'Without the Communist Party, there would have been no New China..."
"The Communist Party has led China into the new era..."
Songs with such verses are so widely known in China that even children can sing them. And for the ordinary Chinese people, these songs are not just empty words.
Over the past 80 years since its founding, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the people in achieving one feat after another: driving out the foreign imperialists, getting rid of the warlords, winning the War of Resistance Against Japan, overthrowing the American-backed Kuomintang administration, establishing a socialist system based on the interests of the vast majority, pushing ahead with economic reforms and opening up to the rest of the world, resuming sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, etc.
The CPC was founded in 1921, a turbulent year when nationalism and pro-democracy sentiments had swept across the semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. Bearing in mind the people's wish for national independence, political stability and economic development, the CPC worked out an anti-colonial and anti-feudal platform. In the platform, the CPC pledged that it would commit itself to the liberation of the Chinese people and the establishment of a democratic republic. The platform eventually became the basis for the Chinese revolution.
Unlike capitalist democratic parties, represented by the Kuomintang, the CPC stood for the masses and engaged the masses during the revolution. Under such a strategy the CPC organized a number of strikes, bringing the workers to the forefront of the revolution. This helped change the nature of the Chinese revolution from an elite's revolution to a people's revolution.
During the Northern Expedition (1926-27), a war against the warlords by the democratic forces, the CPC worked with the Kuomintang under the same "anti-colonial and anti-feudal" flag. During that war, CPC members and progressive members of the Kuomintang played a leading role. Along with the advancing expeditions, the workers' and peasants' movements led by CPC members swept across the cities and the countryside to deliver a heavy blow to both the foreign imperialists and domestic feudal rulers.
However, the revolution soon ebbed because of betrayal by the capitalists and the tendency to capitulate within the CPC. When the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, took power in 1927 to become the new warlord ruling China, the Kuomintang administration became the new enemy of the CPC. Since the workers' movements were stymied by the administration's iron-fist rule, the CPC started shifting the battleground from the cities to rural areas, where the vast majority of China's people, including the poorest, lived. In the rural areas, CPC members, represented by Mao Zedong, established a number of footholds, or what were called "revolutionary bases," to start a guerrilla war based on the strategy of "encircling the cities from rural areas."
When Japanese troops occupied northeast China in 1931, the CPC called upon the Chinese people to fight against the invaders and protect the motherland. Just as the revolution was about to reach a new climax, the left-wingers who controlled the Red Army committed some deadly mistakes in the guerrilla war against the Kuomintang. After Kuomintang troops laid siege to all the "revolutionary bases," the Red Army had to retreat from the eastern region to the sparsely-populated western region, where the Kuomintang had a comparatively weaker presence. This was later known as the Long March.
Falling twice from the apex of victory to the abyss of defeat, the CPC eventually matured. Half way through the Long March, the CPC held a meeting in Zunyi, a small town in Guizhou Province, to elect Mao as the leader of the Party and the Red Army. That meeting is considered a turning point in the history of both the CPC and the Chinese revolution. Mao led the Red Army out of the enemy troops' clutches and successfully established a revolutionary base in Yan'an, where the Red Army grew stronger and readied itself for a triumphant comeback.
In July 1937, Japan launched its all-round war of aggression against China. During the ensuing eight years, the CPC led the war of resistance against the Japanese invaders. The Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army led by the CPC penetrated the occupied areas to initiate a guerrilla war against the Japanese invaders. After eight years of struggle, the Chinese people finally won the war against the Japanese invaders, which contributed greatly to the world's antifascist victory.
Right after the end of the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-45), the CPC outlined a new agenda - to establish an independent, democratic and powerful new China. In an attempt to realize a peaceful transition of the economic and political systems, the CPC proposed to the Kuomintang administration that their internal conflict should be settled on the basis of the principles of peace, democracy and unity.
However, the Kuomintang administration, backed by the United States, launched an all-out civil war aimed at eliminating the communist army. After fending off several attacks from the Kuomintang army, the CPC army, then renamed the People's Liberation Army (PLA), started an all-round offense. Through three major battles in northeast, central and north China, the PLA destroyed the core forces of the Kuomintang army. After that, the invincible PLA successfully crossed the Yangtze River and took Nanjing, the capital of the Kuomintang administration.
In 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded and a new page was turned in Chinese history.