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The Communist Party of China: A look into its successful 100 years

Zamir Ahmed Awan discusses the complete history of the Communist Party of China. The Party, founded on 1st July 1921, is responsible for China's prosperity and rise as a global power.

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Founded on 1st July 1921, in Shanghai, the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its 100th anniversary with pride and full of success stories. It is one of the oldest and the largest political parties, with its membership reached up to 92 million approximately. CPC liberated China and became the ruling party in 1949 with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). CPC is leading the nation in its political life and social activities.

The guidance of the CPC over state affairs focuses on political principles, political orientation, decision-making on significant issues and makes recommendations regarding the appointment of important officials to government bodies. Although within the state leadership system, the CPC cannot replace the functions and powers of the bodies of state power, with the appointment of senior officials, the objective is being achieved successfully.

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The subjects to the discretion of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee should be given to as Party’s proposals or submitted through government to the NPC and its Standing Committee for a decision according to the prevailing law. In this way, the Party’s propositions are changed into the state’s will and become the codes of conduct observed by people.

The Party has to act within the scope of the Constitution and laws, guaranteeing that the legislative, judicial, and administrative departments of the state and economic, cultural, and mass organizations work in an active, independent, responsible and coordinated manner.

CPC Ideology

The CPC practices Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, and Deng Xiaoping Theory to guide its actions. Since its beginning, the Party has considered Marxism and Leninism as its fundamental philosophy. During the long-term revolutionary struggle, the CPC members represented by Mao Zedong integrated the general theory of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution and founded Mao Zedong Thought.

Mao Zedong Thought is the practical application and development of Marxism-Leninism in China. Mao Zedong thought they were necessary to incorporate to suit Chinese society and the ground situation in China. It is proven in practice to be the exact theoretic doctrines and summary of experience regarding China’s revolution and building. It is an outcome of the collective wisdom of the CPC.

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After the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Committee, which was held at the end of 1978, the CPC represented by Deng Xiaoping, summing up both positive and negative experience accrued.

Since the founding of the Republic and following the principle of liberating the mind, and in search of truth from facts, shifted the focus of work to economic construction and introduced the policies of reform and opening to the outside world, bringing China into a new era of socialist building.

During the process, guidelines, principles, and procedures of building socialism with Chinese characteristics gradually took shape, and fundamental issues regarding construction, combining, and developing socialism in China were explained.

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As a result, the Deng Xiaoping Theory, creating the integration of Marxism-Leninism with contemporary Chinese practices and characteristics, was established. It carries on and further develops the Mao Zedong Thought under new historical circumstances. The crystallization of the CPC’s collective wisdom will correctly guide the Chinese people to achieve socialist modernization successfully.

Although Deng Xiao Ping faced much resistance initially, over some time, he succeeded in convincing his colloquies and senior official in CPC. Since 2013, President Xi Jinping, the Secretary-General of CPC, and Chairman of Military Commission is playing a leading role and heading the nation toward many high-quality developments, opening up, and reforms.

President Xi has turned China into a global power, and today, China is considered a global play in all international affairs. China’s opinion, consent, or point of view matter in international politics. China is leading some of UN structured organizations and contributing heavily.

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Establishment and development

Russian revolution in 1917 has inspired many youths around the globe. As a matter of fact, imperialism, colonialism, Western-Style Capitalism & Democracy has frustrated the youths, and as an alternative, they believe in a change.

Many youths were demanding a Russian-style Red-revolution in their countries worldwide, especially the developing countries. In China, with no exceptions, some of the youth were charged with similar revolutionary thoughts. Some progressive Chinese intellectuals realized that Marxism was the authentic way of managing the revolution to victory.

In 1919, the May 4th Movement against imperialism and feudalism broke out in China. It uniquely awoke the Chinese people. After the movement, the Chinese working class entered the historical arena as an independent political force.

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A large number of revolutionary intellectuals who believed in Marxism, comprising Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, and Mao Zedong, set up communist groups across the country to spread Marxism and consolidate workers’ movements. Marxism was thus integrated with the Chinese workers’ movements, laying a foundation for establishing the CPC.

Between July 23 and 31, 1921, Mao Zedong, He Shuheng, Dong Biwu, Chen Tanqiu, Wang Jinmei, Deng Enming, Li Da, Li Hanjun, Zhang Guotao, Liu Renjing, Chen Gongbo, and Zhou Fohai on behalf of 50-odd members of various communist groups, held the first National Congress of the CPC. The Communist Party of China was therefore formally founded.

After its establishment, the CPC led the Chinese people in unfolding the New-Democratic Revolution against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism (1919-1949). The revolution was separated into four periods: i) the Northern Expedition (1924-1927) of Kuomintang-Communist cooperation, ii) the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927-1937), iii) the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-1945), and iv) the Chinese People’s War of Liberation (1946-1949).

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With long-term intensive armed struggles and the close coordination of various aspects and various forms of all efforts, the CPC finally gained a victory in 1949 and established the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which, under the leadership of the working class and based on the workers-peasants alliance, upholds the people’s democratic dictatorship.

Role of CPC in PRC

After the founding of the PRC, the CPC commanded the nation to make continued progress: triumphing over repeated threats, sabotages, and armed provocation of imperialists and hegemonists, safeguarding the nation’s independence and security; successfully achieving an excellent transfer of the Chinese society from new-democratism to socialism, reaching, in a general sense, the socialist transformation of the private ownership of the means of production; and launching the large-scale socialist economic construction in a planned way, and enabling Chinese economic and cultural causes to achieve unique development.

During the period 1949-1978, the focus was on political reforms, where unity within China among all ethnic groups and ideology harmony was achieved. Beginning in 1979, China introduced reforming policies encouraged by Deng Xiaoping and opened its door to the outside world.

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The “left deviation” errors made during the “cultural revolution” and before were remedied, and the focus of the work was moved to the modernization drive. Great struggles were made to regulate the proportions within the national economy, reform economic and political systems, and gradually establish a path to build socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics.

As a result, the past two decades have witnessed enormous changes in China. It is the best period that China had ever experienced since 1949 and the period when China’s people received the most significant benefits.

The aim of CPC

Primarily the aim of CPC at this stage was to unite the people of all ethnic groups too, with economic construction at the core, adhere to the Four Cardinal Principles, follow to reform and opening-up, and in a spirit of self-reliance and arduous struggle, to build China into a prosperous, democratic and civilized modern socialist country.

Hence, the Four Cardinal Principles – i) adhering to the socialist path, ii) stick to the people’s democratic dictatorship, iii) obeying Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and iv) observing the leadership of the CPC. It is also known as the Chinese Characteristic Socialism, which has been established by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China as the basis to maintain the nation.

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The CPC aims at positively developing international relations to win over a favorable global environment for China’s reform and opening-up initiative and modernization. It strictly obeys a free and independent foreign policy of peaceful coexistence and safeguards China’s independence and sovereignty in global affairs.

It opposes supremacy and power politics, protects world peace, and promotes the progress of human beings globally. It adheres to state relations with other countries based on the five basic principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

It vows on developing good-neighborly relations with neighboring countries and strengthening unity and cooperation with all developing countries. It develops friendly relations with Communist parties and other countries’ political parties on the principle of independence, complete equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

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Organizational system

The Communist Party of China is an integral body organized under its program and Constitution on the principles of democratic centralism. There are several basic principles of democratic centralism.

Firstly, the Individual Party members are subordinate to the Party organizations, the minority is subordinate to the majority, the lower Party organizations are subordinate to the higher Party organizations, and all the constituent organizations and members of the Party are subordinate to the National Congress and the Central Committee of the Party

Secondly, the Party’s leading organizations at all levels, except the representative offices sent out by them and the Party organizations in non-CPC organizations, will be produced through an election.

Thirdly, the highest leading body of the CPC is the National Congress and the Central Committee it creates. The local Party leading bodies at various levels are the local Party congress at multiple levels and the committees they create. The Party’s committees at different levels are responsible and report their work to the Party’s congress at the same level.

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The Party’s organizations at a higher level should often listen to the opinions of their subordinates as well as of Party members and the masses and solve their problems in time. The Party organizations at the lower level should ask for instructions from and report their work to their superiors and independently solve the problems within their own jurisdiction.

The Party organizations at different levels should exchange information, supports, and supervision. They should enable Party members to understand and participate more in Party’s affairs.

In addition, Party committees at various levels practice a system of integrating collective leadership with individual responsibility. All major issues shall be decided upon by the Party committees after democratic discussion. Members of the Party committees shall perform their duties according to the decisions of the committees and the division of labor.

The Party forbids all forms of a personality cult. It should be guaranteed that the activities of Party leaders are under the supervision of the Party and the people, and meanwhile, the prestige of all leaders who represent the interests of the Party and people are safeguarded.

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The representatives to the CPC congress at various levels and committees are elected by the Party members and their representatives by secret ballot. The voters have the right to learn about the candidates, require the change of candidates, vote against all candidates, and vote for others.

However, no organization or individual shall force voters to vote for or against a specific candidate by any means. For example, suppose there is a case of violating the Party’s Constitution during the election of various local Party congresses and grassroots congresses.

In that case, the Party committee at the higher lever, upon investigation and verification, shall decide to declare the ballot invalid, adopt corrective measures, and then report to its superior for examination and approval. The execution of the decision shall be officially announced upon its approval.

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The central organizations of CPC

The Central CPC organizations include the National Congress of the Party and the Central Committee it creates, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee, the Secretariat, the Central Military Commission, and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

National Congress of the CPC. The National Congress of the CPC, which is held every five years, is the highest leading organ of the CPC. Its functions and powers include; to hear and examine the reports from the Central Committee and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection; to discuss and decide the major issues of the Party; to revise the Party’s Constitution; to elect a new Central Committee and a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Central Committee is the highest leading body of the CPC when the National Congress of the Party is not in session. Members and alternate members of the Central Committee must have been the Party members for at least five years.

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The plenary session of the Central Committee shall be held at least once a year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee implements the decisions of the National Congress, exercises leadership overall work of the Party, and represents the Communist Party of China when dealing in foreign affairs.

The Political Bureau of the Central Committee and its Standing Committee are elected by the Plenary Session of the Central Committee. They exercise the functions and powers of the Central Committee when the latter is not in session. The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee is the core of leadership over all the routine work of the Party.

The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee is the highest leading position within the CPC Central Committee. It is elected from members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau by the Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee.

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The Party General Secretary is responsible for convening the meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and its Standing Committee and directs the work of the Secretariat of the Central Committee.

The Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee is an administrative body of the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee. Its members are nominated by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and approved by the Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee.

The Central Military Commission is the highest military leading body of the Party under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee. The CPC Central Committee decides the commission members. The Central Military Commission determines the Party’s organizational system and institutions in the armed forces.

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The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is the highest body of the Party for discipline inspection. The commission carries out its work under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee. Accordingly, its Standing Committee, Secretary, and Deputy-Secretary elected at its plenary session must be reported to the CPC Central Committee for approval.

Success of CPC

The induction of new members into CPC is rigorous and strict. The new applicants are kept under observation and monitoring for a particular time and judged for his/ her behavior, ideology, capabilities, and personal life. If meeting the pre-set criteria and positive feedback from different quarters, only then can be admitted to CPC.

Even after joining CPC, the members are required to join refresher courses, training in Party schools regularly. They are taught ideology and the changes and dynamics of politics that suit the Chinese system. Uninterrupted education, grooming, and up-dating keep the CPC members more tuned for high-quality developments.

CPC is maintaining interaction and close relations with many political parties around the globe. CPC is in close contact with almost all political parties in Pakistan, including regional and religious political parties. Prime Minister had the honor to visit Party Central School in Beijing during his visit to China in November 2018. It was a matter of prestige to address at Party school; very few foreign dignitaries have such honors.

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The rise of China has proved that Western-Style Capitalism and Democracy is not the only system of governance that can deliver or achieve high goals of developments. The prosperity in China, the social life in China, the standard of living of average Chinese, the purchasing power of ordinary Chinese, the life expectancy in China, the law and order situation in China, the low rate of crimes in China are the indicators of the success of CPC in China.

Many people are considering the Chinese development system as an alternative to Western-style capitalism and democracy. Especially many developing nations are linking high hopes and expectations from China, as disappointed from the developed world and their selfishness. They are not willing to be exploited by the colonialists, imperialists, and aggressors.

Approximately 1.4 billion Chinese celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with full excitement and joy. Lets, join our Chinese brothers and sisters in this happy moment and share their joys equally. We wish good health, eternal prosperity, and all-dimensional success in the days to come—Long live China-Pakistan Traditional Friendship!

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Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com). The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 

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