The Communist Party of China was founded in 1921 by a few dozen Chinese intellectual communists at its founding congress in Shanghai. Under the banner of Marxism-Leninism, and following the path of the October Revolution, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the CPC, went on to score great victories.
However, their path was strewn with unbelievable difficulties and hardship. On the eve of the victorious Chinese Revolution in 1949, this is how Mao Zedong described the awakening of the Chinese people:
“From the time of China’s defeat in the Opium War of 1840, Chinese progressives went through untold hardships in their quest for truth from the western countries …
“Imperialist aggression shattered the fond dreams of the Chinese about learning from the west. It was very odd – why were the teachers always committing aggression against their pupil? The Chinese learned a good deal from the west, but they could not make it work and were never able to realise their ideals.
“Their repeated struggles, including such a countrywide movement as the revolution of 1911, all ended in failure. Day by day, conditions in the country got worse, and life was made impossible. Doubts arose, increased and deepened. World War 1 shook the whole globe.
“The Russians made the October Revolution and created the world’s first socialist state. Under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin, the revolutionary energy of the great proletariat and labouring people of Russia, hitherto latent and unseen by foreigners, suddenly erupted like a volcano, and the Chinese and all mankind began to see the Russians in a new light.
“Then, and only then, did the Chinese enter an entirely new era in their thinking and their life. They found Marxism-Leninism, the universally applicable truth, and the face of China began to change.
“It was through the Russians that the Chinese found Marxism. Before the October Revolution, the Chinese were not only ignorant of Lenin and Stalin, they did not even know of Marx and Engels. The salvoes of the October Revolution brought us Marxism-Leninism.
“The October Revolution helped progressives in China, as throughout the world, to adopt the proletarian world outlook as the instrument for studying a nation’s destiny and considering anew their own problems. Follow the path of the Russians – that was their conclusion.” (On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship, In commemoration of the 28th anniversary of the CPC, Mao Zedong, 30 June 1949)
The special issue of China Insight attached to this article outlines the history of the CPC since its founding 99 years ago. It collates photos and statistics that show the incredible achievements that have made under the party’s leadership in alleviating poverty and building a modern and prosperous society. And it shows the significant contribution China has made in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.