Biography in English

Ch'en Tu-hsiu 陳獨秀 Ch'en Ch'ien-sheng 乾生 T. Chung-fu 仲甫 H. Shih-an 實庵 Pseud. Chung(-tzu) 仲(子) Ch'en Tu-hsiu (8 October 1879-27 May 1942), as editor of the Hsin ch'ing-nien [new youth] and dean of the college of letters of Peking University, was a leader of the literary and cultural revolution that culminated in the May Fourth Movement of 1919. He became a Communist, organized the Shanghai nucleus, and headed the Chinese Communist party from 1921 to 1927. After his expulsion from the Communist party in 1930, he headed a Trotskyite opposition group until his arrest and imprisonment in 1932. After his release in 1937, he devoted most of his time to political and personal writing and to studying the ancient Chinese language. The youngest of four children in a wealthy family, Ch'en Tu-hsiu was born in Huaining. His father, who had served as a military official in Manchuria, died shortly after Ch'en was born. Ch'en Tu-hsiu spent his childhood and youth at the family home in Huaining, where he received his education in the Chinese classics and traditional literature from an iracible, opium-smoking grandfather and then from an indulgent elder brother, Ch'en Meng-chi (d. 1909). In 1896 Ch'en became a sheng-yuan, but he failed the examinations for the chü-jen degree in the following year. Under the influence of the reformers K'ang Yu-wei and Liang Ch'i-ch'ao (qq.v.), he sought a modern education, attending the famous Ch'iu-shih Academy at Hangchow, where he studied French, English, and naval architecture. About the turn of the century he went to Japan, where he attended an English language school and completed an accelerated program of studies at the Tokyo Higher Normal School. Returning to China in 1903, he assisted Chang Chi, Chang Shih-chao (qq.v.), and other friends he had made in Japan in establishing a revolutionary newspaper, the Kuo-min jih-jih pao [national daily news], in Shanghai, which was closed by the authorities within a few months. The next year he set up a vernacular magazine, the An-hui su-hua pao [Anhwei vernacular paper], in Wuhu; later, he was associated with another vernacular publication, the H'u-hsi pai-hua pao [Wusih colloquial newspaper], in Wusih. In 1906 he left for Japan to study at Waseda University in Tokyo, but returned to his native province in the same year to teach at a high school in Wuhu. At some time between 1907 and 1910 (Ch'en was in Manchuria in the autumn of 1909 to make the arrangements for his brother's funeral) he studied in France and became an enthusiastic admirer of French culture, which he regarded as being the epitome of Western civilization. After his return to China he taught at the Army Elementary School in Hangchow and served as dean of studies at the Anhwei Higher Normal School.

While in Japan, Ch'en Tu-hsiu had met several young revolutionaries who were members of the T'ung-meng-hui, headed by Sun Yat-sen. But he objected to what he considered to be the narrowly racist bias of the organization and refused to join. Nevertheless, he appears to have been sympathetic to the republican cause, and after the revolution of October 1911 he became secretary to Po Wen-wei (1875-1947; T. Lieh-wu), the commander of the revolutionary military forces in Anhwei province. After Po's appointment as the military governor of Anhwei in July 1912, Ch'en became head of the department of education in the provincial government, a post he held until the outbreak of the so-called second revolution in the summer of 1913, when Po Wen-wei was ousted by the Peiyang divisions of Yuan Shih-k'ai. After fleeing with Po to Japan, Ch'en came in contact with many other political fugitives from Yuan's regime, among them his former associate, Chang Shih-chao. In the summer of 1914, Ch'en became the junior editor of Chang's magazine, the Chia-yin tsa-chih [tiger magazine], a liberal publication which opposed the monarchical schemes of Yuan Shih-k'ai. After the suppression of this periodical by the Japanese authorities, Ch'en left Japan for the foreign concession of Shanghai in the summer of 1915 and in September began to publish a magazine of his own, the Ch'ing-nien tsa-chih [youth magazine], soon to become one of the most celebrated and influential periodicals of modern China. Through his associations with members of the revolutionary party, Ch'en Tu-hsiu had become actively involved in the political struggle against Yuan Shih-k'ai. But Ch'en was less interested in political reform than in China's social and cultural regeneration. In the early issues of the Ctüng-nien tsa-chih he launched a campaign with the double purpose of destroying traditional Confucian social morality and of arousing China's youth to an awareness and critical acceptance of new and useful ideas from the West. In his articles of 1915 and 1916, he praised modern Western civilization for its concern with such values as individualism and economic and social equality of both men and women — values which, he maintained, were suppressed or discouraged by Confucian moral teachings. The magazine was an immediate success and established Ch'en, up to then a relatively obscure figure, as one of the champions of a new intellectual revolution in China. Ts'ai Yuan-p'ei (q.v.), the chancellor of the National University of Peking, invited him in 1917 to serve as dean of the College of Letters of the university.

Although his connection with Peking University was to last only two years (1917-19), Ch'en Tu-hsiu began to exert a profound influence upon the young intellectuals and students in Peking, and he came to be regarded as one of the leaders of China's intellectual avant garde. Ch'en gave his full support to Hu Shih and Ch'ien Hsuan-t'ung (qq.v.), both professors at Peking University, in advocating the use of pai-hua [the vernacular] in place of the classical language as the medium of modern Chinese literature; his magazine, by then renamed Hsin ch'ing-nien [new youth], became one of the principal organs of the movement known as the Chinese literary renaissance. Ch'en continued to propagate his own rather crudely formed ideas of modern Western culture, which in general reflected the liberal humanitarianism and naive faith in material progress which had been current in mid-nineteenth-century England. These ideas he popularized by creating the characters "Mr. Democracy" and "Mr. Science." He utilized them in his unrelenting attacks on Confucian morality and on China's traditional social system. It was through writings in this vein that Ch'en and other contributors to the Hsin ch'ing-nien stimulated the rise of the new culture movement and the student movement.

Early in 1918 the Hsin ch'ing-nien was placed under an editorial committee consisting of Ch'en, Ch'ien Hsuan-t'ung, Hu Shih, Li Ta-chao, Liu Fu, and other professors at Peking University. All of its members agreed to an editorial policy that would avoid involvement in practical politics. However, under the autocratic regime of premier Tuan Ch'i-jui (q.v.) and his adherents of the Anhwei military clique in Peking, Ch'en became increasingly disturbed over the political situation in China, and in December he and Li Ta-chao founded a new periodical, the Mei-chou p'ing-lun [weekly critic], in which they published articles commenting critically upon the internal and foreign policies of the government in Peking. The appearance of this magazine marked the beginning of a split in the Hsin ch'ing-nien group between the political activists such as Ch'en and Li Ta-chao, and the liberal intellectuals such as Hu Shih, who remained reluctant to become involved in contemporary political affairs. Through their articles in the Mei-chou p'ing-lun Ch'en and Li aroused their student readers to a new and patriotic concern over the policies of the national government. Thus, they were instrumental in laying the groundwork for the celebrated May Fourth Movement of 1919.

During the early months of 1919, public attention in China was focused upon the Paris Peace Conference, and particularly upon the problem of the disposition of former German concessions in Shantung province. When it was revealed late in April that the Western powers at the peace conference had awarded the German concessions to Japan and, furthermore, that Tuan Ch'i-jui's pro-Japanese regime had been conducting secret loan negotiations with Japan, a tide of public indignation swept China. That indignation resulted in a series of patriotic anti-Japanese and anti-government demonstrations among the students in Peking on 4 May 1919, and in other cities soon afterward. Although Ch'en Tu-hsiu was recognized as one of the principal figures behind the May Fourth Movement, he was inclined to restrain the students' anti-Japanese enthusiasm. Nevertheless, as the movement reached its climax in Peking late in May and early in June, he was swept along by its momentum and joined the students in distributing leaflets denouncing the pro-Japanese officials in the Peking government. For his part in these activities he was arrested by the Peking authorities on 11 June and was held in jail for almost three months. Following his release, Ch'en resigned his position at Peking University and departed for Shanghai. In the following year, Ch'en's political attitudes underwent a significant transformation. As early as 1918, a few of his associates in Peking, such as Li Ta-chao, had begun to study the doctrines of Marxism and Leninism; and before Ch'en's departure for Shanghai, several articles on Marxism had already appeared in the Hsin ch'ing-nien and the Mei-chou p'ing-lun. Although he had studied the course of events in Russia with considerable interest, Ch'en had continued to believe that the solution to China's problems was to be found in democracy and science; and though his faith in the West was shaken by the decisions of the Paris Peace Conference, his disenchantment with Western democratic institutions was checked for the time being by the influence of the American philosopher John Dewey, who had visited and lectured in Peking in 1919.

As one of the leaders of the student movement in Peking, Ch'en was esteemed highly by the younger generation, and after his arrival in Shanghai in the autumn of 1919, he quickly became the center of a group of young intellectuals which included anarchists, socialists, and students of Marxism. Within a few months, Ch'en had revealed a quickening interest in Marxist doctrines, and by the summer of 1920 he had come to the conclusion that China, in the course of its modernization, should advance directly into socialism without passing through the intermediate stage of capitalism. While retaining certain reservations, he accepted the major assumptions of Marxism and Leninism and decided that as a first step in implementing these doctrines a Communist party should be established in China.

Undoubtedly influencing this decision was the presence in Shanghai of Gregory Voitinsky, an agent of the Communist International who in the spring of 1920 had been sent from Peking by Li Ta-chao to visit Ch'en Tu-hsiu. After several discussions with Voitinsky in the summer of 1920, Ch'en organized a small group of his acquaintances into a Communist nucleus, which included Li Ta (q.v.), later to become one of China's foremost interpreters of Marxism, as well as Shao Li-tzu and Tai Chi-t'ao (qq.v.), two Marxist-oriented members of Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang. To Ch'en, the immediate tasks of the new group were to establish similar Communist nuclei in other major cities of China and to promote the study of Marxist principles among the students and the working classes, thus paving the way for the formal establishment of a Communist party in China.

In the latter part of 1920, Ch'en was in touch with many of his former colleagues and students in other parts of the country. With his encouragement, Communist nuclei were set up in Peking by Li Ta-chao, in Changsha by Mao Tse-tung, in Wuhan by Tung Pi-wu (q.v.), and in other urban centers. In Shanghai, Ch'en and his associates turned their attention to the organization and indoctrination of students and labor groups. In August they organized the Chung-kuo she-hui ch'ing-nien-t'uan (Socialist Youth League) as a training unit for future party workers, and branches were soon established in other cities. To prepare members of the Youth League for further training in the Soviet Union, they set up a school of foreign languages. In the winter of 1920-21 its first group of Russian-language students, including Jen Pi-shih and Liu Shao-ch'i (qq.v.), were sent to Moscow for further study. Early in September, Ch'en transferred the Hsin ch'ing-nien from Peking to Shanghai and began to publish the periodical as an organ of the Communist group. At the same time he set up a weekly propaganda magazine, Lao-tung-che [the laborer], to spread Marxist ideas among the urban working classes. In November the Shanghai group also began to publish a theoretical journal, the Kung-ch'an-tang yueh-k'an [the Communist party monthly], under the editorship of Li Ta, to educate party workers in the doctrines of Marxism- Leninism.

In December 1920 Ch'en Chiung-ming (q.v.), the new governor of Kwangtung, invited Ch'en Tu-hsiu to serve as head of the education department of the provincial government. Eager to establish the Communist movement in south China, Ch'en accepted the post. In January 1921, shortly after his arrival in Canton, he began to organize a small group of young Cantonese intellectuals, including two of his former students at Peking University, Ch'en Kung-po and T'an P'ing-shan (qq.v.), into a new Communist nucleus. Under his direction the group set up a branch of the Socialist Youth League and began to publish a weekly propaganda magazine, Lao-tung sheng [the voice of labor]. Meanwhile, Communist leaders in Shanghai and elsewhere, through correspondence with Ch'en in Canton, decided to convene a congress in Shanghai to inaugurate the Communist party. Although Ch'en was unable to attend the meeting, he sent his proposals regarding party organization and policy for consideration; most of them were subsequently adopted. At the First National Congress, held in July 1921, the Chinese Communist party was formally established, and Ch'en was unanimously elected secretary of the party's Central Committee. One month later he resigned his post in Canton and, leaving the direction of the Canton branch of the party to Ch'en Kung-po and T'an P'ing-shan, returned to Shanghai to assume leadership of the new central party organization. One of Ch'en's first tasks as head of the Communist party in China was to establish formally the party's relations with the Comintern. After his return to Shanghai in 1921 he began a series of discussions with Comintern representative Maring; it was agreed that the Chinese Communist party would follow the policy directives of the Comintern, while the latter would finance the activities of the Chinese party. Another important question that was soon to arise concerned the relationship of the party to the Kuomintang. Since 1920 Comintern agents in China had been considering cooperation with a number of Chinese political leaders, including Sun Yat-sen. Shortly after the Second National Congress of the Chinese Communist party in Shanghai (July 1922), at which Ch'en was reelected general secretary of the Central Committee, Maring returned from Moscow, and at a special plenum of the Central Committee held at Hangchow in August, informed Ch'en and other leaders of the Comintern's decision to work with Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang. Sun had indicated that he would cooperate with the Chinese Communists on the condition that they join the Kuomintang as individuals and submit to his personal discipline. To further the Comintern policy of collaboration, Maring proposed at the plenum that the Chinese Communist leaders accept this condition. Ch'en and most of the Central Committee strongly opposed Maring's proposal because they feared that the fledgling Communist party would soon lose its identity as the party of the proletariat if its members were to join the Kuomintang, the party of the bourgeoisie. However, at Maring's insistence, they reluctantly adopted the Comintern decision. Within a few days, according to one sourc
, Ch'en, Li Ta-chao, and other Communist leaders joined the Kuomintang in Shanghai in an informal ceremony at which Sun himself officiated. In September 1922, Ch'en founded a new party organ, the Hsiang-tao chou-pao [guide weekly], in which he began to promote the official policy of Communist-Kuomintang collaboration as a means of carrying through a national anti-imperialist revolution in China. Ch'en's confidence in the wisdom of this policy may have been fortified somewhat by his attendance at the Fourth Congress of the Comintern in Moscow (November-December 1922), which stressed the necessity of cooperation with nationalist revolutionary elements in industrially undeveloped countries such as China. Furthermore, the bloody suppression of the Peking- Hankow railway strikers by troops under Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.) in February 1923 served to shatter Ch'en's illusions regarding the strength of the Chinese labor movement, convincing him that China had to pass through a bourgeois revolution and a preliminary capitalist stage under the leadership of the Kuomintang before the working class could attain sufficient power to effect a proletarian revolution. Thereafter, Ch'en seems to have accepted the Comintern view that the Communist party in China was still too weak to act by itself and that it should seek to extend its influence among the working class by working within the Kuomintang. In June 1923, at the Third Congress of the Chinese Communist party, held in Canton, Ch'en was said to have cast the deciding vote in support of Maring in opposition to those members of his own party, such as Chang Kuo-t'ao and Ch'u Ch'iu-pai (qq.v.), who objected to the Comintern decision that Chinese Communists not only should cooperate with the Kuomintang but also should take an active part in reorganizing and strengthening the Kuomintang as the party of the worker and peasant masses.

At the Third National Congress, Ch'en Tu-hsiu was elected general secretary of the Chinese Communist party, a post he was to hold for the next four years. He was responsible for implementing the Comintern policy of Communist participation in the Kuomintang. The aim of this policy was to control the Kuomintang from within. Accordingly, Ch'en and other leading Communists took part in preparations for the reorganization of the Kuomintang late in 1923 and attended its First National Congress held at Canton in January 1924. However, although he complied with the Comintern line, there are indications that Ch'en did so with little real enthusiasm. He was notably less active than Li Ta-chao and other leaders in working within the Kuomintang, and sought as much as possible to ensure the development of the Communist party as a separate political organization maintaining independent control over the working classes. After the death of Sun Yat-sen in March 1925, as the division of the Kuomintang into right and left wings grew more pronounced, Ch'en appears to have become increasingly reluctant to continue the Communist party's symbiotic relationship with the Kuomintang. In October 1925, at an enlarged plenum of the Communist party's Central Committee in Peking, he denounced the anti-Communist stand taken by Tai Chi-t'ao and other leaders of the Kuomintang right wing and proposed that the Communist members withdraw en masse from the Kuomintang—a proposal which he reiterated after the anti-Communist coup of 20 March 1926 in Canton by Chiang Kai-shek, and again at the time of Chiang's purge of the Communists in Shanghai in April 1927. These proposals, however, were consistently overruled by the Comintern. In spite of personal misgivings, Ch'en, as head of the Chinese Communist party, gave his official support to Comintern directives calling for continued collaboration with the Kuomintang.

When the prominent Kuomintang leader Wang Ching-wei (q.v.) arrived back in Shanghai from Europe in the spring of 1927, he conferred with Ch'en Tu-hsiu about relations between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist party. On 5 April 1927 they issued a joint statement in which they reiterated their intention to maintain the collaboration of the two parties. In the statement, Ch'en reminded his fellow-Communists that their party had accepted the Three People's Principles as the basis of the national revolutionary movement, and he exhorted them to remain faithful to the Sun-Joffe manifesto of January 1923 and to the principles expounded at the First National Congress of the Kuomintang in January 1924. Ch'en Tu-hsiu found this policy difficult to maintain in the face of Chiang Kai-shek's determined efforts to expel the Communists from the Kuomintang. At the time of Chiang's anti- Communist drive in Shanghai in April, Ch'en was forced to flee the city to Wuhan, where Wang Ching-wei headed a regime that had been created by a coalition of the Communists and the left wing of the Kuomintang.

Confronted not only with the rapidly deteriorating relations with the Kuomintang but also with growing confusion and dissension within the party leadership itself, Ch'en convened the Fifth National Congress on 27 April 1927. There he came under fire from other party leaders for his so-called conciliatory policies toward the Kuomintang in Shanghai—policies which he had followed in compliance with Comintern instructions. These attacks upon Ch'en reflected the mounting dissatisfaction of an opposition group which was led by Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai and other members of the party's former Kwangtung regional committee. In particular, they resented Ch'en's "dictatorial" rule over the party: he had made vital decisions without consulting other members of the Central Committee. Moreover, doctrinal disputes between Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai and Ch'en's secretary, P'eng Shu-chih, reportedly stemming from Ch'ü's jealousy of P'eng's favored position, added to the resentment of Ch'en's leadership. Although reelected general secretary at the Fifth Congress, Ch'en's six-year domination of party affairs was terminated after the expulsion of the Communists from the left-wing Kuomintang regime in Wuhan in July 1927 and the final collapse of the Communist-Kuomintang entente. The failure of Comintern policy in China was closely related to the power struggle in the Soviet Union between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Thus, the reluctance of the Comintern to alter its line of continued cooperation between the Chinese Communists and the Kuomintang was principally caused by the unwillingness of the Stalin faction in Moscow to concede its miscalculations to the Trotsky faction, which had for some time maintained that the Chinese Communists should withdraw from the alliance. As events in China forced the Comintern to abandon its policy, the Stalin faction found it expedient to shift the full responsibility for its blunders to the Chinese Communist leadership of Ch'en Tu-hsiu. In this move the Stalinists were abetted by Ch'en's opponents among the Chinese Communists, who accused Ch'en and his supporters of adopting a line identical to that of the Trotsky faction in Russia. In accordance with new directives from the Comintern demanding reforms in the Chinese party leadership, some 20 Communist delegates convened at a secret emergency conference on 7 August 1927. Ch'en was replaced by Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai as head of the party. The new leadership censured Ch'en for his so-called opportunism in following a conciliatory line toward the Kuomintang and called for the organization and training of workers and peasants in preparation for armed uprisings against the Kuomintang regimes at Nanking and Wuhan.

Meanwhile, Ch'en Tu-hsiu made his way from Wuhan to the foreign settlement in Shanghai, where he was to remain for the next five years. Though deposed from the leadership of the Communist party, he continued to enjoy considerable influence in party affairs. He still was consulted by the Central Committee on important questions of policy, and some of his comments were published under the pseudonym Ch'e-weng in the party's official organ, Pu-erh-sai-wei-k'o [Bolshevik]. At the time of the Canton Commune (December 1927), Ch'en wrote a letter to the Central Committee advising that the party avoid military conflict with the foreign "imperialists" in Hong Kong, and that it cooperate with the Kuomintang left wing and the Third party group led by T'an P'ing-shan (q.v.). The second proposal brought renewed charges of opportunism from the new party leadership, and the Central Committee avoided further contact with Ch'en. At the Sixth National Congress, held in Moscow between July and September 1928, he was formally condemned for his earlier policies. Ch'en's final break with the Communist party resulted from the stand he took concerning the attempted seizure of the largely Russian-controlled Chinese Eastern Railway by the Manchurian militarist Chang Hsueh-liang (q.v.) in the summer of 1929. Following the Comintern line, the Chinese Communist leadership denounced the seizure as an imperialist attack upon the Soviet Union. In a letter to the Central Committee, Ch'en pointed out that the committee's stand made it appear that the Chinese Communist party was placing the interests of the Soviet Union above those of China, thereby providing the Kuomintang regime with effective anti-Communist propaganda. By way of reply the Central Committee, then under the domination of Li Li-san (q.v.), issued a scathing censure of the letter, which, in turn, elicited further criticisms from Ch'en. On 15 November 1929 the Central Committee circulated a resolution expelling Ch'en from the party (the resolution was not formally adopted until 11 June 1930).

In the meantime, Ch'en Tu-hsiu had begun to form a secret group of his followers with the purpose of winning back control of the central party organization. In Shanghai he had come in contact with a number of students who early in 1929 had returned from Sun Yat-sen University in Moscow strongly influenced by Trotsky's writings. They had formed a small Trotskyite organization and published a mimeographed paper, Wo-men ti hua [our words]. Through translations published in this paper Ch'en had been introduced to Trotsky's views regarding the revolution in China, which he found to be similar to his own in many respects. Encouraged, perhaps, by these Communist dissidents, Ch'en decided to strike openly at his enemies in the Central Committee. On 10 December 1929 he sent an open letter to all members of the party, in which he denounced the policies of the Comintern and those of the Chinese Communist leadership. He repudiated their charges which held him responsible for the debacle of 1927. Five days later, he and his followers joined with the Trotskyites in Shanghai to publish a Wo-men ti cheng-chih i-chien shu [statement of our political opinions]. The statement bitterly attacked the Stalin leadership and the Comintern for their earlier disastrous policy of alliance with the Kuomintang and criticized the current line of the Chinese party leaders which, in spite of repeated failures, still called for armed uprisings and the immediate establishment of a workers' and peasants' dictatorship ; it favored Trotsky's view of a continuously advancing world revolutionary process. In response, the Central Committee denounced the statement as an attempt to liquidate the progress of China's revolution, and thereafter disparagingly referred to Ch'en and his Trotskyite associates as the ch'ü-hsiao p'ai [liquidation faction]. Rejecting an invitation from the Comintern (February 1930) to attend a meeting in Moscow to review his expulsion from the party, Ch'en organized a pro-Trotsky Communist opposition group, the Wu-ch'an-che she [proletarian society] and began to publish a propaganda magazine, Wu-ch'an-che [the proletariat], in which he continued his attacks on the Comintern and expounded on Trotsky's theory of permanent revolution — of a steadily rising world revolutionary tide that advanced, without troughs or pauses or limitations to a single country, to a culmination in the seizure of power by the proletariat.

Ch'en's sudden turn to Trotskyism may well have been due to genuine intellectual conversion. There is, however, a strong possibility that he was also influenced by considerations of political expediency. His organization was sorely in need of funds. Moreover, he and his followers were obliged to defend themselves against verbal attacks from the central party organization, from the Wo-men ti hua group, and from two lesser Trotskite societies, the Chan-tou-she [combat society] and the Shih-yueh-she [October society]. In the hope of securing political recognition and financial support from abroad, Ch'en sought to establish contact with Trotsky himself, who was then living in exile in Istanbul. Communications from Trotsky to the warring opposition groups in Shanghai chastised them separately for their squabbling among themselves and ur^ed them to unite into a single organization. In accordance with this advice, and reportedly with the help of funds from Trotskyist organizations in Europe, the rival groups held a joint conference and in May 1931 combined to form the Chinese Communist Party Left Opposition Faction (Chung-kuo kung-ch'an-tang tso-p'ai fan-tui-p'ai), also known as the Trotsky-Ch'en party (T'o Ch'en p'ai).

The new party organization was dominated by Ch'en's Wu-ch'an-che she. Ch'en himself became the general secretary of its central committee, while his trusted secretary, P'eng Shu-chih, and several of his personal following became members of the standing committee. Through the Opposition party's propaganda publications, Huo-hua [the spark] and Hsiao-nei sheng-huo [school life], Ch'en continued his efforts to win the main body of the Communist party over to the Trotskyist point of view. However, his influence over the regular Communist membership had dwindled to almost nothing. Furthermore, during its brief existence, the new organization was rent within by bitter dissensions and weakened by defections. Its members were constantly harried by the concession police. Under these demoralizing conditions, Ch'en was reported to have sought, without success, a reconciliation with the central party organization, and thereby to have lost whatever confidence the hard-core Trotskyists had placed in him. For practical purposes, his political career had come to an end.

While brooding over his political and personal misfortunes — two of his sons had been executed as Communists in 1927-28, and his wife was estranged from him — Ch'en was arrested on 15 October 1932 on charges of endangering the republic. Extradited to Nanking, he was tried before the Kiangsu High Court in the spring of 1933. Throughout the widely publicized trial, at which he was defended by his old friend Chang Shih-chao, Ch'en remained defiantly critical of the Kuomintang-controlled National Government. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. There, he was frequently visited by officials high in the Kuomintang, such as Ch'en Li-fu and Tai Chi-ta'o, who hoped to enlist his public support for the Nationalist Government. However, their efforts appear to have been fruitless, and Ch'en, abandoning his interest in politics, turned his attention to the study of the ancient Chinese language.

After the outbreak of the war with Japan, the National Government declared a general amnesty, and on 19 August 1937, Ch'en was released on parole. Shortly afterward, he announced his support of the national united front against Japan and declared that from that time on he was acting in complete independence of all political groups. Despite his affirmation of political independence, his activities aroused the suspicions of the Communist party. After moving from Nanking to Wuhan, he was supported by a monthly subsidy from the I-wen yen-chiu-hui {see T'ao Hsi-sheng), a group with strong anti-Communist leanings. Its leading members, including Chou Fo-hai (q.v.), were later to participate in the establishment of the Japanese-sponsored regime in Nanking. During the first part of 1938, Ch'en contributed a series of articles to one of this group's publications, Cheng-lun [commentaries], in which he called for a strengthening of the war effort against Japan through extensive social and political reforms. Because
f his connection with the I-wen

Biography in Chinese

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