Shenzhen Museum #3 – Modern Shenzhen 现代深圳 (1839 – 1949)

The Rise of the Communist Party (1921-1949)

In 1921, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded in Shanghai and in 1924, CPC Bao’an County Branch was setup.

The First Congress of the CPC Bao’an County Branch

The diorama depicted the meeting of the first Congress of the CPC of the Bao’an County Branch of CPC. The first meeting took place on 23 Feb 1928 in Chen Ancestral Hall 松岗燕川村素白陈公祠 with 19 members of CPC and saw Huang Xuezeng 黄学增 (1900-1929) appointed as the first Secretary 支部书记.

Guangzhou-Hong Kong General Strike 省港大罢工

The Bao’an CPC Branch played a logistical role in organising the world-shocking Guangzhou-Hong Kong General Strike 省港大罢工 (Jun 1925 – Oct 1926). This is the only time when the CPC and the KMT worked hand-in-hand to land a blow on the British colonial government for unreasonable demands.

Flag of Communist Party of China Bao’an County Branch 中国共产党宝安县党组织旗

The strike crippled the economy of Hong Kong. More than 1,000 striking workers return to Guangzhou by train from Shenzhen every day. Large and small businesses in Shenzhen and farmers in townships brought tea and porridge to these Hong Kong workers, while residents of Luohu, Nantang, Shuibei, Huangbeiling and other places vacated their houses for temporary accommodation for these striking workers. It was estimated that the GDP of Hong Kong dropped to 50% level compared to prior to the strike.

Trivial: It was settled by a compromise made by Governor of Hong Kong Sir Cecil Clementi, who was appointed to resolve this strike. He also recognised the new Chinese government formed by KMT as the rightful Government for the whole of China in 1928 on behalf of the Crown. Singapore’s Clementi Town was named after him.

Siyue College 思月书院

Siyue College 思月书院 was located in Dongmen Pedestrian Street, Luohu District, Shenzhen. It was built during the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty and has a history of more than 300 years. This century-old college, unexpectedly became a historical witness to the General Strike. It was a gathering point as well as temporary accommodation to striking students. Unfortunately, the original college was torn down in 1996 for the development of Dongmen commercial district. The one in Dongmen was rebuilt later to commemorate this forgotten episode in history.

Farmer’s Revolution

In 1924, the students of Guangdong Agricultural Institute came to Bao’an to mobilize the masses and establish a CPC organisation. On 26 Apr 1925, the Farmers’ Association of Bao’an County 宝安县农民协会 was formed under the leadership of the CPC.

The Farmers’ Association’s mission was to establish a self-defence army 农民自卫军 to resist bullying landlords, local tyrants and corrupt officials, and to fight against armed mercenaries controlled by local tyrants and evil gentry Each district would have self-defence forces ranging from 30 to 50 people. In Dec 1927, armed farmers from

Guangzhou-Hong Kong General Strike 省港大罢工

During the General Strike of 1926, the farmers’ militia blockaded the transportation to Hong Kong, paralysing the flow of workers and goods to the British colony.

When the KMT government turned against their CPC comrades in 1927, the militia was called to arm to fight against the KMT army. In early December 1927, the Guangdong Provincial Committee of CPC ordered the Bao’an County Party Committee to quickly convene the Workers’ and Peasants’ Revolutionary Army to prepare to go straight to Guangzhou to take over the Guangzhou Uprising.

Weapons used in the Farmers Uprising of Dec 1927

After the failure of the Guangzhou Uprising, the Bao’an County Party Committee immediately held an emergency meeting. It was temporarily decided to attack the Shenzhen police station. The Bao’an Workers’ and Peasants Revolutionary Army raided the police station, arrested more than 10 police officers, captured the district governor and police chief, and seized more than 10 long guns. This is the first armed uprising of workers and peasants in Bao’an County.

Resistance against the Japanese Invaders

Since the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, there had been many small incidents along the rail line connecting Beijing with the port of Tianjin, but all had subsided. On 7 Jul 1937, Japan initiated the Marco Polo Bridge Incident 卢沟桥事变. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident is generally regarded as the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Japanese propaganda during the Second Sino-Japanese Ware

On this occasion, a Japanese soldier was temporarily absent from his unit opposite Wanping, and the Japanese commander demanded the right to search the town for him. When this was refused, other units on both sides were put on alert; with tension rising, the Chinese Army fired on the Japanese Army, which further escalated the situation, even though the missing Japanese soldier had returned to his lines.

Confiscated samurai swords from captured Japanese soldiers

Subsequently, the Japanese invaded and swiftly took Beiping 北平 (the capital of ROC was Nanjing, so Beijing was known as Beiping) and Tianjin by end of July. And the Japanese attacked Shanghai in August and by end of 1937, captured the capital, Nanjing. Shenzhen was surrendered in Nov 1938.

Dongjiang Column or East River Column 东江枞队

Dongjiang Column or East River Column 东江枞队 was an anti-Japanese guerrilla force in Guangdong province and in Hong Kong during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 – 1945).

Command Post of the Dongjiang Column

The main activities of the Dongjiang Column were in Huiyang, Dongguan and Bao’an in the lower reaches of the Dongjiang River in Guangdong, as well as in the surrounding areas of Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Gift of compass by American pilot William Lefhus to Dongjiang fighter Zheng Chuanling 郑传灵

The guerillas’ most significant contribution to the Allies, in particular, was their rescue of twenty American pilots who parachuted into Japanese-occupied Kowloon when their planes were shot down by the Japanese.

Belongings of a Dongjiang Column fighter

Originally formed by Zeng Sheng 曾生 in Guangdong in 1939, this group mainly comprised of peasants, students, and seamen from Dongguan, Bao’an and Huiyang.

Newspaper clippings of Dongjiang Column’s victories

The Column participated in several rescue missions of Hong Kong POWs, as well as guerrilla warfare against the occupying Japanese troops. They were quite effective in these little incursions but had not seen major actions until after the war.

After the World War, the Chinese Civil War broke out and the superior KMT armies gained a distinct advantage in the beginning that caused many of the CPC armies to retreat. In 1946, Dongjiang Column retreated to Yantai and participated in the liberation of Northeastern China. In 1947, they were reassigned to the Guangdong-Guangxi Column 两广纵队. In 1949 it was merged into the People’s Liberation Army Fourth Battalion 人民解放军第四野战军. This was disbanded after the formation of PRC and the personnel allocated to the Guangdong Military Group.

Liberation of Shenzhen in 1949 深圳解放

On 1 Oct 1949 6am, the first PRC flag was raised at Wangmu Market 王母墟 in Dapeng Peninsula, marking the first time the flag was raised in the whole of China. At this point in time, Shenzhen has not been liberated and the liberation campaign of Canton was about to begin. And the Inauguration Ceremony in Beijing 开国典礼 will not happen until 4pm Canton time, or 3pm Beijing time.

On 15 Oct 1949, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conquered Huizhou. On 16 Oct 1949, when the Guangdong-Guangxi Column 两广纵队 took over Nantou. Considering that Shenzhen is an important border town to Hong Kong and abroad, in order to avoid conflicts with the Hong Kong and British authorities, the leaders of CPC ordered the troops to only go as far as Bao’an Buji 布吉. On 19 Oct 1949, the PLA changed their badges to People’s Police and took a freight train from Buji to Shenzhen and took over Shenzhen Market (Luohu) and Kowloon Customs. Shenzhen was liberated!

These previous old photographs recovered only recently showed the peaceful transition of power to the PLA.

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