China Report

China Report; 58(1)

An Introductory Note for the Articles

This article by He Bixiao is largely based on the Yan’an diary of the journalist Cormac Shanahan, a member of the delegation of Chinese and foreign journalists to Yan’an in 1944, and other relevant documents, seeks to investigate how this visit caused the Yan’an revolution to be seen and heard at a key moment when the Chinese Communists were in need of international recognition and support. A media landscape that had shifted from ‘being read’ to ‘being heard’ (and choosing what kind of revolutionary voice would be heard) and, most importantly, was geared towards auditory media amplified the voice of the Chinese Communist Party in its small corner of the world. This process underscores how the auditory media culture of the Yan’an period emphasised listening at the expense of the print media traditions of individual thinking and public debate within the context of the mediatised politics prevailing in China since the late Qing Dynasty. Additionally, this work provides new insight into how auditory media contributed to radicalisation during the Chinese Revolution and Chinese Communist Revolution and to communist consolidation in the reform era.

This article by Ngeow Chow Bing reviews the origins, development and current trends of what is known as ‘party literature work’ and the principal organisation that carries out this work—the Central Party Literature Office (CPLO). Party literature work plays a crucial role for each generation of Chinese communist leadership to assert its ideological ‘line’ and build its canon. It is an integral part of the ideological apparatus of the Communist Party of China. Under Xi Jinping, CPLO was merged into a new organisation, but party literature work remains and continues to play a key role, supporting his ideological line.

With the ideological undergirding of Marxism–Leninism, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has claimed representation of peasants and workers in its vanguard role in actualising the socialist revolution. However, as China has developed economically over the past four decades, there has been an erosion in the status of workers and peasants as legitimate stakeholders in governance and ruling practices. This article by Anand Parappadi Krishnan attempts to map how labour, once a critical component of the CPC’s political–ideological invocation, has become peripheral as China transitioned to a market economy with an emphasis on economic rationale for growth and reforms. It examines the changing contours of the CPC’s discourse and practice over the past 100 years on the labour question, sandwiched as it is between the need for continued economic growth as a legitimating tool and the continued reiteration of being representative of the working class.

The consciousness of non-Han nationalities in modern China evolved around a deep antipathy to the Qing, assimilationist ideas, and pretentious multi-ethnicism. The concepts of equality among nationalities and right to self-determination entered into the discourse of nation- and state-building in China under the influence of Lenin’s revolutionary ideals and Stalin’s views on ‘the national question’. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has struggled to reconcile these concepts with its nationalist agenda since its inception in 1921. The CPC later innovated ethno-regional autonomy for minorities and developed corresponding institutions. This article by Debasish Chaudhuri argues that the Party’s three main agendas of national unification and interethnic unity, developmental goals, and majoritarian nationalism have all complicated its ties with ethnic minorities, and evaluates how the present leadership of the 100-year-old Party has been managing the relationship.

This article by Roger C. Liu traces the evolution of the Communist Party of China’ policy towards Taiwan and identifies the major characteristics of different leaderships in the history of CPC. With the major goal to manipulate the domestic politics of Taiwan to prevent it from moving further towards independence, the CPC has, within the framework of national strategy, used the carrot (promised benefits or attraction based on positive values), the stick (military actions or threats, blockades and coercive policies in international politics, etc.), the net (relationships, networks and United Front work; developing local collaborators) and the needle (infiltration, sabotage and disinformation warfare) interchangeably with different emphases depending on the strategic environments it faced. The CPC’s policy towards Taiwan, thus demonstrates flexibility in the choice of tactics but remains constant in its strategic goals.


I Articles

  • ‘Yelling at the Masses’: Making Propaganda Audible in the Communist Revolution
    He Bixiao
  • Party Literature Work, Ideology, and the Central Party Literature Office of the Communist Party of China
    Ngeow Chow Bing
  • Vanguard to Periphery: The CPC’s Changing Narrative on the Labour Question
    Anand Parappadi Krishnan
  • A Hundred Years of Entanglement: The Chinese Party-State and Ethnic Minorities
    Debasish Chaudhuri
  • From ‘Sticks’ to ‘Carrots’ and ‘Nets’, then to ‘Needles’: The Evolution of the CPC’s Policy Towards Taiwan
    Roger C. Liu

II Review Article

Marxism, Anti-Japanese Resistance and Birth of the People’s Republic of China
‚ÄčHemant Adlakha

III Book Reviews

  • Book Review: A.S Bhasin, Nehru, Tibet and China
    Vijay Nambiar
  • Book Review: Tonio Andrade, The Last Embassy: The Dutch Mission of 1975 and the Forgotten History of Western Encounters with China
    Ayushman Baruah
  • Book Review: Yuen Yuen Ang, China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption
    Shruti Jargad

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