Deng Zhongxia

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Teng Chung-hsia
Related People

Biography in English

Teng Chung-hsia ( 1897-1 933) , one ofthe earliest Communists in China and a leader of the effort to create a unified national labor movement. He is chiefly remembered as the author of the Chvcng-kuo chih-kung yün-tung chien-shih [short history of the Chinese labor movement]. He was executed by the Nationalist authorities. Born into a prosperous family in Ichang, Hunan, Teng Chung-hsia received a traditional Chinese education. After being graduated from middle school, he went to north China to enroll at Peking University, where he studied Chinese literature. He thus was residing in China's intellectual capital at a time of great ferment. At Peking University he and his contemporary Chang Kuo-t'ao (q.v.) came under the influence of Li Ta-chao (q.v.), who was drawing student interest toward Marxism and toward the possibility of developing a Communist organization in China. The May Fourth Movement of 1919 heightened Teng's interest in these matters, and in 1920 he joined the newly established Ma-k'o-ssu hsueh-shuo yen-chiu-hui [society for the study of Marxism]. At its meetings, he heard Li Ta-chao and other professors lecture on Marxism. The influence on Teng of these ideas was such that he severed relations with his family so that he would be able to devote himself unreservedly to the cause of revolution.

During the winter of 1920-21 Li Ta-chao organized a group of Peking University students, including Chang Kuo-t'ao and Teng Chunghsia, and charged them with the mission of introducing Marxist ideas to the railroad workers of north China. Early in 1921 these young intellectuals went to Ch'anghsintien, where they organized a club and a night school for the laborers. They also began publishing a small newspaper, keeping in mind the relatively small vocabularies of most of the workers. Teng also attempted to organize workers in such other industrial and mining centers as Tientsin and T'angshan. In addition to these activities, T'eng found time to participate in the work of the Young China Association (Shao-nien Chungkuo hsueh-hui), the society established by Li Ta-chao and Tseng Ch'i (q.v.) at Peking in 1918 and dedicated to "rejuvenating China with scientific spirit." At the time the First National Congress of the Chinese Communist party took place in Shanghai in July 1921, he was in Nanking attending the organizational conference of the Young China Association with Chang Wen-t'ien, Yun Tai-ying (qq.v.), and others.

Chang Kuo-t'ao assumed responsibility for organizing the China Trade Union Secretariat (Chung-kuo lao-tung tsu-ho shu-chi-pu) in the summer of 1921, and Teng Chung-hsia joined him in the effort to create a unified national labor movement. In May 1922 the China Trade Union Secretariat sponsored the meeting at Canton which established the All- China Federation of Labor. Teng was elected to head the new organization's secretariat, which soon was moved to Peking because he also was serving as secretary of the Peking municipal committee of the Chinese Communist party. He led a strike at Ch'anghsintien in August 1922 and another at the mines of the Kailan Mining Administration in October. A general labor union of workers on the Peking-Hankow railroad was organized, and a strike was called in early February 1923 to mark the opening of the union office. Wu P'ei-fu (q.v.), who depended heavily on the rail line for both revenue and troop transport, took action against the strikers. His troops killed some 80 workers and Communist organizers in what became known as the 7 February Incident. Teng was forced to flee the area.

In the late spring of 1923 Teng Chung-hsia went to Shanghai, where he became one of the founders of Shanghai University. Although Yü Yu-jen (q.v.) was its nominal head, it was controlled by such Communist instructors as Teng, Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai (q.v.), and Yun Tai-ying, Teng also became dean of the middle school attached to the university. During this period, he wrote articles on the problems of "the Chinese revolution." In 1924 Teng left Shanghai University to participate directly in the Communist-led labor movement in the city. He was a member of the committee that led the strike of some 40,000 workers in the Japaneseowned textile mills at Shanghai in February 1925, and he was arrested after skirmishes between the striking workers and the concession police. Because he was disguised as a worker, however, his identity was not discovered, and he soon was released.

At the second National Labor Congress, held at Canton in May 1925, Teng Chung-hsia was elected to the executive committee of the All-China Federation of Labor. He was still in Canton when the May Thirtieth Incident occurred in Shanghai. In June, Teng joined with Su Chao-cheng (q.v.) and Yang Yin in leading the Canton-Hong Kong general strike. Teng was the Chinese Communist party's representative on the strike committee. His strategy was to concentrate the propaganda attack on the British and to encourage all non- British vessels to bypass Hong Kong and land their cargoes at Canton. The objective was to isolate the British colony while neutralizing the Chinese business community at Canton. Be' cause no serious economic problems arose at Canton, this major anti-British strike lasted for more than a year. It finally was terminated because the National Government at Canton was anxious to concentrate its resources on preparations for the Northern Expedition. Teng Chung-hsia probably remained at Canton to direct Communist labor activities in that area when Su Chao-cheng became minister of labor in the National Government at Wuhan. After the Kuomintang-Communist split in 1927, Teng attended the secret emergency conference at Kiukiang on 7 August that was chaired by Ch'ü Ch'iu-pai. Teng had opposed the cautious assessment of Communist activity in the labor field made by Ch'en Tu-hsiu (q.v.) after the 7 February 1923 debacle, and it thus was logical that he should be invited to participate in this meeting, which ended Ch'en's authority as the party's general secretary. Soon after the conference, Teng became secretary of the party's Kiangsu provincial committee. When Chang T'ai-lei (q.v.) was killed in the Canton Commune of December 1927, Teng, because of his previous experience in south China, was transferred to Canton as secretary of the party's Kwangtung provincial committee. He was arrested and imprisoned, but he was released after three months because the authorities failed to discover his identity. He then went to Hong Kong, where he worked with Yün Tai-ying in editing Hung-ch'i-pao [red flag].

In 1928 a number of Communist leaders from south China, including Su Chao-cheng, Teng Chung-hsia, and Teng Fa (q.v.), went to the Soviet Union. When the Sixth National Congress of the Chinese Communist party was held at Moscow that summer, Teng Chunghsia was elected a delegate to the Sixth Congress of the Comintern and a delegate of the All-China Federation of Labor to the Fifth Congress of the Profintern. He was elected to the Profintern's executive committee.

Teng Chung-hsia returned to China in the summer of 1930 to become party representative in the western Hunan-Hupeh soviet area and political commissar of the Second Red Army, commanded by Ho Lung (q.v.). In 1932 he went to Shanghai to work in the Chinese Communist party underground, serving as director of the party's "mutual aid headquarters," to assist party cadres in distress. While helping to organize anti-Japanese activities in Shanghai, Teng was arrested by the French concession police on 15 May 1933. He was extradited to Nanking, where he was executed by National Government authorities. He was survived by his wife and by at least one child.

A number of Teng Chung-hsia's polemical articles were published in Chung-kuo ch'ing-nien [China youth], edited by Yün Tai-ying, in the early 1920's. As early as 1923 he openly criticized Ch'en Tu-hsiu, then the dominant figure in the Chinese Communist party. Teng's Chung-kuo chih-kung yün-tung chien-shih [short history of the Chinese labor movement], written when he was in Moscow and published there in 1930, came to be regarded by the Chinese Communists as a classic work. Teng Fa ffl %

Biography in Chinese

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