Chinese and foreign reporters revealed China’s war of resistance behind enemy lines

China Daily
Wang Xinjuan
2021-06-26 17:43:40

Editor's Note: To celebrate the 100th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of China, we are launching the "100 CPC Stories in 100 Days" series, featuring foreigners who witnessed and participated in the CPC's history and helped the world better understand the CPC. The following is the sixth story of the series.

In June 1944, Yan'an greeted a special group of guests — a team of 21 Chinese and foreign reporters visiting China's northwest. They included foreign correspondents Günther Stein, Israel Epstein, Harrison Forman, Maurice Votaw, Father Cormac Shanahan, as well as reporters from news agencies in the then Kuomintang-controlled areas. The isolated Yan'an, the mysterious CPC, and the little-known yet magnificent war of resistance against Japan behind enemy lines were unveiled to the world, through the eyes and writings of the reporters, in an objective and authentic manner.

Group photo of Mao Zedong (first row, fourth from left) and the northwest China visiting team of Chinese and foreign reporters in Yan'an in June 1944.

After the outbreak of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the Kuomintang (KMT) adopted a strict policy to block news coverage of Yan'an and the CPC's resistance against Japanese aggression. "Just what was happening behind the blockade? Were these Communists really as bad as they were painted by the Government authorities? Were they oppressing the people? Just what part do they, or can they, play in the war against Japan?" These questions were on the minds of foreign reporters. They believed that instead of relying merely on the KMT's side of the story, only by seeing with their own eyes and hearing with their own ears could they find the answers. Breaking various obstacles set by the Nanking Government, they eventually embarked on the journey.

The CPC Central Committee attached great importance to the visit of Chinese and foreign reporters. Zhou Enlai personally took charge of the reception. He instructed all departments to prepare materials for a comprehensive overview of their work, and get ready to answer any questions from the reporters. Questions that fall within the portfolio of each department must be clearly and seriously answered. Evasion or vagueness would not be accepted. Presenting detailed materials and specific facts was the only way to win others' trust. Zhou also pointed out to the Yan'an Communications Department, which was responsible for the reception, "publicity should stay true to facts. While presenting our achievements, it is also necessary to admit our mistakes and shortcomings, and explain our solutions to overcome them. Never exaggerate or cheat." "In addition, we must be sincere and candid, and make friends with the reporters," said Zhou. It was in such an open, upright, aboveboard and confident attitude that the Communists received the Chinese and foreign reporters.

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