Communists in China


Why were the Communists able to come to power in China?

The Communists were able to come to power principally because of the policies and actions used by the Guomindang of which the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) took advantage. However in addition to this, there were also significant factors such as the conditions during the beginning of the twentieth century complications in the republic China and the Japanese War (1937-45), which led to the vulnerability and insufficiency of the GMD during the Civil War. Their leader, Chiang Kai-shek, lost the support of the majority, mainly peasants and intellectuals, to the CCP, which contributed to their success in war, and he was no longer able to continue dictating China. In combination with GMD?s actions, Mao Zedong, the communist leader was able to take over and declare, the by then already united nation, the Peoples Republic of China.

The discontent in China was rooted in problems, which arose during the early twentieth century. In addition to this the CCP was able to use the situation in order to give people hope as well as help, which won the majority to the communist side.

Until the early twentieth century, China?s rule was based on dynasties, which followed the Confucian theories. The Chinese thought of their nation as ?Zhongguo?-the center of the world, disclaiming any interest in the west. The Qing dynasty, established in 1644, ruled China over 250 years.

Already during the nineteenth century, China had been weakened through foreign trade, war and influence. As the discontentment increased, the people wanted to alter the situation and showed concern about the outcome of the ?Boxer Rebellion?.

This Rebellion and its aftermath prompted some reforms in China. However, it was a case of ?too little, too late?. The Qing dynasty was seen to be failing the people of China. It had lost its right to the Mandate from Heaven.

In 1908 the Dowager Empress, CiXi, died and her three year-old grand nephew, PuYi, was proclaimed emperor. The discontent grew even further, therefore several groups, such as the Tongmenghui, organized to overthrow the Qing. Surprisingly, the actual uprising developed on 10 October 1911 among a group of plotters in the army, which soon controlled the province of Wuchang. This action inspired others and due to the consequences of the ?Wuchang Uprising?.

On 1 January 1912 Sun Yatsen (a member of Tongmenghui) was announced the provincial president of the Republic of China. Still, he was forced to resign from the provisional presidency because of Yuan Shikai, who organized the abdication of the Qing emperor in return for his own appointment as president of the republic.

Also in 1912, a new revolutionary party was formed. This party, called the Guomindang, believed in parliamentary democracy and the principle of electing the officials. Because Yuan disagreed with GMD?s ideas, he outlawed it in 1913.

One year later WWI broke out in Europe and Japan took advantage of the outbreak. By 1915, they invaded Quingdao and confronted Yuan Shikai with a list of twenty one demands, to some extend controlling and influencing the economic situation on China. These demands were not only exceptionally harmful to the economy but they were also seen as extreme humiliations to the Chinese people.

In 1916, after Yuan?s death, Sun Yatsen took over the nation. He promoted modernization and the ?revolt against obedience?.

When the First World War ended the Chinese assumed their allies would reward them. Due to rejection of the award, they developed a New Culture movement, which was pro democracy and education, but rejected Confucianism and ?old ways?. Furthermore, they declined the democratic systems of Great Britain and France.

In 1919, when at Versailles the allies decided not to reward China, the people were outraged. A rebellion, called May 4th Movement took place, demanding a more Socialist system. At this stage, the Soviet regimes and their withdrawal from the war started to appear to the Chinese.

Two years after the signing of the Treaty, in 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was set up in Beijing and Paris, with leaders Mao Zedong and Chou Enlan.

In sum, the Chinese had lived in insecure conditions, of which some are due to major problems and disruption after European penetration in early nineteenth century. Therefore, the people were looking for a government, which would bring solutions and put a final end to their struggle.

In order for the Communists to come to power, they turned the mistakes of Guomindang?s policies and actions