Wang Jiaxiang (Chinese: 王稼祥; pinyin: Wáng Jiàxiáng) (August 15, 1906 - January 25, 1974), one of the senior leaders of the Communist Party of China in its early stage and a member of the 28 Bolsheviks.
As a native of Jing County, Anhui, Wang studied in the affiliated middle school of Shanghai University in 1925, and went to Moscow Sun Yat-sen University, a university established under the founder of Kuomintang Sun Yat-Sen's policy of alliance with the Soviet Union and CPC and named after him to train revolutionaries for China. It was there Wang and Wang Ming, Zhang Wentian, Bo Gu and other students founded the group 28 Bolsheviks to show their ambition for leadership in Chinese revolution. In 1928 Wang joined the CPC.
With the support from their mentor Paul Mif, the president of Moscow Sun Yat-sen University and then representative of Comintern to China, the 28 Bolsheviks were sent back to China to take leadership of the CPC and they successfully did so after winning a power struggle with Li Lisan. Compared with his counterparts Wang Ming, Bo Gu and Zhang Wentian, Wang got a less important job as secretary for the party newspaper and chief editor of two CPC journals.
When the 28 Bolsheviks carried out their policy of extremism and leftism, the CPC suffered enormous losses in their rebellion against the Kuomintang and had to retreat from big cities to their base in Jiangxi. Then Wang got promotion to be member of Central Bureau of CPC, Foreign Commissioner of China Soviet Republic Interim Central Government, and then Director of Political Department or General Commissar of the Chinese Red Army.
Bo Gu and military advisor from Comintern Otto Braun (Li De) still applied the policy of leftism which resulted in the CPC's great loss in their military confrontation with Kuomintang army in their base and Long March began as an excuse for withdraw. It was in the course of Long March, Wang began to realize the cruel reality of revolution was much different from anything he read in books. He showed his friendship to the so-called old CPC members such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. When they were in litters and held discussions about the future of the Chinese revolution, they had made a plan to change the status quo. Subsequently in the Zunyi Conference, Bo Gu and Li De were dismissed command in military. As reward for their defection, Zhang Wentian replaced Bo Gu as General Secretary of CPC, and Wang took the military command by a three-men group with Mao and Zhou.
After Wang reached Yan'an, he was sent to Moscow as CPC delegate to Comintern in 1937. Wang came back in next year and did a second important tribute to Mao. He brought back a so-called oral message from Georgi Dimitrov, who was one the leaders of Comintern at that time. Dimitrov's message expressed his support of Mao as supreme leader of CCP. Although the authenticity of this message is still in question, Mao did exploit it as pivotal proof for the legitimacy of his being supreme leader. As a reward, Wang was appointed as Vice Chairman of Central Military Committee of CPC. During that time the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, Chinese Red Army was reorganized into 8th Route Army, and Wang was appointed as Director of Political Department, taking charge of military command with Zhu De and Peng Dehuai. At the same time, Wang was elected as Commissioner and member of the CPC Politburo, which meant his greatest prominence in political life.
In 1943 Wang was the first one who put forward the concept of Maoism, which must have greatly appealed to Mao. Furthermore, in the 7th National Congress of CPC in 1945, Liu Shaoqi who was the first one to propose Maoism be written into the party constitution of CPC. The irony is that both Liu and Wang could not escape from the purge several decades later even they showed their loyalty in such an obvious way. When Mao had strengthened his authority in the CPC after he purged his archenemy Wang Ming and Zhang Guotao, now it was time for him to clear away other dissidents. Zhang Wentian was demoted and his title taken away by Mao although he was a puppet. But when Wang lost his using value to Mao, his being purged was inevitable. During the Yan'an Rectification Movement, Wang was labeled as representative of dogmatism along with Wang Ming and Zhang, and had to make a public confession and apologies. This was not the end of his humiliation. In the 7th National Congress of CCP held in 1945, Wang was even driven out of the Central Committee of CCP, which he had held the position for last decade. Perhaps Mao felt it was too harsh as he appealed to all delegates and it was under his insistence that Wang was elected as an alternate member of Central Committee as a comfort.
During the Chinese Civil War, Wang was sent to northeast China to work with Lin Biao and Gao Gang, but only as their subordinate with the titles of Minister of City Organization Department and acting Minister of Propaganda Department of Northeast Bureau of CPC.
After the establishment of People's Republic of China in 1949, Wang was appointed as first Chinese Ambassador to Soviet Union, and then Under Secretary of Foreign Ministry. In 1951 Wang was appointed as Minister of External Communication Department of CPC. Although Wang received another promotion in being elected as Commissioner and Secretariat of Central Committee of CPC in the 1st Plenary Meeting of 8th National Congress of CPC in 1956 and survived longer in political life than his close friend Zhang Wentian, who was purged in the Lushan Meeting in 1959, he still could not survive the Cultural Revolution.
Wang's wife Zhu Zhongli used to be a nurse working for the army and once was assistant of Canadian doctor Bethune who worked for 8th Route Army as an international volunteer. They lived together for several decades after marriage. Now Zhu is an active writer writing memoirs on Jiang Qing and Mao Zedong.
- About Wang Jiaxiang, from Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China
- "Wang Jiaxiang: 1st ambassador of new China2, from China Daily