Mao Zedong called for a national united front with the Kuomintang to resist the Japanese. This appeal struck a responsive chord among Chinese. This decision of the Communist Party of China differed sharply with Chiang Kai-shek's policy of first defeating the Communists before challenging Japan directly.
In December 9, 1935, students and other citizens (dubbed the “December Niners”) held a demonstration on the Tiananmen Square in Beijing (renamed as Beiping then) to protest Chiang Kai-shek's continued “nonresistance” against the Japanese. City police used violence to suppress the students, turning the fire hoses on them, in the near-freezing weather. However, this demonstration became a potent symbol of anti-Japanese resistance and led to patriotic groups sprouting around the country.