The Common Program of the People's Republic of China 1949-1954

Article 42 of the Common Program

Anniversaries of important events

January 1 New Years day
February 7 Great Strike
March 8 International Working Women's Day
May 1 International Labor Day
May 4 Chinese Youth Day
June 1 International Children's Day
July 1 Anniversary Day of Founding of CCP
July 7 Lugou Bridge Incident
August 1 Army Day
September 3 Victory over Japan Day
September 18 September 18 Incident
October 1 National Day
October 10 Revolution of 1911
[1] The Central People's Government on December 23, 1949 made New Year's Day a public holiday [↩]
[2] To commemorate the strike of Jinghan (Peking-Hankou) Railway workers in February 1923 [↩]
[3] On December 23, 1949, the Government Administration Council of the Chinese Central People's Government proclaimed March 8 as Women's Day. [↩]
[4] On December 23, 1949, the Government Administration Council of the Chinese Central People's Government proclaimed May 1 as Labor Day [↩]
[5] May 4 is the Chinese Youth Day to commemorate the Beijing students in opposing the Paris Peace Treaty (1919)aimed at partitioning China and in abrogating the 21-Article Treaty imposed on China by Japan. [↩]
[6] On December 23, 1949, The Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government of the PRC proclaimed June 1 as Children's Day. [↩]
[7] Shanghai from July 23 to 31, 1921 congress founded the Chinese Communist Party. July 1 was made the day to commemorate the founding anniversary. on June 30, 1941 the Central Committee of the CPC decides to commemorate this day on July 1 [↩]
[8] July 7, 1937, (Marco Polo bridge incident) Japan launched the long-premeditated overall war of aggression against China [↩]
[9] On December 23, 1949, The Government Administration Council of the Central People's Government of the PRC proclaimed August 1 the Army Day for commemorating the armed uprising in Nanchang on August 1927 [↩]
[10] On September 3 the end of World War II is celebrated [↩]
[11] Tocommemorate September 18, 1931, the Japanese Guangdong Army stationed in Northeast China suddenly bombarded Shenyang [↩]
[12] On December 2, 1949, the Central People's Government decided to make October 1 the National Day to celebrate the founding of the PRC [↩]
[13] To commemorate October 10, 1911, The Wuchang Uprising led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen which eventually caused the overthrowing of the Qing Dynasty [↩]

The CCP, in its attempts to realize a socialist revolution, focuses on the rural peasants. Its emphasis lies more on a national revolution and less on a social. Kwan (n.y.) argues "… the CCP would become a medium to express peasant discontent but it used social discontent for its own interest.” He continues “It is not a question of whether the revolution was social or national as both played decisive factors. At the heart of every national issue was an impending social issue. Peasants had felt discontent long before the onset of the Sino Japanese War, but it was the nationalism that motivated them to other throw the status quo of their society." In the discussion of this article 42, the emphasis is on 'love of the fatherland' or in other words, nationalism. 'Love of labor' will be deliberated in Article 32 , 'love of science' Article 43 and 'care of public property' will be discussed in Article 28 .
Descriptions of the campaigns, which are important to realize a feeling of nationalism are highlighted. These are the land reform campaign, the Resist America-Aid Korea Campaign, the unification of China, and the mobilization for national reconstruction. This article starts with the portrayal of the parades.
Fig. 42.1 People's Daily Editorials
A Red Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A Black Number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).

On May 1 and October 1 big parades are held on Tiananmen Square in Beijing to celebrate Labor day and National Day. The parades are orchestrated events. They have multiple purposes: Celebrating the new era of socialism and denouncing the old order. A demonstration of the power of the PLA and the achievements of the People's Republic of China. Legitimation of the authority of the CCP. Emphasizing the role of Mao Zedong and display of solidarity with the international socialist camp. (Below the captions of the photos are the slogans and themes of the national days of 1949-1954.)
1949 Shanghai citizens warmly welcomed the PLA into the city
The promotion of the Mao cult has a twofold purpose, one is to undermine the Soviets’ influence by replacing Marxist-Leninism with Mao’s ideology and to create an image of the revolutionary leader to rally support from the peasantry who for the most part do not understand the depth of Marxist-Leninism due to the low level of literacy. There is the necessity to replace Marxism with a domestic ideology and to create a hero or an idol and introduce a cult to mobilize the party members.

The CCP sets itself the goal to introduce a proper patriotism and therefore bans all foreign influences because they are seen as a way to infiltrate and to exploit the Chinese people. In particular, the Roman Catholic church is considered a threat. See article 5. On the other hand, socialist internationalism is considered a part of a new value system. "Under the “lean to one side” policy, accepting Soviet culture was tied to a person’s political stance and was punished or rewarded in political terms accordingly. At the height of Sino-Soviet alliance, one was either a “Russophile” or an “anti-Soviet, anti-socialist, anti-revolutionary rightist.”19 Whether a person loved the Soviet Union and supported Sino-Soviet friendship was a criterion for judging if the person had an internationalist spirit, loved New China, and supported socialism. By contrast, “worshiping the U.S., fearing the U.S., and being friendly with the U.S.” were severely castigated and ostracized." This Sino-Soviet friendship is by no means intended to build personal relationships (All forms of personal communication between Chinese and Soviet citizens have to be officially sanctioned and subject to surveillance), it has the meaning of a strategic relationship at the state level. See also article 45
The dissolution of Boy Scouts organizations is also a method to ban foreign influence. On October 13, 1949, the Children’s Corps of China is founded. "They organized children to visit factories, meet revolutionary veterans/heroes during wartime as well as labor models, scientists and writers, pay their respects to sacrificed soldiers and console their families, participate in marching exercises, go on picnics, play military games, hold oral story competitions and poetry recitation competitions, set up interest groups, little libraries and weather stations and create "red scarf" chorus clubs."

Part 3 describes the quest of the elite for a new interpretation of the role and position of China. Cohen (1991) states "The new definition of being Chinese is firmly rooted in nationalism, in a conception of China as a nation-state with interests that must be protected and advanced in competition with other nation-states. Modern Chinese nationalism is hardly an ultimately cosmic orientation, as was the traditional sense of Chinese national identity, for its emergence and growth was prompted by the conviction that China was weak and, indeed, in many ways inferior to other nation-states."
The binding factors became anti-imperialism and anti-foreign movements. Unlike Japan, which has embraced the past and its traditions, China has the past and most of its traditions shaken off as being feudal and therefore totally unacceptable. The CCP fits into this tradition and their leaders look for a successful example, which in their eyes, is the SU.
The CCP never blindly followed the SU example. From the start, the new regime tries to establish its own identity. Several methods are used. First of all “…there was a remarkable continuity in the use of artistic symbols and techniques from the Yan’an era, during which left-wing activists drew heavily from the rural traditions of Shaanxi to fashion a propaganda strategy. The original idea and directive, of course, came from Mao.” On the other hand the use of traditional symbols is common. Popular symbols of longevity (pines and cypresses) and joy and prosperity (red lanterns and chrysanthemums) are often displayed in parades and illustrations.
In urban localities "three basic methods of (re)construction were applied: 1) manipulation of naming and renaming, (of districts, streets, squares, parks and buildings) 2) erection of statues of Chairman Mao and revolutionary martyrs in front of existing colonial buildings or in the place of old statues of Manchukuo or the KMT, and 3) new buildings of socialist realism that complete urban form so that supplementation rather than demolition played an active role in forgetting the past. "
The CCP presents itself as the sole guard of the sovereignty and independence of China. The GMD is depicted as corrupt and incapable of defending the country against the negative influences of foreign powers. 1949 is characterized as the beginning of a ‘new” China of a ‘new’ society. “A special vocabulary grew out of this distinction: under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the labouring masses “stood up” (fanshen 翻身), “took control” (dangjia zuozhu 当家作主), and, as a consequence, became “the masters of the country” (guojia zhurenweng 国家主人翁).”
The Chinese state underwent a fundamental transformation, not only in its role and position but also in its objective of nurturing a 'new socialist' individual devoted to supporting the regime. This new individual is expected to (1) follow, obey, support, and serve the CPC and its socialist causes; (2) enhance their ideological understanding through the study of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong's works; (3) adopt a proletarian stance by consistently opposing exploiters like landlords, bourgeoisie, and imperialists; (4) integrate production/study and labor; and (5) exemplify communist moral values such as selflessness and collectivism. During this period, citizenship education exclusively centered on the national level, focusing on the CPC's perspectives on the state, political ideology, socialism, and communism. Simultaneously, it excluded and even dismantled traditional Chinese culture and individual rights and interests perceived as capitalist.

Two campaigns are particularly important to create a feeling of nationalism: The land reform campaign (see article 27) can be considered as a unifying movement, support for Land Reform is designated as a ‘patriotic activity’. The second movement is the Resist America-Aid Korea Campaign (see article 54) In both campaigns millions of Chinese are involved. During the land reform campaign in eliminating undesirable classes (anyone who opposed Land Reform was labelled an ‘agent of American imperialism’) and the distribution of land. During the Resist America-Aid Korea Campaign many people are participating in the war and in producing weapons, clothing, and donating money.
February 1951, the regime called for the dissemination of support for the Korean War in every village, institutions, schools, factories, shops, and even every street and residential area of all ethnic groups in the country. This call found its resonance in the promotion of Patriotic Compacts. "Patriotic compacts were expected to combine political work and the life goals of the family. Every family was encouraged to sign on to the patriotic compacts and to implement the activities prescribed in the compacts….The Communist Party Committee in Shenyang, for example, issued a variety of compacts concerning the completion of monthly production quotas, donation of military supplies, good treatment of soldiers and their families, delivery of crops and tax payment, and goals of political work."
Through anti-US propaganda, the CCP aimed to achieve significant social control by fostering anti-US sentiment, manipulating emotions, and stifling dissenting voices. The CCP employed tactics such as appropriating war memories and orchestrating public expressions of war-related suffering and atrocities committed by Japan and the United States. These strategies allowed the CCP to legitimize the promotion of hatred against the United States and label dissenting voices as aligning with China's adversaries, the United States and the GMD. Consequently, the CCP gained rhetorical leverage to marginalize any public discussions opposing CCP policies. Almost immediately, after Chinese troops entered North Korea, the Chinese People’s Committee for Safeguarding the World Peace and Opposing American Invasion was established. The committee started the Campaign to Resist America and Aid Korea. The movement aimed at political, social, and economic mobilization, educating and enlightening the public to perceive a “correct” view of the US and international affairs through propaganda. It intended to draw out voluntary public participation in the movement.

Fig. 42.2 People's Daily Editorials
*3 campaigns during the Korea War
**Oppose Bourgeois Individualism, Liberalism, Sectarianism, Dispersionism, Conceit, and Parochialism in the Party
A Red Number indicates the subject was a major theme in the editorial. A Black Number indicates a minor theme in the editorial. Source: Oksenberg (1982).
Tian (2018) concludes "Although patriotic compacts became a common method of social mobilization in Manchuria, signing them was often a pro forma affair. In many factories, the patriotic compact became a method to discipline the workforce, rather than a means of supporting the war effort." At this moment this political mobilization is an efficient method for the CCP to solve problems caused by their limited economic capacity and their limited social control.
On July 24, 1951, Zhou Enlai remarks "...that the laboring masses in China are full of determination to fight and drive off American troops out of Korea and liberate Taiwan island." but he also added "Among the right-wing elements is a group of people, who in their time were closely tied to the Jiang Jieshi regime and with the Americans. Some of these people who carried out subversive work have been discovered. For each discovery we provided the democratic parties and groups with irrefutable evidence and they were unable to object to our repression of these elements. Others of whose subversive activities we still have no evidence have been isolated." The defense of the homeland is the key theme of the campaign at the advent of China's involvement in the war, less important is the ‘brotherly’ help to Korea (see article 54)
The US is depicted "… as the logical continuation of Japanese aggression. Japan served as an imperialist point of reference for the Chinese that had survived the horrors of the Anti-Japanese War. For the millions of Chinese citizens who knew little about the United States this approach conflated the new enemy, America, with a familiar aggressor. As a result, the United States inherited the position Japan previously held as China's foremost imperialist enemy." Barnes (2013) remarks further "Together these campaigns increasingly fostered a sense of what it meant to be a citizen in the People's Republic of China." Besides these 2 campaigns, two others are equally important: the unification of China with Mongolia (not realized) (see article 2 ), with Tibet (realized in 1950) (see article 2), with Taiwan (not realized) (see article 2) and with Hong Kong and Macao (later realized) (see article 55) The second one is the mass mobilization for national reconstruction. (see article 26)
Much attention is paid to propaganda in popular media, such as post cards, movies, posters, etcetera. (see article 45). The message to be conveyed is the 'new' China is strong, righteous and socialist, the USA is weak, corrupt and capitalist. Students are "…bombarded with patriotic activities in schools and summer camps, clashed with their parents over their new desire to serve the state, and wrote about their conflicts publicly in the pages of CCP youth publications." This propaganda has had its effect also in the USA, where Chinese students are being called to return to their motherland to support the new China.
Long Live

Kwan (n.y.). Page 7 and Page 10 [↩] [Cite]
Yeap (2007). Pages 131-134 [↩] [Cite]
Li (2012). Page 23 [↩] [Cite] [↩]
Cohen (1991). Page 126 [↩] [Cite]
"One result of these policies has been the stripping from China’s cities and countryside of most of the colorful physical manifestations of traditional culture. This assault, involving the destruction or conversion of temples, shrines, ancestral halls, and a wide variety of other structures and monuments having important local cultural significance, began during the final years of the old dynasty and was well under way when China was under Nationalist and warlord rule, but it is safe to say that under the Communists it has been carried out with unprecedented intensity and thoroughness.17" Cohen (1991). Pages 129-130 [↩] [Cite]
Hung (2011). Page 262 [↩] [Cite]
Liu (2011). Page 96 [↩] [Cite]
Zhang (2014). Page 1071 [↩] [Cite]
Xu (2022). Page 578 [↩] [Cite]
Tian (2018). Page 50. [Cite]
Peterson (2013) describes the faith of a Overseas family "Another case involved one Guan Wenyuan who left China earlier in the century and spent the next several decades working as a carpenter in Thailand while faithfully remitting money to his family in Meixian county. As a result, the family had eventually been able to save enough money to purchase three mu of farm land. Come land reform, however. the Guan family were labelled ‘landlords’. Not only were the family’s land, house and rice stocks confiscated, but local officials also demanded that the family also make a HKS50.000 ‘donation’ to the Resist America and Aid Korea campaign. Unable to come up with the money, Guan Wenyuan’s mother was ‘tortured to death’ by local officials, according to her son." Peterson (2013). Page 51 [↩] [Cite]
Tian (2018). Page 51 [↩] [Cite]
Barnes (2013). Page 51 and Page iii [↩] [Cite]
Hess (2006). Page 384 [↩] [Cite]

Chapter 5 of Common Program