[Reminiscences]Chapter 19 4. Village Headman Wang\\and Police Chief Wang > 새 소식

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[Reminiscences]Chapter 19 4. Village Headman Wang\and Police Chief Wang

  

   

 


 

4. Village Headman Wang\and Police Chief Wang 

 

 Among our Chinese friends who gave the Korean People’s Revolutionary Army strong moral\and material support in the latter half of the 1930s were two Chinese men, surnamed Wang, serving in enemy institutions. One was the headman of the village of Dahuanggou, Linjiang County,\and the other was the chief of the puppet Manchukuo police substation at Jiajiaying, in the same county. The local people called the latter Police Chief Wang.


How was it that these two Wangs, who were executing the Japanese colonial policy at the lowest rungs of the administrative ladder, came in touch with the KPRA, sympathized with the anti-Japanese revolution\and finally came out in its support? Political work with these Chinese was\organized by the great leader himself after the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War.


The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung met each of them only once. But he remembered them even after the lapse of many decades.


I first heard about Village Headman Wang rom Ju Jae Il, political instructor for the 1st Company of the 8th Regiment. On return rom his work at Dahuanggou, Linjiang County, which was under enemy control, Ju Jae Il gave me a detailed account of its village headman, saying that if we were to extend the ARF\organization to Dahuanggou\and its surrounding area, we should first win this man over.


Ju Jae Il had heard about the village headman rom a man he had admitted to the Party when he was Party branch secretary at Niuxinshan, Sandaogou, Helong County. The secret of this new member’s identity got out by accident,\and he was no longer able to stay in Helong. The Party\organization sent him to Linjiang into hiding since one of his relatives was said to be living in that county. He had moved into a peasant hut near Dahuanggou\and was living a hand-to-mouth existence in it. Refusing to abandon his\organizational activities, he was said to be rallying reliable people around him.


When he met the company political instructor, Ju Jae Il, he asked Ju to put him in touch with the\organization.


I told the company political instructor to go\and see him immediately at Dahuanggou, form an\organization with the people for whom he stood surety,\and then link them to the\organizational line. The political instructor met him again, telling him that Headquarters would help him in his work\and that he should try to expand the ARF\organization. This was how one of our\organizations was formed at Dahuanggou. It was probably the first of the ARF\organizations we established in Linjiang County.


I gave the political instructor an assignment in addition to win over Village Headman Wang. Thus the name of the village headman got on our recruiting list. We learned about him in detail through the underground\organization at Dahuanggou over the next half a year.


Our work with Wang bore fruit in the spring of 1938.


This was the time when we were moving to Changbai after finishing military\and political training at Matanggou. As we would be marching by way of Dahuanggou, I decided to take time off\and see the village headman on our arrival in Linjiang. While marching south towards Changbai, we went through many hardships. When we reached a point about a dozen kilometres rom Dahuanggou, our food supplies ran out, making it impossible for us to continue our march. The men were too exhausted.


In these circumstances, it would be impossible for the unit to go as far as Changbai. The men needed food to go on marching\and fighting, but we had none. We might fight\and capture food rom the enemy, but the men were too exhausted to move, still less fight. It was then that I thought of settling the affair with Wang. I believed that if I succeeded in my work with him, I could not only obtain food but create favourable conditions for our activities as well.

Near Dahuanggou was a village by name of Xiaohuanggou. The underground\organization at Xiaohuanggou was also connected with the man who had been admitted to the Party by political instructor Ju Jae Il at Niuxinshan. It was now in great danger. The\organization had done a good job\and was spreading offshoots in neighbouring villages. But the enemy caught it by the tail\and fell upon the village, killing the\organization members\and setting fire to their houses. Even old people\and children were shot\or stabbed with bayonets.


The\organization members\and villagers who had escaped death fled to Dahuanggou,\where their lives were in the hands of Village Headman Wang. At that time Wang was also the chief of the Self-Defence Corps. The fate of the\organization members of Xiaohuanggou\and refugees depended on Wang’s attitude. That was another reason I felt it urgent to hurry up with my decision to win over Wang\and obtain his support\and assistance.


I sent my operatives to Dahuanggou to approach the headman.


The men were determined to win Wang over, but were afraid they might founder on a submerged rock because they knew that Wang was also the chief of the Self-Defence Corps.


Nevertheless, I did not doubt our success, for I judged him to be a man of conscience. I had learned that during his office as village headman\and Self-Defence Corps chief he had harmed no one in his area,\and that was a major indication that he was a conscientious man. In those days, any man blinded by a sense of self-protection\and by greed for fortune did not scruple to harm a few patriots in\order to score in his own favour once he was installed in the post of Self-Defence Corps chief\or village headman.


In this climate Wang had not touched anybody\or informed on anyone. He had done nothing against the refugees\and bereft families rom Xiaohuanggou, but had turned a blind eye on their arrival, allowing them to settle down in the area under his control. Had he been an evil man, he would not have behaved thus. He would have informed the higher authorities that the Reds had fled to his village rom the Red village,\or he would have got his Self-Defence Corps to hunt down the refugees, just to win a bonus.


In fact, it took more guts than normal to allow the survivors of the Japanese atrocities to settle down in his village\and to look after them. Doing this would involve the risk of exposing the village headman himself to severe punishment. We could therefore say that Wang was ready to face the worst.


I told my operatives going to Dahuanggou that the village headman was quite conscientious,\and that if they should approach him boldly\and explain to him clearly our aim of fighting against the Japanese imperialists, they would be able to bring him round to our side.


On arrival at Dahuanggou, the operatives met Wang through the intermediary of the man living in the peasant hut,\and made a proposal for cooperation with us. Wang readily agreed,\and even asked for an interview with me. Promising that he would comply with any request of the revolutionary army, he earnestly asked for an opportunity to see General Kim Il Sung.


My officers argued pro\and con over his request. As there had been frequent subversive activities by the enemy against our Headquarters, the officers were all getting nervous.


I persuaded the arguing officers to consent,\and invited Wang to our temporary camp.


As soon as he received the invitation, the village headman obtained large amounts of food, footwear\and other supplies through his villagers\and brought them to our Headquarters. Wang was a handsome man of about 35, gentle, well-mannered\and open-hearted. He made a good impression on me.


After some chatting about his family connections\and about his health, I spoke highly of the fact that he lived with a strong national conscience, as befitted an intellectual,\and then encouraged him to help us in his position as village headman.


“Neither Japan nor Manchukuo will last long,” I said. “Manchukuo appointed you village headman, but you should make the most of the job for the sake of your motherland, your fellow countrymen\and the revolution, not for Japan\or Manchukuo. To this end, you should\organize the people\and help the revolutionary army in good faith. I believe that you will not fail our expectations.”


Wang was very grateful to me for my confidence in him.


“I cannot find words to express my gratitude to you for your confidence in a man like me. I’ll remember your words all my life. General,\and I’ll do my best to fight,” he said.


He had brought along brandy\and a snack,\and I thought this showed that he was a thoughtful\and sociable man. We drank the brandy in my tent. He drank first to assure the purity of the brandy, then offered me a glass.


As the brandy warmed him up, he broached his family background, a subject he had never spoken of to anybody else. It was interesting\and as well-woven as a story,\and moved me to tears.


His father was a Manchu who was born\and grew up in Dongning County. Driven by poverty rom place to place until he was 40 years old, his father finally married a woman with whom he had fallen in love.


In the course of time a lovable boy was born to them, a boy destined to be the village headman. He grew up to be good-looking\and proved himself clever as he grew older. Because of poverty, however, the parents were unable to bring him up with any of the benefits given to other, richer children.


The father always thought of finding a better place to live in than Manchuria. If he could find such a place, he would leave Manchuria at once with the boy. At that moment, he talked to some young Koreans stopping for a while in his village to earn travelling money to go to the eastern land across the river. They told him that Russia was a good place to live in.


Many of the old-timers like my father\and grandfather used to call Russia Arassa,\or “the eastern land across the river”.


Wang’s father went with the young Koreans when they left for Russia, taking his son with him.


Wang\and the young people travelled around gold mines to make money, but they failed to become rich\and settled down together to do farming instead. In the course of time, a Korean village developed, centring around these young men engaged in farming. Although he was a Chinese, Wang’s father lived among the Koreans. Though rom different nationalities, they lived in as much harmony as if they were blood brothers.


The boy went to school in the Korean village, so that he got used to Korean customs\and spoke Korean well.


Some years later, a political storm between new\and old parties began to sweep over Russia. The new party meant the Bolshevik Party, while the old party was the White Party. The villagers suffered greatly in that storm. When the stronger force of Bolsheviks drove out the counterrevolutionaries rom the village, the village became a Bolshevik world; when the White Party prevailed, the village changed into a White world overnight. The villagers were gradually divided into opposing camps, one supporting the Communist Party, the other the White Party. Even families split up in support of one side\or the other; for example, the eldest brother siding with the Communist Party\and the second\or third brother siding with the Whites, both arguing against each other.


Such disputes even produced casualties. Wang’s father, too, died a tragic death at the hands of the White Party. The young boy became an\orphan. The villagers were sympathetic with him, but none of them dared to take care of him, afraid of incurring the wrath of the old party, for his father had supported the new party. The Whites, insisting that the Bolsheviks be totally destroyed, were going to do away with the boy.


At this critical moment, a young Korean who had come to Russia rom Dongning County to earn money, took the boy\and ran across the border, heading for Dongning County on a cold autumn day. The young man intended to find the boy’s mother, but unfortunately on their way they were captured by mounted bandits. The bandits wanted to hold the boy for ransom. When they found out the boy had no guardian, they were going to kill him.


At this moment, the band’s second in command said, “What’s the use of killing the poor boy? Give him to me\and set the Korean free to go\wherever he likes.” The Korean, robbed of his travelling money\and the boy, went away, God only knows\where,\and the boy remained in the den of the bandits under the protection of the second boss. The man had prevented the boy rom being killed because he’d taken a fancy to the child. One night he took off with the boy, escaping rom the bandits to Linjiang County,\where he bought land\and a house in the mountains. He was now rich\and became the boy’s foster-father. He was rich because he had hauled off a large sum of the bandits’ ill-gotten money.


The foster-father was named Wang,\originally rom Shandong. He gave his foster-son the name of Wang as well. He was under the impression that power meant happiness,\and this was his outlook on life. To bring up his foster-son to be a powerful man, he gave him a good education\and got him installed later in the post of village headman.


The village headman said that he was greatly indebted to his foster-father,\and added that as long as he lived he would remember the Korean who had protected him\and brought him back to Manchuria.


“I have money\and property, but I regret that I cannot repay my debt to this Korean,” he said with tears in his eyes. “I sympathize with the Koreans\and grieve over their misfortune, thus feeling that I’m proving myself worthy of my former saviour’s benevolence. Most of the refugees rom Xiaohuanggou are Koreans. I look after them at the risk of my life because this gives me the feeling of bowing to my benefactor.”


Wang was a man with a strong sense of moral obligation. At his words that he was helping Koreans with the feeling of bowing to his benefactor, I was deeply moved.


I said, “I am thankful to you for your sympathy with the Koreans\and for your effort to save them rom their difficult circumstances. A man who values moral obligation can do good things not only for his benefactor but also for his fellow people. I hope that rom now you see yourself as a village headman who serves the people, not Manchukuo.”


Wang pledged over\and over again that he would live up to my expectation of him.


On his return to his village I provided him with two escorts.


From that day on he became our friend\and helped us a great deal. If he is still alive somewhere, I wish I could see him, but I am very sorry that there is no way of knowing\where he is\or whether he is alive\or dead.


Police Chief Wang was also won over much the same way as Village Headman Wang. Kim Phyong, political commissar of the 7th Regiment, was the first to tell me about the police chief. At one point Kim had taken Choe Il Hyon’s company to Changbai\and Linjiang\and directed small unit activities there. While sending off the small units to different places\and supervising them, he worked among the local people. One of his small units was active round Sandaogou\and Wudaogou, Linjiang County.


One day a guerrilla rom the area came to the man in charge of his small group\and said that his local group’s activities were being hampered greatly by the presence of the police substation located at Jiajiaying. He asked how it should be dealt with. He probably wanted to strike the substation hard. The people who travelled to Linjiang, Mengjiang\or Fusong had to pass through Jiajiaying,\where the police substation was located. The existence of police control there posed a real problem. The political commissar met the man,\and then reported the matter to me.


I told the political commissar to try\and put the police substation under his control. An attack could be made any time, but it would have a harmful effect on us\and cause a nuisance, so I advised him to approach the police substation boldly\and bring it under our influence.


A few days after, the political commissar came\and said that in a forest near Jiajiaying there lived a man with whom he had become acquainted when he was working as the secretary of a district Party committee in Yanji County,\and that it might be possible to get in touch with the chief of the substation with the help of this man. He added that the man was reliable because he had once been a platoon leader of the Red Guard in Yanji County. The man had been suspected of involvement in “Minsaengdan”\and was rescued rom being executed\and sent to the enemy area. It was Koreans in the district Party who had rescued him. I think his surname was Kim.


Kim earned a living by hunting,\and as the police chief was also fond of hunting, they became friends, so I was told.


I told the political commissar that since he was the only man who knew the hunter, he himself should obtain the hunter’s assistance in approaching the police chief. So far the process was similar to that of winning over the village headman. It was rare that a former\organization member was on intimate terms with a policeman, but it was possible. Nevertheless, it was necessary to know how the hunter had become friends with the police chief. This knowledge would assure a direct access to the police chief.


After talking to the man in the mountain hut, the political commissar said that the hunter was Red in mind, although he had left the guerrilla zone a long time ago. Seeing the political commissar in civilian clothes, the man even suspected him to be a secret agent of the Japanese. A soldier in civilian clothes was misunderstood as such now\and then.


It was not until the political commissar said he had been sent by me that the hunter\dropped his suspicion. He was bitterly remorseful that he had come to the enemy area without being able to prove that he was not guilty of involvement in the “Minsaengdan”. He said, “Please take me to General Kim Il Sung, so that I can tell him that I was not a ‘Minsaengdan’ member,\and I also hope you will stand surety for me. If the General trust me, I will join the People’s Revolutionary Army.”


The political commissar said, “General Kim has already resolved the problem of ‘Minsaengdan’ so you can take your place once more on the revolutionary front with clear conscience. I hope you will work proudly\and stalwartly.” The hunter was apparently moved to tears at these words. He had become a close friend of Wang the year before. The police chief had occasionally appeared in his hunting ground. Wang used to hunt only one\or two animals at one time,\whereas the hunter caught four\or five.


One day the police chief had\dropped in at the hut to get some pointers rom him on hunting. Marvelling at the man’s profound knowledge on this topic, Wang declared that he was obviously no\ordinary hunter,\and that he seemed to be more like a thinker\or an intellectual.


At this, the hunter proposed that they hold a contest the next day to see whether he was a real hunter\or not. Wang agreed.


The hunter won the game\and Wang treated him to a drink. They drank in the mountain hut. Wang proposed that they swear brotherhood. The hunter declined, however, saying that he would think the matter over a little further because he would have to be Wang’s elder brother if he was to agree to the proposal. He then asked casually how Wang, a man with the heavy duties of substation chief, could afford to be away rom his office so often to go hunting.

Wang replied, “I go hunting not because of free time but because I want to forget my troubles. The Japanese are really foul. They post the Manchukuo police\wherever there is the most danger of being killed,\and even Japanese policemen of equal rank to us yell commands at us\and curse at us for no particular reason. I can’t stand the insult of my situation.”


Hearing this account rom the hunter, the political commissar gave him the job of building a subordinate\organization of the ARF in the area of Jiajiaying. He also gave him the immediate task of arranging an interview between the commissar\and the police chief.


The following day the hunter brought Police Chief Wang to the rendezvous. The police chief also brought a bottle of brandy\and a snack, just as the village headman had done. Brandy was a major means of promoting social fellowship among the officials of Manchukuo.


The police chief was a man much heavier in build\and more violent in character than the village headman, but he was quick in making decisions. He did not stop to ponder over anything too much,\and his answers were direct\and clear-cut.


The political commissar of the 7th Regiment introduced himself to him as a political commissar of one of Kim Il Sung’s units. He said, point-blank, that he had been\ordered by Commander Kim to negotiate with Wang for joint action against the Japanese,\and asked if he was ready to join hands.


Wang gave him a bewildered look at first, but became himself again very soon\and said, “Please don’t make haste. Let’s drink first\and then talk about it.” Growing mellow with a few rounds of drink, Wang slapped the political commissar on the knee\and exclaimed, “I like you, even though you aren’t tall. I’m really surprised at your audacity when you said who you were to a policeman wearing a sabre!”


“That’s what Commander Kim Il Sung’s men are like,” the political commissar replied.


“Take me to Commander Kim,” Wang said. “Then I will let him know my decision, but on condition that you join my jiajiali, so that I can trust you completely.”


Through this first negotiation Wang came to know that his hunter friend was also a communist.


“I thought the secret of my jiajiali was above everything else,” Wang said, “but I see that the communists are closer with their secrets, for the hunter has never let me know he was a communist, even after he joined my jiajiali.”


I told the political commissar to swear brotherhood with Wang, because joining his jiajiali would not mean changing his surname. I also told him to bring Wang to my Headquarters.


I met Wang at a place near Jiajiaying,\and found him as acceptable as the village headman. I remember that he made me a present of three roots of wild insam (ginseng–Tr.).


He readily agreed to my proposal for joint action against the Japanese. He spoke\and behaved like a man.


“I was compelled to put on a police uniform to earn my living, not to fight against the Communist Party,” he said frankly. “Seeing the way the Japanese are behaving, I think of throwing away my gun twelve times a day. I have no objection to your proposal for joint action against the Japanese. I’ll keep my job as chief of the substation as you tell me to, while taking joint action with you against the Japanese. Still, I wonder if the other guerrillas will ignore my police uniform as you do, Commander Kim? I’m afraid of being killed by bullets rom both sides.”


“Don’t worry about that,” I said. “If you work in the cause of justice, the public will understand you. We in the revolutionary army don’t harm people who are against the Japanese even though they may be working in enemy institutions, I can assure of that. What I ask you to do for us is simply not to stand in our way,\and this also means working against the Japanese. You can also send us information every now\and then\and maintain close ties with the hunter\and help him all you can.”


From then on the police chief helped us a great deal. Under his protection the hunter formed a subordinate\organization of the ARF in Jiajiaying.


We received a lot of valuable information rom the two Wangs. The Self-Defence Corps men in the village of Dahuanggou even waved their handkerchiefs as a sign of welcome to my comrades when they saw them.


Through our work with the two Wangs we gained invaluable experience in transforming people.


I believe that we can change anything in the world. Transforming human beings is more difficult than transforming nature\and society, but if we make the effort we can transform people too. By nature, human beings aspire to what is beautiful, noble\and just. We can, therefore, transform everyone if we give them the proper education. Human transformation means, in essence, the transformation of people’s ideology.


But here we must take care not to judge people’s ideology superficially, by merely looking at their insignia\or uniforms. In other words, their ideology must not be judged by job\or rank. Of course, we cannot deny that landowners\and capitalists have the ideology of the exploiting class,\and that the workers, peasants\and working intellectuals have the revolutionary ideology of the working class.


We must know, however, that people in police uniform, like Hong Jong U6, can be more\or less conscientious\and progressive in their ideology. By progressive ideology I mean no less than love for humanity, love for the people, love for one’s nation, love for one’s country. In the last analysis, human conscience finds expression in this love.


In human transformation we do not question people’s official positions\or nationalities either. We unhesitatingly joined hands with Chinese people\and welcomed even those Chinese who served in enemy institutions as long as they had a strong conscience\and loved their country. Since we had the experience\and ability of transforming Koreans working in enemy institutions, it meant that we could transform Chinese working in enemy institutions as well. The principle of human transformation is not\limited by nationality. Since we had brought Korean policemen round to the side of the revolution, we could do the same thing with a Chinese policeman\and a Chinese village headman, right? During the anti-Japanese revolution, there were high-ranking, medium-ranking\and low-ranking officers of the puppet Manchukuo army among the Chinese with whom we joined hands. They did many things that helped us, just as the two Wangs did.


Our nation has the task of reunifying the country as soon as possible. In south Korea there are many people who have different ideas rom ours– landowners, capitalists\and other people belonging to the exploiting class, as well as officials, entrepreneurs,\and merchants. When the country is reunified, we shall have to live with these people of various strata in the same land. We communists cannot very well live alone, rejecting all these people because they have different ideas rom ours, can we? We must find out the common denominator that will enable us to build a reunified country in cooperation even with people who are not communists. I believe that love for the country, love for the nation\and love for the people is that common denominator. We shall be perfectly able to live\and breathe the same air with people who love our country, our nation\and our people.

 


 Related articles

[Reminiscences]Chapter 18. In the Flames of the Sino-Japanese War 6. My Experience of the “Hyesan Incident”

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  1. The Matanggou Secret Camp

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  2. The Weasel Hunter

[Reminiscences]Chapter 19. Overcoming Trials  3. The Last of the Independence Army Forces



       

 

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