By writers and political activists who had taken part in the May Fourth Movement, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was established in 1921.
These men looked to Karl Marx’s ideas and the examples set by Bolshevik revolutionaries in Russia as they sought an alternative course for China’s political development. The most significant occasion on its political calendar is being held by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In order to elect the CCP’s top leadership, change its constitution, and approve the nation’s policy directions for the next five years, 2,300 delegates from all across China are converging at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Sunday for a weeklong congress.
This year’s congress, the 20th since the founding of the party in 1921, is particularly significant because Chinese President Xi Jinping is anticipated to secure an unprecedented third term as party chief and further solidify his power, including through appointments to the Politburo and the elite Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).
How Was The Chinese Communist Party Founded?
Officially, the Chinese Communist Party was founded on July 1, 1921, based on Mao Zedong’s recollections. In reality, the actual founding took place some weeks later. This event capped earlier revolutionary and organisational activities that had emerged out of the May Fourth (New Culture) Movement of 1919.
Li Dazhao, Peking University’s Head Librarian, created the “Society for the Study of Marxism” in the fall of 1918 to study Marx’s communist views. This group included Mao Zedong, Li’s library assistant. Li wrote “The Victory of Bolshevism” for New Youth Magazine (La Jeunesse, Xin qingnian) in November 1918, introducing young Chinese intellectuals to communism.
In Many Chinese intellectuals saw it as an example of how a communist state could be founded on a former Imperial system in an agricultural society. Chinese nationalists (including Sun Yat-sen) and intellectuals also admired the Soviet Union for rejecting imperialism by renouncing all former Russian territorial concessions in China.
The Soviets founded the Comintern in 1919 to promote universal revolution. By April 1920, the Comintern had sent a representative to China to assess the extent to which a revolution could be carried out successfully. Henk Sneevliet (Maring,, Ma Lin), a Comintern representative and labour organiser, was sent to China to found a Communist Party on June 3, 1921. ʼ On July 23–2, 1921, the CCP held its First National Congress.
13 delegates representing 59 party members attended the First National Congress: Li Hanjun, Li Da (Shanghai); Zhang Guotao, Liu Renjing (Beijing); Dong Biwu, Chen Tanqiu (Wuhan); Mao Zedong, He Shuheng (Changsha); Chen Gongbo, Bao Huiseng (Guangzhou); Wang Jinmei, Deng Enming (Jinan); and Zhou Fohai (Japan). Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao were away.
Most early Marxists came from wealthy, upper middle class, and intellectual families. The Congress was held in a Bowen Girls’ School classroom at 106 Rue Wantz in Shanghai’s French Concession (presently No. 76 Xingye Road, Xintiandi).
The group moved to a houseboat on South Lake (Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province) to avoid being raided by French Concession police Chinese detectives because M. Nikolsky and Sneevliet were foreign Comintern representatives. On July 30, Chinese representatives established the CCP on the boat (Sneevliet and Nikolsky were not present).
General secretary Chen Duxiu, propaganda chief Li Da, and organisation chief Zhang Guotao were elected. Mao Zedong played a modest part in Sneevliet’s reports to Moscow and other observations. In Chinese essays, tableaux vivants, posters, and other recollections, Mao plays a prominent role in the events.
Sneevliet and many Comintern members disapproved of this new, little communist party. in The Comintern saw the Guomindang under Sun Yat-sen, a bourgeois party, as better organised, more numerous, and more likely to spark a revolution than the CCP, which still lacked linkages to the fledgling Chinese worker movement.
Sun Yat-sen established several failed southern Chinese administrations before proclaiming the Chinese Republic in Guangzhou in May 1921. Sun wanted to rule China but required political and financial help. Sun and Comintern representatives, including Sneevliet, discussed GMD reorganisation and Soviet aid in August 1922.
The Soviet Union believed that the GMD, with the CCP as a subordinate party, might have a greater impact, thus they merged them in a “bloc-within” policy. This was strongly rejected by Chen Duxiu who opposed working with retrograde forces.
The new alliance produced a manifesto on January 26, 1923, describing its urgent aim as “national independence and unity”. The inaugural congress of this collaborative body, the United Front, was convened on 20-23 January 1924. The CCP, as the junior partner, was granted three out of the 24 seats on the Central Executive Committee.
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About The Chinese Communist Party
Jude Blanchette, the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was honoured to visit the Shorenstein APARC China Program (CSIS).
The documentary “What’s ‘Communist’ about the Communist Party of China?” examined the objectives and philosophy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and what they might portend for China’s position in the world. The William Haas Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the APARC China Program, Professor Jean Oi, moderated the discussion.
The CCP’s objectives grew murkier after Mao Zedong’s passing in 1976. CCP theorists were compelled to make ideological reasons for actions that were plainly capitalist as the nation started implementing market reforms in the 1980s and 1990s.
A consensus developed by the 2000s that the CCP had completely abandoned any pretence of pursuing the Marxist vision it had claimed to hold, and Deng Xiaoping’s concept of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” came to be seen as a theoretical fig leaf rather than a description of an egalitarian economic system.
However, with Xi Jinping’s ascent, the Party is talking more passionately than ever about Marxism-Leninism and the objective of building real, functioning socialism. Has communism been rediscovered by the CCP? Blanchette talked about Marxism-Leninism, the CCP’s idea of socialism, and the left-over and still-viable legacies of Mao Zedong.
Chinese Communist Party Ideology
Marxism-Leninism, which advocates a vanguardist one-party state with a centralised command economy to realise the proletariat’s dictatorship, served as the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).
The Soviet Union’s ideological commitment to achieving communism included the growth of socialism in one nation and peaceful coexistence with capitalist nations while engaging in anti-imperialism to protect the global proletariat, oppose capitalism, and advance the goals of communism.
Marxism-Leninism is the result of the theories, practices, and political praxis of Lenin and Stalin, which served as the foundation for the Soviet Union’s state ideology.
Chinese Communist Party: Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought
The Communist Party of China’s first official ideology, Marxism-Leninism, is a synthesis of classical Marxism (the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) and Leninism. Marxism-Leninism “reveals the universal laws governing the development of human society’s history,” claims the CPC.
Marxism-Leninism offers the CPC a vision of the flaws in capitalist society as well as the inevitable rise of socialist and communist societies in the future. The theory behind Marxist party formation was first developed by Marx and Engels; Lenin put it into practise prior to, during, and after the Russian Revolution of 1917.
The creation of parties through ideas like the vanguard party of the working class and democratic centralism was Lenin’s greatest accomplishment. The People Daily defines Mao Zedong Thought as “Marxism-Leninism developed and applied in China.” Leading party officials, in addition to CPC Chairman Mao Zedong, were involved in the creation of Mao Zedong Thought. The practice of the Chinese revolution is “integrated with the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism,” according to Xinhua.
The CPC currently views the core of Mao Zedong Thought as “Seeking truth through facts”: “We must move forward from reality and apply theory to every aspect of life. In other words, we must combine the unique circumstances of China with the Marxist-Leninist theory as a whole.”
While most western observers concur that the CPC has rejected traditional Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, or at least the core ideas of traditional thinking, the CPC disagrees. Some Western commentators claim that the CPC has rejected communism and refer to a “crisis of ideology” within the party.
Director of the Institute of World Socialism Wang Xuedong responded, “We know there are those outside of China who believe we are experiencing an ‘ideological crisis,’ but we do not concur.” The CPC “must never discard Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought,” according to former CPC General Secretary Jiang Zemin.
“If we did,” he asserted, “we would lose our foundation.” He added that Marxism in general “needs to change as time and circumstances advance, like any science.” With the introduction of the ideological theory known as the Three Represents, some individuals and organisations contend that Jiang Zemin officially ended the CPC’s adherence to Marxism.
Leng Rong, a party theorist, disagrees, asserting “President Jiang removed the ideological barriers to various forms of ownership from the Party. He didn’t abandon socialism or marxism. He gave the Party a fresh perspective on socialism and Marxism, which is why we refer to a “socialist market economy” with Chinese characteristics.”
Jiang Zemin asserts that the core of Marxism is not an examination of class or the conflicts between different classes, but rather a methodology for creating a society free from class distinctions. According to Karl Marx, society develops in stages, with the capitalist mode of production constituting the third stage. Ancient, largely based on slavery; feudal; capitalist; socialist; and communist modes of production were the stages.
The CPC and China’s “ultimate goal” is said to be achieving true “communism.” Party theorists contend that the current development stage “looks a lot like capitalism,” despite the CPC’s assertion that China is in the primary stage of socialism. However, some party theorists contend that capitalism is merely the initial phase of communism. According to official pronouncements, the initial stage of socialism will last for about 100 years before China enters a new developmental stage.
The idea of a first stage of socialism has been criticised by some as being intellectually cynical. China expert Robert Lawrence Kuhn claims that “This argument initially struck me as more comical than clever, a wry caricature of hack propagandists leaked by intellectual cynics. However, serious political theorists are the ones who advocate the 100-year horizon “.
Chinese Communist Party: Xi Jinping Thought
- Ensuring that all facets of work are governed by the Communist Party of China.
- In order to serve the general welfare, the Communist Party of China ought to adopt a people-centred strategy.
- “Comprehensive deepening of reforms” going on.
- Adopting innovative, co-ordinated, green, open, and shared development concepts that are science-based.
- Putting “people as the masters of the country” first and implementing “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
- The legalisation of government in China.
- Use socialist principles, such as Marxism-Leninism, Communism, and “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” in your daily life.
- Development’s main objective is to enhance people’s quality of life.
- With “energy conservation and environmental protection” policies, coexist peacefully with the natural world, and “contribute to global ecological safety.”
- Boost the country’s security.
- “Absolute leadership over” the People’s Liberation Army of China should belong to the Chinese Communist Party.
- In order to achieve “complete national reunification,” the one-country, two-systems system is being promoted for Hong Kong and Macau. Taiwan should adhere to the 1992 Consensus and the One-China policy.
- A “peaceful international environment” will help to create a shared destiny for Chinese and other people around the world.
- Reinforce the Communist Party of China’s party discipline.
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