The Young Revolutionary: Hua in Shanxi (1921–49)
This chapter examines Hua’s childhood and early political career in Shanxi Province. Not much is known about Hua’s parentage or youth and it is only from about 1938 that we begin to get a clear picture of Hua as a young guerrilla fighter in the war of resistance against Japan. Located for the most part in the mountainous district of Luliang, Hua was responsible for organising local people into small fighting units that provided support to the CCP’s Eighth Route Army. Under Hua’s tutelage, these units became adept at gathering intelligence on Japan’s military position and capability in the locality and at launching sabotage attacks on enemy strongholds, particularly through the use of home-made hand-grenades and landmines. The efficacy of Hua’s improvised warfare techniques caught the eye of his superiors in Luliang and promotion through the political ranks quickly followed. By 1945, Hua held a number of senior local positions, including Secretary of the Jiaodong CCP, the county in which he lived and worked until 1947. After the defeat of the Japanese in August 1945, Hua fought in the war against the KMT and the Shanxi warlord Yan Xishan during which time he successfully employed the same combat skills that had served him well against the Japanese.
KeywordsChinese Communist Party Cultural Revolution Land Reform Guerrilla Warfare Personality Cult
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