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The party itself was to adopt a secretive, hierarchical structure based on local Soviets. Supreme power was vested in a Central Executive Committee (CEC) that still had to be set up, thus rejecting pleas for a more decentralized organization. It would have the right to supervise and direct the finances, publications and policies of any local Soviet. The final session of the Congress elected the central leadership. As party membership was still small, it was decided to set up a Provisional Central Executive Bureau to maintain liaison etc. with the various branches. Chen Duxiu, Zhang Guotao and Li Da were elected members with Chen as secretary. Zhang and Li were in charge of organization and propaganda respectively. In Chen Duxiu’s continued absence, Zhou Fuhai was to deputize for him.

Despite the high sounding phrases adopted by the Congress, party work was slow in getting off the ground because of continued differences of opinion, financial difficulties, and the fact that the newly elected party Secretary, Chen Duxiu, did not return to Shanghai until late August-mid September. By November 1921, however, a preliminary work plan was agreed upon and circulated to the localities. It tried to formalize party structure by calling on the five major districts to set up district executive committees, each recruiting some 30 members. This would allow a "formal CEC" to be set up in accordance with the party program. Labor work was stressed and each district was instructed to have at least one labor union under its control. The focus was on organizing railway workers with the objective of creating a national railway union.

The exclusive focus on the working-class and hostility towards the bourgeoisie ran counter to the policy line that was evolving in the Comintern and the subsequent period was dominated by attempts to force on the CCP a policy of cooperation with the bourgeoisie in the nationalist revolutionary movement. It fell to the Comintern representative Maring, to attempt to persuade the CCP

The pressure on the CCP to collaborate with other class forces was increased by Maring’s generally negative assessment of the party and his positive response to the GMD that was based in the South of China. This led Maring to propose that CCP members join the GMD to form a bloc within. The ideological complication of the proletariat joining a bourgeois party was swept aside with the assertion that the GMD was not a bourgeois party at all but a combination of four groups, the intelligentsia, the Chinese patriots overseas, the soldiers and the workers.

Initially, the idea was totally unacceptable to the CCP leaders as Chen Duxiu’s letter of 6 April 1992 to Voitinsky clearly shows. Yet by June 1992 signs of a shift in attitude were apparent. Presumably the influence of both Maring and the Youth International representative, Dalin, was beginning to take effect. CCP propaganda began to refer to the GMD as "revolutionary" and the CCP’s Second Congress (16-23 July 1922) confirmed the party’s decision to join the democratic revolutionary movement in a temporary alliance. It is important to note that this decision referred to "all the nation’s revolutionary parties" not just the GMD. However, since the "democratic elements" did not represent the interests of the proletariat, the CCP was to promote an independent class movement. Work in the labor movement was still seen as the CCP’s main focus. Congress

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