fredag 2. juli 2021

The Present in the Past: 100 Years of the Chinese Communist Party

When 13 young Chinese men, a Dutchman, and a Russian met in the French concession of Shanghai on a hot July day in 1921, they could not have imagined that the organization they were launching, the Chinese Communist Party, would drive of one of the greatest revolutionary upheavals of all time. Nor could they have foreseen that less than 30 years later, the CCP would seize power, and 100 years later it would lead an economic superpower that many in Washington now view as the United States’ greatest rival on the global stage. What would those early founders have thought if they gazed upon China today under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping?

From its origins, the party sought to transform the nation’s society, economy, and politics to bring about “wealth and power.” To that extent, they would be proud of today’s CCP but baffled by the current embrace of capitalism and its role within the world order. This raises the question of whether the communist revolution was one of nationalism or communism. From its founding, the answer is both. The young intellectuals saw Leninism as a vehicle to drive China toward its rightful place in the world. In October 2019, Xi Jinping linked his “China Dream of national rejuvenation” to the original mission of the CCP, which was to bring happiness to the Chinese people and rescue the nation from its national humiliation at the hands of the foreigners. He noted that if one never forgot why one started, then “you can accomplish your mission.”