Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A number indicates a minor theme in the editorial.
Source: Oksenberg (1982).
These main editorials on Administration contain titles as February 4, 1949, Strive for the Establishment of New Democratic Peking, or May 16, 1950 New Constructions in Democratic Regimes in the Big Cities, or February 3, 1953 Resolutely Rectify Coercive Work Style in Postal and Telecommunications Agencies. Judicial editorials are throughout the period the main item, followed by bureaucracy. Editorials on CPPCC and government are scarce.
Under pressure of Stalin Mao Zedong decides to hold elections. These elections are completly manipulated, sometimes violence is used. "From time to time, each district also received reports from the work teams about threats to the electoral process. Alleged offenders were punished at show trials or by specially established “election courts” so that they could serve as negative examples. At the height of the election campaign in Shanghai, eight people were denounced at mass show trials and charged with the crimes of “sabotaging the election” and “counter revolution.” Five of these eight were also accused of murder and received the death penalty, while the remaining three were sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from five to ten years." On local level most candidates were model workers or ordinary people. They were nominated because they were loyal to the nation, active in political campaigns. However, they had no experience exercising power, in discussing issues of national importance, or the capability to represent the needs of the masses to the government.
Groot (2004) enumerates the common features, ideological characteristics, and problems relevant to understanding the historical roles of the Minzhu Dangpai. "These included small and limited memberships, the centrality of leadership over organization, and elitism. Although politically relatively liberal and sympathetic to the West, the MPGs also shared many characteristics with the communists and nationalists.The MPG leaders were generally elite intellectuals trained overseas or at Western universities in China. They were prominent academics and social activists and examples of high educational attainment in a nation where education was both revered and rare. They were much respected and accorded high social status, features which could be used for political purposes and accorded them some protection.Personal relations or guanxi, based on teacher-student relations, school and regional affiliations, were all very important."
The role of the CPPCC was during its first five years very limited, and it became even more confined after the establishment of the NPC. Only its role as instrument of the United Front policy stays intact. The role of the Common program has ended after the constitution of 1954 is installed
Solinger (1977) concludes "According to these specifications, the overall nature of these organs was determined by their mediating function between the Government Administrative Council and the localities. Thus, legally the Great Regions were to have no privileged position nor any autonomous rights or powers; there was no important distinction between their powers and those of the provincial governments. They were essentially to be conveyor belts between the center and the localities; their acts were subject to annulment or alteration by the Government Administrative Council" Overt military control is less, as most of the opponents of the regime are disabled. Under the surface the military keep control in factories, institutions and governance .
In 1949, the CCP established the People’s Republic of China as a ‘people’s democratic dictatorship’ and emphasised the mass line (qunzong lüxian) as complementary to democratic centralism, as an aspect of democracy. "Mao more specifically described the PRC as an amalgam of two types of political power: The “state form” (guoti), which was a “dictatorship of the revolutionary classes of the people”; and the “government form” (zhengti), which was the system of “democratic centralism”. State form represented the social class relations at the basis of the state, and government form was the state organization with which a specific social class builds its strength to defend itself against its enemies. Democratic centralism was thus the government form that the revolutionary classes would utilize in order to secure their position within a state having the form of a people’s dictatorship. A synthesis of these two gives us Mao’s shorthand description of the PRC as a ‘people’s democratic dictatorship’."
The big difference between the old and the new judicial system is the role it plays in society. In the old system legislation was an instrument of the government to maintain order in society. Most civil cases were handled by family councils and guild bosses. The state did not interfere in those affairs. Under the new rule, legislation has a different role, “… has socialized private property and thus changed the foundation of law. It uses legal instruments as a dynamic means to remold the society and to promote the economy. Party cadres represent the will of the state, which in reality is but a facade for the Party.” During this period the criminal process served as a blunt instrument of terror. Campaigns, as Zhenfan (see
These campaigns caused economic disruption and caused fear and terror for many. These campaigns, like many other campaigns has little lasting effect on the attitude of cadres. An Ziwen (director of the CCP's central organization department) points out: “After a mass campaign is over, many flaws and errors assailed during the campaign may re-emerge. They may even re-emerge to a greater degree. Some people self-congratulate themselves for having discovered some patterns from repeated campaigns. They would get prepared before a new campaign began and pretend to be active and honest. Sometimes they could even shed a few drops of tears while making self-criticisms or confessions. Yet no sooner is the campaign over than they would return to their old selves.102” An Ziwen continues “… particularly pinpointed the problem of post-campaign vengeance by officials who had received criticism or denunciation from subordinates, an action known as “zheng ren”(to fix someone) or “chuan xiaoxie” (literally, to give someone tight shoes to wear: i.e. make things hard for someone). This practice became familiar to many Chinese in the many political campaigns that were to follow.103”.
Despite the development of various organs at national and local level where one can complain about the administration and party, the implementation and results remain weak. Howland concludes " the rights of workers to express demands and to criticize those in power were curtailed in the interests of discipline and a centralism focused on economic development. The Party felt justified to ignore workers’ wishes and desires. Under the leadership of the Soviet Party’s Central Committee, party centralism had evolved into a bureaucratic centralism." "The Judicial Reform Campaign was a watershed moment for the courts.