Brief History: The Deception of the Century: 1936~1937 (Xi’an Incident)

  • Editor: 文顺
  • Author: 一颗星星
  • Translator: Ranting

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According to the history of the Chinese Communist Party:

On December 12, 1936, the KMT Northeast Army led by Zhang Xueliang and the KMT 17th Route Army led by Yang Hucheng were forced to detain Chiang Kai-shek in Xi’an for the purpose of stopping the civil war and uniting against Japan, after repeatedly admonishing Chiang Kai-shek and being rebuked instead. The CCP Central Committee correctly analyzed the intricate political situation at that time and, after repeated studies, determined the policy of peaceful settlement and sent Zhou Enlai, Qin Bangxian, Ye Jianying and others to Xi’an to participate in the negotiations. Chiang Kai-shek was forced to accept the terms of the alliance with the CCP against Japan on the 24th. Subsequently, Zhang Xueliang sent Chiang Kai-shek back to Nanjing, where he was imprisoned by Chiang. The peaceful resolution of the Xi’an Incident played a major role in promoting the re-cooperation between the CCP and the Kuomintang to unite against Japan, and became a turning point in the transition from a domestic war to a national war against Japan.

The above is the record of the “Xi’an Incident” in the history of the Chinese Communist Party. But what about the real history, which is completely different from the heroically (despicable) and righteous (shameless) account in the history of the Chinese Communist Party?

Zhang Xueliang:

Zhang Xueliang, known as “Young Marshal”, was known as “a famous patriotic general in modern China” in the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party, and in the various propaganda that could be seen in China, Zhang always appeared in a positive image. The real Zhang Xueliang, however, was a womanizer who spent his days drinking, watching theater, taking drugs, and sleeping around with women.

Born into an imperial family, Zhang Xueliang completely rewrote the history of China three times.

In December 1928, after the Huanggutun Incident, Zhang Xueliang “changed the banner of the Northeast”, marking the end of the Northern Expedition of the National Revolutionary Army and the formal unification of China by the National Government; in September 1930, Zhang Xueliang “coincidental telegram” supported Chiang and was rejected after “armed mediation”, which completely ended the “Central Plains War” between Chiang and Yan Xishan, Feng Yuxiang and other warlords, saving Chiang Kai-shek who was in danger and allowing Chiang to completely unify China; the third time is the “Xi’an Incident” that shocked China and abroad.

In 1930, after Zhang Xueliang’s “coincidental telegram” in support of Chiang, Chiang greeted Zhang with the highest courtesy on his arrival in Nanjing and tied the knot with him as brothers with different surnames at Zhongshan Tomb. In addition, Chiang Kai-shek promised Zhang Xueliang deputy commander of the army, navy and air force of the Republic of China, and all eight provinces and three cities north of the Yellow River were placed under Zhang Xueliang’s jurisdiction, making Zhang Xueliang the substantial deputy commander of the country. In this year, Zhang Xueliang can be said to be flattened, straight to the top of life.

However, just a year later, the September 18 Incident broke out and Zhang Xueliang ordered the Northeast Army not to resist, causing the Northeast to fall into the hands of the Japanese and being spurned by the whole country. (The “non-resistance policy” mentioned in the previous article, which was propagated by the Chinese Communist Party, is an outright lie. In a later interview, Zhang Xueliang himself admitted that the central government had never given him the order of “non-resistance”, and that the order of “non-resistance” was given to the Northeast Army by Zhang himself.) Subsequently, in the face of continuous Japanese attacks from the northeast, Zhang Xueliang not only refused to send troops, but also kept bargaining with the central government on military expenses and supplies. At the same time, the “deputy commander-in-chief” also showed extreme military incompetence, in the Battle of Jehol even ran away with the northeastern army on the grounds of preserving strength. The Jehol province fell into the hands of the Japanese. After the Battle of Jehol, Zhang Xueliang then went out of the country and ran to Europe for a vacation (drug rehabilitation) after throwing down a bunch of messes …

In September 1935, Chiang established the “Northwest General Command for the Suppression of Bandits” in Xi’an, and the Northeast Army was transferred to the Northwest, with Zhang Xueliang as the Vice Commander-in-Chief of the Northwest General Command for the Suppression of Bandits.

In just a few years, Zhang Xueliang, with his frivolous and incompetent performance, fell from the highly regarded “vice commander” to the “deputy commander of the suppression”, and his series of actions were also spurned by the whole nation. Young master Zhang’s splendid life fell to its lowest ebb during this period.

Xi’an Incident:

At the same time when Zhang Xueliang was at the lowest point of his life, the Chinese Communist Party, with the end of the “Long March”, was also living in Baoan County in northern Shaanxi Province (now Zhidan County in Shaanxi Province). The Chinese Communist Party living in Baoan County with 20,000 to 30,000 people (including their families) had no money and no supplies, and was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Kuomintang troops, and was at the point where their lives were hanging by a thread.

At the same time, as the world situation changed, the Communist International was facing the rise of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in Europe and the rise of militaristic Japan in Asia. In 1935, the Comintern urged communist parties in various countries to form alliances with anti-fascist groups. As for the CCP, this strategy of the Communist International urging the formation of a united front was just what was needed to effectively ease the Nationalist government’s siege of the CCP.

Since 1936, the Chinese Communist Party has been propagating and advocating the formation of the “Great Anti-Japanese Alliance” in China. Some persuasive slogans such as “Chinese people don’t fight Chinese people” and “Make war on Japan immediately and stop the suppression of the CCP” were widely circulated in China, and these slogans aroused strong reactions among the patriotic youth. (To this day, it seems to be a tried-and-true “winning weapon” of the CCP to achieve unknown conspiracies under the cover of public opinion through extensive media propaganda and the use of slogans to mobilize the public.)

However, Chiang Kai-shek and his Nanjing government, who had experienced the infiltration of the CCP and the continuous civil strife, fully realized the insidiousness and ambition of the CCP and did not give up the strategy of “to steal the outside world, we must first secure the inside”. With the CCP fleeing and landing in the isolated lands of northern Shaanxi, Chiang was eager to destroy them once and for all. Chiang then sent Zhang Xueliang to lead the Northeast Army and the Northwest Army led by Yang Hucheng to launch an attack on the CCP’s base.

However, the Northeast Army, once the strongest military force in China (the Feng Army was the best in the country in terms of technology and equipment), turned into a “wimp” in the hands of Zhang Xueliang. In the initial battle with the Chinese Red Army, several regiments were knocked out by the Red Army. In October 1935, the 15th Red Army Corps attacked Yulin Bridge at night and wiped out four battalions of the 107th Division of the Northeast Army, capturing the commander Gao Fuyuan alive. After being captured, Gao Fuyuan was successfully turned back by the Chinese Communist Party. With the help of Gao Fuyuan, the Chinese Communist Party established contact with Zhang Xueliang.

In the process of contacting Zhang, the CCP made a “proposal” to Zhang Xueliang on the condition that the Communist International would give great assistance after the “international channel” was opened: to jointly form the Northwest Anti-Japanese Allied Army, with Zhang Xueliang as the commander-in-chief; to establish a Northwest Government with Zhang Xueliang as the chairman after receiving sufficient support (assistance) from the Communist International (in essence, Zhang Xueliang would revolt and establish a new government in the Northwest that would be separate from Nanking). At the lowest point of his life, Zhang Xueliang finally agreed to the “proposal” (temptation) of the Chinese Communist Party and hooked up with them. Subsequently, Zhang Xueliang showed his generous nature, give money and supplies to the Chinese Communist Party.

On December 3, 1936, Chiang Kai-shek, who knew nothing about this, flew to Xi’an and urged Zhang and Yang to strengthen the siege. On December 12, Zhang Xueliang launched a mutiny and Chiang Kai-shek was imprisoned. On December 14, the Northeast Army, the Northwest Army and the Chinese Communist Army formed the Military Committee of the Anti-Japanese Allied Forces, with Zhang Xueliang as the chairman of the Military Committee.

The Xi’an Incident shocked China and abroad. The rightist generals of the Kuomintang immediately flew to Xi’an, and the main forces of the Central Army and the Air Force separately advanced to Xi’an, and China was once again on the brink of civil war. All media, intellectuals, etc. in the country without exception began to denounce Zhang Xueliang.

(To better restore the situation at that time, a few excerpts from the original text of “Zhang Guotao: My Memories”:

“At noon on December 12, 1936, in the kiln where Mao Zedong was staying, we read an urgent telegram from Zhang Xueliang, the content of which was roughly: he had made a painful statement to Chiang about the idea of stopping the suppression of the CCP and uniting against Japan, but Chiang refused to do so. He had no choice but to implement military advice, has Chiang and his close entourage properly guarded to urge them to accept the anti-Japanese ideas, to achieve the purpose. The telegram also said that a plane would be sent to fly to Yan’an to meet the representatives of the CCP, such as Zhou Enlai, to come to Xi’an to discuss major plans, and that he and Yang Hucheng’s troops were assembled at the Xi’an-Tongguan line, hoping that the Red Army would advance to Yan’an and the south area of it, in order to prevent unpredictability.

We were all greatly excited by this unexpected telegram. Some said, “Even Chiang Kai-shek has his day!” Some of them said, “Zhang Xueliang did do a good job!”

Zhu De, who usually holds a moderate opinion and does not make many comments, preemptively said, “What else is there to say now, let’s kill those guys first.” By this time Zhou Enlai, who had returned to Baoan for a few days, was calmer and said, “This matter cannot be left entirely to our discretion, but depends mainly on the attitude of Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng.”

Mao, who had been laughing maniacally there, also went on to say, “In this matter, we should stand back and let Zhang&Yang take the lead.” I was excited but said calmly, “We might as well speculate on what Moscow will think of this.” Zhang Wentian, Qin Bangxian, Wang Jiaxiang and others said they should telegram Moscow for instructions. So we continued to talk and prepare for Zhou Enlai’s trip to Xi’an while drafting a telegram to Moscow.”)

As a result of our discussions, we decided on the following points: First, call Zhang Xueliang to express approval and promise to listen to his orders in the future; Second, send Zhou Enlai, Qin Bangxian, Ye Jianying three people as representatives to fly to Xi’an via Yan’an; Third, call Peng Dehuai, etc. to lead their troops to Yan’an and the south area of the advance, and along the way to liaise closely with friendly troops; Fourth, call the liaison staff in Xi’an, except for some specific views on the anti-Japanese declaration, all wait until Zhou Enlai arrived to discuss; Fifth, Zhou Enlai, etc. in Xi’an should also wait for a return telegram from Moscow before making a specific statement.


Zhang Xueliang’s call was rather hesitant about how to deal with Chiang’s problem; he was also quite concerned about the military pressure from Nanking. Mao Zedong was concentrating on drafting a reply telegram, either honoring Zhang Xueliang as the “national anti-Japanese leader” or praising him for “spinning the world with a single move of his hand”. He said in his message about closely guard Chiang, there is this paragraph: “I thought carefully, he is difficult to escape; but I am afraid that there is an eventuality ……” and this paragraph about punish Chiang: “As in your call said, Chiang is indeed a traitor dictator, should be responsible for the national law, I strongly agree that the people should be publicly tried ……”)

This “happy news” was interrupted when the CCP called Moscow to ask the Comintern for instructions on what to do next. When the Communist International learned this news, Stalin immediately realized that only Chiang was the real leader of China’s resistance to Japan, and that only his presence could better lead China’s resistance to Japan and hold Japan in China, thus avoiding a situation in which Germany and Japan would attack Soviet Russia on both sides.

Immediately afterwards, Moscow called the Chinese Communist Party and said through TASS that the “Xi’an Incident” was a Japanese conspiracy and that Japanese spies were hiding around Zhang Xueliang and his troops, using his ambition to create chaos in China. The Soviet Union would never be exploited by such a conspiracy, much less give any support, and explicitly ordered the CCP to strive for a peaceful resolution of the Xi’an Incident.

The CCP sent Zhou Enlai as its representative to politely tell Zhang Xueliang that Moscow would not give assistance. Zhang Xueliang showed extreme indignation. However, under the persuasion of Zhou’s words, Zhang gradually regained his calm, but there is nothing to do. In the end, Zhang Xueliang decided to use the “Northwest Anti-Japanese Allied Army” to fight against the overwhelming Central Army by force. At this point, the Chinese Communist Party “changed its mind”, distanced itself from Zhang Xueliang, and proposed to suspend the establishment of the Northwest Government. This is when naive Zhang Xueliang, who was in a hurry, actually sent a telegram to Yan Xishan to seek support, and after being severely rejected by Yan Xishan, Zhang Xueliang was completely desperate. At this time, the eloquent Zhou Enlai then moved from behind the scenes to the front of the stage to “mediate”, and the attitude of the Chinese Communist Party changed overnight from “anti-Chiang anti-Japanese” to “joint Chiang anti-Japanese”. The triangular alliance of “Zhang, Yang and the CCP” was completely disintegrated, and the CCP became the mediator of the peaceful settlement of the Xi’an Incident.

Under the mediation of Zhou Enlai, Zhang Xueliang eventually agreed to settle the Xi’an Incident by peaceful means.

On December 25, 1931, Chiang boarded a plane to return to Nanking. Zhang Xueliang also volunteered and insisted on accompanying Chiang to fly back to Nanking to “apologize for his sins”.

Before Zhang Xueliang left Xi’an, he told the Northeast Army to withdraw from Yan’an, giving it to the Chinese Communist Party. And when it left, it did not make any deployment and arrangement for his Northeast Army, which was left without a head and Xi’an was in chaos. In the end, the “Northeast Army”, which was created by Marshal Zhang Zuolin and had the strongest military power in China, collapsed after Zhang Xueliang left.

Eventually, Chiang kept his promise and allowed the Chinese Communist Party to join the war and stopped the suppression of the CCP. And Zhang Xueliang was pardoned by Chiang and did not lose his life, but in the decades that followed Zhang lived under house arrest.

This is the true history of the “Xi’an Incident”.

Author’s view:

If the path of human history “inevitably” leads to democracy and freedom, then the Xi’an Incident is an “accident” on this “inevitable” path of history. The Xi’an Incident of December 1936 changed the history of China and, to some extent, the history of the world.

Throughout his life, Zhang Xueliang, as the “first rich generation” and the “first official generation” of the Republic of China, was arrogant and arrogant, living an extravagant and lavish life, within a few years after Zhang Zuolin’s death, he lost his father’s “territory”, and soon after that, he lost his father’s hard-earned “family fortune”, which undoubtedly proved that he was a standard “loser”. But history gave him the opportunity to “rule the country” and “make a name for himself in history”, but his ignorance and incompetence made him miss these opportunities and eventually made him a deluded and sycophant in history.

Zhang Xueliang rewrote the history of China three times. The “Northeast Banner Change” and the “coincidental telegram” in support of Chiang ended the civil war of the warlords and contributed to the unification of China, and he was indeed a “minister of merit” of China in that period. In the third “Xi’an Incident”, he betrayed Chiang, who had promised him half of the country, and saved the Chinese Communist Party, whose life was hanging by a thread. From the perspective of the development of history to today, he is undoubtedly the sinner of history.

The Xi’an Incident saved the CCP, and the CCP’s role in the Xi’an Incident is something they are reluctant to reveal to the world. “Take the advantage to trick ‘Zhang&Yang’ to rebel, after the ‘Russian father’ issued a statement, hide behind the agitation to kill Chiang, after the situation cannot be controlled, then leapt to the front to be a ‘peacemaker’, its sinister and cunning, double-dealing nature is fully revealed!!!” This is the role of the Chinese Communist Party in this period of history.

This is the truth of this history ……

Next issue: 1937~1945: The Chinese Communist Party in the War of Resistance

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