Chinese Communist Party

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chinese  中国 共产党
Chinese Communist Party


Xi Jinping
Party leader Xi Jinping ( General Secretary )
Secretary General Xi Jinping
founding July 23, 1921
Place of foundation Shanghai
Headquarters Zhongnanhai area in Beijing
Youth organization Communist Youth Association of China
Alignment Communism ,
Marxism-Leninism ,
Maoism ,
Neo-Stalinism ,
Deng-Xiaoping Theory ,
Xi Jinping Theories
Triple Representation
Colours) Red Yellow
Parliament seats
Number of members 91.91 million (2019)
Under 35 years: 18.5 million (2009)
International connections International meeting of communist and workers' parties
additional data
Members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee : Xi Jinping , Li Keqiang , Li Zhanshu , Wang Yang , Wang Huning , Zhao Leji , Han Zheng
Chairman of the Military Commission at the Central Committee: Xi Jinping
Secretary of the Discipline Control Commission at the Central Committee: Zhao Leiji
Party organ: Renmin Ribao

The Communist Party of China ( German abbreviation KPC ; Chinese 中國 共產黨 / 中国 共产党, Pinyin Zhōngguó Gòngchǎndǎng , often just Zhōnggòng 中共 for short ) is the sole ruling unity party in the People's Republic of China, which was proclaimed in 1949 . The party chairman or general secretary, who, unlike the president and prime minister, does not go through direct or indirect popular elections, is known as the " outstanding leader " as the highest ruler in the country. The absolute leadership of the party over the state is enshrined in the Constitution and should not be touched.

The CCP, which was founded in 1921, has around 78 million members and is by far the Communist Party with the largest number of members and, after the Indian BJP, the second largest political party in the world. One of the reasons for this is that opposition parties are not permitted in the de facto one-party system of the People's Republic . The CCP's way of working is considered totalitarian and is described by critics as mafia -like.

Orientation and goals

The starting point for the development of the CCP were the communist and socialist positions of Karl Marx , Friedrich Engels and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin , and later also Josef Stalin . Based on these approaches, Mao Zedong developed an independent strategy adapted to the Chinese situation (cf. Maoism , spread in particular through the so-called little red book ).

The Chinese Communist Party pursued under the leadership of Mao after the successful revolution in 1949 establishing the People's Republic of China had conducted its own communist way - increasingly from 1956, when it in the USSR because of Khrushchev's policy of de-Stalinization in an escalating ideological conflict to In 1960 China and the Soviet Union broke up . This development culminated in the Chinese Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao from 1966 onwards. It was based on the theory of a permanent revolutionary transformation of society; Communist ideals should be anchored in the entire Chinese people - through re-education through labor and the eradication of any even supposedly counter-revolutionary approach.

From 1979 onwards, Deng Xiaoping changed course, which led to an opening up to capitalist forms of economy without abandoning the CCP's claim to leadership on the political level. The connection to the original communist positions today consists essentially only in the fact that parts of the Marxist ideology are interpreted in such a way that the CCP can use them to secure and justify its claim to leadership. The CCP strives for economic, technological and scientific progress. The CCP also seeks to alleviate the poverty of migrant workers in the next few periods. She is committed to averting the ecological catastrophe threatened by economic growth. The CCP strives for reunification, possibly the military takeover of Taiwan and a stronger integration of the western provinces ( Tibet and Xinjiang ), also by suppressing the opposition groups and their cultural differences, a great power position of China and a (military) expansion into space.


Founded in 1921

The emergence of the CCP was based on a variety of contexts. Since the middle of the 19th century, China had been in a state of civil war or war almost without interruption. China was formally a republic since 1912 after the abdication of the Manchu dynasty . However, there was neither a single central government, nor had the semi-feudal social conditions and semi-colonial dependence on countries such as Germany, France, England, the USA and, in particular, Japan changed anything. After the end of the First World War , Japan was granted German colonial possession in China by the Treaty of Versailles , although China had fought on the side of the Allies against Germany. The Chinese bourgeoisie, and especially the Chinese intellectual youth, were outraged and the outrage was expressed in the so-called May Fourth Movement . In Russia, the tsarist empire was smashed by the October Revolution in 1917 and the newly formed Russia appeared to some Chinese intellectuals as a model for a new China. Reports on the Russian Revolution were received with enthusiasm among students and professors alike.

The Comintern was founded in Moscow in 1919 by the Russian Communist Party . In support of the Russian Revolution, contact should be made with, among other things, national independence movements in Asia. The Comintern sent Grigori Woitinski to China to look for possible allies. This made contact with Sun Yat-sen - the founder and then chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) -, but also with the editors of the magazine "New Youth", the two professors Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu , the far more radical positions in relation to represented the national liberation of China and the necessary social transformations in the country as the KMT, and which, with great reservations, could be called the first Chinese Marxists.

With the participation of the two professors and with the help of Woitinski, a communist party cell was formed in Shanghai in the summer of 1920 , then another in Beijing in September and by the spring of 1921 four cells had been set up in Changsha , Guangdong , Wuhan and Jinan . There were other Chinese communist groups in Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Hong Kong, but at that time they had no connection with each other or with China itself.

A Chinese Communist Party was founded on the initiative of the group in Shanghai, which the Comintern supported with a small amount of money for this purpose. The existing groups were invited to Shanghai in July for the party's founding congress . Each cell had two delegates, and the Chinese in Japan were to be represented by one representative. All in all, those present did not represent 60 party members. Since there are no official documents about the meeting, the exact date of the meeting cannot be determined. It is also not certain whether all 13 delegates took part in the congress and who they actually were. The available sources name only six matching names: Li Hanjun and Li Da (both Shanghai), Zhang Guotao (Beijing), Chen Gongbo (Wuhan), Mao Zedong (Changsha) and, as a representative of the Chinese in Japan, Zhou Fohai . Another six or seven names are different in the literature. In addition to the Chinese founders, two representatives of the Comintern were also present: Henk Sneevliet (alias Maring,馬林 / 马林, Malin ) and a certain Nikolski , with Malin actively participating in the discussion and the nascent party from working with the The Comintern wanted to convince, which, in the majority opinion, he succeeded. The leaders of Chinese Marxism at the time, Li Dazhao and Chen Duxiu, were absent for reasons unknown.

After four days of deliberation, the congress had to be interrupted for fear of police spies, and a few days later the establishment of the CCP was completed on a tour boat on Nanhu Lake in Jiaxing, 100 km away, in the absence of Comintern officials. Chen Duxiu was elected secretary of the party in absentia, Zhang Gutao became head of the organizing office, and Li Da head of the agitation office. The party headquarters were located in Shanghai. The party was founded as a conspiratorial, centralist organization. The communist, classless society was called for as a long-term political goal. To achieve this, capitalists would first have to be expropriated, the land transferred into social ownership and the dictatorship of the proletariat established. The first steps towards this should be the establishment of training and study circles for workers and the organization of trade unions. Cooperation with the Comintern was agreed, but for China itself cooperation with any other party was categorically excluded. However, the latter resolution was repealed as early as 1922 at the 2nd Party Congress of the CCP in accordance with the proposals of the Comintern. National unity and independence and social reforms should be achieved in close cooperation with the KMT. From 1923 to 1927, communist functionaries were also active in leading positions in the institutions and management bodies of the KMT, which was also reorganized under Comintern influence and provided with large funds by the Comintern.

Civil war from 1927

The cooperation ended when Chiang Kai-shek took power as a representative of the right wing of the KMT and in May 1927 destroyed hopes of any social reforms with a massacre among demonstrating workers in Shanghai and rebel farmers in the provinces. The CCP was banned, its members and followers who could be caught were arrested, and most of them were executed.

From the summer of 1927, the CCP organized the establishment of its own armed units. This was linked to the hope that individual successful revolts would lead to revolt against large landowners, warlords and domestic and foreign capitalists throughout the country and thus lead to a nationwide revolution.

Under the direction of the CCP Central Committee (CC), Mao Zedong organized the fall harvest riot , and Zhou Enlai was ordered to attack Nanchang on August 1, 1927 . The city was to be conquered with the help of military KMT units whose commanders were members or sympathizers of the CCP. Both actions failed miserably. The attack on Nanchang also marked the birth of the first Red Army (紅軍), which was under the command of the CCP.

This putschist policy was unsuccessful, and the idea arose of building independent base areas on the land with the help of the oppressed and exploited peasants, as a “state within a state” so to speak. The first of these areas was established by Peng Bai in November 1927 in part of Guangdong Province. At about the same time, Mao Zedong and Zhu De installed a base in the remote and inaccessible Jinggang Mountains that could provide for itself.

From 1928 onwards, the formation of council areas (Soviet areas) became more of a focus of Comintern and CCP politics, but attempts were made until 1930 to capture medium and large cities in order to drive the revolution forward. The establishment of council areas was systematically propagated from 1929. One of them was founded this year in southern Jiangxi by Mao Zedong and Zhu De. In other provinces of China, others emerged, for example in the provinces of Hunan and Sichuan.

Connected with this development was a stronger orientation of the party to the solution of the peasant question and an associated land reform (division of the landed property of the nobility, the large and middle peasants to the small peasants and landless tenants). But neither the Comintern nor the CCP's Politburo saw the peasants as a revolutionary subject (as “petty bourgeois” they were incapable of a comprehensive social revolution), at best they could support the revolution of the proletariat. Mao, however, defined small and landless peasants as the proletariat and posited that they could thus be the leading force in the Chinese revolution. This view was in complete contrast to the "Marxist-Leninist" doctrine proclaimed from the Soviet Union by the Comintern and its representatives in China and also in contrast to many adherents of this doctrine in the CCP itself. It took years before the Central Committee was established the majority of the CCP followed Mao's view.

The Chinese council districts have been the target of so-called extermination and annihilation campaigns by Chiang Kai-shek's troops from their inception. Their continued existence was never assured, the size of the areas and the areas themselves were constantly changing. The civil war was waged mercilessly on both sides and claimed millions of lives.

The Soviet area of Jiangxi had to be given up in 1934. The situation had become economically and militarily untenable. The leadership of the CCP, which had had its headquarters here since 1931 and of which Mao Zedong was not a member at the time, ordered the government and troops to withdraw. The later so-called Long March began here in October 1934. Initially with the aim of uniting the units with those of Zhang Guotao in the province of Sichuan in southwest China. In the course of the Long March, Mao took over military command of the force withdrawing from Jiangxi in early 1935 and became part of the leadership of the CCP. The remnants of this army arrived a year later in the northern Chinese province of Shaanxi , where another small communist base area already existed at that time.

Joint fight against Japan

Against Japan's aspirations for hegemony , which increasingly threatened China, an alliance between the Kuomintang and the CCP was renewed in 1936. The Sino-Japanese War - which marked the beginning of the Second World War in Asia in 1937 and lasted until 1945 - led to the joint struggle of both parties against the Japanese army during the Second World War on the Asian mainland . While the Kuomintang army was largely wiped out in the war against Japan, the CCP saved its strength and prepared for the eventual revolution. In the course of the war, the CCP regained considerable influence, especially from 1941 onwards. The starting point for the expansion in the hinterland was the area into which it had been pushed back in the civil war since 1927, namely the mountains of southern China, which remained inaccessible to the Japanese enemy during the entire course of the war. Officially, the alliance between the CCP and KMT only broke up after the end of World War II. In reality, the pursuit of revenge for the Long March played a role in internal relations even during the war. In later accounts, the CCP attempted to downplay the fact that the KMT had borne the brunt of the war and glossed over its own role in the clashes in the Chinese hinterland.

Establishment of the People's Republic in 1949

Another four-year civil war followed in China , from which the communists under Mao finally emerged victorious, so that Mao could proclaim the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949 .

The Kuomintang withdrew to the island of Formosa , for China the province of Taiwan , where in 1950 they retained a Chinese state oriented towards the political west with the national Chinese " Republic of China " (often also referred to as "national China "). This state is still not recognized by the People's Republic of China. Due to the military support of Taiwan and national China by the USA , which has its origins in the Cold War , a military invasion of the People's Republic of Taiwan has not taken place until today.

With the campaign to suppress counterrevolutionaries , the party began to silence (murder) opposition members in the People's Republic of China in 1950 .

Portrait of Mao at the entrance to the Forbidden City

Rift with the USSR in 1957

After the de-Stalinization by Khrushchev in the Soviet Union, a serious ideological conflict arose between China under Mao Zedong or the CCP and the USSR or the CPSU from 1957 at the latest , in which the CCP rejected the dominance of the CPSU over the global communist movement. In addition, Mao, with his own ideology, Maoism , interpreted Marxism-Leninism differently than the CPSU. Mao had prepared his ideology for the general public in a small red book , the so-called " Mao Bible " , which was not only widespread in China .

The conflict between the two largest communist parties in the world led to a further split in the national communist parties and to the establishment of Maoist parties in some other countries. With Maoist China, a second major communist power, alongside the USSR, entered the world political stage of the Cold War.

The rift between the two parties was also reflected in the 3rd Indochina War , when Vietnam, which was very loyal to Moscow, put an end to the communist battles tolerated by Beijing in Cambodia and quickly conquered the country. To relieve Cambodia, probably also as a warning shot, several divisions of Chinese troops then invaded North Vietnam, the formerly allied country. There, however, they were stopped by much more experienced Vietnamese troops, which ended this Chinese offensive, obviously intended as a warning.

The border conflict on the Ussuri in 1969 also led to military clashes between the two communist camps.

Cultural Revolution 1966

In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution in China (see above in the introductory section on History: Maoism ), which would not end with his death until ten years later in 1976. Until then, the so-called " Gang of Four " around Mao's fourth wife, Jiang Qing, had influenced the structures and policies of the CCP. Mao himself had become increasingly incapacitated towards the end of his life. The "Gang of Four" was overthrown after Mao's death and sentenced to death in 1980; In 1983 the sentences were commuted to life imprisonment. Jiang Qing committed in 1991 shortly after their release from prison suicide . In contrast, millions fell victim to the Cultural Revolution.

Meeting Mao with Nixon in Beijing 1972

Before the end of the Vietnam War , the USA established diplomatic contacts with the People's Republic of China for the first time with President Richard Nixon , which initiated a certain détente policy in war-torn and crisis-torn Southeast Asia , with the aim of increasing the influence of the USSR in to push back the region.

Modernization phase under Deng Xiaoping

A female soldier in the People's Liberation Army in 1972

From 1978 onwards, the CCP - now under Deng Xiaoping - introduced reforms with the so-called " Four Modernizations ", which also opened up China to foreign countries. Industrial production increased and the supply of the population improved rapidly. Schools, hospitals and other public service companies were finally able to work normally again and without constant tutelage from the party. Many previously banned books were reissued and the people who had to learn under Mao to constantly disguise themselves and who lived under constant fear of denunciations or political campaigns now experienced that as long as one did not mess with the party, one was normal and without it Fear could live. But there was and is a clear limit. Anyone who publicly opposed the CCP's leadership in China was treated as a criminal.

The democracy movement , which was strengthened in the 1980s, mainly by students (see subsection People's Republic of China in the article civil rights movement ), which also called for liberal and democratic reforms, became bloody with the use of tanks against a large demonstration of the democracy movement on Tian'anmen Square in 1989 dejected .

Since 1990 to the present

In the People's Republic of China, at the latest since the 16th Party Congress under the then General Secretary and President Jiang Zemin , who is still considered a strong man in the background , the Communist Party has adapted its ideology to such an extent that market-economy elements are allowed, but at the same time political power remains in the hands of the party. It was said that one wanted to finally part with "vulgar Marxism". With the theory of " triple representation " in the party presented by Jiang Zemin, the CCP has also opened up to private entrepreneurs and thus also met the needs of the strengthened Chinese middle class . The CCP now regards itself as a people's party and is open to farmers, workers and now also to employers. For the USA and the European Union , China has been an economically sought-after important sales market since it opened up economically. Hu Jintao was the Chinese President from 2002 to 2013, and one of the goals of his policy was to reduce the increasing disparities in the country and to create a harmonious society . Furthermore, a scientific development concept was decided at the 17th party congress in 2007 , which should enable balanced and sustainable economic development.

Party leader

From 1943 to 1982 the party was led by a chairman. In 1980, the position of General Secretary was created, which was then chaired by Hu Yaobang. After the elimination of the chairmanship, the general secretary is the de facto party leader of the CCP.

Surname Beginning of the term of office Term expires
Mao Zedong March 20, 1943 September 9, 1976
Hua Guofeng October 9, 1976 June 29, 1981
Hu Yaobang June 29, 1981 September 12, 1982
General Secretaries
Surname Beginning of the term of office Term expires
Hu Yaobang February 29, 1980 January 16, 1987
Zhao Ziyang January 16, 1987 June 24, 1989
Jiang Zemin June 24, 1989 November 15, 2002
Hu Jintao November 15, 2002 November 14, 2012
Xi Jinping November 15, 2012 -


Organization of the party

Admission to the party

The Chinese Communist Party regards itself as the leading body of China and subjects every applicant for party membership to a selection process. A party-internal training with subsequent examination is required. Only candidates who have proven their “ability” are accepted into the party.

National structure

The CCP is structured according to the principle of democratic centralism , that is, the leadership is elected from bottom to top, instructions are (always) from top to bottom. The party has transferred its structures to the state. The National People's Congress corresponds to the Central Committee , its standing committee to the party's Politburo .

The convention is the CCP's general assembly and formally its highest governing body. It meets every five years and primarily serves as an acclamation organ. At the suggestion of the Party Presidium, it elects the Discipline Control Commission at the Central Committee and the Central Committee , which can be seen as the party's inner leadership group. It consists of 150 to 200 full members and a number of non-voting members. The members of the Central Committee also occupy leading positions in government and administration. Only the central committee of the party has the authority to decide on important political questions of national importance.

The Politburo , which has all executive powers between the plenary sessions of the Central Committee, has the actual decision-making power over the guidelines of politics. It has had 25 members since the party reform in 2012 and is primarily concerned with issues of national security. It oversees the legal system, the police and the secret services. A propaganda department is responsible for the ideological work. In addition, it determines the guidelines of government policy.

The Politburo Standing Committee , made up of the party's general secretary and eight other members, is the center of power, and its members hold the most important positions in the state.

Regional structure

Under the national level, which forms the party congress of the Communist Party of China, there are local party conventions at the respective levels and the party committees elected by them. They are organized in exactly the same way as the national model, there is a committee and a discipline control commission. The Central Committee is not only authorized to issue instructions to the subordinate party offices, it can also transfer or appoint responsible cadres of the subordinate party organizations. The party congresses of the provinces, autonomous regions, cities directly under the government, cities with municipalities and the autonomous districts take place once every five years. The party congresses of the districts (banners), autonomous districts, cities without urban districts and the urban districts take place once every three years.

The basic organization of the party consists of the factories, villages, institutions, educational establishments, research institutes, residential districts and the companies of the People's Liberation Army. A basic party organization committee will also be formed. The election cycle depends on the size of the organization and is between two and four years.

Discipline Inspection Commission

The Discipline Inspection Commission at the Central Committee has a great deal of power. It is unknown to the public where the Discipline Commission detains party members with allegations of corruption and how it treats the accused. A non-party judiciary does not exist. Since a discipline control commission exists at every level of the party, an efficient control of all party members is possible. The control of the local commissions is exercised on the one hand by the party committees of the respective level and the next higher discipline control commission.

Party schools

There is a party school at every level of the Communist Party. At the national level it is the party school of the Central Committee . In total there are over 3,000 party schools across China, 2,000 at the county level. Every year a conference of all party schools takes place under the leadership of the party school, at which guidelines and strategies are passed on and the experiences of the local schools are discussed. The party school of the Central Committee controls the quality of teaching at all party schools and sends employees to the local institutions for this purpose.

Youth organization

The Chinese Communist Party's youth organization is the Chinese Communist Youth Association .

Human rights violations

The Chinese Communist Party has been blamed for the deaths of millions of people since its inception and during the civil war. In addition, millions more are believed to have perished from the CCP's failed economic policies from the great famines from 1949 to the 1970s. Other human rights violations by the CCP include expropriations, imprisonments, executions and so-called re-education measures during the Cultural Revolution , the violent dissolution of a peaceful demonstration on Tian'anmen Square with over 1,000 dead, and coercive measures to enforce a one-child policy , the persecution of critics and members of certain religious or spiritual minorities such as the New Religious Movement, Falun Gong, known as a sect . The use of torture and the death penalty , for which the People's Republic of China had the highest conviction rate in the world with over 1,770 executions in 2005, as well as the refusal to implement democratic reforms, and censorship are also criticized .

See also


For the sections "Founding in 1921" and "Civil War from 1927":

  • John Fairbank (Ed.): The Cambridge History of China Volume 12, Republican China, 1912–1949, Part1 . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1983, pp. 505-526.
  • John Fairbank, Albert Feuerwerker (eds.): The Cambridge History of China Volume 13, Republican China, 1912-1949, Part 2 , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1986, pp. 168-229.
  • Stuart Schram: Mao Tse Tung . Translation by Wilfried Schwedler, S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 1969.
  • Robert Payne: Mao Tse Tung . Translation by Franziska Meister-Weidner, Krüger, Hamburg 1965 and 1951.
  • Jerome Ch'en: Mao and the Chinese Revolution . Oxford University Press, London New York 1965.
  • Edgar Snow : Red Star over China . Translation by Gerold Dommermuth and Heidi Reichling, reviewed by Anna Wang, March Verlag, Frankfurt / M. 1970.
  • Jonathan Spence : Mao . Translated from the English by Susanne Hornfech, Claassen, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-546-00261-X .
  • Wolfram Adolphi : Mao - A Chronicle . New life, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-355-01763-3 .

Self-portrayals of the Communist Party of China: For the period 1945–2001

  • On some questions about the history of our party. Decision of the Communist Party of China April 1945 . VTK, Frankfurt am Main / Gelsenkirchen 1979.
  • Hu Tschiau-Mu : 30 Years of History of the Chinese Communist Party . Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1954.
  • Mjau Tschu-Hwang: Brief History of the Communist Party of China . Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1960; Communist Texts Publishing House, Münster 1971.
  • Resolution on some questions on the history of the Communist Party of China since 1949 . Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, Beijing 1981.
  • Institute for Party History at the Central Committee of the CPC: Brief History of the CPC . Publishing house for the history of the Communist Party of China, Beijing 2001. Abridged German translation in: Rolf Berthold : Chinas Weg - 60 years People's Republic . Verlag Wiljo Heinen, Berlin 2009. ISBN 978-3-939828-46-4 .

For the period from 2001:

Web links

Commons : Chinese Communist Party  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Profile of the Communist Party of China., accessed December 31, 2018 .
  2. ^ Chinese Communist Party Information: 1st. National Congress of The Communist Party of China (CPC)., accessed October 25, 2018 .
  3. [1]
  4. That is why China became a “neo-Stalinist” country last year . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . Süddeutsche Zeitung publishing house , August 16, 1958.
  5. John Pomfret: Xi Jinping's quest to revive Stalin's communist ideology. The Washington Post , October 16, 2017; archived from the original on July 20, 2019 ; accessed on March 15, 2020 (English).
  6. ^ The Chinese Communist Party Program.
  7. Archived copy ( memento from October 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  8. heise online : data protection "unrealistic" - "KP like the mafia"
  9. Die Zeit :
  10. Snow (p. 14: "Membership [in the CCP] is melting by four fifths to about 10,000") and Schram (p. 130) mentions intra-party, contemporary statistics that 130,000 dead, wounded and missing (not including the events in Shanghai ) all over the country. While these numbers may be exaggerated, they do shed light on the atrocities that continued throughout the civil war.
  11. Jung Chang: Wild Swans , ISBN 3-426-62705-1 , pages 709 and 717
  12. Richard McGregor: The Red Apparatus .
  13. a b c China Internet Information Center (company of the Chinese State Council): China's ruling party
  14. NZZ: Top official in China dismissed
  15. China Internet Information Center (company of the Chinese State Council): Party school of the Central Committee: Supervising function for local party schools of the CPC