of the old world rather than the revelations of the new led them to adopt radical alternatives. However, she takes issue with van de Ven’s analysis of the party’s evolution evolved to a Leninist form during the twenties. In her view, there was no evolution but rather the CCP was totally reconstituted at the expense of most of its earliest members. Those such as Shi Cuntong, the key figure in Yeh’s work, withdrew from the party, rejecting its Bolshevization. By the end of the twenties, the party was built on a new membership, while those who remained members had been significantly radicalized by their experiences.
As noted above, for the Comintern, China was also a crucial area for the worldwide revolution and thus policy became embroiled in the polemics between Stalin and Trotsky. The CCP had a permanent mission at the Comintern and until the mid-thirties, the Comintern tried to coordinate its activities through the Far Eastern Bureau in Shanghai. The Comintern tried to enforce its will through the agents and representatives that it sent to implement policy in China.
Comintern agents in China enjoyed high prestige but had to find Chinese party members through whom they could transmit their orders and the Comintern’s strategic and tactical visions. At the very best, they were always one step removed form the realities they were trying to influence and interpret. A stream of Comintern representatives from Maring (Sneevliet) through Borodin and Roy to Vladimirov were frustrated in their attempts to apply Comintern policy to China. Frequently, they discovered that the ideologically derived, policy positions of the Comintern were too simplistic to deal with the complex realities of the revolution on the ground in China. While Comintern agents in the field could enjoy considerable short-term freedom aided by the difficulties of communication with Moscow, over the long-term room for maneuver was limited. The ideological predilections of the Comintern set strict constraints on the extent to which policy could be moderated in the light of local conditions. Overloaded with details and information sent to Moscow from the periphery, the Comintern center in Moscow tried to catalogue information and provide policy prescriptions in terms of simple formulae based on the shifting class alignments. A good example was Maring’s attempts to turn Lenin’s prescriptions for revolution in the colonial countries into a viable strategy for China. Not only did it lead Maring to try to interpret reality to fit a prescriptive, ideologiucal framework but also it caused him to push the CCP into collaboration with the GMD. Attempts by field agents to redefine their mission in the light of reality did, on occasion, bring them into conflict with Comintern leaders who interpreted such redefinitions as "ideological deviation."
Problems for Comintern agents were increased by the fact that not only were they in an alien environment but also had to interpret it through the views and experiences of others. Comintern agents did not speak Chinese and had no prior experience of working in China. As a result, they relied on the Chinese leaders for their information about the local situation. Thus, Maring depended on Liao Zhongkai for information about the GMD and the potential for cooperation with the CCP. Liao was a member of the left-wing of the GMD and a strong supporter of such cooperation perhaps leading Maring to adopt a