Political History of China
Historical Influences before 1949
Historical Influences of the PRC
The Political Culture
Influences before 1949: Dynastic ruleThe political culture inherited from centuries of dynastic rule centers around:Confucian values, such as order, harmony, and a strong sense of hierarchy - "superior" and "subservient" positions. China has traditionally valued scholarship as a way to establish superiorityStrong sense of cultural identity and a relatively high degree of cultural homogeneity. EthnocentrismA strong merit-based bureaucracy long before the Europeans adopted it
Revolutionary upheavalsMajor revolutions occurred in China in 1911 and 1949, with many chaotic times in between.
Three themes dominated this revolutionary era:
NationalismEstablishing a new political community Socioeconomic Development
China after 1911The Revolution of 1911 was intended to create a modern republican form of government in China.Instead, the country broke up into warlord-dominated regions with increasing poverty and violence.The Kuomintang (Nationalist) Party led the revolution, but controlled few areas.
Kuomintang PartySun Yat-sen was the main leader of the 1911 Revolution and the Nationalist Party (KMT).He died in 1925 and was succeeded as leader by Chiang Kai-shek.Chiang cooperated with the Communists for a time, but then massacred them in 1927.
Life of Mao ZedongMao led a Communist area in Jiangxi Province in 1934, but attacks by the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) government army forced them to undergo the Long March lasting over a year and covering 6,000 miles to a new, safer area to the north in Shanxi Province.Mao emerged as a hero of the people, and many of his loyal friends on the March lived on to be prominent leaders of the People's Republic of China after its founding in 1949
Land ReformMao discovered even in the 1920s that the Communists could win the support of the peasants by taking away land from the rich and sharing this with the poor.Mao learned how to get the vast majority of peasants on his side by concentrating the confiscations on a small minority of wealthy farmers.
Yanan, 2At the end of the Second World War, the Russians moved into Manchuria against the Japanese and were able to share some weapons with the Chinese Communists.Stalin urged Mao to ally with Chiang Kai-shek rather than to fight him.
Communist Victory, 1949Due to corruption and inefficiency among the KMT leadership, the Communists took power in mainland China in October, 1949.The KMT leaders retreated to the island of Taiwan.Two ChinasNow Mao was in charge of the whole country.
MaoismMao Zedong was strongly influenced by Karl Marx and Lenin, but his version of communism is distinctly suited for China. He believed in the strength of the peasant, and centered his philosophy around these central values: collectivismstruggle and activism (dont let people get comfortable, leads to corruption)mass lineegalitarianism (focus on peasants)self-reliance
Mao in 1949
The political development of the PRCPhases:The Soviet Model (1949-1957) Land Reform. Civil Reform Worked to eliminate opium addiction and prostitution, ending arranged marriages which increased legitimacyFive-Year Plans nationalize collectivize socialize
IndustrializationBetween 1949 and 1960, China followed the Russian strategy of industrialization.They built large factories in the cities.Many Russian engineers came to China to assist in this effort.Many of the largest factories in China today were built during this period.
Anti-Rightist Campaign 1957100,000s of people were accused of enemies of the Revolution and demoted, fired, or sent to labor campsHundred Flowers Campaign govt encouraged dissent to appease the people( briefly)Struggle against the anti-rightest resolutely
The Great Leap Forward (1958-1960)In 1958, Mao decided that the Russian strategy of industrial development was not suitable for China because it was not helping countryside.The Great Leap Forward was a utopian effort to transform China into a radical egalitarian society. It's emphasis was mainly economic, and it was based on four principles:All-around development Mass mobilizationPolitical unanimity and zeal DecentralizationThe Great Leap Forward was a big flopMisreporting common and starvation occurred on mass scale
The Cultural Revolution (1966-1978)Political, social and economic change:Maos main goal was to purify the party and the country through radical transformation. Remove all vestiges of the old China and its hierarchical bureaucracy and emphasis on inequality.Included self-criticism session in the xiaozusPeople would admit their shortcomings and promise to changeIncluded attacks on elites/capitalists; students would attack those who harmed them and they were sent to farms and not schoolMao died in 1976, leaving his followers divided into factions:RadicalsThe Military The Moderates
Cultural Revolution, 2Cultural Revolution followed the Hundred Flowers Campaign (1957) which encouraged open criticism, but actually helped government locate those against government who were later imprisonedThe Cultural Revolution started among students, but it began to affect other sectors of society.Red Guardscarried out Maos police/soldiers who carried out the goals of the revolutionReactionary teachers and officials were common targets, who were often killed or committed suicide
Cultural RevolutionPublicly criticized
Deng Xiaoping's Modernizations (1978-Present)1978, the new leader was Deng Xiaoping. New policies"Open door" trade policy Special Economic ZonesReforms in education Institutionalization of the Revolution
After MaoFrom 1975 to 1997, China was led by Deng Xiaoping who welcomed economic reforms in the direction of capitalism (socialism with chinese characteristics).Peasants were allowed to farm on their own and to leave the collective farms.Local governments were permitted to establish industrial companies that functioned like capitalist firms.
After MaoMao would be turning over in his grave at the foreign investment and the consumer culture that is spreading in China today.However, Maos efforts did create a strong, united Chinese state that after Maos death was able to make serious reforms to compete in a global economy.Political legitimacy rests on economic growth and a rising standard of living.
Deng Xiaoping Theory- "It doesn't matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice."
The result of his leadership was a dramatic turnaround of the Chinese economy through a combination of socialist planning and the capitalist free market.
True to Communist Party
ParticipationCitizens are subjects of government, not participants in a political system.
The communist state redefined political participation by creating a relationship between the Communist party and citizenship, and by defining the economic relationship between citizens and the government.
In recent years popular social movements that support democracy, religious beliefs, and community ties over nationalism have influenced Chinese politics and helped to define China's relationships with other countries.
BACKGROUNDS OF PARTY MEMBERS
Transition in the backgrounds of party members. Cadres were peasants or factory workers, and few were intellectuals or professionals. Increasingly "technocratic"Today less than 40 percent of party members come from the peasantry, although peasants still make up the largest single group within the CCP. The fastest growing membership category consists of officials, intellectuals, technicians, and other professionals. Women make up only about 20 percent of the membership and only about 4 percent of the Central Committee.
INTERESTS, SOCIAL MOVEMENTS, AND PROTESTS
Policy Making in ChinaHow to maintain the power of the elite
Desire to make China a world power
An orderly society
Compliance of a politically-passive people
Hope for respect from the global community
ProtestDifficult for the party-state to monitor citizens.Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 Major protests have been staged by religious groupsVillage protests Labor strikesStability issues