A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China

Free A Concubine for the Family: A Family Saga in China by Amy Kwei

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Authors: Amy Kwei
the internal maneuverings at the capital. The dinner was meant to facilitate General Chin’s goal. Dragon understood the dynamics around the table. The life experiences of the different nationalities were fascinating. The Englishmen were interested only in trade. The flour tycoon, the Eurasians of the Power and Light, and the men from the Silk Council were all pillars of Shanghai industry, loyal to the National government. Eugene Ma was a very successful dealer of armaments. Using his German education and connections, he was able to sell German and Italian munitions to the Nationalists. The White Russian obviously hated the Communists. General Chin, as a member of the inner circle of Chiang Kai-shek, was also an ardent anti-Communist. Everyone around the table was pro-Nationalist except for Strong, an impartial reporter.
    “Will the generalissimo honor his agreement?” Strong persisted. “The Japanese ambassador Kawagoe was in Nanking pressing for ‘cooperation’!”
    “There would be no Communists in China if the West had provided support.” The White Russian slammed down his winecup. “After the Chinese Republic was established in 1911, the so-called democratic countries wanted only trade. Soviet Russia alone provided help. It is no wonder so many Chinese turned to communism!”
    “The Germans helped the Chinese wipe out communism!” The wine stirred Eugene Ma. He was reminded of his fun-filled drinking days as a student in Germany. “General Alexander von Falekenhausen advised Chiang. He’s a great leader for our democratic future!”
    Glorious Dragon wanted to clarify that Eugene Ma’s sense of democracy was based upon what Hitler said: “This is all for the PEOPLE.” He tapped his lips and decided not to open his mouth.
    “A Nazi general?” Wilson whispered, incredulous.
    “A fervent anti-Communist!” General Chin reassured everyone.
    “The generalissimo went to Xian on December 7 to meet Zhang. He thought Zhang would help him wipe out the Communists!” The flour tycoon picked up a jumbo shrimp. “Treachery! Sheer treachery!” He chewed up the shrimp.
    “Perfidy!” the Eurasian from Shanghai Power and Light shouted.
    “Treason!” Eugene Ma nodded.
    “Why did Madam Chiang and her brother T.V. Soong go to Xian?” Dunning asked.
    “Zhang and Mr. T.V. Soong have been friends from way back — since their student days, I think.” General Chin turned his cup to Glorious Dragon, nodding and smiling — a signal to drink more. “It is in the national interest that they join the negotiation.”
    Glorious Dragon raised his cup, but Wilson frowned. He knew that instead of fighting the Japanese, Chiang Kai-shek had used American aid to wage war against the Communists. “Did Chiang Kai-shek agree to form a united front with the Communists on Christmas Day, just to buy his freedom?” Wilson asked.
    “I’m ignorant like a foreigner,” Strong joined in quickly. “If Marshal Zhang achieved his objective of uniting the Chinese, why did he accompany Chiang back to Nanking?”
    “We’re all upset by Chiang’s kidnapping.” Glorious Dragon took a sip. “Let’s not worry about things we can’t understand.” In his mind, he wondered:
If Chiang honored his agreement to unite with the Communists, what would happen to foreign trade in Shanghai?
    Dunning was thinking along the same lines. “Chiang and the Soong family have been most accommodating to Western trade. How will the Communists proceed?”
    “The Communists will not favor trade with the West,” said the White Russian. “Chiang did a good job driving them into the barren Shensi Province.”
    Everyone knew that since 1930, the generalissimo had launched five campaigns to eradicate the Communists.
    “I agree,” added Eugene Ma. “The Communists were almost decimated during their Long March to Shensi.” He smacked his lips. “The generalissimo must not let them recover.”
    “So you think the generalissimo will renege on the promises he

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