After the Liaoshen, Huaihai, and Pingjin battles, the main force of the KMT army was basically wipe out. On January 21, 1949, when the Kuomintang regime was in turbulent conditions, Chiang Kai-shek announced his stepping down. The next day, Lee Zongren, then vice president of the Nationalist Government, became acting president.
After the Battle of Crossing the River, the Kuomintang no longer had a military basis to continue its rule on the mainland. Li Zongren also knew Chiang Kai-shek’s personality well, and was unwilling to go to Taiwan with him. So at the end of the year, he left for the United States and began a life in exile in a foreign country for more than ten years.
In March 1950, Chiang Kai-shek resumed his”President” position in Taiwan. In March 1954, he formally dismissed Li Zongren as the”Vice President”. Li Zongren has since become a commoner.
The loneliness and loneliness of living abroad gave Li Zongren the idea of returning to China. He expressed this idea to his former secretary, Cheng Siyuan, who is now living in Hong Kong, and hoped that he would listen to the opinions of the CCP.
In May 1955, when Cheng Siyuan visited Beijing with the delegation of Hong Kong and Macau, he talked to Li Kenong, the then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, about Li Zongren’s situation abroad and his plan to return to China. Li Kenong immediately reported to Zhou Enlai. However, considering the Sino-US relations and the Taiwan issue at the time, the central government believed that the issue of Li Zongren’s return should not be rushed and should be acted cautiously.
In order to express the sincerity of returning home, in August 1955, Li Zongren published”Proposals on the Taiwan Issue”, proposing that Taiwan should negotiate with the mainland and the Chinese should resolve their own family affairs. This move was highly appraised by Mao Zedong and other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1959, Li Zongren entrusted Cheng Siyuan to donate his collection of calligraphy and painting to the People’s Republic of China, once again expressing his desire to return to China.
Although Li Zongren’s return to China did not take place immediately, it has been steadily advancing. From April 1956 to June 1965, Zhou Enlai had five times received Cheng Siyuan, who was entrusted by Li Zongren to Beijing to inquire about news, and held consultations on Li Zongren’s return to China.
Mao Zedong also attached great importance to Li Zongren’s return to China and issued instructions three times.
On February 3, 1965, Mao Zedong received a report from the Investigation Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China that Li Zongren’s fellow Guilin fellow Liao Xingjian talked about Li Zongren’s activities in Hong Kong.
It mentioned:Cheng Siyuan reported on January 25 that Liao Xingjian told him in Hong Kong that Li Zongren was going to return to his motherland from the United States via Hong Kong. Li Wei expressed his determination to leave the United States. He has advertised to sell his New Jersey real estate and is scheduled to go to Europe in April and May. He regretted his letter to the New York Herald Tribune last year, but regretted that he could not remedy it. Now returning home is the only feasible way for Li. Can you give directions first?
Mao Zedong wrote a comment after reading it:”Prime Minister:I should welcome Li Zongren to return to China. Last year, he submitted a paper to the American newspaper. It has nothing to do with the overall situation and no criticism, because he has already admitted his mistake.”
The”submission of letters” in the report is the same thing as the”submission to the US newspaper” mentioned in Mao Zedong’s comments.
In November 1963, the conditions for Li Zongren’s return to China were basically ripe, but something happened soon after that caused the matter to stir again. In February 1964, Li Zongren published an article on China’s foreign policy in the”New York Herald Tribune” of the United States, which caused a negative response in the international community.
This violates the”four nos” principle that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Li Zongren negotiated at the beginning (no involvement in Sino-US relations, no involvement in US-Taiwan relations, no involvement in relations between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, no involvement in third forces-author Note). In view of this, the CPC Central Committee decided to postpone Li Zongren’s return to China. Later, Li Zongren realized his mistake and regretted it, and asked Cheng Siyuan to apologize to the CCP.
After Mao Zedong gave his approval for Li Zongren’s return to China, Zhou Enlai immediately started deployment. On June 13, 1965, Li Zongren left the United States for Europe to return home. On June 19, Cheng Siyuan was entrusted by Zhou Enlai to fly to Switzerland, where he escorted Li Zongren back home.
On July 9, the Investigation Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China formed a request for opinions on Li Zongren’s return to China. It mentioned:Cheng Siyuan arrived in Switzerland on June 28 and conveyed to Li Zongren the details discussed in Beijing. . The domestic suggested that for Li Zongren’s safety, he should not hold a press conference in Europe before returning home. A written statement can be considered after returning home. Li Zongren agreed with this opinion and said that he would return to China via Pakistan with his wife Guo Dejie and Cheng Siyuan on July 20.
For Li Zongren’s statement, I asked for instructions and put forward two plans:the first plan, Li Zongren does not have to make a statement as soon as he enters the country, and he will make a statement after returning to the country to discuss; the second plan, agree to enter the country Just make a written statement at the airport and meet with reporters, but the statement should be negotiated with the domestic in advance. We tend to adopt the first plan.
On July 12, Mao Zedong stated in the report:”The Prime Minister:It seems that the second plan is better, and the draft is negotiated beforehand, and there is no harm. Please consider again.”
On the day of receiving Mao Zedong’s approval, Zhou Enlai convened a meeting of Li Zongren’s old and old friends in the Great Hall of the People and explained to them Li Zongren’s voluntary return to China and his policies, and agreed to welcome Li Zongren. The sincerity and generosity of the CPC Central Committee moved everyone present.
On July 13, Li Zongren and his party took off from Switzerland to Pakistan. It landed smoothly at Karachi Airport in the early morning of the 14th. After receiving Li Zongren and his party from the embassy, Ding Guoyu, the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, immediately called the Investigation Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to ask Li Zongren about the drafting of the statement to be issued after arriving in Beijing and the holding of Chinese and foreign press conferences.
On July 15, the investigation department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China replied to Ding Guoyu and pointed out:After Li returned to China, he should make a brief statement and ask Li to draft a plan; if Li thinks that he needs to arrive in Shanghai to discuss the draft, it is okay; agree to hold after Li’s return. At the press conference, the issue of scope will be discussed after arriving in Beijing.
On this day, Zhou Enlai will accompany Ugandan Prime Minister Obote to Shanghai. Mao Zedong hopes that he can stay a few more days to meet Li Zongren at the airport. Therefore, when reviewing this telegram, Mao Zedong wrote his remarks:”Prime Minister:Do you want to stay in Shanghai for a few more days, discuss the statement with Li, and return to Beijing by the same plane. When Li is back, you should be welcome at the airport.” /p>
After finishing writing, he added:”You can live in Shanghai for a few days and come to Beijing after discussing a brief statement.”
On July 18th, Li Zongren finally returned to the farewell The long-standing motherland, Zhou Enlai, Chen Yi, Ye Jianying and others went to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport to greet Li Zongren and his party.
That night, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China hosted a banquet for Li Zongren and his party at the Shanghai Cultural Club. On the second day, Zhou Enlai had a long talk with Li Zongren, explaining to him the policies and requirements of the central authorities regarding his return to China.
On July 20, 1965, 74-year-old Li Zongren flew to Beijing and returned to the capital after a 16-year absence Beijing. Zhou Enlai arranged a grand welcoming ceremony at the airport. More than 100 people including party and state leaders, leaders of various democratic parties, non-party democrats, and former subordinates of Li Zongren went to the airport to greet him.
In the lobby of Beijing Airport, Li Zongren read out his return to the country, fully affirming the great achievements of the new China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and expressing his sincere heart to serve the country after returning to China.
“I hope that after following the people of our country, I will participate in socialist construction, and I want to contribute to all related patriotic and anti-imperialist causes. I promise my life in the future. , Is the year of serving the motherland. I can express my heart with this heart.”
“Zongren is old and has no thoughts about personal political outlets. In the future, I wish to do my duty as a member of the people to the motherland. We have made contributions to the cause of revolutionary construction, and we hope to be able to survive in our motherland. We have enough wishes and nothing else.”
At the same time, it firmly stated that”Taiwan Province is an indivisible and sacred territory of China” and advised The Kuomintang members who stayed in Taiwan returned to the embrace of the motherland and made their due contribution to the ultimate reunification of the motherland.
On July 27th, Mao Zedong met Li Zongren and his wife and Cheng Siyuan in Zhongnanhai. Li Zongren said in his conversation that he was happy for the strength of the motherland. Mao Zedong said:”The motherland is stronger than in the past, but not very strong. We will have to build at least another 20 to 30 years before we can truly become stronger.” Take a look around the country.
The trip to the Northeast was the first big event Li Zongren conducted after returning to China. He visited Harbin, Qiqihar and Daqing oil fields, visited the Songhua River, and went to Changchun No. 1 Automobile Manufacturing Plant and factories, mines and schools in cities such as Fushun, Anshan, and Luda.
Li Zongren received warm reception and proper arrangements wherever he went. He once said with emotion:”It is better to hear a hundred times than to see. The achievements of New China far exceed my imagination. Facts have proved The socialist system is much superior to the capitalist system.”
1Edited by the Literature Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China; Pang Xianzhi, editor-in-chief Feng Hui; Chen Jin, Li Jie , Xiong Huayuan, Wu Zhengyu, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Zhang Suhua. Chronicles of Mao Zedong 1949-1976 Volume 5 M. Beijing:Central Literature Publishing House, 2013.12.
2 Compiled by the Literature Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. Chronicles of Zhou Enlai 1949-1976 Part 1 M. Beijing:Central Literature Publishing House, 2007.09.
3 Selected Literature and History Materials, Volume 40 M. Beijing:China Literature and History Publishing House, 1990.
Pictures are from People’s Daily Online, WeChat No public”China CPPCC Literary History”
author:Zeng Jun, and the central Party literature Research Institute
Web Editor:Hou Jieying