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The Battle of Shantou (a treaty port long romanised Swatow) was an incident in the first phase of the Chinese Civil War.

Time & Place[]

From the morning of September 30 to the evening of October 1, 1927, about Tangkeng town in the Meizhou-Chaozhou border hills.


15 000 Guangdong warlord forces allied with the emergent Right-Kuomintang under Jiang KaiShek, well-entrenched and -supplied blocking the march of the Nanchang mutineers, led by advisors and Communist Party of China members, toward resupply at Shantou by Soviet ship with the ultimate aim of seizing Guangzhou for the emergent Left-Kuomintang govt then established in Hankou, HuB.

After the rigours of the two-month Little Long March, there were only 5000 troops remaining to this ComIntern mission. Ye Ting and He Long had most of the force. Zhu De's section was charged with protecting the march's north flank.

CPC founding member Zhang Tailei arrived from Hong Kong with a new ComIntern directive: there would be no arms shipment coming into Shantou. The troops were to avoid combat and retreat into the hills south and west of that port, there to proclaim the Haifeng Soviet.


40% of the Left-KMT troops were KIA in the two days' fighting. Ye Ting took his surviving troops to Haifeng where they enforced the return to local power of Peng Pai. He Long was troopless and barely escaped; Zhu De led his survivors northwest into Hunan, He long's old bandit-ground.

With Right-KMT-allied warlord troops closing in, CPC leaders Zhou, Li and Zhang slipped out of the now-hopeless Shantou port area and eventually returned to Shanghai, the latter two by way of Hong Kong.


  • Empire rouge by Patrick Lescot. [Paris: Belfond, 1999]. (English translation Before Mao : the Untold Story of Li Lisan and the Creation of Communist China by Steven Rendall, pp 94–96. [New York: HarperCollins, 2004. ISBN 0-06-008464-2.])

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