During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the KMT established three major concentration camps around the country, namely Shangrao Concentration Camp in Jiangxi Province, Bai Mansion Detention Center in Chongqing, and Xifeng Concentration Camp in Guizhou Province. This model shows a panoramic view of the largest, highest-ranking and most strictly supervised Xifeng Concentration Camp.
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident marked the overall eruption of the second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese army rampantly intruded into the Chinese territory and seized a large area. Yet the KMT still insisted in the reactionary policy of “pacifying the internal situation before resisting foreign aggression”, which resulted in one failure after another on the frontline battlefields. The KMT government was forced to move to Chongqing from Nanjing.
At the critical moment concerning the nation’s survival, for the resistance against Japanese aggression, the CPC made an agreement of cooperation with the KMT, and recomposed the Red Army as the Eighth Route Army and New Fourth Army of the National Revolutionary Army, and made for the frontline.
However, under such crucial circumstances, the KMT still insisted in its fascist rule. In order to make sure that it still could command the nationwide secret service even if Chongqing was occupied by the Japanese, the KMT set up a relatively integrated alternative secret service organization of the BIS in Xifeng. At that time, Xifeng County only had a population of 60,000, including 2,000 in the town, while the BIS deployed as many as 15,000 of its people to station in Xifeng, which was over 7 times more than the downtown population there. Xifeng became the veritable second den of the BIS
This is Dai Li, the commander of the KMT spy agency. He was originally named Dai Chunfeng, and native to Jiangshan, Zhejiang Province. He died from an aircrush in Daishan, Nanjing in 1946, and later was honored the posthumous rank of lieutenant general by the national government. In the past, he built a mansion in Xifeng, and often travelled back and forth between Chongqing and Xifeng.
These photos show the site of the BIS organization in Xifeng in those years.
The showcases display some articles used by the BIS organization in Xifeng, which demonstrate its crime.
Xifeng Concentration Camp is located in Maodong village of Yanglangba that is 6km to the south of Xifeng County in Guizhou Province, so it is also known as Maodong Concentration Camp. It was set up in middle November of 1938 and abolished in July 1946. During its existence of 8 years, more than 1,200 people were jailed here one after another, and over 600 were murdered or tortured to death, about 400 were missing, and less than 100 survived. Such a killer hell was actually proclaimed “Xifeng Office of the Military Commssion of the National Government”.
After Chiang Kai-shek betrayed revolution, he slaughtered and arrested CPC members, and put some of them into the prison inside the Army Prison of the Military-political Department in Nanjing. The second Sino-Japanese War errupted and Nanjing was in danger. Chiang Kai-shek ordered to transfer the prisoners in Nanjing new prison to Wushan and then Yiyang. In Oct 1938, they were moved southwards to Guizhou, and arrived in Xifeng in mid-Nov. Xifeng Concentration Camp was established then.
These are three secret prisons set up by the BIS in southwest China. The Wanglongmen Detention Center in Chongqing was referred to as “primary school”, the Bai Mansion Detention Center was called “middle school”, while here was called “university” as it was of the largest scale, highest ranking, most rigorous supervision and had the most people killed. Most of the people who were sent to here were important political criminals to the KMT. Being transferred from the primary school to the middle school and then the university was called “entering a higher school”, while being killed was called “studying abroad”.
This is the panoramic view of the former site of Xifeng Concentration Camp that covered an area of over 80 mu. The prison cells were referred to as “vegetarian rooms” with nine different names: loyalty, filial piety, mercy, love, trust, righteousness, harmony, peace and special. It usually contained 400 to 500 prisoners a year, sometimes even reached 600.
This is a name list of some of the people jailed in Xifeng Concentration Camp.
These are photos of 8 vegetarian rooms and facilities of the concentration camp.
In order to ensure the security, the BIS divided the armed police of the concentration camp into three levels. The first level was “inner guards”, a plain-clothes special task group composed of about 80 officers above junior officers. The second level, medium guards, was composed of nearly 100 people of the patrol detachment and military police detachment. The “outer guards” were the special task second division which was in charge of a surrounding scope of several kilomenters. Even a bird would be hard to fly out of such a heavily guarded place.
Here shows some memoirs about the administration of the concentration camp by the major secret agent Shen Zui and the survivors of the concentration camp, including Li Renfu, Su Wenyu, Han Zidong, etc. Huang Tonghua recalled that “whoever was sent to the concentration camp would have to hand out all the cash, jewelries, letters and other belongings… names were not allowed to be said in the camp; they only called us by numbers… whoever broke the rule would be either jailed for a long term or killed…” It serves to show the cruelty there.
Xifeng Concentration Camp was abolished in 1946. After killing a large number and releasing a small number, only 72 people were transferred to the prison in Chongqing. Most of the 72 people were murdered in the Nov.27 Massacre in 1949. It is safe to say that the spirit of Red Crag was rooted in Xifeng Concentration Camp.
The first director of Xifeng Concentration Camp was the BIS major general He Zizhen, who was widely known as a “butcher”. He adopted the feudal China closed prison administrative measures. Numerous prisoners slept on one wide bed, and each of them was limited to a tiny space that could hardly allow them to turn over when sleeping. They had to solve all the basic living needs in there. The cells’ windows were pasted with black paper without letting any light in. The prisoners couldn’t have haircut or bath at all and thus became too dirty and miserable to look at. They were given 10 to 20 minutes to go outside, but even then they would be locked up in wood cages in the yard. Based on Han Zidong’s memory, some important criminals would be shut in a tiny wood cage. The wood cage was only as big as a person’s body; standing inside, a person was as being tightly bound. Others wouldn’t know if they died as they died standing still.
What’s more, the criminals were tortured in every possible way both physically and psychologically. Brutal torture was just like a common meal. As many as 12 extreme torturing methods were used at that time, such as waterboarding with chili water, pricking finger nails, electric torture, etc. Here shows some relevant pictures. But these torturing methods were not the worst. The cruelest one was to rip off a criminal’s clothes, and beat him over and over with a club full of iron nails till his skin was split and flesh broke forth, and then spread salt on his body and wrap it with linen. After 10 days or half a month, the linen cloth stuck with the criminal’s skin was peeled off layer by layer. Nobody could survive after being tortured this way. They were tortured in a cave which will be introduced to you later. In such extreme environment with such inhumane torture, the criminals couldn’t get treatment even if they were sick. So people died every day, sometimes several criminals died in one day. Even some criminals who were wanted to be kept alive by Chiang Kai-shek and Dai Li were tortured to death. In the end, even Dai Li himself didn’t want such a situation to continue, so he fired He Zizhen and put his fellow townsman Zhou Yanghao to the office of director of Xifeng Concentration Camp.
Zhou Yanghao, originally named Zhou Wenhao, graduated from Shanghai Law School. When in office, he vigorously promoted the “prison reform”. On the one hand, he turned the prison cells into “vegetarian rooms” and called the prisoners as “cultivated people”. On the other hand, he made the prison as a labouring place. He set up “cigarettes factory”, “soap factory”, “printing house” and other production units and forced the criminals to work. It seemed he wanted make the criminals self-sufficient, but in fact he was trying to extort more fruits of labour. Compared to He Zizhen’s management, Zhou Yanghao adopted more hidden and deceptive measures. But their managements shared the exact same nature. Zhou Yanghao was latered jailed in the War Criminals Control Station in Fushun, Liaoning Province, and was released on special pardon in 1975. He wanted to go to Taiwan to reunite with his family, but was rejected by the Taiwan authority. Then he moved to reside in the USA and later died there.
Please go upstairs to visit the second exhibition hall.