All in one Dragnet: Huanqiu’s Revolutionary History Pages

Yang Fan, according to Huanqiu Shibao

Yang Fan, according to Huanqiu Shibao

Huanqiu Shibao celebrated Double-Ten (the day of the Hsinhai Revolution or Xinhai Revolution) with an opulent detective story1), about Yang Fan (扬帆), and the crucial role he played in saving Shanghai’s first or second CCP mayor Chen Yi (陈毅) from a KMT assassination plot in 1949.

It’s the stuff patriotic movies are made of, too:  Shanghai still under the retreating KMT’s bombardments, KMT spies everywhere, and Yang, in his capacity as Shanghai’s public security bureau’s deputy director, uncovering one of the plot’s traces after another.

How Chen Yi smiled indifferently (or coolly, 淡然一笑), saying in Sichuanese dialect that “if he (the assassin) wants to come, well, let him come – but don’t let him escape; detect and defeat him; catch the whole lot in one dragnet” (他要来就让他来吧,绝不能让他跑了,我们要全力侦破,一网打尽).

Most Huanqiu readers are probably aware of Chen’s fate during the cultural revolution. By that time, the Long March veteran had become foreign minister, and

Rabid Red Guards seeking to seize the Foreign Ministry. Chen Yi was hauled before a struggle session and beaten. Zhou Enlai rescued him and led him away. Chen lost his office, his freedom, his health, and died January 6, 1972,

China Daily describes Chen’s fate, in an undated biography. Yang Fan himself was in trouble much earlier, in 1955. By then, he had become Shanghai’s Public Security chief.

Reasons given for his sudden problems differ somewhat, depending on source. Republican China suggests that

Jiang Qing, for her open sexuality on Shanghai Bund and implication in a KMT arrest in 1934, was given negative feedback by underground communists like Yang Fan, for which Jiang Qing & Kang Sheng, in Feng Zhijun’s opinion, had routed Yang Fan & Pan Hannian in 1954 and put them to lifelong imprisonment.2)

Frederick C. Teiwes3), in Politics at Mao’s Court – Gao Gang and Party Factionalism in the Early 1950s (New York, 1990), confines himself to stating that Yang’s case was “too complicated and tangential to be dealt in full here” (i. e. in the context of his book’s topic, the “Gao Gang affair”. But in short,

Yang was implicated by his functional role directly under Pan [Pan Hannian, Shanghai first deputy secretary, accused of being a double-agent for the KMT, see Teiwes,p. 131 – JR] as well as close personal ties to Pan, and he was further vulnerable due to the enmity of Jiang Qing relating to events in Shanghai literary circles during the 1930s. The various charges against Pan and Yang became particularly salient in the context of the sufan campaign against hidden counterrevolutionaries, which got under way in spring 1955. There was really no convincing proof of their guilt at the time, but by the same token there was no unambiguous evidence of their innocence.

Also according to Teiwes, Han Fan was rehabilitated in 1983 (Teiwes, p. 132).

That’s why Fan was starring in Huanqiu’s Double-Ten detective story after all.



1) Huanqiu Shibao’s article is based on excerpts from an article by “Approaching Science” (走近科学), September 2011 – apparently a CCTV / CNTV serial, and not a paper.
2) My general impression of the Republican China website is that they are somewhat philistine.
3) Emeritus Professor of Chinese Politics, University of Sydney


» Cultural Activities, October 19, 2011



One Comment to “All in one Dragnet: Huanqiu’s Revolutionary History Pages”

  1. JR. Enjoyed reading this nice historical piece and shall pass over references to my non-existent residual catholicism.


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