V. The rectificationcampaign of the communist party in YanAn
Besides the 8throute army, the new 4th army was also under the control ofthe communist party. The new 4th army had their positionin the southern Anhui province. So the communist party had two armiesof their own, one in the northwest and the other in the southeast.Mao always hated Chiang and had once a plan to attack Chiang frombehind with 150,000 strong. But the plan aborted when theInternational Communist objected to it. In 1941, an incident happenedbetween the new 4th army and the 32nd militarybloc of the national government.
On the night of the 4thday in January, 1941, 9,000 of the new 4th army under thecommand of Xiang Yin maneuvered from the southern Anhui province tothe north of the Yangtze River through the southern Jiangsu province,without notifying the national government. The national 32ndbloc thought that the new 4th army would steal an attackon their 40th division, and on the 6th day,they surrounded it and assailed it. For several times, Xiang Yintelegrammed YanAn, but Mao never made an answer or gave aninstruction what to do. On the 10th day, the new 4tharmy telegrammed Mao again. On the 12th day, Mao askedZhou Enlai to make protest to the national government and request thewithdrawal of their army. So next day, Zhou protested to the nationalgovernment. The fight already continued for seven days. Of the 9,000,only 2,000 escaped.
After the incident, Maothought that the Chinese communist party must not be influenced bythe International Communist any more. They should make any decisionson their own. Therefore, the communist party launched a rectificationcampaign, which was thought to begin in May of 1941 when Mao made aspeech “Reform our studies.” In June, the propaganda departmentof the central committee of the communist party issued a document“Instruction concerning how to wage the campaign of the studies andthe rectification within the whole party.” But the campaignactually started in February, 1942, when Mao made another speech,“Rectify our style of work,” and it ended when a bill was passedin a session of the central committee of the communist party, “Theresolution about some historical problems,” in April, 1945.
However, what reallyhappened in the rectification campaign was that everyone must makesome kind of confession what they had in mind to show loyalty to theparty. Many people who came to YanAn from the regions under thenational government were suspected to be the spies of the nationalparty. Many of those were forced to confess that they were spies sentby the national party. If they wanted to be punished less severely,they should expose who else were spies. Mao hinted that to gain thispurpose, some torments were a-must. The most used method was not tolet the one being cross-questioned have sleep. It was calledfatigue-torture. Another method was to let those suspects watchsomeone being shot to make psychological pressure on them.
In April, 1943 only,several thousand people were put under custody. Some were locked upin caves. Some were just confined in their work places—theequivalent prisons, they called them. As there were not enoughjailers to watch over the prisoners. Their colleagues assumed thetask as jailers. This was a clever invention of Mao. To show theirloyalty to the party, the colleagues would do their duties faithfullyto watch over the prisoners. No one could escape under theirvigilance. About thousand people died. Some made suicide. To them itwas not a political movement, but terrorism. Many people, who came toYanAn in hopes to fight Japan, died in the hands of their owncomrades.
On the 15thday of August, 1943, Mao said that in such campaigns, it wasunavoidable to make some errors like torturing. It could not be tooearly to correct the errors. If it was done too early, there would beno objects for the targets and would hinder the development of thecampaign. If the errors were corrected too late, it would hurtpeople's feelings and have too much loss. So the principle was towatch the campaign closely, calculating accurately, and stop it atthe right time.
Towards the days Japanwould likely fail in the war, Mao liberated the rest of the prisonerswho luckily survived and who, in Mao's calculation, would be sent tofight Chiang Kai-shek after the victory. To assuage their enmity, Maoapologized several times, saying that the aim of the rectificationcampaign was to let those have a political bath to wash off the dustthey carried from the regions under Chiang's government, but too muchpotassium permanganate was used, which had hurt the tender skin ofthe new comers. He added that if a son was beaten by the father, heshould not hate his father.