The Prospects for Communist China

By W. W. Rostow. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
THE REVOLUTIONARY ROOTS

At the time of its accession to full control of mainland China in 1949 the Chinese Communist Party was already seasoned by nearly thirty years' growth, a long war, and a degree of administrative experience. Moreover, it had survived the vicissitudes of intraparty struggles, and came to power with a hard-core veteran leadership of tested loyalty to Mao, whose top position had already been validated by eleven years of unchallenged supremacy.

The Chinese Communist Party, then, as a going concern, had a definable past; and it is important to recall the extent to which recent developments are rooted in that pre-1949 revolutionary past.


I. THE REVOLUTIONARY ORIGINS OF DOMESTIC POLICY

Specifically, these were the major acts taken between 1940 and 1949 which have significantly affected the character of Chinese domestic policy since the takeover:

1. The publication of Mao's "The New Democracy" in 1940. Tactically a justification for the Popular Front line then being pursued within China, this pronouncement sketched an immediate national future designed to appeal to the widest number of Chinese. Mao stated that, in the first instance, the Communist China he sought would not be a proletarian dictatorship like the Soviet Union but a joint dictatorship of several revolutionary classes which would leave a considerable role for capitalism and for non-Communist parties and personages. Mao explicitly evoked Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles as the foundation for his proposed New China rather than the model of the Soviet Union as established by Lenin and developed by Stalin. Like Lenin and Hitler, Mao also stated overtly his ultimate purposes-which were complete socialization (including a collectivized

-49-

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