UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Changing faces in the Chinese Communist revolution : party members and organization building in two Jiaodong counties, 1928-1948 Wu, Yang


The revolution of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from the 1920s to the late 1940s was a defining moment in China’s modern history. It dramatically restructured Chinese society and created an authoritarian state that remains the most important player in shaping the country’s development today. Scholars writing to explain the success of the revolution began with trying to uncover factors outside of the party that helped to bring it to power, but have increasingly emphasized the ability of party organizations and their members to direct society to follow the CCP’s agendas as the decisive factor behind the party’s victory. Despite highlighting the role played by CCP members and the larger party organization in the success of the revolution studies have done little to examine how ordinary individuals got involved in the CCP at different stages and locations. Nor have scholars analyzed in depth the process of how the CCP molded millions of mostly rural people who joined it from the 1920s to the 40s into a disciplined force to seize control of China. Through a study of the CCP’s revolution in two counties of Jiaodong, a region of Shandong province in eastern China during this period my dissertation explores this process by focusing on their local party members. It also expands on the subject of how the CCP became a cohesive organization by looking at how the party dealt with the issue of localism. This latter subject is very pertinent to understanding the CCP’s development, since the party managed to become an effective national organization in a country whose populace was heavily divided by regional and local ties. My study concludes that local ties were major impediments to cohesion in the CCP, and that the party’s central leaders imposed their authority in Jiaodong by weakening these ties down through purges, ideological education and class struggle. These programs made the CCP in Jiaodong a top down organization that was dependent on the directions from Mao Zedong, the CCP’s paramount leader and his loyalists. They also sowed the seeds for the next thirty years of constant Maoist political campaigns.

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