The Roots Of Communist China Essay

This essay has a total of 2084 words and 10 pages.

The Roots Of Communist China

To say that the Chinese Communist revolution is a non-Western revolution is more
than a clich‚. That revolution has been primarily directed, not like the French Revolution
but against alien Western influences that approached the level of domination and
drastically altered China's traditional relationship with the world. Hence the Chinese
Communist attitude toward China's traditional past is selectively critical, but by no means
totally hostile. The Chinese Communist revolution, and the foreign policy of the regime to
which it has given rise, have several roots, each of which is embedded in the past more
deeply than one would tend to expect of a movement seemingly so convulsive.
The Chinese superiority complex institutionalized in their tributary system was
justified by any standards less advanced or efficient than those of the modern West. China
developed an elaborate and effective political system resting on a remarkable cultural
unity, the latter in turn being due mainly to the general acceptance of a common, although
difficult, written language and a common set of ethical and social values, known as
Confucianism. Traditional china had neither the knowledge nor the power that would have
been necessary to cope with the superior science, technology, economic organization, and
military force that expanding West brought to bear on it. The general sense of national
weakness and humiliation was rendered still keener by a unique phenomenon, the
modernization of Japan and its rise to great power status. Japan's success threw China's
failure into sharp remission.
The Japanese performance contributed to the discrediting and collapse of China's
imperial system, but it did little to make things easier for the subsequent successor. The
Republic was never able to achieve territorial and national unity in the face of bad
communications and the widespread diffusion of modern arms throughout the country.
Lacking internal authority, it did not carry much weight in its foreign relations. As it
struggled awkwardly, there arose two more radical political forces, the relatively powerful
Kuomintang of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek, and the younger and weaker
Communist Party of China (CPC ). With indispensable support from the CPC and the
Third International, the Kuomintang achieved sufficient success so it felt justified in
proclaiming a new government, controlled by itself, for the whole of China. For a time
the Kuomintang made a valiant effort to tackle China's numerous and colossal problems,
including those that had ruined its predecessor : poor communications and the wide
distribution of arms. It also took a strongly anti-Western course in its foreign relations,
with some success. It is impossible to say whether the Kuomintang's regime would
ultimately have proven viable and successful if it had not been ruined by an external
enemy, as the Republic had been by its internal opponents. The more the Japanese exerted
preemptive pressures on China, the more the people tended to look on the Kuomintang as
the only force that prevent china from being dominated by Japan. During the Sino-
Japanese war of 1937, the Kuomintang immediately suffered major military defeats and
lost control of eastern China. It was only saved from total hopelessness or defeat by
Japan's suicidal decision to attack the United States and invasion of Southeastern Asia.
But military rescue from Japan brought no significant improvement in the Kuomintang's
domestic performance in the political and economic fields, which if anything to get worse.
Clearly the pre-Communist history of Modern China has been essentially one of weakness,
humiliation, and failure. This is the atmosphere in which the CPC developed its leadership
and growth in. The result has been a strong determination on the part of that leadership to
eliminate foreign influence within China, to modernize their country, and to eliminate
Western influence from eastern Asia, which included the Soviet Union. China was
changing and even developing, but its overwhelming marks were still poverty and
weakness. During their rise to power the Chinese Communists, like most politically
conscious Chinese, were aware of these conditions and anxious to eliminate them. Mao
Tse-tung envisioned a mixed economy under Communist control, such as had existed in
the Soviet Union during the period of the New Economic Policy. The stress was more
upon social justice, and public ownership of the "commanding heights" of the economy
than upon development. In 1945, Mao was talking more candidly about development, still
within the framework of a mixed economy under Communist control, and stressing the
need for more heavy industry; I believe because he had been impressed by the role of
heavy industry in determine the outcome of World War II. In his selected works he said
"that the necessary capital would come mainly from the accumulated wealth of the
Chinese people" but latter added "that China would appreciate foreign aid and even
private foreign investment, under non exploitative conditions."


After Chiang Kai-shek broke away from the CPC they found themselves in a
condition that they were not accustom to, they had no armed forces or territorial bases of
its own. It had no program of strategy other than the one that Stalin had compromised,
who from the Sixth World Congress of the Comintern in 1928 to the Seventh in 1935
insisted, largely because the disaster he had suffered in China that Communist Parties
everywhere must promote world revolution in a time of depression. The CPC was ridden
with factionalism; the successful effort to replace this situation with one of relative
"bolshevization" or in layman's term this means imposed unity, which was ultimately
made by Mao Tse-tung, and not by Stalin.
Parallel with the Comintern-dominated central apparatus of the CPC in Shanghai,
there arose a half dozen Communist-led base areas, each with a guerrilla army, in Central
and South China. These bases existed mainly by virtue of the efforts of the local
Communist leadership to satisfy the serious economic and social grievances of the local
civilians, often violently, through such means as redistribution of land at the expense of
landlords and the reduction of interest rates at the expense of moneylenders. Of these base
areas, or soviets, the most important was the one led by Mao Tse-tung and centered in the
southeastern city of Kiangsi. Correspondingly, in return for such service Mao was elected
chairman of a Central Soviet Government, who supposedly controlled all the Communist
base areas in 1931.

Before I tell about Mao Tse-tung, I will tell you about Maoism. By Maoism or
"the thought of Mao Tse-tung" as the CPC would put it is the entire evolving complex of
patterns of official thought and behavior that CPC has developed while under Mao's
leadership. It was very difficult to unscramble Mao's individual contribution while not
confusing it with other thinkers of this time period as many have done and are still doing
to this date. It is also difficult to separate the pre-1949 and the post-1949 aspects and the
domestic from the international aspects. The first basic and most important characteristic
that I believe is a deep and sincere nationalism that has been merged with the strictly
Communist elements. Then closely resembling nationalism was his populism approach so
full of strain that the CPC saw itself not merely as the Vanguard of the common people,
plus as the progressive side of the middle class, but as representative of the people. This
was important as it played the opposite position of the " three big mountains"
(imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism) and still yet accept the passively the
leadership CPC. Maoism still possessed two other points that are significant in
understanding this ideology, it recognizes the decisive importance in history of conscious,
voluntary activity and of subjective forces in more detail than the sometimes compared
Leninism which was opposed to deterministic, objective forces. The last point it brings out
is that Maoism stresses contradictions and struggle, or what might be called the power of
negative thinking, to the point where it invents enemies of all types and comments on their
size and calls them "paper tiger" as he did in a speech in 1950.

Mao Tse-tung

On December 26th 1893 in a small village about twenty-eight miles to the west of
Hsiangt'an, Hunan in Shaoshanch'ung, Mao Tse-tung was born. He was born during a
time of widespread suffrage, his father Mao Shun-sheng had left his family to join the army
hoping to return and be able to take care of his family. He soon returned with ample funds
Continues for 5 more pages >>