Asian Studies
Online ISSN : 2188-2444
Print ISSN : 0044-9237
ISSN-L : 0044-9237
The Formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front in the Mountainous Rural Areas of North Manchuria and the Regional Society: Centering on the Relationship among Local Powerful Figures, Bandits and the Chinese Communist Party
Risheng GUAN
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2023 Volume 69 Issue 2 Pages 1-21


Anti-Japanese National United Front in Manchuria was an early practice of the Chinese Communist Party’s Anti-Japanese National United Front policy. After the implementation of this policy, the military strength of the Manchurian Communist Party expanded rapidly and established many Anti-Japanese bases in remote mountainous areas.

As for the Anti-Japanese National United Front in Manchuria, previous researches have mostly discussed the content or characteristics of this policy from the perspective of the Chinese Communist Party. However, few researches examine this policy’s implementation in rural areas from the perspective of regional society. Drawing on the South Manchurian Railway Company documents, county-level historical data and oral historical materials, this paper takes a specific mountain village in North Manchuria as a case to explore how the Chinese Communist Party cooperated with local powerful figures and bandits who held local power.

Through its detailed analysis, this paper proposes that, in the 1930s, the rapid expansion of the Chinese Communist Party in the mountainous rural areas of the North Manchuria was not only related to the change of the Party’s policy, but also to the power network of the Manchurian regional society and the change of economic conditions of rural areas. Firstly, in the mountainous rural areas of the North Manchuria in the 1930s, the dominance of local powerful figures over farmers was not based on land ownership or the kinship and geographical relations within the village, but on the control of horse-drawn carriage transportation as the economic ties of regional society. Through the control of this activity, local powerful figures and bandit forces formed a cooperative relationship and expanded their influences to the county. This is the social basis for the formation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front in Manchuria. Secondly, after the founding of Manchukuo, due to the influx of Japanese enterprises into the county, the profit of horse-drawn carriage transportation controlled by local powerful figures was greatly diminished. The damage to economic interests made local powerful figures actively respond to the policy of the Chinese Communist Party to make up for their losses. On the other hand, the Chinese Communist Party also used horse-drawn carriage transportation to obtain resources from rural areas. Especially after gradually acquiring the advantages in weaponry, the Chinese Communist Party successfully integrated other armed forces operating in the mountainous areas of North Manchuria.

In general, this paper shows the diversity of rural regional social networks, and provides a new case for revealing the complex interaction between the Chinese Communist Party and regional society.

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© 2023 Japan Association for Asian Studies
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