Memorial Speech at Soong Ching Ling’s Funeral

By Deng Xiaoping

(June 3, 1981)


Today, it is with deep sorrow that we mourn the passing away of one of the founders of the People’s Republic of China; the Honorary President of the country; a beloved leader of the Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots and overseas Chinese; a world-famous soldier of patriotism, democracy, internationalism and communism; an experienced forerunner for defending world peace, and an outstanding member of the Communist Party of China—Comrade Soong Ching Ling.


Comrade Soong Ching Ling was from Wenchang County in Guangdong Province. She followed Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great revolutionary, since her youth and dedicated herself to the democratic revolution. In 1913, she worked as the secretary of Dr. Sun, responsible for dealing with a large number of confidential letters from home and abroad and other daily routines. In 1915, Soong and Dr. Sun Yat-sen married. She had always been loyal, humble and respectful and had been Dr. Sun Yat-sen's close companion and able assistant. In May 1921, Dr. Sun was inaugurated as the Extraordinary President of the Republic of China in Guangzhou. In June 1922, Chen Jiongming revolted and bombarded the Generalissimo Mansion. The rebels closed in and the situation was critical. Comrade Soong Ching Ling refused to leave first and said to Dr. Sun Yat-sen, "China can do without me, but can't do without you." She insisted on evacuating Dr. Sun first before breaking through the battle line herself under the cover of soldiers. From this her health suffered irreparable damage. This heroic act fully demonstrated Comrade Soong’s strong will and outstanding courage dedicated to the cause of the revolution.


Comrade Soong Ching Ling did a lot of significant and effective work in the negotiation between Dr. Sun Yat-sen and representatives of the Communist Party of China, as well as in the repeated talks with envoys sent by Lenin. She firmly supported Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles (Nationalism, Democracy and the People's Livelihood) , which were redefined in the Declaration of the First National Congress of the Kuomintang (KMT) as the Three Major Policies, namely, Alliance with the Soviet Union, Cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party, and Assistance to the Peasants and Workers. In November 1924, for the reunification of China and its reconstruction, Sun defied all objections and went to northern China despite the difficulties. Soong Ching Ling accompanied him without hesitation. On March 12, 1925, Dr. Sun Yat-sen passed away. Comrade Soong Ching Ling proclaimed his will to the world. Soon after, she condemned the right wings of the KMT and devoted herself to the preparation work for the Northern Expedition.


In January 1926, during the Second National Congress of the KMT, Comrade Soong Ching Ling resolutely carried out Dr. Sun"s Three Major Policies, cooperated closely with the Chinese communists and fought against KTM rightists. After the "April 12 Anti-revolutionary Coup" in 1927 in Shanghai, Comrade Soong Ching Ling, many KMT left wings and Chinese communists, including Mao Zedong, Dong Biwu, Yun Daiying, Lin Boqu, and Wu Yuzhang, jointly issued a public telegram against Chiang Kai-shek. On the eve of Wang Jingwei"s open mutiny in Wuhan, she published the "Statement in Protest Against the Violation of Sun Yat-sen"s Revolutionary Principles and Policies" and proclaimed her disassociation with the traitors. On August 1st, Comrade Soong Ching Ling, Mao Zedong and 20 others issued a formal declaration in the name of the KMT Central Committee, solemnly condemning the betrayal of Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei. On the day of Nanchang Uprising, a Revolutionary Committee of 25 members including Zhou Enlai was set up. Although Soong Ching Ling was not in Nanchang at that time, she was also elected as one of the seven members of the presidium. In August, to seek a successful path for the Chinese revolution, she traveled thousands of miles to visit the Soviet Union.


In the first two years of the ten-year civil war, Comrade Soong Ching Ling participated in a series of important international anti-imperialist activities in the Soviet Union and France. In 1929, she was elected as the honorary chairperson of the Second International Anti-Imperialist League. Later, she became one of the chief leaders of the World Anti-Fascist Committee.


After she returned to China, she wholeheartedly supported the political stand of the Communist Party of China (CPC), firmly refused to take any post in the KMT Central Committee or government, effectively frustrated their threats or temptations, and repeatedly stated her deep aspirations for the cause of socialism. In 1931, she solemnly pointed out in one of her articles that the KMT had long abandoned the revolutionary policies; various factions in the party were depending on warlords and trying to please the imperialist leaders while massacring the Chinese people. She said in the article that "Only a revolution that has the support of the masses as and serves the masses can smash the power of warlords and politicians and shake off the shackle of imperialism and attain real socialism." In the 1930s, Soong participated in revolutionary activities in Shanghai and established a deep friendship with the great communist Lu Xun. Together with Lu Xun, Cai Yuanpei and Yang Xingfu, Soong Ching Ling set up the China League for Protection of Civil Rights to fight against KMT reactionaries, protected and rescued a large number of Chinese communists and anti-Chiang patriots, making unique and significant contributions to the Chinese revolution.

Following the "September 18" Incident, Japanese aggressor troops occupied three provinces in Northeastern China. The KMT government followed a non-resistance policy. In 1934, the CPC put forward the Six-Point Programme for Resisting Japan and Saving the Nation, which was signed by Comrade Soong Ching Ling and others and was publicized. On August 1, 1935, the CPC Central Committee released the August 1 Proclamation, calling on people across the nation to unite, to stop the civil war and fight against Japanese aggression. Comrade Soong Ching Ling, He Xiangning, Liu Yazi, Jing Hengyi, Chen Shuren, Yu Youren, Sun Ke and others responded first and exerted great influence. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Soong refused to set foot on where the KMT government was located. She established the "China Defense League" (CDL) in Guangzhou and Hong Kong to raise international aid from foreigners and overseas Chinese who were sympathetic of China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, unswervingly supported the battle against Japanese aggression led by the CPC, and exposed the KMT reactionaries" policies of surrendering to Japan and opposing the CPC and the Chinese people. Because of this, the KMT government exerted pressure on Soong Ching Ling through foreign forces but was refuted by Soong Ching Ling and Chen Hansheng who was also present. After the South Anhui Incident in 1941, Comrade Soong Ching Ling, He Xiangning, Liu Yazi and Peng Zemin came forward and criticized the KMT for its perverse acts. At the end of December 1941, Soong Ching Ling arrived in Chongqing, contacted and fought side by side with Dr. George Hatem, Agnes Smedley, Edgar Snow, Rewi Alley and other international friends who sympathized with Chinese people"s revolution and contributed greatly to the War of Resistance.


At about the time of victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Comrade Soong Ching Ling established China Welfare Fund (CWF) in Shanghai and did many helpful deeds for the laboring masses, under very difficult conditions. During the Liberation War, she provided great material support to the Communist Party and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.


After Beijing"s liberation, the CPC Central Committee invited Soong Ching Ling to attend the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, for which she gladly left Shanghai for Beijing. In 1949, when the People’s Republic of China was founded, Comrade Soong Ching Ling was elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Central People’s Government. She was also elected as the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 1954 and 1975 and Vice President of the People’s Republic of China in 1959 and 1965. For thirty-two years, Soong Ching Ling took part in many activities, both national and international, as one of the major state leaders in socialist revolution and construction. Soong visited the Soviet Union, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Indonesia and Ceylon and achieved much success. In 1957, Comrade Soong Ching Ling accompanied Mao Zedong to attend a conference of international communist parties in Moscow. Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and other comrades often exchanged views with her on both major domestic and international issues. During their long-term cooperation, they established close and deep comradeship. Comrade Soong Ching Ling had always been concerned with women’s work in the New China, cared passionately for the lives of the youth and children. She was in charge of People Relief Administration of China and Red Cross Society of China for a long time. Comrade Soong Ching Ling was an outstanding female leader and the beloved grandmother for all children in China. She always cared for the old friends who in the early years had followed Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, paid attention to the future of Taiwan, waited eagerly for the early start of peace negotiations between the CPC and the KMT and the reunification of China. For these, she had made valuable contributions.


In recent years, Comrade Soong Ching Ling was very pleased and inspired by the smashing of the "Lin Biao and Jiang Qing Counter-revolutionary Clique". She firmly supported the series of policies and guidelines set forth since the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, showed deep enthusiasm for socialist modernization drive, for which she devoted all her energy in her later years. She ardently hoped that the country, which had realized Dr. Sun Yat-sen"s Three People's Principles and had become a socialist society, would become more prosperous. Comrade Soong Ching Ling made glorious achievements in the country’s revolution and construction, and won the respect and love from people from all ethnic groups in China.


Comrade Soong Ching Ling was elected as a member of the World Peace Council in 1950 and President of the Liaison Committee of the Peace Conference of the Asian and Pacific Regions in 1952. In Soong"s participation in international activities, she opposed wars of aggression, defended world peace, promoted progressive cultures, strived for social development and the happiness of the mankind, encouraged friendly exchanges and understanding among peoples, carried out arduous but fruitful struggles and was admired by people from home and abroad. Soong has been recognized internationally as one of the greatest women in the 20th century.


Comrade Soong Ching Ling dedicated herself entirely, in a time of seventy years, to China’s democracy and socialist cause and to world peace and development. She had been unwavering in her political principles in all circumstances, unyielding to threats and absolutely incorruptible by wealth. Her noble character and integrity will always be remembered. What’s more precious is that she progressed with the times, from being a great revolutionary democratic to a great communist. The Chinese Communist Party and its leaders including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and others had long considered her as their close comrade-in-arms and respected proletarian pioneer. Shortly before the passing away of Comrade Soong Ching Ling, the Communist Party of China admitted her as a formal member, fulfilling her long-time wish. This was glory for Soong Ching Ling and also glory for the Communist Party of China. She will forever live in the hearts of the Chinese people, in the hearts of Chinese communists.


Eternal glory to Comrade Soong Ching Ling!