Proletarians of all countries, unite!
There is one goal, the conquest of Power!
THE CHINESE REVOLUTION AND THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA
The Red Flag
THE CHINESE REVOLUTION AND THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA
|„The Chinese Revolution and the Communist Party of China“ is a textbook which was written jointly by Chairman Mao Tse-tung and several other Comrades in Yenan to the winter of 1939. The first chapter, „Chinese Society“, was drafted by other Comrades and revised by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The second chapter, „The Chinese Revolution“, was written by Chairman Mao Tse-tung himself. Another chapter, scheduled to deal with „Party Building“, was left unfinished by the Comrades working on it. The two published chapters, and especially Chapter 2, have played a great educational role in the Communist Party of China and among the Chinese people. The views on New Democracy set out by Chairman Mao Tse-tung in Chapter 2 were considerably developed in his „On New Democracy“, written in January 1940.|
1. CHINESE SOCIETY
a. The Chinese Nation
China is one of the largest countries in the world, her territory being about the size of the whole of Europe. In this vast country of ours there are large areas of fertile land which provide us with food and clothing; mountain ranges across its length and breadth with extensive forests and rich mineral deposits; many rivers and lakes which provide us with water transport and irrigation; and a long coastline which facilitates communication with nations beyond the seas. From ancient times our forefathers have laboured, lived and multiplied on this vast territory.
China borders on the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in the northeast, the northwest and part of the west; the Mongolian People’s Republic in the north; Afghanistan, India, Bhutan and Nepal in the southwest and part of the west; Burma and Indo-China in the south; and Korea in the east, where she is also a close neighbor of Japan and the Philippines. China’s geographical setting has its advantages and disadvantages for the Chinese people’s revolution. It is an advantage to be adjacent to the Soviet Union and fairly distant from the major imperialist countries in Europe and America, and to have many colonial or semi-colonial countries around us. It is a disadvantage that Japanese imperialism, making use of its geographical proximity, is constantly threatening the very existence of all China’s nationalities and the Chinese people’s revolution.
China has a population of 450.000.000, or almost a quarter of the world total. Over nine-tenths of her inhabitants belong to the Han nationality. There are also scores of minority nationalities, including the Mongol, Hui, Tibetan, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Chuang, Chungchia and Korean nationalities, all with long histories though at different levels of cultural development. Thus China is a country with a very large population composed of many nationalities.
Developing along the same lines as many other nations of the world, the Chinese people (here we refer mainly to the Hans) went through many thousands of years of life in classless primitive communes. Some 4.000 years have gone by since the collapse of these primitive communes and the transition to class society, which took the form first of slave and then of feudal society. Throughout the history of Chinese civilization its agriculture and handicrafts have been renowned for their high level of development; there have been many great thinkers, scientists, inventors, statesmen, soldiers, men of letters and artists, and we have a rich store of classical works. The compass was invented in China very long ago.i The art of paper-making was discovered as early as 1.800 years ago.ii Block-printing was invented 1.300 years ago,iii and movable type 800 years ago.iv The use of gunpowder was known to the Chinese before the Europeans.v Thus China has one of the oldest civilizations in the world; she has a recorded history of nearly 4.000 years.
The Chinese nation is known throughout the world not only for its industriousness and stamina, but also for its ardent love of freedom and its rich revolutionary traditions. The history of the Han people, for instance, demonstrates that the Chinese never submit to tyrannical rule but invariably use revolutionary means to overthrow or change it. In the thousands of years of Han history, there have been hundreds of peasant uprisings, great and small, against the dark rule of the landlords and the nobility. And most dynastic changes came about as a result of such peasant uprisings. All the nationalities of China have resisted foreign oppression and have invariably resorted to rebellion to shake it off. They favour a union on the basis of equality but are against the oppression of one nationality by another. During the thousands of years of recorded history, the Chinese nation has given birth to many national heroes and revolutionary leaders. Thus the Chinese nation has a glorious revolutionary tradition and a splendid historical heritage.
b. The Old Feudal Society
Although China is a great nation and although she is a vast country with an immense population, a long history, a rich revolutionary tradition and a splendid historical heritage, her economic, political and cultural development was sluggish for a long time after the transition from slave to feudal society. This feudal society, beginning with the Chou and Chin Dynasties, lasted about 3.000 years.
The main features of the economic and political system of China’s feudal era were as follows:
(1) A self-sufficient natural economy predominated. The peasants produced for themselves not only agricultural products but most of the handicraft articles they needed. What the landlords and the nobility exacted from them in the form of land rent was also chiefly for private enjoyment and not for exchange. Although exchange developed as time went on, it did not play a decisive role in the economy as a whole.
(2) The feudal ruling class composed of landlords, the nobility and the emperor owned most of the land, while the peasants had very little or none at all. The peasants tilled the land of the landlords, the nobility and the royal family with their own farm implements and had to turn over to them for their private enjoyment 40, 50, 60, 70, or even 80 per cent or more of the crop. In effect the peasants were still serfs.
(3) Not only did the landlords, the nobility and the royal family live on rent extorted from the peasants, but the landlord state also exacted tribute, taxes and corvee services from them to support a horde of government officials and an army which was used mainly for their repression.
(4) The feudal landlord State was the organ of power protecting this system of feudal exploitation. While the feudal state was torn apart into rival principalities in the period before the Chin Dynasty, it became autocratic and centralized after the first Chin emperor unified China, though some feudal separatism remained. The emperor reigned supreme in the feudal state, appointing officials in charge of the armed forces, the law courts, the treasury and state granaries in all parts of the county and relying on the landed gentry as the mainstay of the entire system of feudal rule.
It was under such feudal economic exploitation and political oppression that the Chinese peasants lived like slaves, in poverty and suffering, through the ages. Under the bondage of feudalism they had no freedom of person. The landlord had the right to beat, abuse or even kill them at will, and they had no political rights whatsoever. The extreme poverty and backwardness of the peasants resulting from ruthless landlord exploitation and oppression is the basic reason why Chinese society remained at the same stage of socio-economic development for several thousand years.
The principal contradiction in feudal society was between the peasantry and the landlord class.
The peasants and the handicraft workers were the basic classes which created the wealth and culture of this society.
The ruthless economic exploitation and political oppression of the Chinese peasants forced them into numerous uprisings against landlord rule. There were hundreds of uprisings, great and small, all of them peasant revolts or peasant revolutionary wars — from the uprisings of Chen Sheng, Wu Kuang, Hsiang Yu and Liu Pangvi in the Chin Dynasty, those of Hsinshih, Pinglin, the Red Eyebrows, the Bronze Horsesvii and the Yellow Turbansviii in the Han Dynasty, those of Li Mi and Tou Chien-theix in the Sui Dynasty, those of Wang Hsienchih and Huang Chaox in the Tang Dynasty, those of Sung Chiang and Fang Laxi in the Sung Dynasty, that of Chu Yuan-changxii in the Yuan Dynasty, and that of Li Tzu-chengxiii in the Ming Dynasty, down to the uprising known as the War of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in the Ching Dynasty. The scale of peasant uprisings and peasant wars in Chinese history has no parallel anywhere else. The class struggles of the peasants, the peasant uprisings and peasant wars constituted the real motive force of historical development in Chinese feudal society. For each of the major peasant uprisings and wars dealt a blow to the feudal regime of the time, and hence more or less furthered the growth of the social productive forces. However, since neither new productive forces, nor new relations of production, nor new class forces, nor any advanced political party existed in those days, the peasant uprisings and wars did not have correct leadership such as the proletariat and the Communist Party of China (CPCh) provide today; every peasant revolution failed, and the peasantry was invariably used by the landlords and the nobility, either during or after the revolution, as a lever for bringing about dynastic change. Therefore’ although some social progress was made after each great peasant revolutionary struggle, the feudal economic relations and political system remained basically unchanged.
It is only in the last hundred years that a change of a different order has taken place.
c. Present-Day Colonial, Semi-Colonial and Semi-Feudal Society
As explained above, Chinese society remained feudal for 3-000 years. But is it still completely feudal today? No, China has changed. After the Opium War of 1840 China gradually changed into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Since the Incident of September 18th 1931, when the Japanese imperialists started their armed aggression, China has changed further into a colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. We shall now describe the course of this change.
As discussed in Section 2, Chinese feudal society lasted for about 3.000 years. It was not until the middle of the 19th century, with the penetration of foreign capitalism, that great changes took place in Chinese society.
As China’s feudal society had developed a commodity economy, and so carried within itself the seeds of capitalism, China would of herself have developed slowly into a capitalist society even without the impact of foreign capitalism. Penetration by foreign capitalism accelerated this process. Foreign capitalism played an important part in the disintegration of China’s social economy, on the one hand it undermined the foundations of her self-sufficient natural economy and wrecked the handicraft industries both in the cities and in the peasants’ homes, and on the other, it hastened the growth of a commodity economy in town and country.
Apart from its disintegrating effects on the foundations of China’s feudal economy, this state of affairs gave rise to certain objective conditions and possibilities for the development of capitalist production in China. For the destruction of the natural economy created a commodity market for capitalism, while the bankruptcy of large numbers of peasants and handicraftsmen provided it with a labour market
In fact, some merchants, landlords and bureaucrats began investing in modern industry as far back as sixty years ago, in the latter part of the 19th Century, under the stimulus of foreign capitalism and because of certain cracks in the feudal economic structure. About forty years ago, at the turn of the century, China’s national capitalism took its first steps forward. Then about twenty years ago, during the first imperialist world war, China’s national industry expanded, chiefly in textiles and flour milling, because the imperialist countries in Europe and America were preoccupied with the war and temporarily relaxed their oppression of China.
The history of the emergence and development of national capitalism is at the same time the history of the emergence and development of the Chinese bourgeoisie and proletariat. Just as a section of the merchants, landlords and bureaucrats were precursors of the Chinese bourgeoisie, so a section of the peasants and handicraft workers were the precursors of the Chinese proletariat. As distinct social classes, the Chinese bourgeoisie and proletariat are new-born and never existed before in Chinese history. They have evolved into new social classes from the womb of feudal society. They are twins born of China’s old (feudal) society, at once linked to each other and antagonistic to each other. However, the Chinese proletariat emerged and grew simultaneously not only with the Chinese national bourgeoisie but also with the enterprises directly operated by the imperialists in China. Hence, a very large section of the Chinese proletariat is older and more experienced than the Chinese bourgeoisie, and is therefore a greater and more broadly based social force.
However, the emergence and development of capitalism is only one aspect of the change that has taken place since the imperialist penetration of China. There is another concomitant and obstructive aspect, namely, the collusion of imperialism with the Chinese feudal forces to arrest the development of Chinese capitalism.
It is certainly not the purpose of the imperialist powers invading China to transform feudal China into capitalist China. On the contrary, their purpose is to transform China into their own semi-colony or colony.
To this end the imperialist powers have used and continue to use military, political, economic and cultural means of oppression, so that China has gradually become a semi-colony and colony. They are as follows:
(1) The imperialist powers have waged many wars of aggression against China, for instance, the Opium War launched by Britain in 1840, the war launched by the Anglo-French allied forces in 1857,xiv the Sino-French War of 1884,xv the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, and the war launched by the allied forces of the eight powers in 1900.xvi After defeating China in war, they not only occupied many neighbouring countries formerly under her protection, but seized or „leased“ parts of her territory. For instance, Japan occupied Taiwan and the Penghu Islands and „leased“ the port of Lushun, Britain seized Hongkong and France „leased“ Kwangchowwan. In addition to annexing territory, they exacted huge indemnities. Thus heavy blows were struck at China’s huge feudal empire.
(2) The imperialist powers have forced China to sign numerous unequal treaties by which they have acquired the right to station land and sea forces and exercise consular jurisdiction in China,xvii and they have carved up the whole country into imperialist spheres of influence.xviii
(3) The imperialist powers have gained control of all the important trading ports in China by these unequal treaties and have marked off areas in many of these ports as concessions under their direct administration.xix They have also gained control of China’s customs, foreign trade and communications (sea, land, inland water and air). Thus they have been able to dump their goods in China, turn her into a market for their industrial products, and at the same time subordinate her agriculture to their imperialist needs.
(4) The imperialist powers operate many enterprises in both light and heavy industry in China in order to utilize her raw materials and cheap labour on the spot, and they thereby directly exert economic pressure on China’s national industry and obstruct the development of her productive forces.
(5) The imperialist powers monopolize China’s banking and finance by extending loans to the Chinese government and establishing banks in China. Thus they have not only overwhelmed China’s national capitalism in commodity competition, they have also secured a stranglehold on her banking and finance.
(6) The imperialist powers have established a network of comprador and merchant-usurer exploitation right across China, from the trading ports to the remote hinterland, and have created a comprador and merchant-usurer class in their service, so as to facilitate their exploitation of the masses of the Chinese peasantry and other sections of the people.
(7) The imperialist powers have made the feudal landlord class as well as the comprador class the main props of their rule in China. Imperialism „first allies itself with the ruling strata of the previous social structure, with the feudal lords and the trading and money-lending bourgeoisie, against the majority of the people. Everywhere imperialism attempts to preserve and to perpetuate all those pre-capitalist forms of exploitation (especially in the villages) which serve as the basis for the existence of its reactionary allies“.xx „Imperialism, with all its financial and military might, is the force in China that supports, inspires, fosters and preserves the feudal survivals, together with their entire bureaucratic-militarist superstructure.“xxi
(8) The imperialist powers supply the reactionary government with large quantities of munitions and a host of military advisers, in order to keep the warlords fighting among themselves and to suppress the Chinese people.
(9) Furthermore, the imperialist powers have never slackened their efforts to poison the minds of the Chinese people. This is their policy of cultural aggression. And it is carried out through missionary work, through establishing hospitals and schools, publishing newspapers and inducing Chinese students to study abroad. Their aim is to train intellectuals who will serve their interests and to dupe the people.
(10) Since September 18th, 1931, the large-scale invasion of Japanese imperialism has turned a big chunk of semi-colonial China into a Japanese colony.
These facts represent the other aspect of the change that has taken place since the imperialist penetration of China–the blood-stained picture of feudal China being reduced to semi-feudal, semi-colonial and colonial China.
It is thus clear that in their aggression against China the imperialist powers have on the one hand hastened the disintegration of feudal society and the growth of elements of capitalism, thereby transforming a feudal into a semi-feudal society, and on the other imposed their ruthless rule on China, reducing an independent country to a semi-colonial and colonial country.
Taking both these aspects together, we can see that China’s colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal society possesses the following characteristics:
(1) The foundations of the self-sufficient natural economy of feudal times have been destroyed, but the exploitation of the peasantry by the landlord class, which is the basis of the system of feudal exploitation, not only remains intact but, linked as it is with exploitation by comprador and usurer capital, clearly dominates China’s social and economic life.
(2) National capitalism has developed to a certain extent and has played a considerable part in China’s political and cultural life but it has not become the principal pattern in China’s social economy, it is flabby and is mostly associated with foreign imperialism and domestic feudalism in varying degrees.
(3) The autocratic rule of the emperors and nobility has been overthrown, and in its place there have arisen first the warlord-bureaucrat rule of the landlord class and then the joint dictatorship of the landlord class and the big bourgeoisie. In the occupied areas there is the rule of Japanese imperialism and its puppets.
(4) Imperialism controls not only China’s vital financial and economic arteries but also her political and military power. In the occupied areas everything is in the hands of Japanese imperialism.
(5) China’s economic, political and cultural development is very uneven, because she has been under the complete or partial domination of many imperialist powers, because she has actually been in a state of disunity for a long time, and because her territory is immense.
(6) Under the twofold oppression of imperialism and feudalism and especially as a result of the large-scale invasion of Japanese imperialism, the Chinese people, and particularly the peasants, have become more and more impoverished and have even been pauperized in large numbers, living in hunger and cold and without any political rights. The poverty and lack of freedom among the Chinese people are on a scale seldom found elsewhere.
Such are the characteristics of China’s colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
This situation has in the main been determined by the Japanese and other imperialist forces; it is the result of the collusion of foreign imperialism and domestic feudalism.
The contradiction between imperialism and the Chinese nation and the contradiction between feudalism and the great masses of the people are the basic contradictions in modern Chinese society. Of course, there are others, such as the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and the contradictions within the reactionary ruling classes themselves. But the contradiction between imperialism and the Chinese nation is the principal one. These contradictions and their intensification must inevitably result in the incessant growth of revolutionary movements. The great revolutions in modern and contemporary China have emerged and grown on the basis of these basic contradictions.
2. THE CHINESE REVOLUTION
a. The Revolutionary Movements in the Last 100 Years
The history of China’s transformation into a semi-colony and colony by imperialism in collusion with Chinese feudalism is at the same time a history of struggle by the Chinese people against imperialism and its lackeys. The Opium War, the Movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Sino-French War, the Sino-Japanese War, the Reform Movement of 1898, the Yi Ho Tuan Movement, the Revolution of 1911, the May 4th Movement, the May 30th Movement, the Northern Expedition, the Agrarian Revolutionary War and the present War of Resistance Against Japan — all testify to the Chinese people’s indomitable spirit in fighting imperialism and its lackeys.
Thanks to the Chinese people’s unrelenting and heroic struggle during the last hundred years, imperialism has not been able to subjugate China, nor will it ever be able to do so.
The valiant Chinese people will certainly fight on, even though Japanese imperialism is now exerting its full strength in an all-out offensive and many landlord and big bourgeois elements, such as the overt and covert Wang Ching-weis, have already capitulated to the enemy or are preparing to do so. This heroic struggle will not cease until the Chinese people have driven Japanese imperialism out of China and achieved the complete liberation of the country.
The national revolutionary struggle of the Chinese people has a history of fully one hundred years counting from the Opium War of 1840, or of thirty years counting from the Revolution of 1911. It has not yet run its full course, nor has it yet performed its tasks with any signal success; therefore the Chinese people, and above all the Communist Party, must shoulder the responsibility of resolutely fighting on
What are the targets of the revolution? What are its tasks? What are its motive forces? What is its character? And what are its perspectives? These are the questions we shall now deal with.
b. The Targets of the Chinese Revolution
From our analysis in the third section of Chapter 1, we know that present-day Chinese society is a colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Only when we grasp the nature of Chinese society will we be able clearly to understand the targets, tasks, motive forces and character of the Chinese Revolution and its perspectives and future transition. A clear understanding of the nature of Chinese society, that is, of Chinese conditions, is therefore the key to a clear understanding of all the problems of the revolution.
Since the nature of present-day Chinese society is colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal, what are the chief targets or enemies at this stage of the Chinese Revolution?
They are imperialism and feudalism, the bourgeoisie of the imperialist countries and the landlord class of our country. For it is these two that are the chief oppressors, the chief obstacles to the progress of Chinese society at the present stage. The two collude with each other in oppressing the Chinese people, and imperialism is the foremost and most ferocious enemy of the Chinese people, because national oppression by imperialism is the more onerous.
Since Japan’s armed invasion of China, the principal enemy of the revolution has been Japanese imperialism together with all the Chinese traitors and reactionaries in league with it, whether they have capitulated openly or are preparing to do so.
The Chinese bourgeoisie, which is also a victim of imperialist oppression, once led or played a principal role in revolutionary struggles such as the Revolution of 1911, and has participated in revolutionary struggles such as the Northern Expedition and the present War of Resistance Against Japan. In the long period from 1927 to 1937, however, its upper stratum, namely, the section represented by the reactionary clique within the Kuomintang, collaborated with imperialism, formed a reactionary alliance with the landlord class, betrayed the friends who had helped it — the Communist Party, the proletariat, the peasantry and other sections of the petty bourgeoisie — betrayed the Chinese revolution and brought about its defeat. At that time therefore, the revolutionary people and the revolutionary political Party (the Communist Party) could not but regard these bourgeois elements as one of the targets of the revolution. In the War of Resistance a section of the big landlord class and big bourgeoisie, represented by Wang Ching-wei, has turned traitor and deserted to the enemy. Consequently, the anti-Japanese people cannot but regard these big bourgeois elements who have betrayed our national interests as one of the targets of the revolution.
It is evident, then, that the enemies of the Chinese Revolution are very powerful. They include not only powerful imperialists and powerful feudal forces, but also, at times, the bourgeois reactionaries who collaborate with the imperialist and feudal forces to oppose the people. Therefore, it is wrong to underestimate the strength of the enemies of the revolutionary Chinese people.
In the face of such enemies, the Chinese Revolution cannot be other than protracted and ruthless. With such powerful enemies, the revolutionary forces cannot be built up and tempered into a power capable of crushing them except over a long period of time. With enemies who so ruthlessly suppress the Chinese revolution, the revolutionary forces cannot hold their own positions, let alone capture those of the enemy, unless they steel themselves and display their tenacity to the full. It is therefore wrong to think that the forces of the Chinese Revolution can be built up in the twinkling of an eye, or that China’s revolutionary struggle can triumph overnight.
In the face of such enemies, the principal means or form of the Chinese Revolution must be armed struggle, not peaceful struggle. For our enemies have made peaceful activity impossible for the Chinese people and have deprived them of all political freedom and democratic rights. Stalin says: „In China the armed revolution is fighting the armed counter-revolutionary. That is one of the specific features and one of the advantages of the Chinese Revolution.“xxii This formulation is perfectly correct. Therefore, it is wrong to belittle armed struggle, revolutionary war, guerrilla war and army work.
In the face of such enemies, there arises the question of revolutionary base areas. Since China’s key cities have long been occupied by the powerful imperialists and their reactionary Chinese allies, it is imperative for the revolutionary ranks to turn the backward villages into advanced, consolidated base areas, into great military, political, economic and cultural bastions of the revolution from which to fight their vicious enemies who are using the cities for attacks on the rural districts, and in this way gradually to achieve the complete victory of the revolution through protracted fighting; it is imperative for them to do so if they do not wish to compromise with imperialism and its lackeys but are determined to fight on, and if they intend to build up and temper their forces, and avoid decisive battles with a powerful enemy while their own strength is inadequate. Such being the case, victory in the Chinese Revolution can be won first in the rural areas and this is possible because China’s economic development is uneven (her economy not being a unified capitalist economy), because her territory is extensive (which gives the revolutionary forces room to manoeuvre), because the counter-revolutionary camp is disunited and full of contradictions, and because the struggle of the peasants who are the main force in the revolution is led by the Communist Party, the Party of the proletariat; but on the other hand, these very circumstances make the revolution uneven and render the task of winning complete victory protracted and arduous. Clearly then the protracted revolutionary struggle in the revolutionary base areas consists mainly in peasant guerrilla warfare led by the CPCh. Therefore, it is wrong to ignore the necessity of using rural districts as revolutionary support bases, to neglect painstaking work among the peasants, and to neglect guerrilla warfare.
However, stressing armed struggle does not mean abandoning other forms of struggle; on the contrary, armed struggle cannot succeed unless co-ordinated with other forms of struggle. And stressing the work in the rural base areas does not mean abandoning our work in the cities and in the other vast rural areas which are still under the enemy’s rule; on the contrary, without the work in the cities and in these other rural areas, our own rural base areas would be isolated and the revolution would suffer defeat. Moreover, the final objective of the revolution is the capture of the cities, the enemy’s main bases, and this objective cannot be achieved without adequate work in the cities.
It is thus clear that the revolution cannot triumph either in the rural areas or in the cities without the destruction of the enemy’s army, its chief weapon against the people. Therefore, besides annihilating the enemy’s troops in battle, there is the important task of disintegrating them.
It is also clear that the Communist Party must not be impetuous and adventurist in its propaganda and organizational work in the urban and rural areas which have been occupied by the enemy and dominated by the forces of reaction and darkness for a long time but that it must have well-selected cadres working underground, must accumulate strength and bide its time there. In leading the people in struggle against the enemy, the Party must adopt the tactics of advancing step by step slowly and surely, keeping to the principle of waging struggles on just grounds, to our advantage, and with restraint, and making use of such open forms of activity as are permitted by law, decree and social custom; empty clamour and reckless action can never lead to success.
c. The Tasks of the Chinese Revolution
Imperialism and the feudal landlord class being the chief enemies of the Chinese Revolution at this stage, what are the present tasks of the revolution?
Unquestionably, the main tasks are to strike at these two enemies, to carry out a national revolution to overthrow foreign imperialist oppression and a democratic revolution to overthrow feudal landlord oppression, the primary and foremost task being the national revolution to overthrow imperialism.
These two great tasks are interrelated. Unless imperialist rule is overthrown, the rule of the feudal landlord class cannot be terminated, because imperialism is its main support. Conversely, unless help is given to the peasants in their struggle to overthrow the feudal landlord class, it will be impossible to build powerful revolutionary contingents to overthrow imperialist rule, because the feudal landlord class is the main social base of imperialist rule in China and the peasantry is the main force in the Chinese revolution. Therefore the two fundamental tasks, the national revolution and the democratic revolution, are at once distinct and united.
In fact, the two revolutionary tasks are already linked, since the main immediate task of the national revolution is to resist the Japanese imperialist invaders and since the democratic revolution must be accomplished in order to win the war. It is wrong to regard the national revolution and the democratic revolution as two entirely different stages of the revolution.
d. The Motive Forces of the Chinese Revolution
Given the nature of Chinese society and the present targets and tasks of the Chinese Revolution as analysed and defined above, what are the motive forces of the Chinese Revolution?
Since Chinese society is colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal, since the targets of the revolution are mainly foreign imperialist rule and domestic feudalism, and since its tasks are to overthrow these two oppressors, which of the various classes and strata in Chinese society constitute the forces capable of fighting them? This is the question of the motive forces of the Chinese Revolution at the present stage. A clear understanding of this question is indispensable to a correct solution of the problem of the basic tactics of the Chinese Revolution.
What classes are there in present-day Chinese society? There are the landlord class and the bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the upper stratum of the bourgeoisie constituting the ruling classes in Chinese society. And there are the proletariat, the peasantry, and the different sections of the petty bourgeoisie other than the peasantry, all of which are still the subject classes in vast areas of China.
The attitude and the stand of these classes towards the Chinese Revolution are entirely determined by their economic status in society. Thus the motive forces as well as the targets and tasks of the revolution are determined by the nature of China’s socio-economic system.
Let us now analyse the different classes in Chinese society.
The Landlord Class
The landlord class forms the main social base for imperialist rule in China; it is a class which uses the feudal system to exploit and oppress the peasants, obstructs China’s political, economic and cultural development and plays no progressive role whatsoever.
Therefore, the landlords, as a class, are a target and not a motive force of the revolution.
In the present War of Resistance a section of the big landlords, along with one section of the big bourgeoisie (the capitulationists), has surrendered to the Japanese aggressors and turned traitor, while another section of the big landlords, along with another section of the big bourgeoisie (the die-hards), is increasingly wavering even though it is still in the anti-Japanese camp. But a good many of the enlightened gentry who are middle and small landlords and who have some capitalist colouration display some enthusiasm for the war, and we should unite with them in the common fight against Japan,
There is a distinction between the comprador big bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.
The comprador big bourgeoisie is a class which directly serves the capitalists of the imperialist countries and is nurtured by them; countless ties link it closely with the feudal forces in the countryside. Therefore, it is a target of the Chinese revolution and never in the history of the revolution has it been a motive force.
However, different sections of the comprador big bourgeoisie owe allegiance to different imperialist powers, so that when the contradictions among the latter become very acute and the revolution is directed mainly against one particular imperialist power, it becomes possible for the sections of the comprador class which serve other imperialist groupings to join the current anti-imperialist front to a certain extent and for a certain period. But they will turn against the Chinese Revolution the moment their masters do.
In the present war the pro-Japanese big bourgeoisie (the capitulationists) have either surrendered or are preparing to surrender. The pro-European and pro-American big bourgeoisie (the die-hards) are wavering more and more, even though they are still in the anti-Japanese camp, and they are playing the double game of simultaneously resisting Japan and opposing the Communist Party. Our policy towards the big bourgeois capitulationists is to treat them as enemies and resolutely strike them down. Towards the big bourgeois die-hards, we employ a revolutionary dual policy; on the one hand, we unite with them because they are still anti-Japanese and we should make use of their contradictions with Japanese imperialism, but on the other hand, we firmly struggle against them because they pursue a high-handed anti-Communist, reactionary policy detrimental to resistance and unity, both of which would be jeopardized without such a struggle.
The national bourgeoisie is a class with a dual character.
On the one hand, it is oppressed by imperialism and fettered by feudalism and consequently is in contradiction with both of them. In this respect it constitutes one of the revolutionary forces. In the course of the Chinese revolution it has displayed a certain enthusiasm for fighting imperialism and the governments of bureaucrats and warlords.
But on the other hand, it lacks the courage to oppose imperialism and feudalism thoroughly because it is economically and politically flabby and still has economic ties with imperialism and feudalism. This emerges very clearly when the people’s revolutionary forces grow powerful.
It follows from the dual character of the national bourgeoisie that, at certain times and to a certain extent, it can take part in the revolution against imperialism and the governments of bureaucrats and warlords and can become a revolutionary force, but that at other times there is the danger of its following the comprador big bourgeoisie and acting as its accomplice in counter-revolution.
The national bourgeoisie in China, which is mainly the middle bourgeoisie, has never really held political power but has been restricted by the reactionary policies of the big landlord class and big bourgeoisie which are in power, although it followed them in opposing the revolution in the period from 1927 to 1931 (before the September 18th Incident). In the present war, it differs not only from the capitulationists of the big landlord class and big bourgeoisie but also from the big bourgeois die-hards, and so far has been a fairly good any of ours. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to have a prudent policy towards the national bourgeoisie.
The Different Sections of the Petty Bourgeoisie Other than the Peasantry
The petty bourgeoisie, other than the peasantry, consists of the vast numbers of intellectuals, small trades men, handicraftsmen and professional people.
Their status somewhat resembles that of the middle peasants, they all suffer under the oppression of imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie, and they are being driven ever nearer to bankruptcy or destitution.
Hence these sections of the petty bourgeoisie constitute one of the motive forces of the revolution and are a reliable ally of the proletariat. Only under the leadership of the proletariat can they achieve their liberation.
Let us now analyse the different sections of the petty bourgeoisie other than the peasantry.
First, the intellectuals and student youth. They do not constitute a separate class or stratum. In present-day China most of them may be placed in the petty-bourgeois category, judging by their family origin, their living conditions and their political outlook. Their numbers have grown considerably during the past few decades. Apart from that section of the intellectuals which has associated itself with the imperialists and the big bourgeoisie and works for them against the people, most intellectuals and students are oppressed by imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie, and live in fear of unemployment or of having to discontinue their studies. Therefore, they tend to be quite revolutionary. They are more or less equipped with bourgeois scientific knowledge, have a keen political sense and often play a vanguard role or serve as a link with the masses in the present stage of the revolution. The movement of the Chinese students abroad before the Revolution of 1911, the May 4th Movement of 1919, the May 30th Movement of 1925 and the December 9th Movement of 1935 are striking proofs of this. In particular, the large numbers of more or less impoverished intellectuals can join hands with the workers and peasants in supporting or participating in the revolution. In China, it was among the intellectuals and young students that Marxist-Leninist ideology was first widely disseminated and accepted. The revolutionary forces cannot be successfully organized and revolutionary work cannot be successfully conducted without the participation of revolutionary intellectuals. But the intellectuals often tend to be subjective and individualistic, impractical in their thinking and irresolute in action until they have thrown themselves heart and soul into mass revolutionary struggles, or made up their minds to serve the interests of the masses and become one with them. Hence although the mass of revolutionary intellectuals in China can play a vanguard role or serve as a link with the masses, not all of them will remain revolutionaries to the end. Some will drop out of the revolutionary ranks at critical moments and become passive, while a few may even become enemies of the revolution. The intellectuals can overcome their shortcomings only in mass struggles over a long period.
Second, the small tradesmen. Generally they run small shops and employ few or no assistants. They live under the threat of bankruptcy as a result of exploitation by imperialism, the big bourgeoisie and the usurers.
Third, the handicraftsmen. They are very numerous. They possess their own means of production and hire no workers, or only one or two apprentices or helpers. Their position is similar to that of the middle peasants.
Fourth, professional people. They include doctors and men of other professions. They do not exploit other people, or do so only to a slight degree. Their position is similar to that of the handicraftsmen.
These sections of the petty bourgeoisie make up a vast multitude of people whom we must win over and whose interests we must protect because in general they can support or join the revolution and are good allies. Their weakness is that some of them are easily influenced by the bourgeoisie; consequently, we must carry on revolutionary propaganda and organizational work among them.
The peasantry constitutes approximately 80 per cent of China’s total population and is the main force in her national economy today.
A sharp process of polarization is taking place among the peasantry.
First, the rich peasants. They form about 5 per cent of the rural population (or about 10 per cent together with the landlords) and constitute the rural bourgeoisie. Most of the rich peasants in China are semi-feudal in character, since they let a part of their land, practice usury and ruthlessly exploit the farm labourers. But they generally engage in labour themselves and in this sense are part of the peasantry. The rich-peasant form of production will remain useful for a definite period. Generally speaking, they might make some contribution to the anti-imperialist struggle of the peasant masses and stay neutral in the agrarian revolutionary struggle against the landlords. Therefore we should not regard the rich peasants as belonging to the same class as the landlords and should not prematurely adopt a policy of liquidating the rich peasantry.
Second, the middle peasants. They form about 20 per cent of China’s rural population. They are economically self-supporting (they may have something to lay aside when the crops are good, and occasionally hire some labour or lend small sums of money at interest); and generally they do not exploit others but are exploited by imperialism, the landlord class and the bourgeoisie. They have no political rights. Some of them do not have enough land, and only a section (the well-to-do middle peasants) have some surplus land. Not only can the middle peasants join the anti-imperialist revolution and the Agrarian Revolution, but they can also accept socialism. Therefore the whole middle peasantry can be a reliable ally of the proletariat and is an important motive force of the revolution. The positive or negative attitude of the middle peasants is one of the factors determining victory or defeat in the revolution, and this is especially true after the agrarian revolution when they become the majority of the rural population.
Third, the poor peasants. The poor peasants in China, together with the farm labourers, form about 70 per cent of the rural population. They are the broad peasant masses with no land or insufficient land, the semi-proletariat of the countryside, the biggest motive force of the Chinese revolution, the natural and most reliable ally of the proletariat and the main contingent of China’s revolutionary forces. Only under the leadership of the proletariat can the poor and middle peasants achieve their liberation, and only by forming a firm alliance with the poor and middle peasants can the proletariat lead the revolution to victory. Otherwise neither is possible. The term „peasantry“ refers mainly to the poor and middle peasants.
Among the Chinese proletariat, the modern industrial workers number from 2.500.000 to 3.000.000, the workers in small-scale industry and in handicrafts and the shop assistants in the cities total about 12.000.000, and in addition there are great numbers of rural proletarians (the farm labourers) and other propertyless people in the cities and the countryside.
In addition to the basic qualities it shares with the proletariat everywhere — its association with the most advanced form of economy, its strong sense of organization and discipline and its lack of private means of production — the Chinese proletariat has many other outstanding qualities.
What are they?
First, the Chinese proletariat is more resolute and thoroughgoing in revolutionary struggle than any other class because it is subjected to a threefold oppression (imperialist, bourgeois and feudal) which is marked by a severity and cruelty seldom found in other countries. Since there is no economic basis for social reformism in colonial and semi-colonial China as there is in Europe, the whole proletariat, with the exception of a few scabs, is most revolutionary.
Secondly, from the moment it appeared on the revolutionary scene, the Chinese proletariat came under the leadership of its own revolutionary party — the CPCh — and became the most politically conscious class in Chinese society.
Thirdly, because the Chinese proletariat by origin is largely made up of bankrupted peasants, it has natural ties with the peasant masses, which facilitates its forming a close alliance with them.
Therefore, in spite of certain unavoidable weaknesses, for instance, its smallness (as compared with the peasantry), its youth (as compared with the proletariat in the capitalist countries) and its low educational level (as compared with the bourgeoisie), the Chinese proletariat is nonetheless the basic motive force of the Chinese revolution. Unless it is led by the proletariat, the Chinese revolution cannot possibly succeed. To take an example from the past, the Revolution of 1911 miscarried because the proletariat did not consciously participate in it and the Communist Party was not yet in existence. More recently, the revolution of 1924-27 achieved great success for a time because the proletariat consciously participated and exercised leadership and the Communist Party was already in existence; it ended in defeat because the big bourgeoisie betrayed its alliance with the proletariat and abandoned the common revolutionary programme, and also because the Chinese proletariat and its political party did not yet have enough revolutionary experience. Now take the present anti-Japanese war–because the proletariat and the Communist Party are exercising leadership in the Anti-Japanese National United Front, the whole nation has been united and the great War of Resistance has been launched and is being resolutely pursued.
The Chinese proletariat should understand that although it is the class with the highest political consciousness and sense of organization, it cannot win victory by its own strength alone. In order to win, it must unite, according to varying circumstances, with all classes and strata that can take part in the revolution, and must organize a revolutionary united front. Among all the classes in Chinese society, the peasantry is a firm ally of the working class, the urban petty bourgeoisie is a reliable ally, and the national bourgeoisie is an ally in certain periods and to a certain extent. This is one of the fundamental laws established by China’s modern revolutionary history.
China’s status as a colony and semi-colony has given rise to a multitude of rural and urban unemployed. Denied proper means of making a living, many of them are forced to resort to illegitimate ones, hence the robbers, gangsters, beggars and prostitutes and the numerous people who live on superstitious practices. This social stratum is unstable; while some are apt to be bought over by the reactionary forces, others may join the revolution. These people lack constructive qualities and are given to destruction rather than construction; after joining the revolution, they become a source of roving-rebel and anarchist ideology in the revolutionary ranks. Therefore, we should know how to remould them and guard against their destructiveness.
The above is our analysis of the motive forces of the Chinese Revolution.
e. The Character of the Chinese Revolution
We have now gained an understanding of the nature of Chinese society, i.e., of the specific conditions in China; this understanding is the essential prerequisite for solving all China’s revolutionary problems. We are also clear about the targets, the tasks and the motive forces of the Chinese Revolution; these are basic issues at the present stage of the revolution and arise from the special nature of Chinese society, i.e., from China’s specific conditions. Understanding all this, we can now understand another basic issue of the revolution at the present stage, i.e., the character of the Chinese Revolution.
What, indeed, is the character of the Chinese revolution at the present stage? Is it a bourgeois-democratic or a proletarian-socialist revolution? Obviously, it is not the latter but the former.
Since Chinese society is colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal, since the principal enemies of the Chinese Revolution are imperialism and feudalism, since the tasks of the revolution are to overthrow these two enemies by means of a national and democratic revolution in which the bourgeoisie sometimes takes part, and since the edge of the revolution is directed against imperialism and feudalism and not against capitalism and capitalist private property in general even if the big bourgeoisie betrays the revolution and becomes its enemy — since all this is true, the character of the Chinese Revolution at the present stage is not proletarian-socialist but bourgeois-democratic.xxiii
However, in present-day China the bourgeois-democratic revolution is no longer of the old general type, which is now obsolete, but one of a new special type. We call this type the new-democratic revolution and it is developing in all other colonial and semi-colonial countries as well as in China. The new-democratic revolution is part of the world proletarian-socialist revolution, for it resolutely opposes imperialism, i.e., international capitalism. Politically, it strives for the joint dictatorship of the revolutionary classes over the imperialists, traitors and reactionaries, and opposes the transformation of Chinese society into a society under bourgeois dictatorship. Economically, it aims at the nationalization of all the big enterprises and capital of the imperialists, traitors and reactionaries, and the distribution among the peasants of the land held by the landlords, while preserving private capitalist enterprise in general and not eliminating the rich-peasant economy. Thus, the new type of democratic revolution clears the way for capitalism on the one hand and creates the prerequisites for socialism on the other. The present stage of the Chinese revolution is a stage of transition between the abolition of the colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal society and the establishment of a socialist society, i.e., it is a process of new-democratic revolution. This process, begun only after the First World War and the Russian October Revolution, started in China with the May 4th Movement of 1919. A new-democratic revolution is an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal revolution of the broad masses of the people under the leadership of the proletariat. Chinese society can advance to socialism only through such a revolution; there is no other way.
The new-democratic revolution is vastly different from the democratic revolutions of Europe and America in that it results not in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie but in a dictatorship of the united front of all the revolutionary classes under the leadership of the proletariat. In the present War of Resistance, the anti-Japanese democratic political power established in the base areas which are under the leadership of the Communist Party is the political power of the Anti-Japanese National United Front; this is neither a bourgeois nor a proletarian one-class dictatorship, but a joint dictatorship of the revolutionary classes under the leadership of the proletariat. All who stand for resistance to Japan and for democracy are entitled to share in this political power, regardless of their party affiliation.
The new-democratic revolution also differs from a socialist revolution in that it overthrows the rule of the imperialists, traitors and reactionaries in China but does not destroy any section of capitalism which is capable of contributing to the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal struggle.
The new-democratic revolution is basically in line with the revolution envisaged in the Three People’s Principles as advocated by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1924. In the Manifesto of the 1st National Congress of the Kuomintang issued in that year, Dr. Sun stated:
The so-called democratic system in modern states is usually monopolized by the bourgeoisie and has become simply an instrument for oppressing the common people. On the other hand the Kuomintang’s Principle of Democracy means a democratic system shared by all the common people and not privately owned by the few.
Enterprises, such as banks, railways and airlines, whether Chinese-owned or foreign-owned, which are either monopolistic in character or too big for private management, shall be operated and administrated by the state, so that private capital cannot dominate the livelihood of the people: this is the main principle of the regulation of capital.
And again in his Testament, Dr. Sun pointed out the fundamental principle for domestic and foreign policy: „We must arouse the masses of the people and unite in a common struggle with those nations of the world which treat us as equals.“ The Three People’s Principles of the old democracy, which were adapted to the old international and domestic conditions, were thus reshaped into the Three People’s Principles of New Democracy, which are adapted to the new international and domestic conditions. The CPCh was referring to the latter kind of Three People’s Principles and to no other when, in its Manifesto of September 22, 1937, it declared that „the Three People’s Principles being what China needs today, our Party is ready to fight for their complete realization“. These Three People’s Principles embody Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Three Great Policies — alliance with Russia, co-operation with the Communist Party and assistance to the peasants and workers. In the new international and domestic conditions, any kind of Three People’s Principles which departs from the Three Great Policies is not revolutionary. (Here we shall not deal with the fact that, while communism and the Three People’s Principles agree on the basic political programme for the democratic revolution, they differ in all other respects.)
Thus, the role of the proletariat, the peasantry and the other sections of the petty bourgeoisie in China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution cannot be ignored, either in the alignment of forces for the struggle (that is, in the united front) or in the organization of state power. Anyone who tries to bypass these classes will certainly be unable to solve the problem of the destiny of the Chinese nation or indeed any of China’s problems. The Chinese Revolution at the present stage must strive to create a democratic republic in which the workers, the peasants and the other sections of the petty bourgeoisie all occupy a definite position and play a definite role. In other words, it must be a democratic republic based on a revolutionary alliance of the workers’ peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie and all others who are against imperialism and feudalism. Only under the leadership of the proletariat can such a republic be completely realized.
f. The Perspectives of the Chinese Revolution
Now that the basic issues — the nature of Chinese society and the targets, tasks, motive forces and character of the Chinese Revolution at the present stage — have been clarified, it is easy to see its perspectives, that is, to understand the relation between the bourgeois-democratic and the proletarian-socialist revolution, or between the present and future stages of the Chinese Revolution.
There can be no doubt that the ultimate perspective of the Chinese Revolution is not capitalism but socialism and Communism, since China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution at the present stage is not of the old general type but is a democratic revolution of a new special type — a new-democratic revolution — and since it is taking place in the new international environment of the 1930s and ‘40s characterized by the rise of socialism and the decline of capitalism, in the period of the 2nd World War and the era of revolution.
However, it is not at all surprising but entirely to be expected that a capitalist economy will develop to a certain extent within Chinese society with the sweeping away of the obstacles to the development of capitalism after the victory of the revolution, since the purpose of the Chinese Revolution at the present stage is to change the existing colonial, semi-colonial and semi-feudal state of society, i.e., to strive for the completion of the new-democratic revolution. A certain degree of capitalist development will be an inevitable result of the victory of the democratic revolution in economically backward China. But that will be only one aspect of the outcome of the Chinese Revolution and not the whole picture. The whole picture will show the development of socialist as well as capitalist factors. What will the socialist factors be? The increasing relative importance of the proletariat and the Communist Party among the political forces in the country; leadership by the proletariat and the Communist Party which the peasantry, intelligentsia and the urban petty bourgeoisie already accept or are likely to accept; and the state sector of the economy owned by the democratic republic, and the co-operative sector of the economy owned by the working people. All these will be socialist factors. With the addition of a favourable international environment, these factors render it highly probable that China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution will ultimately avoid a capitalist future and enjoy a socialist future.
g. The Twofold Task of the Chinese Revolution and the Communist Party of China
Summing up the foregoing sections of this chapter, we can see that the Chinese Revolution taken as a whole involves a twofold task. That is to say, it embraces both the bourgeois-democratic revolution (the new-democratic revolution) and the proletarian-socialist revolution, i.e., both the present and future stages of the revolution. The leadership in this twofold revolutionary task devolves on the CPCh, the party of the proletariat, without whose leadership no revolution can succeed.
To complete China’s bourgeois-democratic revolution (the new-democratic revolution) and to transform it into a socialist revolution when all the necessary conditions are ripe — such is the sum total of the great and glorious revolutionary task of the CPCh. Every Party member must strive for its accomplishment and must under no circumstances give up halfway. Some immature Communists think that our task is confined to the present democratic revolution and does not include the future socialist revolution, or that the present revolution or the Agrarian Revolution is actually a socialist revolution. It must be emphatically pointed out that these views are wrong. Every Communist ought to know that, taken as a whole, the Chinese revolutionary movement led by the Communist Party embraces the two stages, i.e., the democratic and the socialist revolutions, which are two essentially different revolutionary processes, and that the second process can be carried through only after the first has been completed. The democratic revolution is the necessary preparation for the socialist revolution, and the socialist revolution is the inevitable sequel to the democratic revolution. The ultimate aim for which all Communists strive is to bring about a socialist and Communist society. A clear understanding of both the differences and the interconnections between the democratic and the socialist revolutions is indispensable to correct leadership in the Chinese Revolution.
Except for the Communist Party, no political party (bourgeois or petty-bourgeois) is equal to the task of leading China’s two great revolutions, the democratic and the socialist revolutions, to complete fulfilment. From the very day of its birth, the Communist Party has taken this twofold task on its own shoulders and for eighteen years has fought strenuously for its accomplishment.
It is a task at once glorious and arduous. And it cannot be accomplished without a bolshevized CPCh which is national in scale and has a broad mass character, a Party fully consolidated ideologically, politically and organizationally. Therefore every Communist has the duty of playing an active part in building up such a Communist Party.
iWith reference to the invention of the compass, the magnetic power of the loadstone was mentioned as early as the 3rd Century BC by Lu Pu-wei in his Almanac, and at the beginning of the 1st Century AD, Wang Chung, the materialist philosopher, observed in his Lun Heng that the loadstone points to the south, which indicates that magnetic polarity was known by then. Works of travel written at the beginning of the 12th Century show that the compass was already in general use among Chinese navigators at that time.
iiIt is recorded in ancient documents that Tsai Lun, a eunuch of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220), invented paper, which he had made from bark, hemp, rags and worn-out fishing nets. In AD 105 (the last year of the reign of Emperor Ho Ti), Tsai Lun presented his invention to the emperor, and subsequently this method of making paper from plant fibre gradually spread in China.
iiiBlock-printing was invented about A.D. 600, in the Sui Dynasty.
ivMovable type was invented by Pi Sheng in the Sung Dynasty between 1041 and 1048.
vAccording to tradition, gunpowder was invented in China in the 9th Century and by the 11th Century it was already in use for firing cannons.
viChen Sheng, Wu Kuang, Hsian Yu and Liu Pang were leaders of the first great peasant uprising in the Chin Dynasty. In 209 B.C. Chen Sheng and Wu Kuang, who were among nine hundred conscripts on their way to take up garrison duty at a frontier post, organized a revolt in Chihsien County (now Suhsien County in Anhwei Province) against the tyranny of the Chin Dynasty. Hsiang Yu and Liu Pang were the most prominent of those who rose in response to this armed uprising all over the country. Hsiang Yu’s army annihilated the main forces of Chin, and Liu Pang’s troops took Chin’s capital. In the ensuing struggle between Liu Pang and Hsiang Yu, Liu Pang defeated Hsiang Yu and founded the Han Dynasty.
viiThe Hsinshih, the Pinglin, the Red Eyebrows and the Bronze Horses are the names of peasant uprisings in the latter years of the Western Han Dynasty when peasant unrest was widespread. In A.D. 8, Wang Mang overthrew the reigning dynasty, ascended the throne and introduced a few reforms to stave off the peasant unrest. But the starving masses in Hsinshih (in what is now Chingshan County in Hupeh) and Pinglin (in what is now Suihsien County in Hupeh) rose in revolt. The Bronze Horses and the Red Eyebrows were the peasant forces which revolted during his reign in what are now central Hopei and central Shantung Provinces. The Red Eyebrows, the largest of the peasant forces, were so named because the soldiers painted their eyebrows red.
viiiThe Yellow Turbans, a peasant force which revolted in A.D. 184, were named after their headgear.
ixLi Mi and Tou Chien-teh were leaders of great peasant uprisings against the Sui Dynasty in Honan and Hopei respectively at the opening of the 7th Century.
xWang Hsien-chih organized an uprising in Shantung in A.D. 874. In the following year Huang Chao organized an uprising to support him.
xiSung Chiang and Fang La were famous leaders of peasant uprisings early in the 12th Century; Sung Chiang was active along the borders between Shantung, Hopei, Honan and Kiangsu, while Fang La was active in Chekiang and Anhwei.
xiiIn 1351, the people in many parts of the country rose in revolt against the rule of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty. In 1352, Chu Yuan-chang joined the rebel forces led by Kuo Tzu-hsing and became their commander upon the latter’s death. In 1368, he finally succeeded in overthrowing the rule of the Mongol Dynasty, which had been tottering under the attacks of the people’s forces, and founded the Ming Dynasty.
xiiiLi Tzu-cheng, also called King Chuang (the Dare-All King), native of Michih, northern Shensi, was the leader of a peasant revolt which led to the overthrow of the Ming Dynasty. The revolt first started in northern Shensi in 1628. Li joined the forces led by Kao Ying-hsiang and campaigned through Honan and Anhwei and back to Shensi. After Kao’s death in 1636, Li succeeded him, becoming King Chuang, and campaigned in and out of the provinces of Shensi, Szechuan, Honan and Hupeh. Finally he captured the imperial capital of Peking in 1644, whereupon the last Ming emperor committed suicide. The chief slogan he spread among the masses was „Support King Chuang, and pay no grain taxes“. Another slogan of his to enforce discipline among his men ran: „Any murder means the killing of my father, any rape means the violation of my mother.“ Thus he won the support of the masses and his movement became the main current of the peasant revolts raging all over the country. As he, too, roamed about without ever establishing relatively consolidated base areas, he was eventually defeated by Wu San-kuei, a Ming general, who colluded with the Ching troops in a joint attack on Li.
xivFrom 1856 to 1860 Britain and France jointly waged a war of aggression against China, with the United States and tsarist Russia supporting them from the side-lines. The government of the Ching Dynasty was then devoting all its energies to suppressing the peasant revolution of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and adopted a policy of passive resistance towards the foreign aggressors. The Anglo-French forces occupied such major cities as Canton, Tientsin and Peking, plundered and burned down the Yuan Ming Yuan Palace in Peking and forced the Ching government to conclude the Treaties of Tientsin and Peking. Their main provisions included the opening of Tientsin, Newchwang, Tengchow, Taiwan, Tamsui, Chaochow, Chiungchow, Nanking, Chinkiang, Kinkiang and Hankow as treaty ports, and the granting to foreigners of special privileges for travel, missionary activities and inland navigation in China’s interior. From then on, the foreign forces of aggression spread through all China’s coastal provinces and penetrated deep into the hinterland.
xvIn 1882-83, the French aggressors invaded the northern part of Indo-China. In 1884-85 they extended their war of aggression to the Chinese provinces of Kwangsi, Taiwan, Fukien and Chekiang. Despite the victories gained in this war, the corrupt Ching government signed the humiliating Treaty of Tientsin.
xviIn 1900 eight imperialist powers, Britain, the United States, Germany, France, tsarist Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria, sent a joint force to attack China in their attempt to suppress the Yi Ho Tuan Movement of the Chinese people against aggression. The Chinese people resisted heroically. The allied forces of the eight powers captured Taku and occupied Tientsin and Peking. In 1901 the Ching government concluded a treaty with the eight imperialist countries; its main provisions were that China had to pay those countries the huge sum of 450.000.000 taels of silver as war reparations and grant them the special privilege of stationing troops in Peking and in the area from Peking to Tientsin and Shanhaikuan.
xviiConsular jurisdiction was one of the special privileges provided in the unequal treaties which the imperialist powers forced on the governments of old China– beginning with the supplementary treaty to the Sino-British Treaty of Nanking, signed at Humen (the Bogue) in 1843, and with the Sino-American Treaty of Wanghia in 1844. It meant that, if a national of any country enjoying the privilege of consular jurisdiction in China became a defendant in a lawsuit, civil or criminal, he was not to be tried by a Chinese court but by the consul of his own country.
xviiiSpheres of influence were different parts of China marked off at the end of the 19th Century by the imperialist powers that committed aggression against China. Each of these powers marked off those areas which fell within its economic and military influence. Thus, the provinces in the lower and middle Yangtse valley were specified as the British sphere of influence; Yunnan, Kwangtung and Kwangsi as the French; Shantung as the German sphere; Fukien as the Japanese, and the three northeastern provinces (the present provinces of Liaoning, Kirin and Heilungkiang) as the tsarist Russian sphere. After the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 the southern part of the three northeastern provinces came under Japanese influence.
xixThe foreign concessions were areas which the imperialist powers seized in the treaty ports after compelling the Ching government to open these ports. In these so-called concessions they enforced an imperialist system of colonial rule entirely independent of Chinese law and administration. Through those concessions, the imperialists exercised direct or indirect political and economic control over the Chinese feudal and comprador regime. During the revolution of 1924-27 the revolutionary people led by the Communist Party of China started a movement to abolish the concessions, and in January 1927 they took over the British concessions in Hankow and Kiukiang. However, the imperialists retained various concessions after Chiang Kai-shek betrayed the revolution.
xx„The Theses on the Revolutionary Movement in Colonial and Semi-Colonial Countries“ adopted by the 6th Comintern Congress.
xxiJ. V. Stalin: „The Revolution in China and the Tasks of the Comintern“, 1927.
xxiiJ. V. Stalin: „The Prospects of the Revolution in China“, 1926.
xxiiiSee V. I. Lenin: „The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907“, 1907.