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Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China: Analytical Essay

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Every strong leader aims to have his people acknowledge, respect, and honor his authority. This did not change in the case of Mao Zedong. He wanted to rule China in a fashion that made him out to be worshipped by his people. Mao was a revolutionist; he became the head of the Communist Party (CCP) in China in 1949 up until it became known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC), which is what China is still represented as today. Mao is the man behind the creation of the People’s Republic of China, since the PRC is still functioning today, one would say that Mao did an excellent job of establishing a more unionized Chinese government. This paper aims to examine Mao Zedong and the Communist Party in China by discussing the flow of important events, Mao’s achievements as a politician, as well as a brief examination of the Chinese White Paper.

Shortly after the end of World War II, conflict erupted, and a civil war broke out between the Nationalist Party and the CPP, this war lasted from 1940-1949. Although the conflict had been on and off, the tension could not be withstood because the trouble was too significant for the political stability of the people. However, after the announcement of the intention by Mao Zedong, the leader of the CPP, on forming the People’s Republic of China, the costly civil war came to an end. Meanwhile, there was an ongoing revolution that had been organized by a group of people in 1911. Also, this governmental upheaval was completed by the creation of the People’s Republic of China[footnoteRef:2]. [2: Cheek, Timothy, and David W. Blight. Mao Zedong and China's Revolutions: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martins Press, 2003.]

There was a lot of mismanagement of resources as well as corruption prior to Mao coming into power which angered many individuals making them want to have a revolution that would bring in a real communist leader. Also, certain policies and global tensions that had taken root between the United States and the Republic of China were disturbing the peace and the efforts that could allow the two nations to talk. President Truman believed that just as the Taiwan people, who became so obsessed with a revolution and whose efforts were watered down, the people of China would find themselves in the same situation. Therefore, the confidence of U.S.diplomatic ties would still return, even after the Communist Revolution was still strong. The charges that Truman had lost China were strong among the people of the U.S. but he continued to defend himself by expressing optimistic ideas that things would change eventually.

Mao Zedong was highly motivated to start a revolution by hearing the Japanese in the case of Manchuria. The invasion by the Japanese made Mao Zedong feel that he had the responsibility for his country and that he would protect the people and establish a strong nation because they had to defend themselves. There was no way in which the people could have come together to protect themselves because there was a political structure that was in power and its representatives did not want to engage themselves in the ideas of Mao Zedong. Nationalist leaders were selfish and corrupt, embezzling the resources of people so that they only enriched themselves through greed. In the meantime, Mao, as well as his peers, fears grew stronger each day, and they felt the need to launch a revolution to save the country. The internal solution to the Japanese threat could not be sought without getting the leaders out of power[footnoteRef:3]. [3: Schwartz, Benjamin Isadore, and Zedong Mao. Chinese communism and the rise of Mao. Vol. 4. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.]

True communism had to be protected in the republic. Leaders in power made undemocratic policies, and the U.S. was also a threat because it had come in to support Japan in its intention to invade China. The Chinese White Paper that was published by the government of Truman came in to escalate the political tensions in communist China both globally and locally. However, Mao did not take this with ease and felt that he had to do something that would save the country. In the White Paper, the United States stated its explanation for its actions in the past in the Chinese region. It further stated that the Chinese would not be supported because they had not been cooperating enough with the Truman government and the civil war in China was a sign of this. The United States was blaming the non-cooperation of China for the lack of a ceasefire in the Chinese civil war. The United States, therefore, stated that it could not help the Republic of China if Japan decides to invade it. However, it was the wish of the U.S. that Japan invaded the People’s Republic of China because of their non-cooperation. This was some sort of punishment for the People’s Republic. Taiwan was in the same situation as China, and the U.S. did not prevent Japan from invading Manchuria.

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The United States of America was not impressed by the people of the Chinese mainland who embraced communism. The United States had and has always been advocating for capitalism encouraging the creation and amassing of wealth by individuals for economic growth of the region. Therefore, the United States of America started to withdraw from China when the mainland fell to communism and welcomed it so that its economy would be based on communism. Thus, in 1949, the United States suspended all the diplomatic ties that it had with the Chinese people. This relationship between the U.S. and the Chinese people had lasted for decades but it was cut short because of the differences in ideology[footnoteRef:4]. Mao Zedong felt that his people were imitating the Soviet Republicans moving toward a revisionist direction. He did not like the fact that people did not have the much-needed quality of ideological purity, but they were rather reaching for expertise. More so, the Great Leap Forward that was engineered and initiated by Mao Zedong failed terribly from 1958 to 1960, causing his position in the government to weaken. An economic crisis also followed, and the region was heading towards the wrong direction in all perspectives as far as economy, politics, and culture were concerned. [4: Mao Zedong. 'The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party.' Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung (Beijing, 1967) (2017): 305-334.]

Massive youth mobilization took place and the current leaders were taken to task over their values that Mao Zedong described as bourgeois. Mao Zedong, therefore, sought the ways in which he would smoothly and aggressively reassert his authority by attacking the party leadership that was reigning at that particular time. The only important thing then was to gather together people who would help him launch the attack in a well-orchestrated manner. The first individual was Lin Biao, the defense minister, and Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing. As a result, a cultural revolution was launched when the plenum met at the central committee. This Cultural Revolution was like no other. People were needed for demonstrations and picketing to cause a revolution and force the anti-communist leaders out of their positions. School children were needed as youths who are violent to demonstrate and call for the people to heed the ideologies of Mao Zedong. Therefore, Mao closed schools and got children out for demonstrations.[footnoteRef:5] [5: Jonathan Mirsky. Livelihood Issues. Archived September 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Literary Review]

Furthermore, Mao led demonstrators in cursing leaders for their lack of a revolutionary spirit. The revolution was then set on fire by the escalation of the movement as students took up more prominent roles. Mao Zedong allowed this because they were the groups that, as he saw, were more aggressive than the others. They formed paramilitary groups that rose up to humiliate the intellectuals, the elite, and the conservative elders in the society. The Red Guards were the most prominent group among all other groups. Their work entailed forming a personality cult. This could only be compared to the communities that existed during the time of Josef Stalin of Italy. Each of the factions of the revolutionary movement came up with a version of what they called the true interpretation of the thought that they held so close to their hearts, the Maoist ideology[footnoteRef:6]. [6: Steiner, H. Arthur. 'The Role of the Chinese Communist Party.' The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 277, no. 1 (2016): 56-66.]

Lin Biao also played a prominent role as the chief commander of the revolutionary movement under Mao Zedong. He helped overthrow Liu Shaoqi, the president, and the other communist leaders who were accused of being corrupt of the real communist idea.[footnoteRef:7] A state of anarchy was attained in most of the Chinese cities, and the president was roughed up and imprisoned until he died in the year 1969. Mao was a wise revolutionist because he had a different way of thinking when he saw that the Red Guards were almost overwhelmed. He approached Lin in 1967 to send army troops to these cities so that order could be restored and the Red Guards could be sent to the rural areas. The Red Guards declined in rural territories. The Chinese economy went down because there was no growth due to the lack of political stability. This is because industrial production stopped immediately after the revolution began. [7: 陈霞. 'Rehabilitation of Liu Shaoqi (Feb. 1980).' Rehabilitation of Liu Shaoqi (Feb. 1980) - China.org.cn. Accessed April 24, 2019. http://www.china.org.cn/china/CPC_90_anniversary/2011-06/22/content_22838789.htm]

Lin was given the deputy president’s role as the official and designated successor of Mao in the year 1969. He instituted the martial law by the use of the excuse in the border with the Soviet troops. The premier of China, together with Mao, moved in quickly to stop the premature power grab by Lin whereby the ranks of power were split in the top Chinese government. However, Lin died in the year 1971 as he was trying to escape from his government and enter into the Soviet Union. After the death of Lin, Zhou, the premier, took over power, and members, as well as followers, of Lin, were purged, which left everybody angry. Many people started to wonder about the course and the need for Mao Zedong’s revolution. Power struggles rocked the government as the people in Mao’s leadership circle started to rival each other. The revolution, therefore, came to an end with the premier Zhou taking power, reviving the old systems, and getting the former corrupt and conservative officials back to the government. The republic returned to its former state with the old education system being reinstated and revived[footnoteRef:8]. [8: Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pg 150 onward.]

In conclusion, Mao Zedong was such a strong revolutionary leader that China depended on. He was a selfless individual who put the interests of the people as a priority. The Maoist ideology that was highly spread by the Red Guards was the true reflection of the efforts of Mao Zedong. Although he fought for the unity and freedom of the People’s Republic of China, some selfish individuals took charge because he allowed Zhou in. However, the revolution was a great effort that united the nation.

References

  1. Cheek, Timothy, and David W. Blight. Mao Zedong and China's revolutions: a brief history with documents. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002.
  2. Schwartz, Benjamin Isadore, and Zedong Mao. Chinese communism and the rise of Mao. Vol. 4. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.
  3. Steiner, H. Arthur. 'The Role of the Chinese Communist Party.' The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 277, no. 1 (2016): 56-66.
  4. Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. Pg 150 onward.
  5. Zedong, Mao. 'The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party.' Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung (Beijing, 1967) (2017): 305-334.
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