The original blurb for this book read as follows:
China’s transformation from a poor country devastated by war into a major world power is a modern legend. But how did this change come about? What are the real living conditions of teh peasants and workers? Why, when apparently united in their beliefs, are Russia and China enemies? And why, if Mao is right, must Marx be wrong?
Using publications from the People’s Republic and his own extensive research, Nigel Harris has written a serious critique of the history, aims and actions of the communist Party in China.
Obviously much has changed in the almost quarter century since the book was written, but it is still a valuable, even indispensible, guide to the background to current developments in China.
The Communist party of China claims that it is the leadership of the working class, and that the Chinese working class leads the peasantry in a State which exercises the dictatorship of the proletariat. This book is an appraisal of these claims in the light of present-day reality in China.
The first part is a brief résumé of the party’s experience before coming to power in 1949. The second part describes the history of the new Chinese State and the problems it has faced in the period to 1977. Part three then examines the party’s relationship to workers and peasants in the People’s Republic. Part four appraises the degree of equality and democracy in China, and the ability of the new State to protect its hard-won national independence. Part five assesses the significance of China’s foreign policy and the activities of the supporters of Mao Tsetung thought abroad.
Throughout this account, a number of problems arise in relating the claims of the Chinese Communist party to the known record. Part six takes up these themes and attempts to offer an explanation of the past and the present, and so a suggestion as to the future course of events.
I am grateful for the discussions I have had with many people over the issues involved. Particular gratitude is due to Tony Cliff for his work in reading earlier drafts of the manuscript.
Notes for the Reader
Abbreviations Used in the Text and Notes
ACFTU All-China Federation of Trade Unions (before 1953, All-China Federation of Labour)
CB Current Background, translation of official documents of the government or party, issued in translation by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
CC Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party; when it occurs with a number (e.g. the Ninth), this refers to the Congress which elected it
CCP Chinese Communist Party
CI Communist International (Comintern), 1919-43
CQ China Quarterly (originally, Chungking; from 1960, London)
ECCM Extracts from China Mainland Magazines (subsequently, Extracts from People’s Republic of China Magazines), published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
GAC Government Administrative Council; from 1954, State Council, the council of ministers of the Government of the People’s Republic
JMJP Jen-min Jih-pao (The People’s Daily, Peking); as officially now transliterated into Roman script, Renmin Ribau
JMP Jen Min Piao or Yuan (or Chinese dollar), official currency of the People’s Republic. Official transliteration now, Renminbau (RMB)
JP Jih-pao, daily (of newspapers)
NPC National People’s Congress
PLA People’s Liberation Army
PR Peking Review, Peking, weekly (in English and other languages)
PRC People’s Republic of China
RMB See JMP
SCMP Survey of China Mainland Press (subsequently, Survey of People’s Republic of China Press), translations from the Chinese Press, published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
SCMM Survey of China Mainland Magazines (subsequently, Survey of People’s Republic of China Magazines), translations from Chinese weekly and monthly publications, published by the United States Consulate General, Hong Kong
SWB Survey of World Broadcasts, monitoring service (of Chinese radio) by the British Broadcasting Corporation, London
Over the period concerned, different forms of transliteration from Chinese to Roman characters have been used. Where possible, these have been standardized on the first use in this book, without any regard to the relative merits of different forms. Where citations use different transliteration for the same term, no attempt has been made to standardize them.
JMP/RMB: converted from old to new (10,000:1) in 1955. Currently, 1 RMB equals 0.526 US dollars.
Mou: 0.067 hectares or 0.165 acres.
Catty: 500 grammes or 1.102 lbs.
Note on Sources of Mao’s Works
Statements before 1949
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.1, Peking, 1965 (official translation of the second official Chinese edition, Peking, April 1960). Textual reference: SW I
Mao Tse-tung, Selected Works, 1926-1936, Vol.1, New York, 1954 (official translation of the Chinese edition, Peking, 1951). Textual reference: SW I, New York, 1954
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vols.II and III, Peking, 1956 (official translation of the second Chinese edition, Peking, 1960). Textual reference: SW II or SW III
Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.IV, Peking, 1961 (official translation of the first Chinese edition, Peking, 1960). Textual reference, SW IV
Sources of citation from individual writings of Mao earlier than these editions are cited in the text. They include:
A Documentary History of Chinese Communism, edited by Conrad Brandt, Benjamin Schwartz and John H. Fairbank, New York, 1967. Textual reference: A Documentary History
Mao’s China: Party Reform Documents, 1942-44, translated by Boyd Compton, London, 1952
Mao Tse-tung, China: The March Towards Unity, documents, Communist Party of the United States, New York, 1937
Speeches, writings and quotations after 1949
Official published sources – for example, Mao Tse-tung on Art and Literature, P
eking, 1960; Four Essays on Philosophy, Peking, 1968; Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Peking, 1966; and as cited in the text.
Internal party publications, as compiled in various sources, but particularly Mao Tse-tung ssu-hsiang wan sui (Long Live Mao Tse-tung Thought), 1967/69, as translated in:
Miscellany of Mao Tse-tung Thought, 1949-68, Vols.I and II, Joint Publications Research Service, Arlington Virginia, n.d. (mimeo). Textual reference: Miscellany
Mao Tse-tung Unrehearsed, Talks and Letters, 1965-71, edited by Stuart R. Schram, London, 1974. Textual reference: Mao Unrehearsed
Mao Papers, Anthology and Bibliography, translated and edited by Jerome Ch’en, London, 1970. Textual reference: Mao Papers
The publication of Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung, Vol.V, Peking, 1977 (covering the period 1949 to 1957) occurred too late for the volume to be used here as a source.
For discussions of these documents, cf. the introduction to Schram, op.cit.; CQ57, pp.156-65; John Gittings, The World and China, 1922-72, London, 1974, chs.XI and XII; and CQ60, pp.750-66; or Roderick McFarquhar, The Times, 5 Sept 1973.
Citations and notes to the text are given at the end of each chapter, although they are numbered by part.