The Green Gang and the Guomindang State: Du Yuesheng and the Politics of Shanghai, 1927-37 Author(s): Brian G. Martin Source: The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Feb., 1995), pp. 64-92 Published by: Association for Asian Studies Stable URL: Accessed: 24-01-2017 00:48 UTC

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted

digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about

JSTOR, please contact

Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at

Terms and Conditions of Use

Association for Asian Studies is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of Asian Studies

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to

The Green Gang and the

Guomindang State:

Du Yuesheng and the Politics of

Shanghai, 1927-37



Green Gang group and the Guomindang regime in the mid- 1930s provides useful insights into the nature of the Nanjing government’s rule and, in particular, into the manner it exercised power in its Jiangnan bailiwick. Although the Shanghai Green Gang bosses, in particular Du Yuesheng, were coopted by the new Guomindang State, their full integration into the regime’s power structure in Shanghai did not occur until after 1932. Despite their participation in Chiang Kai-shek’s anti- Communist coup of 1927, they enjoyed a somewhat unstable relationship with the Guomindang regime in the period 1927-31. The context of their incorporation into the Guomindang’s system of power in Shanghai was the new accommodation between the Nanjing Government and the leadership of the Shanghai bourgeoisie following the political and economic crisis of 1932. In other words, the cooption of the Green Gang bosses was part of the new structures of state corporatism that were forged by the Guomindang regime in the wake of the Shanghai Incident.

The Shanghai Green Gang

The Green Gang was the largest and most powerful secret society-cum-gangster

organization in Shanghai during the Republican period, with its members constituting the majority of the one hundred thousand or so gangsters estimated to be active in the city during the 1920s and 1930s. The development of the Green Gang was closely linked to the important demographic and social changes associated with the emergence of Shanghai as an important industrial and commercial center. The city’s factories attracted large numbers of unemployed and underemployed peasants, and

Brian G. Martin is a foreign policy analyst with the Australian Parliamentary Research


A preliminary version of this article was published in Lishi Yanjiu as “Qingbang he

Guomindang zhengquan: Du Yuesheng dui Shanghai zhengzhi de zuoyong (1927-1939),” 5 (October 1992):45-60.

The Journal of Asian Studies 54, no. 1 (February 1995):64-91. (? 1995 by the Association for Asian Studies, Inc.


This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


in just twenty years (1910-30) the urban population trebled to just over three million (Martin 1922:267-68).

Along with the indigent peasantry came various criminal elements who found Shanghai, with its separate Chinese and foreign jurisdictions, an ideal environment for the promotion of a wide range of rackets, such as opium trafficking, gambling, prostitution, kidnapping, protection, and labor contracting. They brought with them their local Green Gang traditions (particularly from rural Jiangbei) which formed the basis for the revival of the Green Gang system in Shanghai and provided an organizational and legitimizing structure for the criminal activities of these essentially gangster groups. In Shanghai, however, the Green Gang did not constitute a single, coherent, and centrally controlled organization, but rather was composed of distinct and competing groups operating within a very loose structure of networks of influence and authority.

By the late 1920s one of the most important of these groups was the triumvirate of Huang Jinrong, Du Yuesheng and Zhang Xiaolin in the French Concession (Martin 1991:44-53). Control of the opium traffic provided the French Concession Green Gang bosses with the financial and organizational capacity to extend their power progressively over other Green Gang groups in Shanghai. The key figure behind this strategy was Du Yuesheng, and his power and influence within the French Concession Green Gang leadership increased correspondingly. Opium, in fact, was the basis for pragmatic and self-interested cooperation between the French Concession Green Gang bosses and both successive warlord administrations in Shanghai and the French authorities. This provided an important precedent for the relationship between these bosses and the succeeding Guomindang administration in the early period of the Nanjing decade (Martin 1989:54-62).

The Green Gang Bosses and the Nanjing Government:

The Period of Instability, 1927-31

Participation in Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-Communist coup of April 1927 was an important first step, but not of itself a sufficient one, in the evolution of the relationship between the French Concession Green Gang Bosses and the new Guomindang regime in Shanghai in the period 1927-3 1.1 Other factors were equally important in shaping that relationship, including the politics of opium, the political instability of the regime in this period, and the gang bosses’ relations with the French Concession authorities.

Opium was of fundamental importance to the new relationship with the Guomindang regime, just as it had been for relations with the earlier warlord regimes. Concern to ensure security of their opium system was a prime consideration for the three bosses in their dealings with both the Communist and Guomindang representatives in Shanghai in March-April 1927. According to the minutes of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Shanghai District Special Committee, for example, Du Yuesheng approached the members of the Committee in late March, and offered to keep in check the activities of all Green Gang groups throughout Shanghai in

‘An analysis of the Green Gang’s participation in the anti-communist coup of April 1927 can be found in Martin 1983.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


return for the CCP’s not moving against the opium traffic (SGSWQY, 1987:209). There is reason to believe that just such a deal lay at the heart of the Green Gang’s

cooperation with the Right Guomindang in the anti-Communist coup of April 12, 1927 (Martin 1983; Davidson-Houston 1962:135).

Despite this understanding, the politics of opium during these years was a tortuous affair in which periods of accommodation between the gangster bosses and the

Guomindang regime alternated with periods of covert hostility. This reflected the fact that the interests of Du Yuesheng and the other gang bosses and those of the

Nationalist Government frequently diverged. The former sought the preservation and even enhancement of the existing contraband system, while the latter sought to regulate the traffic as a source of revenue.

It was the poverty of its fiscal resources that forced the Nanjing government to contemplate the possibility of an official opium monopoly, and the Finance Minister, T. V. Soong, attempted to create such a monopoly on several occasions. However, all such attempts had to take account of the entrenched interests of the Green Gang in the system of opium trafficking. On two occasions, in 1927 and 1931, the Nanjing

government considered the establishment of an official monopoly, and on both occasions the initial agreement with the French Concession Green Gang bosses broke down, thus aborting the attempts. It would appear that the Green Gang leaders preferred the status quo since this allowed them to control the illicit traffic free from the supervision of the Nanjing government (GBFOCO: Lampson [Peking} to Chamberlain, December 20, 1927; GBFOCO: Pratt, Memorandum on Opium, August 10, 1929;

USDS2: Jenkins [Shanghail to State, March 16, 1931; Isaacs 1932). Moreover, the financial costs to the gangsters of bribing corrupt Chinese and foreign officials was less than the taxes imposed by a regulated system.

These attempts by the Nanjing government to regulate the opium traffic resulted on occasion in serious tensions between Minister Soong and the Green Gang bosses. In February 1928, for example, Soong’s ceaseless search for revenues led him to attempt to dun the Zixin Company (a subsidiary of the Three Prosperities Company, the organization through which the Green Gang bosses controlled the opium traffic). Soong demanded a “loan” of $1,000,000 from the Zixin Company on pain of closure of the operations of the Three Prosperities Company. Du Yuesheng, the company’s manager, refused on the grounds that the government “ceaselessly” demanded loans but failed to provide adequate protection for the company’s opium operations; he then demanded that the monopoly under which the Zixin Company operated be wound up together with the refund of monies already paid by the gangsters to the government (USDS1: Cunningham [Shanghail to State, March 7, 1928). Again circumstantial evidence suggests that Du Yuesheng was involved in the assassination attempt on T. V. Soong at Shanghai’s North Station on July 23, 1931. It was suggested at the time that this incident was linked to the breakdown of negotiations between the Green Gang bosses and Soong for the establishment of an official opium monopoly in Shanghai (USDS2: Cunningham [Shanghail to State, August 4, 1931 and September 17, 1931; Isaacs 1932).

The failure of the Nanjing government in this period to establish its control over the opium traffic left Du Yuesheng and his fellow Green Gang bosses free to expand their narcotics operations through arrangements with independent regional militarists. In 1928, for example, Du entered into an agreement with the Sichuan warlord Liu Xiang by which he purchased and refined in Shanghai the product of Liu’s morphia factories in Chongqing. The deal was arranged through the good offices of Fan Shaozeng, a subordinate of Liu Xiang and a leader of the Paoge (a

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


Sichuan secret society), with Fan using his secret society connections to develop a relationship with Du Yuesheng. A subsidiary of the Three Prosperities Company was set up in Chongqing under the management of Du’s offsider Chen Kunyuan, the so-called “morphine king.” By 1933 Du’s Green Gang group controlled all the Sichuan morphine traffic transported down the Yangzi River. This morphine was further refined in a number of narcotics plants in Shanghai controlled by Du’s organization (Fan 1986:195-96, 198; GBFOCO: Fitzmaurice [Ichang} to Henderson, June 14, 1930; USDS2: Clubb, Report on Opium, April 28, 1934).

The “Sichuan connection” reflected the second factor that conditioned the relationship between the Green Gang bosses and the Nationalist government in this period: the extreme political instability of the regime’s ruling coalitions, and the need for the Gang bosses to maintain relations with a broad spectrum of factional groups (including opponents as well as supporters of the regime). This instability stemmed from the failure of Chiang Kai-shek and the senior civilian leadership of the Party, notably Hu Hanmin and Wang Jingwei, to find an enduring basis for sharing power, despite the fact that neither group had the power to rule in its own right. Although Chiang controlled the regime’s military resources, he nevertheless still lacked the political strength to withstand a coalition of other Guomindang factions, while the senior civilian leadership, lacking control over the regime’s coercive power, could not govern effectively without Chiang.

Given this situation it was important for the three Green Gang bosses to maintain contacts with a wide range of military and political factions, in addition to that of Chiang Kai-shek, to protect their interests, particularly those associated with narcotics trafficking. A few examples will suffice. In early 1929, prior to the Guangxi revolt, the Nanjing government requested Du Yuesheng to prevent Li Zongren, who was visiting Shanghai, from leaving the city and joining the other Guangxi leaders. Du, however, refused on the grounds that he could not get involved in domestic political conflicts at the expense of personal friendships (DYSXSJNJ 2:51). It should be noted that eighteen months earlier, in November 1927, Bai Chongxi (another leader of the Guangxi clique) had intervened in favor of the Green Gang bosses in a dispute between their Three Prosperities Company and a rival opium concern (the Xinyuan Company), which operated under license from the Ministry of Finance, over a large consignment of Persian opium. These incidents were not unrelated (GBFOCO: Lampson [Pekingi to Chamberlain, December 20, 1927).

During 1930 Du Yuesheng also maintained close contacts with Wang Jingwei’s Reorganizationist Faction in Beiping through Chen Gongbo (Jiang Hao 1986a:65). Following the defeat of the Reorganizationists and their military allies (Feng Yuxiang and Yan Xishan) in the so-called “War of the Central Plain,” May-October 1930, Du Yuesheng and his gangster colleagues agreed to cooperate in the creation of a Guomindang opium monopoly in early May 1931. As part of this deal, Chiang Kai-shek agreed to give Du “face” by ordering Guomindang civil and military officials to participate in the dedication ceremonies of the Du Family Temple in Gao Qiao, Pudong, in mid-June 1931 (Isaacs, 1932; CWR, August 15, 1931; DJSLCJN:29- 52). As noted above, however, this agreement broke down in July 1931.

At the same time, the gangster bosses continued their contacts with anti-Chiang Kai-shek factions. During the Shanghai Peace Conference, October 27-November 7, 1931, for example, which attempted to work out a modus vivendi between the Nanjing and Canton governments, one of Du Yuesheng’s followers, Deng Zuyu, acted as a liaison between the French Concession Green Gang bosses and the delegation from the Canton government. Huang Jinrong, moreover, extended his personal

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


protection to Wang Jingwei when the latter held his faction’s Fourth National Congress in Shanghai in December 1931. Huang also provided the facilities for convening

this congress, which was held in his newly acquired Great World Amusement Center (SMP File D8185, September 15, 1938; XDSL 2:87, 92). In fact, the Green Gang bosses provided one channel of communication between the different political factions during the negotiations to work out an acceptable compromise government in October- December 1931.

The Green Gang bosses’ ability to maintain good relations with a wide range of Guomindang factions without being completely identified with any one of them derived from the fact that they had an established, independent power base within the French Concession (Martin 1992:284-97). This was largely the work of Du Yuesheng and it rested on a fundamental trade-off: tolerance of the Green Gang’s gambling and opium interests by the French in return for the Green Gang’s support in maintaining the Concession’s internal security and social order. This compact was forged during the crisis of early 1927 and attained its greatest influence during the consulship of Koechlin, 1929-31. By the end of 1931, however, it was unravelling. Concerned at the degree of influence that the Green Gang bosses, especially Du Yuesheng, exercised in the Concession and the reports of the corrupt understanding on narcotics trafficking between the gangsters and local French officials, the French authorities in Paris took action to clean up the Shanghai Concession.

A Turning Point: The Crisis of 1932

The crisis year of 1932 was a turning point in the relations between the French Concession Green Gang bosses, more particularly Du Yuesheng, and the Nanjing government. In the course of the year the government was reconstituted on a new,

broader, and more integrated basis, one that provided a definite role for the leading Shanghai capitalists. At the same time, Du Yuesheng lost his independent power base within the French Concession and was therefore forced to seek an accommodation with the Nanjing authorities. He was successful in this endeavor and, as a result, he and his Green Gang group were progressively integrated into the new Guomindang power structure in Shanghai.

The Nanjing Regime’s Crisis of Authority

In the winter of 1931-32 the interaction of a serious foreign policy crisis with a protracted domestic political crisis produced a severe regime crisis for the Nanjing government. The house arrest of Hu Hanmin by Chiang Kai-shek in February 1931 initiated a major political crisis in the course of which calls were made for Chiang’s impeachment and a separate government was set up in Canton. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria, following the Mukden Incident of September 18, 1931, forced the Guomindang politicians to seek a solution to this political crisis to provide an effective response to the Japanese action, and eventually an agreement was reached that involved the resignation of Chiang and the formation of a new government under Sun Ke in December 1931. This government was not long-lived. It lacked any real authority and it did not have the support of either Chiang Kai-shek or the Shanghai financiers. It finally collapsed in the face of renewed Japanese aggression when Japanese forces invaded Shanghai on January 28, 1932. This further crisis led to the formation of

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


another government in which Wang Jingwei and Chiang Kai-shek played key roles, as President of the Executive Yuan and Chairman of the Military Affairs Commission, respectively.

The Nanjing government’s confused response to the crisis provoked by Japan, coming on top of the prolonged political crisis of the previous year, eroded its authority and undermined its legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese public. The decline in government influence was only compounded by the removal of the capital from Nanjing to Luoyang on February 3. In early March the American Consulate

General in Nanjing reported on the general disillusionment felt by the Chinese elite toward the Guomindang regime. It noted that the belief was prevalent that Chiang Kai-shek, his “military regime,” and the Guomindang itself were all “finished” and that certain responsible Chinese advocated a League of Nations mandate for China (USDS2: Peck [Nanjing) to State, March 12, 1932). It was against this background of profound public disillusionment with the regime that Chiang Kai-shek himself remarked in mid-year that the “Chinese revolution has failed” (Eastman 1974:1).

The Crisis in Shanghai and the Role

of the Chinese Bourgeois Elite

In Shanghai the Japanese invasion led to the temporary collapse of administrative authority in the Chinese City. After their occupation of Zhabei, the Japanese military proceeded to set up a puppet government to administer the area. This was the so- called Shanghai Northern District Citizens’ Municipal Maintenance Association (Shanghai Beishi Renmin Difang Weichibui), which was run by local Zhabei gangsters, such as Hu Lifu and Chang Yuqing, who belonged to Gu Zhuxuan’s Green Gang group. Indeed, the Shanghai Municipal Police (SMP) firmly believed that Gu and his brother (Gu Songmou) were behind the puppet government and financed the venture. This government, in fact, was nothing more than a glorified extortion agency whose main administrative function was to run gambling houses, opium divans, and brothels (SMP Files: D3445, April 5, 8, 1932; NCH, May 3, May 24, August 17, 1932). In early May, discussions were held between these gangsters and officers of the Japanese consulate in Shanghai about the possibility of creating a separate Japanese Concession in Shanghai that would include the districts of Zhabei, Jiangwan, Wusong, Baoshan, and Liuhe (SMP Files: D3445, May 2, 5, 1932). These discussions, however, were suspended following the implementation of the ceasefire agreement on May 5. The erosion of Chinese authority in Shanghai provided a favorable environment for the activities of various military and political adventurers, such as the failed conspiracy by Zhou Fengqi and his former colleagues in the 26th Army, to seize control of the Chinese administration in Nandao in the name of a so-called “South Eastern Self Defense Army” (Dongnan Ziwei Jun) (SMP Files: D3369, March 14, April 18, May 11, 1932).

The administrative vacuum created by the temporary dislocation of government authority in Shanghai was filled on an ad hoc basis by the elite of the Shanghai bourgeoisie. On January 31 members of this elite organized the Shanghai Citizens’ Maintenance Association or SCMA (Shanghai Shimin Difang Weichihui). This body undertook a comprehensive range of administrative, financial, and troop-support functions throughout the period of conflict in Shanghai (SSDWBS 1:1-15). It provided material support for Chinese forces at the front and relief for refugees from the war zone, together with any other measures that were necessary to ensure local order.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


At the same time it endeavored to maintain as many of the essential economic

activities of Chinese Shanghai as was possible in the crisis through its regulation

of the Chinese financial markets and Chinese commercial and industrial operations. The SCMA had a total membership of ninety-four, drawn from the leading Chinese financiers, industrialists, and businessmen in Shanghai, and its operations were in the hands of a chairman (Shi Liangcai), and two deputy chairmen (Wang Xiaolai and Du Yuesheng), who were assisted by a fifteen-member executive committee.2 It was organized into five sections dealing with troop support, refugee relief, economics, international relations and general affairs; and it also organized, separately, ten committees covering such issues as food supply, rear support, communications, management of relief supplies, and merchant militia, as well as larger issues such as civil aviation, foreign policy and domestic politics, and the question of extraterritoriality.

During the crisis the SCMA raised over Ch$930,000 in contributions for troop support and refugee relief and ran sixty-five refugee camps (shourong suo); it also supplied the Chinese troops with their rice rations and assisted with the provision of thirty-nine field hospitals. The SCMA also cooperated with the Shanghai municipal government’s Bureau of Social Affairs in dealing with the socioeconomic problems posed by the 30,000 to 40,000 workers dismissed from the Japanese textile mills through the creation of the Shanghai Municipal Committee for the relief of unemployed

workers (Shanghai Shi Shiye Gongren Jiujihui) in late March, and the provision of 600 piculs of rice to feed them. The Repatriation Unit of the SCMA’s Relief Section, moreover, hired fifteen steamships and returned a total of 18,701 unemployed workers and refugees to their native places, principally in Jiangbei (SSDWBS 8:11-13; Ma 1958, 3:1071-73). The SCMA conducted its activities over a four-month period (January 31-June 6), and during the height of the crisis its executive committee sat in almost permanent session. In early June it was reorganized on a permanent basis and given a new name, the Shanghai Civic Association or SCA (Shanghai Shi Difang Xiehui).

The cooperation of the Shanghai bourgeois elite with the local Guomindang authorities did not prevent it from voicing trenchant criticisms of the regime itself. In fact, the patent weakness of the Nanjing government and the obvious dependence of the municipal authorities on the work of the SCMA during the crisis encouraged the bourgeois elite to formulate political demands of its own. An opportunity was provided by the controversy associated with the convening of the National Emergency Conference in Luoyang in mid-April. The original purpose of the conference was to enlist the support of outstanding non-party people for the Nanjing government by encouraging a wide-ranging discussion of all aspects of the national emergency, including political and military issues as well as economic and foreign policy matters. When it was finally convened, Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei narrowed the terms of its discussions to exclude debate of the one-party rule of the Guomindang and political reform (Eastman 1974:160-63; Shen 1981:331-49; XDSL 1:111-20; USDS2: Perkins [Peiping] to State, April 15, 1932). In protest, the sixty-six Shanghai delegates to the conference (many of whom were members of the SCMA), led by Shi Liangcai, boycotted the conference and sent a telegram laying out their political

2Among the members of the SCMA executive committee were the following: Yu Xiaqing (shipping magnate), Zhang Xiaolin (Green Gang boss), Qin Runqing (Chinese native banker), Lin Kanghou (banker), Liu Hongsheng (industrialist: the Chinese “match king”), Xu Xinliu (banker), Qian Xinzhi (banker), Mu Ouchu (industrialist: the Chinese “cotton king”), Tang Shoumin (banker), and Guo Shun (industrialist) (SSDWHYL:n.p.).

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


demands of the Nanjing regime. This was nothing less than a political manifesto in which they asserted their right to offer advice to the government on matters of national importance, and called for immediate guarantees of freedom of speech, press, and popular assembly, the establishment of an elected control Yuan within two months, and the promulgation of a democratic constitution within eight months (Shen 1981:336-37; NCH, April 12, 1932; CF, April 16, 1932).

Du Yuesheng and the 1932 Crisis

The reaction of Du Yuesheng to the Guomindang regime’s crisis of authority in early 1932 was complex and reflected the diversity of his interests in Shanghai. Du and his two Green Gang colleagues had been involved in the anti-Japanese commercial boycott since its inception in mid- 193 1.3 With the creation of the Shanghai Resist Japan National Salvation Association (Shanghai Shi Kangri Jiuguo Hui) after Japan’s occupation of Manchuria, Du was appointed to its five-man standing committee (Zhang 1978 3:2). The three Green Gang bosses also participated in the various relief organizations that the leading members of the Shanghai bourgeoisie set up to assist Manchurian refugees. Du and Zhang Xiaolin, for example, were members of the standing committees of the Shanghai Northeast Refugees Relief Association (Shanghai Dongbei Nanmin Jiujihui) and the Federation of Shanghai Charities for Providing Relief Funds for Refugees in the Northeast (Shanghai Ge Zishan Tuanti Zhenji Dongbei Nanmin Lianhehui), along with Wang Xiaolai, Shi Liangcai, and Yu Xiaqing. Huang Jinrong was a member of the Federation of Shanghai Charities Supervisory Committee, while Du was a member of the standing committee of another related organization established by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Shanghai Municipal Chamber of Commerce’s Committee to Raise Funds for the Support and Relief of the Northeast (Shanghai Shi Shanghui Choumu Yuanjiu Dongbei Juankuan Weiyuan Hui) (Zhang 1933:165-69).

Involvement in such organizations, especially those associated with the anti- Japanese boycott, provided new opportunities for the Green Gang leaders to engage in racketeering, especially extortion; and the “patriotic” nature of these associations served to legitimize such activities (Isaacs 1932). Among the instruments for enforcing the boycott in 1932 were three organizations controlled by Du Yuesheng and Huang Jinrong that the French Police regarded as merely mechanisms for extorting money from certain members of the business community. These were the Secret Investigation Group for National Salvation and Resistance to Japan (Jiuguo Kangri Anchatuan) and the Blood and Soul Group for the Extermination of Traitors (Xuehun Chujian Tuan), both controlled by Du Yuesheng, and the National Salvation Assassination Society (JiUggo Ansha Tuan), which was organized by Huang Jinrong’s senior lieutenant, Chen Peide. In carrying out their activities, these groups worked in association with certain prominent Chinese businessmen, such as Wang Xiaolai, who found in them a useful means for the elimination of their commercial and political rivals in the name of “national salvation” (SMP Files: D3904, September 1, 1932, and D7667, November 8, 1932). The activities of these strong-arm gangster organizations, therefore, provided one channel by which the Green Gang bosses, notably Du Yuesheng, forged close links with certain leaders of the Chinese bourgeoisie during the crisis of 1931-32.

3For a detailed study of the boycott movement, see Jordan 1991.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


Another means by which Du Yuesheng strengthened his organizational links

with the Shanghai bourgeoisie was through his participation in the activities of the

SCMA. Du played a key role in this organization (SSDWBS: passim). As noted above, he was one of the association’s two deputy chairmen, while his colleague, Zhang Xiaolin, was a member of the executive committee. Du also provided the

SCMA with its headquarters, his ex-gambling house at No. 181 Avenue Foch, and made the largest single contribution for the association’s administrative expenses. At the same time, both Du and Zhang were members of those SCMA sections

charged with raising financial contributions for the National Salvation Fund (NSF) (Jiuguo Juan) and with providing material support for the troops at the front. Du’s

bank, the Zhonghui Bank, was one of thirty-three modern-style, native banks designated as official agents for the collection of NSF contributions. In fact, the Zhonghui Bank held the fourth largest deposits of NSF contributions, amounting to Ch$52,271 or almost 6 percent of total contributions of Ch$931,618. Du was also a member of two important committees of the SCMA, the Committee to Study the Question of a Merchant’s Militia (Shangtuan Wenti Yanjiu Weiyuanhui) and the

Committee for the Management of the Fund to Resist the Enemy and Support the

Troops (Kangdi Weilao Jin Chuli Weiyuanhui). Finally, Du’s follower and senior economic adviser, Yang Guanbei, was deputy head of the SCMA’s Repatriation


The participation by Du Yuesheng in the SCMA was an important step in the

extension of his influence among the leaders of the Chinese bourgeoisie and in the broadening of his power base beyond the confines of the French Concession. This was because the SCMA (and its successor, the SCA) was the key body that articulated the political interests of the Shanghai bourgeois elite as a whole and represented those interests to the Guomindang authorities. Du participated fully in the political activities of the SCMA during 1932. He and Zhang Xiaolin joined the other Shanghai delegates in boycotting the National Emergency Conference in April, and both put their names to the circular telegram that demanded major political reforms of the

Guomindang regime. Huang Jinrong, alone of the three Green Gang bosses, attended the conference, a decision not unrelated to his appointment by Wang Jingwei as an adviser to the Executive Yuan on the eve of the conference (CF, April 16, 1932;

Isaacs 1932; Shen 1981:336-37; SMP Files: D3176/17, April 20, 1932). Du Yuesheng also played an active part in the Anti-Civil War League, which was organized by leading Shanghai financers, and was elected to its standing committee, along with Wang Xiaolai, Lin Kanghou, and two others, at the League’s Congress in

August (USDS2: Josselyn [Shanghai] to State, September 9, 1932; Coble 1980:115- 19).

A major determinant of Du Yuesheng’s actions in 1932 were the decisive moves

taken by the French authorities to remove his gambling and narcotics rackets from the French Concession (Martin 1992:298-300). At one point Du Yuesheng made arrangements with the Zhabei puppet government to transfer his opium and gambling interests to Zhabei in the event that the outcome of his negotiations with the French proved unsuccessful. By the end of May some of Du’s gambling and opium interests had, in fact, been transferred to that part of Zhabei that bordered on Hongkou (SMP Files: D3445, May 2, 5, 1932; CWR, June 4, 1932). Despite their activities in the SCMA and in support of the Chinese troops, Du Yuesheng and his two Green Gang colleagues maintained contacts with the Hu Lifu puppet government in Zhabei from its inception. Shortly after this government was established in early April, for example, Huang Jinrong wrote a letter to Hu Lifu in which he expressed his support

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


and sympathy for Hu’s organization. When two members of the puppet government,

Wang Ziliang and Gu Jiacai, were arrested by the Chinese authorities in late April, Du interceded on their behalf and secured their release. Both men were members

of Du’s narcotics combine, the Three Prosperities Company (SMP Files: D3445, April 10, 1932 and D3344, April 18, 1932).

With the final collapse of the puppet government at the end of May, Du Yuesheng had to seek alternative arrangements for securing his gambling and narcotics interests. He adopted a dual strategy of increasing pressure on the French authorities to improve his bargaining position while, at the same time, negotiating with the Mayor of Shanghai, Wu Tiecheng, for the removal of his narcotics interests to Nandao. The context of these latter negotiations was provided by the Nanjing government’s moves in October 1932 to extend its semiofficial opium monopoly from Hankou, where it had operated for several years as the Hubei Special Tax Bureau (Hubei Teshui Qinglihui), to Jiangsu and Shanghai. This reflected the decision taken by senior Guomindang leaders at the Lushan Conference in June 1932 to set up a de facto opium monopoly because of the serious financial problems that faced the government as a result of the crisis of 1931-32 (USDS2: Clubb Report on Opium, April 24, 1934; PT, June 23, 1932).

In early November 1932, Du Yuesheng visited Hankou to seek official permission to conduct the public sale of opium in Shanghai in return for the payment of Ch$3,000,000 a month to the Minister of Finance, T. V. Soong. Some days earlier, Du had secured the appointment of his nominee, Yang Hu, as commander of the Shanghai Peace Preservation Corps (Shanghai Shi Bao’andui) and thus ensured the necessary armed protection for the transportation of his opium shipments. Du then wound up the operations of the Three Prosperities Company and incorporated its functions within a “Special Service Department” of the Peace Preservation Corps. Once a deal had been struck with Wu Tiecheng, this “Special Service Department” was transferred to the control of the Bureau of Public Safety, and hence of Wu himself. Finally in December, Du Yuesheng also secured the “farm” of the opium

operations in Jiangsu province (PT, November 11, 1932; GBFOCO: Brenan [Shanghai] to Ingram, November 7, 1932, Brenan [Shanghai] to Cadogan, June 5, 1934; SMP Files: D3648, December 28, 1932 and D9319, July 8, 1939). By the end of the year, therefore, Du had succeeded in reaching an agreement with the Guomindang authorities that not only allowed the transfer of his narcotics operations from the French Concession to Chinese territory but that also gave them a semiofficial status. This opium deal, however, was only one element in a larger accommodation between Du Yuesheng and his Green Gang group, on the one hand, and the Nanjing government on the other. The context for this accommodation was the new configuration of power in the regime that had emerged from the crisis of 1932.

A New Beginning: The Guomindang “Corporatist” State

During the latter half of 1932 Chiang Kai-shek sought to reassert his own authority and to reconstitute the power of the Guomindang, which had been seriously undermined by the crises of 1931-32. To achieve this he forged a political alliance with Wang Jingwei and his faction, which gave the regime much-needed internal stability and utilized the services of the CC Clique of Chen Guofu and Chen Lifu

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


to consolidate his control over the Guomindang Party branches.4 Chiang also made the elimination of the communist challenge a centerpiece of his domestic policy.

At the same time, to repair the damage done to the regime’s legitimacy by these events, Chiang also allowed for strictly limited, but nevertheless important, involvement by the leading members of the Shanghai bourgeoisie, through such organizations as the SCA, in aspects of the regime’s decision-making process. In this way their interests were given institutional representation in the political system. In other words, one element of Chiang’s policy of reorganization was the adaptation to Chinese conditions of aspects of the system of state corporatism. As Joseph Fewsmith has demonstrated in his study of the Guomindang and the Shanghai merchant elites, the basis for such a system had already been laid prior to 1930 with the extension of state control over the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce in the wake of passage of the Trade Association Law and the Chamber of Commerce Law in 1929 (Fewsmith 1985:159-66). This process, however, gathered pace and was given added urgency by the serious regime crisis provoked by the events of 1931-32.

The moves to coopt the leading members of the Shanghai bourgeoisie were

prompted by the need to address the problem of the erosion of its legitimacy in the eyes of key sections of the Chinese public, notably leading intellectuals and members of the bourgeoisie. At the same time, the Nanjing government could not ignore the important contributions made by the SCMA to the maintenance of social order and of basic economic activities in Shanghai at a time the local municipal administration was in a state of near collapse. The huge economic costs of the conflict in Zhabei, estimated at between Ch$1.5 billion and Ch$2 billion, also underlined the importance for the government of an accommodation with the leading members of the Shanghai bourgeoisie (NCH, March 22, and April 12, 1932; SBNJ 1933:U13).

Considerations such as these induced the Nanjing government to extend official recognition to the SCA, the successor to the SCMA. Government leaders believed that the SCA would make an important contribution to the government’s financial, industrial, and defense policy, as well as to the restoration of economic prosperity and social order in Shanghai. As Minister T. V. Soong put it at a meeting of the SCA in early September 1932:

Now the Shanghai Citizens’ Maintenance Association has been reorganized as the Shanghai Civic Association. Its work is now much harder, and it must engage in long-term preparations and specific planning for such issues as national defense, finance, and industry. I have extraordinary admiration for your spirit! And I express to you my very best wishes!

(SSDWBS) 1:81-82)

In other words, the Nanjing government regarded the SCA as an important organization through which to cooperate with the Shanghai bourgeoisie and to gain their support for key government policies. The importance of the SCA was that it brought together the leaders from all areas of Shanghai economic life-finance, commerce, and industry-in the one organization. If membership numbers are any indication, the SCA became even more representative of the Shanghai bourgeois elite in the course of the 1930s. Its membership tripled in five years, rising from eighty in June 1932 to 156 in 1935 to 241 in May 1937 (DLM 1965:61; SMP Files: D4683, December 27, 1935).

4For information of the CC Clique, see the discussions by Tien Hung-Mao 1972:49- 51 and Lloyd Eastman 1976:196-200.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


At the municipal level the Shanghai Municipal Government set up a nineteen- member Provisional Municipal Council (Linshi Shi Canyihui) in mid-October 1932 to provide it with advice on administrative matters. The councillors brought together representatives of Shanghai’s industrial, financial, and business interests (all of whom were members of the SCA) with labor leaders and local party figures, under the chairmanship of Shi Liangcai (SSNJ 1935:F51-57). The council was a genuine corporatist body, with councillors selected from a broad range of professional groups to “represent” “the people.” As Pan Gongzhan noted in his speech at the council’s inauguration:

Mayor Wu [Tiechengi . . . has been guided by one principle, namely, those who are selected must be honest people who really enjoy the confidence and support of

the people . . . a careful survey of men selected would show that [their] integrity and character cannot be questioned. Furthermore, these gentlemen, chosen from representative groups of bankers, merchants, industrialists, educators, labor leaders and journalists, truly represent the many more important walks of life. I do not believe that they can be improved upon even by an election.

(NCH, October 19, 1932)

The council was organized into eight sections that mirrored the bureaus of the municipal government, such as social affairs, public safety, finance, public works, education, etc. Furthermore, it debated and reviewed all aspects of municipal administration, from road construction, house rents, and health regulations to the annual budgets, the issuance of municipal bonds, and the management of government revenues.

This accommodation between the Guomindang regime and the Shanghai bourgeoisie was, in sum, a form of corporatism based on mutual weakness. The Nanjing government had been seriously weakened by the events of 1932 and needed to reassert its authority. However, it had to confront the serious political and financial limitations on that authority, and find ways to ameliorate them. One means of meeting the situation was to coopt the leading elements of the Shanghai bourgeoisie. In the years immediately after the Shanghai Incident, the Nanjing government could be described as an early example of a weak authoritarian regime of a type that has become much more familiar in countries of the Third World since the demise of colonialism. The Shanghai bourgeoisie, for its part, was given an opportunity by the crisis of the regime in 1932 to assert its political interests in a meaningful way. It did this effectively through its involvement in the SCMA and in its public criticism of the National Emergency Conference. The Guomindang regime had to take note of its views. On the other hand, the bourgeoisie’s political strength was neither very great nor very soundly established, and had been eroded by the past policies of the Guomindang government itself. The best it could hope for, therefore, was to negotiate an increase in its influence on government policies, and this it achieved.

Du Yuesheng and the Guomindang Corporatist State

1: A New Basis of Power

In response to the creation of this new corporatist system in Shanghai, Du Yuesheng conducted a far-reaching reorganization of his power structure after 1932.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


He was, in fact, the only Green Gang boss to respond successfully to the new

political realities in Shanghai, and he was able, therefore, to achieve a position of dominance over the various Green Gang groups, as well as to play an important role in the politics of the city. Three key aspects accounted for Du’s restructured power base: his close relationship with the CC Clique; the organization of the Endurance Club (Heng She); and his undisputed primacy within the Shanghai gangster leadership.

Relations with the CC Clique

For most of the second half of the Nanjing decade, Du Yuesheng’s connections with the CC Clique were among his most important political alliances in Shanghai. As noted above, the CC Clique controlled the party organization in Shanghai and, through the activities of its special service units it was able to extend its power into all levels of Shanghai society. Moreover the CC Clique served Jiang Jieshi’s interests and so, assisting the Clique in its local operations was, from Du’s point of view, a useful way of currying favor with Jiang. Du’s contacts with the leadership of the CC Clique went back to 1924, when he had extended his protection to Chen Lifu, who was then engaged in setting up an underground Guomindang organization in Shanghai (SMP File: D9319, July 8, 1939).

It was only after the 1932 crisis and the arrival of Wu Xingya to head the Clique operations in Shanghai, however, that Du developed a close, regular relationship with the Clique. Wu’s brief was to gain control of the local Party structure for the CC Clique, and he achieved this by manipulating the Shanghai Party Branch’s Eighth Congress to ensure the “election” of his own CC Clique nominees to the executive and supervisory committees. No further congresses were held, and this new power configuration remained stable for the rest of the Nanjing decade (SSNJ 1937:2-6). The CC Clique also desired to establish a good working relationship with the Green Gang organization in Shanghai. In this regard some sources have noted that one reason for Wu’s appointment as head of CC Clique operations in Shanghai was his membership in the Green Gang, and the fact that he had sufficient generational seniority to deal on an equal footing with Du Yuesheng and Yang Hu (Huang 1986:134). Whatever the truth of this, Wu and Du first began to work closely together during the crisis of 1932, when the two men (in their respective capacities as the newly appointed chief of the Bureau of Social Affairs and as the deputy chairman of the SCMA), cooperated to contain the social problems created by the Shanghai conflict. Du’s successful mediation of the anti-Japanese strike wave, and, in particular, his assistance in the solution of the politically inspired Postal Workers’ strike in late May 1932 impressed Wu (Zhang 1978 3:121-23; Ma 1958 3:1098- 1100; CF, May 28, 1932; NCH, June 7, 1932).

Another key figure whom Du began to cultivate in 1932 was Wu Kaixian, who was one of the four members of the Shanghai Party Branch’s standing committee “elected” in September 1932, and leader of the so-called “Jiangsu faction” within the CC Clique. He was one of Wu Xingya’s two deputies in the CC Clique’s Shanghai organization (the other was Pan Gongzhan) (Zhang 1978 3:117-21; Huang 1986:133; SSNJ 1935:F20). In mid-1936 Du Yuesheng strongly supported Wu Kaixian’s moves to establish his control over local Chinese merchants, which was part of a political struggle within the Shanghai Party Branch, and provided assistance to Wu when

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


the latter set up his own organization, the Nineteen Thirty-Six Club (Bingzi She) to achieve this (SMP Files: D7382, June 16, 1936).

Although Du did have followers among local party members prior to 1932, the

most important one being Chen Junyi, nevertheless it was only after that date that he engaged in a systematic recruitment of Shanghai Party members by means of his new organization (the Endurance Club). Du recruited his followers not only from the Municipal Party Branch but also from the district sub-branches, especially the Second District Sub-branch (the French Concession), the Fifth District (Pudong), the Sixth District (Zhabei), and the Ninth District (Longhua). In the 1930s Du had about a dozen key followers who were party members and also members of the CC Clique. They included Lu Jingshi, Wang Manyun, Huang Xianggu, Zhang Binghui, Xu Yefu, Wang Gang, Hou Dachun, and Cai Hongtian (SSNJ 1937:E2-

5; Guo Lanxin 1986:306). Du Yuesheng and his Green Gang group were also heavily involved in the CC

Clique’s special service operations. Lu Jingshi, for example, was very active in the Action Club (Gan She), a highly secret organization established by Wu Xingya, whose purposes were to further CC Clique interests in Shanghai (particularly in areas of propaganda, education, youth affairs, and labor relations) and also, according to one former member, to promote fascism within the Guomindang (Huang 1986:131- 38). Wu Xingya, indeed, had been charged by a CC Clique conference held at Lushan in August 1933 to establish “fascist cells” within the Shanghai Party Branch, “loyal” military units, and in schools and universities in Shanghai (SMP Files: D4685, June 20 and August 22, 1933). To implement these aims the club established a “Workers Action Battalion” (Gongren Xingdong Dui) under the control of Lu Jingshi and composed of blackshirted bully-boys, which cooperated closely with the Bureau of Public Safety in raids on left-wing presses and bookstores, and in the “storming” of universities, such as Jinan, and secondary schools (Huang 1986:142-55). In 1933 it was reported in the Shanghai Mainichi, a local Japanese newspaper, that Du’s Green Gang group was so heavily involved with the activities of the Guomindang special services that the French police could not rely on their Chinese detective squad (who mostly belonged to Du’s Green Gang group) to investigate crimes committed by these special service units in the French Concession. In an attempt to solve the problem, the French police began to recruit Red Gang members (who were rivals of the Green Gang) into its Chinese detective squad specifically to investigate the activities of the special service squads (SMP Files: D4658, July 8,

1933). By late 1936 the CC Clique organization in Shanghai had entered a period of

decline. The CC Clique and the Blue Shirts, its major factional rival, had been in competition with one another for control of Shanghai’s cultural and educational institutions for some time, and this rivalry grew in intensity in 1935 and 1936 (Chen 1965:43-46; Huang 1986: 151-53; Eastman 1974:64-65, 83). At this point an obscure conflict within the Action Club leadership broke out between Li Shijun (head of the club’s intelligence services) and Wu Xingya in May-June 1936, which was followed by Wu’s sudden death in August. As a result of these developments, Wu’s personal organization collapsed and the CC Clique’s operations were paralyzed by a struggle for control of the organization between Wu Kaixian and Pan Gongzhan. It is not clear what role, if any, Du played in these events, although it would appear that he gave his support to Wu Kaixian.

By this time, however, Du’s own position was so strong that the collapse of

the CC Clique’s position in Shanghai did not adversely affect him. In any event,

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


he had already established contact with the Blue Shirts. The maintenance of relations

with these two rival political organizations represented one aspect of Du’s strategy

of seeking to achieve a balance in his relations with all those political factions associated with Chiang Kai-shek, and so avoid becoming completely identified with any one

of them. He, moreover, had known Dai Li, the head of the Blue Shirts’ special

services (Juntong), since the mid-1920s and the two were sworn brothers (Guo Xu

1986:321-22). Between 1935 and 1937, furthermore, Du developed a close working relationship with the head of the Shanghai Area of the Juntong, Wang Xinheng.

Wang was a frequent guest of Du’s Endurance Club, and he drew many of his recruits for the Juntong from Du’s gangster groups and from members of the Shanghai

General Postal Workers’ Union, which was controlled by Du (Shen 1985:47-50). The two key individuals in Du Yuesheng’s network of power in Shanghai in

the years 1932 to 1937 were Lu Jingshi and Yang Hu. Lu provided the link between Du and local political and labor circles, while Yang gave Du access to the military

units in Shanghai. Lu Jingshi became a member of Du’s Green Gang group in May 1931 along with Zhu Xuefan and other leaders of the Postal Workers’ Union. In 1932 he joined the CC Clique through the good offices of Wu Kaixian and was

appointed to the Shanghai Party Branch’s Eighth Executive Committee in September

of that year. Although Lu was an active and influential member of the CC Clique,

his first loyalty remained with Du Yuesheng. No less a figure than Chen Lifu remarked that Lu’s loyalty to Du surpassed his loyalty to the Guomindang (Guo Lanxin 1986:319; DLM 1965:56; SMP Files: D9638, March 9, 1933). It is not surprising, therefore, that Du considered Lu to be his most capable follower and that he always followed his advice.

Lu was very active in party and governmental activities in Shanghai. In 1934 he was appointed a member of the Shanghai Municipality New Life Movement

Acceleration Committee (Shanghai Shi Xin Shenghuo Yundong Zujinhui), the organization which was charged with the responsibility of implementing the New Life Movement in Shanghai. Over the next two years he became the director of this organization’s Youth Service Groups (1935) and vice-chairman of the New Life Labor Service Corps (Xin Shenghuo Laodong Fuwu Tuan) in 1936. At the same time he was head of the CC Clique’s Shanghai Workers’ Movement Promotion Association (Shanghai Gongren

Yundong Zujinhui) and, as noted above, of its paramilitary wing, the Workers’ Action Battalion. In late 1935 Lu was appointed Chief Judge of the Military Court of the Wusong-Shanghai Defense Commissioners’ Headquarters, and in this capacity he worked closely with Yang Hu, after the latter was appointed Defense Commissioner in early 1936. In his judicial capacity Lu was also appointed in May 1936 to the three-man Standing Committee of the Shanghai Party Branch’s Committee for Re- educating Political Prisoners in Shanghai (Shanghai Zhengzhi Fanjiaohui Weiyuanhui). Finally Lu was a member of the Shanghai Municipality’s Provisional Council (Zhang 1978 3:126; SMP Files: D4685, February 19, 1936, and D4797, May 1, and June 2, 1936).

Yang Hu, for his part, was a long-time Green Gang “crony” of Du Yuesheng, who controlled significant coercive power in Shanghai in the period 1932-37. He held the post of Commissioner of the Shanghai Municipal Peace Preservation Corps (Shanghai Shi Bao’andui) from November 1932 to April 1936. This was the paramilitary force raised to fill the security gap created by the Sino-Japanese Ceasefire Agreement of May 5, 1932, which had barred stationing Chinese troops in either Pudong or Zhabei. According to the Shanghai Municipal Police Yang Hu had, in fact, been Du Yuesheng’s nominee for the post (SMP Files: D3648, December 28, 1932). In

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


April 1936 Yang Hu was appointed Wusong-Shanghai Defense Commissioner, the most senior military post in the Shanghai area, and one that had previously been held by Mayor Wu Tiecheng (SMP Files: D3648, April 18, 1936). Yang held this post until the withdrawal of the Guomindang administration from Shanghai in November 1937, and during this period was the most powerful military figure in the Shanghai area. He was also among the most corrupt. According to the SMP, Yang made over Ch$2 million during his tenure as Defense Commissioner (SMP Files: D7584, July 26, 1937).

At the same time he held these military posts, Yang also held the Secretaryship of the Chinese Seamen’s Union (Zhonghua Haiyuan Gonghui). The reason for this odd combination of posts was that Yang played a key role in the protection of Du Yuesheng’s narcotics operations. His capacity to perform this role was enhanced by his control over sailors on coastal and river steamers through the Seamen’s Union, and was a useful complement to his control of the Shanghai area through his military posts. It is not surprising, therefore, that when the mayoralty of Shanghai became vacant with Wu Tiecheng’s appointment to Guangdong, Du Yuesheng “strongly recommended” Yang Hu’s candidacy to Chiang Kai-shek. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the fact that Du made the attempt revealed just how powerful he had become in Shanghai on the eve of the Sino-Japanese War (NCDN, July 24, 1937; SMP Files: D7584, July 26, 1937).

The Endurance Club (Heng She)

A key organization in the enhancement of Du Yuesheng’s power in the 1930s was the Endurance Club. It was established in November 1932 (although it did not formally open for business until February 1933) with the express purpose of coordinating Du’s various interests and effectively projecting his power in Shanghai. The key figures in this organization were Lu Jingshi, Wan Molin, and Chen Qun. It was Lu who played the principal role in the club’s planning and organization, and who suggested that it take the form of a “social organization” (shetuan), that is, a club, in order to avoid the Guomindang Government’s formal proscription on secret society organizations (Guo Lanxin 1986:305; Jiang 1986b:80). Chen Qun, a professional politician and former secretary to Du, suggested the club’s name, while Wan Molin, Du’s household butler, was in charge of the club’s day-to-day administration (DLM 1965:57-58; Zhang 1978 3:6-1).

On Lu Jingshi’s advice, the Endurance Club was created as a deliberately elitist organization whose membership was restricted to those with social standing; that is, politicians, government and military officials, industrialists, financiers, and professionals. In other words, it was conceived as a vehicle for the realization of Du Yuesheng’s ambition to influence significantly the local Chinese political structures to enhance his own interests and position in Shanghai. Membership was not open to all of Du’s followers, and the majority of his gangster coterie were excluded. The Endurance Club, therefore, was distinct from, but complementary to, Du’s Green Gang group. Prospective members of the club underwent a membership ceremony similar in many respects to that of a secret society, which in- volved their acknowledgement of Du as their “teacher” (shifu). They were not in- ducted, however, into the Green Gang and Du refrained from instructing them in the secret language of the Green Gang (Zhu 1986:6; DLM 1965:57-58; Guo Lanxin 1986:307-8).

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


Given the specific nature of the Endurance Club, its membership remained relatively small, numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands. Nevertheless, within those limits there was a remarkable expansion of membership prior to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. In the four-year period of February 1933 to May 1937, membership increased more than four-fold, from 130 to 564 (DLM 1965:57; HSYK, 16-17, May 1937:106). According to the data on the 402 members for whom details are available, the majority were businessmen and industrialists, representing 54 percent of the total. These were followed by politicians and government officials, 24 percent, and professionals (lawyers, journalists, medical practitioners, educationalists), 13 percent. The smallest number of members were represented by trade unionists, 6 percent, and by military officers, 3 percent (HSSYL:369-82; HSYK 16-17 May 1937:119-22). It should be noted, however, that the trade union members were entirely composed of Post Office employees. The overwhelming majority of Endurance Club members, 80 percent, lived and worked in Shanghai, and most of the remainder came from the nearby provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu. An interesting figure is the 5 percent of members who lived and worked in Nanjing, which indicates that Du Yuesheng’s organizational network reached into the national capital itself.

According to its regulations the Endurance Club had a formal organizational structure, complete with periodic congresses, an executive committee, a standing committee, and an advisory council. This formal structure, however, meant very little in practice. The Endurance Club was Du Yuesheng’s organizational instrument and everything was, in fact, controlled by him. The membership voted as Du directed, and he would select a list of officeholders which would be read out at the Congress and formally voted through by the membership. Power did not reside in the formal structure but in Du and his immediate coterie, Lu Jingshi, and Wan Molin (HSSZ:367-68; HSYK 16-17, May 1937:107-11; DLM:59). Lu Jingshi emphasized the character of the Endurance Club as Du’s personal organization in his speech to the club’s Third Anniversary Congress, where he observed that the club had only one leader and only one center and that was Du Yuesheng, and went on to remark that all Endurance Club members should “serve Mister Du like dogs and horses” (HSYK 10-11, November 1936:7-9).

By the mid-1930s Du’s Endurance Club was the most powerful organization within the Shanghai Green Gang because of its links with the Shanghai bourgeoisie and with Guomindang politicians and government officials. Its very success inspired imitation both from among Du’s followers and from his Green Gang colleagues and rivals. Among his followers, Lu Jingshi organized a “Tranquillity Club” (Jing She), and Zhu Xuefan a “Resolute Club” (Yi She). Among Du’s colleagues, Yang Hu set up his “Revive China Study Association” (Xingzhong Xuehui) in 1936, Jin Tingsun his “Engraved Club” (Ming She) and Wang Xiaolai his “Risen Club” (Sheng She). Even Huang Jinrong followed the fashion when he set up his “Fidelity Club” (Zhongxin She) in 1936, its name no doubt a bitter comment on his deteriorating rela- tions with Du Yuesheng (Guo Lanxin 1986:301, 309; DLM:57; Wang and Xu 1982:64).

Du Yuesheng’s Ascendancy within the Shanghai Green Gang System

As the rush among Green Gang leaders to create their own versions of the Endurance Club indicates, Du Yuesheng enjoyed a position of primacy within the

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


Green Gang structure in the mid-1930s. By then Du had succeeded in eliminating his major rivals and in asserting his pre-eminence over his two erstwhile colleagues, Huang Jinrong and Zhang Xiaolin. In the early 1930s the most serious threat to Du’s position was provided by the ambitions of the Green Gang boss, Gu Zhuxuan. Gu had built up a power base in the Zhabei-Hongkou area in the 1920s among his fellow provincials from northern Jiangsu (Subei). His economic power rested on his control, in conjunction with his brother Gu Songmou, of several rickshaw hongs, together with his control of opium distribution in Hongkou and Zhabei through those of his followers who were members of the Shanghai Municipal Police and of the Bureau of Public Safety. Gu also exercised influence within the Subei community through his control of the Jiang-Huai Fellow Countrymen’s Association (Jianghuaz Tongxiang Hui) (SMP Files: CA178, December 30, 1930; D3445, April 7, 1932; D7057, October 26, 1935; D4683, October 8, 1938).

In the early 1930s Gu began to extend his influence beyond his bailiwick and into other areas of Shanghai. In late 1930, for example, he became a follower of Huang Jinrong as a means of gaining influence in the French Concession. During the Shanghai Incident, in April 1932, he was, as noted earlier, the principal figure behind the creation of the pro-Japanese Zhabei Puppet Government. The major activity of this Government was the establishment of gambling and opium dens, and it is probable that Gu attempted to capitalize on Du Yuesheng’s conflict with the French authorities over the removal of Du’s narcotics and gambling operations from the Concession. Du had every reason, therefore, to consider Gu a threat to his position. In the autumn of 1935 Gu’s position, however, suddenly collapsed when he was arrested by the French police for the murder two years earlier of Tang Jiapeng, the manager of the Great World Amusement Center and a follower of Huang Jinrong. Gu was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment. He successfully appealed the sentence, however, and was released in December 1936 after having been imprisoned for fifteen months. Although some sources suggest that Du Yuesheng framed Gu, the evidence does suggest that Gu did, in fact, arrange Tang’s murder in 1933. It is possible, however, that Du encouraged the investigation by the French police in 1935, and he certainly stood to gain by Gu’s incarceration. His trial and imprisonment eliminated Gu as a serious threat, and when he emerged from prison his power was greatly diminished. Du followed up Gu’s discomfiture by eliminating the power of Gu’s cousin and ally in the French Concession, one Jin Jiulin (Xue 1986:96; Wang and Xu 1982:64; SMP Files: D7057, October 26, 1935; DGB, March 5, 1937; SEPM, June 25, 1937).

In the course of the 1930s both Zhang Xiaolin and Huang Jinrong lost authority and power to Du Yuesheng, and both greatly resented the fact. Zhang, for example, set up a couple of organizations in the mid- 1930s whose principal purpose was to oppose Du’s Endurance Club (Yu 1986:349). Similarly, Huang Jinrong resented the erosion of his power vis-a-vis Du in the course of the 1930s. He felt so strong- ly, for example, the humiliation of the arrest of one of his leading followers, Chen Peide, by Lu Jingshi on trumped-up charges of being a suspected com- munist in early 1936, that he complained to Chiang Kai-shek (Cheng 1986:163- 64; Huang Zhenshi 1986:177). It was perhaps this incident that led Huang to approve the establishment of the Fidelity Club in the summer of that year. The aim of this organization was to covertly undermine Du’s Endurance Club by ex- ploiting tensions and contradictions among its membership. None of the attempts by Zhang and Huang to erode Du’s position was successful, however. The prob-

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


lem was that Du Yuesheng was just too powerful. His political connections meant

that Du completely outclassed his two former colleagues, neither of whom were

as successful as he in making the transition to the new Guomindang corporatist


2: The Institutionalization of Power

The reorganization of his power base was only the first step in Du Yuesheng’s

response to the corporatist system established in the wake of the 1932 crisis. His

purpose was to become part of that system. One of the more remarkable developments in the politics of Shanghai in this period was the relative rapidity with which Du’s network of personal power underwent a process of institutionalization. By mid- 1937, on the eve of the Sino-Japanese War, Du had become an integral part of the

Guomindang’s political, administrative, and economic structures in Shanghai. He

was, in other words, an important element of the regime’s system of state corporatism.

This process of institutionalization can be observed in three areas of Du’s activities:

opium, labor control, and the Shanghai Civic Association.


As noted earlier, the agreement reached between the local Shanghai authorities and Du Yuesheng over the latter’s opium interests in late 1932 was a basic element in his accommodation with the Guomindang regime. As a result of this agreement, Du became part of the Nanjing government’s semi-official opium monopoly. Because the purpose of this covert monopoly was to raise additional revenue for Chiang Kai- shek’s anti-Communist campaigns, it was run by the Hubei Special Tax Bureau (also known as the Hankou Special Tax Bureau) under the control of Chiang’s Military Headquarters in Nanchang. Du’s role in these operations was to control the Shanghai

opium merchants and to collect taxes on opium at the rate of 15 cents per ounce on behalf of the official Special Tax General Bureau (Teshui Zongju), which was established in Shanghai. At the same time, Du controlled the operation of the system in Jiangsu through his Green Gang followers and colleagues, who held all the key

positions in the so-called Jiangsu Provincial Opium Suppression Bureau (Jiangsu ShengJinyanJu) (USDS2: Clubb [Hankow} Report on Opium, April 21, 1934; Xiao 1980:157, 159-60). Du, in other words, was the leading opium tax farmer in the Jiangnan area. When the opium monopoly in Jiangsu was cancelled in September 1933, Du reopened his Three Prosperities Company in Nandao, which quickly became, in the words of a SMP Special Branch report, “the chief distribution office and supply agent” for opium in Shanghai (SMP Files: N.N., November 25, 1933; DLM 1965:36-37).

Two key official figures in this covert monopoly were the Minister of Finance, T. V. Soong, and the Mayor of Shanghai, Wu Tiecheng. Both had close relations with Du. By 1933 Du and T. V. Soong had reached an understanding that ended the serious conflict of 1931. Indeed, on at least two occasions, in August 1933 and December 1935, Du extended his protection to T. V. Soong when the latter’s life was threatened (Guo Lanxin 1986:308; SMP Files: D7143, December 19, 1935). Wu Tiecheng, for his part, was on Du’s payroll and received a “personal donation” of Ch$500,000 a month from Du, as had his predecessor as mayor, Zhang Qun

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


(DLM 1965:37). According to the SMP Special Branch, it had been T. V. Soong and Du Yuesheng together who had secured Wu Tiecheng’s appointment as Wusong- Shanghai Defense Commissioner to guarantee protection for the operation of the covert opium monopoly in the Jiangnan area (SMP Files: N.N., November 25, 1933).

This covert opium monopoly, however, was hostage to scandal and could cause

serious political embarrassment to the Nanjing government. A case in point was the morphia scam of November 1933. In mid-1933 Du Yuesheng, together with Wu Tiecheng, T. V. Soong and Lu Liankui (Assistant Superintendent in the SMP and a Green Gang boss) organized the Xia Ji Company to refine a quantity of morphia which had been seized by the Chinese authorities in Hankou. The operation had the approval of Chiang Kai-shek, who wanted the morphia refined for “medicinal purposes.” Du, however, used this agreement as a useful cover to refine his own consignments of morphia rather than that of Chiang Kai-shek. When Huang Jinrong informed Chiang of Du’s scheme, the resulting uproar almost cost Wu Tiecheng the mayoralty of Shanghai, and seriously compromised Du’s relations with Chiang. It was only with some difficulty that Du was able to retain his position in the semi- official monopoly (SMP Files: N.N., November 25, 30, 1933, and D9319, July 8, 1939; USDS2: Clubb, April 24, 1934).

To avoid these recurring scandals associated with the covert policy, Chiang Kai- shek’s Nanchang headquarters introduced in June 1934 a new strategy of the phased suppression of opium over a six-year period. Although the objective was to end all dealing in opium by 1940, the scheme was, in fact, a system of official monopoly. Under its terms all dealing in opium was restricted to government agencies and licensed merchants, while only registered smokers would be allowed to buy opium. As part of this scheme the Shanghai Municipal Government set up a Shanghai Municipal Opium Suppression Committee (SMOSC-Shanghai Shijinyan Wei Yuan Hui) in July 1935 under the control of a three-man standing committee consisting of Du Yuesheng, Wang Xiaolai, and Yan Fuqing (SMP DIR: July 2, 1935; USGS2: Nicholson [Treasury Attache, Shanghai] to Customs, July 5, 1935). The functions of this committee were to supervise the registration of addicts, suppress unlicensed dealers, and conduct propaganda on behalf of the government’s policy of opium prohibition.

In fact, the operations of the SMOSC enabled Du to promote his opium interests quite openly as the Shanghai representative of the official monopoly. The means by which he effected this was his control of the licensing and addict registration systems in Shanghai (USGS2: Johnson [Peiping] to State, March 21, 1936). Furthermore, Du could now count on the public cooperation of government agencies such as the Chinese Maritime Customs. According to the American journalist, Ilona Ralf Sues, after 1935 the customs turned over all stocks of confiscated opium to the SMOSC for destruction. Many customs staff believed, however, that these confiscated stocks merely found their way back via the committee into the illicit traffic (Sues 1944:73- 74, 94).

Labor Control

Du Yuesheng did not become involved in issues of labor control in a systematic way until after 1932. Prior to that year his efforts at industrial mediation had been limited to the French Concession and had been undertaken largely at the behest of

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


the French authorities. The harbinger of change in this situation was the decision in May 1931 by Lu Jingshi, Zhu Xuefan, Zhang Kechang, and nine other key people in the Nanjing government’s Department of Communications, the Central Postal Administration, and the Shanghai Post Office to join the Green Gang and become followers of Du Yuesheng (Zhu 1986:5; DLM 1965:56). Lu’s purpose, according to Zhu Xuefan’s account, was to use his membership of Du’s Green Gang group to strengthen his own control over the Postal Workers’ Union and to enhance his standing as a major figure in the Guomindang’s trade union organization. At the same time, the fact that the leadership of the Postal Workers’ Union joined his Green Gang group enabled Du to extend his influence into one of the seven major trade unions in Shanghai. Having leading Guomindang trade unionists as his followers, moreover, gave Du a direct entree into trade union politics in Shanghai.

However it was only during the crisis of 1932 that Du first became involved in labor disputes beyond the French Concession, when he participated in the mediation of the anti-Japanese strike wave among Chinese textile workers (CF, January 20, 27, April 23, May 21, 1932). Of particular importance was Du’s mediation of the Postal Workers’ strike of May 22-27, 1932. This was essentially a political rather than an economic strike. The leadership of the Postal Workers’ Union took advantage of the weakness of the government and the general ill-repute in which it was held during the Shanghai crisis to give vent to long-held criticisms of the postal administration. The government, however, did not look with equanimity on a strike in a strategic industry, the postal service, at a time of national crisis, and one, moreover, that had political undertones. It moved quickly, therefore, to end the strike by invoking legislation forbidding state employees the right to strike. At the same time the Shanghai Guomindang authorities entered into negotiations with the leadership of the Postal Workers’ Union. Du was invited to participate in the mediation effort that arose out of these negotiations because of his recently acquired influence with the leaders of the Postal Workers’ Union. Other mediators included key CC Clique members Wu Kaixian and Pan Gongzhan. The strike was ended successfully on May 26, and Du, together with Pan and Wu, were members of the 15-man Special Committee set up to oversee the implementation of the agreement (Hammond

1978; CF, May 28, June 4, 18, 1932; USGS2: Cunningham [Shanghai] to State, June 8, 1932).

As noted earlier, it was Du’s involvement in the mediation of this postal workers’ strike that provided the basis for the rapport between himself and the leaders of the CC Clique organization in Shanghai. Labor control was an important area of activity for the CC Clique, and Du Yuesheng’s follower Lu Jingshi, who was a member of the CC Clique, was very active in these labor activities, particularly through his control of the Clique’s so-called Workers’ Action Battalion. In addition to its other activities, this unit functioned as a strike-breaking taskforce, as demonstrated in the case of the strike at the Hengfeng Cotton Mill in September 1933 (CF, September 18, 1932).

At the same time Du Yuesheng, with the encouragement of the CC Clique leadership in Shanghai, engaged in industrial mediation on a regular basis. In this activity he worked closely with the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Social Affairs, and in this way became an integral part of the Guomindang’s system of labor control in Shanghai. Among the more important industrial disputes that Du Yuesheng mediated in this period were the strike of the Shanghai Power Company employees in September-November 1933; the strike in the British American Tobacco Company factory, Pudong, June 1934; the strike in the Hong Xing Hosiery Factory, July

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


1936; the strike in the Japanese cotton mills, November 1936; the strike in the Shanghai Electrical Construction Company, February-April 1937; and the strike of the crews employed by the Ningbo-Shaoxing Steam Navigation Company, March 1937 (CF, October 22, 1933; Ma 1958 3:1197-2201; SMP Files: D7020, July 16, 1936 and D7803, February 23, 1937; SMP DIR: April 8, 1937; SEPM,

November 25, 1936; ST, April 24, 1937). After 1932 Du Yuesheng also strengthened his control over both the Postal

Workers’ Union and the Shanghai Municipal General Labor Union (SGLU-Shanghai Shi Zonggonghui), through the activities in both organizations of his follower Zhu Xuefan. In 1935 Zhu set up his own Green Gang group, the Resolute Club (Yi She), and actively recruited members in both the Postal Workers’ Union and the SGLU. In his memoir Zhu notes that Du Yuesheng and the Green Gang bosses who formed part of his group (i.e., Jin Tingsun, Ma Xiangsheng, Peng Baiwei and Yang Hu) held a preponderant position in the Postal Workers’ Union; and that the two largest organizations of postal workers were both controlled by Du’s followers, Zhang Kechang and himself. Within the SGLU, the five-man Standing Committee that controlled its operations were either followers of Du himself or of Du’s close colleague Jin Tingsun. Zhu Xuefan, for his part, used his position within the SGLU to extend his Resolute Club network among the unions in a number of enterprises throughout Shanghai. These included all the major utilities and industrial companies in both the International Settlement and the Chinese City. As a loyal follower of Du, Zhu’s activities not only increased his own power and influence but also, indirectly, that of Du Yuesheng as well (Zhu 1986:8-10, 18-19).

The SGLU’s influence over the industrial workers in Shanghai, however, remained fairly weak throughout the 1930s. This was because all the major factories and industrial concerns were located either in the International Settlement itself or on the External Roads (under SMC control) and outside Chinese jurisdiction. In an attempt to rectify this situation and tighten Guomindang control over these industrial workers, the Shanghai Party Branch and the Bureau of Social Affairs, in association with Du Yuesheng, organized the Livelihood Mutual Aid Association (LMAS-Shenghuo Huzhu She) in August 1936. This organization had a membership of about 300 by April 1937 and gave priority to the establishment of branches among transport workers. The LMAS was designed, in the view of the SMP Special Branch, to circumvent the SGLU and to further Du Yuesheng’s control over organized labor in Shanghai. Although the fifteen promoters were all Guomindang party members (indeed, they were all members of the CC Clique’s Shanghai organization), they were also all followers of Du Yuesheng, and many were members of his Endurance Club (SMP Files: D7870, May 11, 1937). The LMAS, therefore, reflected the merging of the interests of Du Yuesheng and the Guomindang on labor issues, which, in turn, reflected the complete integration of Du Yuesheng into the regime’s system of labor control.

The Shanghai Civic Association

Du Yuesheng took over the chairmanship of the SCA on the assassination of its first chairman, Shi Liangcai, in November 1934. Shi, a leading newspaper proprietor (he owned Shenbao, Shanghai’s pre-eminent newspaper), had been a moving force in the mobilization of the Shanghai bourgeoisie during the crisis of 1932 (Narramore 1989:107-32). He saw himself and was seen by others, as the political leader of

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


the Shanghai bourgeoisie. Shi’s personal ambition was boundless, and ultimately he overreached himself. He appears to have wanted to share power with Chiang Kai- shek, and to have believed that the aftermath of the 1932 crisis provided the ideal opportunity. According to Huang Yanpei, Shi told Chiang once at a meeting in

Nanjing: “You control a large army of several hundred thousand men, I have several hundred thousand readers of my two newspapers, Shenbao and Xinwen Bao. If you and I cooperated what could we not do!” (Huang Yanpei 1982:93-94). Shi’s murder, therefore, revealed the limits to the accommodation that the Nanjing government was prepared to make with the bourgeoisie. The regime would not countenance cooperation on the basis of two independent centers of power which would merely

be a tactless reminder of its inherent weakness. This was Shi Liangcai’s mistake. The regime could only countenance one power center, its own. However, once this was accepted, the political process itself could take on the character of a series of pragmatic adjustments to take account of a continuously changing, if unequal, balance of weakness between the regime and major social forces, such as the Shanghai bourgeoisie. It was this process that Du Yuesheng well understood.

Du’s role in Shi Liangcai’s assassination remains problematic. Allegations were

current at the time that he was “the prime instigator” of the murder but nothing could be proved (SMP Files: D93 19, July 8, 1939). It is now clear that the assassination was carried out by Dai Li and his Juntong special services on the orders of Chiang Kai-shek, who was concerned by Shenbao’s lack of enthusiasm for his anti-Communist campaigns, and who had come to believe that Shi, in fact, was a secret communist sympathizer (Shen Zui 1985:161; Coble 1991:216). Whatever his involvement might have been, Du benefited enormously from the murder. He was appointed chairman of Shi’s newspapers-Shenbao, Xinwen Bao, China Evening News, and China Press; and, of course, he became chairman of the SCA. In many respects, Shi’s murder was a necessary precondition for Du’s emergence as a leading political figure on the Shanghai scene.

Du’s political style, however, was quite different from that of Shi Liangcai. As chairman of the SCA, Du worked closely with Wang Xiaolai, chairman of the Chinese Ratepayers’ Association of the International Settlement, and it was Wang who provided Du with his entree into the politics of the Shanghai elite. In mid-1936 Du gave Wang important support in a complex political conflict with his archrival Wang Yansong, a silk merchant and prominent member of the Shanghai Party Branch, for control of the Shanghai Chinese General Chamber of Commerce. Du had an interest of his own in opposing Wang Yansong. Wang and his supporters had extorted money from one of Du’s prominent followers and a member of the Endurance Club, Zhang Rongchu, during the anti-Japanese boycott in 1931. Zhang’s case was used as the means to disgrace Wang Yansong, who was briefly imprisoned in Nanjing. The upshot of the conflict was that Wang Xiaolai was elected chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, and Du was elected to its five-man standing committee for the first time in July 1936. Between them, Wang and Du now controlled the Chamber of Commerce, and this gave them a commanding position within the Shanghai bourgeoisie (SMP Files: D7382, April 27, May 22, July 1, 1936).

Du Yuesheng used his position as chairman of the SCA to both project himself as a local leader representing Shanghai interests and as a national figure involved in national politics (Martin 1991:336-47). In this dual role, he actively supported the implementation of Guomindang “self government” in Shanghai, and obtained the Municipal Government’s agreement for the organization of his native place, Gaoqiao, as a model district. He also used his position as SCA chairman to facilitate

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


negotiations over the Guomindang’s banking coup in March 1935, negotiating with the shareholders of the Bank of China and the Bank of Communications on behalf of the Minister of Finance, H. H. Kung. During the Xi’an Incident in December 1936 he and Wang Xiaolai sent a telegram to Zhang Xueliang offering themselves as hostages in return for the release of Chiang Kai-shek. In July 1937 Du was one of the twenty Shanghai delegates elected to the Guomindang’s National People’s Congress (Guomin Dahui). The outbreak of war, however, intervened before it could meet (DLM 1965:62-64; SMP Files: D9319, July 8, 1939, and D7493, July 26, 1937; Coble 1980:178-79). In sum, Du Yuesheng regarded the SCA not only as a local Shanghai body, but also as an organization with national significance.


The relationship between the Nanjing government and the Green Gang bosses is important to an understanding of the dynamics of the Guomindang regime in the decade 1927-37. The role that some Green Gang bosses were able to play in the politics of the period reflected the extremely fluid political and social situation of the Republican era. The years from 1911 to 1949 were, in fact, years of transition whose distinguishing feature was the disintegration of the traditional Chinese polity and the urgent search for viable alternatives. This involved a process of wrenching and revolutionary change which, with the collapse of traditional political and social norms, not only encouraged the emergence of new social forces but also the reconstitution in new forms of certain old ones. Within this latter category were the Chinese secret societies. This general background, in which the Green Gang emerged as a powerful social and economic force in Shanghai, enabled some of its leadership to develop close relations with a variety of local political actors, including regional warlords and communists as well as the Guomindang.

The relationship that developed between the Green Gang and the Guomindang regime after 1927 was a complex one that was subject to a variety of influences and changed significantly over time. As a consequence the Green Gang bosses’ participation in the anti-communist coup of April 1927, although important, was not the sole factor that determined the nature of the relationship over the subsequent decade. Other factors that were of equal or even greater importance included the changing factional politics of the Guomindang regime and the serious political crisis of 1932; the relationship of the Green Gang leadership with other centers of power in Shanghai, notably the French Concession authorities; and, not least, the economic interests of the Green Gang bosses themselves, especially their involvement with narcotics trafficking. The different ways these various factors combined with one another at any given moment ensured that the relationship changed substantially over time. In broad terms a period of fluidity was followed after 1932 with a period of relative stability.

These changes in the relationship between the Green Gang bosses and the Nanjing regime corresponded with the larger political changes in the regime itself. The turning point was the crisis year of 1932. The arrangements reached between the Green Gang bosses, specifically Du Yuesheng, and the Nanjing government in the wake of that crisis were part of a major political reorganization of the regime and, in particular, the new accommodation it reached with the Shanghai bourgeoisie.

This new relationship with the Guomindang authorities was accompanied by significant and permanent changes in the balance of power among the Green Gang

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


bosses themselves. Du Yuesheng clearly emerged after 1932 as the leading Green Gang boss in Shanghai, and he was able to build on his relationship with the Guomindang to further consolidate and enhance his power within the Green Gang system. Both of his colleagues, Huang Jinrong and Zhang Xiaolin, proved less effective in accommodating themselves to the new configuration of power in Shanghai. As a result, their power and influence progressively declined in the period prior to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War. Other Green Gang bosses, such as Gu Zhuxuan, were effectively excluded from participation in the system by the actions of Du Yuesheng himself.

In the period 1932-37, and particularly after 1934, Du Yuesheng played a key role as one of the more important instruments of the Guomindang regime in mediating its power relations with the Shanghai bourgeoisie and organized labor. In this way Du was able to enhance his own power and influence in Shanghai: one indication was the increased importance of his Endurance Club during this period. At the same time his personal power became ever more institutionalized as he became an intrinsic part of the mechanism of Guomindang power in Shanghai in the mid- 1930s. This system of power, however, did not endure. It collapsed with the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War and the subsequent withdrawal of the Guomindang authorities, together with Du Yuesheng and his leading lieutenants, from Shanghai in November 1937.

List of References

CHEN SHAOXIAO. 1965. Heigang Lu [The Record of the Black Net}. Hong Kong: Xianggang Zhicheng.

CHENG XIWEN. 1986. “Wo dang Huang Jinrong guanjia de jianwen” [What I saw and heard as Huang Jinrong’s butler}. In Jiu Shanghai de Banghui [The Gangs of Old Shanghail. Shanghai: Renmin Chubanshe.

CF. China Forum

COBLE, PARKS M., JR. 1980. The Shanghai Capitalists and the Nationalist Government, 1927-1937. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

. 1991. FacingJapan: Chinese Politics andJapanese Imperialism, 1931-1937. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

CWR. China Weekly Review DAVIDSON-HoUSTON, J. V. 1962. Yellow Creek: The Story of Shanghai. London:


DGB. Dagong Bao.

DJSLCJN. Dushi Jiasi Luocheng Jiniance [Volume to Commemorate the Completion of the Du Family Templel. 1932. Shanghai: Zhongguo Fanggu Yinshu Juchengyin.

DLM. Da Liumang Du Yuesheng [Big Gangster Du Yuesheng}. 1965. Ed. by Shanghai Shehui Kexueyuan Zhengzhi Falu Yanjiusuo Shelun Wentizu [Social Problems Unit of the Institute for Political and Legal Research, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences}. Beijing: Qunzhong.

DYSXSJNJ. Du Yuesheng XianshengJinian Ji [Collection in Commemoration of Mister Du Yuesheng}. 1952-1954. 2 vols. Taibei: Heng She.

EASTMAN, LLOYD E. 1974. The Abortive Revolution: China Under Nationalist Rule, 1927-1937. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


. 1976. “The Kuomintang in the 1930s.” In Charlotte Furth, ed., The Limits of Chcange: Essays in Conservative Alternatives in Republican China. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

FAN SHAOZENG. 1986. “Guanyu Du Yuesheng” [On Du Yueshengj. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

FEWSMITH, JOSEPH. 1985. Party, State, and Local Elites in Republican China.’ Merchant Organizations and Politics in Shanghai, 1890-1930. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

GBFOCO. Great Britain. Foreign Office. Further Correspondence Respecting Opium, 1927-1930. Facsimile reprint by Scholarly Resources. 1974. The Opium Trade, 1910-1941. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources. V.6:1927-1941.

Guo LANXIN. 1986. “Du Yuesheng yu Heng She” [Du Yuesheng and the Endurance Club}. In Jiu Shanghai de Banghui.

Guo Xu. 1986. “Du Yuesheng yu Dai Li ji Juntong de guanxi” [The relations between Du Yuesheng, Dai Li, and the Juntong}. In Jiu Shanghai de Banghui.

HAMMOND III, EDWARD. 1978. Organized Labor in Shanghai, 1927-1937. Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley.

HSSYL. Heng She Sheyuan Lu 1934 [The Membership List for the Endurance Club for 19341. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

HSSZ. Heng She Shezhang [The Regulations of the Endurance Club}. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

HSYK. Heng She Yuekan [The Endurance Club Monthly}. 1936-1937. HUANG JINGZHAI. 1986. “Guomindang CCxi de ganshe “[The Guomindang CC

Clique’s Action Club}. Wenshi Ziliao Xuanji [Selections of Historical and Literary Materials} 6:131-55.

HUANG YANPEI. 1982. Bashi Nianlai [Eighty Years On}. Beijing: Wenshi Ziliao. HUANG ZHENSHI. 1986. “Wo suo zhidao de Huang Jinrong” [The Huang Jinrong

I knew}. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui. ISAACS, HAROLD R. 1932. “Five Years of Kuomintang Reaction” (FYKR). China

Forum. May.

JIANG HAO. 1986a. “Qingbang de yuanliu ji qi yanbian” [The origins and evolution of the Green Gang}. In Jiu Shanghai de Banghui.

. 1986b. “Hongmen lishi chutan” [An introduction to the history of the Triads}. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

JORDAN, DONALD A. 1991. Chinese Boycotts VersusJapanese Bombs. The Failure of China’s “Revolutionary Diplomacy,” 1931-32. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

MA CHAOJUN. 1958. Zhongguo Laogong Yundongshi [A History of the Chinese Labor Movement}. 4 vols. Taibei: Zhongguo Laogong Yundongshi Bianguo Weiyuanhui.

MARTIN, BRIAN G. 1983. “The Green Gang and ‘Party Purification’ in Shanghai: Green Gang-Kuomintang Relations, 1926-1927.” Paper presented to the Symposium on the Nanking Decade, 1928-1937: Man, Government and Society. Hong Kong, August 15-17.

. 1989. “Warlords and Gangsters: The Opium Traffic in Shanghai and the Creation of the Three Prosperities Company to 1926.” In John Fitzgerald, ed., The Nationalists and Chinese Society 1923-1937. A Symposium. University of Melbourne.

. 1991. “The Green Gang and Shanghai, 1920-1937: The Rise of Du Yuesheng.” Ph.D. diss., Australian National University.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


. 1992. “‘The Pact with the Devil’: The Relationship between the Green

Gang and the French Concession Authorities, 1925-1935.” In Frederic Wakeman, Jr., and Wen-hsin Yeh, eds., Shanghai Sojourners. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California.

NARRAMORE, TERRY. 1989. “The Nationalists and the Daily Press: The Case of Shen Bao, 1927-1934.” In John Fitzgerald, ed., The Nationalists and Chinese Society 1923-1937. University of Melbourne.

NCDN. The North-China Daily News. NCH. The North-China Herald. PT. Peking and Tientsin Times.

SBNJ. Shenbao Nianjian 1933 [The 1933 Shen Bao Yearbook]. Shanghai: Shenbao. SEPM. Shanghai Evening Post and Mercury. SHEN YUNLONG. 1981. Minguo Shishi yu Renwu Luncong [Essays on the Historical

Events and Leading Figures of the Republic]. Taibei: Zhuanji Wenxue. SHEN ZUI. 1985. Juntong Neimu [The Inside Story of the Juntong}. Beijing: Wenshi


SM P Dir. Shanghai Municipal Police. Daily Intelligence Reports. SMP Files. Shanghai Municipal Police. Special Branch. Investigation Files, 1928-

1939. N.N. = No File Number available. SGSWQY. See Xu Yufang and Bian Xingying, eds. 1987. SSDWBS. Shanghai Shimin Difang Weichihui Baogao Shu [The Report of the Shanghai

Citizen’s Maintenance Association]. December 1932. Shanghai. SSDWHYL. Shanghai Shimin Difang Weichihui Huiyilu [Membership List of the

Shanghai Citizen’s Maintenance Association]. 1932. Shanghai. SSNJ 1935. Shanghai Shi Nianjian 1935 [Shanghai Municipal Yearbook 19351.

Shanghai. Shanghai Shi Zhengfu. SSNJ 1937. Shanghai Shi Nianjian 1937 [Shanghai Municipal Yearbook 19371.

Shanghai: Shanghai Shi Zhengfu. ST. Shanghai Times. SUES, ILONA RALF. 1944. Shark’s Fins and Millet. Boston: Little, Brown. TIEN, HUNG-MAO. 1972. Government and Politics in Kuomintang China, 1927-

1937. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press. USDS1. United States Department of State. Decimal File, 1910-1929: China. Internal

Affairs. USDS2. United States Department of State. Decimal File, 1930-1939. China. Internal

Affairs. WANG YANGQING and XU YINGHU. 1982. “Shanghai qinghong bang gaishu”

[A sketch of the Shanghai Green and Red Gangs]. Shehui Kexue [Social Sciences] 5:63-65.

XDSL. Xiandai Shiliao [Materials on Contemporary History]. 1933-35. 4 vols. Shanghai: Haitian Chubanshe.

XIAO JUETIAN. -1980. “Jiang Jieshi jinyan de neimu” [The inside story of Chiang

Kai-shek’s opium suppressionl. Wenshi Ziliao Xuanji 34:157-74. XU YUFANG and BIAN XINGYING, eds. 1987. Shanghai Gongren Sanci Wuzhuang

Qiyi Yanjiu [Studies of the Three Armed Uprisings of the Shanghai Workers]. Shanghai: Zhizhi Chubanshe. Cited as SGSWQY.

XUE GENGXIN. 1986. “Wo j iechu guo de Shanghai banghui renwu” [My past contacts with leading Shanghai gangstersl. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

YU YUNJIU. 1986. “Wo suo zhidao de Zhang Xiaolin” [The Zhang Xiaolin I

knew]. InJiu Shanghai de Banghui.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to


ZHANG JUNGU. 1978-80. Du Yuesheng Zhuan (The Biography of Du Yuesheng). 4 vols. Taibei: Zhuanji Wenxue.

ZHANG ZHANG. 1933. “Guonan qizhongde Shanghai jiuji tuanti” [Shanghai relief agencies in the period of national emergencyl. In Dangdai Shisheng [Contemporary Historyl. Shanghai: Zhoubao.

ZHU XUEFAN. 1986. “Shanghai gongren yundong yu banghui ersan shi” [Two or three things about the Shanghai labor movement and secret societies}. In Jiu Shanghai de Banghui.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to

Figure 1. A bird’s-eye view of Shanghai’s old-type alleyway houses known as shikumen, a name derived from the design of the entrance,

which consisted of a wooden door within a stone framework.

This content downloaded from on Tue, 24 Jan 2017 00:48:13 UTC All use subject to

  • Contents
    • p. 64
    • p. 65
    • p. 66
    • p. 67
    • p. 68
    • p. 69
    • p. 70
    • p. 71
    • p. 72
    • p. 73
    • p. 74
    • p. 75
    • p. 76
    • p. 77
    • p. 78
    • p. 79
    • p. 80
    • p. 81
    • p. 82
    • p. 83
    • p. 84
    • p. 85
    • p. 86
    • p. 87
    • p. 88
    • p. 89
    • p. 90
    • p. 91
    • p. 92
  • Issue Table of Contents
    • The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Feb., 1995) pp. i-vi+1-284
      • Front Matter [pp. ]
      • Coping with Shanghai: Means to Survival and Success in the Early Twentieth Century–A Symposium
        • Introduction [pp. 3-18]
        • Licensing Leisure: The Chinese Nationalists’ Attempt to Regulate Shanghai, 1927-49 [pp. 19-42]
        • China Unincorporated: Company Law and Business Enterprise in Twentieth- Century China [pp. 43-63]
        • The Green Gang and the Guomindang State: Du Yuesheng and the Politics of Shanghai, 1927-37 [pp. 64-92]
        • Away from Nanking Road: Small Stores and Neighborhood Life in Modern Shanghai [pp. 93-123]
      • Chinese Religions–The State of the Field: Part I: Early Religious Traditions: The Neolithic Period through the Han Dynasty, (ca. 4000 B.C.E. to 220 C.E.)
        • Introduction [pp. 124-160]
      • Communication to the Editor [pp. 161-162]
      • Book Reviews
        • Asia General
          • Review: untitled [pp. 163-164]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 164-166]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 166]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 166-170]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 170-171]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 172-173]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 173]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 174-175]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 175-176]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 177-178]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 178-179]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 179-180]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 180-182]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 182-184]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 184-185]
        • China and Inner Asia
          • Review: untitled [pp. 185-187]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 187-189]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 189-190]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 190-191]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 191-193]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 194-195]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 195-197]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 197-198]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 198-199]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 199-202]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 202-204]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 204-205]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 205-206]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 206-208]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 208-209]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 209-211]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 211-212]
        • Japan
          • Review: untitled [pp. 213-214]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 214-215]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 215-217]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 217]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 218-219]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 219-220]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 220-222]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 222-223]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 223-224]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 225-226]
        • Korea
          • Review: untitled [pp. 226-227]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 228-229]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 229-231]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 231-232]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 232-234]
        • South Asia
          • Review: untitled [pp. 234-235]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 236-237]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 237-239]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 239-240]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 240-241]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 241-242]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 242-244]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 244-245]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 246-247]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 247-248]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 248-249]
        • Southeast Asia
          • Review: untitled [pp. 249-251]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 251-253]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 253-254]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 254-256]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 256-257]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 258-259]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 259-260]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 260-262]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 262-263]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 263-264]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 265-266]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 266-267]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 267-269]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 269-271]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 271-272]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 272-273]
        • Film and Video Reviews
          • Review: untitled [pp. 274-275]
          • Review: untitled [pp. 275-276]
        • Other Books Received [pp. 277-284]
      • Back Matter [pp. ]

Comments are closed.