Introduction to the Common Program of the People's Republic of China


In September 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and other political parties and social organization (minzhu dangpai) approve the Common Program. The minzhu dangpai are in the eyes of the CCP the representatives of the 'national bourgeoisie' and their support is very much needed in the realization of the Common Program.
This study about the Common Program treats this program not only as a sort of constitution but also as an agenda for the development and future of China. "...the constitution is not a document announcing the highest moral value or values, and not necessarily a set of normative principles, but the important practice of governing a state. A constitution is not a set of moral values, but a general guide of national political practice. Whether such a political practice is of constitutional importance depends not upon what is right but upon whether it is important in shaping a country’s political power structure and allocation of political power.14 "
Zhu Suli (2003). ‘Federalism’ in Contemporary China – A Reflection on the Allocation of Power between Central and Local Government. Singapore Journal of International & Comparative Law 7. Pages 7-8
It is a kind of blueprint for regime change, state building and transition. The regime change is the result of the end of the Civil War. A war between the Guomindang (GMD) and the CCP. The CCP wants to build an new kind of state based on communist principles and Mao Zedong's thoughts. The interim period is a period of transition from the old feudal regime to a socialist state.
In this study the year 1949 is not seen as a great divide. "These were changes of major import. In their impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese people, they were without question revolutionary. But, although brought about by the Communists and certainly viewed by Mao and his colleagues as part of their revolutionary program, they did not really constitute a 'Communist' revolution in any substantive sense. ..in the years after 1949 China experienced not just one revolution but a number of different revolutions, partly overlapping and partly in conflict with one another."
Cohen Paul A. (2003). Reflections on a watershed date: the 1949 divide in Chinese history. In Wasserstrom Jeffrey N. (ed) Twentieth-century China. New Approaches. Page 30. The CCP continuously emphasizes the differences between the bad old society that existed before 1949 and the good new society that came into being after 1949.

The Common Program contains the guiding principles and philosophy for the new state. It is a compromise between CCP and the minzhu dangpai. This cooperation between the CCP and the minzhu dangpai is unique in the communist world. It resulted in the overthrow of the GMD regime and the creation of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
One of the main instruments of realizing this 'new' China are the mass campaigns. These political, economic and social campaigns are the means to win the support of the people, to destroy the enemies of the new regime and to obtain the goals of the Common Program.

Enlarge

In 1950 after the establishment of a new government this collaboration comes under pressure. The main reason of this conflict lies in the ideas of the CCP concerning the relation between state and Party. "In a document issued in September 1942, which laid out the two principles concerning the Party—state relations that largely constituted the CCP's answers to the similar problems in the post-1949 period:
1. The Party committee is the highest leading organ, and it should exercise a unified leadership over all the other organizations, including government, army, and mass organizations.
2. The Party leadership means that the Party should decide on policies, but not directly interfere in, or take care of, every matter that is within the jurisdiction of the government.57"
Zheng Shiping (1997). Party vs. State in Post-1949 China The Institutional Dilemma. Cambridge university press. Pages 38-39

A second reason is the change in acceptance of the bourgeois. From being an 'ally' changes into being an 'enemy'. This change in attitude is largely attributable to the orthodox Marxist theory in which the bourgeoisie is the enemy of the 'people'. The CCP sees the experiences in the Soviet Union, where the bourgeoisie is eliminated, as a role model.

The acceptance of a new constitution in September 1954 marks the end of the Common Program. Changes in political and economic goals already undermine the Common Program almost from the beginning. The purpose of this study is to show the results and the failures of the Common Program.

Summary

    Road to Common Program This item in the menu above introduces a short history of China between 1911 and 1949 and tells the story of the founding of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) , the making of the Common Program and the formation of an new government and its program.

    Common Program This item leads to the disription of the Common Program and its consequences for the development of the People's Republic of China.
    The 60 articles of the Common Program are highlighted in 7 chapters.

    Chronology A timeline from 1949-1954. It shows the most important political, economic, social, cultural events in the People's Republic of China.

    Documents This item leads to indexes of documents, speeches, tables and charts.

    Literature This item leads to indexes of consulted and cited books and articles.

    Meetings This item leads to indexes of imported meetings of the CCP, the Government and mass organizations.

    Gallery This item shows the delegates of the first CPPCC

    Maps Several maps are shown

    Glossery Explanations of several abbriviations



Literature....
1. Zhu Suli (2003). ‘Federalism’ in Contemporary China – A Reflection on the Allocation of Power between Central and Local Government. Singapore Journal of International & Comparative Law 7. Pages 7-8 Back
2. Cohen Paul A. (2003). Reflections on a watershed date: the 1949 divide in Chinese history. In Wasserstrom Jeffrey N. (ed) Twentieth-century China. New Approaches. Page 30. The CCP continuously emphasizes the differences between the bad old society that existed before 1949 and the good new society that came into being after 1949. Back
3. Zheng Shiping (1997). Party vs. State in Post-1949 China The Institutional Dilemma. Cambridge university press. Pages 38-39 Back


Author: Peter van Meel

info@commonprogram.science


Last updated: October 2019
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