FU XIAOAN'S PERFIDY
Fu Xiaoan, director of the Chinese Bank of Commerce (Shangtong yinhang) and head of the General Chamber of Commerce, was a bitter enemy of Chiang Kai-shek, who had thrown him in prison in 1927. After serving out his sentence and spending a period of exile in Japanese-controlled Manchuria, Fu returned to Shanghai determined to take revenge upon the generalissimo ("I am worth fifty million dollars, but I will spend every dollar I have to get even with Chiang"). In the eyes of most Shanghainese it was Fu's vindictiveness that led him to run the risk to his reputation and eventually to his life by becoming Shanghai's most nefarious hanjian.
The damage to Fu's reputation was immediate. In the press of the time, his was just another "puppet show" manipulated by his Japanese masters. At best, he and the poetaster Liang Hongzhi were compared to literati collaborators of the early Qing, such as Hou Fangyu, who pretended to be "recluses" (yimin) but were actually "adherents" (shunmin) of the Manchu invaders. One journalist remarked that when a country seems about to be destroyed, one sees spilled blood, broken heads, and "brave heroes" who refuse to submit, knowing that their honor will be recorded later in the pages of history. But one also sees a lot of people losing heart and becoming "treacherous elements." These "traitors" (hanjian) and "sellouts" (guozei) pass their lives well, perhaps even dedicating poems to the "brave heroes," comforting themselves with the thought that they are "managing the peace," and pretending to make a sacrifice as "unsung heroes" themselves.
To such critics of hypocrisy, Fu Xiaoan himself would answer that he was merely being a "realist" (xianshizhuyizhe), working with the conquerors for the sake of the Chinese people. But it was hard to maintain that position when, like so
His "realism," in other words was too self-serving to be plausible. Left-wing columnist Ding San insisted that the true "realism" was the vision of China's warriors struggling to gaze ahead to the clarity of absolute truth, siding with the peoples of the world against aggression and invasion in places like Abyssinia and Czechoslovakia. Fu's "realism," however, was nearsighted and self-interested; it characterized those in China who had elected to join the anti-Communist federation and the movement to compromise for peace. By so doing these "realists" had become "quasi traitors" (zhunhanjian) or "traitors" (hanjian) to that higher global cause.