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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is a thread dedicated to the discussion of communism in China and what led to its rise in this nation. Who were its leaders and why did this "ism" achieve such a stranglehold on this country to the present day?

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
What led to the rise of Communism in China?

The rise of Communism in China is largely due to a man named Mao Zedong. He was poorly educated as a child but highly intelligent. Zedong left home and had become a member of the Nationalist Army as the Revolution began around 1911. He was soon introduced to and became powerfully influenced by the philosophies of Marxism.

Following the Boxer Rebellion1 of 1900, (ridding China of all foreigners, massacring all missionaries and Christian converts), China's citizens experienced starvation, extreme poverty, and grief resulting in the loss of many innocent lives. This set the stage for the acceptance of men like Zedong and the godless Communistic philosophies of Karl Marx. After being under the rule of warlords around 1916, many Chinese began joining revolutionary groups and political parties in hopes of changing their country. During and after the Great Revolution (1914—1918), China saw several movements which strongly fostered a path into Communism.

These times of chaos and despair played a large role in acceptance of Mao. He had the support of roughly 85 percent of the nation who were poor farmers. Zedong started a society for the study of Marxism, and in 1921 its members started the Chinese Communist Party. "Mao Zedong led the communists after the army successfully finished the Revolution by defeating the nationalists. Then once Mao was in control, the Chinese loved him and gave ample support in 'return for better changes for the peasants,'" says writer Christopher van de Merwe.2

The basis of traditional communism is common ownership and production. Karl Marx started communism as a journey into rational eschatology. But through (Lenin's) Soviet communism, this was discarded and only atheism and tyranny were left. Marx believed that a man's worth reflected his efforts and that the state of equality was one's "final stage in life." This philosophy shows Communism to be not only anti-Christian, but anti any divine deity.

Source: Philosophy

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Mar 30, 2011 08:23PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The Communist Party in China:

he Communist Party of China (CPC), also known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Although nominally it exists alongside the United Front,[1] in practice, the CPC is also the only party of the PRC,[2] maintaining a unitary government centralising the state, military, and media.[3] The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the PRC constitution.[3]

The party was founded on July 1, 1921 in Shanghai.[4] After a lengthy civil war, the party defeated its primary rival, the Kuomintang (KMT), and expanded into all of mainland China by 1949.[5] The Kuomintang retreated to the island of Taiwan, which it still retains to this day.

The PRC is a single-party state,[2] and the CPC is the dominant entity of the government of the People's Republic of China. The party has fluctuated between periods of reform and political conservatism throughout its history. In the modern party, the topic of reform and liberalisation remains a contentious issue heavily debated among top officials.[6] On one side, Wu Bangguo, the head of the National People's Congress, has said that: "We will never simply copy the system of Western countries or introduce a system of multiple parties holding office in rotation."[7] On the other, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has stressed the need of reform, stating that: "Without the safeguard of political reform, the fruits of economic reform would be lost and the goal of modernization would not materialize."[8]

The CPC is the world's largest political party,[9] claiming nearly 78 million members[10] at the end of 2009 which constitutes about 5.6% of the total population of mainland China.

Source: Wikipedia - for the remainder of the write-up

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
China's changes under 60 years of communism

Source: BBC

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I liked this book, one I read for a graduate course on revolutions:

Red Star over China The Classic Account of the Birth of Chinese Communism by Edgar Snow Edgar Snow

Product info:
The first Westerner to meet Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese Communist leaders in 1936, Edgar Snow came away with the first authorized account of Mao’s life, as well as a history of the famous Long March and the men and women who were responsible for the Chinese revolution. Out of that experience came Red Star Over China, a classic work that remains one of the most important books ever written about the birth of the Communist movement in China. This edition includes extensive notes on military and political developments in China, further interviews with Mao Tse-tung, a chronology covering 125 years of Chinese revolution, and nearly a hundred detailed biographies of the men and women who were instrumental in making China what it is today.

message 6: by abclaret (new)

abclaret | 20 comments Core University text
Rebellions and Revolutions China from the 1800s to 2000 (Short Oxford History of the Modern World) by Jack Gray Jack Gray
Product info:
This is a study of China from the 1800s to the present day. It focuses on China's problems of development - the decay and collapse of the Chinese Empire, its failure to recover in the first half of the twentieth century, and its rapid emergence in world affairs since the Communist Party Revolution of 1949. This new edition examines economic growth, updates Chinese foreign policy, provides a revised account of the Tiananmen Incident, and brings the chronology completely up to date.

And the rise of the Communist Party from the perspective of an opposition movement.
Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution by Arif Dirlik Arif Dirlik
Product info:
Arif Dirlik's latest offering is a revisionist perspective on Chinese radicalism in the twentieth century. He argues that the history of anarchism is indispensable to understanding crucial themes in Chinese radicalism. And anarchism is particularly significant now as a source of democratic ideals within the history of the socialist movement in China.
Dirlik draws on the most recent scholarship and on materials available only in the last decade to compile the first comprehensive history of his subject available in a Western language. He emphasizes the anarchist contribution to revolutionary discourse and elucidates this theme through detailed analysis of both anarchist polemics and social practice. The changing circumstances of the Chinese revolution provide the immediate context, but throughout his writing the author views Chinese anarchism in relation to anarchism worldwide.

message 7: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Jun 14, 2013 06:49AM) (new)

Jerome | 4366 comments Mod
Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950

Decisive Encounters The Chinese Civil War, 1946-1950 by Odd Arne Westad by Odd Arne Westad (no photo)


The Chinese Civil War was one of the key conflicts of the twentieth century. The Communist victory determined Chinese history for several generations, and defined international relations in East Asia during the Cold War and after. Despite its importance and scope—its battles were the largest military engagements since World War II—until now remarkably little has been known about the war, and even less about its effects on the societies that suffered through it. This major new history of the Chinese Civil War attempts to answer two central questions: Why was the war fought? What were the immediate and the lasting results of the Communists’ victory?

Though the book highlights military matters, it also shows how campaigns were mounted alongside profound changes in politics, society, and culture—changes that ultimately contributed as much to the character of today’s China as did the major battles. By analyzing the war as an international conflict, the author explains why so much of the present legitimacy of the Beijing government derives from its successes during the late 1940s, and reveals how the antagonism between China and the United States was born.

message 8: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4366 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: September 24, 2013

The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957

The Tragedy of Liberation A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 by Frank Dikötter by Frank Dikötter Frank Dikötter


“The Chinese Communist party refers to its victory in 1949 as a ‘liberation.’ In China the story of liberation and the revolution that followed is not one of peace, liberty, and justice. It is first and foremost a story of calculated terror and systematic violence.” So begins Frank Dikötter’s stunning and revelatory chronicle of Mao Zedong’s ascension and campaign to transform the Chinese into what the party called New People. Following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, after a bloody civil war, Mao hoisted the red flag over Beijing’s Forbidden City, and the world watched as the Communist revolution began to wash away the old order. Due to the secrecy surrounding the country’s records, little has been known before now about the eight years that followed, preceding the massive famine and Great Leap Forward.

Drawing on hundreds of previously classified documents, secret police reports, unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches, eyewitness accounts of those who survived, and more, The Tragedy of Liberation bears witness to a shocking, largely untold history. Interweaving stories of ordinary citizens with tales of the brutal politics of Mao’s court, Frank Dikötter illuminates those who shaped the “liberation” and the horrific policies they implemented in the name of progress. People of all walks of life were caught up in the tragedy that unfolded, and whether or not they supported the revolution, all of them were asked to write confessions, denounce their friends, and answer queries about their political reliability. One victim of thought reform called it a “carefully cultivated Auschwitz of the mind.” Told with great narrative sweep, The Tragedy of Liberation is a powerful and important document giving voice at last to the millions who were lost, and casting new light on the foundations of one of the most powerful regimes of the twenty-first century.

message 9: by Mark (new)

Mark Mortensen Thanks Jerome. The last two book posts look very interesting.

message 10: by Jin Young (new)

Jin Young Suen (suenjinyoung) | 2 comments Hi, I'd like to read about Mao Zedong, the Chinese communist revolutionary and the founding of People's Republic of China.

Would love to hear recommendations about good books regarding the aforementioned subject.


message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A look at the social and cultural beginnings of Communism in China.

Provincial Passages: Culture, Space and the Origins of Chinese Communism

Provincial Passages Culture, Space, and the Origins of Chinese Communism by Wen-Hsin Yeh by Wen-Hsin Yeh no photo)


Revealing information that has been suppressed in the Chinese Communist Party's official history, Wen-hsin Yeh presents an insightful new view of the Party's origins. She moves away from an emphasis on Mao and traces Chinese Communism's roots to the country's culturally conservative agrarian heartland. And for the first time, her book shows the transformation of May Fourth radical youth into pioneering Communist intellectuals from a social and cultural history perspective.

Yeh's study provides a unique description of the spatial dimensions of China's transition into modernity and vividly evokes the changing landscapes, historical circumstances, and personalities involved. The human dimension of this transformation is captured through the biography of Shi Cuntong (1899-1970), a student from the Neo-Confucian county of Jinhua who became a founding member of the Party. Yeh's in-depth analysis of the dynamics of change is combined with a compelling narrative of the moral dilemmas in the lives of Shi Cuntong and other early leaders. Using sources previously closed to scholars, including recently discovered documents in the archives of the First United Front, Yeh shows the urban Communist movement as an intellectual revolution in social consciousness.

The Maoist legacy has often been associated with the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Yeh's historical reconstruction of a pre-Mao, non-organizational dimension of Chinese socialism is thus of vital interest to those seeking to redefine the place of the Communist Party in a post-Mao political order.(

message 12: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Jin:

This might be good:

Civil War in China The Political Struggle, 1945-1949 The Political Struggle, 1945-1949 by Suzanne Pepper by Suzanne Pepper (no photo)


Many books have tried to analyze the reasons for the Chinese communist success in China's 1945-1949 civil war, but Suzanne Pepper's seminal work was the first and remains the only comprehensive analysis of how the ruling Nationalists lost that warnot just militarily, but by alienating the civilian population through corruption and incompetence. Now available in a new edition, this authoritative investigation of Kuomintang failure and communist success explores the new research and archival resources available for assessing this pivotal period in contemporary Chinese history.

message 13: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Jin, this is on my to read list:

The Tragedy of Liberation A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957 by Frank Dikötter by Frank Dikötter Frank Dikötter

message 14: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The GR blurb on this book is not very informative but the title tells me that it might be an interesting study of China under communism.

The New Emperors: China in the Era of Mao and Deng

The New Emperors China in the Era of Mao and Deng by Harrison E. Salisbury by Harrison E. Salisbury(no photo)


The concept of emperor in China is intimately associated with that of the dragon. China's dragons, guardians of the throne, are unlike those of the West. They are benign and protective but can turn like terrible emperors on the people. If they do so, it is the fault of the people, not the dragons. They breathe fire and thrash their tail only if betrayed, a convenient concept for an emperor.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Four Fates in a Changing China
December 14, 2018
Allan Barr and Yu Hua
An exclusive new essay by Yu Hua, translated by Allan H. Barr

Translator’s note: Yu Hua, though best known as the author of novels such as the internationally acclaimed To Live, is also an essayist of note.

Since 2009, when he first wrote for the Western press – in the form of an op-ed for the New York Times to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student protests – he has published some two dozen essays on a wide variety of topics, including censorship, piracy and corruption in China, not to mention his nonfiction book of memoir and reflection China in Ten Words.

This latest essay can be read as a companion piece to his recent article that charted changing trends in Chinese society over the last 40 years. – Allan Barr

"By the end of this year, China will have seen 40 years of economic reform and interaction with the outside world – 40 years in which China has undergone earthshaking changes.

In 1978 China’s total GDP was 367.8 billion RMB ($150 billion in current US dollars); by 2017 it stood at 82.7 trillion RMB ($12 trillion). China’s economy has grown at a phenomenal rate, and of course prices have been soaring too.

In 1993 Zhang Yimou paid me 50,000 RMB ($7200 at current exchange rates) for the film rights to my novel To Live. In those days my wife and I lived in a room of just eight square meters, and for us this was an astronomical sum.

We laid the money underneath our pillow, and before going to bed each night we would take it out and gaze at it, dumbstruck that we had made enough to last a lifetime.

It was days before we could bring ourselves to deposit the money in the bank. Nowadays, if you were to try to buy a house in Beijing with 50,000 yuan, you would only get one square meter.

As the economy grows, Chinese society is also changing dramatically. At the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, radical left-wing thought seemed to have run its course, and liberal ideas began to gain currency, leading in time to the Tiananmen protests of 1989.

The suppression of that movement utterly deflated Chinese people’s enthusiasm for politics, and we entered an era when everyone engaged in commerce. A society in which politics came first was transformed into a society where money was all that mattered.

Now, as social issues such as corruption, pollution and income inequality grow more and more pronounced, the radical left thinking that seemed to have run out of steam has made its way back, as though all the time it had just been doing a shuttle run.

As I see it, a radical left-wing society is abnormal, and so too is a radical right-wing society. Chinese society today could be said to be fairly normal, with leftists and rightists and radical leftists and radical rightists; the largest group is the people in the middle.

I should note that today’s radical left differs from the radical left in the Cultural Revolution – leftists today are no longer blind supporters of the people in power.

Not long ago, when employees of Jasic Technology in Shenzhen set up an independent labor union, they were attacked by the government, because unions in China are all under the leadership of the Communist Party and union leaders are appointed by the government.

The employees did not want a government-run union, they wanted one of their own.

In a confrontation with the police, the people who went to Shenzhen to support the independent union were not rightists who value democratic freedoms, but rather leftists – people labeled as followers of Mao Zedong.

This incident signaled that social forms in China today are complex and convoluted. I make this point, however, simply as an introduction to my topic today: how social changes in China have affected people on the individual level.

A society in which politics came first was transformed into a society where money was all that mattered Chinese youth today are unlikely to have such complex lives as people of my generation.

When I was younger, a shared interest in literature brought me into contact with a number of individuals, and over the years they moved in very different directions: some went into business and made fortunes; some went into government and now hold high positions; some ended up in prison; some are still writing; some, sadly, have died.

Remainder of article:

Source: China Channel

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China

Curating Revolution Politics on Display in Mao's China by Denise Ho by Denise Ho (no photo)


How did China's Communist revolution transform the nation's political culture?

In this rich and vivid history of the Mao period (1949-1976), Denise Y. Ho examines the relationship between its exhibitions and its political movements.

Case studies from Shanghai show how revolution was curated: museum workers collected cultural and revolutionary relics; neighborhoods, schools, and work units mounted and narrated local displays; and exhibits provided ritual space for ideological lessons and political campaigns.

Using archival sources, ephemera, interviews, and other materials, Ho traces the process by which exhibitions were developed, presented, and received. Examples under analysis range from the First Party Congress Site and the Shanghai Museum to the 'class education' and Red Guard exhibits that accompanied the Socialist Education Movement and the Cultural Revolution. Operating in two modes - that of a state in power and that of a state in revolution - Mao era exhibitionary culture remains part of China's revolutionary legacy.

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Denise Y. Ho is assistant professor of twentieth-century Chinese history at Yale University, and the author of "Curating Revolution: Politics on Display of Mao’s China" (2018).

Using a wide variety of primary sources, including Shanghai’s municipal and district archives and oral history, "Curating Revolution" depicts displays of revolution and history, politics and class, and art and science.

Analyzing China’s “socialist museums” and “new exhibitions,” Ho demonstrates how Mao-era exhibitionary culture both reflected and made revolution.

Podcast on Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China

Curating Revolution Politics on Display in Mao's China by Denise Ho by Denise Ho (no photo)

Denise Y. Ho is an historian of modern China, with a particular focus on the social and cultural history of the Mao period (1949-1976). She is also interested in urban history, the study of information and propaganda, and material culture. Ho teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on modern and contemporary China, the history of Shanghai, the uses of the past in modern China, and the historiography of the Republican era and the PRC.

The "Harvard on China Podcast" is hosted by James Evans at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University.

Link to podcast:

Source: Soundcloud and Harvard Fairbank Center for China Chinese Studies

message 18: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
We do not have any self promotion in terms of links. We have already pointed out the same information above. If there is additional information, books, urls that are not self promoting - by all means we would like to see them.

message 19: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 2 comments Bentley wrote: " Curating Revolution: Politics on Display in Mao’s China

Curating Revolution by Denise Ho by Denise Ho (no photo)


How did..."

Denise Ho's work is outstanding not because it deals with a grand or overarching issue of Chinese history but rather because it shows on a quite granular level how the CCP uses history and its own history to tell the story that it wants told.

As the title suggests, the CCP has "curated" its own history selecting events to show the CCP as it wishes to be shown. Denise Ho has selected several events and items and in turn shows how the CCP structures and seeks to direct the narrative around these events.

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Very interesting Stephen. Thank you for your post.

message 21: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 2 comments Graham Hutchings, "China, 1949"

Full review:

External review:

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