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THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY DURING THE ERA OF THE - page 9 / 48

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Soviet Russia, the Comintern began to press its interests in China and to promote the idea of the development of a revolutionary party to guide and control future actions.

The Comintern laid down the framework of a policy relevant to China at its Second Congress (July-August 1920) with its discussion of how the national struggles in colonial countries could be integrated with the strategy for world revolution. Lenin recognized the importance of national movements in the east but was not willing to accept the views of Roy that appeared to shift the responsibility for overthrowing capitalism from the "advanced" west to the "backward" east. In Lenin’s view movements to overthrow imperialism were an integral part of the broader struggle of the proletariat. The national struggle could only succeed by destroying the colonial system and this was an integral part of the broader struggle of the proletariat. To carry out these movements, Lenin felt that in the colonial countries it would be necessary to enter into a temporary alliance with bourgeois democracy while remaining distinct, and maintaining the independence of the proletarian movement. It was clear that for a time at least the bourgeoisie would be in control of the revolutionary movement. This was the strategic framework that Comintern representatives had to apply to the concrete realities of China.

In April 1920, Voitinsky visited China as the head of a group sent by V.D. Vilensky- Sibiryakov, one of the leaders of Vladivostok Branch of the Bolshevik’s Far Eastern Bureau. This was decided upon with the agreement of the leadership of the Comintern. Beyond familiarization and establishing contacts, the Mission had the task to study the possibility of setting up an East Asian Bureau of the Comintern in Shanghai. He and his fellow visitors found fertile soil in which to plant the seeds of a Bolshevik organization. According to Dirlik, the timing was fortuitous as the radical movement in China had reached a point of crisis because the previous ideological and organizational premises appeared to have run into a dead end. Voitinsky’s group established contacts with radical intellectuals such as Li Dazhao in Beijing and Chen Duxiu in Shanghai. Out of their discussions emerged the idea of founding a Communist Party in China. Later, a meeting of Soviet communists working in China was held in Beijing from 5 to 7 July 1920. The meeting was presided over by V.D. Vilensky-Sibiryakov and it highlighted the possibility of establishing a communist in China.

As has been noted, the early communist organizations in China did not just emerge out of the blue nor were they summoned up by Voitinsky’s visit but evolved from the study societies set up during the May Fourth period. Many of China’s later communist leaders were schooled in groups such as the "New People’s Study Society," the "Awakening Society," and the "Social Welfare Society." They were products of the radicalization that had accompanied the collapse of the Qing dynasty and some of the early members were among the most radical thinkers during the May Fourth Movement. While interest in socialism pre-dated the May Fourth Movement, it is fair to state that during and after the Movement it increased in popularity and it became a fashionable topic in intellectual circles.

The May Fourth Movement represented the culmination of the attack on traditional Chinese culture developed in the previous century. Marxism was not the only mode of

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