NATIONALIST AND COMMUNIST
CHINESE PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS

SGM Herbert A. Friedman (Ret.)

Note: In 2012, there was an exhibition on the propaganda leaflets launched from, and received by, Quemoy Island during the “hot phase” of the Cold War. The exhibition was held at Shih Shan Howitzer Park, an old Cold War defensive site. This article and its images served as a reference source. In 2016, the Austrian Museum of Tyrolean Regional Heritage requested and received permission to use material from this article in an exhibition on political cartoons.

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ROC Flag

PRC Flag

During WWII, China was one of the Allied nations that fought alongside the “Big Three:” the United States of America, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. They were at war against the Axis; Germany, Japan, Italy and other collaborating enemy nations. As the Japanese advanced across the Chinese mainland, the Chinese resisted with a National army under command of Chiang Kai-shek and a Communist army under the command of Mao Zedong. Unfortunately, the two political sides tended to fight each other much more than they did the Japanese. Both sides coveted power after the eventual Japanese defeat. Chiang in particular seemed to fear the Communists more than he did the Japanese.

There are probably a hundred books talking about the assets and liabilities of the Nationalists and the Communists but I have no intention of getting into politics. However, I do have quotes from former U.S. Army Major Monta L. Osborne who was the Assistant Psychological Warfare Officer in China and in September 1945 was appointed China Theater Psychological Warfare Officer. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces in China until June 1946, when he took a job for the Supreme Commander Allied Powers (SCAP) in Tokyo. He gave his opinion of the situation from a completely non-political viewpoint. Remember he said all this in 1945 and he seems to have been correct:

The Kuomintang Party was started early in the present century by a group of liberal thinkers who were opposed to the Manchu Dynasty. The most renowned member of this group, of course, was Dr. Sun Yat-sen. In 1911 the Kuomintang overthrew the Manchu regime and set up a so-called republic. There actually was a sort of republican type of government for a few years, but from 1915 to 1927 China was actually controlled by local war lords. During the period 1923 to 1927, the Kuomintang turned definitely leftist in its principles, and Communists were welcomed into the Party.

In 1927 Chiang Kai-shek gained control of the Kuomintang. As military chief he conquered most of the war lords and established a national government in Nanking. Shortly after assuming control of the Kuomintang, Chiang became violently anti-Communist. This was about the time that he formed his alliance with the infamous Soong family, from which he later obtained a wife. In a bloody period, he kicked all of the Communists out of the Part. They promptly formed a Soviet Republic in Kiangsi Province. For seven years Chiang Kai-shek tried to eliminate them. He sent army after army against them. One of his armies totaled one million men. The smaller communist forces held out for seven years in Kiangsi Province, but in 1934 they decided to move. During 1934 and 1935 they marched several thousand miles, across China, over mountains, across rivers, pursued all the way by Chiang’s forces. Eventually, they landed in Yenan, in northwest China, and re-established their Soviet Republic. The march, of course, is now called The Long March.

The Kuomintang, which now rules the nation, is not spiritually the party that was created by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. When Chiang accepted the leadership, he turned definitely to the Right, embraced the Soongs and the landlords. He is definitely under the influence of the banker and landlord class; one might say, under their domination. The Kuomintang is not a completely unified group. There are cliques within the party. Chiang is now following the lead of the so-called “C.C. Chen Clique”, headed by the Chen Brothers of Shanghai. They are now China’s principal bankers.

We have a U.S. Army Observer Section in Yenan. I have seen most of their reports, and have talked to some of them. None of our people are Communists, but all or almost all of them have come to believe that the Communist party has more to offer the people of China than the present rotten regime. The Reds have taken land away from the landlords and have given it to the peasants. They have established communal control and ownership of the factories by the workers. There is no doubt that the Chinese people would be better off economically under the Reds than under the Kuomintang. But one does not like to see this nation come under the permanent control of a monolithic party. It is possible that the U.S. can pressure Chiang toward liberalization of his regime. But once the Reds are in control, there will be mass extermination of the capitalist and landlord class. There certainly will be a one-party government which the Chinese people may never be able to overthrow. In any case, the U.S. Government cannot afford to support the Communists in any way. Public opinion in the U.S. would not stand for this. Furthermore, it is possible that Communist control of China could, over a period of time, mean Communist control of Asia.

I should point out that a reader completely rejected the statement that the Communists gave land to the peasants. He told me:

The Chinese Communist Party never gave the peasants control of the land. The government retained ownership of the land and basically the land was rented. The government retains ownership of what was built even if it is a 50 story building.

After the end of the war, the Nationalists and the Communists continued to fight a civil war from July 1946 to September 1949 that eventually led to the defeat of Chiang and the escape of his Kuomintang (KMT) government, his army and over a million refugees to the island of Taiwan (Formosa). In 1972, the delegation of the People’s Republic of China entered the United Nations, replacing the delegation of the Republic of China as the official representative of China.

Nationalist Chinese propaganda of the time maintained that it was “Free China,” in stark and simple contrast with the mainland. Taiwan’s description of the People’s Republic of China was decidedly negative. A Decade of Chinese Communist Tyranny, (Taipei, 1960) published by the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League opens with a comparison between the “Communist controlled area” and a zoo. It describes the Chinese communist “gangsters” as “inhuman and devoid of all moral scruples.” The 1957-1958 edition of the China Yearbook referred to the communists as “the sons of Satan.”

At the same time, the Nationalists on Taiwan started what we might call a cult of personality around their leader. There was no official or party section assigned to the task of turning Chiang into a larger than life character, but it was understood that there were rewards to those loyal to the Party and the leader. Dr. Jeremy E. Taylor, a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Sheffield mentions some aspects of this in “The Production of the Chiang Kai-shek Personality Cult, 1929–1975,” The China Quarterly. Speaking of the adoration and deification of the generalissimo Taylor says:

While the nature of Nationalist rule under Chiang can be debated, there is little question that it shared with its Soviet and fascist contemporaries a tendency to promote the mass adoration of leaders. This included the manufacture and distribution of images of Chiang; the naming of streets in his honor; the celebration of his life through textbooks and public events; and, in some cases, the attribution to Chiang of superhuman power and wisdom…By the time of the Nationalist government’s complete relocation to Taipei in 1949, almost every city and town in Taiwan could claim a Zhongzheng Lu (Chiang Kai-shek Road) and a Zhongshan Lu (Sun Yat-sen Road) thanks to the efforts of zealous city and county administrators.

The first statue of Chiang to appear in Taiwan was raised only 192 days after retrocession. And by the early 1950s, Chiang’s face was criss-crossing the Taiwanese countryside on the front of “propaganda trains” just as it had done on the mainland a few years earlier.

Curiously, if we are to believe Paul M. Linebarger in Psychological Warfare, Combat Forces Press, Washington DC, 1948, the Nationalists learned to do propaganda from the Communists prior to WWII. Linebarger says in part:

The Communist leaders unwittingly made a tremendous mistake between 1922 and 1927. The invited the military and political staff of the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) to cooperate with them…Their military chief of mission learned everything that the Communists had to teach about irregular fighting, subversive propaganda, revolutionary situations and mass agitation. The Nationalist leader used all the Communist psychological warfare techniques and added a few more of his own. His name was Chiang Kai-shek…They (the Communists) have not forgiven him. Nationalist China to this day possesses a working duplicate of the Moscow propaganda facilities….

Taylor seems to agree on the Communist influence:

The single most important [influences] of these was the General Political Department, which was founded under the auspices of Chiang’s son Chiang Ching-kuo in 1950, and was modeled on similar institutions in the Soviet Union. From its establishment, the Department became instrumental in producing many of the texts that were used in the promotion of the Chiang cult…The General Political Department also produced written texts through which the ideas and admonitions of President Chiang were distributed to members of the armed forces.

Gary D. Rawnsley, who seems to be one of the premier authorities on Taiwan politics talked about their PSYOP system in “Selling Taiwan: Diplomacy and Propaganda,” Issues and Studies, Vol. 36, No. 3. 2000.

The Republic of China does have a propaganda organization, one that predates the move to Taiwan. Although far from perfect, this organization is nevertheless adequate given that it must perform in difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. The fundamental problem is that the Republic of China's propaganda organization is badly constructed with a confusing division of labor. It engages the services of far too many government ministries and organizations that all have overlapping responsibilities and lines of accountability. For propaganda to make a positive contribution to diplomacy – whether in relation to other governments, the overseas Chinese or the PRC – it must be centralized in one department. The Government Information Office would seem to be the natural and sensible choice.

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Map of China and Taiwan

Since that time the Nationalists (Republic of China - ROC) and the Communists (People’s Republic of China - PRC) have faced off; threatening, cajoling and occasionally opening fire on each other. The small islands of Matsu and Quemoy (Kinmen), the sole territory under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China, have played a part in all the bluffing and psychological operations. In particular, starting about 1954 the two sides sent leaflets to each other on alternate days by balloon and artillery. In this article we will look at some of the leaflets prepared by the Nationalist Government and sent into mainland China up until about 1979 when the United States and the People’s Republic of China normalized relations.

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Propaganda Booklet Published on the 16th National Day of the Republic of China
Nationalist Chinese soldier watches the Mainland from the island of Quemoy

During the Cold War the American government constantly worried about the morale of the Nationalist Chinese and their willingness to carry on the fight against Communism. They regularly studied both Taiwan and Mainland China and a number of reports were written by the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly stating that it did not believe China would attack Taiwan as long as the United States offered naval and air protection. Other studies attempted to discern how the loss of the smaller islands would affect Taiwan. A 1955 CIA report entitled Morale on Taiwan says in part:

The islands of Quemoy and Matsu are so important in the eyes of the Nationalists that their loss during the current crisis would be a severe blow to the morale…The effect would be considerably greater if the islands fell to Communist attack, especially if U.S. forces were involved…We believe that they would continue resistance to Communist pressure as long as they have confidence in the determination and ability of the U.S. to defend Taiwan.

For those readers that do not recall the Cold War, I should point out that one of the most secret operations was the 1959 training of six Nationalist Chinese pilots in Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, to carry out clandestine U-2 spy flights to determine Soviet nuclear capability. These flights were highly classified but the fact that Chinese pilots were flying American spy planes shows how important the Chinese were to American interests at the time.

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Chiang Kai-shek  

Mao Zedong

In a 2005 International Affairs article entitled “Old wine in new bottles: China–Taiwan computer-based information warfare and propaganda,” Gary D. Rawnsley adds:

Chinese shelling of these islands, and Taiwan’s own bombardment of the mainland in response, was designed to have more symbolic than military value, and was pivotal in the psychological and propaganda offensive across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing decided to shell the islands only on odd-numbered days, and Taiwan’s military launched its own shells against the mainland the rest of the week. A practice that continued until 1979, this combat by timetable confirmed the political and symbolic, rather than military, intention of cross-Strait warfare, especially as the shells contained nothing more harmful than printed propaganda that dispersed upon impact.

A Naval War College paper totals up the Chinese Nationalist deaths in a report entitled High Sea Buffer – The Taiwan Patrol Force, 1950-1979:

On 23 August 1958, Communist forces began shelling Jinmen Island, firing an estimated forty thousand shells during the first attack…

By mid-September 1958 the U.S. Navy had positioned five carriers and their escort ships near Taiwan, and another two were on their way. A clear message was sent to the PRC when it was revealed on 1 October that a number of eight-inch howitzers, capable of firing nuclear shells, had been delivered to Jinmen Island. In addition, it was on this occasion that the Nationalist air force was provided with advanced Sidewinders. In one air battle on 24 September 1958, Nationalist F-86s shot down an impressive ten MiGs, plus two other probable hits, without sustaining a single loss. These were the first-ever kills by these air-to-air missiles.

On 6 October 1958, after forty-four days, the PRC halted the shelling. Civilian casualties were 138 dead and 324 injured; the dead and wounded soldiers numbered close to three thousand. In addition, an estimated seven thousand buildings on Jinmen had been either damaged or destroyed. The cessation was not permanent; artillery fire continued for the next twenty years, ending for good only in January 1979 after the United States and the People’s Republic of China recognized each other. Firing would take place on alternate days of the week, with the shells mainly containing propaganda leaflets. An estimated one million steel shell casings were fired at Jinmen, in what would be the longest sustained artillery barrage in world history.

The U.S. Army 7th PSYOP Group headquartered on Okinawa had a two-man Taiwan Detachment located in Taipei responsible for maintaining liaison between the 7th PSYOP Group and the Republic of China. In 1968 they trained 25 Chinese PSYOP personnel at their headquarters in Okinawa. The United States had little interest in supporting Taiwan with military and psychological training until 1951 when the North Korean attack on South Korea awakened America to the possibility of using Taiwan as an area to harass and spy on the Chinese mainland.

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7th PSYOP Group Crest

U.S. Army Lieutenant-Colonel Dave Underhill of the 7th PSYOP Group told me about a class that he taught:

I presented a three week course of instruction to the Chinese on Taiwan (as requested by the CIA) on leaflet development and dissemination (via balloon). I was able to show the defect in their program that allowed the balloons to end up in such places as Okinawa, India and Laos.  (I was in Laos when one came down there). The group I taught was a collection of people involved in leaflet operations.   It included printers, artists, weather forecasters, etc.  They were a sharp group.  The launch site had a pipeline from an oil processing plant that piped hydrogen to the sight.  They then filled conventional tanks and arranged them in a bank where they were able to open all valves and fill huge balloons without stopping.  

When Dave Underhill returned home he was replaced by his understudy, Captain Charles V. Nahlik. Charles was also tasked with teaching PSYOP classes and he told me a story about his Chinese students: 

I taught a large class of Taiwanese officers.  They came with their own translator/interpreter who had translated the 7th PSYOP Leaflet Book into Chinese.  I would demonstrate something and then he would explain it.  If I would talk for one minute, he would talk for three.  He was a fantastic assistant and a great help in the “hands on” process of plotting.   The funny thing about this class happened after they were finished, returned to Naha Air Base, Okinawa, and then started the flight home.  After each of the three days of class, they would go to the Post Exchange to spend all the money the U.S. was paying them on this trip.  They did well with US paid per diem -- too good.   They overloaded the plane to such a point that upon takeoff back to Taiwan and it could not lift off the runway and could not stop.  It went through the fence and slid into the Ocean, but did not sink.   However, the baggage area did get flooded so don't know how much of their assorted cameras and electronic items were damaged or destroyed. 

We should not hold this against the Chinese officers. America was known throughout Asia as “The land of the big PX” and it was quite typical for all foreign officers and enlisted men on American bases to purchase everything they could get their hands on. They seldom sunk a plane with their shopping though.

Some of the Nationalist Chinese leaflets attacked Mao; others depicted the happy life of the Chinese on the island of Taiwan or pictured defectors from Communism living a rich and secure life.

The 7th PSYOP Group was constituted 19 August 1965 in the regular Army and activated 20 October 1965 and assigned to the Ryukyu Islands. It was tasked with support activities in Okinawa, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Japan. The group consisted of the 14th PSYOP Battalion, the 15th PSYOP Detachment, the Japan Detachment, the Korea detachment, the Taiwan Detachment, and the Vietnam Detachment. They worked side-by-side with the Chinese of Taiwan, but it is impossible to tell what input they had, if any, on the leaflets we will depict in this article.

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Republic of China Balloon Launch

The ROC propagandists have not been very talkative about their campaigns. About 1968, the Psychological Warfare Department of the Defense Ministry did admit that the government had sent 101,614,528 balloons to Mainland China since the start of their campaign. They said that the load carried by the balloons varied from 35 grams to 4,763 grams. They had two large balloons measuring 10 x 13-feet and 10 x 18-feet that can rise to 40,000 feet and carry leaflets as far as Tibet and Sinkiang. The total of leaflets and booklets sent to China was more than 213,000,000 pieces. The balloons also dropped food, toys, household goods, daily commodities and national flags. They also sent "passports" promising good treatment to those defectors who made it to Taiwan. The Nationalists also used music to strengthen their propaganda. Taiwan balloons rained down leaflets and Teresa Deng music cassettes. Teresa Deng was a Taiwanese singer known for her gentle love songs. Allegedly, the mainland Chinese were known to say: “I like the little Deng, not the big Deng,” meaning that the singer's popularity rivaled that of Chinese leader Deng Xiao-ping, who briefly served as Premier Chou En-lai's deputy.

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Nationalist Chinese Model Leaflet Boat

U.S. Army Sergeant Fynis Eugene Briddle, writing in issue 208 of the Falling Leaf, the Journal of the Psywar Society, mentions being stationed as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Communications Center on Quemoy in 1971. He said in part:

Kinmen (Quemoy) is a small island group, the largest of which is less than five miles off the coast of the People’s Republic of China. While I was there both the Communists and Taiwanese military were still engaged in propaganda shelling on odd nights…There were several other methods of propaganda delivery used. The Nationalists would take hundreds of helium balloons; attach little gift packs such as soap dishes with soap, and propaganda leaflets to them. They would then release when the winds were favorable where they would float to the mainland. They all had timers attached that would then deflate the balloon and deliver the gifts along with the propaganda leaflets. Another popular method was to put leaflets in beer bottles, seal them and throw them into the ocean when the tides were going out. They would also put the leaflets in little boats and float them to the mainland…

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The Chu Kwang Tower where Propaganda leaflets are Displayed

The three illustrations of propaganda dissemination were found in the Chu Kwang Tower. Briddle explains:

Chu Kwang Tower is a history museum; a large area is dedicated to the shelling back in the 1950's and propaganda techniques currently being used. In Taegu, Korea, I purchased an envelope (called a First Day Cover) celebrating a new building built on this small island called Kinmen/Quemoy. How could I have ever known that I would soon be visiting that building and working on that island?

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Glass Propaganda Floats Containing Leaflets

The Communists in return sent floats to Taiwan containing Mao’s “Little Red Book” during the Cultural Revolution.

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Communist Chinese Kite containing Leaflets for Quemoy

Briddle also notes that the Communists sometimes used kites that were loaded with leaflets and sent them to Quemoy from the mainland.

The 1958-1959 Republic of China Yearbook noted how the Ministry of National Defense had strengthened its psychological warfare capabilities during the offshore islands crisis:

Each month aircraft flew deep into the mainland to drop leaflets, proclamations, charts, safe conduct passes and food. The air-droppings have borne fruit in influencing a fair number of mainlanders to flee from behind the Bamboo Curtain.

Gary D. Rawnsley believes that the Americans were deeply involved in the balloon campaign in The Clandestine Cold War in Asia, London, Frank Cass, 2000:

1967, the CIA Far East Division encouraged the launch from Taiwan of balloons loaded with propaganda leaflets, pamphlets and newspapers that would drift across the Strait to the mainland. This has been described a “knick-knack bombardment,” with the balloons carrying “pens, can openers, bright T-shirts, and other cheap items” which would “pop and shower the mainland with the flotsam of capitalism.”

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This U.P.I. photograph dated 20 November 1965 depicts balloons bearing flags, ribbons,
propaganda leaflets and other items sent from the island of Quemoy to mainland China.

Irving R. Fang, in an article entitled “The Chinese-Chinese Psywar,” said in 1979 in that both sides send out their propaganda by radio, balloons, artillery shells, sea floats and loudspeakers. Small gifts were sent too; he mentioned underwear, toys and cooking oil.

The Falling Leaf, the Journal of the Psywar Society, “the international association of psychological warfare historians and collectors of aerial propaganda leaflets,” mentions the Chinese propaganda campaign in several issues. In their summer 1975 edition, we find in part:

In the 1970s there was a considerable increase in the number of leaflets. In 1971 only 200 million leaflets were dropped on the Chinese mainland; the number increased to 1.6 billion copies by the end of October 1973. Mao’s anti-Confucius campaign was the main item in their propaganda leaflets; to defend their great cultural philosophies they poked at the promises of Mao Zedong. Other leaflets deal with the thousands of refugees coming to Hong Kong. There are miniature newspapers that tell of the western world. The balloons targeted at central China drift at a height of 40,000 feet and deliver their cargo of 15 kilograms within 12 hours. The balloons that travel deeper into China drift at a height of 60,000 feet and carry 100 kilograms of leaflets for 40 hours. Most of the leaflets disseminated lately have a camouflaged cover with a Communist title. The prosperity of Taiwan is shown in pictures; some of the booklets contain manuals on how to build a simple wireless set.

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Nationalist Display Depicting the Range of its Propaganda Balloons

Rawnsley seems to be mentioning these camouflaged booklets when he says:

Publications carried by balloons across the Taiwan Strait were designed to appear as near as possible to the few dissident publications already circulating through parts of China, and to add to the confusion, they used fictitious names of anti-revolutionary organizations as the source of the propaganda. Of course the US denied all knowledge of these operations, assigning all responsibility to Chiang Kai-shek, the CIA’s “willing and cooperative host for the operation.” Refugees arriving from the PRC in Hong Kong carried the leaflets with them, thus providing for the agency apparent evidence of the success of its propaganda.

More comments are found in the Falling Leaf of winter 1976:

Chinese fighters have tried to intercept and shoot down balloons bearing humanitarian aid to the earthquake-stricken Tangshan area from the offshore island of Quemoy. Supplies of rice, medicine, sugar, powdered milk, blankets, underwear, dehydrated noodles and propaganda leaflets were collected from Formosa and shipped to Quemoy where they were packed by soldiers from the huge Nationalist garrisons. Each balloon was fitted with a timing device so that its cargo would be jettisoned after 20 hours, by which time it should be over the disaster area.

Another comment is:

By tacit agreement, both sides indulge in propaganda shelling. The Communists also fly propaganda across on paper kites. The Nationalists reply with plastic balloons. Gifts of clothing and sweets are tied on the balloons to attract people on the mainland.

In the November 1966 issue of The Aerial Leaflet I wrote an article entitled “Propaganda Leaflets in the Air over China.” I said at the time:

In 1962, the London Telegraph mentioned that although there are 1,700 gun positions facing Quemoy, the only shooting was an occasional airburst shell that showered the countryside with leaflets. The Aero-Field reported that Quemoy has released thousands of leaflets about 20 July 1962 containing leaflets and parcels of food for peasants living in Communist China.

The London Telegraph of 16 July 1963 said that Quemoy is becoming one of the major tourist attractions of the Far East. The article states further, “If he is lucky, the tourist may experience a Communist shelling. These days the shells contain only propaganda messages.”

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The Island of Quemoy

We reached Quemoy’s Chinese Communist Psywar Center to inspect the leaflets and goodies which each side was lobbing across the strait in a mighty psychological battle between the Communists and the Nationalist Chinese. The goodies suggested that each side thought that the other was either starving or unwashed. There must be more slabs of scented soap stuffed with political messages than anywhere else on Earth. There were tiny purple plastic babies with deep blue eyes and brown hair to be sent to the next generation of Reds. Toothpaste and tea was exchanged, dropping from the sky like manna from Heaven.

Suddenly we all had thrust in our hands gaily colored balloons, each with its subversive little gift in a plastic sack, to release into the wind, which happens to be on our side, blowing westward...

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Souvenir Booklet for the 7th PSYOP Group

We depict the cover of one of the souvenir booklets brought back from the 7th PSYOP Group.

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Second Souvenir Booklet for the 7th PSYOP Group

I also have a second similar booklet with the title in Chinese on the front:

Psywar Propaganda Leaflets

Although we use the modern term, the Chinese word Xinghan literally means "War of Minds." These leaflet catalogs came in many volumes. The above is volume 28, covering 26 August to 1 September 1967, with 33 leaflets included, of which a total of 330,000 were printed, according to the caption.

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Propaganda Envelope

This colorful envelope depicts an artillery round, a loudspeaker, balloons, gift items to go in a float and leaflets. Each of these were used to disseminate Nationalist Chinese propaganda. The envelope contained eleven Nationalist Chinese leaflets. We assume this was some kind of a gift pack for visiting dignitaries. At the left of the envelope there is a radio antenna and the text:

PSYWAR DATA

PSYWAR COMMAND POST KDC

We believe this envelope was prepared or at least disseminated by the Kinmen Defense Command (KDC) located on Kinmen Island. The Kinmen Defense Command was the front line in any attempt by Communist China to take Taiwan or its islands. An estimated 80% of the Republic of China Army is located on Taiwan, while the remainder are stationed on the smaller islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu. We believe this envelope was prepared about 1964

Prior to 2000 the KDC was made up of four divisions. By 2004, Troops were pulled back and the Kinmen Defense Command was comprised of three infantry brigades, an armor brigade and an artillery command. The KDC also has two companies from the 101st Amphibious Recon battalion.

THE LEAFLETS

I want to start this look at the leaflets with a brief disclaimer. It has often been stated that when leaflets are prepared by defectors who left a country many years earlier, the text and language may not be quite up to date. For instance, William Lloyd Stearman says in An American Adventure, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2012, that the American PSYOP effort in Vietnam got most of its information about the North from refugees who came south in 1954 to escape Communist rule in the North. More than ten years had elapsed since they left and much had changed in the interim. In other words, their knowledge about the North was hopelessly outdated. A Chinese reader of the leaflets below commented that:

In many cases I found the text curious. The communist military force is often described as the “Chinese Communist Army” or the “Chinese Communists,” but on the Mainland they were commonly known as the “Liberation Army” or the “People's Liberation Army of China.” A lesser point of interest is that it sometimes described those who read the leaflets as “friend,” rather than “comrade” or “fighter,” the common titles used in the PLA. Those choices of words were puzzling. It is as if the Nationalist didn't know the basics from the decades of confrontations and the flow of defectors.

So, although my translators and myself strive to use the correct words, the readers should understand that sometimes they are incorrect on the leaflets.

As we stated above, there are millions, and more likely billions of leaflets sent from Quemoy and Matsu to mainland China. Clearly we cannot depict a true representation of the various types and themes since there are thousands of different leaflets. Also, sometimes there might be a dozen or more leaflets on the exact same theme, such as a Chinese pilot defecting to Taiwan. As a result, we have selected a very small number of leaflets that show some various shapes, themes, or messages. The reader should understand that this is less than 1 percent of all those dropped.

In all of my 120+ articles on psychological warfare, the leaflets drive the story. I try to show a good representation of the leaflets and every one has at least a partial translation. I will add more leaflets and translations as volunteers become available.   I ask the reader to understand and be patient. In all these articles, the translators are the most difficult experts to locate. I have been forced in other articles to find people who could read Vietnamese, Kikuyu, Arabic, Pashto, Dari, and a host of other languages. It is much easier to locate leaflets than it is to find people who can translate them. Readers expert in Chinese who would like to help with some of the titles and texts of the leaflets in this article should contact the author.

I especially want to thank Dr. Alexander Akin, a historian of China and amateur collector of psywar ephemera who generously provided translations for some of the leaflets and comments about their actual meaning and political background. This article would have been impossible without his help.

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60803600

We start this study with cartoon leaflets. They have little text and are easy for the average finder to understand. The backs are blank. In this leaflet a terrified Mao with bloody hands is attacked by swords and bayonets. The title is:

Anti-Maoism is righteous!

The words that encircle Mao and the names of the cities on the flags are:

Anti-Mao, Anti-Communist revolutionary Chinese people

Jiangxi, Wuhan, Guangzhou.

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60803800

In this leaflet a group of angry Chinese point weapons at Mao Zedong who has been found burning China's historical culture. The text is:

Above Mao: He is our real enemy!

On Mao’s torch: Cultural Revolution

Below: China’s innate historical culture

At right: The United Front denouncing Mao and saving the country

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This Nationalist leaflet depicts a mob of angry Chinese chasing Mao Zedong with swords and sticks and their bare fists. My translator found this leaflet interesting because he said: “The angry mob looks like Mao’s own Red Guards; they wear the bandanna on their head. I was surprised to realize that this leaflet was targeted against Mao.” A second translator thought the mob looked more like the rebels from the Taiping Rebellion who sometimes wore turbans and fought for some 14 years (1850–64), ravaged 17 provinces, took an estimated 20 million lives, proclaimed his new dynasty, the “Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace” with their credo—to share property in common. The text is:

Rise! Compatriots who are starving and freezing!

Rise! We who refuse to be slaves!

It is worth noting that the last line is the first line in March of the Volunteers, the National Anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The First line is an obvious parody of the song lyric. The anthem starts:

Rise, we who refuse to be slaves;
With our very flesh and blood let us build our new Great Wall!
The peoples of China are at their most critical time, everybody must roar defiance.
Rise! Rise! Rise!

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60804000

In this cartoon Mao seems to be lecturing, surrounded by a small group of his Communist followers, all standing on a buoy in an angry ocean. The back is blank. The text is:

Is this the pleasant atmosphere one year after the Eleventh Plenary Session?

On waves: Opposition to Mao, opposition to the Communist Party

[Note: Left of Mao is Lin Biao, to his right is Jiang Qing. This would have been issued in 1967, one year after the eleventh plenary session of the Eighth Central Committee at which Mao spurred on the Cultural Revolution with his document “Bombard the Headquarters.”]

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Mainland Compatriots

This leaflet depicts Mao standing near markers labeled with the years 1962-1970. He looks like a carnival barker or a magician about to pull a rabbit out of a hat. The back is all text. The message is:

Mainland Compatriots!

Mainland compatriots: in order to live well, to live a free and happy life, you have to unite as one and make this master trickster Mao Tse-tung go down, go down!

Keep this document to prove your stance against communism and to enjoy various privileges

Mao Tse-tung's propaganda machine has recently bragged of “achieving good harvests for nine consecutive years,” which mean there has been a good harvest each year since 1962, and they even said the output of foodstuffs had exceeded historic levels. But these propaganda lies are not only unable to deceive the people of the free world; they cannot deceive you as well. How could there be good harvests under the “Three Red Banners” movement of Mao's Communists and the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, plus natural disasters? If there were good harvests, rations should have gone up. Why do you still have to “have mild meals at free time?” If there were good harvests, you should have eat well and be full! Why is there still famine everywhere? Why are the people whimpering and tormented by hunger and cold throughout the countryside? Mao Tse-tung can only play tricks and exaggerate, and the trick has failed. What a shameful thing it is!

[Note: The “Three Red Banners” were the campaign for socialist construction, the Great Leap Forward and the people's communes, advocated by Mao in the 1950s. They were directly responsible for the Great Chinese Famines in 1959-1961].

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Let the Kids sit here too

The small Nationalist Chinese leaflet above depicts Mao and a group of happy comrades at a dinner table. Above and to the left is the text: Let the kids sit here too. The fruit bowl at the center of the table is labeled Politburo. From left to right are Ye Qun, Jiang Qing, Mao and Lin Biao.

The back is all text written as a poem:

Mao and Lin have but themselves in their heads;

Tricking the people with political games;

There are exclusively wives and kids

inside the Politburo and no one else.

The character translated as “themselves” above can also mean “private” so the line has a double-meaning in this context. It not only criticizes the Communist big-names for being selfish, but also for being hypocritical, since they were the one who preached against private ownership and thoughts. The leaflet was obviously an attack on how the PRC political circle was monopolized by families. Ye Qun and Jiang Qing were Lin Biao and Mao's wives, respectively. The little girl might be Li Na, the daughter of Mao and Jiang. The depiction of Lin's son, Lin Liguo, as an infant was rather incorrect as he was the No. 2 figure in the Red Chinese Air Force by 1971. The Chinese government, to this day, believes that he planned to assassinate Mao with his father's blessing in 1971. The plan was exposed, leading to him and his family's death during the unsuccessful flight to the USSR.

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Complacency – Arrogance

This small ROC leaflet depicts Mao first being carried like an Indian maharajah. He wears what is almost a crown with his titles: Head of State, Marshal, Leader, and Chairman. To his right Lin Biao carries Mao’s flag which says Chairman. Over the entire panel is a Chinese character which reads:

Complacency

In the second panel Mao is standing while others talk behind his back. They are identified as Wang Ming, Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi, He long. Mao says to himself I am Number One. Over the entire panel is a Chinese character which reads:

Arrogance

The back is all text:

Combat arrogance and complacency

Who is the target?

The Chinese National Defense Education Website made a rather obscure mention in its “Chronicle on the National Defense of the New China (1971-1980)” page on “Combat Arrogance and Complacency Self-Educational Movement” in the People’s Liberation Army. It was devised by the political department of the Jinan Military District in January 1971 and was aimed at the PLA cadre corps, and also extended to the rank and file soldiers and non-military party organizations. It was probably just another insignificant political event during the Cultural Revolution, but the phrase kept appearing in texts relating to modern Chinese politics, but mostly as a figure of speech. If this leaflet was made right after the start of this communist “Self-Educational Movement,” it was rendered obsolete eight months later, when Lin allegedly defected to the USSR, but was killed in a plane crash in Mongolia. Following Lin's death, he was officially condemned as a traitor by the Communist Party.

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A Nationalist Chinese Leaflet Bottle

The leaflet is more interesting than usual because Sergeant Gene Briddle told me:

One day after work we had our Chinese Driver take us to a mine-free section of beach where we could swim in safety. When we arrived there we saw thousands of bottles lying on the beach. Apparently the tide turned and brought them back to shore instead of towards the mainland. I brought one back but have never opened it and removed the leaflets.

If you look carefully at one of the leaflets inside the bottle you can see it is the leaflet directly above.

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Sergeant Gene Briddle in his U.S. Army Communication Center on Quemoy

Sergeant Briddle was given the position of Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the communications center on Quemoy. The NCOIC was to maintain the communications center in a ready state of operation. He used both Teletype and voice radio for communications to Taipei. He was responsible for all Teletype messages to and from the island. All messages were classified and processed thru Teletype crypto equipment. He also had a VHF radio transmitter that allowed him to talk to Taipei.

He told me:

While I was there both the Communists and Taiwanese military were still engaged in Propaganda shelling on odd nights. That consisted of stuffing propaganda leaflets into Howitzer shells. They were then fired over the island where they exploded and the leaflets were blown out and scattered and would float to the ground. Several of us would go outside and watch the shelling. You would hear the shell go over and explode before the sound of being fired from the mainland reached your ears. We never once thought about how dangerous that really was. These shells are exploding in the air and sending shrapnel through the air and to the ground. Being 20-year-old kids we had no fear. It was more like the 4th of July to us. I went out several mornings and picked up Propaganda Leaflet souvenirs before the military did. I was able to remove them from the island by including them in my briefcase that I carried classified materials in.

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A Chinese leaflet artillery shell Fuse timer?

Sergeant Briddle told me about finding this shell fragment that he believes is a timer.

Our communication Center was inside a mountain. We had a furnace for burning classified paper materials that was on the hill above us and that is where I found this device on the ground right after a leaflet artillery barrage. It has gears and springs and it looks like the timer was set, the shell was fired and at some point the timer caused an explosion which exploded the shell in the air disseminating the leaflets. The back of the device shows an indication of a fire or high temperature and is very discolored.

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Illustration of an Artillery Shell Fuse Timer

What do we generally know about time fuses?

Time fuses consist of a fixed and movable portion. The movable portion is rotated to form a longer or shorter labyrinth path for the fuse train to act. That is, by rotating movable portion of the fuse you can vary the time it takes to detonate. Time fuses of this sort activate when the gun is fired by either rotation or inertia or both.

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50701500 - Yiqun Zhou

The Nationalists also attacked Mao in leaflets that did not feature cartoons. Here a furious young man with fist raised attacks the Chinese leader. The text is:

According to a news source from the Chinese Communist Party on July 5, many young students from mainland China are initiating an anti-cultural revolution movement. Shanghai youth Yiqun Zhou sends his sympathy to those people who were removed from their position due to their right political tendency, shouting “kill Mao Zedong,” and also encourages those leaders and intellectuals already or about to be punished to retake their political positions.

Dear mainland brothers, Yiqun Zhou has set a good example of attacking the Chinese Communist Party. We hope you use your determination and action to fight the Chinese Communist Party and Mao. The Kuomintang Army will be with you at all times.

Learn from Yiqun Zhou, Down with Mao Zedong.

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50905800 – Chinese Jet Fighters

Many of the Nationalist leaflets are designed to impress the mainland Chinese with the power of the military forces of Taiwan. Some show aircraft, some show naval forces, others show armor or troops. This leaflet depicts a Taiwan flight line bristling with F-104 Starfighters. The F-104Cs saw some service during the Vietnam War. The Republic of China F-104s engaged the Red Chinese fighters over the disputed island of Quemoy. This was a very difficult aircraft to fly with its long body and stubby wings. Germany was given a number of F-104s and had numerous accidents and fatalities. Two crashes took place in 1961. There were seven crashes in 1962, 12 in 1964, and 28 in 1965, or more than two a month. By mid-1966, 61 German Starfighters had crashed, with a loss of 35 pilots. At the height of the crisis, the Starfighter accident rate peaked at 139 per 100,000 flying hours. As a result, the German press went into a feeding frenzy and the F-104G was given derogatory nicknames such as the “Flying Coffin” or the “Widow maker.” Knowing the record of this aircraft, it is hard to believe that the PRC was very frightened of it. The text on the front is:

The mighty National Air Force guarantees the rescue of our compatriots on the mainland!

The propaganda message on the back tells the reader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek's "Three Guarantees to potential defectors", while the chart at right outlines the awards (payable in ounces of solid gold) to those from the mainland's air force who switch sides. Prizes vary by rank, with the highest set at 4,000 ounces and the lowest at 500.

Taiwan received its Starfighters from various sources. 24 USAF F-104As and 5 F-104Bs were provided in 1960 and 1961. Another 46 F-104Gs and 8 TF-104Gs were obtained from Lockheed between 1964 and 1969. 21 RF-104Gs were also obtained about the same time though apparently nobody knows where they came from. 6 US National Guard F-104Ds were provided in 1975. 38 F-104Gs and 26 TF-104Gs were provided by the German Luftwaffe in 1983. 22 F-104Js and 5 F-104DJs were obtained from Japan, and 15 F-104Gs and 3 TF-104Gs were obtained from Denmark in 1987.

In The Aerial Leaflet of May 1967, I mentioned another leaflet that depicted a flight line of North American F-100 “Super Sabre” fighter aircraft. The text stated that any Communist pilot who flew a MiG-19 to Formosa would receive 4,000 taels of gold. The older MiG-17 was worth 2,000 taels and the MiG-15 1000 taels of gold. The Nationalists also wanted bombers so they offered 4,000 taels for an (Ilyushin) Il-18 or Il-28, 1,000 for the Il-14, and 800 for the Il-12.

Taiwan was the only allied air force to operate the F-100A model. The first F-100 was delivered in October 1958. It was followed by 15 F-100As in 1959 and by 65 more F-100As in 1960. In 1961, four unarmed RF-100A reconnaissance aircraft were delivered. Additionally, 38 ex-Army National Guard F-100As were delivered later, to bring total strength to 118 F-100As and four RF-100As. F-100As were retrofitted with the F-100D vertical tail with its AN/APS-54 tail-warning radar and equipped to launch Sidewinder air-to-air missiles. Several were lost in intelligence missions over the People's Republic of China.

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50905700 – The Republic of China Army

This leaflet depicts the nationalist Army at attention during a ceremony. They are lined up as far as the eye can see. The title of the leaflet is:

The mighty National Army guarantees the rescue of our compatriots on the mainland!

The propaganda message on the back tells the reader the "Three Guarantees" to potential defectors, at the middle is a tenfold pact outlining these protections in greater detail, and the chart at right outlines the awards (payable in ounces of solid gold) to those from the mainland's land forces who switch sides. Prizes vary by rank, but are much lower than the payments offered to air force defectors. The last line cites earlier defectors and argues that changing sides offers the only hope for the reader's future.

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50905900 – The Republic of China Navy

This leaflet depicts Chinese sailors at attention in front of and aboard one of their destroyers. At the upper left, three destroyers are depicted at flank speed. One suspects that these ships were gifts from the United States. During WWII Britain accepted 50 destroyers from the United States in return for allowing the American Navy to place military bases on fourteen British colonies in the Americas. The Germans immediately started a propaganda campaign claiming that Britain had liquidated its empire by giving these islands to the Americans. I wonder if the Red Chinese produced the same sort of propaganda.

The back of this leaflet has a long text message which is addressed to "brothers" in the People's Republic of China's Army, Navy and Air Force. It says:

Chiang Kai-shek loves you

You will find comfort and freedom in Taiwan - fly towards Taiwan!

You are not our enemies, you are our comrades.

Interestingly, Chiang is referred to as Wei da de, ("glorious,") the same term used for Mao on the mainland. The red design at the edges says:

One tells it to ten, ten tells it to a hundred; unite hearts and rescue the people.

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41185800 – Military and Civilian Life

The last leaflet using this theme is almost in the form of a cartoon with a Chinese flag at the center and along the right margin various military scenes; jet fighters, parachutists, artillery, etc. The left margin shows civilian gains; electrification, law, academics and farming. The short title on the front is:

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of the Father of our Country [Sun Yat-sen]

Build up Taiwan; Restore the Mainland

The text is in red as that signifies happiness. All the pictures portray the improvements the Nationalists have by no longer being in China.

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51111700 - Sun Yat-sen

Sun Yat-sen has often been called the father of the Chinese nation. His image appears on pre-Communist Chinese stamps, currency, and numerous leaflets during the Cold War. He was the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912 and later co-founded the Kuomintang where he served as its first leader. I found no less than six leaflets using the same format as the one above, each in a different color and with a different text. Clearly, the Nationalists believed that the comments of Sun were important and still meaningful, even in the People’s Republic of China. These leaflets are only printed on the front on a very thin tissue paper. They would be easy to disguise in a book or hide in an object and because of their light weight many could be stuffed in a small hiding place. The text is:

Mr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China

To commemorate the birth of Sun Yat-sen, the father of our country, we must overthrow the dictatorial, despotic Mao regime;

We must endeavor to achieve: a country jointly possessed by the people, an administration run jointly by the people and an economy jointly enjoyed by the people as set down in the Three Principles of the People. 

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U.S. Korean War Leaflet 7089

What I found really amazing is that the exact same image of Sun Yat-sen had been used by the U.S. Army First Radio Broadcast and Leaflet Group in September 1951. The Chinese Army was taking part in the Korean War and the U.S. propagandists wanted to use a theme that they believed would be meaningful to the Chinese troops. Some of the text on leaflet 7089 is:

Sun Yat-sen – Father of China

Forty years ago, the Chinese people, under the leadership of Dr. Sun Yat-sen wiped out the alien, despotic Manchu Dynasty and established a free democratic and independent China.

But now the Communists set up their dictorial regime and invite the Soviets as super-rulers to control China.

Under the orders of their Soviet masters the Communists force you to be cannon fodder in Korea while they massacre your people at home….

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60114500 – Chiang Kai-shek

Chiang was the political and military leader of 20th century China. He was an influential member of the Kuomintang and took Sun Yat-sen’s place in the party when the latter died in 1925. In 1928, Chiang led the Northern Expedition to unify the country, becoming China's overall leader. During WWII he was a strong ally of the United States, but some American generals like “Vinegar” Joe Stillwell so hated him for his lack of willingness to fight the Japanese and the corruption of his government that he allegedly twice plotted to assassinate the Chinese leader who he called “the Peanut.” After the retreat of the Nationalist Chinese Army to Taiwan, Chiang ruled there with an iron fist until his death in 1975. This leaflet is one of four almost identical pieces depicting Chiang, each with a different text. The text on the front is:

President Chiang calls on all Chinese domestic and overseas compatriots to unite and wholeheartedly endeavor to promote Chinese culture, and has decreed November 20 as Chinese Culture Revitalization Day.

Chinese culture is the spirit of the 5,000-year history of the Chinese people, and reasonable "Red Guards" would not allow themselves to become accomplices of Mao's communist gang in destroying the spirit of our people!

Text on the back is:

President Chiang has pointed out: the main purpose of Mao's "Great Cultural Revolution" and the "Red Guards" is to organize and use bandits and Boxer rebels in similar manner to Hitler's Nazis, to destroy Chinese culture by wiping out intellectual elements and destroying modern civilization and threatening the human race with a people's war. This is a sure sign of the accelerating decline of Mao's communist regime.

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41084600

Numerous other leaflets depict the Generalissimo in various poses. In leaflet 41084600 he smiles at the left while thousands of massed Chinese are shown at the 10-10 National day parade at the right. The leaflet title is:

President Chiang is the savior of the Chinese people.

Small print at the lower right says:

Possession of this leaflet is proof of anti-communist intent and guarantees special treatment

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41084700

Leaflet 41084700 consists of four pages and depicts Chiang in a casual pose in front of a flowering tree. The other three pages depict various Chinese political leaders. The leaflet title is:

President Chiang, leader of the Chinese people

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51111200 - A celebration of President Chiang’s Birthday

This leaflet depicts a crowd that has gathered in honor of the President’s coming birthday. The text is:

Brave anti-Communists and their children gather to express their loyalty to President Chiang Kai-shek.

On October 27 [three days before the actual birthday] brave anti-Communists and their children gathered on the plaza in front of the Presidential office to salute President Chiang Kai-shek.

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51113000 - President Chiang, Savior of the Chinese people

Another leaflet that glorifies President Chiang depicts a giant celebration with uniformed marchers and bands. The text is:

President Chiang is the Savior of the Chinese People!

Compatriots from Home and Abroad warmly celebrate President Chiang’s birthday.

On October 31, compatriots from home and abroad celebrate President Chiang’s birthday in front of the Presidential office building in Taipei.

Young students celebrate President Chiang’s birthday in front of the Presidential office building in Taipei

This leaflet is in honor of President Chiang’s 80th birthday on 31 October 1967. A friend who lived in Taiwan told me that American kids would trick or treat on 31 October for Halloween. The Chinese children saw Americans giving out candy and came knocking on the door. After the Chinese kids were given candy that said how nice it was that Americans gave out candy and celebrated President Chiang’s birthday.

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This final Chiang Kai-shek leaflet depicts him as a heroic figure pictured in the sky before his assembled adoring people while squadrons of the Chinese Air Force fly by in formation. The text is:

President Chiang, who leads the anti-Communist and National Restoration Efforts

It is worth noting that the text leaves a blank space between “President Chiang” and the rest of the line. It is not an omission, but rather a mandatory way of formatting in order to show respects to Chiang at the time of his reign.

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50906000 - Balloons

A great number of the Chinese leaflets depict people launching balloons. This seems to be a favorite way for the Chinese to celebrate, and it might also be the actual launching of propaganda balloons in some cases. In this case a group of a dozen people launch balloons, many of which seem to be printed with the Chinese Nationalist flag. The text on the front says that this is a group of young anti-communists from the Mainland who are releasing balloons to "bring the good news to compatriots on the Mainland." The banners attached to other balloons refer to the Three People's Principles of Sun Yat-sen.

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Swimmers
Note the Basketball Liner

This leaflet depicts two young Chinese men who defected to the Nationalists by swimming or floating to freedom.

The story is told in a Kings Syndicate article of 5 October 1966. John Chamberlain mentions the escapes in a story entitled "A Cheaper Way to Beat Mao," and says in part:

In Red China they are taking Mao Tse-tung's admonition to practice swimming, but some of the Chinese have been swimming to get away from Mao.

Hsu Wei-hsun made it from Kwantung Province to Portuguese Macao, a distance of three miles, on his second try. The other, Lin Yung-an, got out from Fukien Province to the free island of Quemoy by clinging to an inflated inner tube of a basketball through four miles of buffeting currents.

Hsu first tried to use an inner tire as a float but was caught and released by the Chinese border guards. He was also approached by guards in a boat at sea on his second attempt, but since he was already inside Portuguese waters, they did not detain him. 25-year-old Lin says that he swam to get away from the economic crisis and the political terror caused by the "Cultural revolution."

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60803700 - Armed Guards

There is an entire series of leaflets printed on a thin tissue-paper with blank backs that seem to be "Black propaganda." For instance, the leaflet above depicts an armed Chinese guard standing in front of barbed wire. Another in this series, leaflet 60803900, depicts a long line of Chinese peasants being led off carrying all their belongings. The text on the leaflet claims that anti-Mao rebels have seized the Baiyun airport in Guangzhou; it claims that "Public Security Brigades" are spontaneously forming, serving as catalysts for an imminent revolution. The rebels in charge of the airport are quoted as urging their countrymen everywhere to stand up to Mao and overthrow the Chinese Communist Party. The red label to the right of the soldier says "Down with Mao Zedong," the one at bottom left says "Baiyun Airport."

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60801600 - Air Letter

Three of the Nationalist Chinese leaflets are in the form of leaflet-airmail letters. In all three, the front of the leaflet appears to be an airmail letter with a red and blue border. Two of the three leaflets also depict a jet aircraft giving an even greater impression of an airmail letter. The back of the leaflets are all text. The codes on the leaflets are 60801600, 60802700 and 60803300. Each of these three leaflets attack the “Cultural Revolution,” a time of chaos in China brought on by Mao Zedong. He launched it 16 May 1966 alleging that “liberal bourgeois” elements were permeating the party and society at large and wanted to restore Capitalism. He insisted that these elements be removed through pre-revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China’s youth, who formed Red Guard groups around the country. One of the main focuses of the Cultural Revolution was the abolishment of the “Four Olds:” Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. The revolution ended about 1976 and China gradually returned to what we might call normalcy.

Leaflet 60801600 is addressed to:

City of Fuzhou
Mr. Han Xianchu, (in red) Commander of the Fuzhou Military Area Command

(It is requested that whichever of our friends finds this letter finds a way to get it to Han Xianchu himself)

The message on the back of the leaflet is:

Mr. Han Xianchu:

The struggle against Mao Zedong opened by the action of the Million Heroes [a faction of the Red Guards], led by Wuhan military region commander Chen Zaidao, is the signal for the entire PLA to openly oppose Mao; it is a challenge to Mao Zedong’s dictatorship. This event not only marks the state of mind of today’s entire “Liberation Army,” it also shakes the reactionary foundation of Mao Zedong’s rule.

Mr. Han Xianchu: The Wuhan military region commander Chen Zaidao was originally your war comrade; now he leads the “Liberation Army” to arise and publicly oppose Mao Zedong. You should respond to his action, supporting him either publicly or secretly. Only by bringing down the autocratic madman Mao Zedong can you be considered true heroes of the people.

Wishing you successful victory.

[Note: In July 1967, Chen Zaidao led the Million Heroes faction against Red Guards inspired by Xie Fuzhi. Chen’s alliance with the more conservative military establishment led him to prefer stability to the forces of the Cultural Revolution, which was entering its most chaotic period. Chen was dismissed but regained his status in 1972, after the central government had acted to curtail what it perceived as dangerous instability.]

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60803300 - Air Letter

Leaflet 60803300 is addressed to:

Xiamen, Fujian
To the Chinese Communist Army 93rd division commander Zhong Qi
 
[From] Li Yaosheng
 
It is requested that whichever of our friends obtains this document finds a way to get it to Zhong Qi himself

The letter is from Li Yaosheng, a very minor military figure, who defected to Taiwan on 1 August. It is dated only two weeks later, on the 15th. He describes the warmth of his reception in Taiwan over the last few days as "moving me almost to tears," and congratulates himself on having made the right choice. He says that given Mao's autocracy and the suffering of people on the mainland, many others would follow his example if given the chance. He says his ultimate goal is to go with President Chiang back to the mainland and liberate it, so when that day comes soon, he hopes that Zhong Qi will seize the opportunity and rebel against the Communist Party.

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60802700 - Air Letter

Leaflet 60802700 is addressed to:

Commissar Comrade He Yunhong (in red), Political Committee Member, Henan Military District, CCP

(It is requested that whichever of our friends obtains this letter finds a way to get it to Comrade He Yunhong himself)

The message on the back of the leaflet is:

Comrade He Yunhong:

Since Mao Zedong initiated the “Cultural Revolution,” and spurred thousands upon thousands of ignorant young “Red Guards” to serve as his tools of struggle, insane chaos has gripped every part of the mainland. Since this turmoil began, it has turned the entire mainland into a fearsome, chaotic hell in which each is out to protect his own.

However, due to your clear intellect, you made the sensible choice, and bravely, boldly, in a planned and organized fashion directed a unit of the Communist Army in Henan to arise and beat the Mao cliques into ignominious defeat on May 26, earning the accolades of the entire nation’s workers and farmers. This is the accomplishment of true leadership!

But the Mao clique will certainly not relax its attitude toward you. You should raise your vigilance and bravely arise. The Wuhan military region commander, comrade Chen Zaidao, leads a unit that now stands on the same battle line as you, both having opposed Mao; furthermore there are the countless anti-Mao and anti-Communist revolutionary masses, all acting as your powerful rearguard. Since ancient times, no man of heroism and virtue has ever stood alone.

You absolutely must remember that the great National Army on Taiwan is ready to come to your aid at any time – Bravely advance! Smashing Mao and extinguishing Communism, constructing a new, truly free and democratic China, is the only great path of self-preservation and the salvation of the nation.

Wishing you successful victory.

[Note: He Yunhong was another local military official who attempted to preserve stability by suppressing a Red Guard outbreak. However, his action is here willfully misinterpreted as a deeper revolt against the regime.]

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60802200 - Squad Leader Yaosheng Li

This leaflet depicts a Communist Chinese soldier at lower left and at upper right receiving his award of gold after defecting to Taiwan. The text is:

Squad leader Yaosheng Li today and yesterday

NOW, He has hope, has a future, and has received his award of gold

HIS PAST, restricted, no freedom, no hope, how sad!

Responding to the call of President Chiang, Yaosheng Li , 22 years old, from Lianjiang County of Guangdong province, was awarded five-goodness soldier for three consecutive years. He swam to Taiwan for freedom from Xiamen on 1 August 1967 due to his dissatisfaction with the tyranny of the Communist Party of China.

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51112500 - A Defector speaks

This leaflet features another young defector who found his way to Taiwan and here broadcasts to his new nation:

Patrol Leader of the ChiCom Maritime Public Security Force in Guangdong

Li Shaohua rose up and ran for Taiwan

Li Shaohua, currently 22 years old, was formerly a patrol leader of the ChiCom Maritime Public Security Force in Guangdong. He came from the town of Aotouzhen, Huiyang County, Guangdong, and graduated from a ChiCom military institution on Haitan, Huiyang. Li Shaohua was initially an active cadre in the Communist Party. Although he was raised under ChiCom education, his human conscience awoke him to the full extent of ChiCom’s tyranny. Even more, he abhors the Mao-Lin clique which instigates the “Red Guards” to devastate Chinese culture and our people. On 8 September 1966, he resolved to rise up and defect with a small boat. He went to Hong Kong, where he was transferred by the Government to Taiwan. Li Shaohua expressed that, from now on, he wishes to contribute his strength to the high cause of anti-communism and national-restoration under the leadership of President Chiang, in order to bring about the counter-offensive onto the Mainland and the salvation of our suffering compatriots.

In the photo, Martyr Li spoke determinedly: “To answer President Chiang’s great call, I will serve the state with practical actions, and render meritorious service for the salvation of our country and our compatriots on the Mainland.”

The leaflet says “Military institution on Haitan, Huiyang.” We would say “Haitan Military School of Huiyang.” “Lin” mentioned in the “Mao-Lin Clique “refers to Lin Biao.

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41185400 - Bomber flown to Freedom

This leaflet shows a Red Chinese Ilyushin Il-28 aircraft on Taiwan. The Ilyushin Il-28 jet bomber was built by the Soviet Union shortly after WWII. It was the USSR’s first such aircraft to enter large-scale production. It was also license-built in Red China as the Harbin H-5. On 11 November 1965, Chinese Air Force Captain Li Xianbin flew his bomber numbered 0195 the Hangzhou Jianqiao Air Base of Zhejiang Province to Taoyuan Air Force base on Taiwan. It was reported at the time that due to an accident on landing, Navigator Li Caiwang was injured and radio operator Lian Baosheng was killed. It took decades for the true story of the defection to come out. Only the pilot defected. The two crew members were unwilling participants. Li Caiwang was wounded during the defection and Lian Baosheng killed himself rather than go over to the Nationalists. Later it was learned that the pilot was angry that the reward money for the dead Lian Baosheng was shared with Li Caiwang.

During the Cold War years, many Nationalist pilots defected to the mainland in the name of the propaganda motto “Come back to the motherland.” At the same time, many mainland pilots defected to Taiwan to the theme of “Fly to the freedom.” During that period, the Taiwan authorities paid bars of gold to those they called the “Anti-Communism Heroes.”

This was the first Il-28 bomber to fall into allied hands. Li Xianbin was rewarded with 2000 taels (100 kg) of gold and Li Caiwang (the navigator) received 1000 taels (50 kg). There are about one half-dozen leaflets showing different views of this aircraft. It was a major story at the time. The back of the leaflet depicts various newspapers all mentioning the story of the defection.

Navigator Li Caiwang served with the Nationalist Air Force for a period and then immigrated to the United States in 1983. He ultimately returned to mainland China, denounced the Taiwan government, and was accepted back into the Communist fold. Remember, he was an unwilling participant in the defection. Pilot Li Xianbin also immigrated to the United States after retiring from the Nationalist Air Force. In 1991, believing that he might also return with impunity he flew from Canada to Shandong. He was arrested at Qingdao airport and sentenced to prison for 15 years for his treason. He was paroled in 2002 due to stomach cancer.

The title of the leaflet is:

We welcome the defections of Li Xianbin, Li Caiwang, and Lian Baosheng!

The text is:

Pilot Li Xianbin, navigator Li Caiwang, and radio operator Lian Baosheng from the 22nd Group, 8th Division of the Chinese Communist Party Air Force chose freedom and flew their Il-28 jet bomber from Zhejiang airport, safely landing at the north Taiwan air field at 1:18 p.m. on 11 November and received a warm welcome from General Xu Huansheng, the Commander of the Republic of China Air Force and the staff of the air force base. Li Xianbin stated that he hated the tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party authority and could no longer bear the persecution. He said that after Wu Faxian became the Commander of the Chinese Communist Party Air Force, he enforced the repression and persecution of the air force staff. All the Chinese Communist Party Air Force pilots are upset and hopeless and are eager to fly to the free world. Li Xianbin defected in response to the political call of President Chiang and to shake off the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party.

The photo captions are:

General Xu Huansheng, the Air Force Commander, welcomes Li Xianbin

Il-28 jet bomber piloted by Li Xianbin

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60897400 – Pilot Rewards

This leaflet is another that heralds the feats of Li Xianbin’s defection with an Ilyushin Il-28 and tells of his new life:

Those who rise up and achieve meritorious deeds will be handsomely rewarded and promoted.

In 11 November 1965, Martyrs Li Xianbin and Li Caiwang, former pilot and navigator of the 22nd Group, Eighth Air Division of the ChiCom air force respectively, rose up and came to our embrace with an Ilyushin Il-28 jet bomber departing from the Hangzhou Airport. According to the “Regulations on the preferential treatments for arriving ChiCom brethren”, the Government not only rewarded them with the promised gold, Martyr Li Xianbin was also awarded with the rank of Air Force Major; and Martyr Li Caiwang with the rank of Air Force Captain. The awards became effective on 11 November Year 54 of the Republic (1965), the day of their arrival. Both martyrs looked energetic in their new Air Force uniforms. The photo shows General Hsu Huan-sheng of the Air Force Headquarter awarding them their ranks.

After receiving their new ranks, both martyrs expressed that they will accomplish the high cause of anti-communism, national restoration and the salvation of our compatriots on the Mainland under the leadership of the great President Chiang.

The leaflet substitutes “defection” with a more positive-sounding “rise up” [for righteousness]. During WWII the Japanese were always asked to “Cease resistance,” never to “surrender." It is interesting to see the way propagandists manipulate words.

The leaflet uses “ChiCom” for “Chinese Communist” Chiang Kai-Shek’s propagandists tended to use “Communist Bandit” rather than the more neutral “ChiCom” to describe the CCP in propaganda for domestic consumption. “ChiCom” came into a more prevalent use after Chiang Ching-kuo [the son of President Chiang Kai-shek] took the leadership.

The Year of the Republic: The ROC calendar is also known as the Minguo Calendar. Its first year is 1912, the founding year of the ROC.

In Chinese, the ROC Armed Forces are known as the “National Armed Forces” or “National Army.” “Armed Forces” and “Army” are interchangeable in concise translation, since they are represented by the same character in Chinese.

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51111500 - Marriage

Many of the leaflets depict young people getting married. This seems to be a favorite theme of the Nationalists and one wonders if the Mainland Chinese were tempted to defect to Taiwan to find love and romance. The text on the front tells of the marriage of Li Caiwang, who is mentioned in the leaflet above. His wife is named Xue Xunrong. The flyer is intended to show yet another benefit of defecting to Taiwan! According to Wikipedia, Xue was Li's nurse. Remember that he was injured by Li Xianbin and tried to kill himself when he found that his pilot was defecting. She later confessed to him that she had been assigned by the KMT to spy on him. However, their love was apparently real as was their marriage.

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51212700 – APACL Conference

I selected this leaflet because of the interesting symbol at the right. I thought it must be some sort of a political group or organization. I was correct. The symbol represents the “Asian People's Anti-Communist League,” a multinational organization headed by the Republic of China. Today, it’s known as the “World League for Freedom and Democracy” and is a non-governmental organization of the United Nations. The text on the front is:

Resolution of the 12th Conference of the Asian People's Anti-Communist League:

To determinedly support the Republic of China to recover the mainland. To build a new country of freedom, democracy, and peace. To expand the Asian People's Anti-Communist League. To destroy communist tyranny.

The 12th Conference of the Asian People's Anti-Communist League was held in Seoul.

There is a long propaganda text on the back:

On 3 November 1966, the 12th Conference of the Asian People's Anti-Communist League was solemnly held in Seoul, the capital of Korea. Representatives from various Asian nations and regions along with observers from Africa and Latin America, totaling one-hundred-and-forty-four members, came together to discuss on how to defeat the invasive polities of the Communist Bloc for security and peace in Asia, as well as the salvation of all oppressed peoples of Asia under the chains of communist tyranny.

After six days of discussion, the 12th APACL Conference was successfully concluded with a manifesto issued. After reviewing international affairs of this year, the Conference confirmed that the Communist Bloc is facing decline. In particular, the shrinking economy of the ChiCom illustrates that communism has already gone bankrupted.

The improving state of the Free World is analyzed in the Manifesto. It is believed that the re-establishment of relations between Korea and Japan, the rapprochement between Indonesia and Malaysia, the United States’ determined support of Vietnam, etc., has already built new, favorable circumstances for the fight against communism in Asia. A new path has been opened for the future victory over communism in Asia. In light of the grave crisis resulting from the ChiCom’s “Cultural Revolution” and the insane “Red Guard” Movement, countries of Asia resolves to fully support the anti-Mao, anti-communist struggle of the Chinese people on the mainland, and to actively support China, Korea and Vietnam to recover their lands, in order to annihilate the communist scourge headed by the ChiCom.

The Manifesto also solemnly declared: To unite the strength against communism from peoples of the world, the countries of Europe, Americas, and Africa that attended this APACL Conference and representatives from international anti-communist organizations have joined together for the formation of a World Anti-Communist League. The World Anti-Communist Conference is set to be held in 1967 on the seat of the Government of the Republic of China – Taipei.

It should be noted that ChiCom as used in this text can mean either Chinese Communists or Communist China.

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Red Chinese pilot who defected to Taiwan

It was not only aircraft that made the leaflets. Back in November 1966 I wrote about a Red Chinese pilot who defected to Taiwan with a MiG-15. This defection inspired another leaflet shown above with the text in part:

Chinese Communist Navy Brothers: Take Liu Cheg-sze as a model. We welcome you to come over to our side.

Many of the leaflets that encouraged red Chinese pilots to defect to Taiwan had maps giving them course and distance to fly because the Chinese Communists had removed the Island of Taiwan from the maps that they were given for security reasons. These leaflets were very successful. At the Republic of China Air Force Museum at Ching Chuan on Taiwan there are five MiGs and an Aisle 28 Beetle Bomber on display, all of which defected from the mainland to Taiwan in this period.

In The Aerial Leaflet of May 1967, I wrote about a leaflet that depicted Chiang Kai-shek on one side and various routes that a Communist pilot could use to defect to Taiwan on the other. The title of that leaflet was “The Invincible Chinese Air Force on Taiwan.” The leaflet message explained the four principals of President Chiang Kai-shek. They are rewards for defections, positions for those willing to fight the Communists, protection for those who participated in anti-Communist activities and forgiveness to those who followed the Communist line in the past. The leaflet ends:

Any member of the Communist army, navy or air force who participates in an uprising against the Communist regime, or responds to the National forces counter-offensive by coming over with his military equipment shall be generously rewarded according to his merits, and shall receive the same treatment as our own government troops.

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A Nationalist Chinese Display showing the reach of its Propaganda Radio

On the subject of defections and rewards, Mark Magnier mentions them in an article about the radio war between the Chinas in “50-Year War of Words.” The Times, 2005

Like two old soldiers locked in a wrestling grip, the broadcasts press doggedly on, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, outlasting even North and South Korea's loudspeaker battle across their tense demilitarized zone. “This isn't just a broadcast,” said Cheryl Lai, president of Radio Taiwan International. “This is war. China sees it as a hot war. We see it as a cold war. But it's still a war.” Chen, the broadcaster, grows animated as she recalls her early days at the station. Recruited in 1978 at age 18, she was tested, her family and friends screened and her ideology reviewed for any hint of communist sympathy before she got a job as “professional political warfare agent,” as presenters were then called.

For most of the 1950s, '60s and '70s, propaganda airwaves in both directions were filled with hard-core screeds, slogans and denunciations. Another Taiwanese show during this period, dubbed the “Black Hole Program” by staff members, was so hush-hush that regular announcers weren’t even supposed to know of its existence. Eventually word leaked out that the project was producing fake “mainland” broadcasts, designed to trick Chinese listeners into thinking they were generated from Beijing, even as their content subtly undermined the communist regime's messages.

It is difficult to assess the number of hearts and minds converted over the years by either side through these various campaigns. Nor has much scientific effort been expended to do so. Occasionally, however, there were big propaganda coups. From the early 1960s through the early 1980s, both sides used radio broadcasts to lure fighter aircraft and ships across the strait with promises of glory and gold.

Taiwan was generally more aggressive and cumulatively threw more money at the program - paying out more than 2 1/2 tons in gold bars. Periodically, it broadcast a menu of rewards that included the number of gold bars, based on what machine the defector arrived in; how the purse would be divided if two soldiers came together; and what job was guaranteed in the Taiwanese military - always at a promotion over current Chinese rank. Both sides lured more than a dozen aircraft and several ships. The record reward on the Taiwanese side went to mainlander Sun Tianqin, who received 770 pounds of gold for flying over in a MIG-21 jet in 1972. One of the biggest purses for traveling the other way went to Taiwanese pilot Huang Zhi-cheng, who arrived in the mainland's Fujian province in 1981 in an F-5E, for which he earned the equivalent of $800,000 at today's exchange rates.

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51213800 - Happy New Year

A number of the Chinese Nationalist leaflets are very "arty." That is to say, they have various forms that make them different from the standard 3 x 6-inch U.S. leaflet. In this case, the leaflet is in the form of a Chinese screen. The two doors on the front open to show the leaflet message inside. The text on the outside basically says "Happy New Year." The propaganda message appears when one opens the screen. The title on the inside is:

To heed the glorious call of President Chiang, uniting against the Communist Party, is the only bright path to salvation for us and for the nation!

The text lists Chiang Kai-shek's three proclamations to members of the political and military establishment on the mainland, which are basically: Do not actively resist us [during our invasion to re-take the mainland] and we will not harass you; if you accept Kuomintang leadership and abide by the ten stipulations proclaimed in 1962 you will be able to keep your political or military rank; the ultimate goal is to be rid of Mao Zedong and construct a China based on the Three People's Principles of Sun Yat-sen.

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51110100 - Defecting Militia Leader

Some of the leaflets are cut in such a way that opening the leaflet (like a greeting card) exposes the picture and message inside. In this case, part of the first page has been cut out to expose some of the picture beneath on the second page. A number of leaflets were prepared like this one with different fancy designs in the cut-away portion. In this case, the text to the left of the vignette says:

Paving the way for Communist Party cadres to stride toward freedom: Chinese Communist militia leader Zhang Zongyao (Chang Tsung-yao)

The text tells of how the Communist militia officer defected to Taiwan, found a way to freedom and set an example for his fellow officers.

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51111000- Defecting Movie Star

It wasn’t only military officers that defected to Taiwan. Here, a beautiful Chinese actress smiles warmly as she carries the Nationalist flag. The text is:

Actress Wu Show-fong said after she gained her freedom: “Under the sun and blue sky [the symbol on the Republic of China flag] there is freedom and a bright future.”

Actress Wu Show-fong worked for the Communist Felung Films but escaped and was invited to visit the Republic of China and attend the Double-ten events. She was so impressed with what she observed of the happiness and prosperity the people of Taiwan and the strength of the Republic of China forces exhibited in the parade and the kindness President Chiang Kai-shek showed to her. The photograph shows how happy Wu is with a Republic of China flag held in her hand standing in front of Chiang Kai-shek’s office.

This leaflet can be used as identification to prove you are a brave anti-Communist and entitled to enjoy many special privileges. Keep it safe for future use.

As we mention again below, the “Double-Ten” (10th month, 10th day) refers to the October 10, 1911 founding of the Republic of China.

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51212600 - Newspaper Reporter Defects

I actually selected this leaflet because I like the image. Two cranes are shown flying toward the Nationalist sun on a deep blue background. The text is:

Liu Yu-shan, former Vice General Editor and Chief Correspondent of the Wenweipo Press in Hong Kong chose freedom by leaving his job as a Communist for Mao on November 11, and arrived at Taiwan safely on November 15.

Liu Yu-shan, former Vice General Editor and Chief Correspondent of the Wenweipo Press in Hong Kong extremely excited and said: “See again the sun and blue sky – I am free now.”

Note: The Wenweipo Press was a major news service believed to be run by the Chinese Communist Central Propaganda Unit.

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41186100 - Circular Leaflet

The Chinese also appear to have liked circular leaflets. When leaflets are airdropped the size and proportions are very important because the disseminator wants to know exactly how far and how fast the leaflet will drop and how much ground it will cover. Since these Chinese leaflets were carried by balloon and there was no worry about rotation and coverage, they could prepare the leaflets in any form that they wished. A second leaflet in the circular format has the Chinese character for “Happiness” on the front and a short message explaining how that happiness is to be found on Taiwan on the back.

The leaflet above again depicts Red Chinese Air Force defector Li Xianbin. The picture shows him being welcomed by throngs in Taipei. The text is:

On November 11, 1965, at 2:30, Li Xianbin heroically piloted his Ilyushin 28 no. 0195 jet bomber towards Free Taiwan.

Text on the back of the leaflet outlines the system of awards payable in gold for defectors from the mainland. The caption at the bottom notes that holding on to this leaflet can serve as proof of intent to defect.

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Propaganda Booklets

There were a great number of informative propaganda booklets sent from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China. Some are highly illustrated with patriotic themes, some explain sabotage techniques, and some just have text. The 15-page booklet above depicts Wu Shutong on the cover and is an abbreviated version of his speech given in Taiwan. Wu was a communist activist in Hong Kong who visited the Mainland numerous times between 1950 and 1966, and was given a role in various Mainland organizations, but defected to Taiwan during the Cultural Revolution. He paints a dismal picture of the oppression of intellectuals and the Party's role in fomenting riots in Hong Kong.

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60800300 - Free Chinese Industry

This leaflet depicts seven Taiwanese buses on the front and celebrates Taiwan's industry, noting that people in Taiwan are able to enjoy these fruits of production in a “modernized, fortunate and free society.” The back depicts five lines of motor scooters at the top and ten trucks at the bottom.

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Students in Free China…

In 2013, two more leaflets from Taiwan appeared. The first depicts a young Chinese couple and around them are all of the various types of careers that are open to them on Taiwan: nursing, science, dancing, drafting, teaching etc. The flyer is undated and written with full-form Chinese characters as used in Taiwan and by certain overseas Chinese, not simplified characters as used in the People’s Republic of China. The title is:

In Free China each youth has the freedom to choose a vocation.

The back is all text and says in part:

Students in Free China have the freedom to choose a course of study.

This year over 4,000 overseas Chinese have come to study at universities and secondary schools in Free China. They are now busy pursuing courses of study that they themselves chose.

Why did they all come to the free homeland, not the mainland? Because:

(1) They know that under communism they do not have the freedom to choose a course of study.

(2) They detest communist political studies.

In Free China, students have the freedom to select a course of study and the freedom of not having to receive political training.

In Free China, anyone, according to their own interests can study Chinese literature, philosophy, engineering, chemistry and if it suits their fancy they can study painting and music to prepare for a future as a painter or musician.

Without a doubt, only in an atmosphere of freedom can mature youths employ Chinese thought and culture and blossom into a fresh, bright flower.

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Yu Hung-chun

The second leaflet depicts Yu Hung-chun on the front. He was a Chinese political figure who served as premier of the Republic of China on Taiwan between 1954 and 1958. The leaflet is very long and bears his statement and response to the People’s Republic of China’s call for the "Liberation" of Taiwan

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This more historical type of leaflet shows a very regal Chinese General reading a scroll. The person depicted in the image is General Guan Yu, respected as an epitome of loyalty and righteousness whose allegiance was to Liu Bei. Guan Yu was deified by some and is still worshipped by many Chinese people today. He was captured by Cao Cao, who was the archenemy of Liu Bei. Cao Cao treated Guan well and tried to buy Guan Yu's allegiance but inevitably failed. Guan Yu is such an icon of unwavering loyalty in Chinese folk culture that, in Hong Kong, he is the deity to ask for blessing from for both the police and the criminal Triads.

The moral seems to be that one should always remain loyal even if he is in enemy territory like Guan Yu, the respected folk hero. Perhaps the leaflet designers hoped to make the Communists think that there were secret Nationalists among them who still had their hearts to the “House of Han.” During the 1980s, as part of a black operation, the Republic of China broadcast “family messages” to the mainland from Quemoy for alleged Nationalist agents. There probably were no such agents, and the real purpose of those broadcasts was to keep the other side on guard against supposed enemies. Perhaps this leaflet had the same purpose. The text is:

Loyal and righteous for a thousand years

My body is in the camp of Cao Cao

But the Royal House of Han remains in my heart

Miniature Leaflets

Many of the leaflets are quite small; just little strips of paper. The three leaflets we depict and show here are all printed on one side only, and can easily be hidden on the person of the finder, and perhaps later stuck on a wall or a window.

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Image courtesy of www.war-images.com

The first leaflet is in the form of a pennant with the text:

Soldiers under Mao Tse-tung and under Chu Teh's command!
We offer you the opportunity to come to freedom from the Communist tyranny.

Chu Teh (Zh D) (1886 - 1976) was a Chinese Communist military leader and statesman. He is regarded as the founder of the Chinese Red Army (the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army) and the tactician who engineered the revolution from which emerged the People's Republic of China.

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Image courtesy of www.war-images.com

The second leaflet depicts skulls and bones and the text:

You should not shed blood for the benefit of the Russians.

You should not die for the sake of Mao Tse-tung and Chu Teh.

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Image courtesy of www.war-images.com

The third leaflet depicts the flag of nationalist China and the text:

The only way to a happy life is to surrender to the Nationalist Armed Forces.

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Bookmarks

As mentioned in several quotes above, the Nationalist Chinese regularly sent various gifts and trinkets to mainland China by balloon. We depict one of their propaganda bookmarks above. A bookmark is a strip or band of some material, such as paper, leather or ribbon, put between the pages of a book to mark a place. Psychological operators have used it on numerous occasions to carry their propaganda messages because the bookmarks tend to be saved and placed in a book and every time the reader opens the book the message is the first thing that is seen. PSYOP Bookmarks have been used in Vietnam, Korea and by the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan. The text is:

Our leader is the anti-Communist, Russia-resisting, prescient Great Thinker.

(Issued May 20, 1954)

Other bookmarks were all text and had messages such as:

The League of the Chinese College Students urges the youth on the Chinese mainland to rise up and overthrow the tyrannical Communist regime.

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Bookmark to Chinese Communist Pilots

One green bookmark has the symbol of the Chinese Air Force at top center and the text:

Chinese Communist Air Force Brothers:

MiG 0651 has already flown to freedom here in Taiwan.  You only have to be decisive, have courage, get free from your shackles, and attain freedom.

We know this bookmark was printed about 1961 because what the Nationalists did not tell their Communist brothers was that on 12 January 1960 Wang Wenping, flying a MiG-15 Fagot (0651), attempted to defect from the People's Republic of China, but the aircraft exploded on landing at Ilan, Taiwan.

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Another Bookmark to Chinese Communist Pilots

A white all-text bookmark says: 

Defect with your aircraft and fly to Taiwan and receive 3 Main Guarantees:

1. Guarantee your personal safety.
2. Guarantee a large reward.
3. Guarantee freedom to choose an occupation

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Bookmark Bearing the Chinese Flag

Follow the example of Wuchang and raise a righteous revolt.
Down with the tyrannical communist government!

One of the most popular types of bookmarks depicted the Chinese flag at the top. I have seen six of them written with the traditional full-form Chinese characters still used in Taiwan and not the simplified characters as used in the People’s Republic of China.  This indicates that the bookmarks were produced in the early years of the Republic of China government on Taiwan.  Some of the texts are:

Remember Sun Yat-sen, destroy collectivization of farms. Carry out the Principle of People’s Livelihood!

Remember Sun Yat-sen, drive out the Russian bandits. Carry out the Principle of Nationalism!
 
Study the Hsin-hai Revolution. Fervently support the "Oppose Communism, Resist Tyranny" Movement!
 
Celebrate the Double-Tenanniversary of the Republic, Remember Sun Yat-sen, Support President Chiang Kai-shek!
 
Celebrate Double-Ten the real anniversary of the Republic. Rescind the false Ten-One anniversary of the Republic!

[Notes]

“Wuchang” is the city on the Yangtze River where the Revolution of October 10, 1911 started.

“The People’s Livelihood” is one of Yat-sen’s Three Principles of the People. The others being Democracy and Nationalism.

“Hsin-hai” refers to the year 1911 in a traditional Chinese dating system.

The “Double-Ten” (10th month, 10th day) refers to the October 10, 1911 founding of the Republic of China.

The “Ten-One” (10th month, 1st day) commemorates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949.

Before I leave the subject of bookmarks I want to show this last one which is in the form of a tri-fold with a message at the left and right on one side and the image of a fish on the other. It is one of the most artistic and largest bookmarks that I have seen. The fish (y) in the center is a homophone for "surplus" and therefore equates to “plenty” much like a cornucopia would indicate abundance in Western culture. The sayings are all Chinese proverbs and would be familiar and would give the reader a good feeling. The text is:

An auspicious surplus

Open the storehouses and relieve disaster? Wear warm clothes and eat till you're full

The back of the leaflet has the image of a bat above the text. The symbol of a bat is used because the Chinese word for “bat” is pronounced "f;" the same as the word for good fortune.  The Chinese love puns and wordplay.  The coming of spring is associated with the Chinese (lunar) New Year.  During this period a paper such as this, with a bat symbol, would have to have originated in Taiwan since it would be considered superstition.  On the Mainland superstition was out and one must be guided by the Thoughts of Mao. The text on the other side of the folded bookmark is:

Welcome spring and receive good fortune

Open a book and be extremely lucky.

The “book” in the text is literally a scroll.  The connotation is that one unrolls the scroll and immediately comprehends; by extension one has good fortune in whatever one does since the ancient scrolls were very difficult to read, especially by the common people.

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Nationalist Chinese Matchbooks

In times of war or in nations with a great deal of poverty the most common and mundane items become scarce. History has shown that matches are such an item. They are hard to find for civilians, and even more difficult for soldiers and guerillas in the field who need to light a cigarette.  They are also a nice medium for propaganda since it is very easy to place a message on the cover of the book. Starting with WWII, these matchbooks have been very popular as propaganda gifts. Japanese aircraft dropped matchboxes over the Philippine Islands in 1942 as part of their policy to control Asia under the "Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere.” The labels on the boxes contained vivid images and anti-American, anti-British, and anti-Chinese text. At the same time, the Americans dropped matchboxes depicting a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur and his famous promise, “I shall return.”

During the Cold War, anti-Communist organizations in the West printed small gummed labels showing a Soviet woman holding a placard that read, “The Motherland calls you! Serve the people, and not regime.” These labels were meant to be stuck on Russian matchboxes. In 1963, Chinese nationalist aircraft from Taiwan dropped propaganda matchbooks on Mainland China depicting Chiang Kai-shek and the Republic of China flag.  The matchbook at the left has the text:

Our national flag.

 Our leader, the anti-Communist, nation-reviving Chiang Kai-shek. 

The matchbook at the right has the text: 

The flame of freedom

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Nationalist China Cigarette Pack

Even more important that the matchbooks were the packs of cigarettes ballooned to Mainland China by the Nationalists. Cigarettes are always in demand. Cigarettes have been used for propaganda since WWII. The Office of Strategic Services in Bern, Switzerland prepared cigarettes that contained miniature copies of the American propaganda newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung (“The Frankfurt Newspaper”). During the “Phony War” period in 1939 German troops opposite Strasbourg sent cigarettes by balloon to the French troops. During the Korean War the United States dropped packets of tobacco with cigarette papers printed with a propaganda text. During the Vietnam War U. S. Marines placed Chieu Hoi (Open Arms) leaflets and a cigarette in plastic bags and floated them up the mouths of rivers during evening tides. During the Cold War in the 1960s the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan often sent cigarettes to the people on Mainland China by balloon from Quemoy and Matsu Islands. The cigarettes were a New Year’s gift to the people of China. The text is a rhyme which roughly translates to: 

As you have a cigarette, think to yourself

For whom am I striving so hard?

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An Aerial Food or Object Bag

We mentioned above that on some occasions (such as natural disasters), Taiwan would send food to the mainland. We depict one of the small bags that were filled with rice or other objects and sent to the Chinese people. The text is:

A Bag of Aid for our Mainland Compatriots.

In the "Old society" of the past there was food and clothing.
Under socialism food and clothing are scarce.
Under communism there is NO food or clothing.
Destroy the Communist Party and everyone will have plenty!

A gift from the Central Command of the Air Force of the Republic of China.

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Food Bags

This leaflet depicts Nationalist Chinese women filling bags that are marked with the Chinese flag and text:

Brothers both overseas and domestic all care about our mainland compatriots.
Food and clothing are being prepared for delivery to people enduring hardship on the mainland).

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Magnolia Leaves Leaflets

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Former Psywar Society President Reggie Auckland
holds samples of the leaves from his collection

Probably the strangest of all the Nationalist leaflets are these propaganda pieces made from actual Magnolia tree leaves. The only comment I ever found on them was in an old issue of The Falling Leaf.

These are real magnolia leaves which have been subjected to a chemical process to remove all the juice and sap and leave only the skeleton veins. They have been colored according to the seasons, and overprinted with an anti-Communist slogan or message.

Airplanes of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Air Force took off from bases in Taiwan and dropped these leaves in 1956 from a very high altitude over Red China. They were carried hither and thither by air currents until they touched down perhaps hundreds and hundreds of miles from where they were released.

Taiwan or mainland China. The text implies that it is Chairman Mao who is to blame. The barely visible text is:

Who separates our family?

A second magnolia leaf leaflet is colored green. It depicts a map of China (including Mongolia) with the flag of Taiwan superimposed. Text beneath the map is:

Who betrays our country and the people?

A third leaf is also colored green and depicts what appear to be a young Chinese boy and girl reading a book. There are several Chinese characters above them, but they are almost impossible to read. The two characters at right were printed over the main vein of the leaf. The characters at left (the second part of the slogan) say:

Repay the Country

The translator remarked that this leaflet seems to be an incredibly expensive use of resources- from the labor of leaf-etching to the cost of jet fuel - for something that could so easily get lost among the other leaves! I reminded him that in the 1960s the Nationalists were flying over China and dropping propaganda and other items anyway, and the weight of the leaves would probably be less than the same propaganda printed on paper. When you get into propaganda you will find every now and then none of it makes any sense. Don't always look for logic. A PSYOP director once told me, "When my guys come up with some crazy idea I often go along with it. I don't want to stifle their creativity." You want to drop soccer balls with friendly messages from the sky.you want to broadcast the sounds of tigers to the enemy in the jungle.you want to print an enemy leader's face on toilet paper. Why not?

A final word about Nationalist Chinese dissemination of leaflets by balloon. While talking to a U.S. Army Special Forces officer recently he mentioned that the Chinese had sent some leaflets against the PRC from the Mediterranean. That did not seem to make any sense so I asked why in the world they would do that when they were just a short distance from mainland China. He answered:

The Taiwanese were shooting for the deeper areas of the People’s Republic of China and that’s why they would launch from the Mediterranean. It’s all about seasonal winds and ballast on the balloons. I found this out by accident when one of their balloons came down in Israel. Come to think of it, any nation with a merchant marine force, big ships and large decks could launch big balloons.

Black Bat Squadron Patch

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The Chinese designed this Black Bat patch about 1958 that depicts the Big Dipper
(they only flew at night) and the red border symbolizes the “Red Curtain” that they penetrated.

Although I have only mentioned leaflets from Taiwan that were disseminated by balloon in this article, many were actually dropped by aircraft over mainland China too. Chris Pocock mentions this top secret operation in The Black Bats: CIA Spy Flights over China from Taiwan 1951-1969, Schiffer Publishing, 2010. He says that the 34th “Black Bat” squadron was a joint venture between the U.S. and Taiwan, and specifically between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Republic of China Air Force. It was a U.S. sponsored program which did 585 Cold War over-flights of Communist China in 14 years, in which over a 100 aircrew lost their lives.

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An old Cold War news photograph dated 2 December 1952 depicts Chinese soldiers loading a Nationalist C-46 aircraft with propaganda leaflets. The caption is:

PAPER BOMBARDMENT TEAM of Nationalist Chinese loads propaganda, food and clothing for dropping on Red China.

China’s radar curtain. Although the radar appears more effective this year, forcing the C-47 pilots to thread their way through coastal batteries to reach inland provinces, there are still no attacks by Red Chinese fighter planes. The propaganda leaflets show mainland Chinese being pulled apart by Communist directives, for example. Leaflets dropped with bags of rice show people living bountifully on Formosa. Even toys, cloth, needles, thread, socks and towels are in the packages parachuted down.

How effective is this paper bombardment? Refugees who have managed to find their way across the border to Hong Kong reports that Red newspapers warn the people that each package is filled with “germs and poison.” So far the Reds have not retaliated by dropping propaganda over Formosa. Against Quemoy however, in addition to shells, they frequently loose kites with painted messages. One such kite landed recently with the professionally painted wording: “We will liberate Taiwan (Formosa). Over it was written, apparently by the man who flew the kite, “We will not liberate Formosa.”

In November 1952, an American C-47 that was dropping agents over Manchuria was shot down. Three of the American crew were killed, but two “kickers” in the back that were throwing bundles of leaflets out the door survived and were captured. President Harry S. Truman decreed that if there were going to be clandestine flights over mainland China, Americans would not be involved. Polish and Czechoslovakian crews were used; and later it became a Nationalist Chinese operation. Chiang Kai-shek liked this idea because it implied that he had the right to fly over his own nation. He intended to return to China eventually. The Chinese Air Force Special Mission Group was formed in 1953 and the CIA provided two B-17 heavy bombers for dropping agents and two A-26 light bombers for dropping leaflets. Later, P2V Neptunes were added to the inventory. The mission of the "Black Bats" were to infiltrate intelligence agents and paramilitary teams, to drop psychological warfare leaflets, and to collect electronic intelligence on China's radar systems. An average mission crew might consist of a pilot, a co-pilot and command pilot, two navigators, a flight engineer, two electronic warfare officers, a radio operator listening to the Chinese air defenses, two kickers, two parachute dispatch officers responsible in the back for pushing out the leaflets and the very occasional agents who were dropped.

Chinese Communist leaflets

As I said earlier, just as the nationalists were sending leaflets balloons to the mainland, the favor was being returned by the People’s Republic of China when the winds were favorable. The Communist leaflets are rarer because the government on Taiwan and the off-shore islands had them picked up and destroyed immediately. The leaflets are larger than American leaflets because they were not meant to be dropped by aircraft. None of the leaflets bear code numbers. There are numerous reports of the Red Chinese balloon and artillery leaflets falling on Taiwan and the outer islands. One person who had been assigned to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing as a C-130 master crew chief told me:

While living in Taiwan in April, 1972, at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base (CCK), I noticed floating over the rice field bordering the housing compound what appeared to be a weather balloon. It came down on the empty playground directly in front of our house. The curious object touched the ground, bounced up and down once or twice before leaving a parcel. It was a propaganda balloon launched by Communist China. Leaflets were bundled inside the dropped package that broke partially open when the balloon hit the ground. There were four different two-sided color photographs of smiling Red Chinese citizens. Their message gave a favorable picture of life in China. I immediately called the Taiwanese military police, but before they arrived, I put a few aside, as I knew that this was a unique experience and I wanted to be able to say later that I was the recipient of Communist Chinese propaganda. It would not have been legal to have had them, nor legal to leave the country of Taiwan with them at that time. But, I did.

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Miner’s Daughter

One leaflet in the bundle depicted three photographs of a female Chinese pilot on the front. It preaches the equality of women in the People’s Republic of China. The text is:

MINER’S DAUGHTER – SPREADING HER WINGS AND SOARING.

Yur-hua Xie, a female flyer of the Pilot School of the Chinese people’s Liberation Army, was born in the home of a common miner. Her grandfather was a permanent laborer for a landlord all his life, until he died from work exhaustion. Her father started his hard work in the mines at the age of 15, leading a life worse than that of an animal.

After the liberation, Xie’s family belonged to the new prestigious “working class.” In 1968, Xie had the honor of joining the People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese Communist Party sent her to pilot school to study. She studied hard and trained diligently. After over a year’s time, Ms. Xie could already pilot an airplane, soaring into the “vast blue yonder” over her Motherland.

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A Soldier-Author, Yibao Gao

A second leaflet in the bundle depicts a Chinese soldier studiously writing. On the back of the leaflet there are three photographs of the same man as he talks to a factory worker, converses with fellow soldiers, and meets with old friends. The propaganda text explains that the most common laborer can do well under Communism. This propaganda text is rather long so I will just translate the first few paragraphs:

A SOLDIER-AUTHOR, YIBAO GAO

Yibao Gao grew up as a child laborer. Later, under the guidance of Chairman Mao’s Revolutionary Policies for Culture and Arts, Yibao matured, from a farm boy taking care of pigs in a village into a literary soldier of the Communist working class.

In 1947, Gao joined the People’s Liberation Army. While being a soldier and carrying out his active soldier’s duties, he still worked hard creating literary work and struggling to overcome his literary difficulties resulting from his lack of education. After over a year’s time, he finished his autobiographical novel “Gao Yibao.” The novel accused the landlords of the old era of their cruel oppression of the Chinese working class and strongly charged the Japanese Imperialists of their bloody invasion of China. It also enthusiastically praised the Revolution and class struggle of the people under the wise leadership of the Communist Party and Chairman Mao…

The captions for the photos on the back are:

Gao Yibao visits the glass manufacturing factory where he worked some 30 years ago as a child laborer. Here he is listening sincerely to a worker.

Gao is deep within the military conversing intimately with fellow soldiers.

Gao returns to his hometown and interviews the old laborers who he worked with for the same landlords many years ago. He happily talks with them about the new changes in their hometown and listens to their opinions of his work.

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Mr. Song Weibin and his family

A third leaflet shows a Chinese man and his family with a group of people. He has defected from the Nationalist Government and returned to the People’s Republic of China. The leaflet shows that defectors can travel both to the East and to the West and that those who return to the Mainland are welcomed. The text is:

The Former Trade Commissioner of Chiang's Pseudo-Embassy in Australia Forsakes darkness for Light

Mr. Song Weibin and his family return to Beijing

Mr. Song Weibin, encouraged by the excellent situation at home and abroad, cast off the reactionary rule of the Chiang Kai-shek clique, forsaking darkness for light [A standard euphemism for defecting], and decided to return to the socialist motherland. On the evening of March 3, 1973, he and his wife, son and daughter, a party of four, arrived in Beijing by airplane.

The photograph shows Mr. Song Weibin and his family arriving in Beijing, receiving a warm welcome from responsible parties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, and the Beijing Revolutionary Committee.

The back is a short quote from Mao Tse-tung:

Those who have gone overseas, if willing to come back, are welcome. If they come back they will be treated with courtesy.

Mao Tse-tung

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Research Scientist Zeng Chengkui

The fourth and final Red Chinese leaflet dropped in the Taiwan front yard depicts a scientist reading at the center and with two other people below. The background is an ocean green and implies seaweed and sea life. The text is:

Ocean Research Scientist Zeng Chengkui

Zeng Chengkui is the current deputy director of the China Academy of Sciences Research Institute. In 1946, with the enthusiastic aspiration to develop the Fatherland’s oceanographic research project, he returned to the Fatherland from America, however there was no chance of these aspirations succeeding before liberation. After liberation, in the Communist Party, under the leadership of Chairman Mao, intellectuals were given full play and our nation’s oceanographic research project advanced on all levels. Today Zeng Chengkui’s dream of several decades to create a system of shallow water farming has been realized. He can take pride in his accomplishments with the Fatherland’s oceanographic research project.

The captions to the photographs are:

Zeng Chengkui at his studies

Zeng Chengkui together with kelp cultivating technicians examine kelp growing conditions.

The back is a copy of a handwritten appeal dated December 1972 by the marine biologist Zeng, known in the West as C.K. Tseng, to people in Taiwan's scientific and technological circles. He tells about how after he was educated in California he returned to China, remained there after the revolution, and how well he has fared under the Communist government. It's an invitation to join him and aid the motherland. The People’s Republic of China had been admitted to the United Nations in October 1971, so it is possible that the Communists hoped that Taiwan's sudden diplomatic isolation might have made Taiwanese scientists think about shifting to the newly recognized power.

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The People’s Liberation Army…

We mention U.S. Army Sergeant Fynis Eugene Briddle who was stationed on Quemoy in 1971 above. While there, he picked up a number of Communist Chinese leaflets. These are a bit more worn than the Taiwan leaflets that dropped in front of a house and were found immediately. These leaflets were on the ground for hours, days and perhaps weeks. The first leaflet depicts two People’s Republic of China soldiers standing on the beach watching the ocean for Nationalist Chinese (or perhaps American) invaders. At their left is a quote from Mao:

The People's Liberation Army is always a fighting force.

The text at right, abbreviated a bit, says:

Heroic soldiers who guard the socialist motherland's frontiers keep Mao's dictum in mind at all times, ready to slay any enemy who dares to encroach.

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The back depicts five photographs of Communist Chinese soldiers ready for battle. The text is:

Top Left:Qin Hsiuming a “five good soldier” from a People’s Liberation Army flamethrower unit, bearing a firm grasp of the enemy, sharpens his war fighting skills with determination.

Top Right: Unit leader Wang Zhanshan, a Heroic warrior of the People’s Liberation Army, involves himself with the lowest ranking members of his unit and participates in military training with the war fighters.

Bottom Left:With vigilance heightened one hundred fold, People’s Liberation Army commanders and fighters of a patrol boat unit patrol the homeland’s coastal defenses.

Bottom Center:Chairman Mao’s thought is the guiding compass in building our military. A unit in Wuhan reads the works of Chairman Mao.

Bottom Right: Pilots from a People’s Liberation Army Air Force unit exchange notes in a post-flight debriefing.

Note: The “Five Good Soldier” skills are: good ideology; good military skills; good working style; good fulfillment of duty and good physical training

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The people of Xinjiang…

The second leaflet shows people of different ethnicities at a commune in Xinyuan County (close to the border with Kazakhstan) at a meeting to discuss Mao’s “Three Constantly Read Articles,” (“In Memory of Norman Bethune,” “Serve the People,” and “The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains.”). The text is:

The people of Xinjiang of every ethnicity have boundless love for the thought of Mao Zedong.

At the left is a patriotic song with musical notation. The song is “Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman.” The helmsman, naturally, is Mao.

Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman,

The growth of all living beings depends on the sun.
Rain and dew nourish young seedlings,
Conducting revolution depends on Mao Zedong Thought.
Fish cannot leave the water,
Melons cannot leave the vine.
The revolutionary masses cannot do without the Communist Party.
Mao Zedong Thought is a sun that never sets.

The back of the leaflet depicts a group of women looking at a photograph of Chairman Mao and two photographs of similar native people reading his little red book. The text is:

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The Masses are the Makers of History...

The masses are the makers of history. The masses grasp Chairman Mao’s thought, and become the most intelligent, the most courageous, and exhibit boundless strength!

Lin Biao

Left: An elderly Uighur woman carefully examines a portrait of Chairman Mao she is holding with both hands

Center: Xinjiang, Shanshan County, members of the Dongfeng Commune study Chairman Mao’s writings.

Right: An exchange of Chairman Mao’s thought among Xinjiang women militia members in Xinjiang, Baicheng County.

Note: Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War. Lin was the general who commanded the decisive Liaoshen Campaign and Pingjin Campaign, co-led the Northeast battlefield army of the People's Liberation Army into Beijing, and crossed the Yangtze River in 1949. Lin abstained from taking an active role in politics after the civil war, but became instrumental in creating the foundations for Mao Zedong’s cult of personality in the early 1960s. Lin was rewarded for his service to Mao by being named Mao's designated successor during the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 until his death.

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American Imperialists must get out of Taiwan

The cartoonish Communist Chinese leaflet depicts mainland China as a great red wall and Taiwan as a tiny island with a soldier speaking into a microphone in front of an overstuffed wealthy American. Like almost all of the Communist leaflets we depict in this section, it was found outside his Quemoy lodging by U.S. Army Sergeant Briddle in 1971. Some of the text is:

American Imperialists must get out of Taiwan

Taiwan is part of China's territory. The Chinese must liberate Taiwan

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News of a Cambodian Communist Victory

This leaflet was fired at Quemoy in early 1971. It is very strange. Instead of telling of the wonders of mainland China, it mentions an alleged Cambodian Communist attack against the Americans. Perhaps it is just to point out to the Nationalist Forces that the Americans are weak and cannot protect them. The front of the leaflet depicts a destroyed fuel depot and ammunition dump and a brief congratulatory note signed by Chairman Mao. The text is:

You fought well! You have driven the most heinous thing of the world, the US Empire, into desperation and unbearable embarrassment under extraordinarily difficult conditions by your own strength. It is a great victory: Congratulatory message to Chairman Nguyen Huu Th;.

(Caption left) Explosions occurred continuously in the fuel storage area in Pochentong Airport, sending blazes sky high.

(Caption right) The munition depot in Pochentong Airport was utterly destroyed.

The back of the leaflet tells of the attack on the airport. The text is:

Kampuchean National Liberation Armed Forces Fiercely attack Pochentong Airport,

Phnom Penh

Kampuchean National Liberation Armed Forces fiercely attacked Pochentong Airport in Phnom Penh at the midnight of 21 January, annihilated a battalion of enemies guarding the airport and virtually all pilots and technicians, killed and wounded 750 enemies in total, destroyed and damaged more than 90 enemy aircraft of all types, destroyed more than 100 military vehicles, and destroyed 9 warehouses storing more than 10000 tons of munition and fuel. They dealt a heavy blow to US Imperialism and its lackey the Lon Nol puppet clique.

Aircraft hungers and wreckage of enemy planes in Phnom Penh Pochentong Airport destroyed by Kampuchean National Liberation Armed Forces.

In Air War Vietnam Plans and Operations 1969 – 1975, Elizabeeth Hartsook and Stuart Slade mention this very attack. The authors actually depict this Chinese Army leaflet and say that it "somewhat exaggerates the attack":

On 22 January 1971 an enemy sapper attack destroyed or damaged 69 aircraft (52 Cambodian and 17 South Vietnamese)…To countteract this threat of an enemy takeover, the administration during January and February, directed expanded U.S. air operations….

My translator said in regard to this note:

This leaflet was disseminated in 1971, which coincided with the year Taiwan got expelled from the UN. The Taiwanese society at the time was panic-stricken because of that and the Communist triumphs in SE-Asia. Everyone was beginning to believe that Taiwan was about to be invaded and conquered. It's worth noting that the Republic of China domestic propaganda at that time paid a lot of attention to the war in Vietnam, stressing that both Vietnam and Taiwan were “forsaken” by the US in their fight against communism. This leaflet touting a Communist victory was possibly meant to target and exaggerate that scare.

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The Golden Star Production Brigade

This Red Chinese leaflet was found on Quemoy after a shelling in 1971. On one side it has two photographs of Chinese agricultural workers. The text is:

The Golden Star Production Brigade Eagerly Advances toward Agricultural Mechanization

90% of the brigade's farms have achieved mechanized cultivation

The Golden Star production brigade of Cangqian Commune in Yuhang County, Zhejiang Province follows Chairman Mao's teaching in “The Fundamental Way Out for Agriculture Lies in agricultural mechanization.” It sets Dazhai as the model. It relies upon its own strength and strives hard to ceaselessly advance toward agricultural mechanization. In just a few years, this brigade has successively procured more than 40 hand-tractors, electrical tractors, electrical water pumps, dehullers, and electrical plows, etc, supported by its ever-growing collective economic strength. There have already been more than 90% of the farms in the brigade achieving mechanized cultivation.

Members of the Golden Star Brigade maintain the tractors skillfully, readying them for cultivation in spring on time.

Commune members turn on the hand tractors and rush to the first line in spring agricultural production.

Note: Dazhai was a village built on rough terrain. The villagers were said to have achieved great agricultural and engineering feats: built aqueducts, water reservoirs, and moved hills all by themselves, without any help from the government. In 1963, Mao made it a model of self-reliance, political zeal and self-sacrifice. “Learn from Dazhai in Agriculture” was a popular slogan until the end if the Cultural Revolution.

On the other side it depicts three photographs of Chinese industrial workers. The text is:

Eagerly Support Agricultural Production in spring and Strive for Bigger Harvests This Year

Province and county-owned factories all across the country follow the great teaching of the great leader Chairman Mao “For the people, get ready for war and get ready for famine.” They strive viciously for the Revolution and speed up production vigorously. They produce numerous agricultural machines and chemical fertilizers for the vast rural areas of our country and eagerly support the agricultural production in spring, making contribution in gaining a bigger harvest this year.

An agricultural machine factory in Fankou, Echeng County, Hubei Province produces large quantities of motors, providing power in irrigation and drainage for the agricultural production in spring.

The transport department in Dongguan County, Guangdong Province eagerly organizes manpower to delivery large quantities of chemical fertilizers to rural villages on time. It has been widely praised by the peasants.

The Second Agricultural Machines Factory in Changsha County, Hunan Province has built large quantities of powered rice planters before the spring sowing. It has eagerly lent its strength for the cultivation in spring.

Note: the “war” here refers to an anticipated war with the Soviets, not the Kuomintang. After the border conflicts with the Soviets in 1969 it was widely believed that the USSR was going to invade China. Extensive war preparations were made all across the country. It is surprising that the Chinese leaders acknowledged the crack within the communist bloc in the leaflet to the Nationalist Chinese.

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Ex-Nationalist Military Defector

The Red Chinese leaflet depicts a young Nationalist defector standing on a bridge on the front and the back. The text on the front is:

Mao's Quotation: The Chinese people have the aspiration and the ability. We must reach and exceed the advanced level of the world in the near future.

Ex-Nationalist Military Defector – Chou Chen Te Visits the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge.

Chou Chen Te was a former lieutenant and platoon commander of the 4th Company, 2nd Battalion, 275th Regiment, 92th Division of the Nationalist Army. On 3 August, 1969, he swam across from Quemoy and surrendered to the Motherland because he was unhappy with the US Imperialists occupying Taiwan and the Chiang Kai-Shek clique’s dark reign over Taiwan. He has now been resettled to a city in his home province of Hubei for work.

The photo shows Chou Chen Te on a bridgehead of the Nanjing Yangtze Bridge

The text on the back is:

Ex-Nationalist Defector Chou Chen Te Visits Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

A brief introduction of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is one of the largest bridges over the Yangtze designed, engineered, and installed by our country. It was completed and opened on 1 October, 1968. Its upper road deck is 4500 meters long in total, 19 meters wide; the middle railway deck is more than 6700 meters long in total and it is double-tracked; great ships of tens of thousands of tons can sail beneath it freely. There are four bridgeheads at both ends of the bridge, each a great tower as high as 70 meters, higher than the 24-stories Shanghai International Hotel (Park Hotel Shanghai). These bridgeheads were built in just 28 days in average. It fully illustrates the great victory resulting from the “going all out, aiming high, and achieving greater, quicker, better and more economical results in building socialism” general lines advocated by Chairman Mao.

Chou Chen Te took a photograph on the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

My translator found a small news blurb that seems to indicate that this defector later became the chief director of a chemical engineering corporation in the People’s Republic of China.

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Every ethnic group in our country loves Mao

The first leaflet depicts Urgar peasants on the front admiring a photo of Mao. The text is:

Every ethnic group in our country loves the great leader chairman Mao

Poor Uygur peasants in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, gather and share thoughts about the happiness chairman Mao brings them. During the climax of the collective farming movement, Chairman Mao wrote a letter to the village, motivating them to follow the socialist path.

Danzen, the Vice Dean of the Revolutionary Committee “Leap Forward” people’s commune in Lhasa, is a role model female Tibetan party member. She blissfully met Chairman Mao twice. The picture shows Danzen studying the work of Chairman Mao with a commune member.

The back of the leaflet depicts farmers working in the field. The text is:

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is a strong thrust towards our social productivity

Commune members of Xuchang, Henan province, are drying corn in the sun. Commune member of Zhengding, Hebei province, are studying Chairman Mao's quotations on the threshing ground.

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If you don’t win, don’t come back!

This little Communist Chinese cartoon leaflet shows an American Army officer giving orders to a soldier with a helmet that says “U.S. Puppet Army.” One assumes he is ordering an attack on Mainland China. The second panel depicts two explosions. The final panel shows both of the Americans headless. The text is:

If you don’t win, don’t come back!

Boom. Bang.

Nobody can see anything now

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Whose economy is prospering in Taiwan?

I saved this “ratty” Communist leaflet for last. The explosion that blew this leaflet from the shell was not kind. The image is an American tank labeled United States - Japan Monopoly Capital crushing a factory on Taiwan. Behind the American driver, a Japanese militarist with a flag saying economic cooperation smiles in glee. In front of the tank, a person I believed to be another Japanese ex-militarist waves a flag. My translator believes it is Chiang Kai-shek with a dog-skin plaster on his head, a joke referring to Chiang as a Japanese man. The sentence in front of the tank reads Bureaucratic Capital. The sentence beneath the tank reads National Industry of Taiwan.

The tank is crushing the factory of the Wei-Shin company. Wei-Shin had been the world's leading producer of Monosodium Glutamate which accounted for around 30% of Taiwan's chemical exports. Because of the U.S,-Japanese trade cooperation, Wei-Shin could not compete with other Asian MSG producers and was forced to close down in 1965. The direct competitor of the bankrupted company is the “Wei-Chuan Food Corporation” which has a Japanese background. The sentence on the right reads:

Whose economy is prospering in Taiwan?

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We must liberate Taiwan!

The leaflet above is from a large set of perhaps a two dozen or more entitled “Vigilant to defend the Motherland” printed in the form of propaganda postcards. They all show patriotic scenes and were published in 1970 by the Anhui Province Revolutionary Committee. This was part of the Cultural Revolution where Mao turned the Chinese youth against their party leaders and teachers and basically tightened his hold on the entire nation, destroying any possible political or philosophical enemies. Notice that the pilot in the picture holds forth Mao’s “Little Red Book.” The text on the card numbered 20 in the set is:

We must liberate Taiwan!

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A Revolution is an Insurrection…

This leaflet was one of a series called “Battle Posters.” It depicts Chairman Mao with his Red Guards advancing in the background. The leaflet was printed in Hankou about 1968. The text is:

A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.

Mao Zedong

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Museum of Tyrolean Regional Heritage

A 2016 exhibition of political cartoons grouped and presented according to their political themes. Notice several Nationalist Chinese leaflets used with permission from this article.

I don’t believe that anyone has written an English-language article discussing the Cold War propaganda used by the Republic of China against the People’s Republic of China. The author hopes this story will stir some debate and encourages anyone with comments or additional information to write to him