From nation-building to powerful nation: 90-year legacy of the CPC

Updated: 2011-07-02 08:51

By Geeta Kochhar (

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The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) completes 90 years on 1st July 2011. Ninety years probably is the longest in the history of any political party to survive. It is also the only party in the world to continuously rule the biggest and most populated nation of the world since its liberation.

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Facing numerous internal and external challenges, what astonishes an outsider is how a party can have smooth transitions of core leaders and maintain its supremacy even after decades. More important seems to be the fact that the basic goals with which it came to power remain unperturbed, while being refined over years to suit the existing realities.

The major phases in CPC's development path till date can be broadly divided into four phases. The first phase begins with the rise of the paramount leader Mao Zedong, who is also the creator of the New China; the second phase is crafted by another great leader, Deng Xiaoping; the third phase is developed by Jiang Zemin; and the fourth phase is carried forward by Hu Jintao.

The entirety of the core leadership also defines the course of CPC's ideological path and the varied challenges that confronted the party as well as the counter-measures taken over the years. The changes over the period are very uniquely intertwined, yet so different.

In earlier periods there was the phase of events happening that had rich historical content and was the ground for building a nation; while the post-Deng era encompassed unimaginable changes that are making China stronger.

With attacks from imperialist nations and a domestically prevalent feudal system threatening the very basis of bringing unity among the masses, the first challenge as the CPC came into existence was to structure a national identity using the power of the State. This also meant that people within the boundaries of a State feel tightly linked to it and join hands to maintain the sovereignty of the State.

Mao Zedong at the core of the Central leadership introduced reform of class structure, broke the feudal system, brought in the notion of equality of both sexes, and encouraged the spirit of serving the masses.

As early as 1960 the Party called for laying emphasis on four aspects of modernization - agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology - to strengthen the foundations of the nation. Hence, what we see during the first phase is a revolutionary spirit among the broader masses to build a nation along with the notion of sacrificing the self for the benefit of all.

Even today when I walk in my society and meet older people, I see the pride in their faces while singing the red songs. Is it a mere compulsion of the social environment in which they live? I don't think so. The very fact that I have seen them grossly involved with full sincerity to learn by-heart the songs and perform them with such the vitality, can in no way be just a compulsion of any sort.

One wonders then, why are they so happy to sing such songs? What is that they have gained in those years of turmoil and natural disasters that they are proud of? Probably it is the sense of sacrifice that they made in achieving the present international recognition of China.

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