Consultative multi-party socialist democracy: On China’s eight other (non-communist) political parties

Less known than it should be, China actually has eight officially recognised parties apart from the Communist Party. These are non-communist parties with a total membership of 700,000 and actually provide invaluable feedback and constructive criticism for the government in its continual efforts to gain a feel for public opinion. They are part of socialist multi-party consultative democracy (more here). They are:

Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK)
In November 1947, the sect of democrats in the Chinese Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) held its first joint meeting with patriotic democratic personages in Hong Kong. On January 1, 1948, the meeting declared that the RCCK had been officially founded.

RCCK recruits members mostly from people who have relations with the former Chinese Kuomintang, those who have historical or social relations with the RCCK and those who have ties with Taiwan. The RCCK also recruits members from other sources, especially those of the middle and upper social strata, and senior and leading intellectuals.

The successive chairpersons of the RCCK in the past were Li Jishen, He Xiangning, Zhu Yunshan, Wang Kunlun, Qu Wu, Zhu Xuefan and Li Peiyao. The present chairwoman is He Luli.

The RCCK currently has branches in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. Party membership numbers 81,000.

China Democratic League (CDL)
The China Democratic League was secretly established on March 19, 1941 in Chongqing, and was then named China Democratic Political League. On November 16, Zhang Lan officially declared the founding of the China Democratic Political League in Chongqing. In September 1944, the China Democratic Political League held a national congress in Chongqing and decided to rename itself the China Democratic League.

The CDL is mainly made up of senior and leading intellectuals in the fields of culture, education, and science and technology.

The successive chairpersons in the past were Huang Yanpei, Zhang Lan, Shen Junru, Yang Mingxuan, Shi Liang, Chu Tu’nan, Fei Xiaotong and Ding Shisun. The present chairman is Jiang Shusheng.

The CDL now has branches in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government. Party membership numbers more than 181,000.

China National Democratic Construction Association (CNDCA)
The China National Democratic Construction Association was founded by a number of patriotic industrialists and business people, as well as some intellectuals in Chongqing on December 16, 1945.

The members of the association are mainly business people.

The successive leaders and chairpersons in the past were Huang Yanpei, Hu Juewen and Sun Qimeng. The present chairman is Cheng Siwei.

The CNDCA has branches in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, and more than 108,000 members.

China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD)
Founded in Shanghai on December 30, 1945, the original members of the China Association for Promoting Democracy were mainly intellectuals in the fields of culture, education and publishing, together with a group of patriotic personages in the fields of industry and business.

Its present members are mainly senior and leading intellectuals in the fields of culture, education and publishing.

The successive chairpersons of the past were Ma Xulun, Zhou Jianren, Ye Shengtao and Lei Jieqiong. Its present chairman is Xu Jialu.

Currently, the CAPD has branches in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, with a membership of over 103,000.

Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party (CPWDP)
Deng Yanda, a leader of the left wing of the Kuomintang, held the first national cadres’ conference of the Kuomintang in Shanghai on August 9, 1930, and at the conference the Provisional Action Committee of the Kuomintang of China was founded. On November 10, 1935, it was renamed the Chinese Action Committee for National Liberation. On February 3, 1947, it was renamed the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party.

Its members are mainly senior and leading intellectuals in the medical field.

The successive leaders and chairpersons of the party were Deng Yanda, Huang Qixiang, Zhang Bojun, Ji Fang, Zhou Gucheng and Lu Jiaxi. Its present chairman is Jiang Zhenghua.

The CPWDP now has branches in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, with more than 99,000 members.

China Zhi Gong Dang (CZGD)
The China Zhi Gong Dang was founded in October 1925 in San Francisco, USA, under the sponsorship of some overseas Chinese societies. In May 1947, the party held its third congress in Hong Kong, and reorganized itself into a new democratic party.

Its members are mainly from the middle and upper social strata of returned overseas Chinese and their relatives.

The successive chairpersons of the party were Chen Qiyou, Huang Dingchen and Dong Yinchu. Its present chairman is Luo Haocai.

The CZGD now has branches in 19 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, with more than 28,000 members.

Jiu San Society
At the end of 1944, a number of progressive scholars organized the Forum on Democracy and Science, to strive for victory in the Anti-Japanese War and political democracy, and to develop the anti-imperialist and patriotic spirit of the May 4 Movement of 1919. In commemoration of victory in the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and in the world anti-Fascist war, on September 3, 1945, it adopted the name Jiu San Society (“Jiu San” means September 3 in Chinese). On May 4, 1946, the Jiu San Society was formally founded in Chongqing.

Its members are mainly senior and leading intellectuals in the fields of science and technology.

The successive chairpersons of the past were Xu Deheng, Zhou Peiyuan and Wu Jieping. Its present chairman is Han Qide.

The Jiu San Society currently has branches in 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government, with more than 105,000 members.

Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League (TSL)
The TSL was founded in Hong Kong on November 12, 1947 by a number of Taiwan personages engaged in patriotic campaigns after the February 28 Uprising of the Taiwan people that year.

The TSL is composed of people from Taiwan.

The successive chairpersons of the past were Xie Xuehong, Cai Xiao, Su Ziheng, Cai Zimin and Zhang Kehui. The present chairwoman is Lin Wenyi. From 1987 to 1992, the Fourth Central Committee of the TSL adopted the presidium system. The executive chairmen were Lin Shengzhong (1987-1988) and Cai Zimin (1988-1992).

The TSL now has branches in 13 provinces and municipalities directly under the central government, with a membership of over 2,100.

Finally, there are also: Personages Without Party Affiliation
During the New Democratic Revolution (1919-1949), the famous personages without party affiliation were generally called prominent public figures. Since the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference was founded in 1949, the category of “democratic personages without party affiliation” has been set up. Currently, those who do not belong to any party but have made positive contributions to and have a positive influence on society are categorized as personages without party affiliation. They are mostly intellectuals.

The representatives of this group included Guo Moruo, Ma Yinchu, Ba Jin, Miao Yuntai and Cheng Siyuan.

(source: White Paper on China’s Political Part System)

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Mao on Stalin

One of the most frequent works Mao cites is Stalin’s Short Course, but he also has some rather nice things to say about Iosef.

In a piece from 1939 called ‘Stalin, Friend of the Chinese People’, Mao wrote:

On the Twenty-first of December, Comrade Stalin will be sixty years old. We can be sure that his birthday will evoke warm and affectionate congratulations from the hearts of all revolutionary people throughout the world who know of the occasion.

Congratulating Stalin is not a formality. Congratulating Stalin means supporting him and his cause, supporting the victory of socialism, and the way forward for mankind which he points out, it means supporting a dear friend. For the great majority of mankind today are suffering, and mankind can free itself from suffering only by the road pointed out by Stalin and with his help.

Living in a period of the bitterest suffering in our history, we Chinese people most urgently need help from others. The Book of Odes says, “A bird sings out to draw a friend’s response.” This aptly describes our present situation.

But who are our friends?

There are so-called friends, self-styled friends of the Chinese people, whom even some Chinese unthinkingly accept as friends. But such friends can only be classed with Li Lin-fu, the prime minister in the Tang Dynasty who was notorious as a man with ‘honey on his lips and murder in his heart’. They are indeed ‘friends’ with ‘honey on their lips and murder in their hearts’. Who are these people? They are the imperialists who profess sympathy with China.

However, there are friends of another kind, friends who have real sympathy with us and regard us as brothers. Who are they? They are the Soviet people and Stalin.

No other country has renounced its privileges in China; the Soviet Union alone has done so.

All the imperialists opposed us during our First Great Revolution; the Soviet Union alone helped us.

No government of any imperialist country has given us real help since the outbreak of the War of Resistance Against Japan; the Soviet Union alone has helped China with its aviation and supplies.

Is not the point clear enough?

Only the land of socialism, its leaders and people, and socialist thinkers, statesmen and workers can give real help to the cause of liberation of the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, and without their help our cause cannot win final victory.

Stalin is the true friend of the cause of liberation of the Chinese people. No attempt to sow dissension, no lies and calumnies, can affect the Chinese people’s whole-hearted love and respect for Stalin and our genuine friendship for the Soviet Union.

On Stalin’s 70th birthday, Mao sent this telegram:

Chairman Stalin,

The Council of Ministers,

The Government of the Soviet Union

Your Excellency:

On this happy occasion of Your Excellency’s seventieth birthday, I sincerely extend to you my respect and my best wishes for the daily strengthening of the fortress for world peace and democracy under Your Excellency’s leadership.

In Beijing, they even had a birthday celebration for Stalin, where Mao said:

Dear comrades and friends:

I am genuinely pleased to have the chance to join this distinguished gathering in celebration of the seventieth birthday of Comrade Stalin.

Comrade Stalin is a teacher and friend of the people of the world as well as a teacher and friend of the Chinese people. He has further developed the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism and has made extremely outstanding and extensive contributions to the cause of world Communist movement. In the arduous struggle to resist their oppressors, the Chinese people have become deeply appreciative of the importance of Comrade Stalin’s friendship.

At this distinguished gathering, on behalf of the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China, I congratulate Comrade Stalin on his seventieth birthday and wish him health and longevity. We wish well- being, strength, and prosperity to our great friend, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. We hail the great unprecedented solidarity of the working class in the world under the leadership of Comrade Stalin.

Long live the great Stalin, leader of the world’s working class and of the international Communist movement!

Long live the Soviet Union, the stronghold of world peace and democracy!

Mao on the Soviet Union

Alongside his preference for self-sufficiency and the importance of Chinese traditions, Mao was also quite aware of the importance of international conditions for the success of the Chinese Revolution. The Soviet Union was pivotal. To begin with:

The Soviet Union is a defender of world peace and a powerful factor preventing the domination of the world by the U.S. reactionaries (Selected Readings, p. 348).

More specifically:

In the epoch in which imperialism exists, it is impossible for a genuine people’s revolution to win victory in any country without various forms of help from the international revolutionary forces, and even if victory were won, it could not be consolidated. This was the case with the victory and consolidation of the great October Revolution, as Lenin and Stalin told us long ago. This was also the case with the overthrow of the three imperialist powers in World War II and the establishment of the People’s Democracies. And this is also the case with the present and the future of People’s China. Just imagine! If the Soviet Union had not existed, if there had been no victory in the anti-fascist Second World War, if Japanese imperialism had not been defeated, if the People’s Democracies had not come into being, if the oppressed nations of the East were not rising in struggle and if there were no struggle of the masses of the people against their reactionary rulers in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and other capitalist countries — if not for all these in combination, the international reactionary forces bearing down upon us would certainly be many times greater than now. In such circumstances, could we have won victory? Obviously not. And even with victory, there could be no consolidation (Selected Readings, pp. 377-78).

As for the end of the Second World War and the surrender of Japan, Mao already saw what recent historians have rediscovered: Japan surrendered because Soviet troops pushed the Japanese out of China and threatened to invade Japan:

The decisive factor for Japan’s surrender is the entry of the Soviet Union into the war. A million Red Army troops are entering China’s Northeast; this force is irresistible. Japanese imperialism can no longer continue the fight … The Soviet Union has sent its troops, the Red Army has come to help the Chinese people drive out the aggressor; such an event has never happened before in Chinese history. Its influence is immeasurable. The propaganda organs of the United States and Chiang Kai-shek hoped to sweep away the Red Army’s political influence with two atom bombs. But it can’t be swept away; that isn’t so easy. Can atom bombs decide wars? No, they can’t. Atom bombs could not make Japan surrender. Without the struggles waged by the people, atom bombs by themselves would be of no avail. If atom bombs could decide the war, then why was it necessary to ask the Soviet Union to send its troops? Why didn’t Japan surrender when the two atom bombs were dropped on her and why did she surrender as soon as the Soviet Union sent troops? (Selected Readings, pp. 324, 337)