Wang Huiwu [Women's Voice]
Wang Huiwu (1898-1993), wife of Li Da, one of the founders of the Communist Party of China (CPC), played an essential role in ensuring the security of attendees at the Party's historic founding conference in 1921.
In late July of that year, the communist revolutionists taking part in the meeting were safely transferred from Shanghai to Jiaxing, east China's Zhejiang Province, thanks to the courageous and quick-witted woman.
Wang was entrusted with finding accommodation, setting up the meeting site and other logistical details for the Party's first gathering.
The meeting was initially meant to take place in a house occupied by Li Hanjun, one of the organizers, in the French Concession in Shanghai.
Whilst the representatives engaged in discussions on the second floor, Wang kept watch by the back entrance. Upon spotting something suspicious, she ran upstairs at once and duly alerted those inside.
Soon, after all the attendees had taken away their files, the police arrived and heavily armed soldiers surrounded the site within minutes. Finding the building empty, without any evidence, however, the squad had to leave in disappointment.
After a two-day pause, the attendees proposed some other possible sites for continued discussion. While many options were rejected, Wang suggested that her hometown Jiaxing might be a good choice.
"The Nan Lake there is picturesque, yet not as 'conspicuous' as the West Lake in Hangzhou. We may rent a pleasure boat and pretend to be travelers," she explained. All the representatives accepted the suggestion.
After careful planning, the meeting went ahead against the secluded background of the waters of Nan Lake. While attendees convened in a cabin, Wang sat on the bow of the vessel acting as a sentry. Whenever some other boat got close, she began humming a folk tune and tapped the cabin door to signal an alarm.
To better conceal the revolutionary activity, the intelligent woman also scattered pieces of mahjong on the table around which the attendees were seated.
With the thoughtful considerations and preparations of Wang, the representatives managed to finish discussing in peace all issues on their agenda, and eventually moved on to the founding of the CPC. She was hence eulogized as a "guard of the CPC's first meeting" and "the first ever Party worker."
In 1993, Wang passed away in Beijing, aged 96.
The pleasure boat aboard which the Communist Party of China was founded [zjol.com.cn]
(Source: Women's Voice/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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