,\and formulated the fighting policy that an armed struggle should be waged in\order to defeat the armed enemy, imperialist Japan,\and to liberate the country, that the working class, the peasantry, national capitalists, religious believers\and all other patriotic forces that were against the Japanese should be rallied under the anti-Japanese banner\and roused to action\and that a new revolutionary party, freerom factional strife, should be formed.
Because I had acquired a clear viewpoint\and attitude towards the Korean revolution\and because I was able to visualize the line\and policy, I felt an irresistible impulse to get out of prison as soon as possible. I resolved to fight for my early release.
Together with the comrades who had been imprisoned on the charge of involvement in a “student incident” I made preparations to battle for our release.
A hunger strike was the method we adopted. We started the struggle with a grim resolve to battle until our just demands were met. Before we began the struggle I thought that it would be difficult to ensure unity of action in a struggle that was to enlist even criminals. But when we went on hunger strike, I discovered that the meals were being removedrom every cell without being touched. Even the criminals who used to fight among themselves over a bowl of food ate nothing. That was the result of the silent education given them by our comrades who had been arrested at the time of the “student incident.”
Our comrades outside the prison gave us active support in our struggle. In response to our struggle in prison, these comrades exposed the inhuman treatment in the Jilin prison\and won public support.
The warlord authorities yielded to our united struggle. I was released early in May 1930. As I walked out through the arched gate of the prison, my heart was full of confidence\and enthusiasm.
While in prison I made a summary of the early communist movement\and the nationalist movement\and, on the basis of the lessons I learntrom this, I planned the future of the Korean revolution.
As I remember, my father sought the way to switch overrom the nationalist movement to the communist movement while he was in Pyongyang gaol; I planned the Korean revolution while I was in Jilin prison.
Being sons of an unfortunate, ruined nation, both my father\and I had to think about the future of the nation while we were in prison.
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