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

Starting from October 9 until October 21, 1949, the nominations on the ministries are in full swing. CCP members control the ministries related to power and security. These are the foreign office, the ministries of public security, railway, heavy industry, and food industry. In the first instance only CCP members worked on the foreign office, but due to inexperience of these officials, Zhou Enlai was forced to hire ex GMD personnel advisors. (See below) The new government also needed Soviet expertise. On almost every ministry, SU specialists were present.
The establishment of a formal governmental system by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took significantly more time than anticipated by both internal and external observers. Following their decisive victory in the HuaiHai campaign, many had expected the Communists to swiftly organize a national government. However, Mao Zedong and the Politburo chose to wait until the autumn of 1949, driven by a combination of ideological and practical considerations.
From an ideological standpoint, the Communist leaders aimed to align the structures of the new state with Marxist theory and draw lessons from the Soviet experience. This necessitated careful deliberation and time to refine their approach. Additionally, they sought personal assurances from Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, regarding the correctness of their ideological direction.
Practically speaking, the CCP faced the challenge of convincing numerous influential non-party leaders to participate in the formation of the People's Republic. This process took longer than expected, as some liberals held onto ideas that were difficult to reconcile with the Marxist framework being established. In short, the delayed establishment of a formal governmental system by the CCP in 1949 can be attributed to the party's efforts to align their approach with Marxist theory, seek validation from Soviet leadership, and navigate the complexities of involving non-party figures in the formation of the new state.
On the less important ministries, the vice minister or assistant minister are members of the Minzhu Dangpai. These ministries are, for example, the home office, finance, trade, and labour. The lowest ministries in the governmental structure all have Minzhu Dangpai ministers. These are ministries like ministry of health, light industry and forestry. The control is in the hands of CCP vice ministers or assistant ministers. Andrews (1994) remarks: "One striking feature of the Chinese system is the arbitrariness with which power is held and exercised within the bureaucracy. A person's job title is no guarantee that he or she exerts a specific kind of authority in a given period, nor does lack of title necessarily mean that power cannot be exercised." See also Chart 1 .
For example, "…the Minister, Li Te-chuan (Li Dequan) (of Public Health),is largely a figurehead appointed because of her husband Feng Yü-hsiang (Feng Yuxiang) and her own leftist activities before 1949. Ho Ch'eng (He Cheng), who had been with the Red Army medical units since Kiangsi days (1931), was the real power in the Ministry until his downfall over the question of traditional medicine."
To strengthen the control on the administration, the CCP decided in November 1949 to establish Political Core Groups (PCG) on national, Regional, and municipal level. The goal is to ensure party leadership over the government. Even the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate have their own PCG. On September 17, 1951, Peng Zhen expresses concern about the cooperation with non-CCP members (see Part 3 ) On March 10, 1953, the Politburo decided to further strengthen the control of the party leadership over the government and stipulated: "From now on, major and important principles, policies, plans and matters in government work must be discussed, decided or approved by the Party Central Committee. . . . [T]he work of Party core groups in all the agencies of the central government must be strengthened and be under the direct leadership of the Party Central Committee. Therefore, the present system of the council of Party core group secretaries in the central people's government is no longer necessary and should be abolished immediately. 23." Besides these PCG, there also exist party work departments on all levels of the administration. At the start their work involves propaganda and united front work, later on these party work departments frequently take over the daily work of the units of the government.
The Chinese central and local administrative system can be perplexing due to the presence of not just one or two, but three distinct systems. First, there's the administrative hierarchy of the government itself. Secondly, there's the system of PCGs within the government. And thirdly, there are the Party work departments that operate outside of the government but often intersect with government agencies.

Ministers and Commission chairmen

Many of the ministers and vice ministers have a military background. Two other recruitment backgrounds can also be identified. During the 1930’s, the CCP recruited many university students. Particularly in 1936, after the December 9th movement. During this student movement, students demanded an active response from the GMD government against Japanese aggression. The second group is the so-called “38-style cadres”. They joined the party in the second year (1938) of the Japanese occupation. They are often students of well-to-do family background and are considered more nationalist than communist. Most of these party cadres work after 1949 in the field of propaganda, education, culture, and economics.
CCP Ministers of PRC
Minzhu Dangpai Ministers of PRC
Table 7 shows the division of labour in 1953 between Minzhu Dangpai and CCP members. The small table below displays leadership cadres in the rank of ministers and deputy ministers in the central government, 1954
Fig. 7.1 leadership cadres in the rank of ministers and deputy ministers in the central government in 1954
Source: Heilmann (2000). Page 12

In March 1949, the plenum of the CCP decides to keep all important GMD officials in their position if they are willing to cooperate with the new regime. Not only on governmental level, but also on Regional level most of the GMD officials are kept in their position. Deng Xiaoping (1949) stresses in a telegram the importance of this policy. "The Central Committee has made it clear that personnel taken over from the Kuomintang institutions, including military officers and men, government employees and factory workers and staff, should all be accepted; not one of them should be dismissed."
In September 24, 1949, The CCP issues guidelines on handling former GMD personnel. These guidelines are based on former mistakes. "After the liberation of Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, the dismissal of over 27,000 former personnel had led to high instability. With the peaceful liberation of Beijing, the 17,000 former military personnel being laid off had mostly fled to Suiyuan, full of bitterness and grievances, and now we still have the responsibility of resolving it. All such experiences indicate that former personnel should not be handled by means of dismissals and lay-offs. They must be given a way out in terms of work and livelihood. The Party and the People’s government have the responsibility to reform and feed these people through providing work. We are prepared, within a specific period after nationwide liberation, to retain 9 to 10 million people, including new and former military and administrative personnel. It most certainly would be difficult for the fiscal budget, but it is solvable, and politically it is essential" The ministry of finance declares 90% of the tax collectors were earlier serving the GMD. GMD officials almost totally occupy the positions in the ministry of Justice. The need for specialists is enormous, so the criteria for employment are very flexible. "Through underground Party cells and overt entreaties, the CCP enticed even high-ranking officials and judges of the former regime with no apparent leftist sympathies, such as the brilliant Yang Zhaolong, head of the Criminal Section of the Republican Ministry of Justice and protégé of Roscoe Pound, to stay and contribute to the building of “New China". In Jinan, the capital of Shandong about 75 to 80% of the old officials kept their jobs. In 1950, the total numbers of old GMD cadres on duty are more than 400.000 persons, more or less a quarter of the total number of officials. In Shanghai, 95% of the GMD personnel stay on their job after the takeover. Moreover, in the rural areas, the GMD administrators keep their jobs. In his December 1949 report to Stalin Kovalev remarks: "Filling vacancies in the government apparatus is taking place exceedingly slowly. In the majority of ministries and central institutions apparatus is less than half full, and in some ministries, for example those of light industry, textile industry, forestry, [and] labour, there are no officials at all except for the ministers and their deputies. Creation of organs of state power in the localities almost has not been embarked upon yet."
Table 8 shows on Regional level the representation of Minzhu Dangpai. This table is just an indication and is not at all complete. The shortage of capable officials is very big. "According to the report of the conversation between Lu Dingyi, the Head of the Chinese Communist Party Central Organizational Department, and Sherbaiev, the Soviet Charge d'affaires to China, among one and half million Chinese Communist Party members in the Northern China Region (Huabei) one million three hundred thousand were illiterate. Among leadership above the district level (qu), almost half were illiterate or only had very little formal education. The Chinese Communist Party planned to spend two to three years to eliminate illiteracy among the party's lower-level cadres, and five years to achieve literacy among the rank-and-file party members."35
Gross (2016) remarks: "It also made gathering statistics and keeping records, the essentials of state building, almost impossible. 3 Moreover, although enthusiastic about the new government, cadres were bound by family, friend, and client networks whose needs often came first. "
Lu (2016) mentions some methods the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) took to overcome the lack of able personnel. The MPS, under the leadership of Luo Ruiqing, had the responsibility of conducting mass political movements. However, the ministry faced internal organizational challenges, including a lack of reliable and trained personnel and a shortage of administrative officers. In response, strategies such as social control, party propaganda, harsh criminal sanctions, and mass mobilization were employed to address these issues and achieve the desired outcomes. In addition to the scarcity of capable cadres, the newly established regime confronted a significant challenge in the form of a large, unorganized urban population. To bridge the gap between the regime's ambitious interventionist plans and its capacity to implement them, a strategy was devised to mobilize the masses outside the confines of the administrative system. This strategy involved the establishment of numerous mass organizations at the grassroots level. This not only highlights the government's need to establish such organizations on the ground, but also underscores its ambitious plans to undertake extensive initiatives aimed at providing various urban services. See Table Mass organizations.
Even members of secret organizations can qualify for senior positions. During the civil war, the PLA has frequently used the secret organizations to beat the GMD. The most famous person is Zhu De, who became one of the most important officers in the PLA. Soon after 1949, members of the secret organizations are the first to be persecuted. See Article 5 .
According to U (2004) on a local level: "Staff recruitment during the early socialist years was driven not by what organizations within the emerging socialist political economy needed but by the unequal privileges among institutions, a state desire to alleviate unemployment, and the need to reorganize state establishments. No doubt some work organizations— that is, those well placed within the hierarchy of socialist institutions—absorbed new workers who were desirable on both political and technical grounds. For the rest, however, compliance with state dictates led to less happy results. "
An additional problem can be noticed. Similar to its rival, the CCP, the Guomindang (GMD or Nationalist Party) wasn't just a typical political party but a Leninist-style organization dedicated to extensive social mobilization. It established a significant party-state apparatus, which encompassed various institutions, including state-owned factories. With the exception of portions that had been relocated by the GMD to Taiwan, all the apparatus and assets of the GMD-led Nationalist government were assumed by CCP authorities and were in need for reliable cadres. The scope of takeovers conducted by the CCP extended beyond state-owned agencies and assets to include those owned by individuals or organizations labelled as enemies by the CCP. This broad approach was officially outlined in the stipulation that all factories, shops, banks, warehouses, ships, docks, railways, postal services, telegraph, electricity and telephone services, waterworks, farms, and pastures operated by the reactionary GMD government, as well as its high-ranking officials, were to be taken over by the People's government. In practice, CCP authorities held sole authority in determining whether an enterprise fell under the category of bureaucratic capitalism. There was no formal legal process in place to handle appeals or challenge these decisions. The CCP assumed the role of the ultimate arbiter, making judgments based on their own criteria and without recourse to legal procedures.

The embassies are one of the sectors where many of the GMD officials are fired or they have left for Taiwan. Military persons take these vacant positions. Persons like Wu Xiuquan, Geng Biao, Ji Pengfei and Huang Zhen. At the end 1950, of the 15 ambassadors sent abroad, 11 have the rank of a general. This does not only apply to the ambassadors, but the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been purged of GMD officials and they are replaced by military and a small group of individuals who already took care of foreign affairs for the CCP in the years before 1949. However, even this ministry has to employ ex GMD officials. "The Ministerial criteria of selecting ambassadors and consuls: 1) political loyalty and reliability; 2) knowledgeable, any ability in using foreign language would be a plus; 3) cautious, well-rounded, determined to implement policies and observe the leaders; 4) division, brigade or above level cadres." These new ambassadors lack diplomacy, they are more messengers instead of negotiators. The Chinese ambassadors consider foreign countries as territories of the enemy.

Military personnel are the main source for recruitment. In the areas that were seized by the PLA, PLA officers assumed prominent positions in the newly established administration. Through a practice known as "zhuanye" or transferring officers to civilian posts. This practice quickly became institutionalized, leading to a situation where a significant majority of local administrative positions were filled by officers from the armies that had taken control of those areas. While there were also instances of cadre relocation from the old base areas to the newly acquired territories, the predominant trend was the placement of PLA officers into civilian roles. This allowed for the consolidation of the PLA's influence in the administration and contributed to the establishment of a system wherein military personnel played a central role in the governance and management of the areas under their control.
Solinger (1977) states that in the military structure on Regional and national level are also old GMD officials in function. In the national defense council, 30 generals of the 96 in total have a GMD background. A lot of them have chosen the side of the PLA to survive. The party had already applied the tactic to appoint non-communist on several more or less important positions in the ‘liberated’ areas before 1949. ".. They are selected based on their proximity to the Party, their reliance, their skills or their influence, like Zhang Lan, Huang and Zhang Dongsun Yanpei. The same criteria govern the formation of provincial and municipal governments, the selection of leaders at the various levels of government and the appointment of the heads of trade unions, eight small parties and new professional and cultural associations whose foundations were laid in the summer of 1949,... "
On provincial level many chairmen have a military background, some have a GMD background, none are representatives of the Minzhu Dangpai. See Table Chairmen provincial government 1949-1954

In calling up personnel, Zhou relied on those who had been involved in the CCP's unofficial diplomacy of the 1930s and 1940s. Even as an 'illegal' party the CCP had had to practice diplomacy in establishing an internationally recognisable alternative to the official diplomacy of the Nationalist government, thus Zhou was able call up former CCP united front workers, military officers and journalists. Keith (1989). Page 34 [Cite]
See also Table Ministry of Foreign Affairs [↩]
Westad (2003). Page 265 [↩] [Cite]
Andrews (1994). Page 5 [↩] [Cite]
Croizier (1965). Page 12 [↩] [Cite]
Zheng (1997). Page 85 [↩] [Cite]
Zheng (1997). Page 88. [Cite]The growing influence of the party can be seen in the table below.
Fig. 7.2: Directives issued by CCP and government 1950-1954
Source: Zheng (1997). Page 90
Zang (2004). Page 49 [↩] [Cite]
Wen (2021). Pages 68-69 [↩] [Cite]
Gluckstein (1957). Page 367 [↩] [Cite]
Tiffert (2009). Page 64 [↩] [Cite]
Yet,"...for all the effort the Guomindang put in to partification, large segments of the judiciary deserted it. Before Beiping fell, the presidents of the city’s Local Court and Provincial High Court were both covert CCP collaborators. 84 After 1949, many Republican judges stayed at their posts to serve the CCP. Up until the purges of the 1952-53 Judicial Reform Campaign, 97 of the 120 judges on the Tianjin Municipal People’s Court were former Republican personnel, as were 80 of the 104 judges on the Shanghai Municipal People’s Court, and thirteen of the sixteen judges on the Central-South Branch of the Supreme People’s Court in Wuhan.” Tiffert (2011). Pages 50-51 [↩] [Cite]
Davis (2000). Page 272 [↩] [Cite]
Wakeman (1995). Page 420 [↩] [Cite]
Shen (2002). Page 384 [↩] [Cite]
Gross (2016). Pages 58-59 [↩] [Cite]
Lu (2016). Page 122 [↩] [Cite]
Park (2015). Page 9. He further remarks "The regime, facing the lack of state cadres in street administration, was vigorously seeking activists with the intention of implementing various urban works with their support.29 However, the street mass organizations sprung up rapidly in early years, and enacted ad hoc measures rather than meticulous plans, which provoked serious functional defects. The large number of mass organizations remains nominal, and the activists, who are few in number, should undertake the responsibilities in different mass organizations simultaneously." Page 9. Park notices "A limited number of street activists spent time typically designated for their profession and housework to street works, occupying several positions simultaneously in over 20 sorts of different mass organizations,.. " Page 16 [↩] [Cite]
Lintner (2002). Page 68-69 [↩] [Cite]
U (2004). Page 48. U also remarks staff is recruited from "...“unemployed intellectuals.” They entered the profession as the state tried to address rising urban unemployment, and they included former business owners and landlords, Nationalist officials and agents, and white-collar workers who had been disciplined and dismissed by their employers." Page 49 [↩] [Cite]
Deng (2012). Page 123. For instance, tobacco firms, textile enterprises, ironworks and hospitals are also included. [↩] [Cite]
Deng (2012). Pages 125-126 [↩] [Cite]
Zhong (2013). Page 38 [↩] [Cite]
Solinger (1977). Page Appendix [↩] [Cite]
Vidal (2008). Page 61 [↩] [Cite]
Original text: "...They are selected based on their proximity to the Party, their reliance, their skills or their influence, like Zhang Lan, Huang and Zhang Dongsun Yanpei. The same criteria govern the formation of provincial and municipal governments, the selection of leaders at the various levels of government and the appointment of the heads of trade unions, eight small parties and new professional and cultural associations whose foundations were laid in the summer of 1949,... "[↩]
Road to Common Program