THE SUN YAXING TERRORIST GROUP
When Shanghai fell, Sun Yaxing managed to escape to Hangzhou, where the chairman of the provincial government instructed him to serve as a police officer in Shaoxing county. At the end of February 1938, possibly already under secret service control, he returned to Shanghai "with a view to bring[ing] all the former members of the Third Company of Special Services Corps, who were in Shanghai, to Hankou to further [the] National Salvation Movement in the latter city."
By then Sun was already waiting for them, having precipitately left Shanghai when he saw a report in one of the newspapers that the leader of the Chinese Youth National Salvation Association—that is, Sun himself—was in the city. Others, including Wang Zhigu, nephew of Wang Shihe, Chiang Kai-shek's chief bodyguard and executioner, joined Sun Yaxing on the spot. The entire group was assigned different tasks. Ten were detailed for "special duty" in Changsha. Thirteen were told on April 25, 1938, that they had been chosen for urban guerrilla work in Shanghai "to suppress traitors." This was the assassination group's one point of contact with General Dai Li, who told its members that they were under the direct orders of Sun Yaxing. Joined by Wang Zhigu, the group was divided into three-or four-man teams, which proceeded via Jiujiang, Nanchang, Jin-hua, and Ningbo to Shanghai on May 1–2.
Zhou Shougang, a printer from Chongming, had returned to Shanghai in February 1938, where he was completely dependent on relatives. One day in late June, Zhou bumped into Wang Zhigu and told him he was "practically destitute." Wang said that "he might be able to find [Zhou] work, should [he] care to participate in the assassination of ‘traitors.’" Zhou was willing to do so, and he repeated this when Wang Zhigu brought Sun Yaxing to his residence at 13 Rue du Weikwei. On July 3, Sun Yaxing told him to move his residence to 62 Route Vallon, where his job would be to function as Sun's courier.
The same combination of circumstances—unemployment, a need for comrades, patriotism, a hatred of hanjian—drew in Chen Kaiguang, a teenager unable to find work since graduating from primary school. Chen was approached by Zhao Liang, who invited him to join the Chinese Youth National Salvation Association. Out of patriotism Chen Kaiguang expressed his "willingness to help in the extermination of traitors." Zhao acknowledged the young man's idealism, but he told him that to prove his ultimate loyalty he would have to perform a special duty on July 7, 1938. Chen agreed to serve.
Chen's duty was to commemorate the anniversary of the Marco Polo Bridge Incident by setting off explosives in public places. The group had already wounded one of the commissioners of the puppet Shanghai Citizens Society, tried to kill racketeer Zhang Xiaolin, murdered two law clerks working for a collaborationist lawyer, and shot a Chinese who had adopted Japanese citizenship. On July 7, the group prepared to discharge a much more indiscriminate attack—as though the crusade against hanjian justified any measures whatsoever. Together, the teams launched eighteen grenade attacks, killing two Japanese mill employees and two Chinese, and wounding eight Chinese after tossing a bomb into a floating restaurant along the Shanghai Bund.
During the ensuing uproar, the police rounded up more than a thousand suspects, the Japanese issued formal protests, and British and U.S. diplomats attempted