Welsh journalist who exposed
horrors of Stalin
A young Welsh journalist who exposed
the man made famines of the Stalinist Government and was later murdered
by Japanese bandits was honoured at the University of Wales,
Aberystwyth, today, with the the unveiling of a triligual plaque in
Welsh, English and Ukrainian.
Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones, a journalist with The Western Mail, died on the eve of his 30th birthday in August 1935. Traveling surreptitiously in Soviet Ukraine, in March 1933, Jones, who spoke Russian fluently, soon thereafter wrote a number of articles about the man-made famine orchestrated by the Stalinist government in what had been the "breadbasket of Europe."
He then himself fell prey to a determined effort to discredit his reporting. Many millions of Ukrainians perished even as the Soviet authorities denied that a famine was raging, and continued to export grain. They were joined in their cover up by some Western journalists, including the now notorious Walter Duranty of The New York Times.
Commenting on the plaque unveiling, the UCCLA's director of research, Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk, said:
"Today we have hallowed the memory of the many millions of victims of a Stalinist crime against humanity, arguably the greatest example of genocide to befoul 20th century Europe. We have also paid tribute to a brave and honest journalist, Gareth Jones, who tried to expose the truth, only to fall victim to Stalin's men.
'He was, in some ways, the last victim of the Holodomor, the famine-genocide of 1932-33 in Soviet Ukraine. It is fitting that we could gather today in Wales, at the uniiversity where he studied, to honour a remarkable young man who paid such a heavy price for his commitment to being an honest reporter of the facts."
Gareth Jones was informed that he had been banned from ever returning to the U.S.S.R.. This was no doubt a disappointment to Jones as he was unable to return to a country which he had spent so much time studying her literature, history and language.
With further journalistic investigation of the Soviet Union being curtailed to Jones, he turned his professional attention towards the Orient. The Far East was an enigma to the West and Gareth therefore wanted to investigate the Japanese intentions of expansion in the Far East and in particular, in northern China and Manchukuo.
He left Britain in late 1934 and embarked on a 'Round-the-World Fact-Finding Tour'. He spent five or six weeks in Japan, interviewing several important generals and leading politicians - and in his usual fashion, asking some very embarrassing questions regarding Japanese intentions in the Orient. Whilst in Tokyo, Jones resided, unbeknown to himself, in the apartment of the radio operator of the major Soviet spy, Richard Sorge, and he would have clearly been aware of Gareth Jones' previous embarrassing reports from Soviet Ukraine.
After leaving Japan, he visited many countries across the Far East before he eventually reached Beijing. From there, the intrepid journalist travelled into Inner Mongolia with a native German believing it to be free of bandits. They ventured into newly-created Manchukuo territory that had been had infiltrated by the Japanese just a few days earlier and where troops were amassing.
Apprehended by the Japanese they were eventually told that there were three ways back to the Chinese town of Kalgan, only one of which was safe. Taking this route the following day, they were captured by bandits and held for ransom for 100,000 Mexican dollars. The German was released within two days, but after 16 days in captivity, the bandits, disbanded Chinese soldiers whose families may have been held to ransom by the Japanese murdered Gareth Jones.
Gareth Jones' death in August 1935, on the eve of his thirtieth birthday was a tragic loss not only to his family but to the world and society as a whole. He had revealed to the world the terrible famine in the Soviet Union and Ukraine; he predicted the Second World War in Europe would breakout following the Danzig Corridor dispute and the designs of territorial expansion by the Japanese would bring about a conflagration in the Far East.
For more on Gareth Jones please go
For more on UCCLA please go to www.uccla.ca