Chinese Communist Party

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Chinese political party. Interest in communism was stimulated by the Russian Revolution (1917) and the May Fourth Movement and promoted by Li Dazhao, librarian of Beijing University, and Chen Duxiu. They were co-founders of the Chinese Communist Party at its First Congress in Shanghai in July 1921. Under Comintern instructions, CCP members joined the Kuomintang and worked in it for national liberation. Early activities concentrated on trade union organization in Shanghai and other large cities, but a peasant movement was already being developed by Peng Pai. Purged by the Kuomintang in 1927 and forced out of the cities, the CCP had to rely on China's massive peasant population as its revolutionary base. It set up the Jiangxi Soviet in southern China in 1931 and moved north under the leadership of Mao Zedong in the Long March (1934–35). Temporarily at peace with the Kuomintang after the Xi'an Incident in 1936, the communists proved an effective resistance force when the Japanese invaded the country in 1937. After the end of World War II, the party's military strength and rural organization allowed it to triumph over the nationalists in the renewed civil war and to proclaim a People's Republic in 1949. It has ruled China since 1949. Internal arguments over economic reform and political doctrine and organization led to the chaos of the Cultural Revolution (1966–76), during which the CCP appeared to turn on itself. After the death of Mao Zedong and the purge of the Gang of Four the CCP pursued a more stable political direction under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping; but allegations of corruption and demands for more open government led to a prolonged crisis in 1987–89, culminating in the Tiananmen Square massacre of an estimated 2000 protesters in June 1989. Despite economic liberalization in China, the CCP retains its monopoly of political power.

Subjects: World History.

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