The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954


In this part of the site, we have a short look at the situation in China before 1949, and we have a closer look at the cooperation between the CCP and other political parties and political personages (Minzhu Dangpai). This collaboration resulted in the Common Program and a coalition government.
The Chinese revolution of 1911 ended the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. Just after the fall of the Chinese empire in 1912, a turbulent phase in Chinese history starts. In 1912, China becomes a republic, with Sun Yat-sen as president. He resignes and his position is given to Yuan Shikai to avoid a civil war. However, this new government is not capable of defending the unity of the state. After the death of Yan Shikai in 1916, a period lasting for nearly 17 years started, in which local warlords are trying to force their way to power to create a unified China under their reign. The regions of Sichuan, Shanxi, Qinghai, Ningxia, Guangdong, Guangxi, Gansu, Yunnan and Xinjiang are the most affected by this occurring power vacuum. In 1930 the warlord period ends when Jiang Jieshi defeats the last 2 major warlords. In October 1930 Jiang Jieshi start to attack the regions controlled by the CCP. Four encirclement campaign fail, only the fifth results in the withdrawal of CCP army and the "Long March" starts in October 1934. Meanwhile Japanese troops have occupied Manchuria.

At the end in the 1930’s, only 3 parties are capable of completing the task of reuniting China. These are the Guomindang (GMD) with Jiang Jieshi as their leader, the CCP under the leadership of Mao Zedong. The Japanese troops are also successful in their conquests and during the 1930’s they go south and conquer Shanghai in 1937, and in December 1941 they finally arrive in Hong Kong.
February 12, 1912 End of Qing Dynasty (Qing flag)
10-10-1919 Creation of the GMD Flag of GMD
December 1912 Creation of the Republic of China (Flag of ROC since 1928)
01-07-1921 Creation of the CCP

On August 1, 1935, the CCP publishes
Message to all Compatriots on Resistance against Japanese and National Salvation
August 1, 1935 Declaration: Message to all Compatriots on Resistance against Japanese and National Salvation The August 1 Declaration is drafted by Wang Ming. It is a joint declaration of the Chinese Soviet Government ((1931–34), an independent government established by Mao Zedong and Zhu De in Jiangxi province in south eastern China) and the CCP. This call was made in Moscow during the Communist International. This seventh and last congress was held between July 25 and August 20, 1935."
, in which the party calls upon the GMD and other parties to end the civil war and to unite to fight against the Japanese invaders. On July 15, 1937, the CCP and the GMD declared to start a United Front against the Japanese occupiers. This
United Front
United Front Declaration 24 December 1936 The second United Front between the KMT and the communists was formally established, this time on the basis of a bloc without alliance between two separate groups; the communists reorganized their army as the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army and put them nominally under KMT direction."
is enforced after the kidnapping of Jiang Jieshi in December 1936. This abduction is organized by some GMD generals and only after interference of Zhou Enlai, Jiang Jieshi is set free.
Both parties promise to refrain from fighting each other and jointly fight the Japanese armies. This United Front is just partly a success because the former opponents do not trust each other and there are multiple incidents between the 2 armies. This United Front gives the CCP the opportunity, " belie its sectarian image as a party only for the worker-peasant masses and transform it into a truly national party fighting for national defense and unity. Thus, it could allow the CCP to increase its popularity and political influence in China, undermine Kuomintang’s social basis, and maximize mass support for its revolutionary course. It could also help the CCP concentrate its energy on party building, armed struggle, and territorial expansion."
China circa the late 1930's
Esherick (2003) remarks: "Many activists joined both parties during the 1920s. Memories and friendships from that first Guomindang–CCP collaboration were never erased at the local level. Millions of Chinese rallied to the CCP during the war against Japan in part because the Communists seemed the proper heirs of the revolutionary anti-imperialism of Sun Zhongshan’s (Sun Yat-sen) party during the 1920s – seemed better to embody the nationalist rhetoric of Guomindang propaganda and public school textbooks than did the Guomindang itself."
Slyke (1970) distinguishes 5 phases in the United Front: 1923-1927; 1927-1937; 1937-1941; 1941-1945 and 1945-1949. The history of the United Front lies beyond the scope of this site.

After the end of the Second World War and Japan is finally beaten, the 'old' civil war starts again. Although attempts are made to avoid this. Right after the end of the WO II between August 28 and October 10, 1945, Mao Zedong and Jiang Jieshi meet at Chongqing to talk about the future of China. The discussion ends with the
'Double 10 agreement'
Double 10 Agreement 10 October 1945. Summary of Conversations Between the Representatives of the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China The Chongqing talks, from 28 August to 10 October 1945, resulted in the Double Ten Agreement. Mao Zedong and United States Ambassador to China Patrick J. Hurley flew together from Yan an to Chongqing on 27 August 1945 to begin the negotiations
. The agreement consists of 12 articles. The main articles are: The reform of China will be performed by 'peaceful' methods. The CCP recognizes the GMD as the legitimate government and the GMD recognizes the CCP and other parties as legitimate opposition parties. However, in the end, the two parties do not trust each other and the civil war starts again.

Stalin, the Soviet Union (SU) leader, advises both parties to hold a consultative meeting to resolve the existing contrasts. This was a part of the Double 10 agreement. Between 10 and 31 January 1946, this consultative meeting convenes. Besides, the GMD (8 delegates) and the CCP (7 delegates), the Chinese Youth Party (5 delegates) which is an extreme right-wing anticommunist party that sided with the GMD. The Youth Party had recently split from the Chinese Democratic League (CDL). CDL is represented by Zhang Lan* and Luo Longji*. The other 7 members represented the Nationalist Socialist Party with Zhang Dongsun* and Zhang Junmai, two members Shen Junru* and Zhang Shenfu represented National Salvation Association, Huang Yanpei was the participant of the Vocational Education Association, the Third Party was represented by Zhang Bojun* and Liang Shuming represented the Rural Reconstruction Association. Nine nonpartisan individuals visited this meeting in Chongqing. The US sent an ambassador to Chongqing to assist with the negotiations. The SU also sent an ambassador to help the CCP secretly with the negotiations. The SU still recognized the GMD government. The meeting is a failure and the CCP and CDL boycott the end results.

On December 25, 1947, the CCP decides to form a complete new United Front with every party and person who wants to defeat the GMD. During 1948, the character of the United Front changes because the victory of the communist army (PLA) is at hand. Slyke poses the opinion: “Now, however, the united front was changing in function from isolating an enemy to gaining popular support for the new regime”.
In 1948, Stalin kept pushing Mao Zedong to compromise and form a coalition government with the Minzhu Dangpai: "We think that the various opposition parties in China which are representing the middle strata of the Chinese population and are opposing the Guomindang clique will exist for a long time. And the CCP will have to involve them in cooperation against the Chinese reactionary forces and imperialist powers, while keeping hegemony, i.e., the leading position, in its hands. It is possible that some representatives of these parties will have to be included into the Chinese people’s democratic government and the government itself has to be proclaimed a coalition government in order to widen the basis of this government among the population and to isolate imperialists and their Guomindang agents. It is necessary to keep in mind that the Chinese government in its policy will be a national revolutionary-democratic government, not a communist one..." See also.

The course of the Civil War 1946-1949
civil war 1946-1950

"Both parties backed modernization, but they differed sharply about how best to accomplish it: state capitalism linked to the global economy and injected into the existing society for the KMT; autarchic central planning via a social revolution for the CCP.48" Buzan (2020). Page 15 [↩] [Cite]
GMD campaigns against the PLA with forces respectively about as follows:
Year Kuomintang Communist
1930 100,000 30,000
1931 200,000 1st campaign 40,000
1931 300,000 2nd campaign 30,000
1933 900,000 90,000
1936 170,000 40,000
1946 3,000,000 600,000
1947 4,900,000 800,000
1948 5,000,000 2,260,000
The GMD lost every campaign except that of 1933. [↩]
Zang (2004). Page 39. [↩] [Cite]
Esherick (2003). Page 41 [↩] [Cite]
Slyke (1970). Page 131 [↩] [Cite]
* These participants are members of the CPPCC in September 1949 [↩]
See Winter (2014). [↩] [Cite]
Slyke (1970). Page 131 [↩] [Cite]

Road to Common Program