China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This paper traces early Communist detours from urban Shanghai, rural Soviet-based Jiangxi, to colonial Hong Kong to remap the expanding transnational propaganda drive. It examines the origins of the transnational intelligence and propaganda network done by the Communists (both the CCP and the Soviets). I contest the claim that the turning-point in the Chinese revolution hinged on the Red Army’s breaking out of the Nationalist “Encirclement and Annihilation” Campaigns in the Jiangxi Soviet Base Area and the subsequent Long March to Yan’an. The paper uses communication and information frameworks to examine the Communists’ propaganda systems shifting between underground networks and public campaigns, with which they surreptitiously break out from Shanghai to rural Soviet-based Jiangxi, and the underground front moved further from rural China to colonial Hong Kong, in the 1930s and 1940s.
Since the war and revolution developed in the 1930s, Hong Kong had gained new geopolitical significance with its transnational connections, as it replaced Shanghai as the PRC outpost to win the support of Southeast Asian Chinese populations for revolutionary cause. I challenge the accepted ideology and political analysis that CCP’s success rested on the mobilization of the peasants from inland rural areas. I turn to communication studies to examine how the rural-urban information network and intelligence system contributed to the centralization of the media system in China, which continued to shape PRC’s propaganda work during the Cold War. The paper examines CCP’s geopolitical expansion and resistance as shaped by their communicative strategies of propaganda and intelligence.