9th June 1938  the Yellow River Flood

Chinese soldiers wade through the flooded Yellow River

On this day in 1938, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, Chinese Nationalist troops under the orders of Chiang Kai-Shek blew up the dikes holding back the Yellow River in an attempt to stop the invading Japanese. The mighty river was known also as “China’s Sorrow” or “The Ungovernable” for its long history of natural disasters. But no previous disaster compared to the devastation caused by this ‘scorched earth” military tactic. The explosions ferociously flooded the provinces of Henan, Anhui, and Jiangsu, destroying some 21,000 square miles and shifting the mouth of the Yellow River hundreds of miles to the south. Nearly one million Chinese peasants drowned, starved or died of diseases. Over 12 million were made homeless. Thousands of villages were destroyed. And it was all for nothing, as the Japanese advance was not halted. This deliberate flooding of the Yellow River has been described as the “largest act of environmental warfare in history.”

Murderous warlord Chiang Kai-Shek issued no warning to the civilian population before blowing up the dike at Huayuankou on the south bank of the river. But Chinese civilians have never been protected by any authorities during any war. The sacrifice of one million civilians – even for a minor gain – would never have been a military consideration. The late scholar and political analyst Liang Qichaonever summed up China’s brutal policy: “Never mind if the people die for our victory.”

No other country in the twentieth century showed such merciless contempt for its own population as China. But is it not altogether shocking that this atrocity – the loss of nearly one million lives for no good reason – is barely known? That fucker Joseph Stalin never spoke truer words when he said: “One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic.”

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8 Responses to 9th June 1938 – the Yellow River Flood

  1. Dan says:

    You’re right. It’s shocking that this isn’t shocking. It’s a peculiar kind of racism. I hate to use such a bastard as an example, but if Hitler had done something like this, it would be another infamous war crime to add to his roster of hate.

  2. Laura says:

    Thanks Dorian … always great food for thought on this site. The Chinese continue to decimate their population by a ‘one child’ policy that sanctions forced sterilizations and abortions. Women are second class citizens who do not have a right to choose. Such coercion often results in injury to, or death of the mother by botched surgeries and inadequate health care. Girls are born into a society that doesn’t value them. They are often victims of violence, abuse, lack of education, and China boasts the highest female suicide rate in the world. The Yellow River continue to trickle insidiously.

    • Diana Walsatad says:

      The one-child policy is a realistic program that many intelligent and practical Chinese embrace as essential to their nations’s continuing prosperity. The alternative is over-population, unemployment, political unrest, and mass starvation. Too bad other countries like India, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Mexico can’t adopt this policy. Voluntary population control so far has not worked. However, over-population does provide really cheap labor, so it has plenty of supporters, including U.S. businesses that are delighted to use cheap labor to increase their profits. My take is that China, despite its appalling history, will continue to prosper precisely because of it’s One Child Policy.

    • Siyi Geng says:

      Clarification: As a Chinese ex-pat living in America, I can attest that the one-child plan was neccessary to control our population. Also, the policy has now been softened to allow for two children due to its earlier success. While I bemoan the treatment of many women in rural and inner-city urban areas, the national attitude towards women in middle class Chinese society has dramatically improved with the realization that the gender ratio created by the One-child Policy will leave many men without counterparts.

  3. Dan says:

    It’s things like this that I’ve never heard about…..and probably never would have….that make this site so interesting to me.


  4. jl says:

    fuck joseph stalin

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