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

This time, on the first day of the CPPCC conference, the CCP presents the delegates a swirling and promotional Yangge show. See Part 4 . The young artists Guang Weiran and Hu Sha are responsible for this performance and they have written an act called “the great musical of Long Live The People’s Victory” and there are some 250 dancers and singers active. "The purpose of the show is “to demonstrate the idea of the people’s democratic dictatorship, the leadership of the proletariat, the importance of workers and peasants as the foundation [of the nation], and the great unity of the various national minorities." The spectacle is also a tribute to the communist leaders and particularly to Mao Zedong.

662 delegates representing 45 different organizations as well some specially invited guests are convening. 585 delegates are qualified to vote (see Members and Gallery ), from whom 340 are CCP member.(4 ex CCP members and 6 CCP members as special guests) There are 69 women present, 7 persons represent different religious movements: Buddhism (2) and Christianity (5).The Islam representatives are incorporated in the minority delegates.
According to Rudolph (2021), the list of participants exhibits two distinct characteristics. Firstly, it reflects the Republican-era notion of representing competing political forces, akin to the Anglo-American system. Secondly, the inclusion of delegations representing women, ethnic minorities, and students exemplifies the CCP's corporatist approach to representation. This approach is grounded in the belief that women are best represented by women, ethnic minorities by members of their respective ethnic groups, and so on.
The order in listing the parties reflects the hierarchy given by the CCP. "…four factors were central: the ideological proximity of the DPGs to the Communist Party, the public image of the parties’ most influential members, the direct involvement in the consultation process in Lijiazhuang or Harbin, as well as the importance of the constituents that each DPG could mobilize for the national reconstruction." Zhou Enlai comments on this situation on April 13, 1950: "We have united democratic personages from religious groups just because they are democratic personages. Giving the permission to the freedom of religious belief is different from inviting the democratic personages from religious groups to participate in CPPCC or other representative meetings. The latter is done purely out of political consideration no matter they are priests or monks." 102 delegates represent Regional areas, 60 delegates represent the PLA, but many Regional delegates are also members of the PLA. In total, there are 127 PLA representatives (and 4 PLA are invited). 142 delegates represent 14 political parties and 206 persons represent mass organizations. The youngest participant is 17 years old, the oldest is 81 years of age. See Table 3 and Members show the official list.
The exact number of participants who are actually in Beijing is difficult to determine. Probably 634 or 635 are at the Congress but also the number of 614 persons is mentioned. "After having experienced the destructive political and financial crises of August 1948, Zhou Zuomin, the president of the Kincheng Bank, had escaped from Shanghai to Hong Kong with the help of American friends. He became dissatisfied with the Kuomintang and helped some communists and third-party members leave Hong Kong to attend the first Political Consultative Conference and the founding ceremony of the New China in Beijing."

Fig. 6.1 Age structure of CPPCC Delegates

The Census results of 1953 shows 8 provinces with more than 30 million inhabitants, of those 3 provinces (Sichuan, Shandong and Henan) are underrepresented and 2 provinces (Shaanxi and Shanxi) with less than 20 million are overrepresented in the CPPCC.
Fig. 6.2 Place of birth CPPCC delegates

There are several new organizations present. They have been founded between June and September 1949. For instance: the All-China Federation of Literary and Art Circles (FLAC), which is founded in July 1949. Its chairman is Guo Muruo, a CCP member. There are also 300 onlookers, including 31 journalists. 4 of them came from SU, Korea, and Italy.
The leaders of the CCP keep speeches in which they firmly oppose the GMD regime and assure the public their cooperation with the Minzhu Dangpai is sincere and lasting.
1st meeting of CPPCC
Mao Zedong posits that this conference cannot be compared with the old political consultative conference of the GMD in 1946. "The present Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference is convened on an entirely new foundation; it is representative of the people of the whole country and enjoys their trust and support. Therefore, the conference proclaims that it will exercise the functions and powers of a National People's Congress."

Liu Shaoqi confirms the role of the CCP and the sincerity of the CCP: "The Communist Party of China participates and sincerely cooperates with other democratic parties and groups, people's organisations, national minorities, Overseas Chinese and other patriotic elements on the basis of the common programme of New Democracy, in the People's Political Consultative Conference, as a political party to decide on all the important questions of China. The Communist Party of China will resolutely carry out and struggle to realise thoroughly all the resolutions of the People's Political Consultative Conference which it has taken part in passing. The Communist Party of China will struggle for the highest prestige of the People's Political Consultative Conference, and will not allow anyone to undermine the People's Political Consultative Conference.” and he continues, the CCP will "… fully observe all the stipulations of the common programme after it has been discussed and adopted by the Plenary Session of the Political Consultative Conference, and will call on the people throughout the country to struggle for its thorough realisation." and he reassures the Minzhu Dangpai that during the period of transition from capitalism to socialism. “At that time, the Communist Party of China will certainly consult and make decisions jointly with the democratic parties and groups, people's organisations, national minorities and patriotic democratic persons. The Communist Party of China is, in the future, also willing to enter into Socialism together with all people willing to do so.”
These words and former speeches of the CCP leaders have persuaded people like Lu Zuofu and Song Feixing the director of Dongya Company to participate. Song is chosen as a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC. As we have seen before, his conviction does not last long and in 1950 he leaves for Hong Kong. See Part 3. Lu Zuofu is confounded in his faith and in 1952 commits suicide after accusations of bribery.

However, despite all these promises of the communist leaders of a long-term cooperation between the CCP and the Minzhu Dangpai, Liu Shaoqi makes it clear on September 13, 1948 during a Politbureau meeting. "Only when we had achieved political power over the country was the democratic revolution concluded. Our earlier conflict with imperialism and feudalism no longer existed. Now the conflict would be between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie." Mao Zedong ads: "To make things clear– after the bourgeois democratic revolution was complete, the main internal conflict in China was between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie; the main external conflict was the one with imperialism."
Zhou Enlai states the Common Program is a minimum program, the CCP has also a maximum program “The decision to omit the maximum program from the Common Program is out of solemn respect for it and does not mean that it is being denied. The economic part of the Common Program has stipulated the actual ensuring of development toward this future."
Liu Shaoqi also emphasizes this difference in a radio broadcast: "But it is known to all that the Chinese Communist Party has, in addition to its minimum program, its maximum program which is not included in the Common Program of the CPPCC. In the course of consultation, some delegates proposed to write down the future Socialism of China into the Common Program, but we deem this to be inappropriate, because the taking of considerably Socialist steps in China is a thing of the rather far future. . . . Without doubt, the future of China will travel to-wards Socialism and Communism."
sheet for representatives of the 1st CPPCC
In 1958, Mao admitted that "… in 1949 he did not reveal his real agenda and that it was merely a matter of tactics not to publicize it .4 In 1949, unsure of how effectively the party could govern the country, Mao projected an image of the party as being far less communist than it really was, hoping thereby to win support from all social groups—peasants, capitalists, merchants, small-shop owners, peddlers, artisans, and intellectuals."

The Common Program is drafted after broad consultation. Zhou Jingwen member of the CDL states: "The Common Program was proposed by the CCP. In the committee discussions which followed, some delegates proposed a few amendments, but they were rejected after the Communist delegates explained the reasons for their original proposals. The committees had to confine themselves to deliberating the wording of the proposed text. When the Common Program was referred back to the conference, it was unreservedly, enthusiastically and unanimously passed by a show of hands.… Even the speeches given by the delegates had to be approved beforehand by the Presidium which was, of course, controlled by the CC(P)” In the text of the Common Program, the term “coalition government does not appear. However, in the first draft of the Common program that Zhou Enlai sent to Mao Zedong for review, the term was used many times and a passage from Mao Zedong’s “on coalition government” was quoted.
Shenamjil, a veteran linguist credits Ulanhu with inscribing article 53 of the Common Program. During the conference, more than 100 delegates speeches and on the last day Mao Zedong closes the Congress. He calls for "We should organize the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people in political, military, economic, cultural and other organizations and put an end to the disorganized state characterizing the old China, so that the great collective strength of the masses may be tapped both to support the People's Government and the People's Liberation Army and to build a new China, independent, democratic, peaceful, unified, prosperous and strong."

The conference adopts all decisions of the 6 committees which were formed in June 1949 at the preparatory meeting. See Part 4. The Common Program is accepted. It is decided to make Beijing the capital of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This decision is motivated: "The counterrevolutionary GMD set their capital in Nanking, and the reason was that they could rely on imperialism as Nanking is close to Shanghai, which was the central city for imperialism and comprador class to exploit the Chinese people. The PRC is a people’s country and it depends on the Chinese people alone. Hence, we do not have to set our capital in Nanking. Beiping had been the capital of China over seven hundred years. Politically, it is located in the old liberated area of northern China where the people’s power is enormous…. Culturally, it is a noted historic and cultural city with worldwide reputation and has been the cradle of new culture and thought since the May Fourth…. Therefore, we suggest that the PRC should set Beiping as the capital and rename it Beijing." The designs of the national flag and national emblem and the text of the national hymn are approved. The introduction of the Gregorian calendar is sanctioned and the decision to establish the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) is made. Furthermore, is decided to build the Monument to the People’s Heroes on Tiananmen square. The delegates chose the members for the National Committee of the CPPCC. See Standing Committee of the CPPCC and Chart 1 shows the government structure. The organic law of the CPPCC stipulates that once in the 6 months the National Committee has to convene. In reality, the first National Committee has only met 4 times in 5 years of time. The Congress adopts two laws, the organic law of the CPPCC and the organic law of the central government. Article 4 of the organic law of the CPPCC tells that difference of opinion is allowed "…it must, in accordance with the democratic principle of the minority submitting to the majority, abide by the resolutions, and must not violate them. However, it may reserve its divergent opinions for discussion at the following session. If it fundamentally disagrees with important resolutions, it is free to withdraw from the Chinese People's PCC upon request."

The Congress also choses the members of the Central People’s Government Council (CGPC) See Members of the CPGC The head of the council is Mao Zedong, there are 6 vice chairmen; 3 CCP members, namely, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De and Gao Gang. The others are Soong Ching Ling (non-party), Li Jishen, member of the Rev. GMD and Zhang Lan CDL member. All four CCP adherents are Politburo members. 29 members and 2 alternative members of the Central Committee of the CCP are members of the CPGC.
Soviet ambassador Roshchin remarks in his diary how the real position of the non-CCP participants is. During the state banquet: Li Jishen, … Zhang Lan, and Cheng Qian. Because the presence of these last three, Com. Mao Zedong avoided conversations on serious political matters." Already in January 1949, the CCP decides to restrict the access to certain documents and political decisions for the Minzhu Dangpai. See Part 3. In December 1953 Gao Gang expressed: "He was also uncomfortable with the continuing existence of the 'democratic parties' in China. While some individual members of these parties could be trusted, said Gao, others were completely unreliable as were, in general, the parties themselves.29"
The CPGC has the supreme power of the People's Republic of China and it consists of the Government Administration Council, the Revolutionary Military Committee, the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and from 1952 till 1954 the State Planning Commission.

Hung (2007). Page 89 [↩] [Cite]
Rudolph (2021). Page 292 [↩] [Cite]
Rudolph (2021). Page 294. "For example, the Democratic National Construction Association had risen to the 4th position, while the Zhigong Party descended to the 11th position.66" [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Xue (2009). Page 156 [↩] [Cite]
Ji (2003). Page 361 [↩] [Cite]
21-09-1949 Mao Zedong "The Chinese people have stood up!"
Several political parties are not allowed to participate, for example: Sun Wenshi Revolutionary League, Civil Society Party, China Youth Labor Party, Restoration league, Chinese Peasant Party, Chinese Democratic Party, Chinese Civilian Education Promotion Association, People's Democratic Freedom Union, Democratic Progressive Party and Chinese People's Liberal Party [↩]
Cited in Yang (2007). Pages 16-17 [↩] [Cite]
Steiner (1950a). Pages 46-47 [↩] [Cite]
Li (2006). Page 2 [↩] [Cite]
Zhou (1960). Page 42 [↩] [Cite]
Cited in Bulag (2002). Pages 23-24 [↩] [Cite]
"Suggestion on the national flag, national capital, and calendar era" cited in Pan (2011). Page 143 [↩] [Cite]
The congress decided to invite designers for the proposals of the national emblem and two groups from two universities were selected in September 1949 [↩]
The GMD government "..., one of the first acts of the new republic was the introduction of the Gregorian calendar (starting January 1, 1912), which strove to eliminate “numerous festivals and deity birthday rituals punctuating the traditional calendar . . . all of which were occasions for ‘hot and noisy’ crowds and unbridled ‘superstition’— and replace them with a new set of civic rituals." [↩]
Mao Zedong writes September 30, 1949 the draft for the inscription on the Monument to the People’s Heroes "Eternal glory to the People’s Heroes who have given their lives over the last three years in the People’s War of Liberation and the People’s Revolution! Eternal glory to the People’s Heroes who given their lives in the last thirty years in the People’s War of Liberation and the People’s Revolution! Eternal glory to the People’s Heroes, who, since the year of 1840, have given their lives in the many struggles to resist the enemy, domestic and foreign, to strive for the independence of the nation and the freedom and well-being of the people!" Cited in Pan (2011). Page 178 [↩] [Cite]
First meeting: 09-10-1949, Second meeting: 14-06-1950 – 23-06-1950, Third meeting: 23-10-1951 – 01-11-1951,Fourth meeting: 4-02-1953 – 07-02-1953 [↩]
Wingrove (2000). Page 97 [↩] [Cite]

Resolution on the Capital, Calendar, National Anthem and National Flag of the People's Republic of China
Lyrics of the national anthem
27-09-1949 The organic law of the central people's government
29-09-1949 The Common Program

21-9-1949: 1st Plenary Session of the CPPCC

Road to Common Program