In 1937, Chairman MAO attended the graduation ceremony of the University of Resistance and saw foreign journalists: Smoke a cigarette?

2022-05-08 0 By

James Betland, a foreign correspondent active in Our country during the Anti-Japanese War, was living in an empty guest room in the “Affairs Office” of the Frontier government.One day in 1937, he received an invitation to attend the graduation ceremony of the Anti-japanese Military and Political University.1, 000 cadets sit on the ground in front of a temple-style building draped in overlapping kuomintang and sickle and axe flags.”Welcome foreign friends of China!” read a white banner in English.He sat down on a wooden bench and was offered an enamel cup of tea.A tall man with a slightly stooped back stood up and offered him his hand.”Chairman MAO,” said the young political commissar for foreign affairs.”Want a cigarette?”MAO said, offering Bertrand a crumpled pack of “Old Dao” cigarettes, his preferred brand.He got a special allowance from the frontier government to keep him smoking.In the summer of 1937, Chairman MAO was not so thin, but there were still signs of the hardship of the Long March.His long hair, parted in the middle and falling to his ears, his gentle and unusual manner, his open coat, all made him more like an absent-minded scholar than a military or political ruler.When he stood up to address the cadets, he did not shout slogans, nor did he enumerate his arguments with “number one,” “number two,” or “number three.” It was not one of those laborious Chinese political speeches that seem like an old preacher’s sermon.He spoke with ease in a thick Hunan accent and used peasant humor and vulgarity in a vivid way — eliciting bursts of laughter from the audience when he made an unexpected joke.”Our task is to find out the weakness of the Japanese army in practice,” he told the students.Well, as long as we have brains and determination, we can defeat it little by little…..””Remember we should never take a piece of the farmer’s sweet potato.If you take one piece, you want more.This was the fault of the old Chinese army in the past.We must make the Eighth Route Army a model army: through our fighting, but also through our work among the common people.Bear in mind Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s will that the Chinese revolution has not yet succeeded, for not all the people have been aroused yet.Our task is to arouse them, because we are the revolutionary army of the people.”The reason is simple, the language is simple, a few jokes lighten the air, and then repeat the main points.This was MAO’s style of speaking to the masses, and it must have worked.His humor is mischievous, almost schoolboy.After the graduation ceremony, he had to sign a note from the co-dining hall.He also used the same brush to scribble on another bill, which was written in English, a promissory note correctly written at Wu liangping’s instructions: “Payable against this credit — Ten yuan in Chinese currency — 100 years later…..”Bertrand added his signature, and MAO carefully folded the paper and put it in the pocket of his coat.”If anyone had asked for the bill,” he said gravely to Betland, “the Exchequer would not have had the money to pay it — at Chinese interest rates!”In the weeks that followed, Bertrand conducted a series of interviews with MAO in his spacious cave home carved out of a loess cliff.The interviews were conducted at night, when he worked best.Leaning back in a folding deckchair, he read the steady stream of telegrams and radio messages from the front lines or army headquarters in southern Shanxi.He would scribble notes on each telegram, hand them to an assistant, and return to the long list of questions Betland had put to him in writing.His remarks were later published in his anthology, A Conversation with the English journalist Bertrand.(See Selected Works, Vol. 2).The talks, dated October 25, 1937, contain both insightful observations about the nature of the war up to this point and highly accurate predictions about how the war must be integrated into the wider world war until Japan’s eventual defeat.Ryan Bertrand said later recalled: here, from the first time I have with the peak in the power of personal contact, I can only say this: the only man I have ever seen has never been a farmer, he in the intelligence, the concentration of willpower, in far east of the entire political easy to master, impressed me so strongly.Finally, he paused for a moment and continued: MAO zedong’s thought was open to the international arena, and his response to the international situation was flexible.This was beyond the reach of a rigid feudal figure like Chiang Kai-shek.