democracy from the West. Many of them also came to accept Marxism, especially after the October 1917 Russian revolution because of all the Western countries in the world, the Soviet Union announced it would give up all the Chinese territories under its control back to China. The Chinese thought Marxism offered a solution for them to get out of their semi-colonial status and regain national independence. The Soviet Union, a Marxist state, indicated their independence to other Western powers and seemed to treat China more as an equal than other powers.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP, 1921-now) was therefore formed in the wake of the Russian revolution and a product of the May Fourth Movement of 1919. By 1921, according to the Treaty of Nanjing signed in the wake of the First Opium War in 1842, metropolitan Shanghai had developed into enclaves called International Concession, and the French Concession, patrolled by French, British, and other international police, and governed by board of trustees made up of various European countries, the U.S., and Japan. Only the southern part of Shanghai was governed by the Chinese municipal government of Shanghai. The existence of multiple governments in Shanghai created loopholes in Shanghai governance that allowed various political groups to thrive in that city. One of them was the Communists, who held their organization meeting in Shanghai on July 1, 1921, inside the French Concession. The Chinese warlord government was anti-Communist, but it had no supervision over the French concession, according to the clause of extra-territoriality in the Treaty of Nanjing and extended later to all foreigners in China. So the French were self-governing. Thus the Communists were able to complete their meeting, although in secret, without being arrested.
The early founders of the Communist Party, such as Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), were inspired by Western science and democracy, gender equality, and other social values. They came to accept Marxism and socialism, eventually Communism mostly because of a sense of indignation against social injustice, which they felt could be addressed by a Communist system emphasizing egalitarianism.
At the beginning, the Communist Party was small and recruited largely from urban workers and intellectuals. As a political party, it also had to operate in secret because the Chinese government in Beijing was anti-Communist. To strengthen its base, it allied with the Nationalist Party in 1923.
The Nationalist Party
Another modern political party formed in the Chinese republic was the Nationalist Party (Guomindang, or GMD). Founded by Sun Yat-sen in 1912, and led by his like-minded republican colleagues, the party, however, came to comprise largely the urban middle-class, factory owners, bankers, professionals, and rural landlords. Although the Nationalists and the Communists were influenced by the Western political party system, they were not influenced by the Western idea of democratic pluralism. Therefore they were mutually exclusive, and made up temporary alliances only when they were most weak, such as between 1923 and 1927, and again during the war against Japanese invasion (1936-45). As soon as immediate external danger subsided, they would try to slash each other's throats. Both modern political parties treated their leaders similar to the