I began my life behind the Bamboo Curtain on April 23, 1949, the day the nationalists pulled out of Nanking. “Bamboo Curtain” is a term coined by the American press
for the totalitarian rule which the Chinese communists are expected to establish in China.
“Bamboo Curtain”, in my opinion, is a more appropriate term for China than “Iron Curtain”, which is used in reference to Soviet Russia, because the barrier against the
outside world would not be as tight as that erected by Soviet Russia, due to the long vulnerable Chinese coastline and the large Chinese population abroad.
Another meaning of the Bamboo Curtain is that people behind a bamboo curtain can see outside the curtain, but people outside cannot see inside. This is generally presumed
to be what the Chinese communists and communists in other countries are doing – banning foreign observation and inspection of their country, while maintaining a
gigantic information or espionage network in other countries.
The most remarkable thing that emerged after the “liberation” of Nanking was the ingenuity and scale of the communist underground network. The set-up of
the nationalist political and economic nerve centre was infested with the virus of communist espionage and sabotage, covering every part and level of the governmental
machinery and reaching deep even into the Army Headquarters. This was one of the causes of the fast disintegration of Chiang Kai-shek’s power. One communist underground agent told me there were eight thousand underground workers in Nanking. He said three thousand of them were members of the Communist
Party. Others were members of anti-Kuomintang parties and factions, communist sympathisers, individual political opportunists and people who were disgusted with the
Kuomintang government. His figure may be a little exaggerated, but in my opinion it is pretty near to the truth.
Some of the underground agents were high up and deep in the most vital and confidential branches of the nationalist government. Some started their career in the
civil service immediately after they left college and after going through the normal spell of training set up by the Kuomintang. Little wonder that all the secrets of the
nationalist government were known to the communists before they were locked in the safety box. In Nanking, whenever the Garrison Headquarters drew up a blacklist
of names for a nocturnal police round-up, the communist underground always had the list before the police were informed of it.
During the peace negotiations in Peking in April 1949, nationalist peace delegate General Liu Fei insisted to chief communist peace delegate Chou En-lai, now Premier of the Central People’s Government, that the nationalist army totalled over four million men and could still fight if the communists refused to accede to their peace proposals.
Premier Chou En-lai smiled and took a piece of paper from his drawer and showed it to General Liu. That piece of paper contained the most detailed information on the
disposition of all the remaining nationalist units with the names of even the battalion commanders. The paper gave the total strength of the remnant nationalist army as 1.1
million. General Liu, according to the communist sources who gave me the story, “reddened with embarrassment” and said, “Well, our payroll shows over four million men”. After the nationalist army pulled out of Nanking, communist underground agents immediately revealed their identity and quietly went on to take over governmental offices and property. The chief reporter, Mr. Li Kuo, and several typesetters in the Kuomintang party organ, Central Daily News, announced their identity in a meeting of the paper’s staff on April 23 and formed a committee for
checking and taking over the paper’s plant. In the Central News Agency, eight members of its staff emerged as communists.
Two editors of the Military News Agency (operated by the Nationalist Defence Ministry), who had access to all of the war and intelligence reports of the Ministry’s G-2 Department, turned out to be members of Marshal Li Chisen’s Kuomintang Revolutionary Committee. Even the confidential secretary of the Chief of G-3
Department of the Nationalist Defence Ministry, Captain Huang, was a communist. He had obtained his commission after a period of training in a Kuomintang military
academy and was given the important position because of his “loyal” service.
As the confidential secretary of the G-3 Chief, Captain Huang handled all of the top-secret documents concerning military operations, defence plans, and troop deployment.
When the Defence Ministry was making preparations to move out of Nanking a few days before the fall of the city, he quit the Ministry – but not before stealing topsecret
military maps of defence works and strategic areas in Taiwan.
At the end of May 1949, I wrote a series of six articles for the United Press on how communist rule had affected the common man in Nanking after a period of one month.
These six articles are reproduced here without any change as the first portion of my report on communist rule.