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Chiang Kai-Shek Begins Counter-Revolution in China

April 12, 2022

On April 12, 1927, the Shanghai massacre occurred in the eastern city of Shanghai, signaling the start of the Chinese Civil War. Also known as the April 12 “Purge” or “Incident,” forces aligned with General Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Nationalist Party violently suppressed leftist organizations and factions in Shanghai. Those most specifically targeted were individuals associated with the Chinese Communist Party.

After the initial massacre, conservative aligned forces went on to conduct similar attacks in other cities, including Guangzhou and Changsha. The Shanghai massacre is often referred to as the April 12 Purge because Kai-shek and his forces intended to purge communists from all positions of leadership and power in order to squash the communist movement.

The attacks in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Changsha ultimately lead to an ideological split in the conservative Chinese Nationalist Party. It became divided into left and right-wing factions, with Kai-chek establishing himself as the leader of the right-wing faction. Kai-chek and his faction became based in the city of Nanjing; the left-wing faction, led by politician Wang Jingwei, settled in Wuhan.

Despite the threat of further violence and public beheadings, members of the Chinese Communist Party continued to organize. This led to the Guangzhou Uprising in December of 1927, the same year as the Shanghai massacre. This uprising ended in similar bloodshed, however, as the government overpowered those aligned with the communist movement. This specific uprising was suppressed as a result of the violence. However, the brutal events that took place served to galvanize communists in other cities and spur further political action across the country.


  1. Roger A Harrris

    It’s too bad that the commies weren’t stopped then, we may have been spared what we are facing now, Sadly General Chaing was a pretty cold character and didn’t have a good track record on how he treated people after he was ruling Formosa. Chairman Mao was a sad lot of human being as a sadist and murderer who was as bad as Stalin or worse. What a sad history we have here on Earth. If there is life on other planets I don’t think we have to worry about being invaded, who would want to come to such mayhem anyway!!

  2. Alison Comstock

    How interesting on this date 95 years later, in Shanghai the U.S. is ordering their consulate staff to leave.
    It’s due to COVID, but also to the harsh measures the Chinese government has gone to as they try & beat Mother Nature. People are having a very hard time obtaining food & sometimes even water! The harsh quarantine rules have shut down the whole city either keeping people locked inside their homes or neighborhoods, or they’ve been taken to facilities against their will- locked into horribly freezing rooms, with one sink per floor, no showers, trash piled up sky high & not being collecteed, & one single over-run dirty toilet not being cleaned!


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