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Modern History Sourcebook:
The Common Program of The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, 1949

Adopted by the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's PCC on September 29th, 1949 in Peking

PREAMBLE

The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, representing the will of the people of the whole country, proclaims the establishment of the People's Republic of China and is organizing the people's own central government. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference unanimously agrees that New Democracy, or the People's Democracy, shall be the political foundation for the national construction of the People's Republic of China. It has also adopted the following Common Program which should be jointly observed by all units participating in the Conference, by the people's government of all levels, and by the people of the whole country.

Article 1. The People's Republic of China is a New Democratic or a People's Democratic state. It carries out the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class, based on the alliance of workers and peasants, and uniting all democratic classes and all nationalities in China. It opposes imperialism, feudalism and bureaucratic capitalism and strives for independence, democracy, peace, unity, prosperity and strength of China.

Article 2. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China must undertake to wage the people's war of liberation to the very end, to liberate all the territory of China, and to achieve the unification of China.

Article 3. The People's Republic of China must abolish all the prerogatives of imperialist countries in China. It must confiscate bureaucratic capital and put it into the possession of the people's state. It must systematically transform the feudal and semi-feudal land ownership system into a system of peasant land ownership; it must protect the public property of the state and of the cooperatives and must protect the economic interests and private property of workers, peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie. It must develop the people's economy of New Democracy and steadily transform the country from an agricultural into an industrial one.

Article 4. The people of the People's Republic of China shall have the right to elect and to be elected according to law.

Article 5. The people of the People's Republic of China shall have freedom of thought, speech, publication, assembly, association, correspondence, person, domicile, change of domicile, religious belief and the freedom of holding processions and demonstrations.

Article 6. The People's Republic of China shall abolish the feudal system which holds women in bondage. Women shall enjoy equal rights with men in political, economic, cultural, educational and social life. Freedom of marriage for men and women shall be put into effect.

Article 7. The People's Republic of China shall suppress all counter-revolutionary, activities, severely punish all Kuomintang counter-revolutionary war criminals and other leading incorrigible counter-revolutionary,, elements who collaborate with imperialism, commit treason against the fatherland and oppose the cause of people's democracy. Feudal landlords, bureaucratic capitalists and reactionary elements in general, after they have been disarmed and have had their special powers abolished, shall, in addition, be deprived of their political rights in accordance with law for a necessary period. But, at the same time, they, shall be given some means of livelihood and shall be compelled to reform themselves through labour so as to become new men. If they continue their counter-revolutionary activities, they will be severely punished.

Article 8. It is the duty of every national of the People's Republic of China to defend the fatherland, to abide by the law, to observe labour discipline, to protect public property, to perform public and military service, and to pay. taxes.

Article 9. All nationalities in the People's Republic of China shall have equal rights and duties.

Article 10. The armed forces of the People's Republic of China, namely, the People's Liberation Army, the people's public security forces and the people's police belong to the people. It is the task of these armed forces to defend the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of China, and to defend the revolutionary gains and all legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese people. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China shall endeavour to consolidate and strengthen the people's armed forces, so as to enable them to accomplish their tasks effectively.

Article 11. The People's Republic of China shall unite with all peace-loving and freedom-loving countries and peoples throughout the world, first of all, with the USSR, all Peoples' Democracies and all oppressed nations. It shall take its stand in the camp of international peace and democracy, to oppose imperialist aggression to defend lasting world peace.

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Article 27. Agrarian reform is the necessary condition for the development of the nation's productive power and for its industrialization. In all areas where agrarian reform has been carried out, the ownership of the land acquired by the peasants shall be protected. In areas where agrarian reform has not been carried out, the peasant masses must be set in motion to establish peasant organisations and to put into effect the policy of 1and to the tiller" through such measures as the elimination of local bandits and despots, the reduction of rent and interest and the distribution of land.

Article 28. State-owned economy is of a Socialist nature. All enterprises relating to the economic life of the country and exercising a dominant influence over the people's livelihood shall be under the unified operation of the state. All state-owned resources and enterprises are the public property of all the people and are the main material basis on which the People's Republic will develop production and bring about a prosperous economy. They are the leading force of the entire social economy.

Article 29. Co-operative economy is of a semi-Socialist nature and is an important component of the people's economy as a whole. The People's Government shall foster its development and accord it preferential treatment.

Article 30. The People's Government shall encourage the active operation of all private economic enterprises beneficial to the national welfare and to the people's livelihood and shall assist in their development.

Article 31. The economy- jointly operated by, state and private capital is of a state-capitalist nature. Whenever necessary and possible, private capital shall be encouraged to develop in the direction of state-capitalism, in such ways as processing for state-owned enterprises and exploiting state-owned resources in the form of concessions.

Article 32. The system of worker's participation in the administration of production shall, for the present period, be established in state-owned enterprises. This means that factory administrative committees shall be set up under the leadership of the factory managers. In privately-owned enterprises, in order to carry out the principle of benefitting both labour and capital, collective contracts shall be signed by the trade union, representing the workers and employees, and the employer. For the present period, an eight to ten-hour day should in general be enforced in publicly and privately operated enterprises, but under special circumstances this matter may be dealt with at discretion. The people's governments shall fix minimum wages according to the conditions prevailing in various localities and trades. Labour insurance shall be gradually established. The special interests of juvenile and women workers shall be safeguarded. Inspection of industries and mines shall be carried out in order to improve their safety devices and sanitary facilities.

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Article 37. Commerce: All legitimate public and private trade shall be protected. Control shall be exercised over foreign trade and the policy of protecting trade shall be adopted. Freedom of domestic trade shall be established under a unified economic state plan, but commercial speculation disturbing the market shall be strictly prohibited. State-owned trading organizations shall assume the responsibility of adjusting supply and demand, stabilizing commodity prices and assisting the people's co-operatives. The people's government shall adopt the measures necessary to encourage the people in saving, to facilitate remittances from overseas Chinese, and to channel into industry and other productive enterprises, all socially idle capital and commercial capital which is riot beneficial to the national welfare and/or to the people's livelihood.

Article 38. Co-operatives: The broad masses of working people shall be encouraged and assisted to develop co-operatives according to the principle of willingness. Supply and marketing co-operatives, as well as consumers', credit, producers', and transport co-operatives shall be organized in towns and villages. Consumers' co-operatives shall first be organised in factories, institutions and schools.

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Article 41. The culture and education of the People's Republic of China shall be New Democratic-national, scientific and popular. The main tasks of the People's Government in cultural and educational work shall be the raising of the cultural level of the people, the training of personnel for national construction work, the eradicating of feudal, compradore [note: A compradore - the word is Portuguese, was a Chinese agent of a foreign business in China] and fascist ideology and the developing of the ideology of service to the people.

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Article 49. Freedom of reporting truthful news shall be safeguarded. The utilization of the press for slander, for undermining the interests of the state and the people and for provoking world war shall be prohibited. The people's radio and publication work shall be developed. Attention shall be paid to publishing popular books and journals beneficial to the people.

Article 50. All nationalities within the boundaries of the People's Republic of China are equal. They shall establish unity and mutual aid among themselves, and shall oppose imperialism and their own public enemies, so that the People's Republic of China will become a big fraternal and co-operative family composed of all its nationalities. Greater Nationalism and chauvinism shall be opposed. Acts involving discrimination, oppression and splitting of the unity of the various nationalities shall be prohibited.

Article 51. Regional autonomy shall be exercised in areas where national minorities are concentrated and various kinds of autonomy organizations of the different nationalities shall be set up according to the size of the respective populations and regions. In places where different nationalities live together and in the autonomous areas of the national minorities, the different nationalities shall each have an appropriate number of representatives in the local organs of political power.

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Article 53. All national minorities shall have freedom to develop their dialects and languages, to preserve or reform their traditions, customs and religious beliefs. The People's Government shall assist the masses of the people of all national minorities to develop their political, economic, cultural and educational construction work.

Article 54. The principle of the foreign policy of the People's Republic of China is protection of the independence, freedom, integrity of territory and sovereignty of the country, upholding of lasting international peace and friendly co-operation between the peoples of all countries, and opposition to the imperialist policy of aggression and war.

Article 55. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China shall examine the treaties and agreements concluded between the Kuomintang and foreign governments, and shall recognize, abrogate, revise, or re-negotiate them according to their respective contents.

Article 56. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China may, on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territory and sovereignty, negotiate with foreign governments which have severed relations with the Kuomintang reactionary clique and which adopt a friendly attitude towards the People's Republic of China, and may establish diplomatic relations with them.

Article 57. The People's Republic of China may restore and develop commercial relations with foreign governments and peoples on a basis of equality and mutual benefit.

Article 58. The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China shall do its utmost to protect the proper rights and interests of Chinese residing abroad.Article 59. The People's Government of the People's Republic of China protects law-abiding foreign nationals in China.Article 60. The People's Republic of China shall accord the right of asylum to foreign nationals who seek refuge in China because they have been oppressed by their own governments for supporting the people's interests and taking part in the struggle for peace and democracy.


Source:

The Important Documents of the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (Peking: Foreign Languages press, 1949), pp. 1-20


This text is part of the Internet Modern History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.
Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.
© Paul Halsall, July 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu