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The Common Program (Proto-Constitution)

Mar 29, 2017 © Ulrich Theobald

The Common Program (Zhongguo renmin zhengzhi xieshang huiyi gongtong gangling 中国人民政治协商会议共同纲领), as a kind of proto-constitution, issued by the Government was addressed to the whole nation (and not just the "exploited classes") and was liberal as regards the economy, democratic in politics, and tolerant regarding cultural matters. Yet all these aspects were accompanied by a reservation, and "liberalism" or "new democracy" was only seen as a step to the further restructuring of society and economy. While the freedom of speech, assembly and publication was granted, for instance, the classes of petty and national bourgeoisie class was described as to be exterminated in the future. If not knowing the background of communist ideology, as seen in Mao Zedong's speech "On the People's Democratic Dictatorship" (Lun renmin minzhu zhuanzheng 论人民民主专政) of June 1949, this kind of constitution was quite acceptable for all social groups.

During the first few months after its rise to power the CPC showed moderation and deliberated in great length all situations before making decisions or taking action. This attitude changed in summer 1950 with the beginning of the great campaigns of information, criticism, and self-criticism, the application of the land reform in June 1950, and with the promulgation of the law on the repression of counterrevolutionaries (Feb 21, 1951). In all places throughout the country the Party organized meetings, sessions, "discussions" and campaigns, compulsory for all families. During the sessions, held in the frameworks of labour organization like student classes, urban quarters, peasant associations, or work units, people were instructed in the scientific interpretation of the structure of society, the aims of communism, and the targeting of enemies and inimical structures, namely "feudalism", imperialism, and bureaucratic capitalism. Based on this indoctrination, the Party had mass-campaigns organized, all of which had a specified target, be it the attack on class enemies, or the fulfilment of certain quota.

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