An intensely angry CCP veteran still cannot quite fathom what happened years ago in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Region, when competing, emerging forces struggling for power in China during the early 1940s committed all manner of strange deeds. This man describes personal experiences he lived through - the spread of drug use and drug proliferation in the Shaanxi area during the CCP's entrenchment in Shaanbei.
It was the time of Chinese troop resistance to the Japanese invasion. On orders from Russia, the CCP allied itself with the Kuomintang to supposedly participate in the resistance. The disgruntled veteran, under the command of Liu Chideng, was dispatched to an anti-Japanese base in Shaanxi Province, charged with administering finances. But the base ran out of money and food in 1941. The regime turned to Yan'an for help whose response came promptly. Soon a string of mules arrived, loaded with uniforms and several hundred pounds of opium. A letter from Chen Win accompanied the drugs, demanding the sale of the opium to people in the Japanese Puppet Regime-occupied territories and to the Kuomintang troops, in exchange for urgently needed military supplies and daily living necessities.
The veteran could not deal with the idea of trading opium for these supplies. This landed him back with the Yan'an and eventual training in anti-Japanese strategies at the Military and Political University. Studying part time and doing military duty the other time, his training saw him in Nanniwan where he was assigned to Brigade 359 under Wang Zhen's leadership, having to cultivate wasteland. Part of this acreage was devoted to food production, but the larger portion was used to grow opium. At harvest, Wang Zhen hired opium specialists to process the lucrative crop that was stored in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border region, for delivery at any time to Shanxi, Hebei and other locations. Whoever had money - the KMT garrison people or those from the Japanese Puppet Regime would be the buyer.
The older generations in China might remember Mao's article, " Serving the people," that led the people to believe that one of the CCP's Central committee soldiers "died for the country" in a charcoal processing plant, when he was actually a victim of opium processing. The place collapsed around him and burned him alive.
Additional information of these days from China's infamous history can be found in a well-done research paper authored by Professor Chen Yongfa, Poppy Flowers in the Red Sun: Opium Trade and the Yan'an Model. Diary of Yan'an, by Peter Vladimirov, augments these historic accounts.