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FTR#1204 The Narco-Fascism of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang, Part 11

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FTR #1204 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

[6]Intro­duc­tion: Con­tin­u­ing our series on the regime of Chi­ang Kai-shek–all but beat­i­fied dur­ing the Cold War–we draw still more on a mag­nif­i­cent book–The Soong Dynasty [7] by Ster­ling Sea­grave. Although sad­ly out of print, the book is still avail­able through used book ser­vices, and we emphat­i­cal­ly encour­age lis­ten­ers to take advan­tage of those and obtain it.

(Mr. Emory gets no mon­ey from said pur­chas­es of the book.)

We begin with fur­ther dis­cus­sion of the influ­ence of Time Inc.–the Hen­ry Luce pub­lish­ing empire–on Amer­i­can per­cep­tions of Chi­ang Kai-shek’s regime. Theodore White, who wrote for Time mag­a­zine had this obser­va­tion on the jour­nal’s edi­to­r­i­al pol­i­cy: “ . . . . Theodore White post­ed the fol­low­ing sign in the shack that served as the Time office in Chungk­ing: ‘Any resem­blance to what is writ­ten here and what is print­ed in Time Mag­a­zine is pure­ly coin­ci­den­tal.’ This reflect­ed his increas­ing­ly pes­simistic atti­tude about his abil­i­ty, if not to change the course of China’s des­tiny, at least to keep the Amer­i­can pub­lic informed of the events as he and observers like [Gen­er­al Joseph] Stil­well, [State Depart­ment Offi­cer Jack] Ser­vice and [State Depart­ment offi­cial John Paton] Davies saw them . . . .”

When White lodged his com­plaints with Hen­ry Luce, the for­eign news edi­tor for Time was Whitak­er Cham­bers, best known as the accuser of Alger Hiss in the pro­ceed­ings which helped ele­vate Richard Nixon’s polit­i­cal career.

(In AFA#1 [8], we not­ed that Cham­bers dis­played a life-size por­trait of Adolf Hitler in his liv­ing room. In AFA#2 [9], we high­light­ed vehe­ment crit­i­cism of Cham­bers from a for­mer writer for Time, who spun sto­ries from reporters in the field to the far right, mak­ing sto­ries of the lib­er­a­tion of Euro­pean coun­tries by Allied sol­diers look like a creep­ing Com­mu­nist man­i­fes­ta­tion. The com­men­tary was in a let­ter protest­ing Ronald Rea­gan’s award­ing of a medal to Cham­bers. Rea­gan also ele­vat­ed Albert C. Wede­mey­er [10]to a posi­tion of spe­cial mil­i­tary advi­sor.)

Dur­ing the last year of the war, Chi­ang Kai-shek retreat­ed into a world of debauch­ery, Green Gang cama­raderie and ide­o­log­i­cal delu­sion. The deba­cle cre­at­ed by Chi­ang is embod­ied in the star­va­tion of his own army con­scripts and his refusal to believe accounts of what was tak­ing place: “ . . . . So total­ly removed from real­i­ty did Chi­ang become that he was struck with dis­be­lief one day by rumors that his own sol­diers were drop­ping dead of star­va­tion in the streets. Cor­rup­tion was keep­ing them from being fed the barest rations. He sent his eldest son, CCK, to inves­ti­gate. When CCK report­ed back that it was true, Chi­ang insist­ed on see­ing for him­self. CCK showed him army con­scripts who had died in their bedrolls because of neglect. . . . The star­va­tion deaths con­tin­ued. In August 1944, the corpses of 138 stared sol­diers were removed from the streets of Chungk­ing. Chi­ang did not come out again to see. . . .”

Key Points of Dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include: Cham­bers’ com­plete per­ver­sion of a sto­ry writ­ten by Theodore White about the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the removal of Gen­er­al Stil­well (dis­cussed in FTR#1203); T.V. Soong’s con­tin­ued pres­ence in Chi­na, the only mem­ber of the fam­i­ly to remain in the coun­try after a failed “palace coup” dis­cussed in FTR#1203 [11]; T.V.‘s effec­tive con­trol of Chi­ang Kai-shek’s pub­lic per­sona and state­ments; T.V.‘s use of his posi­tion as Pre­mier to manip­u­late the dis­po­si­tion of Amer­i­can aid to his own ben­e­fit.

The scale of the cor­rup­tion char­ac­ter­iz­ing Chiang’s regime and the Soong clan that con­tin­ued to con­trol it was enor­mous. In addi­tion to the pirat­ing of Amer­i­can Lend-Lease mate­r­i­al shipped to Chi­na by the Soong fam­i­ly, as well as Chi­ang and his gen­er­als (who sold much of what they did not keep for them­selves to the Japan­ese invaders), post war Unit­ed Nations Relief suf­fered a sim­i­lar dis­po­si­tion.

“ . . . . After T.V. [Soong] was named Pre­mier, he cre­at­ed a spe­cial agency, the Chi­nese Nation­al Relief and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Admin­is­tra­tion (CNRRA) to over­see the dis­tri­b­u­tion of UN relief goods. The deal he struck with the U.S. gov­ern­ment and the Unit­ed Nations was that UNRRA would relin­quish all title to sup­plies the moment the goods touched down on  any Chi­nese wharf. . . . The wharfs where most of these goods land­ed, the ware­hous­es where the goods were stored and the trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies that moved them (includ­ing Chi­na Mer­chants Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pa­ny) were owned by Big-eared Tu [Tu Yueh-sheng]. This was a sit­u­a­tion ready-made for abuse. . . .”

Like many oth­er for­eign regimes, as well as domes­tic ele­ments of the pow­er elite, the Chiang/Soong/Green Gang klep­toc­ra­cy used the fear of Com­mu­nism to bilk the U.S. out of vast sums: “ . . . . Chi­ang was using the fear of a Com­mu­nist takeover to obtain mil­lions from the Unit­ed States. Fear served him well. . . .”

Key Points of Dis­cus­sion and Analy­sis Include: The mon­u­men­tal rip-off of Chi­nese investors and finan­cial insti­tu­tions engi­neered by T.V. Soong with a scam launch­ing a gold-backed cur­ren­cy; the pan­ic that gripped Shang­hai and much of the rest of Chi­na as a result of the “gold yuan” scam; the gob­bling up of much of that wealth by the Soong and Kung fam­i­lies.

When Chi­ang made a woe­ful­ly belat­ed anti-cor­rup­tion drive—headed up by his son, CCK made the mis­take of arrest­ing David Kung (son of H.H. Kung and Ai-ling [Soong] and the nephew of Mme. Chi­ang Kai-shek [nee Mae-ling Soong]) and the M.I.T.-educated stock bro­ker son of Green Gang boss Tu Yueh-sheng: “ . . . . The son of Big-eared Tu, a grad­u­ate of the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, was tried and sen­tenced by CCK so fast that it was all over before any­one was dim­ly aware even that he had been arrest­ed. . . . He did not serve time, for that would have been press­ing his father a bit much. . . .”

Pre­sag­ing Hong Kong’s emer­gence as an aug­ment­ed epi­cen­ter of high-lev­el intrigue, Tu Yueh-sheng moved his assets there after the war: “ . . . . It was hard to con­cen­trate on reor­ga­niz­ing the old Shang­hai oper­a­tions when the reds were steam­rolling across Manchuria and mov­ing ever south­ward. Tu began shift­ing his assets to Hong Kong. . . .”

In the case of David Kung, Mme. Chi­ang inter­vened on his behalf and his Yangtze Devel­op­ment Corporation—a major focal point of corruption–moved to Flori­da: “ . . . . Pru­dent­ly, Mae ling hur­ried David onto a plane for Hong Kong, with con­tin­u­ing con­nec­tions to Flori­da. He was not to come back. Yangtze Devel­op­ment Corporation’s offices in Chi­na were closed down overnight and reopened in Mia­mi Beach. . . .”

Chi­ang then decamped to Tai­wan, where he sub­dued the island’s inhab­i­tants with char­ac­ter­is­tic bru­tal­i­ty: “ . . . . The island did not wel­come the KMT. It was dri­ven into sub­mis­sion by ter­ror. . . . Chi­ang forced Tai­wan to heel. There were mas­sacres; in the first, ten thou­sand Tai­wanese were slain by KMT troops in riots in down­town Taipei. Twen­ty thou­sand more were put to death before Chi­ang was firm­ly estab­lished. . . .”

1. We begin with fur­ther dis­cus­sion of the influ­ence of Time Inc.–the Hen­ry Luce pub­lish­ing empire–on Amer­i­can per­cep­tions of Chi­ang Kai-shek’s regime. Theodore White, who wrote for Time mag­a­zine had this obser­va­tion on the jour­nal’s edi­to­r­i­al pol­i­cy: “ . . . . Theodore White post­ed the fol­low­ing sign in the shack that served as the Time office in Chungk­ing: ‘Any resem­blance to what is writ­ten here and what is print­ed in Time Mag­a­zine is pure­ly coin­ci­den­tal.’ This reflect­ed his increas­ing­ly pes­simistic atti­tude about his abil­i­ty, if not to change the course of China’s des­tiny, at least to keep the Amer­i­can pub­lic informed of the events as he and observers like [Gen­er­al Joseph] Stil­well, [State Depart­ment Offi­cer Jack] Ser­vice and [State Depart­ment offi­cial John Paton] Davies saw them . . . .”

When White lodged his com­plaints with Hen­ry Luce, the for­eign news edi­tor for Time was Whitak­er Cham­bers, best known as the accuser of Alger Hiss in the pro­ceed­ings which helped ele­vate Richard Nixon’s polit­i­cal career.

(In AFA#1 [8], we not­ed that Cham­bers dis­played a life-size por­trait of Adolf Hitler in his liv­ing room. In AFA#2 [9], we high­light­ed vehe­ment crit­i­cism of Cham­bers from a for­mer writer for Time, who spun sto­ries from reporters in the field to the far right, mak­ing sto­ries of the lib­er­a­tion of Euro­pean coun­tries by Allied sol­diers look like a creep­ing Com­mu­nist man­i­fes­ta­tion. The com­men­tary was in a let­ter protest­ing Ronald Rea­gan’s award­ing of a medal to Cham­bers. Rea­gan also ele­vat­ed Albert C. Wede­mey­er [10]to a posi­tion of spe­cial mil­i­tary advi­sor.)

Dur­ing the last year of the war, Chi­ang Kai-shek retreat­ed into a world of debauch­ery, Green Gang cama­raderie and ide­o­log­i­cal delu­sion. The deba­cle cre­at­ed by Chi­ang is embod­ied in the star­va­tion of his own army con­scripts and his refusal to believe accounts of what was tak­ing place: “ . . . . So total­ly removed from real­i­ty did Chi­ang become that he was struck with dis­be­lief one day by rumors that his own sol­diers were drop­ping dead of star­va­tion in the streets. Cor­rup­tion was keep­ing them from being fed the barest rations. He sent his eldest son, CCK, to inves­ti­gate. When CCK report­ed back that it was true, Chi­ang insist­ed on see­ing for him­self. CCK showed him army con­scripts who had died in their bedrolls because of neglect. . . . The star­va­tion deaths con­tin­ued. In August 1944, the corpses of 138 stared sol­diers were removed from the streets of Chungk­ing. Chi­ang did not come out again to see. . . .”

Key Points of Dis­cus­sion and analy­sis include: Cham­bers’ com­plete per­ver­sion of a sto­ry writ­ten by Theodore White about the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the removal of Gen­er­al Stil­well (dis­cussed in FTR#1203 [11]); T.V. Soong’s con­tin­ued pres­ence in Chi­na, the only mem­ber of the fam­i­ly to remain in the coun­try after a failed “palace coup” dis­cussed in FTR#1203 [11]; T.V.‘s effec­tive con­trol of Chi­ang Kai-shek’s pub­lic per­sona and state­ments; T.V.‘s use of his posi­tion as Pre­mier to manip­u­late the dis­po­si­tion of Amer­i­can aid to his own ben­e­fit.

The Soong Dynasty by Ster­ling Sea­grave; Harp­er & Row 1985 [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Ster­ling Sea­grave; ISBN 0–06-015308–3; p. 417, pp. 418–420. [7]

2. The scale of the cor­rup­tion char­ac­ter­iz­ing Chiang’s regime and the Soong clan that con­tin­ued to con­trol it was enor­mous. In addi­tion to the pirat­ing of Amer­i­can Lend-Lease mate­r­i­al shipped to Chi­na by the Soong fam­i­ly, as well as Chi­ang and his gen­er­als (who sold much of what they did not keep for them­selves to the Japan­ese invaders), post war Unit­ed Nations Relief suf­fered a sim­i­lar dis­po­si­tion.

“ . . . . After T.V. [Soong] was named Pre­mier, he cre­at­ed a spe­cial agency, the Chi­nese Nation­al Relief and Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Admin­is­tra­tion (CNRRA) to over­see the dis­tri­b­u­tion of UN relief goods. The deal he struck with the U.S. gov­ern­ment and the Unit­ed Nations was that UNRRA would relin­quish all title to sup­plies the moment the goods touched down on  any Chi­nese wharf. . . . The wharfs where most of these goods land­ed, the ware­hous­es where the goods were stored and the trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies that moved them (includ­ing Chi­na Mer­chants Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pa­ny) were owned by Big-eared Tu [Tu Yueh-sheng]. This was a sit­u­a­tion ready-made for abuse. . . .”

Like many oth­er for­eign regimes, as well as domes­tic ele­ments of the pow­er elite, the Chiang/Soong/Green Gang klep­toc­ra­cy used the fear of Com­mu­nism to bilk the U.S. out of vast sums: “ . . . . Chi­ang was using the fear of a Com­mu­nist takeover to obtain mil­lions from the Unit­ed States. Fear served him well. . . .”

Key Points of Dis­cus­sion and Analy­sis Include: The mon­u­men­tal rip-off of Chi­nese investors and finan­cial insti­tu­tions engi­neered by T.V. Soong with a scam launch­ing a gold-backed cur­ren­cy; the pan­ic that gripped Shang­hai and much of the rest of Chi­na as a result of the “gold yuan” scam; the gob­bling up of much of that wealth by the Soong and Kung fam­i­lies.

The Soong Dynasty by Ster­ling Sea­grave; Harp­er & Row 1985 [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Ster­ling Sea­grave; ISBN 0–06-015308–3; pp. 424–427. [12]

3. When Chi­ang made a woe­ful­ly belat­ed anti-cor­rup­tion drive—headed up by his son, CCK made the mis­take of arrest­ing David Kung (son of H.H. Kung and Ai-ling [Soong] and the nephew of Mme. Chi­ang Kai-shek [nee Mae-ling Soong]) and the M.I.T.-educated stock bro­ker son of Green Gang boss Tu Yueh-sheng: “ . . . . The son of Big-eared Tu, a grad­u­ate of the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, was tried and sen­tenced by CCK so fast that it was all over before any­one was dim­ly aware even that he had been arrest­ed. . . . He did not serve time, for that would have been press­ing his father a bit much. . . .”

Pre­sag­ing Hong Kong’s emer­gence as an aug­ment­ed epi­cen­ter of high-lev­el intrigue, Tu Yueh-sheng moved his assets there after the war: “ . . . . It was hard to con­cen­trate on reor­ga­niz­ing the old Shang­hai oper­a­tions when the reds were steam­rolling across Manchuria and mov­ing ever south­ward. Tu began shift­ing his assets to Hong Kong. . . .”

In the case of David Kung, Mme. Chi­ang inter­vened on his behalf and his Yangtze Devel­op­ment Corporation—a major focal point of corruption–moved to Flori­da: “ . . . . Pru­dent­ly, Mae ling hur­ried David onto a plane for Hong Kong, with con­tin­u­ing con­nec­tions to Flori­da. He was not to come back. Yangtze Devel­op­ment Corporation’s offices in Chi­na were closed down overnight and reopened in Mia­mi Beach. . . .”

The Soong Dynasty by Ster­ling Sea­grave; Harp­er & Row 1985 [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Ster­ling Sea­grave; ISBN 0–06-015308–3; p. 428. [7]

4. Before flee­ing main­land Chi­na for Tai­wan in the face of the tri­umphant Chi­nese Com­mu­nists, Chi­ang engi­neered the theft of the remain­ing gold in the Bank of China—gold that was the prop­er­ty of pri­vate investors. This was after the enor­mous scam launched with the “gold yuan.” To engi­neer the heist, Chi­ang used Tu Yueh-sheng’s Green Gang cadre and per­son­nel from the KMT navy.

“ . . . . Chiang’s real rea­son for com­ing to town was to get Big-eared Tu and the Green Gang to help him rob the Bank of Chi­na. He want­ed the mon­ey bad­ly. He had no inten­tion of flee­ing to Tai­wan with­out it. . . . What gold there was left in Chi­na was pri­vate gold still in this bank. . . . Chiang’s plan for the Bank of Chi­na had been laid with con­sid­er­able care. A dingy freighter was tied up on the Bund, oppo­site the Cathay Hotel. Its coolie crew . . . . were hand-picked naval rat­ings in dis­guise. Sev­er­al exec­u­tives of the Bank of Chi­na had been giv­en large bribes and a promise of pas­sage to safe­ty on the wait­ing freighter. . . . With this, Tu Yueh-sheng had pulled his last heist. . . .”

The Soong Dynasty by Ster­ling Sea­grave; Harp­er & Row 1985 [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Ster­ling Sea­grave; ISBN 0–06-015308–3; pp. 439–441. [12]

5. Chi­ang then decamped to Tai­wan, where he sub­dued the island’s inhab­i­tants with char­ac­ter­is­tic bru­tal­i­ty: “ . . . . The island did not wel­come the KMT. It was dri­ven into sub­mis­sion by ter­ror. . . . Chi­ang forced Tai­wan to heel. There were mas­sacres; in the first, ten thou­sand Tai­wanese were slain by KMT troops in riots in down­town Taipei. Twen­ty thou­sand more were put to death before Chi­ang was firm­ly estab­lished. . . .”

The Soong Dynasty by Ster­ling Sea­grave; Harp­er & Row 1985 [HC]; Copy­right 1985 by Ster­ling Sea­grave; ISBN 0–06-015308–3; p. 442. [7]