One of the things I came across recently is a 文史资料 piece by 杨芳毓. Yang was a returned student who was a subordinate to the Sichuan warlord Liu Xiang in the 1930s and also served as the director of the Chongqing electric steel-smelting factory (重庆电力炼钢厂). In the article he mentions the seven steps to a better province that Liu was in favor of.
1. Is provincial loyalty. Yang says that they must counter Chiang Kai-shek’s slogans口号with one of爱国爱川，反共抗日(Love the nation, Love Sichuan, oppose the Communists, resist Japan.
-This one is pretty obviously an attempt to establish provincial identity in the context of national identity, in part by emphasizing love of province but also by elevating the struggle with Japan to equality with the struggle with Communism (As opposed to Chiang’s focus on the Communists.)
The thing that struck me was the emphasis on slogans, which I have seen before but never really thought about. I have seen lots of references to debates about 口号, long before the communists come to power. Often a conference or meeting would apparently regard the slogans they came up with as being the chief products of their work. Where did these fit into the culture of political debate in China?
2. Using the contradictions between Chiang and the imperialists. Here Yang talks about using British and French-flagged vessels to ship weapons upriver from Shanghai. Chiang was aware of this, but powerless to stop it.
-This one made me think some about the problems with 文史资料 evidence. I would have little problem using this as evidence that Liu was buying weapons direct from the foreigners in the 30’s. I am really suspicious of the framing device of exploiting contradictions between Chiang and the imperialists. Is that really how Yang would have phrased it in the 1930’s? Or is it an overlay of the fact that he was writing this after 1949?
More (possibly) to come