5 October 1894|
Yizhang, Hunan, Qing Dynasty
21 September 1933 (aged 38)|
Nanjing, Jiangsu, Republic of China
|Political party||Communist Party of China|
|Alma mater||Peking University|
Deng Zhongxia (or Teng Chung-hsia; October 5, 1894 – September 21, 1933) was an early member of the Communist Party of China and an important Marxist intellectual and labor movement leader. Having led many strikes and uprisings against Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang government, he became one of the most wanted CPC members by the Kuomintang. He was captured and executed in 1933.
Born in October 1894 in Yizhang, Hunan, Deng was a philosophy graduate of Peking University. He joined the May 4th Movement in 1919 and initiated the Marxist Research Group in the university. In 1920, that group set up a communist organization in which Li Dazhao was elected as the party secretary and of which Deng became a member.
Inspired by the communism, Deng became involved in the labor movement in Beijing during the same year. He set up the workers’ unions and provided education to the workers. In 1922, he was elected as the director of a nationwide labor organization at the First Chinese Labor Meeting held in Guangzhou. In July of the same year, he was elected as the member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China at the Second Party Congress. In 1923, under Li’s recommendation, he received an administrative job from Shanghai University, which was co-founded by the CPC and the Kuomintang during their short-term cooperation. During Deng’s tenure, he invited a number of communists, including Cai Hesen, Qu Qiubai and Li Da, to teach at the school. In 1925, after the establishment of the All-China Federation of Labor, Deng was designated as the publicity minister in Guangzhou and organized the Canton-Hong Kong strike, which lasted from June 1925 to October 1926.
When the Kuomintang and the CPC split, Deng proposed an uprising in Nanchang, Jiangxi, to fight against Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek’s massacre of CPC members. In the CPC’s critical August 7 Meeting in 1927, Deng was a supporter of land revolution and armed struggle. He was also elected as an alternate member of the provisional Political Bureau of the Central Committee of CPC. After the meeting, he was sent to Shanghai to organize the surviving party members. In 1928, he was appointed to Guangzhou and Hong Kong to rebuild destroyed CPC organizations. In 1930, he joined the armed struggle in Hunan and the Western Hubei Communist Base as the political commissar of the No. 2 Red Army with He Long and Zhou Yiqun. In 1932, he secretly returned to Shanghai to continue the underground struggle in the Kuomintang controlled economic hub. However, his identity was discovered, and he was arrested in Shanghai in May 1933.
As Deng was an important CPC leader, his capture drew Chiang Kai-shek attention. Chiang ordered Deng sent to Nanjing’s prison camp and offered him a high position within the Kuomintang with good pay. But Deng refused the offer, and thus was severely tortured before being executed on September 21, 1933.