Shen Zemin, formerly known as Shen Deji, was the younger brother of Mao Dun. He was born in Wuzhen on June 23, 1900. Like Mao Dun, his was also studied in the Lizhi Primary School, while his middle school was the Provincial Third Middle School (Huzhou Middle School). His mathematics, physics and chemistry were very good. After graduated from the middle school, he was admitted to Nanjing Hehai Engineering College according to his outstanding ability and his father's wishes. But perhaps because of the influence of his brother, Shen Zemin later engaged in literature and news career.
In 1919, Shen Zemin was influenced by the new thoughts of the May 4th Movement, and participated in the assembly and promotion organized by the progressive students in Nanjing. In that winter vacation, Shen Zemin together with his elder brother Mao Dun, cousin Lu Fengzhang, townsman Cao Xinhan and others organized the "Tongxiang Youth Society" in his hometown. And then they published the Xinxiangren magazine, promoted new literature and advocated vernacular Chinese. In November, the China Youth Association was established in Nanjing. Shen Zemin was one of the key members and once served as the editor of Youth China and Youth World. He also worked as a writer for the Nanjing Student Union Monthly with his classmate Zhang Wentian. By using these, he wrote against the rule of warlords, exposed the darkness of the society, and promoted the ideas of revolutionary. He also published a series of articles and translations concerning social revolution and women's issues on the Republic of China Daily’s supplement Awareness, Student Magazine, Women's Magazine, Fiction Monthly and other publications.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Marxist books were mostly in Japanese. Shen Zemin and Zhang Wentian went to Japan to study Japanese in order to better understanding Marxism. Half a year later, Shen Zemin returned to China and joined the Literature Research Association. In the same year, introduced by Mao Dun, he joined the CPC, and began his career of professional revolution. He once taught English in the civilian girls' school founded by the Party; organized the "Wuhu Academic Society" with the progressive teachers and students during teaching in Anhui Provincial Fifth Middle School, and founded the Wuhu magazine; also engaged in revolutionary activities for half a year at Shangyu Chunhui Middle School.
In January 1924, the Shanghai Local and District Executive Committee was reorganized and Shen Zemin was elected as an executive member. He launched the "revolutionary literature" movement with early communists, such as Yun Daiying and Xiao Chu’nv, published articles such as "What Kind of Literature Do We Need", "Literary Revolution and Revolutionary Literature", promoting the literary ideas of Marxism.
In the autumn of 1925, he married Zhang Qinqiu, an elementary school classmate of his sister-in-law Kong Dezhi (Mao Dun’s wife), also a college classmate of Qu Qiubai’s wife Yang Zhihua. Soon, they went to the Moscow Sun Yat-Sen University in the Soviet Union for further study. In April 1930, under the arrangement of Zhou Enlai, they returned to China with Wang Jiaxiang, Yang Shangkun, Zhang Wentian, Wu Xiuquan and others.
In January 1931, at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Sixth CPC Central Committee, Shen Zemin was elected as a member of the Central Committee and served as the Minister of Publicity Department. In March, he entered the Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area with his wife under the arrangement the Party. In May, the Central Branch of Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area was established and Shen Zemin served as a member of the committee and the Secretary of the Provincial Party Committee of Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area. On November 7, the Provisional Central Government of the Chinese Soviet Republic was established in Ruijin, Jiangxi Province, and Shen Zemin was elected as the Central Executive Committee.
In June 1932, KMT gathered the military strength of 26 divisions and 5 brigades, and launched the fourth counter-revolutionary "encirclement and suppression" against the Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area. On October 10, 1932, the branch office held an emergency meeting to discuss the future of the Red Army. One opinion was that the Red Army should leave the base areas; Shen Zemin believed that they should not leave the base areas. The result of the discussion was that both plans were adopted: the headquarters of the military led the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 73rd divisions and the International Youth League to leave the base areas and temporarily move to the west of Pinghan Road; and on the other side, Shen Zemin led the 74th and 75th divisions to continue to fight with KMT in the base areas.
In the "elimination of counterrevolutionaries" of the Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet Area, Shen Zemin protected a large number of outstanding Red Army cadres such as Xu Haidong. Later, he served as the secretary of the branch, and re-established the Red 25th Army with Xu Haidong and Wu Huanxian.
In 1933, due to the harsh environment, Shen Zemin was infected with falciparum malaria. He was unable to get a good treatment because of insufficient medicine. It worsened in November. On the 20th, Shen Zemin died in Huang'an (Hong'an), Hubei. Before his death, Shen Zemin knew that he could not be cured. He wrote a report to the Party Central Committee on a shirt and wanted Cheng Fangwu to take it to Shanghai. He was unconscious while the report was not finished. This shirt, an important relic of Shen Zemin, was brought to the Party Central Committee by Cheng Fangwu finally.
Shen Zemin was an important leading cadre of the CPC in the early days. In order to commemorate his contributions to the Chinese revolution and new literature, the 48th meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Soviet Republic decided to rename the "Soviet University" as "National Shen Zemin Soviet University." Named a university under the name of a person, and put the word "national" on is so honored that we are all proud of him!
After the national liberation, Shen Zemin's body was buried in Hong’an martyr's cemetery, and Dong Biwu inscribed the tombstone.
Both brothers had grown into important participants in the establishment of new China and senior leaders of the CPC. This is unique in the history of Wuzhen.Keyword: