Sian Incident

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sian Incident


in December 1936, the arrest of Chiang Kai-shek, the head of China’s Nanking government, by a group of Kuomintang officers led by the commander of the Northeastern Army Chang Hsüeh-liang and the commander of the 17th Army Yang Hu-ch’eng.

On Dec. 12, 1936, the officers arrested Chiang Kai-shek and his entourage after the latter’s arrival in Sian, the capital of Shensi Province. The incident greatly complicated the situation in China, creating the threat of a wider civil war and of China’s dismemberment at the hands of the Japanese. Immediately after the arrest of Chiang Kai-shek, Mao Tse-tung and his supporters attempted to impose on the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) a policy of support for Chang Hsüeh-liang and Yang Hu-ch’eng. On the recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, however, the CPC leaders took part in negotiations with the arrested Chiang Kai-shek—who was freed on December 25—in order to settle the conflict peaceably. A peaceful settlement of the Sian incident was a prerequisite for the establishment of a united anti-Japanese national front in China in 1937.


“Sobytiia ν Kitae.” Pravda, Dec. 14, 1936.
Grigor’ev, A. M., and A. B. Reznikov. “G. Dimitrov i problema edi-nogo antiimperialisticheskogo fronta.” In Georgii Dimitrov —vvdaiushchiisia deiatel’ kommunisticheskogo dvizheniia. Moscow. 1972.
Noveishaia Istoriia Kitaia. Moscow, 1972. Pages 166–69.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.