The Chinese People Have Stood Up September 1949
By September 1949, the CCP had clearly defeated the GMD and set about establishing its new government, the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Part of that system, drawing on the promise of a united front of Communists and non-Communists made in Mao’s 1940 “On New Democracy” (see Document 2), was the formation of the Chinese Political Consultative Congress, which brought together a range of left-wing and independent parties willing to work with the new CCP government. This selection comes from Mao’s speech at the preparatory session of the Consultative Congress. The tone of the speech is celebratory. After decades of turmoil and the near eradication of the CCP, victory was at hand. Mao’s themes are nationalist rather than socialist; he dwells on China’s new prestige and its national success in throwing off the Japanese, the Europeans (referred to as imperialists), and the corrupt government of the GMD. This was the high point of Mao’s popular prestige, because he was widely seen as the savior who had delivered China’s hard-earned independence and stature. Yet Mao hints at the continuing need to maintain “vigilance” against unnamed “reactionaries,” leaving the door open for the terrible political purges and mass campaigns of the future.
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