In October 1937, three months after the outbreak of Sino-Japanese War, the 115th Division of the Chinese Communist Eighth Route Army occupied an area of 200,000 square kilometers bordering Shanxi, Chahar, and Hebei Provinces in North China. With the approval of the Chinese Nationalist government, a “liberated” Border Region was subsequently created under the leadership of Communist Chinese marshal Nie Rongzhen (1937–45). Around the time the Border Region was established, a Nationalist-turned-Communist young photographer called Sha Fei became the chief editor of the Communist-run pictorial magazine in the region, taking hundreds of photographs of Chinese Communist activities in wartime North China. In 2012, the Hoover Institution Library & Archives first acquired items from the personal collection of Sha Fei. Now, over a decade later, more historical materials related to Sha Fei and his family arrive at Hoover, including valuable photographic sources documenting activities in the Shanxi-Chahar-Hebei Border Region. These increments will provide unique access to a history of Chinese Communist guerrilla activities in North China, enriching scholarly understanding of the complicated political and military landscape during the Sino-Japanese War. 

Black and white photo of people walking on a dirt trail. Sha Fei papers.
A scene from the daily routine in the Border Region: women assist in delivering ammunition, ca 1940. (Sha Fei papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives)


Black and white image of Communist Chinese guerrillas fight with the Japanese. Sha Fei papers.
Communist Chinese guerrillas fight with the Japanese at Niangziguan, the strategic gate of the Great Wall on the Hebei-Shanxi border, August 1940. (Sha Fei papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives)
Hsiao-ting Lin Hoover Headshot

Hsiao-ting Lin

Curator, Modern China & Taiwan Collection / Research Fellow

Hsiao-ting Lin is a research fellow and curator of the Modern China and Taiwan collection at the Hoover Institution, for which he collects material on China and Taiwan, as well as China-related…

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