China. After many years of setbacks, China was able to reap
two coveted successes: entry into the World Trade
Organization and the honor of organizing Olympic Games. The
capital city of Beijing quickly won when the IOC in July
determined the place for the 2008 Summer Olympics. The
message was received with cheering in China, and also the arch
rival Taiwan congratulated. But the IOC was also criticized
for ignoring China's way of managing human rights. Four months
later, at its meeting in Qatar, the WTO unanimously decided
to adopt China as a member after 15 years of negotiations. At
the same time, domestic media warned against the exclusion
of Chinese companies and increased unemployment when the
country's billion market is to be opened to foreign
competition in accordance with international rules.
In March, the National People's Congress gave green light
to China's continued economic transformation and the
government's five-year plan for 2001-06. However, the left
within the 80-year Communist Party was opposed when the
party chairman, President Jiang Zemin, suggested that
entrepreneurs should also become members. Schism was seen as
a power struggle ahead of the impending change of leadership
when both Jiang, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji and People's
Congress Chairman Li Peng soon resign.
Foreign policy was China in April in an open dispute with
the United States since a Chinese fighter plane collided
with a US reconnaissance plan in international airspace over
the South China Sea. The fighter pilot was killed, but the
US plane was able to land on Hainan Island in southern
The crew was arrested while the Chinese military, despite US
protests, examined the spy plane's top secret equipment.
Only since Washington "regretted" the event were the 24
Americans allowed to go home, and in July the United States
was able to retrieve its dismantled plan.
Relations between the two countries were also shattered
by a large US arms sale to Taiwan in April and by several
cases where US-affiliated academics were arrested and
accused of spying for Taiwan. Two of them, Chinese nationals
with residence permits in the United States, were sentenced
in July to ten years in prison, but were immediately
released - just days before US Secretary of State Colin
Powell's visit to China. The visit mitigated the irritation, and
in October, President Jiang proudly received President
George W. Bush at the APEC Pacific Summit in Shanghai.
Following the terrorist attacks against the United States
on September 11, China gave his support in the fight
against terrorism but emphasized that the UN must play a
central role there. In February, China ratified the United
Nations Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
however, subject to residents' right to freely form trade
unions. Amnesty International welcomed the ratification but
regretted the union reservation. According to Digopaul,
China's only legal country
organization, ACFTU, is entirely governed by the Communist
China's hard grip on the Falun Gong movement, illegal since
1999, continued. In January, five people caught fire in
central Beijing - a suicide protest that China blamed on Falun
Gong but which the movement refused. Two of the five died.
Four people, accused of staging the protest, were sentenced
to lengthy prison terms in August for murder.
Falun Gong's New York Information Center said at the end
of the year that at least 320 followers had died in police
custody. Tens of thousands of others were reported to have
been jailed or sent to labor camps. In November, 35 foreign
Falun Gong followers, including eight Swedes, were arrested
in Tiananmen Square during a demonstration. They were
expelled shortly thereafter.
As before, China's diligent use of the death penalty aroused
the criticism of the world. According to Amnesty
International, China executed at least 1,800 prisoners annually
in the 1990s - more than in the rest of the world in total.
In 2001, the executions were said to have become even more
since President Jiang announced a new, third anti-crime
campaign in April under the slogan "hit hard".
1934 The long march
But all those republics had to be abandoned in 1934 when
Chiang launched his decisive offensive. It was the beginning
of a long march against the poor and remote Yenan province.
This was one of the most heroic events in the history of the
Communist Party. The march took a year, and of the 130,000
who left Kiangsi, only 30,000 arrived in Yenan, where
communist leader Kao Kang had set up a guerrilla base. In
1935, Mao was elected chairman of the party. A position he
retained until his death 40 years later.
The influence of the Communists had fallen to a minimum.
But there were two factors that reversed the trend. During
the long march, the communist army had made extensive
contact with the peasant masses and, unlike Chiang's army,
impressed with its discipline and its honor. In Yenan, the
Communists were given the opportunity to test their
political, social and economic model and to build a lasting
administration. Yenan was poor. A great deal of equality was
needed. The soldiers did not have to fight alone. They had
to make their own food and supplies. Furthermore, extensive
ideological training took place. The political and
administrative apparatus built in Yenan was to become the
core of community building after the victory in 1949 was
The other important factor that influenced the Communist
Party was the war against Japan. Japan had already occupied
Manchuria in 1931 and had gradually begun the conquest of
Northern China. By 1937, the war against Japan was complete.
In 1936, Chiang was forced to quit the fight against the
Communists and concentrate on the fight against Japan. This
castle peace lasted until 1945, when Japan capitulated.
Chiang led the fight against Japan without energy,
because he still considered the Communists the main enemy.
It was therefore the Communists who infiltrated behind the
Japanese lines and organized the guerrillas. Many of the
largest landlords had fled to the area Chiang controlled
when the Japanese moved forward. In the areas liberated by
the communists, they implemented reforms and therefore
increased their support among the peasants. With their
reform program, the Communists had become the catalyst for
the permanent discontent in the villages. A community was
built between the communists and the peasants.
Because of their efforts in the war against Japan, the
Communists became leaders of the nationalist wave that had
characterized China as early as the mid-1800s. For the
Communists, Japan was the main enemy, and the party was
willing to cooperate with the reactionary Chiang to
strengthen the fight against Japan. At this point there is a
marked difference to the Russian revolution. For Lenin it
was about overthrowing Zarism and making peace with Germany.
It was not possible to enter into an alliance with the Czar
to win over Germany.
The Communists thus took the lead in both the
social-revolutionary movement and the nationalist movement.
Despite Chiang having a larger army and better weapons and
also receiving significant support from the United States,
he and the social classes he represented represented a
complete defeat in 1949. The Chinese People's Republic was
established on October 1, 1949. The remains of Kuomintang
with Chiang in the tip sought refuge on the Chinese island
of Taiwan. With support from the United States, Chiang
proclaimed the establishment of China's legitimate
government and began to make plans for the "recapture" of
mainland China. But it was pure air castles.
After several generations of decay, chaos and civil war,
China was once again brought together under one leadership
that aimed to create a new China - a socialist China.