Story of a foreign journalist's request for joining the CPC
PLA Daily 2003-12-23
Agnes Smedley was a famous female journalist from the US and a close friend of the Chinese people. She was very active in supporting the Chinese revolution. Smedley went to Yan'an for interview in early 1939 and became the second foreign journalist to approach Chairman Mao Zedong following Edgar Snow.
In an evening of early February, Mao came to visit Smedley after supper. Smedley offered him a chair and a cup of hot coffee.
At the time of sipping the coffee, Chairman Mao began to ask Smedley about her early experience in the US.
After consulting some information on India history and German revolution, Mao began to brief Smedley about the history of development of the Red Army and the great Long March which was just finished.
When it came to the snowy mountain and grassland, Mao mentioned that some excellent officers and men died from severe cold and hunger. When the Long March ended, there were only 30, 000 soldiers. And tears came to his eyes then.
"The Red Army can't be beat, " Mao said: "After making a long and difficult march which covers more than 20, 000 miles over 10 provinces, the Red Army arrived in the north of Shaanxi Province finally and finished the unprecedented long march and ushered in the new upsurge of Chinese revolution".
Several days later, when Smedley came to see Chairman Mao, she cried: "Chairman Mao, do you think it's fair for denying me the opportunity to participate in this morning's activity?"
"What activity? Please hold your horse and tell me the details", Mao replied.
The fact was that when Smedley asked to participate in a conference for Party members, a person in charge refused her because she was not a Party member. But Smedley couldn't understand this and took that as an unfriendly and distrustful gesture so she came to Chairman Mao to lodge a complaint.
After hearing her story, Mao said: " non-Party members can't participate in the activity for Party members, that's the principle of the Party. They are not shutting the door only on you in this regard."
Smedley was not convinced by Mao's explanation, and then said: "In that case admit me to the party. I want to joint the Communist Party of China!" Mao answered: "You are a journalist. Staying outside of the Party organization is more convenient for you to do your job. In this way, you may contribute more for the revolution. For that reason, I think it's better for you not to join the Party."
"Oh", Smedley nodded and went away unwillingly.
Smedley knew Chairman Mao and the great undertaking of the Communist Party of China was willing to throw herself into the cause. So it came quite natural for her to request to join the Communist Party of China. Although it was not approved, she went to the frontline of anti-Japanese war and interview officers and men of the 8th Route Army and the New Fourth Army and made a lot of coverage and was named as "one of the few writers knowing the truth of Chinese revolution".
By Yang Guobao
(December 23, PLA Daily)
"Ching-li---lisiao Kwei" - orderly, Yeh
Fan Kwei, my translator, Agnes Smedley
and Ann Wang" [LilyWu and Anna Wang]
Agnes Smedley Collection
MSS-122 Vol. 42