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The Dark Side of Globalization: The Concentration Camps in Republican China in Global Perspective1

Klaus Mühlhahn
Indiana University Bloomington


Das eben ist der Fluch der bösen Tat
Dass sie, fortzeugend, immer Böses muss gebären

This is the curse of every evil deed,
That propagating still, it brings forth evil.

Friedrich Schiller: Die Piccolomini


     Proponents of globalization base much of their view of world history on the underlying assumption that the movement of goods, technology, or people across national borders somehow equals progress and modernity. However, there is a much darker side to exchanges that transcend politically bounded territories and connect various parts of the world. These were never limited to the circulation of commodities, advanced technologies or cultural assets, but from antiquity on also included disease, technologies of warfare, and vehicles of brutality. Indeed, it can be said that the global spread of technologies of violence and repression via mechanization and professionalization was and remains one of the most rapidly disseminated and integral elements of the global history of modernity. Mass violence was made more effective and more destructive by globally circulating technologies. This circulation reshaped political and social relations on the globe as profoundly as the processes of global capitalism or industrialization.

     The global spread of institutions of mass internment illustrates how, within a relatively short time span, these institutions and their underlying concepts were appropriated across borders, as ruling elites around the globe looked for potent strategies to end opposition and resistance to their projects of expansion and consolidation.2 The simultaneous emergence of modern institutions of mass confinement in Latin America, Africa, Russia, Japan, and China was not a belated replication of a European model so much as the synchronous appropriation of a globally circulating idea. As globally circulating discourses and practices of mass confinement intersected with diverse ideological, political and cultural configurations, they constantly engendered new varieties. The non-Western world was not merely a passive recipient in this process; rather it functioned as a formative stage for certain ideas and developments that would ultimately reach back to the Western metropolitan areas in a modified, changed and ultimately radicalized form. The history of mass incarceration can only be written as a global history – a history that is shaped and driven by global connections and transfers.

     This article explores how methods of mass internment were transmitted across borders and across cultures and shows how the technologies and practices of modern mass incarceration intersected with local conditions and traditions. Its focus is a little known concentration camp in Guizhou, a remote inland province in southwestern China. The camp was operated in the 1930's and 1940's by the Chinese Nationalist government (Guomindang GMD) for dealing with its adversaries and political enemies. In the history of this camp global connections and transfers are discernable at many points.

Figure 1

Concentrating Enemies in Camp "Alarm Fire" (Xifeng)

     During the war years from 1938 to 1949 the Nationalist Chinese government ran a number of internment camps where it held alleged political enemies and members of opposition groups. The main targets were members and supporters of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), combatants in the Communist armed forces, liberal intellectuals, outspoken non-communist critics of the government, members of the so called "middle parties"3 and GMD secret service members who were punished for disciplinary reasons. The camps themselves were run under different names and by different political bodies, but were mostly managed by the GMD's intelligence services, the "The Three People's Principles Youth Corps" (Sanmin zhuyi qingnian tuan) and the military.

     This extensive system of secret prisons, lock-ups and camps has evaded scrutiny until now and the full extent of this secretive world remains elusive. That such details are lacking is testimony to the success of the GMD's ex post facto efforts to cover up the existence of these camps. The GMD never officially or publicly designated the camps as concentration camps as their existence was a carefully guarded state secret. However, reports and articles by Chinese Communist authors soon described these institutions as concentration camps. Obviously, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wanted to expose the "fascist" nature of GMD rule - a reference that could be dismissed as mere propaganda, were it not for the foreign allies of the GMD government who also described these special prisons as concentration camps. 4 In 1941, an American consular report spoke of a dozen concentration camps established by the secret police.5 Four years later, in September 1945, Philip D. Sprouse, U.S. consul in Kunming, prepared a memorandum describing in his own words the "Concentration Camp System in China." He specifically discussed a camp near Chongqing and throughout the report referred to that camp as a concentration camp "where Chinese youth are sent when the Kuomintang authorities believe that such individuals can be "persuaded" to correct their thinking and return to a role in society which does not entail opposition to the Kuomintang." 6

     But most important, in their internal communications Dai Li and the leading Juntong7 officers frankly referred to these institutions as concentration camps. In the official nianpu (chronological biography) of the head of the Juntong, Dai Li, compiled in 1966 by his comrades, Dai Li is quoted as saying: "It is correct, we had concentration camps (bu cuo, shi you jizhongying); but I think that in times of war every state has organized similar institutions, detaining political prisoners of war as well as enemies and spies who do harm to national security."8 For one, this statement provides evidence thateven in the 1960's the Juntong bureau did not hesitate to apply the term concentration camp to these institutions. It also proves that the leadership of the Nationalist government was closely involved in building and maintaining the camps. The nianpu continues:

     The concentration camp was located in Xifeng, Guizhou Province. I personally never visited it, but several American officers from the Sino-American Cooperation Organization (SACO) have carefully looked all over the place. All the people who were concentrated and detained in this place were handed over by the government, [no one was kept] because of a personal decision of General Dai. The living conditions in the concentration camp were extraordinarily comfortable, there was a cooperative. The mother of an important power-holder from Nanjing was kept in the camp; General Dai treated her very well. When she became unexpectedly sick, he called upon an American Navy physician from the SACO to look after her. Later she died because of her age and the long duration of the illness. The navy physician investigated on site [the reasons of her death]."9

     These euphemistic explanations were of course meant to rebut the persisting rumors of crimes and abuses that circulated after the 1940's and did much harm to the GMD reputation. The author went to great length to praise the benevolent character of the prison camp that cared about the elderly mother of an important power-holder (while he did not seem to wonder why such a person was imprisoned in the first place). At a minimum, the remarks suggest the camp in Xifeng was the GMD showcase concentration camp that later inspired the creation of other camps in other parts of China and that foreign advisors were at least present: he specifically mentions American SACO personnel. Moreover, as the nianpu demonstrates, despite mounting criticism, the Juntong bureau still took remarkable pride in Xifeng camp even decades later. Within the ranks of the Juntong, Xifeng was regarded as a model institution that could play a powerful role in safeguarding the GMD regime against the threats of the war years.

     The camp Xifeng or "Alarmfire" opened in the autumn of 1938, when a group of about 200 prisoners arrived at a small village in the foothills of Nanwangshan Mountain, 50 miles north of Guiyang in Guizhou Province. The group had made a long journey. Originally detained in the Nanjing Special Prison, the prisoners had made a bewildering odyssey through Dai Li's large labyrinth of secret prisons and detention centers. The prisoners were moved from Nanjing to Wuhan, then transported to the Juntong's Secret Prison in Yiyang, Hunan province, and from there they were eventually brought to this remote spot, located 5 miles south of the small town of Xifeng, seat of the magistrate of Xifeng County.10 The repeated relocations had been necessary because of the constant westward advance of Japanese troops in the summer of 1937. This group was the first batch of prisoners to be detained in this area. The detainees were placed in a farmhouse and were soon ordered to start building barracks, offices and houses. The prisoners and guards called this place "New Prison" (xin jian) or "Xi[feng] prison" (Xi jian). Its official administrative name was "Xifeng Special Branch of the Military Commission of the Republican Government" (Guomin zhengfu junshi weiyuanhui Xifeng xingyuan).11

     The history of Camp Alarmfire can be divided into two periods correlating to the terms of the two commanders who were in charge of the camp. The first period runs from the founding of the camp in 1938 until the dismissal of its first commander, He Zizhen, in 1941. During the four years of He's administration, conditions in the camp were marked by a high degree of violence, harsh living conditions, executions, assaults on prisoners, and a very high mortality rate. Prisoners were locked up all day and were given neither work nor instruction. During this time conditions in Xifeng were not much different from conditions in other secret detention sites run by the secret services. The government treated the prisoners as hated enemies; neglect or simple sadism accounted for frequent abuses.

     In March 1941 a young, ambitious and capable Juntong officer, Zhou Yanghao, arrived; he would serve as commander of camp Alarmfire until the the camp closed in July 1946. He came to Xifeng with a mission to turn the camp into a showcase institution that would be capable of not only detaining, but also transforming and re-educating inmates.12 After his arrival he quickly ordered a complete revamping of prison administration. This laid the foundation for a rapid and systematic expansion of camp facilities. Xifeng Camp developed quickly and eventually became a vast, well-organized and complex internment center holding several hundred prisoners.

     The camp extended over a large area with hills, trees and a lake. There were altogether eight barracks for prisoners. Each barrack was divided into four of five rooms, each of which housed a group of inmates. The camp also had workshops, buildings for the guards, a large assembly hall that could accommodate about 1,000 persons, a study room with a library, a sports field, a ball court, a shop called a "cooperative" and a vegetable garden.

     The number of prisoners constantly fluctuated, but on average 500 to 700 inmates were kept in custody at a time. 13 There were several distinct categories of prisoners. Many detainees were members of the Communist Party, leftist intellectuals and students. The GMD sought to arrest these groups to silence opposition and to quell the Communist revolution. Some detainees were held because they were suspected or accused of being spies and traitors (hanjian) working for the Japanese army. In some cases even whole families of spies or traitors were detained in Xifeng. Some inmates were kept because of slander, revenge or personal hostilities.14 There was also the group of so called "comrades" (tongzhi - a name Juntong agents used to call themselves. Therefore this name referred to cadres and agents of Dai Li's Secret Service), who had either committed breaches of discipline and duty or deserted from service.15 The existence of Secret Service personnel among the prisoners might seem surprising at first glance. Dai Li, however, understood very well that the efficiency and power of any Secret Service rests on its ability to maintain internal discipline and to make sure that orders are carried out. Therefore, every member of the Secret Service was expected to show unconditional obedience, and total dedication. When the integrity of the Juntong bureau's discipline was violated, it was understood as an infraction of the bureau's jiagui (household rules) or jiafa (household law). The violators were punished not in public courts, but by the Secret Service's internal disciplinary system. Three forms of punishment were applied: reprimand, confinement and shooting.16

     Under Zhou Yanghao, the camp administration began to change. A camp regime was established that above all attempted to engage the prisoners in useful and purposeful activities that would support the security needs and political interests of the GMD government. Camp authorities initiated thought reform (sixiang ganhua) and organized production (shengchan). These two elements were the foundation of Zhou Yanghao's camp reforms. The changes were profound. Also, officials coined a new name for the camp: Xifeng was now called a "university" (daxue). Prisoners were no longer referred to as inmates, but as "people in self-cultivation" or "convalescents" (xiuyangren). The barracks were given Confucian names such as Loyalty (zhong), Filial Piety (xiao), Humanity (ren), Righteousness (yi), Harmony (he), and so on. The cells also acquired a new designationsuch as "study rooms" (zhai).

     Prison labor was centered on making products that could be marketed outside the prison. Through manufacture of goods the camp not only offered meaningful work for inmates but actually achieved self-sufficiency, which was considered an important goal. A production team was formed that was divided into two departments, one for factories and one for transport and marketing. The camp also had a printing workshop where prisoners did typesetting and printing. In addition the camp had a sewing department, where prisoners produced textiles for the camp and for the local Juntong training unit. The camp eventually also set up carving, woodwork, and ceramics departments and another one for straw sandal production.17

     For their work the detainees received rewards in the form of a special currency that was issued by camp authorities. The camp had a so-called "cooperative" (hezuoshe), where prisoners could use this currency to buy cigarettes, food, clothes and even alcoholic beverages.18 The sale of these goods helped prevent thriving smuggling networks and black markets that existed in many Republican prisons. Another benefit authorities hoped for was the strengthening of work motivation.

     Ideological or political thought reform was the responsibility of the educational department (jiaowu suo). The overall mission was to strengthen control over the prisoners by changing their political attitudes and beliefs. The authorities distinguished between thought reform and thought examination. Specifically, authorities inculcated new ideas and ideologies by way of providing prisoners with reading guides, notes, lectures, collective instruction, individual talks, literature, and art propaganda. The content mainly consisted of GMD party ideology and anti-communist teachings, but reading materials also included traditional Chinese moral teachings. Apart from the standard readings of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek prisoners had to study Chiang's "China's Destiny," Zhou Fohai's "The Theoretical System of the Three People's Principles," Tao Xisheng's "A History of Chinese Political Ideas " and various anti-communist writings by Dai Jitao. But the authorities also distributed more traditional works, such as Four Dynasties Study Classics (Si chao xue dian) or selections from Zeng Guofan's Complete Works (Zeng wen zheng gong quanji).

     Thought examinations were conducted through individual talks, self-cultivation reports (xiuyang baogao), encouragement reports (jiangli baogao), as well as examinations of diaries and notes, etc. The administration also set up an award system for thought reform: These included monetary awards to prisoners who displayed progress in their thought reform.19 The camp's printing department published two journals,Cultivate Rectitude Weekly (Yang Zheng Zhou Bao) and the Revive Monthly (Fu Huo Yue Kan).

     Despite the effort to build a model camp, living conditions in Xifeng remained poor most of the time. The food supply for the prisoners often was insufficient. Hygiene and sanitation were generally poor. Many inmates fell sick, without receiving proper care or treatment. Worse, still, was the frequent violence. Violence often came in the form of torture. One of the main purposes of interment in this camp was to extract information from prisoners. Torture was routinely applied for that end.20 As Frederic Wakeman said, the different methods of torturing had peculiar names pointing to the existence ofa well-established "insider's jargon (the esoterics of cruelty)."21

     Executions were ordered from the Juntong central command. Three photos had to be taken of each convict before, during, and after the execution. The photos were sent to the Juntong central department, together with a report, to provide evidence of the death of the prisoner.22 The killing and torture of prisoners terrified even some members of the local Juntong troop. Shen Zui, who at that time was instructor of the local Juntong training class, wrote entries in his diary relating to atrocities and inhumane treatment of prisoners in Xifeng. He wrote:" This human hell makes everybody feel dizzy, this place is really too frightening." He concluded, "What I hear makes me limitlessly sympathetic and makes my heart feel timid"23.

     Despite the emphasis on education and Confucian morality, life in the camp was shaped by a high degree of terror and insecurity. Because the existence of the camp was a state secret, it was beyond the reach of the law. There were no rules or regulations that protected the inmates. No channels for judicial review were available to them. Contacts with civilian society were prohibited and no support could be expected from family, friends or activists. The prisoners in the camps were never tried in court and were never sentenced to a prison term or any another punishment. They were arrested and disappeared. Their release was uncertain.

     In a very characteristic way, camp Alarmfire mirrored the vague and ambiguous political culture of China in the 1930's and 1940's. The "Confucian" overtones of the concentration camp are especially remarkable. Not only were Confucian terms used as names for buildings and barracks, Confucian terminology was also applied to the prisoners ("people in self-cultivation") and Confucian texts were included in the programs of thought reform. The term "university" in the camp's nomenclature is of course most significant as well in this context as it emphasized the mission of education and renewal. One could say that there was a carefully arranged "Confucianization" of the detainment policy in the Chinese concentration camp. This aspect of the Chinese concentration camp resonated with similar efforts in the course of the "New Life Movement" or in school curricula.24  The ongoing importance of methods of moral cultivation that were rooted in late imperial practices of Confucian education challenges the assumption that indigenous approaches to discipline and coercion are necessarily displaced by radical new institutions of foreign provenance and become irrelevant.25 Instead of simply imitating foreign techniques or models, the Chinese internment camp appropriated multiple strands. It combined the diverse elements of moral cultivation, ideological reeducation, brutality and externalized discipline and merged it into a new Chinese-style concentration camp regime.

The Anatomy of Terror in a Global Age: Transnational Connections and Transfers

     In establishing concentration camps for political opponents the GMD drew upon foreign models from places such as the Soviet Union. But it also relied on concrete assistance from international allies such as Germany and later the United States. At almost every stage and level there was some international link involving the transfer of technologies, blueprints or ideas. Global connections were the result of either the presence of foreign advisors or the transfer of knowledge through the translation of reports, plans, and laws.

     The historical origins of concentration camps can be traced back to the "small wars" fought in 19th Century European colonies contexts, which is where such camps first appeared. 26 From the very beginning the camps were an essential component in the fight against insurgent populations and guerilla units in dependent territories. With the establishment of the camps colonial authorities targeted not only insurgents but also civilian supporters and networks. The camps therefore are part of a broader shift in the history of war during which civilian populations played an increasingly important role in strategic calculations and battle plans.

     Contrary to what might be expected, the first recorded use of the expression "concentration camp"27 did not occur in either Germany or Russia. The first use of concentration camps or, more precisely, of a policy of "reconcentración," dates back to Spanish military officers in Cuba. 28 On 16 February 1896 Spanish general Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau implemented a policy of "reconcentration" (reconcentración) to control Cuban insurgents. The policy forced the civilian population to move to central locations under Spanish military jurisdiction as the entire island was placed under martial law. The goal was to deprive the insurgents of food and shelter, effectively cutting off support for the insurgents and thereby bringing the war to a more rapid conclusion. Unlike later-day concentration camps in the twentieth century, the idea was to keep the Cuban civilians alive and protected until the Spanish were victorious.The consequences were disastrous. At least 30 percent of the displaced population perished from lack of proper food, sanitary conditions, and medicines. The deportation and concentration of civilians also generated severe anti-Spanish feeling in the United States, which helped propelthem and their northern neighbors into war in 1898. 29

     Thereafter, both the term and the idea of the concentration camp spread and evolved on a global scale. The Spanish concentration camps had received wide coverage in diplomatic reports and American newspapers. The Spanish strategy was familiar to American forces when they resorted to a similar policy in the Philippines.30 After the Spanish-American War of 1898, the United States made Cuba into a protectorate and also annexed the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam in the Pacific. From 1899, when the United States first sent ground troops to the Philippines, up to 1913, local insurgents led by Emilio Aguinaldo (1869-1964) conducted a guerilla war against American occupation, carrying out bloody ambushes and sudden raids. The ongoing resistance and the shift to erratic guerrilla warfare deeply frustrated the American occupation forces. In response to the worsening security situation, American military authorities decided to establish concentration camps on the islands of Mindanao and Marinduque after 1900. Civilians were forced into the camps if they were suspected of being guerrilla sympathizers. Here again living conditions were harsh and thousands of civilians died in these camps. 31

     The British policy, initiated for similar reasons, during the Second Boer War (1899-1902) in South Africa is relatively well known due to the attention the camps received in reports and books by contemporaries.32 Just as the Spanish had grown desperate over the guerilla tactics of the Cubans and the Americans became concerned by continued Philippine resistance, so too had the British became perplexed by the support Boer soldiers' received from the civilian population. Therefore the civilian sympathizers were "concentrated" into camps, in order to deprive Boer guerillas of shelter and supplies from civilians. Once again, misery and famine, as well as sickness and hardship, were the result. Of the approximately 120,000 to 160,000 inmates, maybe 20,000 died. To journalists at that time, the connection between the South African camps and the Cuban camps was immediately clear: in British military and diplomaticreports their majesty's representatives were both praised and criticized for using "General Weyler's methods" in South Africa.33 These links and transfers demonstrate that the blueprints and the technologies of mass internment had by now entered the global realm and were circulating among various nations and regions. In that way became available for and retrievable by a number of actors spread widely across time and space.

     Four years later, colonial Africa again became the theater for staging concentration camps to fight insurgents against colonial occupation.. The Imperial Germany had several African colonies: one of them was German Southwest Africa (Deutsch Süd-West Afrika, now Namibia), which had been under German rule from 1884 to World War I. In January 1904 a wide-spread revolt of the Ovahereros shattered the colony and challenged German rule.34 The Ovahereros had a number of grievances mainly related to the loss of power and the expropriation of land and cattle. Soon a full-scale war between German colonial troops and the Ovahereros ensued. Confronted with the first killings of European settlers and the mass flight of German settlers and soldiers from the countryside to fortified towns, German military leaders looked for an effective way to end the uprising and suppress the revolt. Ther Germans discussed complete destruction and even annihilation as possible strategies.35 In June 1904, a new supreme commander was appointed to replace the moderate General Theodor Leutwein, who had resisted the call for the extermination of the Ovahereros. Emperor Wihelm II sent General Lothar von Trotha (1848-1920), who came to Africa with the understanding that he was expected to end the fighting quickly. Von Trotha had ample experience in colonial warfare. On December 11, 1904, German chancellor Bernhard von Bülow approved von Trotha's plan to establish a "Konzentrationslager" to imprison the civilian population of the Ovaherero.36 The basic tactic was designed to keep the insurgents from recruiting fighters for their cause. Following the British example in neighboring South Africa, the Ovaherero were gathered and relocated into concentration camps. They were not merely starved. They also died of exhaustion, from forced labor on behalf of the German colony. The addition of forced labor was an important step that changed the nature of internment. Aside from security concerns, systematic exploitation of the prisoners now became an important function of interment.

     In these African camps medical experiments were also conducted on human beings. Two of Joseph Mengele's teachers, Theodor Mollison and Eugen Fischer, carried out research on the Herero, the latter in an attempt to prove his theories about the superiority of the white race.37 The resemblance to the racist language of the Holocaust is clear enough; there was, in addition, one further connection. The first imperial commissioner of Deutsch Südwest Afrika was Dr. Heinrich Goering, the father of Hermann Goering.38 We also again find interesting links indicating that techniques and knowledge of colonial warfare travelled across continents. The supreme commander Lothar von Trotha had earlier served in China, where he was lieutenant in the 3rd East Asia Squadron participating in the violent suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900-1901. He commanded a unit that fought against Chinese militias in north China. Even after the Boxers were put down, his unit was ordered to conduct raids on unarmed and unfortified villages as punishment for their support of the Boxers.39 There are no reports of interments, but we find a similar effort to remove civilian supporters. Such policies that sought to end resistance by liquidating civilian supporters are not external to the history of concentration camps. It has often been pointed out that there is an intrinsic relationship between deportation and extermination.40  

     Von Trotha belonged to a large group of German officers who were experienced in "small wars," or colonial warfare. They were frequently deployed in colonial trouble spots.41 Another important officer in this group was Alexander von Falkenhausen (1878-1966), who from 1934-1938 worked as military advisor to the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek in China.42 In China the advisors developed policies of military modernization,in addition to assisting them in devising tactical measures and strategies to crush the Communist revolution. Von Falkenhausen, for example, recommended liquidating all captured Communist combatants and interning their civilian sympathizers and supporters during the Chinese Civil War.43 When he developed his tactical plans, he was able to draw on his experiences in colonial counterinsurgent warfare. Understanding these global connections through the deployment of advisors and specialists are critically important to document if we want to understand how disciplinary technologies such as concentration camps were globally transmitted .

     The technologies of colonial warfare also eventually came to Europe. World War I, was a key turning point, as terror against civilian populations was an integral aspect of the fighting on the European continent.Military strategies in this global confrontation in particular sought to mobilize every resource and deploy every technique for victory. This led the war parties to probe the utilization of methods of warfare that until this date had been mainly used against indigenous populations in the European colonial domains overseas. 44 Now the colonial strategies were tested in Europe and proven to be effective tools of deliberate violence against civilians in order to achieve military victory. Historians as well as contemporary writers have widely discussed the industrialized methods of warfare put into use during the war. Less noticed were several other developments.   World War I also saw the widespread use of industrialized methods of incarceration. Large-scale internment camps and prisoner-of-war camps were constructed across Europe from 1914 onwards. A recent study, which is perhaps the first to ever look at this issue of war time captivity during World War I, concluded that this war produced an unprecedented number of prisoners-of-war.45 Altogether eight to nine million soldiers ended up in captivity, presenting a huge organizational challenge for all governments. In 1918 there were 2.2 million prisoners of war on Russian territory alone. New technologies -- the mass production of guns and of barbed wire, an improved infrastructure -- made it possible to transport and hold large numbers of prisoners. To be sure, prisoner-of-war camps were not concentration camps, yet for the history of the concentration camp, they were an important development; a new technology had been developed and deployed that enabled the handling of exceedingly large groups of prisoners. It is also well known that some of the Soviet prison camps were actually built on top of World War I prisoner-of-war camps.  

     This development was not limited to Europe, but had a global dimension. As an ally of Britain, Japan entered World War I in August 1914. Tokyo declared war on Berlin and seized the northern Chinese port city of Qingdao held by German troops. Around 4,630 German POWs were interned in Japan in several camps, which were organized following European models. The effort to copy European camps was systematic and comprehensive. Altogether, there were six camps: Aonogahara, Kurume, Nagoya, Narashino, Ninoshima and Bandō. The best known among these was the Bando  camp in Naruto, southwest of Tokyo, which was supposed to surpass European models and standards of internment. Some 1,000 German prisoners enjoyed an almost idyllic lifestyle in Naruto's Bando  camp , complete with football matches, concerts and picnics. There were also fellow captives of the 1914-18 conflict who were crowded into tiny huts and subjected to less benevolent treatment.46 In setting up their camps, Japanese authorities had carefully studied European models as well as recent laws of war. The scale of the Japanese camps was small, but through them the technology of mass internment had finally arrived in East Asia -- with very little delay in fact.

     In the wake of World War I the term concentration camp had become part of many languages, both in Europe and beyond. Probably thanks to Trotsky's familiarity with the history of the Boer War, the Bolsheviks soon started to set up their own kontslager in Russia, not for the "guilty", but for the mass imprisonment of "unreliable elements."47 Leaving aside the probably irresolvable question of how much Hitler actually knew about Stalin's camps, the first German concentration camps were established in 1933, mainly for the confinement of opponents of the Nazi Party such as Communists and Social Democrats. 48 In terms of size, complexity and purpose, the Soviet and Nazi concentration camp systems clearly exceeded the scale of their colonial predecessors. There were of course important differences between various systems of internment. In the eyes of non-European elites these differences were insignificant. In the course of the 1930's the existence of concentration camps in Europe and their function in state and society received global attention.49 There were outright admirers who sought to emulate fascism in their own countries.

     In Republican China, for instance, the Nationalists were interested in German camps and sought to imitate them in China. In a time of crises, Nationalist China searched for an efficient way to safeguard GMD rule and enforce order and discipline. The commander of Camp Alarmfire, Zhou Yanghao, was one of the few members of the Chinese intelligence community who had received judicial training at the Shanghai Law Academy (Shanghai Faxueyuan).50 He went to law school at a time when Chinese criminologists and penologists increasingly looked to Germany and the Soviet Union for models for a successful penal system. In the mid 1930's two leading judicial experts in Shanghai, Sun Xiong (Fudan University) and Li Jianhua Shanghai Law Academy), both praised German and Soviet forms of corrective labor in internment camps as progressive and effective. They argued that labor reform (laodong ganhua) and collective discipline should serve as a model and inspiration for Chinese penal reforms.51 Theyexplained that inmates in Soviet prison camps were detained not in single cells but in groups, where they lived and worked together and collectively strove for reform. Li Jianhua stressed that according to reports from foreign visitors, the camps in the Soviet Union did not even look like prisons but like factories and farming villages.

     Moreover, Nazi Germany and Nationalist China cooperated closely. Their cooperation lasted from 1933 until 1936.52 Officers from the Nationalist army as well as from the intelligence community traveled to Germany. The intelligence services published a magazine called Future (Qiantu), which featured a series of enthusiastic articles about the Third Reich.53 The concentration camps and the idea of protective custody were specifically mentioned as efficient means to incapacitate potential evildoers, quell communist opposition and to pacify society. While further archival research is needed to clarify the exact extent and scope of the cooperation between China, Germany, and the Soviet Union, there is ample evidence to suggest that for building and enlarging Xifeng special prison into a concentration camp, both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany provided models and visions that were adapted by leading political circles within the Nationalist government.

The Legacy of Republican-era Chinese Concentration Camps

     The proliferation of concentration camps in Nationalist China was not only assisted by "evil empires." The GMD also relied on cooperation from American intelligence agencies.54 As the quotation above from Dai Li's biography indicates, American personnel visited Camp Alarmfire several times. It is also well known that American officers were working in the vicinity of a camp near Chongqing. Chongqing was the site of what was perhaps the most infamous concentration camp in Republican China. The camp system consisted of several different internment sites: One was the so-called "Bai Mansion" (Bai gongguan) that was said to have been the home of Tang poet Bai Juyi.55 It was selected by Dai Li in 1939 for the opening of a "special detention center". In 1941 the Sino-American Cooperation Organisation (SACO) was established in the immediate vicinity under a secret agreement signed in 1941. From 1941 to 1945 American police officers and intelligence personnel were stationed there. They trained Chinese secret agents and spies and instructed Nationalist Secret Services in interrogation techniques.

     It is also worth considering Camp Alarmfire's legacy. After the camp was disbanded in July 1946, techniques of corrective labor and mass internment continued to circulate in China. Ideological barriers and differences did not impede the transmission of internment practices across the political spectrum. The resemblance of the labor reform or laogai camps established in the People's Republic of China after 1949 to Camp Alarmfire is not accidental. 56 The parallels are striking and can be found above all in technical and organizational aspects. There was a similar heavy emphasis on ideological reform and reeducation in both camp systems (called thought reform or sixiang ganhua in Nationalist China and thought transformation or sixiang gaizao in the PRC). Similar techniques to foster reeducation were applied: readings, discussion sessions, self- criticisms and confessions. Forced labor was an integral part in both regimes and was even described with the same term, "production" (shengchan). In both systems, small groups of prisoners administered themselves and select prisoners appointed by the guards took over important functions (similar to those of Kapos in the German concentration camps). The list of similarities also includes the management of space, the use of roll calls and general assemblies, denunciations, and so on. The parallels are in part related to the influence of the Soviet Union, which not only inspired GMD officers and legal scholars in the 1930's, but also later provided concrete assistance to the Chinese Communists in setting up corrective labor camps.57 Prisoners themselves were another channel by which information was transferred. Captured Communists wrote about the GMD camp regime after their release. Moreover, after 1949 the Communist government arrested camp commanders like Zhou Yanghao and other important officers of the GMD Intelligence Services.58 After their capture, they were extensively interrogated and forced to write lengthy reports about the prison camps that they had been in charge of. They produced volumes that were not only used to sentence them to long terms of imprisonment, but also forwarded to the government in Beijing at a time when the Communist leaders were laying the ground work for their own labor camp system.


     The modern period has witnessed a world gone increasingly global in both peace and war. In an age of globalization, strategies of warfare and violence have been changed through global links and transfers. The case of camp Alarmfire demonstrates the density and importance of multiple transnational links in the history of war and terror in the twentieth century. Concentration camps first emerged in the non-Western world within the historical context of colonial rule -- which reinforced the myth of white racial superiority, justified the use of violence against colonized populations and proliferated ideas of ethnic and / or political cleansing. Global connections and transfers moved the military and policing doctrines from European colonial domains in the late nineteenth century to the European continent itself where the implementation of those practices facilitated the shift to total war and also helped shape a new brutality displayed by European armies toward non-combatants during and after World War I. From Europe those practices and concepts travelled further throughout the world to eventually manifest themselves in many conflicts in the non-Western world. In their search for potent ways to end resistance to their rule and enforce discipline, various Chinese regimes combed through the globally available stock of techniques of repression and violence.

     A global historical overview demonstrates that the idea and method of a concentration camp was general enough to be exported across borders and cultures. But the specific details of the camps, how they ultimately developed, how rigid or disorganized they became, how cruel or transformative they were, all of this depended on the particular historical context, on the cultural and social conditions, on the politics and intentions of the respective regime. The various camp systems cannot even be said to have had much in common beyond organization, equipment and technical aspects. Some were intended to isolate people who were seen, without individual evidence, as potentially disloyal and likely to revolt. Others were designed to make full use of cheap inmate labor. Still others, especially in China, were (and still are) used to "re-educate" prisoners of doubtful loyalty, by demanding self-accusation and confession as well as by administering harsh treatment.

     Camp Alarmfire suggests the scope and significance of local appropriations of globally circulating technologies of terror. There, selected civilian and non-civilian groups were concentrated for safety reasons and to satisfy the disciplinary concerns of a one-party-state.59 In the theory and practice of the Chinese concentration camp, thought reform (sixiang ganhua) served as a main purpose of internment. The camps were intended as total institutions capable of first extracting information and then correcting the thinking of detainees and instilling in them a hybrid mixture of GMD party ideology and Confucianism. All this of course was supposed to happen beyond the reach of law or the control of civilian government agencies. This tendency, in general, demonstrates a remarkable blend of indigenous Confucian ideas and exogenous technologies of terror, control and violence. The ongoing importance of methods of moral cultivation in the camps that were rooted in late imperial practices of Confucian education defies the common assumption that Chinese approaches to discipline and coercion were simply substituted by new practices from the global realm. The selective adoption and reformulation of diverse methods of terror and their integration with "self-cultivation" points to the agency of Chinese institutions and officials in this process. In Republican China, varied modes of discipline, brutality and education coexisted in a concentration camp with Confucian overtones. Coercive reeducation and outright violence was juxtaposed with Confucian-style forms of moral exhortation.

     Most important, Camp Alarmfire illustrates the processes and events through which military or police advisors acted as agents in the transmission of relevant techniques to China. The advisors often gained their knowledge and training in the colonial wars and the global events of World War I or World War II -- all of which represent major turning points in the global history of the concentration camp. They advised on the deliberate, calculated, and, as it were, "strategic" use of terror as a form of violence whose very raison d'être consisted in breaking with the prevailing norms of conflict as a means to achieve their ends.

     Finally, placing Camp Alarmfire in a global perspective exposes historical trajectories that allow us to link the violence unleashed by major states in the world between 1930 and 1950 with both an earlier history of colonial violence and a subsequent history of violence,, around the world, during the Cold War. State violence is often framed in purely local or national terms, with emphasis on cultural predispositions or political conditions. Outbreaks of violence tend to be viewed and analyzed as isolated events. Yet although concentration camps developed in very particular contexts for particular reasons, the phenomenon is both synchronous and global. This dimension undermines any attempt to view such forms of violence in isolation or to look to local histories and national characters as the only explanation.

     The global connections and transfers identified here are also worth exploring because they allow us to ask what various cases might have in common, they ask us to explore whether or not these connections are meaningful and, most of all, they force us to evaluate the elements of both continuity and change through the clear linkages between colonial, post-colonial, and communist behavior within as well as beyond a single national boundary. It remains to be seen if GMD and Maoist terror taught anything to the Khmer Rouge, whether Khmer Rouge techniques derived more from the models provided by the French Revolution or Maoism, or whether American interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib had any colonial or post-colonial roots.60 Such issues can profitably be explored by students of world history. The global proliferation of industrialized forms of destruction and repression facilitated a worldwide brutalization of conflicts, both domestically and internationally. The mobilization und intensification of destruction thus became a global process that inseparably accompanied the flows and circuits of goods, people and knowledge in the twentieth century that we usually call globalization.

     Klaus Mühlhahn is Professor of History at Indiana University. He can be contacted at Mühlhahn has published on Chinese legal history and the history of criminal justice. Other areas of interest are colonial history, governance and the world of the treaty ports. Most recent publication is: Criminal Justice in China, A History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009)



1 I have to thank Xu Youwei (Shanghai) for his help in locating Chinese sources. I also owe thanks to the reviewers and editors of WHC, above all Tim Weston and Marc Gilbert, for their help and useful suggestions.

2 The global spread of the prison in colonial societies has been the subject of several studies. The French in Viet Nam maintained one of the most notorious of these on Con Son Island, about 90 miles southeast of Saigon in the South China Sea. This prison is the subject of a recent book by Peter Zinoman, The Colonial Bastille: A History of Imprisonment in Vietnam, 1862–1940 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001). See also recent studies on Britain's Andaman Island prison colony (Satadru Sen, Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in the Andaman Islands, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), on South Africa's Robben Island, (Fran Lisa Buntman, Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) and on China (Frank Dikötter, Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China, 1895-1949, New York: Columbia University Press 2002).

3 "Middle parties" refers to parties that politically positioned themselves between the GMD and the CCP, such as the China Democratic League.

4 See Shangrao Jizhongying [Shangrao Concentration Camp] (Shanghai: Renmin Chubansuo 1949), i. This edition actually is the second printing. It contains a preface written in 1945, in which the author accuses the GMD of operating concentrations camps in China.

5 Frederic Wakeman Jr., Spymaster: Dai Li and the Chinese secret service (Berkeley, Calif., University of California Press 2003), 217.

6 Memorandum prepared by Philip D. Sprouse, U.S. Consul Kunming, OSS report XL-22034, Sept. 27, 1945. Records of the Office of Strategic Services, War Department, National Archives Washington. Sprouse made references to several other reports written in 1944. He also explained that his source was a former inmate from a camp near Chongqing.

7 Juntong is an abbreviation for Guominzhengfu junshi weiyuanhui diaocha tongji shi, literally, Military Statistics Bureau. This organization emerged from the reorganization of the intelligence services in 1938 and was directed by Dai Li. The history of the military intelligence service is covered by the comprehensive study of Frederic Wakeman Jr., Spymaster, 41-43, 130, 207.

8 See Dai Yunong Xiansheng Quanji [The Collected Works of Dai Yunong (Dai Li)], ed. Guofanbu Qingbaoju (Taibei: Shanghai Yinshuaichang 1979) vol. 2, 1011-1012.

9 Ibid.

10 The special prisons in Nanjing and Yiyang both belonged to Dai Li's internal penal system, see Wakeman, Spymaster, 217/218.

11 Juntong Moku – Xifeng jizhongying (Juntong Hell- Xifeng Concentration Camp), ed. by Zhengxie Guizhousheng weiyuanhui wenshi yu xuexi weiyuanhui et. al. (Guiyang: Guizhou renmin chubanshe 1999), 21.

12 On Zhou Yanghao and his reform ambitions in Xifeng, see Mao Zuoyuan, "Zhou Yanghao xiaozhuan" (Short Biography of Zhou Yanghao), in: Jiangshanshi zhenxie wenshi ziliao, 10 (1994), 122-127; Juntong moku, 46-61 and 68-73. On the camp we have also the memoirs of the Russian communist Constantin Rissov, Le dragon enchaîné: de Chiang Kai-Shek à Mao Zedong; 35 ans d'intimité avec la Chine, Paris: Editions R. Laffont 1986, 170. He was interned in Xifeng for 18 months (he later was also detained by the Communists).

13 The exact numbers of inmates and of the deaths are unclear. Some witnesses speak of ca. 1000 prisoners and six hundred confirmed deaths, with a high number of missing prisoners. See Juntong Moku, p. 74,318. Zhou Yanghao was captured by the Communist intelligence service in 1949 and kept in captivity in mainland China until 1978. In his written confession in 1964 Zhou maintained that there were on average not more than 230 prisoners, see Zhou Yanghao, "Juntong xifeng jizhongying neimu" [Internals about the Juntong Concentration camp in Xifeng], in: Wenshi ziliao cungao xuanbian: tegong zuzhi, ed. Quanguo zhengxie wenshi ziliao weiyuanhui (Beijing: Zhongguo Wenshi 2002), 112-119, here p. 115. In his confession Zhou sought to play down the camp in every respect and also to diminish his responsibility, for obvious reasons. According to his statement, there were around 50 new arrivals each month and around 30 inmates per month leaving or diseased. He also mentioned that there were 300 prisoners in 1941 when he came to Xifeng.

14 Huang Tongguang, "Wo Suo Qinli De Xifeng Jizhongying" [My Experiences in Xifeng Concentration Camp], in: Wenshi Ziliao Xuanji, 40 (1986), 208-225.; Si Laotai, "Juntong De "Daxue" – Xifeng Jianyu" (Pt. II) [Juntong's University – Xifeng Prison] Fanzui Gaizao Yanjiu, 6 (1991), 71.

15 On the common use of tongzhi, see Wakeman, Spymaster, 270.

16 Wakeman, Spymaster, 215-218. Wakeman wrote: "Service in Dai Li's secret police was, in effect, a lifetime term. (…) If a person even asked for Dai Li's permission to retire, he or she risked being clapped into confinement indefinitely." (Spymaster, 220).

17 Li Renfu, "Juntong Tewu Jigou Xifeng Jizhongying Heimu" [The Truth of Xifeng Concentration Camp], Wenshi Ziliao Xuanji 28 (1986), 104-137, here:116,127-129; Huang Tongguang, "Wo Suo Qinli De Xifeng Jizhongying", 214-216.

18 Juntong Moku, 32.

19 Li Renfu, "Juntong Tewu Jigou", 110,125-127,129-133.

20 In many Juntong prisons, torture was "a perforce routine, and the threat of it was always present."Wakeman, Spymaster, 161-167.

21 Wakeman, Spymaster, 164.

22 Li Renfu, "Juntong Tewu Jigou", 114-115; Juntong Moku, 75-76.

23 Shen Zui, Shen Zui RijiThe Diary of Shen Zui], Beijing 1991), p. 107,170.

24 The New Life Movement was initiated by Chiang Kai-shek February 1934 to promote traditional Confucian social ethics, while rejecting individualism and Communism. Goals included courtesy to neighbors, following rules set by the government, keeping streets clean, conserving energy, and so forth.

25 Robert Culp, Articulating citizenship: civic education and student politics in Southeastern China, 1912-1940, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Centre 2007), 205-208.

26 C. E. Callwell, Small Wars - Their Principles and Practice (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996).

27 The term concentration camp refers to camps for people who have been imprisoned not for what they have done, but for who they are. Concentration camps are not built for individuals, but rather for a particular type of non-criminal, civilian prisoner, members of an "enemy" group, or at any rate a category of people who, for reasons of their race or their presumed politics, are judged to be dangerous or extraneous to society. See (…)". See "concentration camp." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 27 Feb. 2009 <>.

28 There are two good histories of the concentration camp: Joel Kotek and Pierre Rigoulot, Le Siècle des Camps (Paris: JC Lattes 2000) and Andrzej J. Kaminski, Konzentrationslager 1896 bis heute. Geschichte, Funktion, Typologie, (München: Piper 1990). Both studies point to colonial Cuba as the place where the first concentration camps were set up.

29 See Kaminski, Konzentrationslager, 34.

30 The coutner insurgents policy in the Philippines had certainly multiple sources. Its roots can also be traced back to the Indian reservations.

31 Vince Boudreau, "Methods of Domination and Modes of Resistance. The U.S. Colonial State and Philippine Mobilization in Comparative Perspective" in: Julian Go and Anne L. Forster (eds.), The American Colonial State in the Philippines: Global Perspectives (Durham: Duke University Press 2003), 260-280. Glenn Anthony May, Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991) 1991. Brian M. Linn, The United States Army and the Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina 1989).

32 Gregory Fremont-Barnes, The Boer War 1899-1902 (Oxford: Osprey Publishing 2003) 9, 64, 79-86. Fred R. Van Hartesveldt, The Boer War: Historiography and Annotated Bibliography (Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group 2000); Kaminski, Konzentrationslager, 35; Kotek and Rigoulot, Le Siècle des Camps, 61-79.

33 Emily Hobhouse's well-known and influential book The Brunt of War and Where it Fell. (Cheshire: Portrayer Publications 2007) 30-32,.has numerous citations that show how closely and deliberately the British were trying to follow the Spanish model.

34 On the war see Jürgen Zimmerer and Joachim Zeller, Genocide in South-West Africa. The Colonial War of 1904-1908 and its Aftermath (Monmouth, Wales: Merlin Press 2008); George Steinmetz, The devil's handwriting : precoloniality and the German colonial state in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 2007), 179-215; Jürgen Zimmerer, Deutsche Herrschaft über Afrikaner. Staatlicher Machtanspruch und Wirklichkeit im kolonialen Namibia, (Münster: Lit 2001); Walter Nuhn, Sturm über Südwest : der Hereroaufstand von 1904 - ein düsteres Kapitel der deutschen kolonialen Vergangenheit Namibias,(Koblenz : Bernard u. Graefe, 1989); Tilman Dedering, The German-Herero War of 1904. Revisionism of Genocide or Imaginary Historiography? in: Journal of South African Studies 19 (1993), 115-134.

35 Steinmetz, The devil's handwriting, 192.

36 Report on the natives of South-West Africa and their treatment by Germany: prepared in the Administrator's Office, Windhuk, South-West Africa, January 1918 ; presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of His Majesty / Union of South Africa. - London : His Majesty's Stationary Office, 1918.

37 Kotek and Rigoulot, Le Siècle des Camps, 92.

38 Steinmetz, The devil's handwriting 132f.

39 Mechthild Leutner/ Klaus Mühlhahn (eds.), Kolonialkrieg in China. Die Niederschlagung der Boxerbewegung 1900-1901, (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag 2007)

40 Benjamin A. Valentino, Final Solutions: Mass Killing and Genocide in the Twentieth Century (Ithaka: Cornell University Press, 2004), 172-176.

41 Max Schmidt, Aus unserem Kriegsleben in Südwest-Afrika (Berlin: E. Runge 1907) who was in China and Southwest Africa and reports how many participants from the Boxers expedition were deployed in Africa. I am grateful to Cord Eberspächer (Berlin/Bristol) who brought this report to my attention.

42 Bernd Martin (Hg.): Die deutsche Beraterschaft in China (1927-1938). Militär-Wirtschaft-Außenpolitik (Düsseldorf: Droste 1981); Bernd Martin and Susanne Kuss, Deutsch-chinesische Beziehungen, 1928-1937 : "gleiche" Partner unter "ungleichen" Bedingungen ; eine Quellensammlung (Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2003).

43 Bernd Martin, "Die deutsche Beraterschaft in China (1927 - 1938)", in: Militärgeschichte 29 (1990), S. 530 – 537.

44 Kotek and Rigoulot, Le Siècle des Camps, 31-33. Michael Howard, "Colonial Wars and European Wars." In: Imperialism and War: Essays on Colonial Warfare, Eds. J.A. de Moor and H.L. Wesseling ( Leiden: E.J. Brill 1989), 218-23. Trutz von Trotha, "'The Fellows Can Just Starve': On Wars of 'Pacification' in the African Colonies of Imperial Germany and the Concept of 'Total War,'" in: Anticipating Total War: The German and American Experiences, 1871-1914, ed. by Manfred F. Boemeke, Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (Cambridge/ New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 415-35.

45 Jochen Oltmer (ed.), Kriegsgefangene im Europa des Ersten Weltkriegs (Paderborn: Schöningh 2006).

46 City Museum Ono, Catalogue to Special Exhibition on the World of Detention Camp Aonoagahara, Aonoagahara 2005. Ulrike Klein, Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in japanischem Gewahrsam 1914-1920. Ein Sonderfall. ( Ph.D. thesis, Universitaet Freiburg 1993); John Davidson Ketchum, Ruhleben. A Prison Camp Society, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1965).

47 Both Lenin and Trotzky used the term "concentration camp". See Anne Applebaum, Gulag: A History, (New York: Doubleday 2003), p. 31ff; Michael Jakobson, Origins of the GULAG: The Soviet Prison Camp System 1917-1934. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky 1993), p.37; Galina Mikhailovna Ivanova, Labor Camp Socialism: The Gulag in the Soviet Totalitarian System. Trans. Flath (Armonk N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe 2000), p. 12, Nicolas Werth, "A State against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in Soviet Union" in: Stâephane Courtois and Mark Kramer (eds.), The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression (Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 1999), 45-295, here 87.

48 I do not include in this discussion the German extermination camps (Vernichtungslager). The mass murder of the European Jews that was carried out in these camps cannot be compared to any of the concentration camps discussed in this article.

49 Stein Ugelvik Larsen, Fascism Outside Europe: The European Impulse against Domestic Conditions in the Diffusion of Global Fascism (Boulder: NY: Social Science Monographs; Distributed by Columbia University Press, 2001). This is also related to the fact that fascism and Communism were international movements from inception to demise, see Arnd Bauerkämper, "A New Consensus? Recent Research on Fascism in Europe, 1918-1945," History Compass, 4/3 (2006), 536–566, here 523.

50 The Shanghai Law Academy was established in 1926. Its original name was Shanghai Law University (Shanghai fake daxue). Renamed in 1930, it soon became a well known and highly respected institution for judicial training in Republican China.

51 See Li Jianhua, Jianyu xue [Prison Science], (Shanghai: Zhonghua shuju 1936, 5-9.; Sun Xiong, Jianyu xue [Prison Science] (Shanghai: Shangwu yinshuguan 1936). On Li and Sun see Frank Dikötter, Crime, Punishment and the Prison in Modern China, 158-162.

52 Bernd Martin and Susanne Kuß, Deutsch-chinesische Beziehungen 1928 - 1937, chapters 2 and 6. William C. Kirby, Germany and Republican China (Stanford, Calif., Stanford University Press 1984), 155.

53 Xu Youwei, "German Fascism in Chinese Eyes ?? An Investigation of Qiantu Maganize (1933—1937)", Sino-German Relations since 1800: Multidisciplinary Explorations, ed. Ricardo Mak and Danny Paau (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2000), 235-254. William C. Kirby, Germany and Republican China, 160-161.

54 Oliver J. Caldwell, A Secret War: Americans in China, 1944-1945. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1972. Frederic Jr. Wakeman, "American Police Advisers and the Nationalist Chinese Secret Service, 1930-1937" Modern China, Vol. 18, No. 2. (Apr., 1992), 107-137.

55 See Wakeman, Spymaster, 305-307.

56 Klaus Mühlhahn, Criminal Justice in China, A History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2009), 236-270; Philip F. Williams and Yenna Wu, The Great Wall of Confinement: The Chinese Prison Camp through Contemporary Fiction and Reportage (Berkeley: University of California Press 2004).

57 Jean-Luc Domenach, Chine, l'archipel oublié (Paris: Fayard 1992), 35-37, 74-77.

58 Xu Youwei, "Yang Hucheng yu Zhou Yanghao – yi Xifeng jizhongying qijian wei zhongxin de yanjiu (Yang Hucheng and Zhou Yanghao: A study focusing on the time of the Xifeng concentration camp)", Jinian Yang Huchen jiangjun danchen 110 nian xhueshu yanjiu taolun wenxian (Selected proceedings from the Conference Remembering the 100th birthday of General Yang Hucheng), ed. by the Xi'an Incident Memorial Museum (Xi'an: Shanxi ren min chu ban she 2006), 71-77.

59 See Frederic Jr. Wakeman, "A Revisionist View of the Nanjing Decade: Confucian Fascism", China Quarterly 50 (1997), pp. 395-432, on affinities between fascist regimes and GMD China. Wakeman has examples for the admiration by GMD organizations like the Blue Shirts toward the fascist one party state.

60 Palpable indications of such connections have recently come to light. On July 2, 2008 the New York Times reported that an interrogation class at Guantánamo Bay was based on a 1957 study of Chinese Communist interrogation techniques used to obtain confessions, often false, from U.S. prisoners. I want to thank my colleague at Indiana University, Rebecca Spang, for alerting me to this report.



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