Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China
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|Republic of China|
|Unrecognized state, puppet regime of the Empire of Japan|
"Peace, Anti-Communism, National Construction"
National Anthem of the Republic of China
Dark green: Republic of China-Nanjing in 1939.
Light green: Mengjiang (incorporated as a region in 1940).
|Vice President||Zhou Fohai|
|Historical era||World War II|
|•||Established||30 March 1940|
|•||Disestablished||15 August 1945|
|Today part of||People's Republic of China|
The Reorganized National Government was the name of the collaborationist government established in the Republic of China from 1940-45. It was led by former Kuomintang (KMT) party member Wang Jingwei.
Wang Jingwei was the leftist leader of a predominantly civilian Kuomintang faction called the Reorganizationists, who were often at odds with Chiang Kai-shek and his military arm of the Kuomintang. Shortly after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the initial invasion by the Imperial Japanese Army, Wang Jingwei advocated a strategy of peace and appeasement in order to end the string of devastating losses sustained by the Nationalist Forces and in order to secure the Japanese as a potential ally against the Chinese Communist Party. After the fall of the capital city of Nanjing to the Imperial Japanese Army soon after the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Nationalist government went into exile to Chongqing. On 30 March 1940 Wang Jingwei and his allies defected from Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists and established a collaborationist government under the Japanese Army that claimed to be the legitimate representative of all of the Republic of China. This reorganized national government was formed out of a number of previous collaborationist governments that existed in northern and central China, including the Reformed Government of the Republic of China based in eastern China, the Provisional Government of the Republic of China in northern China, and later on the Mengjiang government in Inner Mongolia, though in reality northern China and Inner Mongolia stayed relatively free of its influence. Although using the same state symbols and name of the republic, the new government obtained international recognition only from the Anti-Comintern Pact countries. The exiled Nationalist government in Chongqing continued to be recognized as the legitimate government of China.
While heavily restricted in its powers by the Japanese occupation, the Reorganized government attempted to limit the civilian casualties inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Army. At the same time, the new government also eagerly assisted the Japanese Imperial Army against Communist forces operating in Reorganized Government territory. As the Japanese war situation worsened and Allied and American forces began threatening the Pacific, the puppet state was gradually granted increased self-governance culminating in the reorganized national government declared war on the Allies on 9 January 1943. It was disbanded following the surrender of Japan in August 1945, with the majority of its surviving leaders being put on trial, declared hanjian (traitors to the Han people), and imprisoned or executed for treason.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Background
- 3 Political boundaries
- 4 Business of the regime
- 4.1 Shanghai as defacto capital, 1939-1941
- 4.2 Foundation of the Reorganized Government in Nanjing
- 4.3 Efforts to expand Japanese recognition
- 4.4 Breakthrough, 1943
- 4.5 War on Opium
- 4.6 The Nanjing Government and the northern Chinese areas
- 4.7 International recognition
- 4.8 National defense
- 4.9 Japanese methods of recruiting
- 5 Notable figures
- 6 Legacy
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The regime is informally also known as the Nanjing Nationalist Government (Chinese: 南京國民政府; pinyin: Nánjīng Guómín Zhèngfǔ), the Nanjing Regime, or by its leader Wang Jingwei Regime (Chinese: 汪精衛政權; pinyin: Wāng Jīngwèi Zhèngquán). As the government of Republic of China and People's Republic of China regard the regime as illegal, it is also commonly known as Wang's Puppet Regime (Chinese: 汪偽政權; pinyin: Wāng Wěi Zhèngquán) or Puppet Nationalist Government (Chinese: 偽國民政府; pinyin: Wěi Guómín Zhèngfǔ) in Greater China. Other names used are the Republic of China-Nanjing, China-Nanjing, or New China.
While Wang Jingwei was widely regarded as a favorite to inherit Sun Yat-sen's position as leader of the Nationalist Party, based upon his faithful service to the party throughout the 1910s and 20s and based on his unique position as the one who accepted and recorded Dr. Sun's last will and testament, he was rapidly overtaken by Chiang Kai-shek. By the 1930s, Wang Jingwei had been taken the position Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Nationalist Government under Chiang Kai-shek, a position that put him in control over the deteriorating Sino-Japanese relationship. While Chiang Kai-shek focused his primary attentions against the Communist Party of China, Wang Jingwei diligently toiled to preserve the peace between China and Japan, repeatedly stressing the need for a period of extended peace in order for China to elevate itself economically and militarily to the levels of its neighbor and the other Great powers of the world. Yet despite his efforts, Wang was unable to find a peaceful solution to prevent the Japanese from commencing an invasion into Chinese territory.
By April 1938, the national conference of the KMT, held in retreat at the temporary capital of Chongqing, appointed Wang as vice-president of the party, reporting only to Chiang Kai-shek himself. Meanwhile, the Japanese advance into Chinese territory as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War continued unrelentingly. From his new position, Wang urged Chiang Kai-shek to pursue a peace agreement with Japan on the sole condition that the hypothetical deal "did not interfere with the territorial integrity of China". Chiang Kai-shek was adamant however that he would entertain no surrender, and that it was his position that, were China to be united completely under his control, the Japanese could readily be repulsed. As a result, Chiang continued to devote his primary attention to eradicating the Communists and ending the Chinese Civil War. On December 18, 1938, Wang Jingwei and several of his closest supporters, resigned from their positions and boarded a plane to Hanoi in order to seek alternative means of ending the war.
From this new base, Wang began pursuit of a peaceful resolution to the conflict independent of the Nationalist Party in exile. In June 1939, Wang and his supporters began negotiating with the Japanese for the creation of a new Nationalist Government which could end the war despite Chiang's objections. To this end, Wang sought to discredit the Nationalists in Chongqing on the basis that they represented not the republican government envisioned by Dr. Sun, but rather a "one-party dictatorship", and subsequently call together a Central Political Conference back to the capital of Nanjing in order to formally transfer control over the party away from Chiang Kai-shek. These efforts were stymied by Japanese refusal to offer backing for Wang and his new government. Ultimately, Wang Jingwei and his allies would establish their almost entirely powerless new party and government in Nanjing in 1940, in the hope that vague and shallow suggesting from various elements in Tokyo might eventually be willing to negotiate a deal for peace, which, though painful, might allow China to survive.
In theory, the Reorganized National Government controlled all of China with the exception of Manchukuo, which it recognized as an independent state. In actuality, at the time of its formation, the Reorganized Government controlled only Jiangsu, Anhui, and the north sector of Zhejiang, all being Japanese-controlled territories after 1937.
Thereafter, the Reorganized Government's actual borders waxed and waned as the Japanese gained or lost territory during the course of the war. During the December 1941 Japanese offensive the Reorganized Government extended its control over Hunan, Hubei, and parts of Jiangxi provinces. The port of Shanghai and the cities of Hankou and Wuchang were also placed under control of the Reformed Government after 1940.
The Japanese-controlled provinces of Shandong and Hebei were theoretically part of this political entity, although they were actually administered by the Commander of the Japanese Northern China Area Army under a separate Japanese-controlled government based in Beijing. Likewise, the southern sectors had their own Japanese military commander and government based in Guangzhou.
- Jiangsu: 41,818 mi² (108,308 km²); capital: Zhenjiang
- Anhui: 51,888 mi² (134,389 km²); capital: Anqing (also included the national capital of Nanjing)
- Zhejiang: 39,780 mi² (103,030 km²); capital: Hangzhou
According to other sources, total extension of territory during 1940 period was 1,264,000 km².
In 1942 an agreement was signed between the Inner Mongolian puppet state Mengjiang and the Nanjing regime, making the former an autonomous part of the Republic of China-Nanjing.
Business of the regime
Shanghai as defacto capital, 1939-1941
With Nanjing still rebuilding itself after the devastating assault and occupation by the Japanese Imperial Army, the fledgling Reorganized Nationalist Government turned to Shanghai as its primary focal point. With its key role as both an economic and media center for all China, close affiliation to Western Imperial powers even despite the Japanese invasion, and relatively sheltered position from attacks by KMT and Communist forces alike, Shanghai offered both sanctuary and opportunity for Wang and his allies' ambitions. Once in Shanghai, the new regime quickly moved to take control over those publications already supportive of Wang and his peace platform, while also engaging in violent, gang-style attacks against rival news outlets. By November 1940, the Reorganized Nationalist Party had secured enough local support to begin hostile takeovers of both Chinese courts and banks still under nominal control by the KMT in Chongqing or Western powers. Buoyed by this rapid influx of seized collateral, the Reorganized Government under its recently appoint Finance Minister, Chou Fo-Hai, was able to issue a new currency for circulation. Ultimately however, the already limited economic influence garnered by the new banknotes was further diminished by Japanese efforts to contain the influence of the new regime, at least for a time, to territories firmly under Japanese control like Shanghai and other isolated regions of the Yangtze Valley.
Foundation of the Reorganized Government in Nanjing
The administrative structure of the Reorganized National Government included a Legislative Yuan and an Executive Yuan. Both were under the president and head of state Wang Jingwei. However, actual political power remained with the commander of the Japanese Central China Area Army and Japanese political entities formed by Japanese political advisors.
After obtaining Japanese approval to establish a national government in the summer of 1940, Wang Jingwei ordered the Sixth Kuomintang Representative Congress to establish this government in Nanjing. The dedication occurred in the Conference Hall, and both the "blue-sky white-sun red-earth" national flag and the "blue-sky white-sun" Kuomintang flag were unveiled, flanking a large portrait of Sun Yat-Sen.
On the day the new government was formed, and just before the session of the "Central Political Conference" began, Wang visited Sun's tomb in Nanjing's Purple Mountain to establish the legitimacy of his power as Sun's successor. Wang had been a high-level official of the Kuomintang government and, as a confidant to Sun, had transcribed Sun's last will, the Zongli's Testament. To discredit the legitimacy of the Chongqing government, Wang adopted Sun's flag in the hope that it would establish him as the rightful successor to Sun and bring the government back to Nanjing.
A principal goal of the new regime was to portray itself as the legitimate continuation of the former Nationalist government, despite the Japanese occupation. To this end, the Reorganized government frequently sought to revitalize and expand the former policies of the Nationalist government, often to mixed success.
Efforts to expand Japanese recognition
While Wang had been successful in securing from Japan a "basic treaty" recognizing the foundation of his new party in November, 1940, the produced document granted the Reorganized Nationalist Government almost no powers whatsoever. This initial treaty precluded any possibility for Wang to act as intermediary with Chiang Kai-shek and his forces in securing a peace agreement in China. Likewise, the regime was afforded no extra administrative powers in occupied China, save those few previously carved out in Shanghai. Indeed, official Japanese correspondence regarded the Nanjing regime as trivially important, and urged any and all token representatives stationed with Wang and his allies to dismiss all diplomatic efforts by the new government which could not directly contribute to a total military victory over Chiang and his forces. Hoping to expand the treaty in such a way as to be useful, Wang formally traveled to Tokyo in June 1941 in order to meet with prime minister Fumimaro Konoe and his cabinet to discuss new terms and agreements. Unfortunately for Wang, his visit coincided with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, a move which further emboldened officials in Tokyo to pursue total victory in China, rather than accept a peace deal. In the end, Konoe eventually agreed to provide a substantial loan to the Nanjing government as well as increased sovereignty; neither of which came to fruition, and indeed, neither of which were even mentioned to military commanders stationed in China. As a slight conciliation, Wang was successful in persuading the Japanese to secure official recognition for the Nanjing Government from the other Axis Powers.
As the Japanese offensive stalled around the Pacific, conditions remained generally consistent under Wang Jingwei's government. The regime continued to represent itself as the legitimate government of China, continued to appeal to Chiang Kai-shek to seek a peace deal, and continued to chafe under the extremely limited sovereignty afforded by the Japanese occupiers. Yet by 1943, Japanese leaders including Hideki Tojo, recognizing that the tide of war was turning against them, sought new ways to reinforce the thinly stretched Japanese forces. To this end, Tokyo finally found it expedient to fully recognize Wang Jingwei's government as a full ally, and a replacement Pact of Alliance was drafted for the basic treaty. This new agreement granted the Nanjing government markedly enhanced administrative control over its own territory, as well as increased ability to make limited self-decisions. Despite this windfall, the deal came far too late for the Reorganized government to have sufficient resources to take advantage of its new powers, and Japan was in no condition to offer aid to its new partner.
War on Opium
As a result of general chaos and wartime various profiteering efforts of the conquering Japanese armies, already considerable illegal opium smuggling operations expanded greatly in the Reorganized Nation Government's territory. Indeed, Japanese forces themselves became arguably the largest and most widespread traffickers within the territory under the auspices of semi-official narcotics monopolies. While initially too politically weak to make inroads into the Japanese operations, as the war began to turn against them the Japanese government sought to incorporate some collaborationist governments more actively into the war effort. To this end in October 1943 the Japanese government signed a treaty with the Reorganized Nationalist Government of China offering them a greater degree of control over their own territory. As a result, Wang Jingwei and his government were able to gain some increased control over the opium monopolies. Negotiations by Chen Gongbo were successful in reaching an agreement to cut opium imports from Mongolia in half, as well as an official turnover of state-sponsored monopolies from Japan over to the Reorganized Nationalist Government. Yet, perhaps due to financial concerns, the regime sought only limited reductions in the distribution of opium throughout the remainder of the war.
The Nanjing Government and the northern Chinese areas
The Beijing administration (East Yi Anti-Communist Autonomous Administration) was under the commander-in-chief of the Japanese Northern China Area Army until the Yellow River area fell inside the sphere of influence of the Japanese Central China Area Army. During this same period the area from middle Zhejiang to Guangdong was administered by the Japanese North China Area Army. These small, largely independent fiefdoms had local money and local leaders, and frequently squabbled.
Wang Jingwei traveled to Tokyo in 1941 for meetings. In Tokyo the Reorganized National Government Vice President Zhou Fohai commented to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper that the Japanese establishment was making little progress in the Nanjing area. This quote provoked anger from Kumataro Honda, the Japanese ambassador in Nanjing. Zhou Fohai petitioned for total control of China's central provinces by the Reorganized National Government. In response, Imperial Japanese Army Lt. Gen. Teiichi Suzuki was ordered to provide military guidance to the Reorganized National Government, and so became part of the real power that lay behind Wang's rule.
With the permission of the Japanese Army, a monopolistic economic policy was applied, to the benefit of Japanese zaibatsu and local representatives. Though these companies were supposedly treated the same as local Chinese companies by the government, the president of the Yuan legislature in Nanjing, Chen Gongbo, complained that this was untrue to the Kaizo Japanese review. The Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China also featured its own embassy in Yokohama, Japan (as did Manchukuo).
The Nanjing Nationalist Government received little international recognition, only being recognized by some of the Axis powers. In July–August 1941, the Nanjing Government was recognized as the legitimate government of China by Nazi Germany and the Kingdom of Italy. Soon after, the Kingdom of Romania, Denmark, and Francoist Spain also recognized it.
After Japan established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1942, they and their ally Italy pressured Pope Pius XII to recognize the Nanjing regime and allow a Chinese envoy to be appointed to the Vatican, but he refused to give into these pressures. Instead the Vatican came to an informal agreement with Japan that their apostolic delegate in Beijing would pay visits to Catholics in the Nanjing government's territory.
After the 1943 declaration of war upon the Allies by the Reorganized Government, the Imperial Japanese Army assisted in the creation of an army, which served as a rear-guard and to help maintain internal security. This included a naval component, and also an air force (the "Reformed Government of China Air Force" (1938) renamed the "National Government of China Air Force" in 1940) which was eventually equipped with:
- Nakajima Ki-34 "Thora" for military activities and troop transport;
- Nakajima Ki-27b "Nate";
- Tachikawa Ki-55 "Ida" for training;
- Tachikawa Ki-9 "Spruce" for reconnaissance and training; and
- Nakajima Ki-43Ia Hayabusa "Oscar" for defence.
For the Reorganized National Government army, was equipped with:
- Type 94 TK Light Tanks
- Type 38 Year Meiji Carbines
- German Stahlhelm helmets, cannons, mortars, and light AA cannons
- Arisaka rifles, Type 99 Rifles and Nambu pistols.
For the Reorganized National Government Navy, was assigned a number of captured warships by the Imperial Japanese Navy:
- Gunboat Suma (Ex-HMS Moth)
- Gunboat Tatara (Ex-USS Wake)
- Gunboat Karatsu (Ex-USS Luzon)
- Gunboat Narumi (Ex-Regia Marina RN Ermanno Carlotto)
- Gunboat Okitsu (Ex-Regia Marina RN Lepanto)
- Gunboat Nan-Yo (Ex-Chinese Navy Teh Hsing)
- Patrol boat PB-102 (Ex-USS Stewart)
- Patrol boat PB-101 (Ex-Royal Navy destroyer HMS Thracian)
- Light cruiser Isojima (Ex-Republic of China Navy cruiser Chinese cruiser Ning Hai)
- Light cruiser Yasojima (Ex-Republic of China Navy cruiser Chinese cruiser Ping Hai)
The regime also had a regular police force under Japanese control. Local politicians and media consistently provided pro-Japanese propaganda, praising the "heroic efforts of the Imperial troops", and argued for a "national defense against Communism and Western interests".
Chiang Kai-shek's forces captured numerous members of Wang Ching-wei's army during military engagements. Enemy prisoners of low rank were persuaded to renege and fight alongside anti-Japanese forces, but high-ranking prisoners were executed. Leaders of the military included:
- Minister of Military Affairs: Bao Wenyue (鮑文樾)
- Minister of Navy: Ren Yuandao (任援道)
- General Chief of Staff: Yang Kuiyi (楊揆一)
- Minister of Military Training: Xiao Shuxuan (蕭叔萱)
Japanese methods of recruiting
During the conflicts in central China, the Japanese utilized several methods to recruit Chinese volunteers. Japanese sympathisers including Nanjing's pro-Japanese governor, or major local landowners such as Tao-liang, were used to recruit local peasants in return for money or food. The Japanese recruited 5,000 volunteers in the Anhui area for the Reorganized National Government Army. Japanese forces and the Reorganized National Government used slogans like "Drop Your Weapons, and Take the Plow", "Oppose the Communist Bandits" or "Oppose Corrupt Government and Support the Reformed Government" to dissuade guerrilla attacks and buttress its support.
The Japanese used various methods for subjugating the local populace. Initially, fear was used to maintain order, but this approach was altered following appraisals by Japanese military ideologists. In 1939 the Japanese army attempted some populist policies, including:
- land reform by dividing the property of major landowners into small holdings, and allocating them to local peasants;
- providing the Chinese with medical services, including vaccination against cholera, typhus, and varicella, and treatments for other diseases;
- ordering Japanese soldiers not to violate women or laws;
- dropping leaflets from aeroplanes, offering rewards for information (with parlays set up by use of a white surrender flag), the handing over of weapons or other actions beneficial to the Japanese cause. Money and food were often incentives used; and
- dispersal of candy, food and toys to children
Buddhist leaders inside the occupied Chinese territories ("Shao-Kung") were also forced to give public speeches and persuade people of the virtues of a Chinese alliance with Japan, including advocating the breaking-off of all relations with Western powers and ideas.
In 1938 a manifesto was launched in Shanghai, reminding the populace the Japanese alliance's track-record in maintaining "moral supremacy" as compared to the often fractious nature of the previous Republican control, and also accusing Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek of treason for maintaining the Western alliance.
In support of such efforts, in 1941 Wang Jing-wei proposed the Qingxiang Plan to be applied along the lower course of the Yangtze River. A Qingxiang Plan Committee (Qingxiang Weiyuan-hui) was formed with himself as Chairman, and Zhou Fohai and Chen Gongbo (as first and second vice-chairmen respectively). Li Shiqun was made the Committee's secretary. Beginning in July 1941, Wang maintained that any areas to which the plan was applied would convert into "model areas of peace, anti-communism, and rebuilders of the country" (heping fangong jianguo mofanqu). It was not a success.
- Liang Hongzhi: President and Head of State in the initial period
- Wang Jingwei: President and Head of State
- Chen Gongbo: President and Head of State after the death of Wang. Also, President of the Legislative Yuan and Mayor of the Shanghai occupied sector.
- Zhou Fohai: Vice President and Finance Minister in the Executive Yuan
- Jiang Kanghu Chief of the Education Yuan
- Bao Wenyue: Minister of Military Affairs
- Ren Yuandao: Naval Minister
- Xiao Shuxuan: General Chief of Staff
- Yang Kuiyi: Minister of Military Training
- Li Shiqun: head of No. 76, the regime's secret service stationed in No. 76 Jessefield Road Shanghai
- Tang Erho, Chairman of the North China Political Affairs Commission
- Chen Zenmin, Governor of Jiangsu Province
- Kaya Okinori: Japanese nationalist, merchant, and commercial adviser
- Chu Minyi: Ambassador to Japan
- Tao Liang: notable Chinese landowner and Chinese government official
- Chao Kung: (Ignaz Trebitsch-Lincoln), purported Buddhist leader
Foreign representatives and diplomatic personnel:
- Nobuyuki Abe: Japanese ambassador to the Reorganized National Government (1940)
- Kumataro Honda: Japanese ambassador (1940–41)
- Mamoru Shigemitsu: Japanese ambassador (1941–43)
- Masayuki Tani: Japanese ambassador (1943–45)
- Teiichi Suzuki: Japanese military and political adviser
- Heinrich Georg Stahmer: German ambassador (1941–43)
- Dr. Ernst Wörmann: German ambassador (1943–45)
- Zang Shiyi: Manchukuo ambassador
- Li Shaogeng: Manchukuo special envoy
Having died before the war had ended, Wang Jingwei did not join his fellow Reorganized Nationalist Government leaders on trial for treason in the months that followed the Japanese surrender. Instead he, alongside his vice president Chen Gongbo who was tried and sentenced to death by the victorious Nationalists, was given the title Hanjian meaning arch-traitor to the Han people. In the following decades, Wang Jingwei and the entire reputation of the collaborationist government have undergone considerable scholastic debate. In general, evaluations produced by scholars working under the People's Republic of China have held the most critical interpretations of the failed regime, Western scholars typically holding the government and Wang Jingwei especially in a sympathetic light, with Taiwanese scholars falling somewhere in the middle.
In popular culture
- Lust, Caution is a 1979 novella by Chinese author Eileen Chang which was later turned into an award-winning film by Ang Lee. The story is about a group of young university students who attempt to assassinate the Minister of Security of the Reorganized National Government. During the war, Ms. Chang was married to Hu Lancheng, a writer who worked for the Reorganized National Government and the story is believed to be largely based on actual events.
- The 2009 Chinese film The Message is a thriller/mystery in the vein of a number of Agatha Christie novels. The main characters are all codebreakers serving in the Reorganized National Government's military, but one of them is a Kuomintang double-agent. A Japanese intelligence officer detains the group in a castle and attempts to uncover which of them is the spy using psychological and physical coercion, uncovering the protagonists' bitter rivalries, jealousies, and secrets as he does so.
- Dadao government (Shanghai 1937-1940)
- Second Sino-Japanese War
- History of the Republic of China
- National Revolutionary Army
- Collaborationist Chinese Army
- Organization of the China Garrison detachment of the Imperial Japanese Army (to 1937)
- Organization of Japanese Expeditionary forces in China
- List of East Asian leaders in the Japanese sphere of influence (1931-1945)
- List of leaders of the Republic of China
- on YouTube
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