China's Civil War

Monday's Open Thread was a reminder the current Chinese Civil War began 95 years ago between the Chinese Nationalist and Chinese Communist Party. There has not been an official end to the conflict.

1927 – Chiang Kai-shek ordered the massacre of Chinese Communists in Shanghai, ending the First United Front.

The alliance between The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)and Kuomintang(KMT) was formalized by Sun Yet Sun to present a United Front against Warlords in Northern China.

A few years after Sun's death, Chiang Kai-shek married into the Soong family for their political connections and financial resources. Her siblings were at the top echelon of Republic of China (ROC) benefiting from their father Charlie Soong activities supporting the overthrow of the Ching Dynasty. Brother TV Soong, a Harvard Graduate was China's Financial Minister. It is rumored, TV became on of the richest men in the world with significant ownership in multiple large Western companies. Sister Ching-ling Soong was widow of Sun Yet Sun and Chiang Kai-shek was able to decrease her influence in the ROC after the marriage. Ailing Soong, her oldest, sister married H.H. Hung a descendant of Confucius. It is rumored, Ailing, became one richest woman in the world. H.H. Hung held several positions in the ROC government structure Vice Premier; Minister of Industry, Commerce and Labor; and Financial Minister, plus considered Standard Oil Company's man in China.

Why does this odd bit of history matter? May-ling Soong had spent most of her youth in American Methodist schools and spoke fluent English with a Georgian accent. Chiang Kai-shek agreed to convert to Christianity. In attendance at the wedding on Dec 1, 1927 was US Admiral Mark Bristol and a squadron of US Navy officers. Chiang Kai-shek was baptized three years later as a Southern Methodist. China was now a Christian Nation, ruling class were protestants. US public and political sentiment began shifting towards Christian China away from supporting Japan's expansion throughout Asia as the face of Western nations. A little over 12 years later in 1943, May-ling addressed Congress and stayed as a guest of the Roosevelt's at the White House.

The China Lobby, first seeded by Charlie Soong in 1905 and planted in the Oval Office in 1933, had great staying power. In 1960, author, Ross Koen was getting ready topublish his book The China Lobby ___italics___ when shadowy yet powerful China Lobbyist's forced Koen's publisher, MacMillin, to withdraw the expose. It was allowed to emirge fourteen long years later. as a paperback.
The China Mirage by James Bradley

China Lobby at encyclopedia.com

"China lobby" is a pejorative phrase first applied in the 1940s to a disparate collection of Chinese and Americans who tried to influence the people and government of the United States on behalf of the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jie-shī;) and in opposition to the Chinese communists. Opponents of aid to the Nationalists commonly used the term to imply that Chiang's American supporters were paid and that their activities were coordinated by Chiang and other officials of his government or members of his family. A second usage implied the existence of an organization of Chinese Nationalist officials and American rightists joined to stimulate anticommunism in the United States. Americans most commonly associated with the China lobby were the noted publisher Henry R. Luce; Alfred Kohlberg, a retired New York importer; Frederick C. McKee, a wealthy Pittsburgh manufacturer and philanthropist; Republican Representative Walter H. Judd of Minnesota; and the Republican senators William F. Knowland of California and Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin. The lobby was presumed to have tremendous influence in American politics by contemporaries. It has been credited with forcing a reluctant Truman administration to continue aid to Chiang during the Chinese civil war, preventing recognition of the People's Republic of China and barring it from the United Nations, and blocking the distribution of a book exposing the operations of the China lobby.
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Of the various groups that were organized to influence U.S. policy on behalf of China between 1937 and 1941 the most important was the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression, also known as the Price Committee.
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The activities of these friends of China may have been responsible for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision in July 1939 to notify Japan of the intention of the United States to terminate the commercial treaty between the two nations, thus facilitating economic sanctions. With access to Roosevelt and other top administration officials, Greene and Price may have shaped a number of important government actions, such as credits to China for the purchase of trucks and the National Defense Act of 1940, which gave Roosevelt authority to control exports. Similarly, these lobbyists on behalf of China utilizing the most sophisticated public relations methods then available—mass mailings, press releases, speaker tours, petition drives—mobilized opinion leaders in the colleges, churches and civic organizations across the country behind administration efforts to help China. Indeed, they generated pressures designed to push Roosevelt faster than he wanted to move. In the autumn of 1941, their warning against a Far Eastern Munich made a modus vivendi with Japan extremely difficult.
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But it was the Korean War—especially the intervention of the People's Republic of China in the war—that brought about the results for which Chiang's supporters worked in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Without the Korean War, the limited public interest in Asian affairs and the reality of the communist victory in China might well have led to an early accommodation between the United States and the regime of Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong), despite the efforts of the friends of Nationalist China.

How China Lobby Shaped America by consortiumnews May 2017 Worth a full read.

One of the first big foreign lobbies to blossom after passage of the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act was the infamous China Lobby, defined by William Safire in his political dictionary as an “attack phrase used against those urging support of Chiang Kai-shek against Mao Zedong, and later pressing for aid to Chiang on Taiwan.”

Testifying to the China Lobby’s seminal importance – actually what would more accurately be called the Taiwan Lobby – Safire credited it with inspiring the term “Israel lobby” to describe the equally formidable support network for another equally tiny country.

The China Lobby demanded — and won — billions of dollars in military and economic aid for Chiang’s dictatorship, first on mainland China and then on Taiwan. Exploiting the wave of anti-Communism during the McCarthy era, it also ruthlessly suppressed any criticism of Nationalist China’s shortcomings or any moves toward diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China.
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In 1949, two members of Congress called for an investigation of the lobby’s “brazen power.” Rep. Mike Mansfield, a Montana Democrat who would later become Senate majority leader, accused Nationalist Chinese officials — who had fled the mainland for Taiwan that year in the wake of the communist revolution — of diverting U.S. aid to fund political propaganda in the United States.

Ironically, a timely dispensation of $800,000 from Nationalist Chinese officials in Taiwan to their New York office financed a successful campaign to squelch that proposed investigation.

The New China Lobby
December 19, 2001
It was American's corporations turn to conquer China.

The power of the new China lobby was evident in Beijing last March 7, when more than 100 representatives of major U.S. firms held their annual conference under the auspices of the U.S.-China Business Council. Delivering his first major speech since taking office just weeks before, U.S. Ambassador James Sasser told them that the Clinton administration was counting on aggressive pressure from business to secure renewal of MFN status for China. "[Sasser] also suggested that CEOs make personal calls on Congress when they wish to relay their concerns on major China-related issues, such as MFN," reported the China Business Review, the bimonthly magazine of the U.S.-China Business Council. "Nothing," he said, "makes an impression on a member of Congress like a visit or phone call from a CEO from the member's district or state."

Of course, the Fortune 500 companies that comprise the U.S.-China Business Council-led by Boeing, Motorola, Caterpillar, AT&T, and the American International Group (AIG)-hardly needed Sasser's encouragement. They have been working the halls of Congress intensely since the 1972 opening to China by President Nixon. Lured by the prospect of 1.2 billion low-wage workers and eager consumers, America's corporate elite have done a fine job unofficially representing the Chinese government in Washington.

Less than two years ago another self-declared change in the China Lobby. We are living lobbying results today.

Enter the new China lobby. 08/04/2019 by Tony Stark

Back in the Bad Old Days of the Cold War, the China Lobby referred to a collection of special interests that prior to Nixon’s opening of China argued for pro-ROC policy, but as time went on and PRC influence grew, the China lobby in Washington grew to mean pro-PRC influence.

In 2019, the New China Lobby means something quite different. The New China Lobby is certainly not pro-PRC, nor is it a Taiwan centric collection of special interests.

No, the New China Lobby is an ad-hoc group of people dedicated to changing US policy towards the Chinese Communist Party. It is not so much staunchly anti-mainland as it is staunchly anti-CCP. After all, no one blames the innocent host for contracting cancer. But that is how the New China Lobby has come to view the CCP as, for all of the reasons listed in the first part of this essay. The CCP threat is existential and our ad-hoc group of analysts, human rights activists, politicians, scientists, and military leaders have all reached the same conclusion that this threat will not pass us by, rather it will only grow worse with time. In that, we are bipartisan. We may not all agree on what the solution should be, but we are all in favor of standing up to the bully in the Pacific that has gone unchecked for far too long.

The names and alliances change frequently enough I do have trouble always following the paths. If clarification is needed please provide. Most of my writing is info from The Soong Dynasty by Sterling Seagrave and The China Mirage by James Bradely. This recap does not touch on the interweaving of The Green Gang, Soong family and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.

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Granma's picture

I would like to have a look at the Soong Dynasty.

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studentofearth's picture

@Granma @Granma written by Charles Wertenbaker during covering the subject during McCarthy and the Red Scare . He died of colon cancer three years later.

edited spelling

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

I had never heard of this China Lobby group. Very interesting!

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studentofearth's picture

@on the cusp In 2019 there was still a family home.

The sole living descendant of the Soong dynasty is Gregory Kung, the child of Eiling’s son Louis, a Texas oilman who built himself a Chinese-style ranch outside Houston with machine-gun emplacements in the grounds and a nuclear bunker under the swimming pool.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Soong?

Mr.DSoong.jpg

Tony Stark?!?

Mr.TStark.jpg

Is there something we're not being told here...?

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

studentofearth's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat If a memory fact can be placed in a mind we tend to relate new knowledge to the existing memory as it is processed. Contemporary definitions with the names and alliances can be used to dilute the relevance of of information and easier to dismiss or forget. it is a learned skill to simply absorb new info to thoughtfully analyze. Instead of automatically comparing and organizing to existing memories and definitions and diluting an experience to "nothing new here". Of course it is also becomes important not to over analyze everything creating infinite loops of thought.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

With the war drums beating, I think we can all use the info.

We visited China for a month several years ago. A good friend was teaching there and he and his students served as our tour guides for a portion of the trip. We were mostly in Hunan province. Uniformly, an awesome experience. Great people, land, food; just wonderful.

Language is a problem, but these days, Pleco and other apps make it manageable. (though coffee is a new thing most places and I did *almost* ask for cream for my coffee by pointing to a symbol on my phone that I realized just in time was for breastmilk)...

My only other china connection is through my Dad. He was in the navy for the first part of WWII but switched to Merchant Marines for the last several years. His last trip after the war and before becoming a civilian was to ferry a boatload of Chiang Kai-shek's supporters from somewhere on the mainland to Taiwan. He said they were "some of the sorriest SOB's you ever saw". Meaning they had been subsisting on the land and were near starving.

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studentofearth's picture

@peachcreek they would never see mainland China and their families again.

General Hau Pei-Tsun at the age of 99 and his thoughts on the conflict. (4.08 min)

at the 2.34 mark in this old video it mentions morale is higher than it has ever been the soldiers are getting regular pay and food. (16.59 min)

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Dawn's Meta's picture

important movements and men. 'The Soong Dynasty' by Sterling Seagrave is excellent.

In 'China to Me' by Emily Hahn, she also recounts her visits with Mei-ling Soong married to Chiang Kai-Shek. Emily Hahn also has a book devoted to the Soong sisters.

The Wiki entry makes the complicated history a bit more understandable:
Wiki Soong Sisters

Somehow the stories of families of famous sisters are fascinating: The Mitford Sisters come to mind. Incredibly tied to extraordinary people and events.

Nicely done and thank you.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

From what I do know of Chinese History, the years you cover, between the end of the last Dynasty and the beginning of the People's Republic on China were a true transformation. The entire 3,000 years that preceded 1911 had consistently resolved into the Dynastic system.

Yet beneath it all it is still China, a continuous ancient civilization right through the present day. And China's 1.4 billion people have never been so proud, so secure, and so happy as they are right now. The end of 2020 was an inflection point for China. They astonished the (thinking-capable) world; and they astonished themselves. Decades of hard work, dedication and focus by society, and the steady vision of enlightened leaders — that's what it took to eradicate poverty and make every Chinese person financially secure and self-sustainable.

Simply telling people that they have a Democracy,** or that they have Human Rights, does not make it so. Americans ought to understand that better than most. These things are not free! They are a national investment made by a People's Government. That investment has NOT been made in the US, not at all!

Human rights reflect the minimum standards necessary for people to live with dignity. ... Human rights also guarantee people the means necessary to satisfy their basic needs, such as food, housing, health care, and education, so they can take full advantage of all opportunities.

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The China Lobby stories were very illuminating. This solves the mystery of how easy it was to drive Americans into a fury of instant China hatred, in the year 2020, with a litany of blatant media lies and smears. Americans have been pre-brainwashed all their lies — primed for this Neocon anti-communist insanity.

That must be how the term Red China got burned into US brains.

_______________
** The fact that China has a managed economy (communism) does not belie the fact that China is a Democracy. They see their government as a Democracy. They are in the process of creating a 'Perfect Democracy'. Americans should be aware of these facts.

There is no conflict between communism and democracy. They do not compete. One is an Economic principle. The other is a form of Governance. One concerns the management of the nation's wealth for the benefit of all the People. The other is a formal decision-making process used by representatives of the people. Democracies may also define opportunities for people to interact directly with the government. Democratic decisions imply public consent, based on the will of the people.

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QMS's picture

@Pluto's Republic

is a valuable human need.
China is striving to attain that.
The US system of governance
does not make it a priority.

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studentofearth's picture

@Pluto's Republic this comment. The current shift in China's attitude seems to be coming from a new level of confidence not arrogance or aggressiveness. The US responses are very worrying.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

studentofearth's picture

@Dawn's Meta @Dawn's Meta past articles on their site. Thanks for providing her name and the book suggestions.

Just realized a copy of her book Cooking of China on my shelf. Read it completely since the background info on China was so interesting, better than some of the collected history books.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

enhydra lutris's picture

Thanks also for picking up on that cue in Monday's OT and running with it.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --