|Home > East Asia >
History Rewind: Red China and North Korea
Friends or Foes?
Kang Sang Ik
The Yang Bin affair reminds the world of the 'brotherly' treatment Mao Zedong and his cohorts have been dishing out to their North Korean "brothers." Over one hundred thousand Korean revolutionaries died fighting for Mao's revolution and in return, Mao had tens of thousands of the surviving Koreans executed.
General Mu Jong, the ranking Korean officer in Mao's army during the Long March states in his memoirs that Mao sent Koreans preferentially on suicide missions. By the time Mao crossed the Yellow River, Mu Jong was the only Korean officer still alive and all others, several hundreds strong when the March began, had been wasted away.
Korean cadets and instructors of the Whampao Military Academy led the Canton Uprising and most of them were killed by Chiang Kaisek. The handful of those who survived fought their way to Yenan and joined Mao. They were to learn soon enough that Mao was no better than Chiang Kaisek. Both hated Korean revolutionaries and killed them by truckloads.
An American woman reporter, Nym Wales, interviewed one of the Korean revolutionaries in Yenan and wrote a book, The Song of Ariran, about him (Kim San). Little did she know that her hero was executed by Mao months after her interview.
Killings of Korean revolutionaries went on a much larger scale in Manchuria, when the poor Koreans were hunted down not only by the Japanese and their puppets but also by Mao's Communist partisans as well. Several thousands of Korean patriots died by their Chinese comrades and hundreds of Korean villages in Manchuria were ravaged by the Chinese. Kim Il Sung states in his memoirs that Chinese comrades killing Koreans was the toughest thing he had to endure in China.
Chinese units raided Korean villages in Siberia. They raped Korean women and children, stole their farm animals and then killed them all by burning down the whole villages. Korean revolutionaries - such as Kim Gyong Chun and Hong Bom Doh - shed more blood fighting the Chinese than the Japanese.
When Japan surrendered in 1945, over one hundred thousands Koreans in the Japanese army were suddenly stranded in China, and quick-thinking Mu Jong and Kim Il Sung took these trained soldiers into the Korean Volunteers Army. They were not allowed to come home to Korea but stayed in China fighting for Mao. When chips were down for Mao's forces under Lin Biao in 1946, Kim Il Sung let the Chinese units to cross into Korea and gave them captured Japanese weapons and supplies. The Koreans were instrumental in Mao's victory over Chiang Kaisek.
When Kim Il Sung was down during the Korean War, Mao looked the other way until Stalin bribed him with modern weapons (Cold War Korea - 1949-1953 - Turner Learning Educator Guide). Mao could have prevented the UN troops from invading North Korea but he opted to see the whole of North Korea destroyed. Mao's top general, Lin Biao - whose troops were saved by Kim Il Sung inn 1946 - opposed Chinese intervention in Korea. Of the top generals of Mao's army, only Peng Duhey argued for intervention in Korea. Stalin made Mao to act - Mao wanted Soviet arms and one million Chinese or so sacrificed in Korea for a modern army was a fair deal. Mao micromanaged the Korean War from his comfortable palace in Beijing and missed one golden opportunity after another to push out the UN troops from Korea.
Soon after the war ended in stalemate, Mao took much of Mt. Baikdu, the mountain most sacred to the Korean people and there wasn't much Kim Il Sung could do. In fact, Mao attacked Kim Il Sung labeling him a "fat emperor" of Korea and unleashed a new pogrom against the Korean people in China. Mao had Peng Duhei, one of the few friends of Korea, arrested and tortured to death. China is no better an ingrate than Vietnam, which in spite of the Korean bloods spilled in defending Hanoi, lifted not a finger to feed the starving people of Korea. One needs comrades like China and Vietnam like a hole in the head.
Today, Beijing is closer to Seoul than to Pyongyang. South Korean agents are free to roam China and mount covert actions from bases in China. North Korean defectors are helped out of China by corrupt Chinese officials for money. China makes fortunes selling cheap shabby products rejected for foreign exports North Korea.
* This viewpoint does not necessarily reflect that of AFAR.
|© Copyright 2002-2007 AFAR|