Duncan Hallas

In Chou’s Lifetime – Some Dates

(February 1976)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.86 (wrongly numbered No.85), January 1976, pp.16-17.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


Sun Yat-sen organises the Alliance Society, forerunner of the Kuomintang, as secret bourgeois revolutionary organisation.


First Chinese revolution. The Manchu Emperor overthrown. China becomes a republic. Sun Yat-sen, briefly President, hands over to General Yuan Shih-K’ai. Real power falls to regional warlords backed by the various imperialist powers.


The ‘21 Demands’ by Japan which, if enforced, would have made China a Japanese puppet state, apart from the spheres of influence of Britain, France, USA and Russia.


The ‘May 4’ movement. Explosion of nationalist feeling in Pekin led by students, directed against Japan and Western imperialist powers.


Sun Yat-sen sets up Kuomintang ‘government’ in Canton, under protection of the warlord Ch’en Ch’iung-ming, as rival to near-powerless Pekin ‘government’. Warlords dominate China.


Chinese Communist Party founded in Shanghai.


Ch’en Ch’iung-ming overthrows KMT government. Sun Yat-sen enters agreement with Russian Soviet government. CCP members join KMT. Canton recaptured.


Russian instructors establish Whampoa Military Academy for KMT. Russian arms reach Canton. Sun Yat-sen, in his testament, speaks of China and Russia as ‘allies in the great fight for the emancipation of the oppressed and the whole world’.


Second Chinese revolution. Massive insurrectionary strike movements in coastal cities and huge peasant risings enable KMT-CCP combination to launch Northern Expedition against Pekin and the warlords. Seventh Plenum of executive of Communist International (1926), at Stalin’s insistance, orders CCPto check and hold back worker and peasant movements in interests of ‘unity’ with KMT. After capture of Shanghai (1927) Chiang Kai-shek, KMT commander and Sun Yat-sen’s successor, turns his forces on his CCP allies and massacres their supporters. CCP, on Stalin’s orders, launches unprepared rising in Canton (1927) which is drowned in blood.


Chiang Kai-shek captures Pekin and begins a series of operations, in collaboration with surviving warlords, against peasant guerrillas. First peasant ‘red armies’ created.


CCP, now purely a peasant-military organisation, trying to ‘liberate’ the cities from the countryside. Working class base disappears. Successive Moscow-appointed leaders (Li Li-san, Wang Ming) insist on offensive military actions. CCP nearly destroyed in five KMT ‘encirclement campaigns’.


Japan seizes Manchuria.


‘Chinese Soviet Republic’ (proclaimed 1931) in South China overrun by KMT troops. The ‘Long March’ to the far North-West begins. Mao Tse-tung gains control of CCP, i.e. of the ‘red army’.


Long March reaches Shensi and CCP calls for ‘Peoples’ United Front’ with KMT against Japan.


Japan seizes Chinese capital (Nanking).


KMT-CCP agreement (often violated by KMT in practise) for cooperation against Japanese armies.


Mao ‘abolishes’ Chinese Soviet Republic and proclaims ‘Shansi-Chahar-Hopeh Border Region Government’ in agreement with Chiang Kai-shek.


Japanese forces gain control of large part of China. KMT confined largely to interior of South-West.


Japanese surrender. Russians occupy Manchuria. KMT forces, with US support, re-occupy the cities all over China. USSR signs Treaty of Friendship and Alliance with KMT.


KMT loses ground to CCP in North. Alternate truces and clashes.


Third Chinese revolution. Pekin falls to CCP (January 1949), central China overrun. Chiang Kai-shek flees to Taiwan (December 1949).


Korean War. Chinese drawn in defensively as US forces move to Yalu river (Chinese border). ‘3 anti’s’ and ‘5 anti’s’ campaigns.


First Five Year Plan, Russian style, proclaimed.


‘The Hundred Flowers’ campaign. ‘Let a hundred flowers blossom, let rival schools of thought contend’. Soon killed by turn to sharp repression. Mao supports Russian suppression of Hungarian revolution.


‘The Great Leap Forward’ launched after real but slow economic growth under five year plan. Slogan: Twenty Years in a Day’. People’s Communes set up. ‘Backyard’ steel works etc. in attempt to catch up Russia and West.


Final collapse of the ‘Great Leap’. Return to slow growth and concessions to peasants. Break with USSR and withdrawal of Russian technicians. Mao temporarily deprived of power.


‘The great Proletarian Cultural Revolution’. Mao recovers power. Liu Shao-ch’i – Mao’s number two – and Teng Hsiao-ping – today effective ruler of China – amongst the many CCP leaders denounced as ‘top party persons taking the capitalist road’. Marshall Lin Piao and Madame Mao dominant. ‘Red guards’, encouraged from the top, on rampage against ‘bureaucracy’. The ‘heritage of the past’ to be ‘extirpated’ by act of will. Led to near collapse of party-state bureaucracy and imposition of military rule over most of China.


Lin Piao and supporters ‘discovered’ to be traitors. Sharp turn to right in economic policy – slow growth and concessions to peasantry. Foreign policy increasingly anti-Russian. Teng Hsiao-ping ‘rehabilitated’.


Rapprochment with USA. Increasingly conservative internal course. Mao fades into background. Teng Hsiao-ping, under cover of Chou, gains power.


Last updated on 31.12.2007