The tumultuous relationship between the nationalist Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist party began in the 1920’s. The Communists formed in Shanghai in 1921, and there would follow a period of uneasy alliances, and fratricidal warfareMao Tse Tung first took the plunge, under pressure from the Komintern, forming an alliance in 1924 with the nationalists Only three years later Chiang Kai-Shek shattered the pact, and ordered the massacre of hundreds of communists in Shanghai. Forced from their urban bastions in the big cities, the Communists began their epic long march in 1934, 10 000 activists surviving a march of as many kilometres into the north of the country. In 1937 Japan, which had already seized Manchuria six years earlier, decided to go to war with China. Faced with this external threat, the alliance was reformed. The alliance split apart once again with the defeat of Japan in 1945. The KMTwith Chiang Kai Shek at its head is supported by America, but despite the nationalist’s military superiority, they lose the civil war because of internal divisions and rampant corruption that turns the people against them. In April 1949 the Communists come down from the north and seize Nanking and Shanghai. Chiang Kai Shek and his troops flee to Formosa, later renamed Taiwan. On October the first in Beijing Mao Tse Tung proclaims the People’s Republic of China. The Communists are victorious, the KMT utterly routed. 22 years later the Communists cap their victory with a diplomatic coup de grace; Taiwan is thrown out of the United Nations and the Republic takes its place, an unprecedented event. The most recent clash between the two was on March the 14th. this year, when China’s parliament approved an anti-secession law. If what China calls the “rebel island” ever took a first step to independence, it would be stopped by force. Today the Communists are playing a more conciliatory card with their old KMT enemy, who themselves oppose secession.