Chinese Revolution

The Chinese revolution 1925-1927

Strikers during the 1925 Hong Kong general strike

A short account of the mass struggles in China from 1925 up to the Shanghai insurrection of 1927 and its crushing by the nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek, who was supported by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Other Cultural Revolution

Wu Yiching's book "The Cultural Revolution at the Margins. Chinese Socialism in Crisis" gives a fascinating account of a period that was decisive for the end of Maoism and the rise of a capitalist China.

An anarchist in love with Mao’s China - Herbert Read’s ‘letters from China’ ... Plus a list of dubious accounts of ‘successful’ revolutions, from Russia to Rojava

In the second year of the Great Leap Forward famine – in which perhaps 30 million died, anarchist Herbert Read visited China on an official delegation. Read’s acceptance of a knighthood for his literary achievements had already discredited him amongst many anarchists. But, at the time of his visit in 1959, he was still the most prominent anarchist in Britain and his published writings had considerable influence on, amongst others, Murray Bookchin.†

State capitalism: the wages system under new management - Adam Buick & John Crump

Adam Buick and John Crump's book critiquing the post-revolutionary Russian and Chinese economies as state capitalist.

The mythology of the great proletarian cultural revolution and the Chinese ultra-left - Donald Parkinson

Cultural revolution propaganda poster

An account and critique of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which portrays the "revolution" as a factional squabble within the Communist Party bureaucracy which enabled the working class to begin to assert themselves as an independent force for a time before being crushed by the state.

Whither China? - Sheng-wu-lien

The most famous text from 1968 by the Hunan Provincial Proletarian Revolutionary Great Alliance Committee (Sheng-wu-lien), the most influential of the ultra-left currents which developed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. While it is politically problematic in some areas, for example despite being opposed to Mao's policies it does not escape the framework of Maoism, it does put forward a working class perspective.

Wild Lily - Wang Shih-wei

Wang Shih-wei

Written in 1942 at the Communist base camp in Yenan, Wang Shih-wei criticises the hierarchical structure and privilege of the nascent Maoist bureaucracy in the camp. The article makes clear that the hierarchy was well established long before the 'Communist' Party came to state power in China in 1949. Wang was the most piercing, outspoken and unrepentant of the several literary critics who wrote articles with similar themes. This sealed his fate; the Maoist regime later executed Wang Shih-wei.

Thoughts on 8 March (Women’s Day) - Ting Ling

Ting Ling (also spelled Ding Ling)

A discussion of Women's Day - written in 1942 in Yenan, China, where the Red Army had settled in cave dwellings at the end of their Long March retreat. This text was one of several that made criticisms of the ruling Maoist elite at Yenan. It was condemned as "narrowly feminist" and Ting Ling and others were successfully pressured to repent and disown their criticisms. Nevertheless - depending on the changing fortunes of competing bureaucratic factions - Ting Ling suffered periodic persecution for decades afterwards as a result of daring to publicly criticise the ruling hierarchy.

Introduction to ‘The Yenan Literary Opposition’ - Gregor Benton

The Yenan caves where the Red Army settled in the 1940s after the Long March

In the spring of 1942 a series of articles appeared in the Yenan press [see two of the texts here and here] which took as their theme the need to expose the ‘dark side’ of life in the Communist base areas of northern China. The authors of these articles saw themselves as upholders of the literary tradition of Lu Hsün, modern China’s best known literary figure, and used the tsa-wen—a laconic and fiercely critical essay form perfected by Lu Hsün—as their literary ‘dagger’.