A week before Germany launched an attack on the former Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee notified Josef Stalin of the intelligence. The CPC also provided the Soviets detailed military deployment of the Japanese Kwantung Army in northeast China before Soviet forces hit a final strike on the crack Japanese troops.
Yan Baohang, a senior advisor to General Chang Hsueh-liang, gathered the two intelligence pieces and transferred them to the Soviet Union via conduits of the CPC.
Yan Mingfu, Yan Baohang's son and the former head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, was interviewed by Xinhua recently about his father.
In Spring 1941, Zhou Enlai, CPC chief representative to Chongqing, the wartime capital of the Republic of China, ordered Yan, who was also a CPC member but was posing as a democracy advocate, to collect intelligence for the CPC and the Communist International.
"My father had extensive high-profile networks, including almost all the important men within the government," Yan Mingfu said, adding that his father knew Madame Chiang Kai-shek, Sun Ke, son of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, and Yu Youren, a veteran statesman of the Chinese Kuomintang Party.
In May 1941, Yan was invited to a banquet entertaining the German military attach and learned by accident that Germany planned to invade the Soviet Union around June 20 that year.
During toasts, Yan heard Yu talking about the possible German strike, which was confirmed by Sun. Yan immediately left the banquet and reported to Zhou, who sent a telegram to Yan'an, wartime headquarters of the CPC Central Committee and its military forces. On June 16 the CPC telegrammed the intelligence to Moscow.
The Soviets hastened preparations and avoided even greater losses to the German invasion.
In 1944, Chen Cheng, head of the political department of the government's military committee, directed Yan to research whether Japan would invade the Soviet Union in the closing months of WWII. Yan "borrowed" from one of his countrymen the highly classified files on military deployment of the Japanese Kwantung Army in northeast China, which might have been big obstacles impeding Soviet military maneuvers in the Far East. The intelligence obtained by Yan included the deployment, fortresses, defense plans, weapons, size of units and names of all generals.
The countryman, a ranking official who was working in the Defense Department, was quoted by Yan Mingfu as saying to his father, "Generalissimo Chiang (Kai-shek) has recovered our land north to the Great Wall, but people from the northeast like us are devoted to fight back to our homeland. You could take these files but must return them in three days."
With this much-needed intelligence, the Soviet army overturned the Japanese crack forces in a matter of days in August 1944.
On November 1, 1995, Russian Ambassador to China Igor Rogachev, a representative of Russian President Boris Yeltsin, granted the late Yan and the other two men medals commemorating the 50th anniversary of the national defense war of the Soviet Union.
Ambassador Rogachev said the contribution made by Yan would be memorized by Russians and recorded in the history of the war.
Born in April 1895 in Haicheng, Liaoning Province, Yan was respected by young people in the northeast for his disobedience of Japanese occupation in the 1930s. He for the first time translated the secret memorial to the Japanese throne written by the Prime Minister Tanaka into English, making the outside world know the vicious intention of Japan on invading China.
After the Xi'an Incident, a peaceful mutiny led by General Chang Hsueh-liang to force Generalissimo Chiang to fight the Japanese invaders more vigorously, Yan secretly joined the CPC in September 1937.
"In the 1,600 days and nights when he collected intelligence for the Party and the Communist International, my father cared little about his and our family's safety and was ready to devote his life," Yan Mingfu said.
(Xinhua News Agency May 5, 2005)