Chinese Communist Party’s Centenary – One Hundred years of experiments on the People of China

| Vikram Joshi
  • From Mao’s era, Deng’s reform to Xi’s Chinese Dream, we can slice it down to five dimensions.  
  • Nationalism, unification through cultural revolution, growth story in the post-Mao era, embracing the world (internationalism) and China as a superpower.The rise of China is not without risks for the world and Covid-19 pandemic is one of the best examples.   
  • CCP has come a long way but it is high time that the party took its responsibility in the world seriously.
  • Without discounting its horrible misdeeds, developing countries like India have a lot to learn from the CCP and China.  
  • India can learn a lesson or two from the Communist Party disregarding its expansionism, disregard for human rights and authoritarianism.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is celebrating the centenary of its formation. Without a doubt, the CCP is the strongest party in the world today. The party was founded with a bunch of intellectuals and idealistic people. Mao Zedong led a 50 member team to form the party which was brought to active mission on 23rd July 2021. Currently more than 900 million members are part of CCP. Country Heads to local authorities are part of this giant political body. If you don’t have the blessing of the party, nothing moves in the country. That is the power of the CCP in China. The youth in China today dream of becoming a part of the CCP. CCP has gained such power through its one single mantra – ‘No political reform, only economic reforms‘!

There is no one to question the CCP and they don’t want one. China has been on a roller coaster ride thanks to the experiments of the CCP. Fighting against 2 million Japanese soldiers, followed by civil war, then the great famine, cultural revolution, Tiananmen Square incident to Chinese dream, the party’s journey has been remarkable. I would rather call it 100 years of experiments on the people of China. China and CCP have become synonymous today and hence when we talk about China it is by default about the CCP. Root of the CCP is so strong that it has become more powerful than China itself.

When Mao led like-minded people to form the CCP, conditions were severe. Poverty was growing at a faster rate, the clouds of world wars had not abated, dictators threatened humanity, and there was chaos everywhere. It was during this time that Mao Zedong steered the nation. He worked on the minds of millions of Chinese so much that the spirit of Mao is still alive in China. Without condoning his bad and ugly deeds, Mao is considered the father of CCP and the nation only because of the wave of reforms he brought. Today’s China is based on the foundations of Mao’s vision.

As per records, during the great famine and cultural revolution more than 15 million people lost their lives. Some scholars say it could be much more but the country began to stand tall since the inception of CCP. Internal and external forces attempted to dilute the power concentrated with the CCP several times. But even to this day, whether one agrees or disagrees, the CCP is as strong and spread widely as the Great Wall of China.

Five Pillars of CCP’s success

The centenary of CCP is also an opportunity to study the success story of CCP. From Mao’s era, Deng’s reform to Xi’s Chinese Dream, we can slice it down to five dimensions. 1) First one is a pillar of CCP i.e nationalism. 2) The second dimension is unification through cultural revolution. 3) Third dimension to look upon is the growth story in the post-Mao era. 4) The fourth dimension of the story is embracing the world (internationalism). 5) The last and most important is China’s rise as a superpower.

Nationalism is even today the core ideology of CCP. It started with inspiration from socialist Stalin but morphed into nationalism. CCP burnt it’s hand with socialism, then it adopted capitalism. ‘Being poor as socialist is okay but becoming rich as a capitalist is a crime’ – this was Mao’s direction during the last few years of his life. He formed ‘Red Guards’ to execute his vision. In a very short period of time CCP injected nationalism in every young blood. CCP runs multiple experiments on it’s followers. This created an ecological catastrophe.

Next major push from the CCP was the cultural revolution. This united the nation but was the main reason for the economic crisis. Effect of cultural revolution is evident even today in people’s hearts with average Chinese becoming xenophobic.

In 1976, when the sun set in the east, Mao took his last breath in Beijing. New dimension of the experiment on the Chinese people was started by Deng Xiaoping. The new chairman envisioned China as a modern society. He opened up the nation for foreign investment, education and culture. CCP became more powerful during this time. Apart from the Tiananmen square incident, China and the CCP did not see a major setback under Deng. The Tiananmen protests brought a deep sense of fear in the party. Deng felt the urgency for rapid economic growth. The CCP was calling for the complete demise of democracy in the country and consequently stopped all political activities. CCP encouraged economic reforms but completely ceased political activity in the country and implemented “One party and one vision”. Today the CCP is more careful about political activists than anything because of this Tiananmen Square incident. The CCP doesn’t want any enemies, inside or outside. An iota of doubt could lead to extreme consequences.

In order to engage the youth in economic growth rather than political plots, CCP embraced internationalism. Thousands of foreign investors became part of China’s growth story. From a country of Red Guards, it has become the world’s manufacturing hub. GDP increased, per capita income doubled. Technical education was a key focus of CCP. Skyscrapers, automobiles, electronic manufacturing were new signatures of the Chinese society. New country was imagined and executed from the CCP’s power centre in Beijing. Superfast train tracks were laid, thousands of automobile companies came up, roads were built to reach the nook and corners of the country, power production increased substantially, steel production reached record levels. In fact China hosted the 2008 Olympics to show their presence on the world stage. GDP reached 10 trillion US dollars, making it only the second country in the world to reach that milestone.

Today the CCP is led by Xi Jinping, who is undoubtedly the strongest leader in the world today. For the last one decade, Xi has been the captain of the CCP and envisions making China a superpower. Becoming a superpower is another experiment of the CCP. This is completely opposite of Deng’s vision which was to stay low profile. However, Xi is inspired by Mao’s dream of bringing the ‘grand old glory’ back. China today is advancing in every sector of technology. Computating, the internet, artificial intelligence, robotics, space exploration, you name it and China is ahead. It is on the highway to create a parallel economy in competition with the US.

Concerns for the World

With the latest developments, I can definitely say that the future will be very interesting. But the rise of China is not without risks for the world. How can the rise of CCP affect the international community? Covid-19 pandemic is one of the best examples. We all witnessed the repercussions of China being unable to control the outbreak which then spread across the planet. If timely measures were taken, the world would have not suffered the devastating pandemic.

Another illustration of risk from China is its agenda in space exploration and nuclear energy. It is secretive and has completely isolated itself over its agenda in space. It’s lack of regulations and self-declared restrictions has the entire international community concerned. The news of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant recently cannot be neglected. CCP has come a long way but it is high time that the party took its responsibility in the world seriously. China as a country and the CCP as a party should open up in order to ensure a further glorious 100 years.

Lessons from the rise of CCP

Without discounting its horrible misdeeds, developing countries like India have a lot to learn from the CCP and China. Today, India is more focused on political revolution. It needs to focus on economic reforms rather than political reforms. Another key learning from the rise of the CCP is how one can strengthen nationalism while also increasing the bandwidth for internationalism. CCP has shown one can grow with both of these opposing forces. Yet another interesting strategy that can be adopted from the CCP is controlling the disorder in the society. If one listens to the speech of Xi, he often cites the collapse of the Soviet Union as an example. If politically motivated disorder in the society is not controlled, it can even threaten the sovereignty of the country pushing it deeper into an abyss.

India can learn a lesson or two from the Communist Party disregarding its expansionism, disregard for human rights and authoritarianism. But the irony is that the CPI was formed around the same time as the CCP but today it is not having much political influence. The prime reason is their inability to focus on what they originally stood for. The grand old party, the INC, is almost extinct due to its dynastic politics. The BJP has grown and is enjoying fruits today but the CCP is a good guide for improvement and to ensure that it’s success carries on to the next century too.

(Author is an engineer and a writer on political affairs who regularly contributes to dailies and weeklies. The opinions expressed are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of SamvadaWorld)

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1 Comment

  • Murali

    BJP may well come down quickly as they are slowly doing same mistakes as INC.

    Totally agree with the economic reforms.

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