leader of the Nationalist Party, took the Communists by surprise on April 12, 1927, when thousands of Communists or Communist suspects were executed in Shanghai by the Nationalist troops. This was followed by a nation-wide hunt down for Communists by the Nationalists. From then on, the Communist movement, never very big from the start, went underground and turned to guerrilla warfare in the mountains of southeastern China. In 1928, The Nationalist Party declared China reunified and a new government, based in Nanjing (because Beijing was surrounded by too many suspect former warlords although they now pledged allegiance to the Nationalist government) and with the incorporation of only the Nationalist Party, was formed, appropriately called the Nationalist government.
Initially, Chinese Communists followed Russian Communism, which was at the center of the international Communist movement. As time went on, Chinese Communist leader Ma Zedong (Tse-tung) started to experiment with his own approach to Communism. Instead of focusing on the industrial workers, as traditional Marxists called for, and the Soviets practiced, Mao found great power and strength among the Chinese farmers, who comprised 90 percent of the Chinese population.
The Communist reliance on farmers' support was an innovation of Marxism. In China, the industrial working class and the industrial middle class remained small because Chinese national industry was no competition against imported foreign goods. The peasants were suffering from deep grievances of extremely heavy taxation, in some regions reaching 40-60 per cent of their income in the 1930s to 1940s. Many of them were tenant farmers. The Communist policy of land redistribution and reduction of taxes, therefore, were of enormous appeal to them. This policy was first championed by Mao Tse-tung, who eventually rose to top leadership in 1935. Through an investigation of the peasants' land redistribution and rent reduction movement in his native province of Hunan in 1926, Mao concluded the poor peasants should be the Communists' best supporters. His view, however, was initially ignored by top Communist leaders who had largely studied in Moscow and followed Stalin's policy on organizing industrial workers' strikes in the cities. These strikes were quickly and brutally suppressed by the police and troops of the Chinese government. It was after many failures of strikes in the cities that the Communist Party finally adopted Mao's view, allied with the peasants, and moved their bases to the countryside.
13. Women in Traditional Chinese Society
Historically, women were treated as second-class subjects of the emperor or non-entities. Many women did not have names, and when they got married, they would be referred to by their father's and their husband's last names. They had no legal rights. If a woman wanted to divorce a man, she could do so only when natal male relatives made the petition because she as a woman could not confront her husband.
Concubinage, women married to a man but were not his legal wives, and inferior to his legal wife in status and treatment, was common because, according to Confucius, filial piety (great respect for one's parents) was a paramount virtue, and the cardinal sin was not to have (male) heirs and end the family line. Having multiple wives guaranteed one a male heir, thus fulfilling filial piety. Marriages were arranged by parents because they involved property and the perpetuation of the lineage, and so they were too serious a