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HISTORY REVOLUTIONS: CHINA

The Yanan Way


Textbook reference
Tom Ryan, China Rising (HTAV 2009), pages 135-140.

Soundtrack
John Denver, Thank God Im a Country Boy.

INTRODUCTION
Reforms (land, tax, education, women), economy,
government, Rectification Campaign, Maoist virtues and
the Yanan Way.
Study Design: Area of Study One
Timeframe: 1935-44

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THE YANAN SOVIET


The Long March ended in October 1935 with Maos forces
arriving at Gao Gangs soviet at Wuqi Zhen, Shaanxi.
By December the CCP had established a new base at Yanan
the capital of the Shaan-Gan-Ning Soviet (Shaanxi, Gansu,
Ningxia). CCP territory was also called the Liberated Areas
and Border Regions.
Harsh environment, economically underdeveloped, poverty
cave dwellings, remnants of the Qing (queue), illiteracy.

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FACT CHECK
Yanan was a wealthy, well-populated area.
True
False

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LAND REFORM

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Support from the local peasantry gained by land reform.


1935-37 land taken from landlords and redistributed to poorer
peasants.
RedistribuEon carried out by Poor Peasants Associa-ons under
protect of Red Army.
The people themselves must fanshen.
Fusion of the Communist revoluEon with the agrarian revoluEon.
Post Second United Front (Dec. 1936) land reform moderated:
only surplus land from landlord who had ed Liberated Areas
taken.
Interests on loans and mortgages reduced (18% to 1.5%) and rents
no more than 25% of harvest.
Landlords with sons in Red army given tax bonus.
FormaEon of coopera-ves to sell produce.

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FACT CHECK
Fanshen means to turn over.
True
False

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SOCIAL REFORM

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Womens associations.
Literacy drives: Evening schools for adults and children, soldiers
and peasants learning while working.
Literacy rate raised from 1% (1936) to 50% (1943).
University of Anti-Japanese Resistance.

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FACT CHECK
Eorts to empower ordinary people was a feature of the
Yanan Way.
True
False

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
While Yanan was impoverished, hardship and adversity leads
to self-suciency and confidence according to Mao.
Edgar Snow and Agnes Smedley: noted general high morale,
drive of CCP ocials, discipline of Red Army soldiers.
Peasants assisted by soldiers.
Land set aside for soldiers at the Front.
Local cottage industries: wire, tools, leather goods, soap,
batteries, simple machinery, matches, clothing.
Red Army units produced up to 40% of their own food.
Maos tobacco and Zhus lettuce.
Foreign trade and special product aka opium.

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GOVERNANCE
CCP local administration encouraged a degree of popular
representation.
Local government based on three thirds: 1 third CCP, 1 third
other leftist groups, 1 third anyone except landlords, Japanese
collaborators, members of the Right GMD, local bullies.
Village councils, which reported to and took direction from
higher up bodies (democratic centralism), were popularly
elected. Use of coloured beans.
Ocials given independence to address local needs.
Participation in manual labour.

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MASS LINE
Leadership based on mass line: learn from the masses,
provide policy based on real concerns and local conditions,
listen to the masses and provide them with practical and
eective leadership. Leadership from the people, to the
people.
Mao: Take the ideas of the masses and concentrate them,
then go to the masses, persevere in the ideas and carry them
through, so as to form correct ideas of leadership such is the
basic method of leadership.

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FACT CHECK
Mass line was the idea that the CCP should tell the
peasants what to do.
True
False

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MAO AS A REVOLUTIONARY THEORIST


The 1940s were
Maos most creative
and productive years
in formulating core
ideologies.
Spent up to 14 hrs. a
day reviewing policy
and undertaking a
systematic study of Marxism, particularly Stalins works.
He always had books in his pockets!
Would write a number of significant revolutionary texts.
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RECTIFICATION CAMPAIGN: CORRECT


CONSCIOUSNESS
1 February 1942: Launch of Zhengfeng or Rectification
Campaign.
Influx of new party members who lacked proper
understanding of ideology and the correct style of
work.
Unity and discipline.
Correct revolutionary consciousness from correct
revolutionary action.
Views and actions, not just socio-economic
background, determined the revolutionary proletariat.

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FACT CHECK
The Rectification Campaign was, in part, to ensure correct
understanding of ideology and true loyalty to the Party
amongst lower level Communists.
True
False

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RECTIFICATION CAMPAIGN: THEORY AND


LEADERSHIP

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By 1941 Rectification had evolved into a political purge.


Wang Mings arrival in Yanan in 1937.
Intellectuals.
Mao as leader and revolutionary theorist.

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RECTIFICATION CAMPAIGN: STRUCTURE


AND VALUES

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Speech or lecture followed by small group study and discussion


= all should grasp the correct interpretation.
Struggle sessions and self-criticism, further study, manual
labour demotion, imprisonment, execution.
Unity-criticism-unity to achieve higher understanding.
Continuous revolution to avoid stagnation and maintain
revolutionary energy.
If people matter and the human will has primacy over material
conditions, then attitudes matter. Maoist Virtues: struggle,
sacrifice, selflessness, diligence, courage all intrinsic to
revolutionary success.
Role of Chen Boda (speech writer) and Kang Sheng (head of
Social Aairs Department).

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FACT CHECK
The Rectification Campaign was, in part, to ensure loyalty to
Maos leadership and instill his ideals amongst the Party.
True
False

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THEORY AND PRACTICE


Ideas grounded in practical application and current
specific, concrete Chinese conditions.
Theory and practice go hand in hand.
How can you now the taste of a pear?
Little regard for needless book learning and the dogma
of orthodox Marxism. Dogma is less useful than
excrement.
Ideas need to work. Marxism-Leninism has no beauty,
nor has it any mystical value. It is only extremely useful.

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PARTY MEMBERSHIP
The Shaan-Gan-Ning Soviet ruled over 50 million
people by 1940.
The Yanan government was authoritarian, but also
ecient and free from corruption
Peasants respected the Communist government
womende zhengfu our government.
Increased support led to increased Party membership
40 000 (1937), 800 000 (1940), 1 million (1945), 4
and half million cadres (ocials) by 1949.
Red Army: 92 000 (1937), 500 000 (1940), 860 000
(1945), 4 million (1949).
The Rectification Campaign ended in 1944.
Ideology of Mao Zedong Thought and leadership of
Chairman Mao established and consolidated.
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EXAM STYLE QUESTION


Using three or more points, explain how the Yanan period
consolidated the Chinese Communist Party.

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SUMMARY
The Yanan environment.
Land reform.
Literacy and womens associations.
Economic self-suciency.
Governance: mass line and three thirds.
Rectification Campaign.
Increased support for and membership of the CCP.

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THE END

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