Networks, Parties, and the "Oppressed Nations": The Comintern and Chinese Communists Overseas, 1926-1935

Anna Belogurova, Freie Universität Berlin
1927 laquered plate by Ivan Ivanovich Golikov (1886-1937) depicting the Third International. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In the late 1920s, the overseas chapters of the Chinese Communist Party allied with the Third Communist International (Comintern)’s pursuit of world revolution and made efforts to take part in anti-colonial movements around the world. As Chinese migrant revolutionaries dealt with discrimination in their adopted countries, they promoted local, Chinese, and world revolutions, borrowing ideas from various actors while they built their organizations and contributed to the project of China’s revival. This article offers a window into the formation of globally connected Chinese revolutionary networks and explores their engagement with Comintern internationalism in its key enclaves in Berlin, San Francisco, Havana, Singapore, and Manila. These engagements built on existing ideas about China’s revival and channeled localization needs of the Chinese migrant Communists. The article draws on sources deposited in the Comintern archive in Moscow (RGASPI), as well as on personal reminiscences published as literary and historical materials (wenshi ziliao).

Keywords: Chinese Communist Party overseas, Guomindang, Comintern, League against Imperialism, anti-colonialism, San Francisco Chinese, Berlin Chinese, Manila Chinese, Chinese in Singapore, Chinese in Philippines, internationalism, interwar period, institutional borrowing