The Search for Modern China

By Jonathan D. Spence | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 19 The Birth of the People's Republic

COUNTRYSIDE AND TOWN, 1949-1950

In an essay he wrote in mid- 1949 entitled "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship," Mao Zedong succinctly spelled out the ideas that would permeate the governmental policies of the new Chinese state. The experience of the revolution to date could be analyzed into two basic categories, wrote Mao. The first was the arousing of the nation's masses to build a "domestic united front under the leadership of the working class." This united front included the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie, as well as the working class, and would form the basis of a "people's democratic dictatorship" that the working class would lead. The second category embraced the international aspects of the revolution, including China's alliance with the Soviet Union, the countries in the Soviet bloc, and the world proletariat. This dimension of the revolution had taught the Chinese that they had to "lean to one side" or the other in their allegiances—either to socialism or to imperialism. The triumphs of the revolution had been attained under the leadership of the CCP, which, said Mao, "is no longer a child or a lad in his teens but has become an adult." 1

Mao then elaborated on some of his main intentions. The new government would establish relations with any country willing to respect China's international equality and territorial integrity. China did not believe it could prosper without any international help. And China, in enforcing the people's democratic dictatorship, would "deprive the reactionaries of the right to speak and let the people alone have the right." In jocular style, Mao imag-

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The Search for Modern China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Search for Modern China i
  • Title Page iv
  • Contents ix
  • Maps xv
  • Tables xvii
  • Preface to the Second Edition xix
  • Preface to the First Edition xxiii
  • Acknowledgments for the Second Edition xxvii
  • Acknowledgments for the First Edition xxix
  • The Use of Pinyin xxxi
  • Conquest and Consolidation 1
  • The Late Ming 7
  • The Manchu Conquest 26
  • Kangxi's Consolidation 49
  • Yongzheng's Authority 74
  • Chinese Society and the Reign of Qianlong 96
  • China and the Eighteenth-Century World 117
  • Fragmentation and Reform 139
  • The First Clash with the West 145
  • The Crisis Within 167
  • Restoration Through Reform 192
  • New Tensions in the Late Qing 215
  • The End of the Dynasty 243
  • Envisioning State and Society 265
  • The New Republic 271
  • A Road is Made" 290
  • The Fractured Alliance 314
  • The Guomindang in Power 342
  • Communist Survival 375
  • War and Revolution 411
  • World War II 419
  • The Fall of the Guomindang State 459
  • The Birth of the People's Republic 489
  • Planning the New Society 514
  • Deepening the Revolution 544
  • Cultural Revolution 565
  • Re-Entering the World 587
  • Reopening the Doors 595
  • Redefining Revolution 618
  • Levels of Power 647
  • Testing the Limits 677
  • Century's End 705
  • Appendixes A1
  • Notes and Permissions A3
  • Further Readings A23
  • Glossary A47
  • Illustration Credits A71
  • A Note on the Calligraphy A75
  • Index A77
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