Chen Yun and the Chinese Political System

Chen Yun and the Chinese Political System

Chen Yun and the Chinese Political System

Chen Yun and the Chinese Political System

Excerpt

Thirty-one years of practice has proved that Comrade Chen Yun’s
opinions are in conformity with China’s national conditions. If we act
according to his opinions, we can do our economic work well. In the
past, we sometimes put his opinions aside and even acted contrary to
them and suffered a great deal.

Chen Yun is one of the giants of the Chinese Communist movement. He has been a member of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from 1931 to the present, a length of time unmatched by any other Party member. His more than forty years on the Politburo has been exceeded only by Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and Zhu De. From 1954 to 1962, Chen was the fifth-ranking member of the Party, and one of Mao’s “close comrades in arms.” Since the landmark Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee in December 1978, Chen’s prestige and influence has been second only to Deng Xiaoping’s.

Since the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949, Chen Yun’s career has been inextricably connected with economic affairs. Until the Great Leap Forward in 1958, he was China’s economic czar. Chen was also the first top leader to champion economic reform in China. His calls in the mid-1950s to move away from both the Soviet model of economic development and the then nascent Maoist model of development have been highly influential even in recent years, when they

Deng Liqun, “Seriously Study Chen Yun’s Economic Theories,” in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report, China [hereafter FBIS], July 27, 1981, K-15.

On Chen’s rank from 1954–1962, see American Consulate-General, Hong Kong, Current Background, No. 290 (September 5, 1954), p. 24, where Chen is listed, along with Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, and Zhu De as Mao’s close comrade in arms. The First Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee in September 1956 formalized this ranking. See Documents of the Eighth Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, September 1956 to April 1969, Vol. I (Hong Kong: Union Research Institute, 1971), pp. 103–104. After 1962, Chen lost power, but he did not formally lose his number 5 spot until 1966. On Chen’s prestige today, see Fox Butterfield, China: Alive in the Bitter Sea (New York: Times Books, 1982), p. 219.

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