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Special> CPC Celebrates 90th Anniversary 1921-2011> Previous Covers> 1980s
UPDATED: July 1, 2011 NO. 27, 1981
On Questions of Party History

Resolution on Certain Questions in the History Of Our Party Since the Founding of the People's Republic of China (Adopted by the Sixth Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on June 27, 1981)

Review of the History of the 28 Years Before the Founding of the People's Republic

1. The Communist Party of China has traversed 60 years of glorious struggle since its founding in 1921. In order to sum up its experience in the 32 years since the founding of the People's Republic, we must briefly review the previous 28 years in which the Party led the people in waging the revolutionary struggle for new democracy.

2. The Communist Party of China was the product of the integration of Marxism-Leninism with the Chinese workers' movement and was founded under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia and the May 4th Movement in China and with the help of the Communist International led by Lenin. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great revolutionary forerunner, overthrew the Qing Dynasty, thus bringing to an end over 2,000 years of feudal monarchical rule. However, the semi-colonial and semi-feudal nature of Chinese society remained unchanged. Neither the Kuomintang nor any of the bourgeois or petty-bourgeois political groupings and factions found any way out for the country and the nation, nor was it possible for them to do so. The Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of China alone was able to show the people that China's salvation lay in overthrowing once and for all the reactionary rule of imperialism and feudalism and then switching over to socialism. When the Communist Party of China was founded, it had less than 60 members. But it initiated the vigorous workers' movement and the people's anti-imperialist and antifeudal struggle and grew rapidly and soon became a leading force such as the Chinese people had never before known.

3. In the course of leading the struggle of the Chinese people with its various nationalities for new democracy, the Communist Party of China went through four stages: the Northern Expedition (1924-27) conducted with the cooperation of the Kuomintang, the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927-37), the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45) and the nationwide War of Liberation (1946-49). Twice, first in 1927 and then in 1934, it endured major setbacks. It was not until 1949 that it finally triumphed in the revolution, thanks to the long years of armed struggle in conjunction with other forms of struggle in other fields closely co-ordinated with it.

In 1927, regardless of the resolute opposition of the Left wing of the Kuomintang with Soong Ching Ling as its outstanding representative, the Kuomintang controlled by Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Jingwei betrayed the policies of Kuomintang-Communist co-operation and of anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism decided on by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and, in collusion with the imperialists, massacred Communists and other revolutionaries. The Party was still quite inexperienced and, moreover, was dominated by Chen Duxiu's Right capitulationism, so that the revolution suffered a disastrous defeat under the surprise attack of a powerful enemy. The total membership of the Party, which had grown to more than 60,000, fell to a little over 10,000.

However, our Party continued to fight tenaciously. Launched under the leadership of Zhou Enlai and several other comrades, the Nanchang Uprising of 1927 fired the opening shot for armed resistance against the Kuomintang reactionaries. The meeting of the Central Committee of the Party held on August 7, 1927 decided on the policy of carrying out agrarian revolution and organizing armed uprisings. Shortly afterwards, the Autumn Harvest and Guangzhou Uprisings and uprisings in many other areas were organized. Led by Comrade Mao Zedong, the Autumn Harvest Uprising in the Hunan-Jiangxi border area gave birth to the First Division of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Revolutionary Army and to the first rural revolutionary base area in the Jinggang Mountains. Before long, the insurgents led by Comrade Zhu De arrived at the Jinggang Mountains and joined forces with it. With the progress of the struggle, the Party set up the Jiangxi central revolutionary base area and the Western Hunan-Hubei, the Haifeng-Lufeng, the Hubei-Henan-Anhui, the Qiongya, the Fujian-Zhe-jiang-Jiangxi, the Hunan-Hubei-Jiangxi, the Hunan-Jiangxi, the Zuojiang-Youjiang, the Sichuan-Shaanxi, the Shaanxi-Gansu and the Hunan-Hubei-Sichuan-Guizhou and other base areas. The First, Second and Fourth Front Armies of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army were also born, as were many other Red Army units. In addition, Party organizations and other revolutionary organizations were established and revolutionary mass struggles unfolded under difficult conditions in the Kuomintang areas. In the Agrarian Revolutionary War, the First Front Army of the Red Army and the central revolutionary base area under the direct leadership of Comrades Mao Zedong and Zhu De played the most important role. The front armies of the Red Army defeated in turn a number of "encirclement and suppression" campaigns launched by the Kuomintang troops. But because of Wang Ming's "Left" adventurist leadership, the struggle against the Kuomintang's fifth "encirclement and suppression" campaign ended in failure. The First Front Army was forced to embark on the 25,000-li Long March and made its way to northern Shaanxi to join forces with units of the Red Army which had been persevering in struggles there and with its 25th Army which had arrived earlier. The Second and Fourth Front Armies also went on their long march, first one and then the other arriving in northern Shaanxi. Guerrilla warfare was carried on under difficult conditions in the base areas in south China from which the main forces of the Red Army had withdrawn. As a result of the defeat caused by Wang Ming's "Left" errors, the revolutionary base areas and the revolutionary forces in the Kuomintang areas sustained enormous losses. The Red Army of 300,000 men was reduced to about 30,000 and the Communist Party of 300,000 members to about 40,000.

In January 1935, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Party convened a meeting in Zunyi during the Long March, which established the leading position of Comrade Mao Zedong in the Red Army and the Central Committee of the Party. This saved the Red Army and the Central Committee of the Party which were then in critical danger and subsequently made it possible to defeat Zhang Guo-tao's splittism, bring the Long March to a triumphant conclusion and open up new vistas for the Chinese revolution. It was a vital turning point in the history of the Party.

At a time of national crisis of unparalleled gravity when the Japanese imperialists were intensifying their aggression against China, the Central Committee of the Party headed by Comrade Mao Zedong decided on and carried out the correct policy of forming an anti-Japanese national united front. Our Party led the students' movement of December 9, 1935 and organized the powerful mass struggle to demand an end to the civil war and resistance against Japan so as to save the nation. The Xian Incident organized by Generals Zhang Xueliang and Yang Hucheng on December 12, 1936 and its peaceful settlement which our Party promoted played a crucial historical role in bringing about renewed co-operation between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party and in achieving national unity for resistance against Japanese aggression. During the war of resistance, the ruling clique of the Kuomintang continued to oppose the Communist Party and the people and was passive in resisting Japan. As a result, the Kuomintang suffered defeat after defeat in front operations against the Japanese invaders. Our Party persevered in the policy of maintaining its independence and initiative within the united front, closely relied on the masses of the people, conducted guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines and set up many anti-Japanese base areas. The Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army - the reorganized Red Army - grew rapidly and became the mainstay in the war of resistance. The Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army sustained its operations amid formidable difficulties. Diverse forms of anti-Japanese struggle were unfolded on a broad scale in areas occupied by Japan or controlled by the Kuomintang. Consequently, the Chinese people were able to hold out in the war for eight long years and win final victory, in co-operation with the people of the Soviet Union and other countries in the anti-fascist war.

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