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Chinese Studies The Chinese Communist Party to 1949
by
Tony Saich, Nancy Hearst

Introduction

There is a vast array of materials available to assist in the study of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before 1949. In China this is aided by the presence of a large number of officially employed researchers at party research centers and related archives. To earn their keep, these researchers have to put out publications. Availability of materials was boosted by the start of reforms in 1978 and preparations for the 1981 official party history. Given that, especially in the early years of reform, when expression of personal opinions could be dangerous, many of the released publications were documentary collections or chronologies. These came in several different varieties, based on either historical periods, particular events, or the lives of key individuals. These materials were complemented by memoirs of key figures who wanted to ensure that their version of history was in the public eye. This makes selection very difficult. Some of the works that follow are a must for students and scholars; others are personal favorites of the compilers and should be treated as exemplary of the types and varieties of sources that are available for the study of the CCP before 1949. More recently, materials from China have allowed researchers to conduct more detailed research on the social and economic transformations wrought by CCP presence and the difficulties the party had in maintaining local support. This has meant that, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, we have seen fewer monographs that attempt to paint the broader picture of the sweep of the CCP revolution. Instead, there are many fine-grained analyses of particular events or CCP activities in specific locales that reveal the extremely complex and multifaceted nature of the Chinese revolution.

General Overviews

Despite, or perhaps because of, all the materials that have become available more recently, there have been very few general, interpretative histories of the CCP up to 1949. Scholarly work has focused on particular events or on periods of time to enhance our understanding of the revolution. One attempt to bring together perspectives that take into account the materials published in China and the greater accessibility of interviews is Saich and van de Ven 1995. The most comprehensive, analytical account is Chen 2001. A major debate in the scholarship has been the primary reason for CCP victory. Bianco 1971 argues that, although the war with Japan may have been the catalyst for revolution, social problems and the mobilization of the peasantry were critical to CCP success. Saich 1996 asserts that a combination of factors, including the organizational capacity of the CCP, the lack of alternatives, and the acquiescence of key elites, all contributed to the ultimate success of the CCP. Another much debated question has been the extent to which the Comintern influenced the course of the revolution. Dirlik 1989 contends strongly that Comintern influence was crucial in the nascent period for forging a CCP identity. By contrast, van de Ven 1991 highlights the indigenous roots of the Communist movement. Zhongguo gongchandang biannian shi shi bian wei hui 2002 has the best chronology, whereas Zhonggong zhongyang dangshi yanjiushi 2002 gives the most comprehensive official history.

  • Bianco, Lucien. The Origins of the Chinese Revolution, 1915–1949. Translated by Muriel Bell. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1971.

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    An important analysis of the revolution, offering a complex explanation that combines the view that resistance to Japan was key to success, with an emphasis on the socioeconomic program of the CCP.

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  • Chen Yong-fa 陳永發 (Yung-fa Chen). Zhongguo gongchan geming qishi nian (中國共產革命七十年). 2d ed. 2 vols. Zuijin liangbainian Zhongguo shi (最近兩百年中國史). Taibei: Lianjing chuban shiye gongsi, 2001.

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    Volume 1 of this seventy-year history covers the pre-1949 period and gives the most comprehensive recent account of the history of the Chinese Communist revolution. Chen stresses how the CCP was able to build support and develop an effective, victorious military strategy. He shows how the CCP organized local power and the importance of ideological control and reform.

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  • Dirlik, Arif. The Origins of Chinese Communism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

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    Picking up on and developing earlier accounts that examine the role of the Comintern in the formation and development of the CCP, Dirlik demonstrates how Comintern notions of organization were crucial in forging the disparate elements of the indigenous Communists.

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  • Saich, Tony, ed. The Rise to Power of the Chinese Communist Party: Documents and Analysis. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1996.

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    This collection offers the most extensive English-language translations of CCP documents covering this period. There are central party documents as well as those from the localities; for example, reports on early party activities in Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai and in base areas, such as the E-Yu-Wan Soviet, the Xiang-Exi Soviet, and the Jin-Cha-Ji border region. The volume also has overview essays for each section.

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  • Saich, Tony, and Hans J. van de Ven, eds. New Perspectives on the Chinese Communist Revolution. Papers presented at a conference held at Leiden University and the International Institute of Social History, Leiden and Amsterdam, 8–12 January 1990. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1995.

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    The articles in this edited volume make use of the more recent sources to provide fresh insights on the Communist revolution. Subjects include gender in party construction, the building of orthodoxy in Yan’an, the Futian Incident, peasant response to mobilization, elite leadership struggles, and trends away from the party center.

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  • van de Ven, Hans J. From Friend to Comrade: The Founding of the Chinese Party, 1920–1927. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

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    Van de Ven makes use of the materials that became available in the 1980s to highlight the diversity and indigenous roots of the Communist movement and how they influenced the first decade of the CCP.

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  • Zhonggong zhongyang dangshi yanjiushi (中共中央党史硏究室). Zhongguo gongchandang lishi, diyi juan, 1921–1949 (中囯共产党历史, 第一卷, 1921–1949). 2 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi chubanshe, 2002.

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    An indispensable official history of the CCP from 1921 to 1949, published on the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the party; alerts the reader to many key sources.

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  • Zhongguo gongchandang biannian shi bian wei hui 中国共产党编年史编委会. Zhongguo gongchandang biannian shi (中国共产党编年史). 12 vols. Taiyuan, China: Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 2002.

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    The first four volumes of this twelve-volume collection focus on the pre-1949 period. This is the most detailed chronology of the CCP available that covers the entire pre-1949 period.

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Resource Guides and Handbooks

Given that the CCP is the ruling party, there are numerous official party historians employed at all levels of the system. This has resulted in the publication of a huge number of guides (Chen 1985, Zhongguo geming bowuguan 1988), handbooks (Neibu ziliao suoyin, Quanguo tushu lianhe mulu bianjizu 1981), chronologies (Jiang, et al. 2006), and biographical compilations (Sheng 1991, Zhonggong dangshi renwu zhuan yanjiuhui 1980–). They range from very general overviews to specific chronologies on particular events or subjects and biographies of the major players. There are also various catalogue guides and indexes that are extremely valuable for research. The Zhonggong dangshi renwu zhuan series is uneven, but the quality has improved over time. There is an index for the first fifty volumes, and Nancy Hearst, together with Ying-Ming Lee, has compiled an index for Volumes 1–85 (Cambridge, MA: H. C. Fung Library, Harvard University, 2008).

  • Chen Yutang 陳玉堂. Zhonggong dangshi renwu bieminglu: Zi hao, bi ming, hua ming (中共党史人物别名录: 字号, 笔名, 化名). Beijing: Hongqi chubanshe, 1985.

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    This collection of pseudonyms should be used in conjunction with the biographical collections. The dictionary contains 192 entries on key figures in the Communist movement. Each entry provides brief biographical details as well as a list of pen names and aliases and where and when they were used. Most useful is the index of aliases.

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  • Jiang Huaxuan 姜华宣, Zhang Weiping 张蔚萍, and Xiao Shen 肖甡. Zhongguo gongchandang zhongyao huiyi jishi, 1921–2006 (中国共产党重要会议纪事, 1921–2006). Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2006.

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    This chronology provides an excellent overview of key CCP meetings up to and beyond 1949.

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  • Neibu ziliao suoyin (內部资料索引).

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    Neibu ziliao suoyin (Index to internally published materials) is a bimonthly periodical that is published by the library of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. This handbook is especially useful, given that many of the materials on CCP history have first been published for internal consumption only.

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  • Quanguo tushu lianhe mulu bianjizu 全国图书联合目录編輯組, ed. Quanguo zhongwen qikan lianhe mulu, 1833–1949 (全国中文期刊联合目录, 1833–1949). Rev. ed. Beijing: Shumu wenxian chubanshe, 1981.

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    Quanguo zhongwen qikan lianhe mulu (National catalogue of Chinese-language periodicals) is a good guide to newspapers and periodicals contained in mainland libraries.

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  • Sheng Ping 盛平, ed. Zhongguo gongchandang renming da cidian (中国共产党人名大辞典). Beijing: Zhongguo guoji guangbo chubanshe, 1991.

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    This nine-hundred-page, one-volume dictionary offers brief biographical sketches for some ten thousand CCP members.

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  • Zhonggong dangshi renwu zhuan yanjiuhui, ed. 中共党史人物硏究会. Zhonggong dangshi renwu zhuan 中共党史人物传. Xi’an, China: Shanxi renmin chubanshe, 1980–.

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    This series on the biographies of personages in the history of the CCP was launched by the late party historian Hu Hua 胡华 and has continued since his death in 1987. Originally projected as a fifty-volume compilation, it has since been expanded, with eighty-five volumes published.

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  • Zhongguo geming bowuguan 中国革命博物馆, ed. Ershiliu zhong yingyin geming qikan suoyin (二十六种影印革命期刋索引). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1988.

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    This index contains the contents of many key CCP journals on microfilm; for example, Xin qingnian (New youth), Xiangdao zhoubao (The guide weekly), Buersheweike (The Bolshevik), and Qunzhong (The masses).

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Archives

The three main archives for research on the history of the CCP are based in Beijing, Moscow, and Taipei. The archives in Beijing (Zhongyang dang’anguan) remain generally inaccessible for foreigners. Over time, various publications have included key materials from these archives, but it is difficult to determine their degree of veracity. It is important to note that there are archives held at all administrative levels in China that are relevant to the history of the CCP. It is somewhat easier to gain access to these local archives, and a number of researchers, both Chinese and Western, have made excellent use of them to produce research monographs. Especially noteworthy is the Shaanxi Provincial Archives, which contains many original materials dating from the Yan’an period. In general, the earlier the period of study, the easier it is to gain access to archival material. The collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991 led to the declassification of Soviet Communist Party documents and top-secret documents of the Comintern. The most significant materials in the archives in Moscow on the Chinese revolution seem to have been made available through a major publishing effort by Russian and German researchers (Russian Center for the Conservation and Study of Documents of Modern History). This archive offers complete records of the Comintern’s dealings in China as well as records of other leading agencies of the Bolshevik Party; for example, previously unpublished materials of the Far Eastern Secretariat and the Far Eastern Bureau of the Comintern Executive Committee and materials from Soviet and Comintern representatives working in China. Unlike the archives in Beijing, the Taiwan archives (Donovan, et al. 1976; Fawubu diaocha ju) are entirely open to researchers and are relatively easy to use. With the exception of Donovan, et al. 1976, researchers will obviously need to read Chinese to access these resources. The best attempt to catalogue the Chinese archives, including those on Taiwan, is Ye and Esherick 1996, whereas within China, a comprehensive guide to the various archives was published in 1990 (Zhongguo dang’anguan minglu).

  • Donovan, Peter, Carl E. Dorris, and Lawrence R. Sullivan. Chinese Communist Materials at the Bureau of Investigation Archives, Taiwan. Michigan Papers in Chinese Studies 24. Ann Arbor: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan, 1976.

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    A useful guide to the Taiwan archives.

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  • Fawubu diaocha ju (法務部調查局), Taipei.

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    The Archives of the Bureau of Investigation, containing materials captured by the Guomindang, when it took over CCP-held areas, was taken to Taiwan after 1949. There is a wealth of documentation concerning underground CCP activities during the late 1920s and early 1930s and also on the CCP base areas. There are also complete sets of party newspapers and periodicals that contain articles about the CCP and the Comintern and their decisions.

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    • Russian Center for the Conservation and Study of Documents of Modern History, Russian State Archives of Social-Political History, 1919–1943, Moscow.

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      Formerly the Central Party Archive. This is a treasure trove of materials that previously were only selectively used by Soviet academics, usually to refute views critical of the Soviet Union or to support official Soviet history. These archival materials allow a reassessment of the Soviet engagement in China and the Soviet role in attempting to shape the CCP. There are institutional materials and those by individuals (Nikolay Ivanovich Bukharin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky).

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      • Ye Wa, and Joseph E. Esherick. Chinese Archives: An Introductory Guide. China Research Monograph 45. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 1996.

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        This work represents a valiant attempt to assess the accessibility of archival materials in China but naturally suffers from incomplete knowledge and dating. The guide covers archives at all levels on both the mainland and Taiwan. Key details are provided, including the date of establishment, scope, catalogues (if available), and whether the archive is open to researchers.

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      • Zhongyang dang’anguan (中央档案馆), Baijiatuan, Wenquan, Xijiao, Beijing.

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        The Central Party Archives comprises the main holdings of CCP documents. It contains primary source materials of the Central Committee and its affiliated organizations, agencies, and revolutionary groups since the founding of the CCP. There are 202 complete files, containing approximately eight million pieces, and include the archives of the CCP delegation to the Comintern—important documents of the Comintern, the Executive Committee of the Communist International, the Far Eastern Bureau, and the Far Eastern Secretariat.

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        • Zhongguo dang’anguan minglu (中国档案馆名录). Beijing: Dang’an chubanshe, 1990.

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          Translates as Directory of Chinese national archives. This work offers information on 3,238 archives that were extant up to 1987. Section 1 covers archives at the provincial level and above, and section 2 covers municipal- and county-level archives, arranged by province. The directory also includes archives on both the republican and the post-1949 periods. The contents are listed in English as well as Chinese, and there is a very useful institutional name index.

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        Documentary Collections

        The economic reforms that began in 1978 brought an unexpected bonus of publication and republication of documentary collections on CCP history. This was stimulated by the need to draft a resolution on Mao Zedong’s role in the Chinese revolution (adopted in 1981). Furthermore, in the early years of reform, it was much safer for academics to publish documentary collections than interpretative essays. The resultant publications can be divided into three categories: comprehensive national collections (Zhongguo renmin jiefangjun guofang daxue dangshi jianzheng gong jiaoyanshi 1979–1988, Zhonggong zhongyang shujichu 1980, Zhonggong zhongyang shujichu 1981, Zhongyang dang’anguan 1982–1987, Zhongyang dang’anguan 1989–1992); local, provincial, and regional collections (Zhongyang dang’anguan and Fujian sheng dang’anguan 1987); and topic- and event-based collections (Zhonggong zhongyang xuanchuanbu bangongting and Zhongyang dang’anguan bianyanbu 1996). There are often multiple collections on all the major events in pre-1949 CCP history. The documentary collections listed here are comprehensive in that they cover all or most of the period, with the exception of the regional and topic-based collections. Materials that cover a specific event or limited time period but that are crucial for an understanding are listed in the relevant sections.

        • Zhonggong zhongyang shujichu 中共中央书记处, ed. Liuda yiqian: Dangde lishi cailiao (六大以前: 党的历史材料). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1980.

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          Contains 199 documents, drawn mainly from early (pre-1928) party publications, as well as essays written by early party leaders.

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        • Zhonggong zhongyang shujichu 中共中央书记处, ed. Liuda yilai: Dangnei mimi wenjian (六大以来: 党内秘密文件). 2 vols. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1981.

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          The two volumes were produced as study materials for high-ranking cadres in preparation for the Yan’an Rectification Movement (1942–1944) and were reissued after 1980 to help prepare the Resolution on CPC History, 1949–1981. Volume 1 provides resolutions and declarations of the CCP Central Committee up to 1941; Volume 2 presents materials arranged according to various topics, such as social groups, military affairs, and propaganda (five hundred documents, total).

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        • Zhonggong zhongyang xuanchuanbu bangongting 中共中央宣传部办公厅 and Zhongyang dang’anguan bianyanbu 中央档案馆编硏部, eds. Zhongguo gongchandang xuanchuan gongzuo wenxian xuanbian (中国共产党宣传工作文献选编). 4 vols. Beijing: Xuexi chubanshe, 1996.

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          The first two volumes of this four-volume, topic-based documentary collection cover the periods 1915–1937 and 1937–1949, respectively. These documents offer fascinating insight into the party’s work in the propaganda realm.

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        • Zhongguo renmin jiefangjun guofang daxue dangshi jianzheng gong jiaoyanshi 中国人民解放军国防大学党史党建政工教硏室, ed. Zhonggong dangshi jiaoxue cankao ziliao (中共党史教学参考资料). 27 vols. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1979–1988.

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          The first eighteen volumes, compiled by the National Defense University, are devoted to teaching reference materials on CCP history from the pre-1949 period. Whereas some of the documents in this collection are commonplace, others appear to be unique.

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        • Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆, ed. Zhonggong zhongyang wenjian xuanji (中共中央文件选集). 14 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1982–1987.

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          This collection of documents, an internal (neibu 内部) publication, is based on the Liuda yilai and Liuda yiqian collections as well as on holdings in the Central Party Archives. Authoritative and reliable.

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        • Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆, ed. Zhonggong zhongyang wenjian xuanji (中共中央文件选集). 18 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1989–1992.

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          This openly published version of Zhongyang dang’anguan 1982–1987 gives the sources from which the documents have been drawn; however, some pieces are excluded, and others have been added.

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        • Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆 and Fujian sheng dang’anguan 福建省档案馆, eds. Fujian geming lishi wenjian huiji (福建革命历史文件汇集). 20 vols. Fuzhou, China: Fujian renmin chubanshe, 1987.

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          A local documentary collection on Fujian revolutionary history, including provincial, municipal, and county documents as well as documents on organization, the youth league, mass organizations, and the Soviet government.

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        Contemporary Journals and Newspapers

        From their origins, the Organization and Propaganda departments of the CCP were avid publishers of journals and magazines established to spread the party’s message. This included publications for the CCP military wing and its affiliated labor and peasant organizations. Some of these publications were very short-lived, such as Dangbao and Gongchandang ren. Others enjoyed a longer life span, such as Xiangdao zhoubao and Jiefang ribao. Included here are those publications that were most influential in the period of urban revolution, in the 1920s and 1930s, and in the subsequent period, when building the border regions.

        Period of Urban Revolution, 1920–1934

        In the early years of the CCP, many journals were short-lived and often disappeared after just a couple of issues. This section includes those that were most influential in shaping the early policies of the CCP. Xin qingnian was the journal that lay the groundwork for the establishment of the CCP and that became its main theoretical journal. It was supplemented by Xiangdao zhoubao, which provided further theoretical justification for Communist organization. Dangbao represented the first attempt to publish an internal newspaper, but its appearance was unreliable, and very few issues actually saw the light of day. Buersheweike was published following the crushing of the Communist movement in Shanghai; its articles were aimed at maintaining lines of communication once most CCP members had left the city. Hongqi ribao was a sister publication that appeared more regularly but that suffered from the same problems of distribution. Liening shenghuo was a successor paper that promoted the views of the pro-Soviet section of the leadership.

        • Buersheweike (布尔什维克). 1927–1932.

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          Buersheweike (The Bolshevik) was published in Shanghai as a secret journal of the Central Committee of the CCP. Originally a weekly, the journal later changed to a bimonthly, and finally to a monthly.

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        • Dangbao (党报). 1923–.

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          Dangbao (The party paper), the first internal party paper of the CCP, was published irregularly. It is unclear when the paper ceased publication, but one issue appeared on 1 June 1924.

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        • Hongqi ribao (红旗日报). 1930–1934.

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          Hongqi ribao (Red flag daily) was an organ of the Central Committee of the CCP, in Shanghai. The name was changed to Hongqi zhoubao (紅旗週报) (Red flag weekly) on 9 March 1931, and the paper became a bimonthly in August 1933. As a secret publication, it often appeared with a fake cover.

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        • Liening shenghuo (列宁生活). 1932–1934.

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          Liening shenghuo (Lenin life) was the theoretical organ of the party center in Shanghai, under Bo Gu.

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        • Xiangdao zhoubao (嚮導週報). 1922–1927.

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          A total of 201 issues of Xiangdao zhoubao (The guide weekly) were published in Shanghai.

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        • Xin qingnian (新青年). 1915–1926.

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          Launched in Shanghai, Xin qingnian (New youth) had a major impact on progressive thinkers during the May Fourth Movement. Beginning in September 1920, the journal operated as a publication of the Shanghai Communist Small Group, and after the founding of the party, it became an organ of the CCP. In July 1922 the journal temporarily stopped publication, but it reappeared in June 1923 as the party’s theoretical organ.

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        Base Areas and the Border Region, 1933–1949

        In the base areas, and later in the border regions, the CCP was able to develop a more stable set of publications to promote its policies, both within the party and to the public. Douzheng was the main theoretical organ, published from the Jiangxi Soviet, whereas Hongse Zhonghua was the main government publication and subsequently the publication for the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region. Jiefang and Jiefang ribao served as the main publications of the CCP Central Committee. To get over its more moderate message of united front tactics, the party launched Qunzhong. A short-lived publication, but one that featured a number of important pieces by Mao Zedong, is Gongchandang ren. During this period the military was especially important and was often a clearer representation of communism than the party. The military’s most important publication was Balujun junzheng zazhi.

        • Balujun junzheng zazhi (八路軍軍政雜誌). 1939–1942.

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          This military and political journal of the Eighth Route Army, published in Yan’an, was the organ of the General Political Office of the Eighth Route Army.

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        • Douzheng (斗爭). 1933–1936.

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          Douzheng (Struggle), a weekly organ of the Central Bureau, was widely disseminated in the base areas.

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        • Gongchandang ren (共产党人). 1939–1941.

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          Gongchandang ren (The Communists) began publication in Yan’an as an internal CCP paper. There were nineteen issues, with the final issue appearing in August 1941.

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        • Hongse Zhonghua (红色中华). 1931–1941.

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          Hongse Zhonghua (Red China) was an organ of the Central Soviet government, in Ruijin. Publication ceased after evacuation of the base area (October 1934) but resumed in the Shaan-Gan-Ning base area. On 29 January 1937 the name was changed to Xinhua bao (新中华报) (New China news), and in January 1939 the paper became the publication of the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region government.

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        • Jiefang (解放). 1937–1941.

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          Beginning as a weekly of the Central Committee of the CCP, in Yan’an, Jiefang (Liberation) was later changed to a bimonthly.

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        • Jiefang ribao (解放日报). 1941–1947.

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          Jiefang ribao (Liberation daily), a publication of the Central Committee of the CCP, served as a major paper for the base areas. During the 1940s many other papers ceased publication to allow for concentrated news reporting.

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        • Qunzhong (群众). 1937–March 1947; January 1947–1949.

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          Qunzhong (The masses) was an open weekly CCP paper for the Guomindang-ruled areas and for Hong Kong. Publication began in Hankou but was later moved to Chongqing and then, in June 1946, to Shanghai, but in March 1947 the paper was forced by the Guomindang to halt publication. In Hong Kong the paper appeared as a weekly from January 1947 to 20 October 1949, when it voluntarily ended its run.

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        Biographies and Biographical Chronologies

        There are many biographies of CCP leaders in Western languages that are easily available and accessible, such as the separate article on Mao Zedong. With one exception, this section lists those publications in Chinese that provide the most useful information for researchers. Jin 1996 and Pang 1993 together offer a wealth of information on Mao Zedong before 1949 Jin 1989 and Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi 1989 do the same for Zhou Enlai. Zhang 2010 and Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi 2004 serve as good examples of chronologies for other important pre-1949 CCP leaders. Pantsov 2012 is a Western-language attempt to capture the role of Mao Zedong in the Chinese revolution.

        • Jin Chongji 金冲及, ed. Zhou Enlai zhuan, 1898–1949 (周恩来傳, 1898–1949). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1989.

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          Jin’s biography of Zhou Enlai, covering the period 1898–1949, offers the most balanced and detailed account of Zhou’s work before 1949.

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        • Jin Chongji 金冲及, ed. Mao Zedong zhuan, 1893–1949 (毛泽东传, 1893–1949). Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1996.

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          This biography of Mao Zedong, covering the period 1893–1949, is the most comprehensive version published on the mainland and provides interesting commentary as well as leading to important sources for research.

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        • Pang Xianzhi 逄先知, ed. Mao Zedong nianpu, 1893–1949 (毛泽东年谱, 1893–1949). 3 vols. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1993.

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          This chronicle of Mao Zedong, covering the period 1893–1949, presents, in three volumes, an almost day-by-day account of Mao Zedong’s actions. An invaluable source that also includes many leads for further research.

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        • Pantsov, Alexander V. Mao: The Real Story. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012.

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          This work makes full use of the newer Russian materials to formulate an assessment of Mao and his relationship to Joseph Stalin. The first 350 pages deal with the period before 1949 and contain a number of fresh insights.

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        • Zhang Peisen 张培森, ed. Zhang Wentian nianpu (张闻天年谱). Rev. ed. 2 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi chubanshe, 2010.

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          This chronicle of Zhang Wentian serves as an excellent example of the kinds of resource materials that, in the early 21st century, are available for many of the influential pre-1949 leaders of the CCP.

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        • Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi 中共中央文献研究室, ed. Zhou Enlai nianpu, 1898–1949 (周恩来年谱, 1898–1949). Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1989.

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          This chronicle of Zhou Enlai, covering the period 1898–1949, is a good companion to Jin 1989 and contains a detailed chronology of Zhou’s activities during the revolution.

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        • Zhonggong zhongyang wenxian yanjiushi 中共中央文献研究室, ed. Ren Bishi nianpu, 1904–1950 (任弼时年谱, 1904–1950). Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2004.

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          This chronicle of Ren Bishi, covering the period 1904–1950, is another good example of the materials that are available to start researching key figures in the early CCP leadership.

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        Selected Works and Ideology

        In addition to organization, ideology and following the correct political line were regarded by the CCP as crucial to its success. In the initial years after its founding, before Mao Zedong was able to stamp his ideological supremacy on the party, a number of key writers influenced the ideological direction of the CCP. The most complete analysis of Mao’s thought and texts is contained in Schram 1992–. Chen Duxiu’s ideas (Benton 1998, Chen 1984) were formative during the first years of the CCP, and Chen remained a critical thinker even after he lost power. Wang 1982 is a collection of the speeches by Wang Ming, the leader deemed to be closest to Moscow. Other works by pre-1949 leaders include the collections Chen 2005, Liu 1984–1991, Qu 1987–1996, and Zhang 1990–1995.

        • Benton, Gregor, ed. and trans. Chen Duxiu’s Last Articles and Letters, 1937–1942. Chinese Worlds. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

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          This is a handy English-language collection of Chen’s final thoughts on the Chinese revolution, after his expulsion from the CCP and his engagement with the Chinese Trotskyist movement.

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        • Chen Duxiu 陈独秀. Chen Duxiu wenzhang xuanbian (陈独秀文章选编). 3 vols. Beijing: Sanlian shudian, 1984.

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          This selection of Chen Duxiu’s essays covers his writings from 1897 to 1942. Chen led the CCP from its founding in 1921 up to his expulsion in 1927, after which he was engaged with the Trotskyist movement and the opposition.

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        • Chen Yun 陈云. Chen Yun wenji (陈云文集). 3 vols. Beijing: Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 2005.

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          Volume 1 of Chen Yun wenji (The collected writings of Chen Yun) includes 145 works written during the fourteen-year period 1935–1949.

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        • Liu Shaoqi. Selected Works of Liu Shaoqi. 2 vols. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1984–1991.

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          English translation of Liu Shaoqi xuanji (刘少奇选集), originally published in 1981 (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe). When this selection of thirty-eight articles was first published, it contained many pieces that had not yet been officially released. The writings provide good insights into Liu’s thoughts on leadership and the revolution.

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        • Qu Qiubai 瞿秋白. Qu Qiubai wenji: Zhengzhi lilun bian (瞿秋白文集. 政治理论编). 7 vols. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1987–1996.

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          A handy collection of writings on the political theory of Qu Qiubai, who led the CCP during the late 1920s.

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        • Schram, Stuart R., ed. Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912–1949. 7 vols. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1992–.

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          An indispensable English collection of Mao’s writings, projected to run to ten volumes. Volumes 1–7 cover the period up to 1941: Volume 1: The Pre-Marxist Period, 1912–1920; Volume 2: National Revolution and Social Revolution, December 1920–June 1927; Volume 3: From the Jinggangshan to the Establishment of the Jiangxi Soviets, July 1927–December 1930; Volume 4: The Rise and Fall of the Chinese Soviet Republic, 1931–1934 (guest associate editor: Stephen C. Averill); Volume 5: Toward the Second United Front, January 1935–July 1937; Volume 6: The New Stage, August 1937–1938; and Volume 7: New Democracy, 1939–1941 (guest associate editor: Lyman P. Van Slyke).

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        • Wang Ming 王明. Wang Ming yanlun xuanji (王明言论选辑). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1982.

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          Wang Ming, who led the party in the 1920s, was regarded by later CCP historiography as the head of the party Bolshevik group. The twenty-six essays in this work, covering the period 1928–1938, give a reasonably objective overview of Wang’s main ideas on politics and the development of his thought.

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        • Zhang Wentian 张闻天. Zhang Wentian wenji (张闻天文集). 4 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi ziliao chubanshe, 1990–1995.

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          The first three volumes contain the collected works of Zhang Wentian from the period 1919–1948 and serve as a good introduction to the thinking of this important CCP figure.

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        Memoirs and Diaries

        With the opening up of many historical events for discussion beyond official party views, a number of key figures have published their memoirs to “set the record straight.” Unfortunately, most of the important Chinese participants in pre-1949 CCP history died before the fad for memoir writing got off the ground. Many of these memoirs may be unreliable, but when written by actual participants, they can be enlightening. A comparison of different accounts of the same event are often very revealing; what is left out of one account can be just as important as what is included in another. Such memoirs provide us with the skin to put on the bones of the official party documents. Zhang Guotao’s two volumes (Chang 1971–1972), detailing his involvement in the revolution, are extremely important but need to be read carefully. Li Weihan’s memoir (Li 1986) is important for understanding elite politics in the late 1920s, whereas Wu 1991 is an important memoir for showing how pro-Soviet influence in the CCP was broken up. The three-volume Nie 1988 is crucial for Nie Rongzhen’s description of his involvement in the revolution, from the Long March to the end of the Chinese Civil War. Bo Yibo published the first volume of his memoirs (Bo 1996), covering the pre-1949 period. Luo 2005 presents interesting reminiscences of the early CCP labor movement. Chen Geng’s diary (Chen 1982) describes life as a soldier between 1937 and 1949. Wang 1980 offers a fascinating memoir of what it was like to be an oppositionist in the Communist movement.

        • Bo Yibo 簿一波. Qishinian fendou yu sikao (七十年奋斗与思考). 3 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi chubanshe, 1996.

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          Volume 1 (The Warring Years) of this projected three-volume collection covers the period before 1949.

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        • Chang, Kuo-t’ao 張國燾 (Zhang Guotao). The Rise of the Chinese Communist Party: The Autobiography of Chang Kuo-t’ao. 2 vols. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1971–1972.

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          This is the most extensive memoir available in English written by a key participant in the revolution. The memoir contains a wealth of detail on key events in which Zhang Guotao was involved. However, the text should be read with care, as Zhang clearly had a reputation that he was trying to protect in the face of official CCP criticism.

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        • Chen Geng 陈赓. Chen Geng riji (陈赓日记). Annotated by Ruan Jiaxin 阮家新. Beijing: Zhanshi chubanshe, 1982.

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          Chen Gang’s diary covers the period August 1937–June 1949 and provides detailed daily information, mainly on Chen’s time as a commander of the Taiyue military district.

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        • Li Weihan 李维汉. Huiyi yu yanjiu (回忆与研究). 2 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi ziliao chubanshe, 1986.

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          This memoir is particularly interesting for party development and high-level politics, such as that which was played out at the 7 August Emergency Conference.

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        • Luo Zhanglong 罗章龙. Luo Zhanglong huiyilu (罗章龙回忆录). 2 vols. Compiled by Wu Wen 无文, Luo Xingyuan 罗星原, and Luo Pinghai 罗平海. Euless, TX: Xiliu chubanshe, 2005.

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          Translates as The memoirs of Luo Zhanglong. Perhaps the best memoir of the CCP in the 1920s. Luo was a key figure in the early labor movement and also acted as interpreter for the Comintern agent Maring. This memoir provides some interesting reflections on the CCP’s relationship to the Guomindang.

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        • Nie Rongzhen. Inside the Red Star: The Memoirs of Marshal Nie Rongzhen. Translated by Zhong Renyi. Beijing: New World, 1988.

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          English translation of Nie Rongzhen huiyilu (聂荣臻回忆录), originally published in 1983–1984 (Beijing: Jiefangjun chubanshe). Volume 1 of Nie’s memoir covers the Long March, up to his arrival in Shaanbei; Volume 2 examines work in the Jin-Cha-Ji border region; and Volume 3 runs through the end of the Chinese Civil War (and also covers the post-1949 period). Of particular interest are Nie’s reflections on the border region, the Battle of the Hundred Regiments, and Lin Biao.

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        • Wang, Fan-hsi 王凡西 (Wang Fanxi). Chinese Revolutionary: Memoirs, 1919–1949. Translated and edited by Gregor Benton. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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          These are fascinating memoirs by one of the key figures in the Trotskyite movement in China. Wang Fanxi, who joined the CCP in 1925, was heavily influenced by Chen Duxiu. Wang’s account of his time while studying in Moscow is of particular interest.

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        • Wu Xiuquan 伍修权. Huiyi yu huainian (回忆与怀念). Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1991.

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          Wu Xiuquan’s memoirs, Huiyi yu huainian (Memoirs and memories), presents valuable information on the elimination of the influence of the party’s pro-Soviet group. Wu had been an interpreter for the CCP in many of its dealings with the Comintern representatives in the 1930s. Here, he shows how Mao Zedong was successful in dividing off Wang Jiaxiang and Zhang Wentian from the pro-Soviet group.

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        Research Journals

        There are many journals in Chinese that include first-rate research articles on pre-1949 CCP history. Dangdai Zhongguo shi yanjiu, Dangde wenxian, and Zhonggong dangshi yanjiu are the most comprehensive in reach and generally are the best in terms of the quality of research and provision of original documentation. All these sources are available online at the China Academic Journals database, hosted in the United States by East View Information Services.

        • Dangdai Zhongguo shi yanjiu (当代中国史研究). 1994–.

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          Dangdai Zhongguo shi yanjiu (Contemporary China history studies) is produced by the Contemporary China Research Institute and is worth reading, despite the organization’s and its founding patron’s reputation for conservative views. The center was founded by the conservative ideologue Deng Liqun.

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        • Dangde wenxian (党的文献). 1988–.

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          Formerly Wenxian he yanjiu (文献和研究), published by the Central Party Literature Office, Zhongyang wenxian jiushishi 中央文献研究室 (1982–1987), and Zhonggong dang’anguan congkan (中共档案馆丛刊), published by the Central Party Archives (1986–1987). The bimonthly Dangde wenxian (Literature of the Chinese Communist Party) is a source of the more recently available primary source documents.

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        • Zhonggong dangshi yanjiu (中共党史研究). 1980–.

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          Formerly Dangshi yanjiu (党史研究), an internal publication (1980–2009). This journal is a good source for primary material as well as scholarly articles by leading Chinese researchers.

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        Organization

        Organization has always been crucial to the success of the CCP, from the original small study groups that were the genesis of the party, to the cells set up within the Guomindang, to the underground organizations in the occupied areas and the workers’ movement, to the organization of groups for propaganda study. Given this, it is surprising that there is no good, comprehensive Western-language study on CCP thinking about organization or on the CCP as an organization before 1949. Instead, Chinese authors have focused on organizational aspects of the CCP. There are good collections of materials for the national level (Zhonggong zhongyang zuzhibu, et al. 2000) and also for the localities (Zhonggong Beijing shiwei zuzhibu, et al. 1992). These organizational histories should be read in conjunction with Zhao 1987 and Wang 1995.

        • Wang Jianying 王健英, ed. Zhongguo gongchandang zuzhishi ziliao huibian: Lingdao jigou yange he chengyuan minglu (中国产党组织史资料汇编: 领导机构沿革和成员名录). Beijing: Zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1995.

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          An extensive listing demonstrating the evolution of the leading party, government, military, and mass organizations and their respective personnel. In general, entries include down to below the provincial level for party and government organs and to either the division or regimental level for the military.

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        • Zhao Shenghui 赵生晖. Zhongguo gongchandang zuzhi gangyao (中国共产党组织史纲要). Hefei, China: Anhui renmin chubanshe, 1987.

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          This work provides an outline of the history of CCP organization and analysis of the organizational development of the party. In so doing, the text points the reader in the direction of many valuable source materials.

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        • Zhonggong Beijing shiwei zuzhibu中共北京市委组织部, Zhonggong Beijing shiwei dangshi ziliao zhengji weiyuanhui 中共北京市委党史资料征集委员会, and Beijingshi dang’anju 北京市挡案, eds. Zhongguo gongchandang Beijingshi zuzhishi ziliao, 1921–1987 (中国共产党北京市组织史资料, 1921–1987). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1992.

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          The first 238 pages are arranged chronologically and thematically and cover the evolution of party, government, military, United Front, and mass organizations of the Beijing Municipal CCP through 1949. This is a good example of the types of materials that are available for the provinces throughout China.

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        • Zhonggong zhongyang zuzhibu 中共中央组织部, Zhonggong zhongyang dangshi yanjiushi 中共中央党史硏究室, and Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆, eds. Zhongguo gongchandang zuzhishi ziliao (中国共产党组织史资料). 19 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi chubanshe, 2000.

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          The first eight volumes cover materials on the organizational history of the CCP from the pre-1949 period: Volume 1: Dangde chuanjian he dageming shiqi, 7.1921–7.1927; Volumes 2–4: Tudi geming zhanzheng shiqi, 8.1927–7.1937; Volumes 5–6: Kang Ri zhanzheng, 10.1949–5.1966; and Volumes 7–8: Quanguo jiefang zhanzheng shiqi, 1945.8-1949.9. In addition, Volume 13 consists of selected documents for the period 1921–1949. This is an indispensable source for understanding the organizational development of the CCP.

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        The Countryside

        Official CCP history has promoted the view that the party rose to power supported by a massive wave of popular peasant support. This view has influenced active revolutionaries as well as social scientists. However, in reality the CCP found it difficult to find a ready support base in the countryside. It was difficult not only to mobilize the peasantry, but also, once mobilized, to maintain momentum and keep them under control. Bianco 2001 highlights these difficulties and concludes that the CCP was trying to initiate a peasant movement without peasants. One of the earliest Communist attempts to work with the peasantry was by Peng Pai, first in Haifeng and subsequently in the Hai-Lu-Feng Soviet (Galbiati 1985), Peng’s own writings can be found in Peng 1981, and original documents from the period can be found in the two volumes edited by the party history offices of the party committees of the Party History Offices of the Party Committees of Haifeng and Lufeng Counties (Zhonggong Haifeng xianwei dangshi bangongshi and Zhonggong Lufeng xianwei dangshi bangongshi 1986). Hofheinz 1977 reviews the unsuccessful efforts of the CCP to grow a peasant-based movement in the 1920s. Averill 2006, looking at the origins of the Jiangxi Soviet, shows the complexity of CCP work with local society to develop a base area. Land reform played a major role in CCP policies (Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan jingji yanjiusuo xiandai jingjishizu 1988); a fascinating firsthand account of land reform in a Chinese village is offered in Hinton 2008.

        • Averill, Stephen C. Revolution in the Highlands: China’s Jinggangshan Base Area. State and Society in East Asia. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006.

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          This is a superb example of how new sources and fieldwork can be used to provide a fresh analysis of the socioeconomic environment within which the CCP sought to survive and develop. The volume covers in detail the work of the CCP in the Jinggang Mountains in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

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        • Bianco, Lucien. Peasants without the Party: Grass-Roots Movements in Twentieth-Century China. Asia and the Pacific. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2001.

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          Although the essays in this volume deal with a much broader range of issues related to the peasantry than merely CCP policy, it is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the environment within which the CCP tried to operate. Bianco clearly shows the difficulties of the CCP in mobilizing and controlling support.

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        • Galbiati, Fernando. P’eng P’ai and the Hai-Lu-Feng Soviet. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1985.

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          Peng Pai launched a peasant revolution in Haifeng in 1924 and formed the first rural Soviet of the CCP in 1927. The volume describes the development of the Soviet but lacks the information contained in more recent publications.

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        • Hinton, William. Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2008.

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          This is a classic firsthand account of the politics of land reform in Long Bow Village, in southeast Shanxi province.

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        • Hofheinz, Roy, Jr. The Broken Wave: The Chinese Communist Peasant Movement, 1922–1928. Harvard East Asian Series 90. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977.

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          Although dated, and therefore lacking the wealth of the more recent documentation, this remains the most complete account of the failure of the CCP to bring about rural revolution in the countryside during the 1920s.

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        • Peng Pai 彭湃. Peng Pai wenji (彭湃文集). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1981.

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          Contains the most important writings by Peng Pai, an influential CCP leader in the rural movement in the 1920s.

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        • Zhonggong Haifeng xianwei dangshi bangongshi 中共海丰县委党史办公室 and Zhonggong Lufeng xianwei dangshi bangongshi 中共陆丰县委党史办公室, eds. Hailufeng geming shiliao (海陆丰革命史料). 2 vols. Guangzhou, China: Guangdong renmin chubanshe, 1986.

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          Organized by month and year, Volume 1 covers revolutionary materials on the Hai-Lu-Feng from 1920 to 1927; Volume 2 covers from 1927 to 1933. Each volume also includes an analysis of the rural movement in Hai-Lu-Feng during the years in question as well as a detailed chronology.

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        • Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan jingji yanjiusuo xiandai jingjishizu 中国社会科学院经济硏究所现代经济史組, ed. Zhongguo tudi gaige shiliao xianbian (中国土地改革史料选编). Beijing: Guofang daxue chubanshe, 1988.

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          An important collection of documents on land reform in China. Land reform was a crucial component of CCP policy and its success. The first six hundred pages of this volume contain materials from the period 1937–1949.

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        The Cities

        The CCP began its work in labor organizing but was driven out of the cities once the Guomindang turned on its allies, in 1927. This meant that the CCP had very little effective contact with the cities and the urban proletariat until its seizure of power in 1949. Ideology, however, retained a pro-urban bias through the “years in the wilderness.” Documentary materials can be found in Zhonghua quanguo zong gonghui 1985. The classic account of the labor movement in China in the 1920s continues to be Chesneaux 1968. Smith 2000 provides the fullest account of CCP engagement with the Shanghai labor movement, and Perry 1993 looks at workers’ strikes in Shanghai. Stranahan 1998 examines the operations of the CCP underground after defeat in 1927. Deng 1957 offers an account by one of the key figures in the 1920s CCP labor movement. Benton 1996 explores the Trotskyite opposition and its programs in urban China.

        • Benton, Gregor. China’s Urban Revolutionaries: Explorations in the History of Chinese Trotskyism, 1921–1952. Revolutionary Studies. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1996.

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          This work is the most complete analysis in English of the Trotskyist movement in China. Benton looks at the origins of the movement and the key roles played by Chen Duxiu and Peng Shuzhi as well as the eclipse of the movement after 1931. The book also contains a number of interesting appendixes and a list of principal figures.

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        • Chesneaux, Jean. The Chinese Labor Movement, 1919–1927. Translated by H. M. Wright. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1968.

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          Although dated, this remains the classic on the labor movement throughout China in the 1920s.

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        • Deng Zhongxia 鄧中夏. Zhongguo zhigong yundong jianshi, 1919–1926 (中國職工運動簡史, 1919–1926). Zhongguo xiandai shi ziliao congkan (中國現代史資料叢刊). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1957.

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          Offers a firsthand account of the labor movement in the 1920s. Deng was a key participant in the CCP labor movement as well as one of the earliest CCP members.

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        • Perry, Elizabeth J. Shanghai on Strike: The Politics of Chinese Labor. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1993.

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          Although this volume does not focus specifically on the CCP, it is important for understanding the political and social milieu within which the CCP was trying to operate in Shanghai during the 1920s. The work is also an excellent example of the use of the archives that have become accessible to foreign researchers.

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        • Smith, S. A. A Road Is Made: Communism in Shanghai, 1920–1927. Chinese Worlds. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000.

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          This is the most complete account of the CCP in Shanghai during the 1920s. The text deals with the origins of the party, its internal organization and debates, and the events that led to its defeat in 1927.

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        • Stranahan, Patricia. Underground: The Shanghai Communist Party and the Politics of Survival, 1927–1937. State and Society in East Asia. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998.

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          Stranahan covers the history of the CCP in Shanghai after the Guomindang turned on the party and launched its crackdown. The volume stresses the activities of the CCP as an underground organization.

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        • Zhonghua quanguo zong gonghui 中华全国总工会, ed. Zhonggong zhongyang guanyu gongren yundong wenjian xuanbian (中共中央关于工人运动文件选编). 3 vols. Beijing: Dang’an chubanshe, 1985.

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          The most easily accessible set of documents concerning the CCP and the labor movement before 1949.

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        The United Fronts and Social Forces

        In addition to seeking support from its traditional worker and peasant allies, the CCP had to engage or defeat the Nationalists in China and find a way not to alienate the traditional elites. The analysis and documents in Saich 1991 cover the role of Maring in the origins of the First United Front. Shum 1988 has made the strongest claim that the Second United Front successfully neutralized the hostility of local elites and brought many to sympathize with the CCP. The United Front tactic is analyzed masterfully by Van Slyke 1967. The Zhonggong tongzhanbu (United Front Department) has compiled useful documentary collections (Zhongyang tongzhanbu and Zhongyang dang’anguan 1988, Zhongyang tongzhanbu and Zhongyang dang’anguan 1991). The CCP initially tried to break with traditional perspectives on women, as shown in Gilmartin 1995. Zhonghua quanguo funü lianhehui funü yundong lishi yanjiushi 1991 is a useful, three-volume documentary collection of historical materials on the women’s movement.

        • Gilmartin, Christina Kelley. Engendering the Chinese Revolution: Radical Women, Communist Politics, and Mass Movements in the 1920s. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

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          This work makes use of the more recently available materials to reexamine the role of gender in the early days of the Communist revolution.

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        • Saich, Tony. The Origins of the First United Front in China: The Role of Sneevliet (alias Maring). 2 vols. Contributions to the History of Labour and Society 3. Leiden, The Netherlands, and New York: Brill, 1991.

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          Two volumes of archival materials on Sneevliet (Maring), a Dutch Comintern agent who was instrumental in working with the CCP to form the First United Front with the Guomindang. The volumes also contain translations of key documents from Chinese sources as well as journalistic pieces written by Sneevliet.

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        • Shum Kui-Kwong. The Chinese Communists’ Road to Power: The Anti-Japanese National United Front, 1935–1945. East Asian Historical Monographs. Hong Kong and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

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          This work provides a detailed analysis of the formation and operation of the Second United Front, between the CCP and the Guomindang, arguing that it was CCP exploitation of United Front tactics that was crucial to its ultimate victory over the Guomindang.

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        • Van Slyke, Lyman P. Enemies and Friends: The United Front in Chinese Communist History. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1967.

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          This was the first work to highlight the role that United Front tactics played in CCP policy. Van Slyke traces the history of the origins of the United Front through to the 1950s to show its importance for CCP legitimacy.

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        • Zhonghua quanguo funü lianhehui funü yundong lishi yanjiushi 中华全国妇女联合会妇女运动历史硏究室, ed. Zhongguo funü yundong lishi ziliao (中国近代妇女运动历史资料). 3 vols. Beijing: Zhongguo funü chubanshe, 1991.

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          Offers key CCP documents on policies and attitudes toward the women’s movement before 1949 covering the periods 1927–1937, 1937–1945, and October 1945–September 1949.

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        • Zhongyang tongzhanbu 中央统战部 and Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆, eds. Zhonggong zhongyang jiefang zhanzheng shiqi tongyi zhanxian wenjian xuanbian (中共中央解放战争时期统一战线文件选编). Beijing: Dang’an chubanshe, 1988.

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          A companion volume to Zhongyang tongzhanbu and Zhongyang dang’anguan 1991, this collection contains key documents for the period of the Second United Front and resistance to Japan.

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        • Zhongyang tongzhanbu 中央统战部 and Zhongyang dang’anguan 中央档案馆, eds. Zhonggong zhongyang diyici guonei geming zhanzheng shiqi tongyi zhanxian wenjian xuanbian (中共中央第一次国内革命战争时期统一战线文件选编). Beijing: Dang’an chubanshe, 1991.

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          A handy collection of key documents of the Central Committee of the CCP on the United Front, during the period of the first revolutionary civil war, that are useful for research.

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        The Comintern

        The influence of the Comintern on the Chinese revolution has been much debated. The release of five volumes of materials from the Russian archives, edited by Titarenko and colleagues (VKP(b)), has allowed a more nuanced and complete view of Soviet engagement. There are German (4 vols., 1996–2006) and Chinese (12 vols., 1997–2002) versions of much of this documentation. An earlier collection of key documents was translated by Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan jindaishi yanjiusuo fanyi shi 1981–1990. In addition, there is a monstrous thirty-four-volume collection of Chinese translations of key Russian documents relating to the Chinese revolution (Shen 2002–2003). Pantsov 2000 makes excellent use of these newer materials to analyze Comintern–CCP relations in the 1920s. The materials have rendered a number of excellent earlier studies less relevant, but the documentary collection Wilbur and How 1989 remains a good one for the 1920s. The Comintern agent Otto Braun has written a memoir of his time in China (Braun 1982), but it needs to be read with care.

        • Braun, Otto. A Comintern Agent in China, 1932–1939. Translated by Jeanne Moore. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1982.

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          Braun was the key Comintern figure in China between 1933 and 1935 (he was based in China from 1932 to 1939). In 1933 he moved to the Jiangxi Soviet, where he became the top military adviser, before being pushed aside at the Zunyi Conference (1935), during the Long March. This memoir needs to be read with extreme care.

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        • Pantsov, Alexander. The Bolsheviks and the Chinese Revolution, 1919–1927. Chinese Worlds. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2000.

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          This analytical study makes excellent use of the more recent Soviet documentation to review the formation of the CCP and its operations during the First United Front. While confirming earlier works that dwell on the failure of Joseph Stalin’s policies in China, the volume adds many additional details.

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        • Shen Zhihua 沈志华, ed. Sulian lishi dang’an xuanbian (苏联历史档案选编). 34 vols. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2002–2003.

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          These materials were compiled from the Soviet archives after the fall of the Soviet Union, to provide study materials for senior CCP officials. The volumes, containing eight thousand original documents, cover the period 1917–1991. With only a few exceptions, all the pre-1949 documents are in Volumes 1–24. Volume 34 offers a chronological index.

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        • VKP(b), Komintern i natsional’no-revoliutsionnoe dvizhenie v Kitae: Dokumenty. 5 vols. Moscow: 1994–2007.

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          An indispensable collection of materials on the Comintern’s activities in China. Many newer documents are leading to major reassessments of the Comintern engagement in China. The main drawback of the collection is the absence of an index. Volume 1: 1920–1925; Volume 2: 1926–1927; Volume 3: 1927–1931; Volume 4: 1931–1937; and Volume 5: 1937–May 1943. Volumes 1–2 are edited by Kuo Heng-yü and M. L. Titarenko; Volumes 3–5 are edited by M. L. Titarenko and M. Leutner. Volumes 1–3 are published by AO “Buklet” in Moscow, and Volumes 4–5 are published by ROSSPEN in Moscow. There are also German and Chinese versions.

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        • Wilbur, C. Martin, and Julie Lien-ying How. Missionaries of Revolution: Soviet Advisers and Nationalist China, 1920–1927. Studies of the East Asian Institute, Columbia University. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press 1989.

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          Although many collections of documents have become available more recently, this remains a handy volume for the 1920s, made up of materials gathered from a Chinese police raid of the Soviet Embassy in Beijing in April 1927. An illuminating essay accompanies the documents.

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        • Zhongguo shehui kexueyuan jindaishi yanjiusuo fanyi shi 國社會科學院近代史硏究所翻譯室, trans. and ed. Gongchan guoji youguan Zhongguo geming de wenxian ziliao (共產國際有関中國革命的文獻資料). 3 vols. Beijing: Zhongguo shehui kexue chubanshe, 1981–1990.

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          Despite the more recent publications, this work remains a useful collection of documents of the Comintern on the Chinese Revolution. Volume 1: 1919–1928; Volume 2: 1929–1936; and Volume 3: 1936–1943.

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        The Shaan-Gan-Ning Border Region, Yan’an

        The development of the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region was crucial in the CCP administrative apparatus’s creation of a coherent organization, promulgating policies that would form the basis for revolutionary success and establishing a post-1949 regime. Selden 1995 has made the strongest claims that it was the CCP programs in the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region that paved the way for the ultimate success of the CCP. Keating 1997 shows that even within the border region, local conditions could produce quite different policy outcomes. Essential to this consolidation of Mao’s power was the Yan’an Rectification Movement, and Gao 2000 provides the most comprehensive analysis. Yan’an zhengfeng yundong (ziliao xuanji) xuanbianzu 1984 is an excellent chronology of the Yan’an Rectification Movement. The fourteen-volume collection of documents Shaanxi sheng dang’anguan and Shaanxi sheng shehui kexueyuan 1986–1991 and the 171 documents collected in Gansu sheng shehui kexueyuan lishi yanjiu shi 1981– detail the organization of the government, whereas the three volumes of Xibei wu sheng qu bianzuan lingdao xiaozu, Zhongyang dang’anguan 1990 include original documents, reminiscences, and pictures. Zhang, et al. 1986 offers the best chronology.

        • Gansu sheng shehui kexueyuan lishi yanjiu shi 甘肃省社会科学院历史研究室, ed. Shaan-Gan-Ning geming genjudi shiliao xuanji ( 陝甘宁革命根据地史料选辑). Lanzhou, China: Gansu renmin chubanshe, 1981–.

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          This collection of 171 historical documents on the Shaan-Gan-Ning revolutionary base area serves as a good guide to how political power was built in the border region.

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        • Gao Hua 高華. Hong taiyang shi zenyang shengqide: Yan’an zhengfeng yundong de lailong qumai (紅太陽是怎樣升起的: 延安整風運動的來龍去脈). Xianggang Zhongwen daxue Zhongguo wenhua yanjiusuo dangdai Zhongguo wenhua yanjiu zhongxin zhuankan (香港中文大學中國文化硏究所當代中國文化硏究中心專刊). Hong Kong: Zhongwen daxue chubanshe, 2000.

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          Title translates as How did the sun rise over Yan’an? A history of the Rectification Movement. Gao Hua, a professor at Nanjing University prior to his death in 2011, provides here the most complete account of the origins and development of the Yan’an Rectification Movement (1942–1944). Yet to be published on the mainland, the text makes use of a wide range of valuable sources. Contrasting markedly with Selden 1995, the work focuses more on Mao’s skills as a politician than on socioeconomic factors.

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        • Keating, Pauline B. Two Revolutions: Village Reconstruction and the Cooperative Movement in Northern Shaanxi, 1934–1945. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997.

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          Keating shows how the microenvironment affected CCP rule, even within the main Shaan-Gan-Ning border region. She notes that recruits to the CCP were mostly those who had lost their farms after defaulting on tax or loan payments.

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        • Selden, Mark. China in Revolution: The Yenan Way Revisited. Socialism and Social Movements. Armonk, NY, and London: M. E. Sharpe, 1995.

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          Originally published in 1971 as The Yenan Way in Revolutionary China (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press). Selden retains the view that the CCP socioeconomic program, not its Nationalist appeal, paved the way for the ultimate success of the CCP.

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        • Shaanxi sheng dang’anguan 陕西省档案馆 and Shaanxi sheng shehui kexueyuan 陕西省社会科学院, eds. Shaan-Gan-Ning bianqu zhengfu wenjian xuanbian (陕甘宁边区政府文件选编). 14 vols. Beijing: Dangshi chubanshe, 1986–1991.

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          A collection of key governmental decrees and regulations of the border region government. The documents are conveniently presented in chronological order. Volume 14 brings the story from August 1949 to January 1950.

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        • Xibei wu sheng qu bianzuan lingdao xiaozu, Zhongyang dang’anguan 西北五省区编纂领导小组, 中央档案馆, ed. Shaan-Gan-Ning bianqu kangRi minzhu genjudi (陝甘宁边区抗日民主根据地). 3 vols. Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi ziliao chubanshe, 1990.

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          This work on the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region anti-Japanese democratic base area begins with an analytical introductory chapter. Volumes 1 and 2 consist of documents from 1935 to 1945, arranged thematically; Volume 3 includes reminiscences. There are also numerous pictures and a detailed map.

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        • Yan’an zhengfeng yundong (ziliao xuanji) xuanbianzu 延安整风运动[资料选辑]选编, ed. Yan’an zhengfeng yundong ji: Ziliao xuanji (延安整风运动纪事: 资料选辑). Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe, 1984.

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          Edited by the Yan’an Rectification Campaign Writing Group, this work provides tremendously detailed information on the Yan’an Rectification Movement. Drawn from many important sources, the work covers day-to-day events.

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        • Zhang Junnan 张俊南, Zhang Xianchen 张宪臣, and Niu Yumin 牛玉民, eds. Shaan Gan Ning bianqu dashiji (陝甘宁边区大事记). Xi’an, China: San qin chubanshe, 1986.

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          A very detailed chronology of the Shaan-Gan-Ning border region that is particularly useful, because for each entry there is a notation citing the original source.

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        Outside the Revolutionary Center

        The move away from a Mao-centric party history has created the opportunity for research on the border regions outside Shaan-Gan-Ning, resulting in the publication of a number of important collections and studies. The Jin-Cha-Ji border region was probably the most significant area; core documentary materials can be found in the two-volume collection Hebei sheng shehui kexueyuan lishi yanjiusuo 1983. Despite Jin-Cha-Ji’s importance, however, no major Western-language monograph has been published. Chen 1986 is a masterful study of the revolution in the Jiangsu and Anhui base areas. Goodman 2000, an examination of the Taihang base area, is also valuable. For the base areas founded in the early 1930s, an excellent example of a documentary collection is Xiang-E-Gan geming genjudi wenxian ziliao. Wou 1994 covers the development of the revolution in Henan. Two works by Benton (Benton 1992, Benton 1999) are important in revealing the history of the groups that were left behind after the Long March. Sichuan daxue, et al. 1979–1980 is a good example of a documentary collection for base areas that have not been written about extensively.

        • Benton, Gregor. Mountain Fires: The Red Army’s Three-Year War in South China, 1934–1938. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

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          A meticulously documented and analytical account of the CCP forces that were left behind in South China after the Long March moved north. This group survived to form the basis of the New Fourth Army, which was instrumental in the war against Japan.

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        • Benton, Gregor. New Fourth Army: Communist Resistance along the Yangtze and the Huai, 1938–1941. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

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          Covering the first three years of the New Fourth Army, Benton reveals how it was shaped by its own experiences rather than being a simple clone of the better-known Eighth Route Army. The volume covers the period up to the Wannan Incident of January 1941, when the headquarters of the New Fourth Army were destroyed.

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        • Chen, Yung-fa (Chen Yongfa 陳永發). Making Revolution: The Communist Movement in Eastern and Central China, 1937–1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.

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          This work deals with CCP activities in the Jiangsu and Anhui revolutionary base areas, with a focus on the half dozen that were more secure. Chen elucidates how the CCP was able to remove the old rural elite through a combination of incorporation and elimination. The volume represents one of the earliest attempts to describe how the CCP had to adapt to survive at the very local level.

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        • Goodman, David S. G. Social and Political Change in Revolutionary China: The Taihang Base Area in the War of Resistance to Japan, 1937–1945. World Social Change. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

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          This detailed study focuses on three counties within the Taihang base area that was at the heart of the Jin-Ji-Yu-Lu border region, where Deng Xiaoping worked. It is an excellent example, showing how the release of new sources has allowed scholars to conduct detailed local studies.

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        • Hebei sheng shehui kexueyuan lishi yanjiusuo 河北省社会科学院历史硏究所, ed. Jin-Cha-Ji kangRi genjudi shiliao xuanbian (晋察冀抗日根据地史料选编). 2 vols. Shijiazhuang, China: Hebei renmin chubanshe, 1983.

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          This collection of selected historical materials on the Jin-Cha-Ji anti-Japanese base area covers the period 1937–1945. Volume 1 includes the consolidation of the Jin-Cha-Ji border region, from July 1937 to the end of 1940; Volume 2 takes the story to 1945.

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        • Sichuan daxue 四川大学, et al., eds. Chuan-Shaan geming genjudi lishi wenxian xuanbian (川陝革命根据地历史文献选编). 2 vols. Chengdu, China: Sichuan renmin chubanshe, 1979–1980.

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          A collection of 163 documents from the Chuan-Shaan base area, dating from December 1932 to March 1935, and divided by subject, the volume includes party resolutions; party consolidation; military struggles; land reform; finance and economics; mass work; and culture, education, and health. The collection concludes with a monthly chronology.

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        • Wou, Odoric Y. K. Mobilizing the Masses: Building Revolution in Henan. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.

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          This work covers the attempts of the CCP to build support in Henan province, from 1925 to 1949. Wou demonstrates that the CCP was able to adapt its strategies as the environment and circumstances changed.

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        • Xiang-E-Gan geming genjudi wenxian ziliao (湘鄂贛革命根据地文献资料). 3 vols. Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1985–1986.

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          This three-volume set includes local government and party documents as well as communications between the Xiang-E-Gan revolutionary base area and the party center. Volume 1 covers 1928–1931; Volume 2, 1932; and Volume 3, the period 1933–1937 and also contains a chronology.

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        The Chinese Communist Party at War

        The military was vital to CCP success, but the army was clearly different from the warlord armies that had ruled parts of China during the Republican era. From its origins, the CCP found itself in a turbulent world and one that, beginning in 1927, entailed almost nonstop conflict. Yang 1990 is an important study of how the Maoist leadership emerged from its tumultuous flight during the Long March. Feng and Goodman 2000 offers a good set of essays dealing with the development of the CCP under conditions of warfare with Japan. A bibliography of CCP materials on the anti-Japanese war is contained in Zhou 1985. Westad 2003 covers the development of CCP policy during the Chinese Civil War period, and Ding, et al. 1987 provides a very useful chronology of the Chinese Civil War in the Northeast. Levine 1987 focuses on the crucial warfare in Northeast China, whereas the edited volume Hsiung and Levine 1992 deals with the period of the anti-Japanese conflict.

        • Ding Xiaochun 丁晓春, Ge Fulu 戈福录, and Wang Shiying 王世英, eds. Dongbei jiefang zhanzheng dashiji (东北解放战争大事记). Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi ziliao chubanshe, 1987.

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          An important chronology of the decisive struggle in the War of Liberation, in the Northeast, which paved the way for CCP victory.

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        • Feng Chongyi, and David S. G. Goodman, eds. North China at War: The Social Ecology of Revolution, 1937–1945. World Social Change. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

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          The essays in this collection highlight the different strategies taken in the various base areas during the war against Japan.

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        • Hsiung, James C., and Steven I. Levine. China’s Bitter Victory: The War with Japan, 1937–1945. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1992.

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          This collection gives a comprehensive analysis of both Nationalist and Communist resistance to Japan. The volume deals with how the war affected all aspects of life in China. A number of the essays focus specifically on the CCP.

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        • Levine, Steven I. Anvil of Victory: The Communist Revolution in Manchuria, 1945–1948. Studies of the East Asian Institute, Columbia University. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.

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          This is a critical study of the time and place in which CCP victory was forged. Far removed from life in the border regions, warfare in Manchuria resembled more conventional battles, with little mobilization of the peasantry.

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        • Westad, Odd Arne. Decisive Encounters: The Chinese Civil War, 1946–1950. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

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          This excellent account of the Chinese Civil War, making use of the materials that have more recently become available, provides a comprehensive analysis of the period.

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        • Yang, Benjamin. From Revolution to Politics: Chinese Communists on the Long March. Westview Special Studies on China. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1990.

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          This important study looks at the CCP as it fought its way through the Long March. Chinese sources are used to explain many key events, such as the decision to undertake the Long March and the crucial Zunyi Conference, which marked a crucial turning point in Mao’s rise to power.

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        • Zhou Yuanzheng 周元正, ed. KangRi zhanzheng shi cankao ziliao mulu, 1937–1945 (抗日战争史参考资料目录, 1937–1945). Chengdu, China: Sichuan daxue chubanshe, 1985.

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          A bibliography of reference materials on the history of the anti-Japanese war, this is a useful reference work for starting research on the period.

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        LAST MODIFIED: 04/22/2013

        DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199920082-0013

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