People’s Republic of China Part I

By | October 26, 2021

Communist transformation (1949-64)

On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China and headed the state as President of the Central Council of the People’s Government. Zhou Enlai became Prime Minister. According to the specific interpretation of Marxism-Leninism by Mao (Maoism), the party and state leadership initiated a radical transformation of state and society, which was marked by strong social discord. With the ignition of the first nuclear weapons (1964) China entered the circle of nuclear powers and in the following years repeatedly turned against the “hegemonism” of the two “superpowers” USA and USSR.

In several waves of purges, the communists liquidated the old ruling elite, from the “landlord class” to the Guomindang bureaucracyto private entrepreneurship; around 10 million people were killed. The government carried out a land reform, nationalized heavy industry and foreign trade (both in 1950) and, with Soviet support, pushed the country’s industrialization. In 1954 a new constitution came into force. 1953–57 (period of the first five-year plan) China followed the Soviet model of special promotion of the heavy industrial sector. The USSR supplied about 300 industrial plants and sent about 10,000 experts to China, a country located in Asia according to In order to ensure equality for women in society, the government introduced a new law on marriage. The CCP campaigned through “indoctrination” and “thought reform” to ideologically re-educate the Chinese. In 1951/52 a campaign against “counter-revolutionaries” was intended to strengthen “revolutionary vigilance” and expose the opponents of the new social system. the The Hundred Flower Movement, a Maoist reaction to the uprising in Hungary (1956), aimed to stimulate criticism and give the party and state leadership an opportunity to channel opinion-forming.

In the course of the ” Great Leap Forward ” campaign (1958–60 / 61), the agrarian revolution was to be brought to its climax with the establishment of the people’s communes and economic growth was to be accelerated while ideological re-education was at the same time. The aim was to take a qualitative step forward in the development of a socialist social system, to reduce the distance to the social development of the USSR and to let the “wind of communism” work. In reality it brought severe hardship, so that in the “three bitter years” 1960–62 millions of people died of starvation. After that, Mao himself was forced to self- criticize; he handed over the office of President Exit Liu Shaoqi (Liu Shao-ch’i).

Heads of state and government as well as party leaders in China Hide table

Heads of state and government as well as party leaders
Head of State (until 1954 Chairman of the Central People’s Government, 1954–1975 Chairman of the PR China, 1975–83 Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, since 1983 President)
Mao Zedong 1949-1959
Liu Shaoqi 1959-1968
Dong Biwu * 1968-1975
Zhu De 1975-1976
Ye Jianying 1978-1983
Li Xiannian 1983-1988
Yang Shangkun 1988-1993
Jiang Zemin 1993-2003
Hu Jintao 2003-2013
Xi Jiping since 2013
Prime Minister
Zhou Enlai 1949-1976
Hua Guofeng 1976-1980
Zhao Ziyang 1980-1987
Li Peng 1987 / 88-1998
Zhu Rongji 1998-2003
Wen Jiabao 2003-2013
Li Keqiang since 2013
Chairperson (until 1982) or general secretary of the CCP Central Committee
Mao Zedong until 1976
Hua Guofeng 1976-1981
Hu Yaobang 1981-1987
Zhao Ziyang 1987-1989
Jiang Zemin 1989-2002
Hu Jintao 2002–2012
Xi Jinping since 2012
*) Deputy Chairman of the Standing Committee, who was Head of State during this time (together with Song Qingling until 1972)

In 1950 the PR China occupied Tibet and in 1951 incorporated it into its state association. After the suppression of the 1959 uprising, the ruling Dalai Lama and with him a large number of Tibetans fled to neighboring countries. Because of this, too, tensions with India grew. Chinese territorial claims along the Himalayan border triggered the Sino-Indian War (1962) over Ladakh (Kashmir region).

At the latest since its intervention in favor of communist North Korea in the Korean War (1950-53), the PR China was in confrontation with the USA, which continued to recognize the government of Chiang Kai-shek as a representative of all of China and secured Taiwan against a military attack. Communist China faced the so-called Third World, z. B. at the Bandung Conference (1955), as a champion of national independence and as spokesman for “national wars of liberation” sought to promote the expansion of communist domination, especially in Asia. In the Indochina War (1946–54) and in the Vietnam War (1964–75) provided military aid to China North Vietnam.

The conclusion of a friendship and assistance treaty (1950) initially determined the political relationship between China and the USSR; In 1952 the latter renounced their privileges in Manchuria, and in 1956 also their bases in Dairen and Port Arthur. In the course of the de-Stalinization (1956) in the USSR, however, a deep ideological-power-political conflict over leadership in the world communist movement developed between the two states. The Chinese party and state leadership denied v. a. the leadership of the USSR.

The cultural revolution and its aftermath (1965 / 66–76)

After the attempt between 1962 and 1965 failed to use the army and the “socialist education campaign” to eliminate the internal party opponents (around Liu Shaoqi ) and their “revisionist” policies, Mao Zedong, supported by his wife Jiang Qing (Chiang Ch’ing) and his colleague Lin Biao (Lin Piao), from Shanghai at the end of 1965 the so-called Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. A first preparatory purge campaign was directed against anti-Maoist intellectuals in literature, education and journalism. In 1966 the followers of Mao opened Who controlled the mass media, using the group formed by disaffected students Red Guards to attack the antimaoistische party headquarters in Beijing and ousted President Liu Shaoqi and CCP general secretary Deng Xiaoping (Teng Hsiao-p’ing).

People's Republic of China 1