Seeing Through the Facade: Fu Sinian’s Understanding of the Chinese Communist Party

Chinese historian, linguist, and writer Fu Sinian.

Chinese historian Fu Sinian's understanding of the Chinese Communist Party and their divisive tactics continues to be crucial today. (Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

On August 14, 1949, Mao Zedong, the leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), publicly criticized three distinguished scholars of the Republic of China (Taiwan): Hu Shih, Qian Mu, and Fu Sinian. Each of these individuals brought a profound understanding of the CCP, but the spotlight here falls on Fu Sinian’s critical insights.

Fu Sinian: A brief biography

Born in 1896 into a respected family in Liaocheng, Shandong Province, China, Fu Sinian was a prodigy. His academic journey began at Peking University in 1916 and led him abroad to study at renowned institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, the University of London, and the University of Berlin. Over six and a half years, he delved into Western philosophy, history, politics, and literature, and eventually settled into the field of historiography.

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Career milestones and the move to Taiwan

In October 1926, he returned to China to join Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou. Subsequent years saw him rise to the position of the dean of the Faculty of Literature, co-found the prestigious Academia Sinica, and later, serve as the acting President of Peking University. On the brink of the CCP’s overthrow of the Republic of China on the mainland in 1949, Fu Sinian resolutely relocated to Taiwan with the Nationalist Government. There, he took on the role of President of National Taiwan University in a time of crisis.

Chinese historian Fu Sinian holding a pipe and sitting at his desk reviewing papers.
He took on the role of President of National Taiwan University in 1949 during a time of crisis. (Image: Public Domain via The Epoch Times)

Witnessing the brutality of the CCP

In 1926, when Fu Sinian returned from studying abroad, his first stop was Guangzhou. It was there that he witnessed firsthand the bloodshed and brutality of the CCP-led “Guangzhou Rebellion” in December 1927. This harrowing experience, including a narrow escape from a CCP “kill list,” left a lasting impression, instilling in him a deep-seated distaste for the CCP.

The CCP’s incitement of hatred and struggle

Between June 1947 and August 1948, Fu Sinian traveled to the United States for medical treatment. During this time, he also delved into the study of CCP ideologies. He outlined eight distinct strategies that the CCP employed to incite resentment and fuel societal unrest, underlining the manipulative tactics they used to pit different segments of society against each other.

These are the eight strategies the CCP used to stir up resentment and strife so they could seize power:

  1. Encouraging resentment between Chinese citizens and Westerners.
  2. Fostering discontent between the poor and the wealthy.
  3. Amplifying dissatisfaction among ordinary people toward those with higher social status.
  4. Stirring up feelings of inadequacy among people with lower skills against those with high abilities.
  5. Provoking antagonism between lower-paid employees and their higher-paid counterparts.
  6. Igniting envy in lesser-known individuals toward famous personalities.
  7. Intensifying animosity between rural residents and urban dwellers.
  8. Inflaming familial discord by inciting children to resent their parents.
According to Fu Sinian's analysis, the CCP was able to seize power by stirring up hatred and causing division between these eight groups.
According to Fu Sinian’s analysis, the CCP was able to seize power by stirring up hatred and causing division between these eight groups. (Image: Prostorina via Dreamstime)

His analysis remains accurate when reflecting on the CCP’s 74-year history.

A lasting critique of Communism

In the twilight of his life, Fu Sinian penned four deeply insightful articles critiquing communism and the Soviet Union. His clear vision of the CCP’s coercive and deceptive tactics continues to be validated by history when we consider events like the Soviet Union’s Great Purge in the 1930s, the Eastern European purge in the 1950s, and the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s.

Remembering Fu Sinian

On December 20, 1950, Fu Sinian passed away in Taiwan, leaving a void in the intellectual landscape of the Republic of China. His contemporary, Hu Shih, described him as “the rarest genius in the world,” praising his leadership, knowledge, courage, and integrity. However, Fu Sinian’s legacy extends beyond his individual talents. His deep understanding of the CCP, evident in his critical analysis and writings, places him among history’s most insightful scholars. It is this aspect of Fu Sinian’s life and work that makes him a figure worth remembering forever.

Translated by: Chua BC

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