The Prospects for Communist China

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

CHAPTER 3
THE SURGE ON ALL FRONTS: 1949-1950

I. DOMESTIC TASKS

The immediate coincidental domestic tasks facing Mao and his party in 1949 were the setting in operation of a new government for all China and establishing control over the people.

The People's Republic of China was set up by the Organic Law of September 27, 1949, following conclusions reached in a series of preparatory commissions which had operated over the previous seventeen months. In its beginning stages, especially at lower city and county levels, the creation of a new bureaucracy necessitated the employment of existing experienced personnel almost regardless of political background. As a part of calculated policy, prominent non-Communist collaborators and Kuomintang defectors -- intellectuals, civil servants, and military leaders -- were placed in ostensibly important positions. Thus the surface appearance of a coalition government, a major premise of Mao's New Democracy, was created with control and policy firmly in Communist hands from its inception.

The Organic Law defines superficially the structure of Communist China's government from the takeover down to the time when the new Draft Constitution succeeds it. In fact Communist China is governed not by the orderly table of organization provided in the Organic Law but by three chains of command unified by the triple functions of a small group of key Communist leaders whom Mao Tse-tung effectively dominates. There are the Communist Party, the Government of the People's Republic of China, and the People's Revolutionary Military Council, the last controlling the armed forces.1 Although the People's Revolutionary Military Council is formally part of the government it is the chief authority in a separate chain of command unified in the hands of a few key Communist Party government leaders. The mili-

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