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

The CCP has 2 economic objectives, the rapid industrialization based on planning and socialization of enterprises and people. To achieve a socialist state, the CCP has to capture the power of the ruling propertied classes and to eliminate the semi-colonial and semi-feudal basis of the country. Besides the economy has to become self-sufficient and self-reliant and foreign control has to be destroyed . The economic objective is to raise the peasants’ (and workers’) efficiency to increase the labour productivity to be able to finance the industrialization.
The CCP faced several major challenges: First of all, to establish and consolidate the central administration (Chapter 2), second take control over the hyperinflation, reconstruction and development of the economy, to finish the land reform, to solve unemployment, to stop the migration to urban areas (Article 5) and last to begin with the transition to a socialist production method.
"the takeover operations of the CCP were not limited to institutions administered by the preceding regime, but included many others as well....cadres were instructed that, "After we arrive in Shanghai, we shall take over not only all the administrative institutions of the GMD, but also factories, schools, financial and commercial systems, and systems of media, culture and education."1 This statement makes clear that the takeover program was not intended to be limited to government institutions." See for problems with recruiting cadres Part 7.
The Common Program describes the five sectors of the future economy. The government controls the state sector which includes the big industries, the mines, public enterprises and utilities (Article 28 ). The cooperative sector is a semi-socialist sector (Article 29 ). The third sector is the small private enterprise sector which consists of individual farms, handicrafts, and other small business units, which will gradually be transformed from individual to collective segment. (Article 30 ) The ‘national capitalists’ are the fourth sector. (Article 30 ) The state capitalist sector consists of joint state-private enterprises.(Article 35 ) The state sector has to fulfill the role of catalyst in the national economy to prevent the revival of the private sector. The state enterprises in China were first classified into three categories: (1) those under the direct control of the central government, (2) those owned by the central government but temporarily entrusted to local governments or other agencies for administration; and (3) those assigned for control by the local governments or other agencies. Many of the modern sectors of industry were in the hands of foreigners and were concentrated in the neighborhood of ports and coastal cities. Overall, the economy can be characterized as small, highly labor-intensive. To develop the state sector confiscation and nationalization of foreign controlled industries and enterprises owned by Chinese magnates, related to the GMD regime, was the primary objective.
In 1949, the CCP followed a dual policy “the New Democracy” in which alliance and struggle with the national bourgeoisie are needed to develop the economy. The improvement of the worker’s livelihood may not interfere with the proper development of the “capitalist” economy. The land reform shall not hamper the growth of agrarian production.
Fig. 1: Budgetary Revenue 1950-1954

Source: Ecklund George Norman (1961). Taxation in Communist China, 1950-59. Page 10
In million current Yuan
The Common Program describes in articles 26-31 the economic strategy which is based on 5 sectors of ownership.
Article 28 State-owned sector, all enterprises vital for the economy and people’s livelihood.
Article 29 Co-operative sector, semi-socialist and receiving preferential treatment.
Article 30 Private sector, which is beneficial to the national welfare, is supported
Article 31 State and private sector, private capital shall be encouraged to develop in the direction of state capitalism.
The other articles deal with
Article 27 Agriculture, land reform has priority.
Article 35 Industry, the main large-scale industries are to be confiscated and nationalised and to be runned by industrial ministries set up under the GAC.
Article 36 instructs the restauration and growth of the national network of roads and railways and the expansion of civic aviation. Postal, telegraphic and telephone services shall be improved and developed.
Article 39 stipulates the abolishment of private banks, the creation of the People’s Bank of China, a ban on circulation of gold, silver and foreign currencies, and the introduction of the Renminbi.
Article 40 Fiscal policy targets the urban areas and restricts the government’s spending.

Article 26 

Social economy

  • Article 27 

    Agrarian reform

  • Article 28 

    State owned enterprises

  • Article 29 

    Co-operative economy

  • Article 30 

    Private economy

  • Article 31 

    State capitalism

  • Article 32 

    Workers' participation

  • Article 33 

    Public and private economy

  • Article 34 

    Agriculture forestry, fisheries

  • Article 35 

    Industry

  • Article 36 

    Communication

  • Article 37 

    Commerce

  • Article 38 

    Co-operatives

  • Article 39 

    Currency and banking

  • Article 40 

    Public finance

  • Deng (2012). Page 122 [↩] [Cite]
    RMRB 030-03-1950 "Decision Concerning the Unification of Financial and Economic Work" [↩]

    Chapter 4 of Common Program