Throughout the Japanese colonial period, Korea's reading public paid close attention to Chinese revolutions against Japanese and Western empires. Korean nationalists viewed China's revolutionary struggles as important for liberating Korea from Japan, a stance that reveals a transnational basis of Korean nationalism in the colonial era. One such nationalist was Sin Ŏnjun (1904–38), Tong'a Ilbo’s Shanghai-based correspondent, who played a critical role in conveying the momentous events in contemporary China to colonized Koreans. Drawing on Sin's example, this article shows how Sino-Korean transnationalism constituted Korea's left-wing, progressive nationalism in the 1930s. Although Sin Ŏnjun was a nationalist rather than a communist, he highlighted the communist struggles in China in his dispatches. He saw communism as the only viable way of solving China's internal and external problems, although he, at the same time, disapproved of Chinese communists’ “terrorist methods.” This article argues that this position also reflected his stance in favor of a broad communist-nationalist alliance in the Korean independence movement. He saw Korea's liberation agenda as closely related to the revolutionary events in China, thus accomplishing a synthesis between Korean nationalistic and social aspirations and an East Asia–wide transnational paradigm of a universal emancipatory struggle.

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