Unfortunately, most of the important Chinese participants died before the recent fad for memoir writing got off the ground in China. However, there are a number of sources that are useful.
M.N. Roy’s memoirs are interesting to read (My Experience in China, Calcutta, 1945) while those of Otto Braun are far less so A Comintern Agent in China, 1932-39 (Stanford, 1982). Wang Ming’s quasi memoirs are worth a dip into although the reader is advised to read carefully, Mao’s Betrayal (Moscow, 1979).
The memoirs of Zhang Guotao are the most extensive available but also have to be treated with care. Chang Kuo-t’ao, The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party, 2 Volumes (Lawrence, Kansas, 1971-72). Others of interest are Li Weihan, Huiyi yu yanjiu (Reminiscences and Research) (Beijing, 1986). This work is particularly interesting for party development and high-level politics such as were played out at the 7 August Emergency Conference. The memoirs of Wu Xiuquan, which provide valuable information on how the influence of the pro-Soviet group in the party was broken up, are important. Wu had been an interpreter for the CCP in many of its dealing with Comintern representatives in the thirties. There are numerous short reminiscences of key events or individuals that are either published in special collections or in the various journals on party history.
For CCP and related Comintern personnel, the most extensive new guide is the series that was launched by Professor Hu Hua before his death Zhonggong dangshi renwuzhuan (Biographies of Historical Personages of the CCP) (Xi’an, 1980-present). Originally a projected series of 50 volumes, to date 55 have been published. In general the quality of the biographies improves as the series progresses but it is uneven. This series can be used in conjunction with Chen Yutang’s Zhonggong dangshi renwu bieminglu, ziming, biming, huaming (Pseudonyms of CCP Personalities in the History of the CCP, Original Names, Pen Names, Aliases) (Beijing, 1985). The dictionary contains 192 entries on key figures in the Communist movement. Each entry provides brief biographical details and a list of aliases etc. and where and when they were used. Most useful is the index of aliases. For a good one volume source on people there is the 900-page Zhongguo gongchandang renming cidian (Dictionary of CCP Personages 1921-1991) (Beijing, 1991), which contains brief biographical sketches for some 10,000 luminaries.
For party organizations several indispensable books have been published. There is Wang Jianying, Zhongguo gongchandang zuzhi shi ziliao huibian: lingdao jigou yange he chengyuan minglu (zengdingben cong yidai dao shisida) (Compilation of Materials on the Organizational History of the CCP--The Evolution of Leading Organs and Name- Lists of Personnel (Revised Edition from the First to the Fourteenth Party Congress) (Beijing, 1982). This reference book should be used in conjunction with Zhao Shenghui’s, Zhongguo gongchandang zuzhi gangyao (Outline History of CCP Organization) (Hefei, 1987).