The Chinese communist party (CCP) is the world biggest party and is the ruling party of China. This party is not recognized as the governing entity in the China‘s constitution but it controls all government apparatuses and the legislature. It was founded in 1921 and came to rule China after defeating its enemies Kuomintang (KMT) during the civil war.
The civilization of China is one of the oldest in the world and it stretches many years back with a well established culture and tradition. One way to answer the puzzle as to why China opted for communism; then considered a western philosophy, is to look at the formation of the communist party and determine whether or not any external forces did play a role or only forces within China.
The external forces considered are mainly the Soviet Union and the so called 3rd communist international. By focusing on the evolution of Marxism in China, Chen duxiu theories (CCP founder) and the real formation of the party itself, both external and internal influences are evident.
History of Marxism in China
In People’s Republic of China Marxism has no established historical legacy. Despite of the fact that the “communist manifesto” was written many years ago (1848) by Karl Marx, Marxism was first introduced into China in the twentieth century by Liang and Kang yu Wei but nobody seemed to be interested at that time (Fitzgerald 1964).
Even after ten years the influence of Marxism was minimal, despite of the fact that other things had risen in China. The chaos brought about by the 1911 revolution, had resulted in new ways of thinking in China. The reformer, Chen Duxiu started his publication of the so called “New Youth” on fifteenth of September, 1915 in the city of Shangai.
The influence of the publication on the young people in China was great. At first the article was written in vernacular and in an informal style. It was later written formally by one of the founders of the party Chang kuo-t’ao. China was later joined by other intellectual in China in writing the magazine (Levine 1993). The magazine was filled with thought of western thinkers except Marxism this was due to the reasoning that Marxism was not applicable to China since it was considered radical.
The expectations of Marx were that capitalism could crumble at its most sophisticated stage. At this time China was in a feudal system hence could not take part in a revolution (Schwartz 1961). the joining of May 4th movement to the 1915 intellectual revolution is considered the genesis of the modern China (Bianco 1971), this movement contained a lot of radical ideas cause it was amass movement and in contained different schools of thought. This became the intellectual basis for both Chinese communist party and Kuomintang (Bianco 1971).
The May Fourth movement in 1919 soon joined the literary revolution of 1915, and that was when things really began to happen in China. It is not surprising that the Chinese Communist historians see this as the beginning of the modern China era, and not the 1911 Revolution (Bianco 1971: 26). The May Fourth movement contained many radical ideas. Because it was a mass movement though, extreme radicals never grew to more than a little clique (Bianco 1971: 31).
Within the May Fourth movement, many different streams of thought were contained, and it became the intellectual base of both the Communists and the Kuomintang (Bianco 1971: 43). Despite the rapid success of the movement in uniting people on different grounds, differences did start to emerge within the movement (new youth).it resulted in two opposing groups: one group was liberal led by Hu Shih and Lu Sun and radicals led by Chen Duxiu and Li Ta. The radicals named their group the “Weekly critic “in the year 1918 with purpose of support for Marxism.Hu meanwhile focused on communism .
The Formation of the Party
It was in May of1920 that the communist party was formed after the secret meeting that united the diverse revolutionaries to for the party. This happened after Chen met with the Russian named Voitinski in Shanghai where Chen introduced him to the various groups (Chang 1971).
On top of this the two men established a Russian news agency and a school in Shanghai that specialized in foreign languages. The purpose of the news agency was propaganda and the school was meant to educate communists. Chen’s success inspired many other leaders to start organizations for example Peking group organized by Li Ta and Mao Zedong started an organization in Changsha.most of the members of the party were orthodox Marxists.
By the month of September the process of elimination of non-communist members from leadership started and this mainly targeted the anarchists. In the following year Chen’s writing were mainly targeted against the anarchists. Due to much frustration from anarchists by May 1921, Chen accused them of not subscribing to western way of thinking, and this did not go down well with the anarchists.
The Chinese communism party was officially launched the first of July 1921 during the first national congress. This congress was held in ladies school in shangai.this was to ensure that those participating were safe from the Chinese law. The meeting was strictly for those supporting communism. At the meeting constitution to govern the party was formed and Chen elected the secretary general (Chang 1971). Despite the fact that the Chinese communism party was to take around thirty years before gaining control of China, the motivation and ideologies would play a great role in their eventual success were present in the beginning.
From the history of the formation of the Chinese communism party, Marxism in the people’s republic of China and the ideologies of Chen it’s evident that there were both internal and external forces in the whole process. The external force was mainly the soviet and the Comintern.
The intensity of the communist influence on China became stronger in the aftermath of the World War II (1939-1945). During this period, capitalism and communism were two ideologies in the forefront competing for dominion on the global perspective (Houn 1967). This influence extended to China where some of the key concepts of the Marxism ideology were applied to realize a communist political structure.
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Chang, Kuo-t’ao. 1971 “The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party, 1921-1927.” University Press of Kansas:
Ch’en, Kung-Po. 1966. “The Communist Movement in China.” Octagon Books, Incorporated: New York.
Feigon, Lee. 1983 “Chen Duxiu: Founder of the Chinese Communist Party.” Princeton University Press: Princeton.
Fitzgerald, C.P. 1964. “The Birth of Communist China.” Penguin Books: Hammondsworth
Houn, Franklin W. 1967. “A Short History of Chinese Communist.” Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs
Levine, M., A. 1993. “The Found Generation: Chinese Communists in Europe during the Twenties.” University of Washington: Seattle.
Scwartz, Benjamin I. 1961. “Chinese Communism and the Rise of Mao.” Cambridge: Harvard University Press