페이지 정보작성자 편집국 작성일20-07-07 11:00 댓글0건
[Reminiscences]Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence 1. A Raging Whirlwind
CHAPTER 10. WITH THE CONVICTION OF INDEPENDENCE
1. A Raging Whirlwind
2. A Polemic at Dahuangwai
3. Revolutionaries Born of the Young Communist League
4. An Answer to the Atrocities at Sidaogou
5. The Seeds of the Revolution Sown over a Wide Area
CHAPTER 11. THE WATERSHED OF THE REVOLUTION
1. Meeting with My Comrades-in-Arms in North Manchuria
2. Strange Relationship
3. On Lake Jingbo
4. My Comrades-in-Arms to the North; I to the South
5. Choe Hyon, a Veteran General
CHAPTER 12. TO HASTEN THE LIBERATION OF THE COUNTRY
1. The Birth of a New Division
2. 20 Yuan
3. Revolutionary Comrade-in-Arms Zhang Wei-Hua (1)
4. Revolutionary Comrade-in-Arms Zhang Wei-Hua (2)
5. The Association for the Restoration of the Fatherland
Chapter 10. With the Conviction of Independence
1. A Raging Whirlwind
The days of trial passed as in a dream. The ranges of snow-covered mountains that had obstructed our way were now far behind,\and the expedition to north Manchuria, marked by bloody battles\and tormenting experiences, had ended in victory. The Korean communists now had fresh hopes of developing the revolution by following up their success. Though exhausted by illness, I stood on the top of a peak of the Laoyeling Mountains with my men, shouting triumphantly\and gazing down at the hills of Wangqing. The fatigue that had accumulated for months in the smoke of battle\and severe cold seemed to vanish in an instant,\and I felt my heart swelling with joy as if I were already standing on the hill behind my hometown. On my return to Wangqing, however, I was bedridden for several days; I had a high fever that had attacked me again in the wake of the fit of cold I had sufferedrom on the last leg of the expedition. On top of that, the ominous news that a whirlwind of “purge” had made havoc of the guerrilla zone reached my sickbed. The men nursing me were indignant at the crimes committed by the Leftist elements who had disrupted the guerrilla zone.
Party members, Young Communist League\and Women’s Association members, who just a few months before were working in the Wangqing valley in the cause of the revolution, had scattered, abandoning the guerrilla base that had been built\and defended at the cost of their blood, hurling curses upon the authors of the murderous scheme\and its executors.
I shuddered, my heart chilled. A crushing despair, frustration took over my senses: the Universe seemed to have come to a standstill in one instant,\and everything in the world to be crushed under the weight of a glacier.
This tragic event dwarfed the trial we had experienced on the heights of Luozigou. Crossing the Tianqiaoling Mountains while sufferingrom a severe cold, with only 16 men under my command, was not a trifling matter, but it was nothing compared to what I had to deal with in connection with the issue of the “Minsaengdan”. The obstacles that had stood in the way of the expeditionary force were distinct. They were the pursuing enemy\and the cold that was attacking me.
We had broken through the enemy siege with the help of a kind old man, Kim,\and, thanks to the old man Jo Thaek Ju, my benefactor, we had escaped death of hunger, cold\and disease. The people had opened the way out of our crisis.
The revolution was demolishing itself through the tragic events taking place at the guerrilla bases in Jiandao. There should not have been any contradiction\or antagonism between those who were demolishing people\and those who were being demolished. Nevertheless, the former defined the latter as their enemy\and removed them mercilesslyrom the revolutionary ranks. The overwhelming majority of those who were being tried for the “purge” were tested fighters, ready unhesitatingly to lay down their lives for the revolution.
By what criterion were we to distinguish between friend\and foe in the monstrous “sweeping campaign” in which the revolution was demolishing the revolution? Who was our enemy\and who our friend?
The “purge” headquarters labelled the hundreds\and thousands they had executed as their enemy. Was this judgement to be regarded a sound one?\or then, how were the people directing the “purge” to be defined? Whom were we to support\and whom to oppose?
These were questions put to all communists by the events in east Manchuria which was tottering, shocked by the bloodshed of thousands of revolutionaries.
I was tormented both in mind\and body.
But there was neither a renowned doctor nor any effective medicine to cure my illness in Yaoyinggou. Only several of my men, who had a meagre knowledge of folk remedies, sat at my bedside by turns, solicitously applying cold clothes on my forehead.
The people of the Xiaobeigou village sent me honey\and roe-deer blood, trying to help cure my illness. Old Chinese men brought tea\and brewed it, inquiring about me. They bade the guerrillas to take good care of me, saying that my health was essential for the defence of the guerrilla zone\and for the anti-Japanese struggle.
Honey, tea\and roe-deer blood were all good remedies, but I sent them on to my comrades-in-arms who were ailing on their returnrom the expedition. Some of them were sufferingrom a bad cold, somerom frostbite,\and somerom colitis\or bronchitis.
One day, though ill myself, with Song Kap Ryong’s help, I went to visit my sick comrades. The sight of their ragged clothes pained me.
They were still in their battle dress that had been stained with the smoke of powder\and were ripped by bullets.
The desire to provide them with abundant food\and clothing took firm hold of me, those comrades-in-arms who had endured the severe winter cold with me in the shadow of death.
I sent my\orderly to the sewing unit. At the time of our leaving for north Manchuria on the expedition the previous autumn, I had given Jon Mun Jin the assignment to prepare summer clothing for the unit for the following year. I told the\orderly to bring the first batch of approximately 20 uniforms for the men who were backrom the expedition if the assignment had been carried out.
In those days the sewing unit was located in a forest at Solbatgol, farrom Dahuangwai; it consisted of only several people including Jon Mun Jin\and Han Song Hui. Jon was a veteran who had joined the guerrillas after some training in dressmaking in Dongning County, while Han was a recruit who had become a guerrilla after working for the Children’s Corps in Yaoyinggou.
It was not Jon Mun Jin but Han Song Hui who arrived with the\orderly, bringing the uniforms to Yaoyinggou. Han had been taking care of Jon, who was pregnant, in the forest of Solbatgol which was as good as a desert island,\and had been waiting for months for the return of the expeditionary forcerom north Manchuria. On seeing me sick in bed, Han burst into tears.
After seeing that the men had changed into the new uniforms, I sent Han Song Hui back to the sewing unit.
But the next morning Han, whom I had thought to be back at Solbatgol, appeared before me as if that was how it should be, holding a tray with some pine-nut porridge on it.
“Comrade Ok Bong, how come you’re here again? Has something happened?” I asked in perplexity.
Ok Bong was her childhood name. She had another nickname, too, Yong Suk. She bowed her head, as if guilty of some crime.
“General, forgive me... I didn’t go back to Solbatgol yesterday.”
I just couldn’t believe her, for both in her Children’s Corps days\and since her enlistment in the army she had never disobeyed\orders. She was a very loyal, innocent\and obedient woman. The fact that she had disobeyed me could be a serious matter.
“My feet refused to take me back. Even if I had gone back leaving you, General, bedridden, would sister Mun Jin have been glad to see me?”
I was, of course, grateful to her for such profound concern.
While stuffing packets of foxtail millet\and oarweed into her knapsack, I tried to convince her, “Many comrades here can take care of me, so don’t worry about me. You must return quickly to Solbatgol today. What would happen to Jon Mun Jin if you weren’t with her? I’ve heard that she’s expecting this month,\and she can’t take care of herself.”
“General, I’ll obey all your instructions but not this one... Sister Mun Jin said she would never forgive me if I returned without having nursed you,” the girl argued earnestly. “Please understand me, General. Is it right that no woman guerrilla takes care of you when you’re in such a bad state?”
“Comrade Song Hui, go back\and take care of Comrade Mun Jin, for mercy’s sake.”
At this moment, the company commander Ri Hyo Sok got her out of her predicament.
“Comrade Commander, Han Song Hui is not a midwife. How can a girl who has never given birth help a woman in childbirth?”
They persuaded me. The company commander promised to find an experienced woman to send to Solbatgol.
From that day on, Han Song Hui solicitously nursed me day\and night. She brought me pine-nut porridge on a tray at every meal.
Probably on her\order, men of the 4th Company had gathered pine-nut cones, digging them out of the snow in the forest near Yaoyinggou. The company commander himself went out with a pole every morning to pick the cones.
Han Song Hui took excellent care of me, sometimes sitting up the whole night through. She said she would not be worthy of being called a Korean if she failed to bring me back to health through her nursing. One day she cut off her hair\and made pads\and soles for my shoes. Just this one single deed was enough to convince me that she was a woman of great sympathy, that she would rejoice over her friends’ happiness\or cry over their misfortunes,\or even would offer pieces of her own flesh to the needy without flinching.
Blood is thicker than water. The whole of her family were revolutionaries of strong sympathy\and humanity. Her father Han Chang Sop was one of the forerunners, like Ri Kwang, Kim Chol\and Kim Un Sik, who had worked for the anti-Japanese revolution at Beihamatang\and in the surrounding arearom the outset of the struggle. In charge of an\organization of the Anti-Japanese Association in Dafangzi, he had worked hard to obtain provisions for Ri Kwang’s special detachment,\and in the spring of 1932 he fell, stabbed to death by a soldier of the Japanese “punitive” troops. Her elder sister, Han Ok Son, was burned at the stake. Her elder brother, Han Song U, perished in battle.
My comrade-in-arms Han Hung Gwon, who mostly operated with us in the enemy-held areasrom Wangqing until the guerrilla base was dissolved\and later distinguished himself as the commander of a detachment of the allied anti-Japanese forces in north Manchuria, was Han Song Hui’s cousin. Han Hung Gwon\and his four brothers had all died heroically on the battlefield.
Han Song Hui\and her elder sister had resolved to join the guerrilla army in\order to be revenged on the enemy who had killed their father.
When about to leave their home, the question arose as to who would remain to take care of their mother\and the house. The sisters discussed the matter heatedly. Han Song Hui was as yet too young to join the army, so she was on the defensive the whole time during the argument.
“Don’t look down at me because I’m younger,” she retorted. “I do all the work you do\and I’m as tall as you are, sister.”
“You’re tall enough, but you still smell of your mother’s milk,” the elder sister calmly counterattacked. “You mustn’t look up at a tree you can’t climb, as the saying goes. Be a good Children’s Corps member\and take care of Mother at home.”
Neither of them would give up the honour of joining the army.
While her daughters were arguing about their future lying in bed, their mother had heard scraps of their conversation. She sewed two knapsacks all night long of exactly the same size\and shape out of the one cotton skirt she had. The next day she filled the knapsacks with parched rice flour. Only then did the daughters realize that the two knapsacks had been prepared for them just like a dowry that a mother would offer to her daughters who were to take leave of their mother.
That day the mother summoned her daughters\and said:
“Your mother does not want to be looked after by you, my daughters. We have not yet won our country back, so you need not think of taking care of me as your filial duty. I can get along without your support. You may join the guerrilla army right now.”
“Mother!” The daughters exclaimed, throwing themselves into her arms.rom the bottom of their hearts they pledged loyalty\and left their mother in tears. In the spring of 1934 we recalled Han Song Hui to the sewing unit which was directly under headquarters supervision.
We expected a great dealrom her.
If there was any weakness in her character, it lay in her cheerful attitude towards everything. She was too soft a woman\and surprisingly good-natured, but she lacked the alertness needed by a soldier. This lack was the cause of her being captured by the enemy\and ended in her giving up the revolution half-way.
One day, having received my instruction to come to the main bodyrom a detachment, she, with other soldiers, was moving north,\and in the forest of Erdaohezi, Ningan County, was surrounded by the enemy. Not knowing that dozens of soldiers of the puppet Manchukuo army were approaching her with rifles at the ready, she was humming while washing her hair at a brook. While we were\organizing a new division after advancing to the Fusong area, she was undergoing trying days as a prisoner, being interrogated by the enemy, in Luozigou.
There was a conscientious Korean among the guards keeping watch over the prisoners, who secretly sympathized with her. He had been working for the revolution before his capture. He had signed a letter of surrender\and was now living in disgrace. When he knew that the hangmen were going to execute Han Song Hui, he advised her to escape. He said he would discard his rifle\and run away with her to Korea\or deep into a mountain\where they could live in a hut. She agreed\and succeeded in fleeing with his help. Later the man became her husband.
We all lamented at the news of her capture. Some women guerrillas felt so bad that they lost their appetite. That was natural because they had lost a comrade-in-arms whom they had loved as if she were their own younger sister. The veterans who fought in Wangqing\and knew her worth still recollect her lovingly.
It is said that Han Song Hui’s children regretted their mother’s past immensely, saying that it would have been good if their mother had stayed with the guerrillas until the country was liberated as other women fighters had.
Of course, it would have been much better if she had not been captured by the enemy\and had continued to fight.
But a revolution is not travelling on a highway, still less a 100-metre race in which the athletes make off at the starting signal\and rush on without meeting any obstacle on the way until they reach their goal.
A revolution can be said to be an endless journey of people who forge ahead towards victory through success\and failure, through advance\and retreat, upsurge\and setback, which one may repeat\or which come in the wake of the other, whatever the turns\and twists that can take place in the course of these long endeavours.
It is said that whenever her sons\and daughters blamed her, Han Song Hui would reply:
“You needn’t worry about the stains in the records of your parents. The Workers’ Party of Korea does not lay the blame for the parents’ mistakes on their children. Our leader does not consider the children responsible for the crimes committed by their parents. That is his policy. Everything depends on you yourselves. Therefore, don’t worry, only be loyal to the leader.”
I believe she was right. She was honest\and pure\and preserved her firm faith in the Party until the last moment of her life.
Thanks to the pine-nut porridge, the venison\and foxtail millet gruel cooked by Han Song Hui I managed to leave my sickbed in three days’ time.
Company commander Ri Hyo Sok informed me in detail then of the whirlwind of the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign in the guerrilla zone.
He enumerated which cadres had been murdered in which counties,\and which commanding officers had been executed in which counties on charges of involvement in the “Minsaengdan” case. If his account was accurate, it could be easily assumed that most of the senior cadres of the counties\and districts\and most of the company\and higher rating commanding officers of the guerrilla army had been purged. The Koreans who could write\and make speeches had all been eliminated. All the hard-core elite of men\and officers of my unit, who had remained in Wangqing when I went on the expedition to north Manchuria, had been executed. Those who had not yet been executed had been oustedrom their posts of secretary, association chairman\and district Party committee member.
The “Minsaengdan” was the product of the intellectual development of the Japanese imperialists’ colonial rule of Korea. They had set up the “Minsaengdan” to undermine the Korean revolution through stratagem\and trickery. Failing in their attempt to rule over Korea with guns\and swords\and in the guise of a “civil government”, fussing about “Japan\and Korea being one”\and being of “the same ancestry\and the same stock”, the Japanese imperialists aimed at brewing fratricide among the Koreans to destroy the revolutionary forces\and to resolve their worries in the maintenance of peace.
Greatly alarmed by the rapid development of the revolutionary situation in Manchuria after the September 18 incident (in 1931—Tr.), Governor-General Saito saw to it that the “Minsaengdan” was formed in Yanji in February 1932 by instigating pro-Japanese nationalists, such as Pak Sok Yun, who had been sent to east Manchuria as a member of the Jiandao inspection team, Jon Song Ho, an influential man in the Yanbian Autonomy Promotion Association, Pak Tu Yong, advisor to the Manchukuo army in Yanji,\and Kim Tong Han, a first-rate anti-communist agent.
The “Minsaengdan” clamoured ostensibly for the “right to national survival”, the “building of a paradise of freedom”\and for the “Koreans’ autonomy in Jiandao” as if it were its highest aim to solve the problem of the Koreans’ livelihood. But, in effect, it was a spy\organization for stratagem manufactured by the Japanese imperialists to paralyse the anti-Japanese spirit of the Korean people, isolating Korean communists by harming them through trickery\and disrupting the revolutionary ranksrom within by driving a wedge between the Korean\and Chinese peoples.
The reactionary nature of the “Minsaengdan” was clearrom its “organizational policy”\or its “programme”\and other documents preaching the “industrialization of life” under Japanese imperialist colonial rule, that it was the “only way for the Korean nation to survive”. The enemy described the period of his colonial rule over Korea\and Manchuria as the optimum, “absolute period” for “securing the right to survival\and its expansion”; he depicted Korea\and Manchuria, which had been turned into a land of gloom under his colonial rule, as a “land” of “freedom”\and “autonomy”, while clamouring for a “paradise of freedom to be built” in Jiandao by the Koreans. The Japanese imperialists tried to break the good-neighbourly relations between the Korean\and Chinese peoples\and communists\and their revolutionary ties by creating the impression that the Koreans had welcomed imperialist Japan’s occupation of Manchuria\and her colonial rule, that they had territorial ambitions for the Jiandao area.
The real nature of the “Minsaengdan” as an\organization of dyed-in-the-wool anti-communist stooges can be easily seenrom the records of its projectors\and those who became the head, deputy head\and director of the\organization after its formation.
Jo Pyong Sang, director of the Kyongsong Kapja Club, Pak Sok Yun, vice-president of the Maeil Sinbo (Daily News —Tr.), Jon Song Ho of the Yanbian Autonomy Promotion Association\and Kim Tong Han projected the scheme of the\organization\and exerted all their efforts for its formation. They advocated patriotism\and love of the people, professing themselves nationalists\and revolutionaries, but they were, without exception, traitors who had long been converted by the Japanese imperialists.
Pak Sok Yun, for instance, at the age of sixteen, took the first step towards his pro-Japanese career when he went to Japan to study,\and then continued his studies in comfortable circumstances at first-rate universities, such as the faculty of law\and the postgraduate course of the Tokyo Imperial University,\and University of Cambridge in England. He is said to have annually received approximately 3,000 won for educational expenses, a colossal sum,rom the bureau of education of the Government-General while he was studying in England.
After his studies abroad he was installed in prominent posts. He worked as a journalist of the Tong-A Ilbo, the vice-president of the Maeil Sinbo, part-time councillor of the Foreign Ministry of Manchukuo commissioned by the Japanese Foreign Ministry,\and then as Consul General of Manchukuo to Poland. Later, he was a member of the Japanese delegation, led by Matsuoka Yosuke, the Japanese Foreign Minister, who afterwards signed the neutrality treaty between the Soviet\union\and Japan, attending a General Assembly session of the League of Nations held in Geneva in 1932. These uncommon records are sufficient to show how well he was trusted by the Japanese ruling circles. In\order to allow him to build up his reputation as a nationalist, the Japanese imperialists permitted him to write editorials denouncing their colonial rule\and to stand up in a frontal confrontation with the governor-general against his scheme of changing the Koreans’ surnames into a Japanese manner,\and to involve himself towards the end of the war in the Pacific (Second World War—Tr.) in the Nation-Building\union headed by Ryo Un Hyong1. However, the Korean people in the Jiandao area did not accept him favourably because of their bitter feelings against the “Minsaengdan” in which he was involved.
Immediately after liberation, while living in hiding in Yangdok under the assumed name of Pak Tae U, he was arrested\and tried severely as a traitor to the nation. At the court of justice he confessed that his political idea had been to effect the Koreans’ “national autonomy” under the Japanese imperialist rule, that he had believed that Korea should take a course of political development like Canada had\or the\union of South Africa, the British colonies,\and that he had been on intimate terms with Governor-General Saito\and had worshipped Ishihara Kanji, a Japanese renowned for his theory of a world conquest\and one of the inspirers of the idea of an East Asia\union, precisely because of this political idea.
He doggedly denied that the aim of the formation of the “Minsaengdan” was to destroy the Communist Party\and the guerrilla army. He stated that the initial purpose of the “Minsaengdan” was only to “secure the right to survival”, that the\organization had become a spy organization of stooges directed by imperialist Japan after he had left Jiandao, that he had been surprised at the news of the havoc caused during the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle,\and that he had been a mere puppet controlled by the Japanese.
History will be the only judge of the degree of authenticity of Pak Sok Yun’s confession. However, the fact that he was a faithful dog\and stooge of Japanese imperialism can never be protested, regardless of his confession.
While Pak Sok Yun, who played the role of midwife in the birth of the “Minsaengdan”, was influenced mostly by the Japanese, the Russians had the greatest effect on Kim Tong Han, a minion who carried out the “Minsaengdan” scheme in the field. He began his career with the communist movement. He was admitted to the Communist Party in Russia immediately after the October Revolution. As a member of the military department of the Koryo Communist Party\and then as commander of the officers’ corps, he displayed his mettle to the full as a man trained in a military academy. In the early 1920s, however, he was arrested by the Japanese imperialists in the Maritime Province\and quickly turned coat to become a pro-Japanese agent working on the anti-communist front.
After the “Minsaengdan” was dissolved, he, with the permission of the Kwantung Army,\organized the “Jiandao Cooperative Association” as its successor\and with a hundred reactionaries even formed what he called righteous home guards. As the commander he resorted to every conceivable action to “mop up” the revolutionary army. He assimilated himself to the Japanese to such an extent that he was taken for a Japanese who had been born in Korea. He was a dyed-in-the-wool traitor who went so far as to clamour for the Korean nation to regard Japan as their motherland\and to serve it devotedly. According to a report of the Manson Ilbo, he succeeded in forcing as many as 3,800 communists to surrender.
After his death, the Japanese imperialists erected a bronze statue to him\and a monument to the “Jiandao Cooperative Association” in the park in the west of Yanji.
It is necessary to delve briefly here into the “Minsaengdan strategy” which was advertised as a “successful” ideological trickery campaign derivedrom the Japanese imperialists’ “strategy of peace maintenance in Jiandao”, as a success “in exposing the entire number of revolutionary\organizations in Jiandao Province, in arresting 4,000 people involved in them\and in undermining the social footholds that supported the\organizations”.
Although it was clearrom the outset that the aim of the “Minsaengdan” was not for the nationalists to solve the problem of the people’s livelihood in Jiandao, the Japanese imperialist aggressors made every effort in those days to present it under the mask of nationalism.
The Japanese spared no effort in advertising the “Minsaengdan” as an\organization designed to save the peoplerom poverty; however, the revolutionary\organizations in east Manchuria soon discovered that its masterminds frequently visited the Japanese consulate through its back door. The enemy was unable to hide for long the true colour of the “Minsaengdan”rom the vigilant people. We promptly laid bare its real nature through revolutionary publications\and public lectures, on the one hand,\and\organized a mass campaign to combat the “Minsaengdan”, on the other. The people who had been deceived into joining the “Minsaengdan” by its specious signboard immediately withdrewrom it, and those who had been inveigled into subversive activities as enemy agents were exposed\and executed by the masses.
The “Minsaengdan” was dissolved soon after its inauguration. The Japanese imperialists had hardly managed to implant anything of its\organization into our ranks.
But if that were so, how was it possible that the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle continued when there was no “Minsaengdan”,\and that the massacre of innocent people on the false charge of involvement in the “Minsaengdan” case continued for three years in the guerrilla zones of Jiandao\where there was the Party\and a government of people?
The Japanese imperialists’ stratagem was fundamentally responsible for that.
The “Minsaengdan” which had sprung up under Governor-General Saito’s full support\and with the active backing of the Japanese consulate in Longjing was dissolved in accordance with the will of the newly-appointed Governor-General Ugaki at the time of a troop dispatch in April 1932 to Jiandao of the Japanese army in Korea. But this was a mere formal disappearance. The movement to revive it was promoted secretly\and briskly by Kim Tong Han, Pak Tu Yong\and others.
In the spring of 1934 Kato Hakujiro, the provost-marshal of Yanji (the commander of special security forces in north China at the time of Japan’s defeat),\and Takamori Yoshi, commanding officer of the Independent 7th Infantry Garrison Battalion, discussed the matter of peace maintenance in Jiandao again with Pak Tu Yong\and other pro-Japanese elements\and agreed to revive the “Minsaengdan”. That was the second stage of the “Minsaengdan” stratagem.
They made it clear that the operations of the “Minsaengdan” were an ideological stratagem directed against the East Manchuria Special District Committee under the Manchurian Provincial Party Committee\and defined the basic direction of its activities to be to pursue—firstly, a “policy of undermining\and disrupting the Korean guerrilla army by strong actions”; secondly, a “policy of blocking the supply of provisions to the Korean guerrilla army”; thirdly, a “policy of instigating Korean guerrillas to surrender\or to defect”; fourthly, a “policy of protection, settlement\and surveillance of those who have surrendered\or defected”;\and, fifthly, the “vocational training of those who have surrendered\or defected\and the arrangement of their jobs”. All the operations for the stratagem were to be supervised by the gendarmerie in Yanji.
The “Jiandao Cooperative Association” was set up in September 1934. This was a special\organization which was to “deal with all the people who would become renegades” as the activities of the “Minsaengdan” were stepped up, to “confirm their backgrounds\and assumed surrender,\and undertake their brainwashing”. The “Minsaengdan” was merged at the time into this\organization.
The “Jiandao Cooperative Association”, headed by Kim Tong Han, took sly advantage of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle conducted by the East Manchuria Special District Committee\and resorted to all manner of deceit.
Japan’s master hands of stratagem grasped the special feature of the\organizational structure\and command system of the anti-Japanese guerrilla army in east Manchuria as a major political advantage for their deceptive ideological campaign against the Communist Party\and the anti-Japanese guerrilla army. They considered the fact that the people’s revolutionary army consisted of both Korean\and Chinese communists to be a fatal weakness of the armed forces. They were sure that the Chinese cadres did not trust the Korean communists\and were constantly observing them,\and that, therefore, there was antagonism between the Chinese\and Korean communists. Using this special feature profitably, they tried to drive a wedge between the communists of the two countries. They adopted a propaganda policy for the ideological campaign of the “Minsaengdan”, whose major content was to spread the idea that “the Koreans are shedding blood in Manchuria for a cause that has nothing to do with Korea’s independence\and the liberation of their nation. What are they fighting for? Why are the Koreans, the majority, fighting under the command of the Chinese, shedding blood in a meaningless battle? Come to your senses quickly! The road to surrender\or to defect is open...”
After the dissolution of the “Minsaengdan”, the Japanese imperialists inspired their special agents\and stooges to spread the rumours that a large number of “Minsaengdan” members had wormed their way into the guerrilla zones. They intrigued against stalwart cadres\and revolutionaries to make them suspect each other\and to guard one against the other. The enemy himself said in his “experiences of undermining the Communist Party in Jiandao”, a secret letter, that although they had first sent groups, each consisting of ten “Minsaengdan” members, into the guerrilla army, they had all been captured\and executed so that it was impossible to infiltrate into it; therefore, they had employed tactics of brewing distrust between the Koreans\and Chinese, workers\and peasants, superiors\and subordinates in\order that the communists would begin to fight among themselves.
The Japanese schemers were surprisingly skilful in their machinations to disrupt the revolutionary ranksrom within. Take one of the methods they employed for an example. When a cadre of the East Manchuria Special District Committee was on a local inspection tour, they\dropped a letter along the inspector’s route, a letter addressed to a cadre of county\or district level who had been to the place on a guidance mission.
What would the inspector, therefore, think of the addressee?
The ultra-Leftist development of the struggle against the “Minsaengdan” can also be explained by the vile political ambitions of some Left opportunists\and factional flunkeyists of all deion at the helm of the Manchurian Provincial Party Committee, the East Manchuria Special District Committee\and the county\and district Party\organizations of different levels.
While the Left opportunists, who had a monopoly of the leadership among the communists, attempted to subordinate the advancing revolutionary struggle of the Korean communists to the scheme of realizing their political ambition, the factionalist sycophants who were still in the habit of factional strife, tried, with the support\and connivance of the Left opportunists, to mercilessly dispose of all those who obstructed the achievement of their factional aim in\order to expand their forces by taking advantage of the struggle against the “Minsaengdan”.
It was the “Minsaengdan” that supplied the pretext for snatching the post somebody else was already occupying. The opportunists\and factionalist sycophants declared, “You belong to the ‘Minsaengdan’, therefore you have to resign your post\or die”. There could be no appeal against such a sentence, nor would it have had any effect even if it had been made.
The rumour about the “Minsaengdan” infiltration spread by the Japanese imperialists added fuel to the flames of greed for hegemony\and promotion of those who wanted to replace all the senior cadres of the Party, mass\organizations\and army with people of their own faction. The soaring number of the results of the “purge” that had been undertaken in the name of the “Minsaengdan” were of enormous benefit to the schemers who were working to destroy all the revolutionary forces in the guerrilla zones.
In the final run, the enemy\and friends joined in with the crushing of the guerrilla zones. Such a monstrous alliance had never taken place in the history of revolutionary war in any part of the world.
The brutal, absurd\and crude way of combatting the “Minsaengdan”, which dwarfed the martial laws of fascist states\and religious punishments in the Middle Ages, was attributable to the vicious Japanese imperialists’ stratagem\and the political imbecility\and despicable aim of some of the cadres of the East Manchuria Special District Committee.
The indications for identifying “Minsaengdan” members in those days were almost\limitless\and could be classified into hundreds of categories.
If a cook of the guerrilla army had failed to boil rice well enough, that was a reason for charging her with involvement in the “Minsaengdan”. If a grain of sand was found in the cooked rice,\or if a man ate rice with water, the cook who had prepared the meal\or the man who ate it with water was condemned as “evidence of having attempted to cause diseases to the people in the guerrilla zone”\and as an “action of the ‘Minsaengdan’”.
A person with loose bowels was charged with an act of the “Minsaengdan” because it would weaken combat power; an instance of moaning was considered to be an indication of “Minsaengdan” because it would paralyse the revolutionary spirit; an accidental shot was condemned as an act of the “Minsaengdan” because it would let the enemy know the location of the guerrillas; a verbal expression of homesickness was called an act of “Minsaengdan” because it would encourage nationalism; a hard-working attitude was denounced as a sign of “Minsaengdan” to hide its identity,\and so on. Everything was used to incriminate people no matter how an excuse was made. By this criterion no one could be freerom a charge of involvement in the “Minsaengdan”.
The man at the head of the Helong County Committee of the Anti-Imperialist\union, nicknamed Kodo, was arrested by self-defence corps men while conducting political work among the people at Changrenjiang. He was dragged to an execution site with over 30 other patriots.
The self-defence corps men stood them in single file\and cut their throats one by one. Naturally, Kodo’s also. But, strangely, his head did not fall off. The skin\and flesh of his nape slipped onto his back, with his whole body drenched in blood. It was a fatal wound, more painful than death. The executioners left while Kodo lay unconscious. Coming to at night, Kodo pulled the skin\and flesh back to his nape, enduring the terrible pain,\and bandaged it with a strip torn off his clothes. He then crawled fifteen miles on all fours through steep mountains\and reached the Yulangcun guerrilla zone.
However, the Leftists took him to a tribunal of the masses when he was still sufferingrom the wound. They said that he was an enemy agent who had injured his neck on purpose\and had come to the guerrilla zone to worm his way deep into the revolutionary ranks. The Leftists read out a lengthy accusation, but none of the masses approved it. The men who had arranged the trial decided to refrainrom passing the death sentence on him until he was identified through a period of examination, but they assassinated him anyway.
The ultra-Leftist wave of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle was the roughest of all the counties in the Helong County. That was because those at the helm of the Party\organization in this county dealt unjustly with the people’s fates to fit in with their ulterior political purpose.
The spearhead of the “purge” was directed at stalwart people who were exemplary in revolutionary practice, who enjoyed a high reputation among the masses, who did not flatter\or compromise with injustice.
Kim Song Do, of all the Korean cadres, combatted the “Minsaengdan” in an extremely ultra-Leftist manner. While the East Manchuria Special District Committee was located in Wangqing, he led a loose life there. Taking his wife along, he\organized drinking bouts\and played cards frequently with cadres of the special district committee\and county Party committee. As his wife gave herself the airs of a modern woman, neglecting the house, the Children’s Corps members had to do all the household chores for her. Kim Song Do, declaring the opium poppy flower to be beautiful, got the people to plant poppies, to collect the juicerom their fruits\and to deliver it to him. For all this he continuously chanted “clean politics”.
It was preposterous that Kim Song Do, who led such a scandalous life, “purged” true revolutionaries by charging them with involvement in the “Minsaengdan” case. He even went to the length of forcing Children’s Corps members to write confessions that they had joined the “Minsaengdan”.
Kim Kun Su, as the head of an agitation station at Dongxingcun, Longjing, had rendered distinguished services by his political work, was caught in the meshes of the political intrigue hatched by the Leftists\and was dragged to an execution site.
At the last moment of his life, he announced at the execution site, “I am not a ‘Minsaengdan’ member. If I am really under suspicion, cut off my ankles instead of killing me. If my ankles are cut off, I won’t be able to run away. If you only cut off my ankles instead of killing me, I’ll be able to weave mats with my hands\and thus contribute to the revolution. I lament dying without working any further for the revolution.”
“Look, that fellow is acting like a ‘Minsaengdan’ member even when he’s going to be executed,” the men who directed the “purge” said\and beat him to death with heavy sticks.
The iron hammer of the “purge” fell also on the heads of guerrillas beyond the bounds of the Party\and mass\organizations.
Yang Thae Ok, with the peasant-like nickname of “Scraping Hoe”, was an exemplary guerrilla. He, too, was labelled as a “Minsaengdan” member\and was tried by a mass tribunal on the charge of having deliberately damaged the lock of his rifle.
He had received the nickname when, in company with the head of his\organization, he had captured a weaponrom a member of the anti-contraband squad at a restaurant in Sanpudong. At that time two men of the squad had been smoking opium in the restaurant,\and another stood guard at the entrance. Yang Thae Ok grappled with the guard, now one, now the other on top, but the guard was stronger. Yang Thae Ok, therefore, pulled his hoe out of his waistband\and scraped the guard’s face with it. While the guard held his face in his hands in agony, Yang snatched the riflerom the enemy\and ran up to the mountain near Sanpudong. As he ran up the mountain, he was tempted to try shooting it. He pulled the trigger softly, but there was no sound. The rifle was on its safety catch. He unlocked it with a blow of his hoe. The damage he had done to the lock of the rifle with his hoe became the cause of his dischargerom the guerrilla army\and his deportationrom the guerrilla zone in later days.
Most of the people stigmatized as “Minsaengdan” members\and subjected to capital punishment\or deportedrom the guerrilla zone by the Leftists\and factionalist sycophants were brave, stalwart fighters like “Scraping Hoe”. Could it be possible that these fighters had captured weaponsrom armed policemen in broad daylight by threatening them with sham pistols\or scraping their faces with hoes at the risk of their own lives in\order to work for the “Minsaengdan”? Were the\organizers of the tribunal\and judges who declared them guilty such idiots that they could not discern that these fearless fighters had no reason\or need to involve themselves in the “Minsaengdan”\or in counterrevolution?
No, they were no idiots. This was not a question of the power of reason. Could there be such idiots among the revolutionaries who lacked the power of judging even such cases?
According to the testimony of fightersrom Antu, hundreds of Koreans in Chechangzi alone had been murdered on false charges of involvement in the “Minsaengdan” case.
Zhou Bao-zhong, who was deeply involved with the east Manchuria Party\organization\and was well-informed of the state of affairs in Jiandao, testified in his reminiscences that 2,000 people had been killed, labelled as “Minsaengdan” members.
In\order to exaggerate the results of the “purge” the masterminds of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle tormented the “Minsaengdan” suspects beyond endurance—members of Party\organizations, mass\organizations\and even activists in the Children’s Corps—with cruelties inconceivable to communists.
Kim Song Do, Song Il\and Kim Kwon Il, who had led the “purge”, ended up in being given the verdict of involvement in the “Minsaengdan”\and were shot.
Song Il\and Kim Kwon Il were fine people, but they flattered their superiors instead of establishing Juche,\and made inadvertent mistakes. I was surprised to learn that they had shouted “Long Live General
Kim Il Sung!” when they were executed. They would often argue with me about major political lines. No doubt they had come to their senses at least at their execution\and had soberly reflected their actions.
Pak Hyon Suk was one of five excellent modern women in Wangqing. She had sparkling eyes, so that the people of Xiaowangqing called her the “woman with morning-star eyes”. Well-informed in art, she worked as the head of the children’s department in Wangqing for some time. She was still young, but was relatively well experienced in underground work. Her father-in-law Choe Chang Won (Choe Laotour) was in charge of the Anti-Imperialist\union in his county.
When Pak Hyon Suk was still Choe Hyong Jun’s fiancee, Children’s Corps members in Mudanchuan, who were under her guidance, frequently delivered messages between her\and her fiance. When she gave them money the children would buy things to be sent to the guerrilla army. She would send the gifts to underground guerrillas\and to the fighters who were hurrying with\organizational preparations of a special detachment.
The enemy, who was secretly keeping watch over Pak Hyon Suk,\ordered her arrest. One day the “woman with morning-star eyes” had gone to her colleague’s house to congratulate her friend at her wedding ceremony. The policemen had followed her there. They molested the master of the house, demanding that she be handed over. The “woman with morning-star eyes”, who was hiding in the garret, appeared, announcing her presence to the policemen, lest the master of the house should get into trouble. She was imprisoned\and brutally tortured, but did not yield to the enemy. When villagers had come to see her, she had written revolutionary songs\and sent them on to her comrades, hiding them in a rice cake container, in\order to encourage the villagers\and her comrades. The police released her later.
On the day Pak Hyon Suk married Choe Hyong Jun, three policemenrom Baicaogou had come to her house to spy on her. They said they wanted to see how a communist girl was going to be married. They watched the wedding ceremony, drinking\and eating,\and even asked the bride to sing. She sang a revolutionary song. Listening to her singing, the drunken policemen, not knowing that the song was intended to agitate people to rise in revolution, said that she was an excellent singer\and even demanded that she sing some more.
Her husband, Choe Hyong Jun, was also loyal to the revolution. He was a good husband at home\and a good revolutionary fighter, but unfortunately a bullet pierced his leg\and he became lame.rom then on, he was not as successful in his work among the local people as he had been before. He had no horse to ride, still less a vehicle. Nevertheless, he limped many miles to perform his duties. It was obvious, therefore, that he was unable to do as much as the others did. The “purge” headquarters labelled him as a “lethargic element”, suspected him to be involved in the “Minsaengdan”, persecuted him\and kept watch over him. Pak Hyon Suk was dismissedrom the office of the leadership on the excuse that she was the wife of a “Minsaengdan” member.
I heard the rumour in this context that she was going to divorce him.
I persuaded her not to. I said that the issue of the “Minsaengdan” was a passing one, that it would be settled sooner\or later,\and that Choe Hyong Jun had been excellent at underground workrom the outset, had been a good fighter ever since he came to the guerrilla zone, a revolutionary with considerable theoretical knowledge. I asked her why she was going to divorce him,\and even criticized her.
Later we sent her to the Soviet\union. If she is still alive, I wonder how she will recollect her days in Wangqing\where even the trees\and the grass were trembling in the hot wind of the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign.
Everyone in the guerrilla zone, men\and women, young\and old, vacillated. The bitter thought prevailed: “A revolution is a puzzling thing. They kill each other for no special reason, even inventing crimes against each other. That’s what they do. The Koreans have reclaimed the barren land in Jiandao\and have pioneered the revolution. But now these pioneers are being murdered\and ousted. What’s the real intention of those who do these things? What is this, if not a purge to snatch hegemony? If a revolution is a way to seize power through killing one’s friends without hesitation against moral obligations\and breaking the ties of friendship, what’s the use of working for such a revolution? I’d rather take my family back to my hometown\and follow the plough,\or go to a temple in a mountain to become a monk\and travel around, tapping a wood block than play the fool.” The mad wind of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle rusted the people’s outlook on life\and the revolution.
The people who had not been awakened to political awareness, naturally, abandoned the revolution\and ran away to the enemy-held area\or to uninhabited lands. Since they were maltreated by the revolution for which they had come to work,\and since they were displacedrom their homes,\where else could they find a place to settle down? A revolution is an undertaking for survival, not for death. It is a cause for living a life worthy of human beings; it is a just cause for which one would lay down one’s life gladly\and honourably, if necessary, on the battlefield in\order to remain immortal.
But how could one expect immortality here? Revolutionaries were being slaughtered indiscriminately by the people with whom they had shared bread\and board only yesterday.
That was why, after liberation, I declared that the people, who had been forced to flee to the enemy-held area\and to “surrender” because of the anti-“Minsaengdan” struggle, were innocent. How could they be guilty when they had left the guerrilla zone because, though wanting to work for the revolution, they were forced to fleerom dishonourable death by those who prevented themrom fighting for the revolution?
The water of the rivers in Wangqing\and the River Gudong became thick with blood because of the indiscriminate manslaughter,\and the people’s wailing continued incessantly in every valley of Jiandao.
Disillusioned by this state of affairs, Shi Zhong-heng, too, left Jiandao. On leaving for north Manchuria he had said: “I have to go. I cannot live here any longer with its bad smell of blood. How can such atrocities be perpetrated in a land governed by the Communist Party? Those at the helm of the Party in east Manchuria are disgracing the Communist Party.”
Sensing the gravity of the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign, I met many people to obtain details of the true state of affairs.
The people of Yaoyinggou lived in dugouts in the forests because of the enemy’s intensive “punitive” attacks in those days, while soldiers of the revolutionary army lived in barracks built along the edges of the guerrilla zone\and protected the people. The barracks of the guerrillas were approximately at a distance of four milesrom the village. Accompanied by my\orderly I went to the village\and, while talking with the elders, Hong Hye Song had arrived to see me. After chatting with the old people, I met her.
“The people at headquarters are too harsh,” she told me. “I cannot bear the wrongs any longer. I’ve endured all the hardships here in Wangqing gritting my teeth, but I cannot endure mental torments. I’d rather go to the homeland\and fight underground there than work for the revolution in Jiandao, being maltreated in this way. Let’s go there. We won’t be able to set up a guerrilla zone as we did here, but we’ll be able to fight underground, won’t we? Let’s go to Korea. We can obtain the money needed for our workrom my father, even if it would cost the whole of his drugstore.”
She bit her lip, looking at me with tear-filled eyes.
With a wave of my hand I warned her to lower her voice.
“Comrade Hye Song, how can you say a thing like that at such a time?”
“I said it because I believe in you, General.”
“Walls have ears. So please don’t say things like that.”
I was very sorry to have heard her confession. If even Hong Hye Song had made up her mind to leave the guerrilla zone, how many people would remain in Wangqing to carry out the revolution? The thought made me gloomy. She loved the guerrilla zone more ardently than anybody else.\and the people in the guerrilla zone, too, were so fond of her. She was a daring underground operative, a vivacious, enthusiastic children’s teacher,\and also a part-time doctor who, though not licensed, was efficient in both diagnosis\and treatment.
Some cadres of the east Manchuria Party\organization\and the Wangqing county Party\organization had cured three-year-old scabies thanks to her treatment. The people she had cured of this ailment were grateful to her\and never failed to greet her. The cadres praised her, saying she was a gifted woman.
Hong Hye Song regarded herself as a necessary\and even as an indispensable person to the guerrilla zone.\and here she was suggesting that I desert. This single fact was enough to incriminate her as a “Minsaengdan” member\and to subject her to capital punishment. I was grateful for her trust in me, to have confessed what lay hidden in her heart. What horrible atmosphere had enveloped the guerrilla zone to make this girl, who was so full of ardour\and fighting spirit, consider running away! Jiandao, now strewn with her dead comrades, was no longer a land of promise\or the sweet home she had loved with unstinted devotion.
Because of all this, I refused to comply with her suggestion.
“Comrade Hye Song, we cannot. It’s not only one life that is at stake. If we’re unable to endure the sufferings\and choose to take an easy way out at a time when the revolution is at stake, how can we consider ourselves true communists? Though it is painful\and disgusting, we have to stay here to settle the issue of the ‘Minsaengdan’\and continue the struggle. This is the only way for revolutionaries to take to save the revolution.”
She gazed at me while I spoke, wiping away her tears.
“Please forgive me. I said it all because the prospects are so bleak. I’ve been waiting anxiously for your returnrom north Manchuria in\order to tell you all this, General. But I’m not alone in this.
“People in the ‘Minsaengdan’ gaol have been waiting for you, Comrade Commander. ‘When will Commander Kim return? Is there no newsrom Commander Kim? Is there no way to let Commander Kim know the situation in east Manchuria?’ they say, while waiting impatiently for your return.\and we had only the rumour that the entire north Manchuria expedition party had died. The Japanese said the same thing in their newspapers.”
Hong Hye Song pressed her hands to her breast, trying to curb her bitter feelings.
Remorse rent my heart at the sight of the tear-drops forming in her eyes, just as if they were\drops of blood.
Her words made me ponder over my responsibility of a man fighting for the Korean revolution. If I could not stop the reckless, blind manslaughter being perpetrated in the name of a “purge”, threatening thousands\and thousands of lives at a juncture when the revolution was about to be crushed in this way,\or it might revive\and rise again, then I was not entitled to call myself a son of Korea,\and there was no need for me to remain alive.
I proposed to the leadership of the east Manchuria Party\organization to convene a meeting to rectify the mistake in the anti-“Minsaengdan” campaign. An inspectorrom the Manchurian Provincial Party Committee, almost at the same time, also suggested the convocation of such a meeting.
A few days later, I received a letter informing me of a joint meeting of the military\and political cadres of east Manchuria that was to be held at Dahuangwai.
Prior to my departure I called in at the barracks of the cooks. I went there to see Hong In Suk, a woman who they said had been depressed for several months because of being suspected as a “Minsaengdan” member. I had obtained some fabric in north Manchuria\and was going to give it to her as a present. My comrades-in-arms had warned me, saying that, if I gave a gift to a person suspected of involvement in the “Minsaengdan”, I would be handing the “purge” headquarters material against myself. But I ignored their warning. Could kindness ever be a crime?
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