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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol 7, No. 4 June 7, 1944

Battle Hymn Of China

Battle Hymn Of China

Agnes Smedley, journalist, after two years spent studying China's history, was unprepared for what she met when, impelled by what she calls her "historical curiosity," in 1928 she crossed the Soviet-Chinese border.

Her book is a living document to the incredible poverty and equally incredible heroism of the Chinese. For twelve years she travels over vast areas by train, motor-car, or, as is more usual, on horse or foot. Through the Japanese lines with guerilla units, through hundreds of Chinese hospitals jacking equipment, through the cordon sanitaire with which Chang Kai Shek encircled and fought the Chinese Soviet areas and armies, until the fight of the latter for national unity against the aggressive Japanese finally won the day. But even up to the time she left she spoke of the tragedy that allowed Chang Kai Shek to have among his assistants corrupt men who did infinite harm by maladministration, political discrimination and corrupt practices. Her main theme is the story of the endless devotion and sacrifice of millions of Chinese soldiers. "Victory will not be easy, but we will fight until victorious. We have our faith—tell your countrymen. ..." A procession of men throughout the years pass her on their way to the battlefields where capture means death, and a wounded man has little chance to live. The Japanese attacked Manchuria in 1931; since then China has not been at peace.

This book is dedicated "To the soldiers of China, poor, glorious pioneers in the world struggle against fascism."