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Twentieth-Century China




TheChinese Community Party (CCP) is the ruling party in China, which wasfirst founded in 1921 based on the Marxist and Leninist ideology.After having experienced several decades of armed struggle, the CCPhas controlled the whole country except Taiwan since 1949 in the nameof the People’s Republic of China (PRC). CCP began to establish itsown legal and judiciary system for consolidating and maintaining itsrule in the country after the People’s Republic of China wasfounded. The Communist Party has built a savior myth aroundthemselves, which depicts them as the proverbial cavalry riding tothe rescue in order to save China. The communist regime tends to bedesigned, organized, and its leadership trained to respond to crises.For this reason, the Chinese government continues to urge thatChina’s history has proven that only the Chinese Community Partycan save China. However, this has been met with contradicting viewsas presented in the debate below between Marie and John.

Marie:The roots of development and transformation in China can be tracedback in the history of the formation of CCP. This should be reasonenough to believe that only the CCP can save China as the partyrestored social order, as well as, safeguarded people’s democracyduring their struggle for independence. The communist politicalinvolvement included participation in the national struggle, as inthe fight for independence. After the formation of CCP, the party ledthe citizen of China into a new democratic revolution againstbureaucrat-capitalism, feudalism and imperialism in their strugglefor a new China. 1Tanner(2009) adds that the communist party mobilized party members andordinary citizens to participate in mass movements or campaigns thatwould transform education, family life, society, and even thegovernment and the party itself.

John:It is possible that the CCP requires crises for its continuedexistence. The CCP came to power by coercing its constituents intobelieving that the communist party could save them from the crisis inwhich they found themselves. Furthermore, the pre-democraticdemonstration in Chine in June 1989 involved brutal suppression bythe Communist Party leadership, which left a major impression on allwho witnessed. The CCP experienced a major political crisis duringthe pre-democracy movement, after the party leadership used coerciveforces to crack down the movement. The demonstration revealed anurban population that was frustrated with the half-baked reforms thatwere on offer. The bloody suppression revealed a communist partyleadership that was severely out of touch with its own society.According to 2Gileset al. (2001) this brutal crackdown caused a dramatic shift in favorof the CCP, as the county leaders were perceived as butchers, thecommunity party as malicious, and the Chinese people as helplessvictims.

Marie:Only the CCP can save China because the party can rejuvenate anddevelop the country. The CCP uses national historical memory to boostits legitimacy because of the significant link between Chinesehistorical memory and political legitimacy. The politics of memoryhas proven central to the transition of democracy. Furthermore, theperceptions of Chinese history are essential to delegitimizingprevious regimes and, grounding new claims to political legitimacy.This is evident because the CCP has used history and memory togenerate new theories to explain the communist party’s role in thehistory of China. In this view, Chinese people perceive that the CCPhas made the largest sacrifices and contributions in the struggle ofputting an end to the past humiliation. In this line, it was historythat entrusted the CCP with the leadership role of governing China.For this reason, the CCP has claimed legitimacy on portraying itselfas the historical agency that restored national unity, as well as thecountry’s independence.

John:Historically, .the legitimacy of the rule of the CCP was based onMarxian interpretation of history. The regime authority in China hasrarely been based on procedural legitimacy, because it has been moredependent on performances, especially in areas such as economicperformance and material well being. Faced with deepening legitimacyproblems in a world where democratic values are more and more widelyaccepted, the authoritarian regime in China continues to depend onperformance, particularly economic performance, to enhance theirlegitimacy. In this case, the credibility gap between the leaders andthe people is difficult to bridge in light of the past traumasperpetrated by the CCP.

Additionally,Since 1970s, the political legitimacy of China has gradually shiftedfrom ideological to material, whereby the communist regime can bejudged through its promotion of economic growth and the ability toraise the standard of living. In other words, the legitimacy of Chinaleaders today is tied on the reforms they initiate. The legitimacy asrulers threatens the CCP as they have realized that it is time whentheir power is likely to be shortened if they continue maintainingthe strict Marxist-Leninist system.

Marie:Without the CCP, it is possible that there would be no new China. Inthe same view, without the CCP, there would be no modern socialistChina. The CCP is a grassroots party imbued with strict sense ofdiscipline and its ultimate historic mission is to realize communism.Without the leadership of the CCP party from the past, without theblood ties the party has formed with the masses through protractedstruggle, and without its effective work among the people China wouldinexorably fall apart and the future of the people and the nationwould inexorably be forfeited.

John:The communist regime has faced political and economic crisis of ascale and depth unprecedented since the Communist Party came to powerin 1949. Although unsuccessful, the Communist regime has tried tomeet the political and economic challenges and take action to restoresome degree of political normality and refurbish the party’sinjured prestige. However, in the 1980s, the Communist Party faced adual crisis an economic impasse, which developed as a reform programthat increased difficulties, as well as, a political crisis, whichwas intensified by the indiscriminate state violence. This left aregime led by ancient revolutionaries without ideological clothes,lacking a credible program the nation’s deep economic problems, andits legitimacy shredded. According to 3Lanteigne(2005), it is possible that the Communist party can endure as long asit continues to deliver the financial goods, bur increased economicproblems may serve as a threat to the party’s stability and itsdominant role in governing china.

Marie:Lastly, it is evident that the CCP will remain to be the mostimportant political actor in China and, thus, the most crucial factorconsidering China’s future. The CCP remains the dominant player inthe economic life of the country and, therefore, its approval itsapproval for major projects and for international deals is necessary.More so, its local leadership shapes patterns of development acrossChina, for better or for worse. Although the observers of Chinapolitical system have been predicting the downfall of the CCP since1989, the party has shown itself to be more adaptable and moreresilient than generally believed. The party has achieved a smoothpower transition, and it has the potential for remaining in powerindefinitely.

John:It is not possible for CCP to save China since most of the crucialhuman needs were cruelly suppressed by the dictatorship of thecommunist Party. The dire consequences of such a system ofdictatorship over human needs were the ubiquity of a shortageeconomy, social instability, popular discontent, and the legitimacycrisis of the communist regime. The collapse of the Soviet communismmay have profound implications for China’s political security. Thecommunist parties in the former Soviet Union did not survive thechallenges of economic reforms and political democratization. Thecollapse of the Soviet Communist Party resulted from failure inimplementing economic reforms, thereby bringing hardship to theSoviet masses. Given that the socio-economic changes in China aremore drastic in many ways than the former Soviet communist states,questions have been raised on whether the CCP will continue tosurvive its ongoing transformation. According to 4Ong(2013, p.50), the CCP needs to find new substantive validatingcredentials in the performance and achievement in the economy inorder to appease the masses it rules over and retain power.


ChineseCommunity Party has been the country’s ruling party and is also theultimate source of political power. Although the party has facedvarious threats and challenges, it is not willing to give up itsmonopoly in the country`s political power with the aim to experimentmulti-party democracy. Furthermore, the party leaders are also notinterested in moving towards the western style system of leadership.However, this does not mean the CCP is a stagnant institution thathas been completely resistant to political change.


Giles,Robert H., Robert W. Snyder, and Lisa DeLisle. CoveringChina.New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2001.

Lanteigne,Marc. Chinaand International Institutions: Alternate Paths to Global Power.London: Routledge, 2005.

Ong,Russell. China`sSecurity Interests in the Post-Cold War Era.Richmond: Routledge, 2013.

Tanner,Harold Miles. China:A History.Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co., 2009.

1 Tanner, Harold Miles. China: A History. (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co., 2009), p.502

2 Giles, Robert H., Robert W. Snyder, and Lisa DeLisle. Covering China. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 2001), p.59

3 Lanteigne, Marc. China and International Institutions: Alternate Paths to Global Power. (London: Routledge, 2005), p.24


Ong, Russell. China`s Security Interests in the Post-Cold War Era. Richmond: Routledge, 2013.