Zhu Xuefan

Name in Chinese
Name in Wade-Giles
Chu Hsueh-fan
Related People

Biography in English

Chu Hsueh-fan (5 October 1 901—), labor leader. Chairman of the Kuomintang-sponsored General Labor Union in 1928, he later headed the Chinese Association of Labor and often represented China at international labor meetings. He started cooperating with the Chinese Communists in early 1948, and in 1949 he became minister of posts and telegraphs at Peking! Born in Shanghai, Chu Hsueh-fan was the youngest ofseven children. His native place was Chiashan, Chekiang. His mother died when he was 3, and his father, the owner of a small department store in Shanghai, died when Chu was 8. Despite the loss of his parents, Chu was able to continue his schooling with the assistance of his eldest brother, Chu Hsueh-mo. Later, he entered the St. Francis Academy in Shanghai, where he learned English. After graduation, he became a clerk for a Western company in Shanghai.

In 1923 Chu took the examination for entrance into the Chinese government postal service. He passed it with distinction and became a junior postal clerk in Shanghai. He enrolled in the evening classes at Shanghai Law College, where he was a student of the well-known Shanghai lawyer Shen Chün-ju (q.v.).

Chu was promoted to second-class postal officer in 1926. One of his colleagues was Lu Chingshih (1908-), who had been one of his classmates at Shanghai Law College. The two young men began organizing their fellow workers into the Shanghai Postal Workers Union. Chu became general secretary. In 1927 they expanded the union to become the All-China Postal Workers Union, with Lu Ching-shih as managing director of the national organization. In organizing the Postal Workers Union, Chu Hsueh-fan and Lu Ching-shih at first were encouraged by the Kuomintang, which was preparing for the Northern Expedition and hoped to utilize the strength of organized labor to help the Nationalists take over Shanghai. At this time Chu joined the Ch'ing-pang [green gang], a secret society which in the spring and summer of 1927 helped Chiang Kai-shek win control of Shanghai. Chu and seven of his close associates at the Shanghai post office, known as "The Eight Sworn Brothers," became disciples of Tu Yüeh-sheng (q.v.), the influential Ch'ingpang leader in Shanghai. With the support of Tu Yüeh-sheng, Chu in 1928 became chairman of the Kuomintang-sponsored Shanghai General Labor Union. He then organized the China Association of Labor and became its first chairman. He also formed the Yi-she, an organization which combined some of the elements of the traditional Chinese secret society with those of the Western social club. The Yi-she was composed mainly of postal clerks, other urban workers, and small merchants. It functioned in later years as Chu Hsueh-fan's pressure group, helping to extend and consolidate his influence in the labor field.

Because of his growing prominence and the role of the China Association of Labor as the principal non-Communist labor organization in China, Chu went abroad several times between 1936 and 1938 to represent Chinese workers at conferences of the International Labour Organisation at Geneva. He also visited France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and England to observe labor conditions and to establish direct contact with labor organizations and leaders in those countries. Chu Hsueh-fan continued to be closely associated with Lu Ching-shih in directing the affairs of the All-China Postal Workers Union and the China Association of Labor. In 1937, just after the Japanese attack on Shanghai, the two men were assigned by the Military Affairs Commission of the National Government to direct special units in an attempt to inhibit the activities of the invading Japanese. After the Japanese military forces completed their occupation of Shanghai, Chu left on a French ship for Hong Kong. From there he went to Hankow and, later, to Chungking, the wartime capital of the National Government. In the spring of 1940, Wu K'ai-hsien, the deputy director of the organization department of the Kuomintang, sent Chu Hsueh-fan and Tu Kang (Tu Shao-wen) to Ningpo, Chekiang, to organize a special training class for covert agents to be sent to Shanghai. When that task was completed the following winter, Chu returned to Chungking. He then was sent to Hong Kong to direct Chinese undercover activities there. In recognition of his achievements, Wu K'ai-hsien recommended Chu for a seat in the Legislative Yuan of the National Government at Chungking.

Chu went to the United States in 1939 and talked with American labor leaders. In November 1941 he attended the special conference of the International Labour Organisation in New York. He was elected to its governing body. During his second sojourn in the United States, he took a course in labor law at the Harvard Law School in the spring of 1942. He then was sent to London as the Chinese delegate to the Joint Maritime Commission. Late in 1942 he returned to China and formed the China Labor Welfare Society. From 1942 to 1946 he was chairman of the board of custody of the American Labor Fund for Aid to China, and adviser to the ministry of social affairs of the National Government.

Chu Hsueh-fan went to the United States in 1944 to attend an International Labour Organisation conference in Philadelphia. The next year he was in London for the meeting of the governing body. Chu remained in Europe to participate in preparatory meetings for the establishment of the World Federation of Trade Unions. In September-October 1945 he and Teng Fa (q.v.), a delegate from the Communist areas, represented Chinese labor at the Paris conference of the federation, and both men were elected to the executive committee. Chu attended the executive committee meeting held in Moscow later that year.

During the later years of the Sino-Japanese war, Chu resided in Chungking. He found Kuomintang rule to be oppressive and became increasingly sympathetic to the Chinese Communist cause. His political outlook was influenced by Shen Chün-ju, his teacher at Shanghai Law College, and by Yi Li-jung, a former Communist who had become the secretary of the China Association of Labor. His dissatisfaction with the Nationalists increased when Kuomintang secret police in Chungking brutally beat a number of alleged Communist sympathizers, many of them members of the China Association of Labor. In turn, the National Government became dissatisfied with Chu's leadership in the association. When he returned to Shanghai after the Japanese surrender he was asked to make a public anti- Communist declaration to confirm his loyalty to the Kuomintang. He refused to make such a declaration and fled to Hong Kong. Chu's trips to Shanghai after this time were made secretly.

When Chu Hsueh-fan was in Hong Kong in 1947, a car struck his ricksha and injured him. The incident, though possibly an accident, strengthened his suspicion that he was under surveillance by the Kuomintang security authorities and that his life was in danger. As soon as he was released from the hospital, he left for Switzerland. He returned to the Far East early in 1948 and went to northern Manchuria, which was then under Chinese Communist control. There, in a statement made at Harbin, he declared his intention to cooperate with the Communists in establishing a new government in China.

When the Communist-sponsored All-China Federation of Trade Unions held its sixth congress at Harbin in August 1948, Chu Hsueh-fan was the highest-ranking non-Communist elected to senior office in the organization. He was elected second vice chairman, ranking just below Ch'en Yün and Li Li-san (qq.v.). Later in 1948, Chu returned secretly to Hong Kong. There, in cooperation with Li Chi-shen, Li Te-ch'üan (qq.v.), and others, he helped to form the Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee, a separatist group organized by Kuomintang dissidents who opposed the authority of Chiang Kai-shek and who planned to cooperate with the Chinese Communists. Chu became a member of its central committee and head of its organization department. He then went to north China, where he served as chairman of the preparatory committee for the Communist sponsored Postal and Telecommunications Workers Union. When that union was organized, he became a member of its national committee.

In September 1949 Chu Hsueh-fan was a member of the group representing the All-China Federation of Trade Unions at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. When the Central People's Government was established at Peking in October 1949, Chu became its first minister of posts and telecommunications. In addition to his government office, Chu continued after 1948 to hold senior positions in the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. In May 1953, when the federation held its seventh national congress, he became the senior-ranking vice chairman. During the late 1940's and the 1950's Chu attended many meetings of the World Federation of Trade Unions at Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Sofia, Leipzig, and other cities. In 1958 he led a delegation from the ministry of posts and telecommunications to the Soviet Union. Chu was also a deputy, representing Shantung province, to the National People's Congress at Peking. About 1924 Chu Hsueh-fan married the daughter of a merchant family named Hua from the Ningpo district of Chekiang. Four sons and one daughter were born of the marriage.

Biography in Chinese


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