Nanking, 4月 21
The Communist Peking radio said to-night that Mao Tse-tung, the Communist leader, had issued orders to the Communist armies to prepare for a general crossing of the Yangtze. His manifesto said:
私. Strike forward bravely with determination and completely wipe out all anti-democratic, reactionary Kuomintang forces on Chinese territory.
2. Advance with courage and arrest all notorious war criminals, and try them according to law. Special attention must be paid to ‘gangsterissimo’ Chiang Kia-shek.
3. Proclaim finally the draft of the peace programme before all Kuomintang provincial and local governments and local military organs, and sign local agreements with those willing to stop the war and settle things by peaceful methods.
4. After the people’s liberation array has surrounded Nanking, and if the Li Tsung-jen Government has not yet escaped, we are willing to take a step back and offer him a last chance to sign the programme.
According to estimates, the Nationalists defending the Yangtze line, 約 500,000 strong, are outnumbered three to one. Communist troops, apart from their bridgehead on the south bank at Wuhu (the only one so far), are attacking along a 400-mile stretch of the Yangtze on both sides of Nanking. They have captured some islands in the middle of the Yangtze, which they will use as springboards. Machine-gun and artillery fire can be clearly heard in Nanking, and the sound of fighting is growing closer all the time. Nationalist gunboats are blazing away with their guns.
From our Diplomatic Correspondent
On the instructions of the British Ambassador in China our Vice-Consul in Peking is trying to establish contact with the Communist authorities to ask them to stop the attacks on the Amethyst so that the ship and her wounded can be taken to safety. Earlier attempts to make contact with the Communists failed.
It is pointed out that since last October British warships, with the permission of the Chinese Government, have been moving up and down the Yangtze to Nanking carrying supplies to our embassy and to the British residents in Nanking, of whom there are fewer than a hundred. Since contact bad not been established with the Communists they were clearly not formally notified of the journeys, though it is said that they could not have failed to have identified the Amethyst or to have recognised her peaceful purposes.
In Nanking it is announced that the first secretary of the British embassy has crossed the Yangtze to try to persuade the Communists not to fire on the Amethyst no that her wounded can be rescued.
There are still some 4.000 British in Shanghai, 200 in Canton, and about the same number in North 中国.