The setting up and adaptation of “democratic centralism” in the Chinese workers’ and peasants’ Red Army: the Jiangxi Fourth Red Army led by Mao Zedong
Democratic centralism was a way of organizing political parties that was introduced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from Soviet Russia in the twentieth century. Its introduction and adaptation underwent a convoluted process, in which the early years of the Agrarian Revolutionary War (1927–1937) served as a pivot. This happened because the Jiangxi Fourth Red Army (Jiangxi hongsijun), the CCP’s most important main force at that time, experienced a complex transformation in its leadership body and this sparked intense controversies within the Party. The present article reconstructs the process in which the Fourth Red Army gradually established and recognized the Front Committee (Qiandi weiyuanhui) appointed by the Central Committee of the CCP to hold centralized leadership over the army and its regional party organization in the revolutionary base areas. The article probes the different forms and operational characteristics of democratic centralism in the CCP’s army and local Party organizations. It presents the intricate relationships between the main Red Army and the local Party organizations at all levels. During the Yan’an period, the CCP more fully absorbed the Fourth Red Army’s historical experiences, and therefore facilitated the maturation of the practice of democratic centralism within the Party.
KEYWORDS: Democratic centralism Jiangxi Fourth Red Army (Jiangxi hongsijun) Mao Zedong Front Committee (Qiandi weiyuanhui)
Uses of the concept of “class” in the Chinese communist revolution: a study of the land reform undertaken in the Chinese Soviet area led by Mao Zedong
The period between 1927 and 1934 witnessed a waxing and waning of the Chinese Soviet revolution; one aspect of it was the social engineering campaigns, such as the Land Reform carried out in the Chinese Soviet Area. In it, the concept of class, originally an imported ideological and theoretical concept from pure Marxism, was applied to China’s local society. Correspondingly, the Chinese Soviet regime changed its approach to the Land Revolution (tudi geming), i.e. from “targeting local landlords and appropriating their wealth” to a set of procedures and routines centered on “holding mass meetings and designating class labels.” Established literature on the Land Revolution generally treats “class” as a certain criterion or a kind of objective social reality, based on which researchers tend to judge certain land reform policies as having been on a spectrum from “too radical” to “too conservative.” However, they largely ignore the details of the process through which a “class” concept was grafted onto China’s local society – both rural and urban. By taking stock of and analyzing historical records regarding the land revolution and class categorization in the Central Soviet Area, this article examines how “the class” evolved from such a purely theoretical concept to specific policies. By so doing, it drives home the importance of structural factors that are critical to our understanding of the internal logic of the Chinese Communist revolution.
KEYWORDS: Class land revolution land inventory movement (chatian yundong) Central Soviet Area
The entry of the “soviet” concept into China (1918-1928)
The term “soviet” had two faces in the early twentieth century: on the one hand, a certain form of democratic reform, and on the other, a new development in political power, as established by Vladimir Lenin in the Marxist context of the dictatorship of the proletariat. During the May Fourth Movement, the concept of the soviet, in which specific professions each created its own body for political representation, was introduced into China and recognized by Chinese intellectuals. The Chinese Communists later chose Lenin’s theory and followed the Soviet-Russian path. But there was disagreement within the Comintern in Moscow as to which of the lessons of the Russian path should be transferred to China. Under Stalin’s leadership, the CCP decided to create a soviet shape for the regime it was imagining, rather than a revolutionary organization, but this ran into problems. The Chinese Soviet of Haifeng and Lufeng was often reduced to an empty slogan because it lacked the advantages of a peasant associations and other so-called mass organizations. Thereafter, the CCP had to adjust its Soviet Union orientation and grope for a Chinese way.
KEYWORDS: Soviet politics of laborers and peasants associations of peasants Haifeng and Lufeng (Hai-Lufeng)
Balance and innovation: approaches to logic and the teaching of logic in the philosophy department of Peking University, 1916-1927
This study lays out an overview of the main developments related to the teaching and expounding of logic at the Philosophy Department of Peking University, between the early years of the Republic and the year 1927, when the university was temporarily dissolved and reorganized into the Provisional Unified University of Peking. The objective here is to interconnect various (some not directly related) developments in the curricula that covered the teaching of logic. It describes not only the ebb and flow of general intellectual trends at Peking University but also the curricula’s place in the context of a broader discourse on logic, science, and philosophy that was rising in importance at the time. By providing a tentative picture of new intellectual trends, worldviews, and personal impacts, this study will try to show how curricular changes and views about logic were connected to changes in the engulfing intellectual climate. In particular, the focus will be on the interrelatedness of these changes with main events in contemporary new approaches worldwide to philosophy, culminating particularly in the visits of John Dewey and Bertrand Russell to the University (1919–1922), as well as a controversy over science and metaphysics, which flourished after those visits (1923).
KEYWORDS: Peking University logic curricular change
Modern Chinese history studies in contemporary times
After the People’s Republic of China was founded, a system of Marxist historiography was soon established in modern Chinese history studies. Researchers began to conduct a systematic collection of historical records and made outstanding achievements in many fields of study. During the Cultural Revolution, academic research was brought to a standstill: there were few publications in modern history studies. When the country entered a period of reform and opening-up in 1978, modern Chinese history studies witnessed unprecedented prosperity: there was a breakthrough in the single-line narration of political and revolutionary history and in the use of a single theoretical methodology. Researchers have made outstanding achievements and developed modern Chinese history studies into a mature subdiscipline of historiography.
KEYWORDS: Historical materialism revolutionary historiography paradigm modernization paradigm
On a new work: Chinese historiography of the last forty years (1978-2018)
Coming home to China: Margaret Woo’s story
BRAZILL Shihua Chen & MUNDAY Pat
A Forty-Year Collection of Modern Chinese History Studies (5 vols., 1979-1990, 1991-2000, 2001-2006, 2007-2012, 2013-2018)
PAN Xiaoxia (潘晓霞)
The sunrise court: imperial audiences, court communications, and political decisions during the late Qing
DAY Jenny Huangfu (皇甫峥峥)
In search of change: the reform of the Qing government after the First Sino-Japanese War, 1895-1899
WANG Gang (王刚)
The falling of a leaf tells the coming of autumn: historical events and figures in late Qing and early Republican China, by ZHANG Zhongmin, Shanghai, Shanghai People’s Publishing House, 2020, 331 pp., ISBN 978-7-208-16380-5
LIU Yi (刘怡)
An investigation of living standards and social structure of university faculty and staff during the Republic of China based on Tsinghua University
REN Bamboo Yunzhu (任韵竹)