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The Great Beginning: Exhibition of the Founding History of the Communist Party of China.


By Nduhukire E

The Opium War marked a turning point in modern Chinese history. From then on, Western aggressors swarmed to our country and launched wars against China once and again. In 1901, the Qing government signed the Xinchou Treaty with 11 countries, and China fell into the abyss of semi-colony step by step.

After the Western powers opened the door to China, they set up concessions with independent administrative and judicial jurisdiction in China through a series of unequal treaties as strongholds of aggression against China. From 1845 to 1911, the big powers successively established more than 30 concessions in 16 cities in China.

The Western powers expanded capital export by opening mines and factories, building railways and setting up banks, so as to further control China’s financial lifeline.

With its door forced open, China became a market for dumping goods and a base for plundering raw materials at low prices by Western powers. Especially after the failure of the Opium War, the opium imported into China increased sharply, which seriously damaged the physical and mental health of the Chinese people.

The invasion of foreign powers led to the disintegration of China’s self-sufficient natural economy, and a large number of insolvent peasants were forced to pawn their land and leave their homes and roam about for safety. The Qing government, on the other hand, compromised with the outside world to sue for peace and spared no efforts to suppress the people’s resistance at home, which made the Chinese people fall into grave disasters.

In the face of national crisis, countless Chinese patriots rose up one after another and fought for the renewal of the Chinese nation, fearing no sacrifice.

The main force at the beginning of the struggle was the peasants, but both the peasants’ movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the Yihetuan (Boxer) Movement ended in failure under the joint suppression of Chinese and foreign reactionary forces. History has proved that in semi-colonial and semi-feudal China, it was impossible for the peasant class alone to accomplish the historical task of anti-imperialism and anti- feudalism without the leadership of an advanced class.

How could China find its way out? The progressive Chinese people never stopped exploring.

First of all, Lin Zexu and Wei Yuan put forward the idea of “learning from foreigners to compete with them”, and became the men who opened their eyes to see the world in modern China.

From the 1860s to the 1890s, the Qing government also carried out a Westernization Movement aimed at enriching the country and strengthening the army.

After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the bourgeois reformists represented by Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao launched the Hundred Days’ Reform, but they were suppressed by Empress Dowager Cixi and others.

To a certain extent, these movements and reforms promoted the development of China, but failed to fundamentally change the nature of Chinese society and the tragic lives of the people.

With the failure of the Hundred Days’ Reform, the Chinese bourgeois revolutionaries gradually replaced the reformists and stepped onto the historical stage.

In 1905, Sun Yat-sen founded the Tung-meng Hui (Chinese Revolutionary Alliance) in Tokyo, Japan, and put forward the political goal: to expel the Barbarians, to revive Zhonghua, to establish a Republic, and to distribute land equally among the people.

In order to overthrow the Manchu-led Qing regime, the revolutionaries organized a series of armed uprisings, and many revolutionaries gave up their lives heroically.

Under the promotion of the Tung-meng Hui, the Wuchang Uprising fired the first shot of the Revolution of 1911 on October 10, 1911. After that, all provinces responded and declared independence one after another.

On January 1, 1912, the Republic of China was founded, and Sun Yat-sen took up the Provisional President in Nanjing.

The victory of the Revolution of 1911 overthrew the reactionary rule of the Qing Dynasty and ended the autocratic monarchy that had ruled China for thousands of years. However, the Northern Warlords headed by Yuan Shikai seized the fruits of the Revolution of 1911 in the name of “supporting the Republic”.

After Yuan Shikai’s death, the Northern Warlords were divided into Zhili, Anhui, Fengtian and other cliques. Relying on the imperialist forces, the warlords fought for power and land and engaged in dogfight year after year, which brought grave disasters to the people.

The Illusioned Republic made it clear that new ideas are needed to end all kinds of social contradictions and sufferings. The Chinese revolution must have new leadership and take a new road.

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that since the modern times, the renewal of Chinese nation has become the imminent historical mission of the Chinese nation and its people. Striving for national independence and the people’s liberation, and achieving national prosperity and the people’s happiness have become two major historic missions that are imperative to the Chinese people.

The Growth of the Chinese Proletariat

With the development of modern industry and commerce, China’s proletariat emerged. In China’s modern capitalist enterprises, foreign capital occupied the absolute advantage. They monopolized China’s import and export trade, transportation and shipping, public utilities and other industries at that time.

After the outbreak of the First World War, the rank of China’s industrial workers expanded rapidly. In 1894, there were less than 100,000 industrial workers in modern China. By the eve of the May 4th Movement in 1919, there were more than two million industrial workers, including 510,000 workers in Shanghai. They became an important social force in modern China with each passing day.

Since its birth, the Chinese working class had suffered from the triple oppression and exploitation of imperialism, the bourgeoisie and the feudal forces with low social status, poor working conditions, and extremely difficult life. Many workers worked 12 to 16 hours a day, and their wages were often arbitrarily deduced.

Where there is oppression, there is resistance. In 1868, the workers of British-run Shanghai Dock and Engineering Company went on strike to oppose the pay reduction decided by the management. It was the earliest strike struggle of industrial workers in Shanghai recorded in writing. The Chinese working class had gradually realized the importance of “organization” in the practice of struggle.

The working class had been strengthened in strike after strike, showing the great power of the new class. The growth of the proletariat also laid a class foundation for the founding of the Communist Party of China.

The May 4th Movement Started the New Democratic Revolution

Chen Duxiu was the initiator of the New Culture Movement, the “commander in chief” of the May 4th Movement, and one of the main founders of the Communist Party of China. In September 1915, he founded La Jeunesse ( “Youth Magazine” in Chinese) in Shanghai, which sounded the bugle of the New Culture Movement. The following year, its Chinese name was changed to New Youth.

In the New Culture Movement, China’s progressive young people woke up one after another and sought ways to transform the society by forming associations, researching problems and carrying out movements.

A group of intellectuals with renewed consciousness had been formed, and a new people’s revolution was about to break out.

In May 1919, China’s diplomatic failure at the Paris Peace Conference directly led to the outbreak of the May 4th Movement, and patriotic students took the lead in holding protests. On May 7, all walks of life in Shanghai held a national assembly in Nanshi Public Stadium to support Beijing students. On June 5, workers in Shanghai held a strike to support students’ patriotic struggle. Soon afterwards, the merchants went on strike. The struggle of “three strikes” began, and the wave of the May 4th Movement rapidly spread to more than 100 cities in more than 20 provinces across the country, which promoted the awakening of hundreds of millions of people.

General Secretary Xi Jinping said that the May 4th Movement changed the previous struggle situation, in which there were only enlightened revolutionaries but not the awakening of the masses, and ushered in the first comprehensive awakening of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation since the Opium War.

The Extensive Spread of Marxism in China

Influenced by the May 4th Movement, the Chinese people had a new awakening and a large number of new trends of thought emerged, but no one could tell clearly which “doctrine” could save China. They experimented and explored around various “doctrines”. There are more than 100 publications advocating socialist ideological trend in the exhibits before you. After repeated comparison and research, Marxism, with its high scientific and practical nature, became the historical choice of China’s progressive elements.

Li Dazhao was the first progressive man in China to spread Marxism and advocate learning from the October Revolution of Russia. He published articles such as A Comparative View of the French and Russian Revolutions and The Victory of the Common People. He enthusiastically praised the victory of the October Revolution as “the victory of laborism”, and predicted: “Try and see the future globe, it will be a world of red flags!”

In 1919, Li Dazhao published a long article My View of Marxism, which marked that Marxism had entered a relatively wide dissemination stage in China.

The Establishment of the Initiating Group of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai

After the opening of Shanghai in 1843, modern industry and commerce developed rapidly. By 1919, Shanghai had become the city with the largest number and concentration of workers in China. There formed the special pattern of “one city, three governing bodies” and “three concessions and four parts”.

Shanghai saw developed cultural undertakings, convenient transportation, and the mixed social structure of Chinese and foreign residents. It is precisely because of the relatively relaxed environment that made Shanghai the center of China’s socialist activities and provided favorable conditions for the founding of the Communist Party of China.

Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao were the first to come up with the idea of setting up the Communist Party in China. In February 1920, in order to avoid the persecution of the Beiyang Government, Chen Duxiu secretly left Beijing for Shanghai. On the way to escort Chen Duxiu from Beijing, Li Dazhao and he planned to set up a Communist Party organization.

In the process of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the Comintern also played an important role.

In March 1919, shortly after the founding of the Communist International in Moscow, it secretly sent a number of staff to China to learn about the Chinese situation and promote the Communist movement.

In June 1920, Chen Duxiu and Li Hanjun, Yu Xiusong, Shi Cuntong and Chen Gongpei, decided to establish a Communist Party organization, initially named “Social Communist Party”. After discussion between Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, the early organization of the Communist Party of Shanghai was officially named “the Communist Party” in August 1920.

The Establishment and Activities of the Early Organizations of the Communist Party of China

After the establishment of the early organization of the Communist Party of Shanghai, it actively promoted the establishment of the early organizations of the Communist Party across the country. From the autumn of 1920 to the spring of 1921, the early organizations of the Communist Party were established in seven places, including Beijing, Wuhan, Changsha and Guangzhou, as well as two early Chinese overseas organizations in Japan and France.

Preparation for the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China

In early June 1921, Communist International Representatives Marie and Nikolsky arrived in Shanghai one after another. They immediately established contacts with Li Da and Li Hanjun, the members of the early organization of the Communist Party of Shanghai. After discussing with Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao, they decided to hold the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai. After receiving the notice of the meeting, the early organizations in various places successively selected representatives to attend the meeting.

The 13 representatives of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China were from seven places. The oldest was 45, the youngest only 19, with an average age of 28, the same age as that of Mao Zedong. They represented more than 50 Party members in China. They were respectively Li Da and Li Hanjun from Shanghai, Zhang Guotao and Liu Renjing from Beijing, Mao Zedong and He Shuheng from Changsha, Dong Biwu and Chen Tanqiu from Wuhan, Wang Jinmei and Deng Enming from Jinan, Chen Gongbo from Guangzhou and Zhou Fohai, a representative of the early organization of the Communist Party of China in Japan, Bao Huiseng sent by Chen Duxiu on his own behalf, and two Communist International Representatives Marie and Nikolsky.

On July 23, 1921, the first National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held at No. 106 Rue Wantz, the former French Concession in Shanghai. On July 30, it was temporarily interrupted due to the interference of the Garde Municipale of French Concession. The last meeting of the Congress was transferred to a tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing, Zhejiang.

During the sessions of the First CPC National Congress, most of the representatives stayed in Shanghai Bowen Girls’ School in the name of “summer tour group of Peking University”. The First CPC National Congress held a total of seven meetings. The First CPC National Congress passed two important documents, The Program and The Resolution, elected and established the central leading body of the Party, and declared the formal establishment of the Communist Party of China.

Activities after the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China

Mao Zedong said that the founding of the CPC was an epoch-making event in China’s history; General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that this epoch-making event has profoundly changed the direction and progress of the development of Chinese nation since the modern times, and profoundly changed the prospect and destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and profoundly changed the trend and pattern of world development.

After the founding of the Communist Party of China, to strengthen the leadership of Party organizations in various places, in the name of Secretary of the Central Bureau of the CPC, Chen Duxiu issued the Notice of the Central Bureau of the Communist Party of China, which was the first document issued by the central leading body after its founding.

In August of the same year, in order to strengthen the Party’s unified leadership over the workers’ movement, the China Labor Association Office was established in Shanghai, which also played an important role in the development of the workers’ movement.

On July 16, 1922, the Second National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Shanghai. During the eight-day meeting, 11 documents were adopted, including the Manifesto of the Communist Party of China, which was published for the first time and clearly put forward the Party’s minimum program and maximum program.









Derek Kanalo
the authorDerek Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.