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But in the spring of 1927 forty-five foreign gunboats had menaced the Wuhan cities, prepared as every one knew to destroy the Wuhan Government and its revolutionary supporters should Chiang Kai-shek fail to do so. Memories of those days of civil strife were hard to recap36 THE WUHAN CITIES ture in the Wuhan of 1938. The Chinese may have been chastised with whips by the Western Powers and the native capitalists, but the Japanese were now chastising them with scorpions. The menace of Japanese conquest was showing itself more potent to hold China united than the desire for complete national liberation a decade ago.

They had left the workers and peasants defenceless before the forces of reaction massing against them, whilst endeavouring to pump courage into the panic-stricken leaders of the Wuhan Government. By the summer of I 927 Communists, trade-unionists, and peasants were being massacred in thousands, and Borodin was fleeing across Mongolia to Moscow. In 1927 the last hope, or fear, of world revolution had 35 THE WUHAN CITIES been buried in Wuhan; never again would the Cornintern seriously endeavour to lead the ‘oppressed colonial peoples’ against the forces of Western imperialism.

3, not far from the Chinese city. It had no roof from which to watch the airraids, and I usually ran over to the Lutheran Mission when the alarm sounded, That morning, having not yet breakfasted, and having so often dashed over on false alarms, I 43 THE \ WUHAN CITIES stayed where I was. Later on it became a kind of superstition amongst the correspondents that if I was up on the Lutheran Mission tower the Japanese would not raid the city, but only the air-field. For it so happened that the worst raids occurred always when, for some reason or other, I could not get over.

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