In pictures: 100 years of China’s Communist Party

In pictures: 100 years of China’s Communist Party

July 1, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech Thursday, July 1, at a ceremony in Beijing marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.Xie Huanchi/Xinhua/AP

The Chinese Communist Party, which formed in 1921 and has ruled the People’s Republic of China since 1949, celebrated its 100th anniversary on Thursday, July 1.

As the ruling party, the CCP monopolizes both the state and society in China. It controls the military and the police, along with personnel appointments across all of China’s political institutions, the media and the judiciary.

With more than 90 million members, the CCP is one of the largest political parties in the world.

The party’s leader, Xi Jinping, has been China’s President since 2013. A controversial change to the country’s constitution abolished term limits in 2018, paving the way for Xi to stay in power indefinitely.

The Chinese Communist Party traces its roots to the May Fourth Movement of 1919. On May 4, 1919, student demonstrators took to the streets of Beijing in huge numbers to protest negotiations over the Treaty of Versailles, the peace deal drawn up to end World War I. Even though China was on the winning side, the Western powers had decided to hand over Germany’s former concessions in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong to Japan. (Japan, with support from the British, had captured the port of Qingdao in Shandong from the Germans in 1914.)

This news outraged Chinese students, including those from the prestigious Peking University, pictured here. As thousands of students marched toward Tiananmen Gate, Japanese goods and books were piled up and burned on the streets. The protesters also focused their anger on their own government, which they saw as weak and ineffective in the face of Western imperialism.

Two years later, the Chinese Communist Party was founded in Shanghai.Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

British troops guard a barricade on a street in Shanghai, China, in 1927. That year, the Kuomintang, or Chinese Nationalist Party, purged the Communist Party in Shanghai, leading to a civil war between the Communists and Nationalists that would last more than 20 years. Thousands died in what the Nationalists called the “cleansing of the party.” Hulton Deutsch/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Mao Zedong left, is seen at the Chinese Communist headquarters in Yan’an, in northern China, in the 1930s. Mao rose from the peasant class to become the pre-eminent revolutionary theorist, political leader and statesman of Communist China. Pictured with him here, from left, are United Press correspondent Earl Leaf, military leader Chu Teh and Mao’s second wife, He Zizhen. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

The Red Army, the Communist party force battling the Nationalists, climbs the snow-capped mountain of Jiajinshan in China’s Sichuan province during the Long March in June 1935. The Long March was a year-long journey taken by the communists to evade the Nationalist forces that had encircled them in southwest China. It spanned thousands of miles and ended in Yan’an.Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Chinese Communist soldiers conduct a military exercise in 1937. That year, the second war broke out between China and Japan over the expansion of Japan’s influence in China. The communists pledged their support to the Nationalist government to defeat the Japanese. Their union fell apart in 1945 after Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II.ullstein bild/Getty Images

Mao speaks to followers in Yan’an. After the Long March, Mao became the undisputed Chinese Communist leader, even through military setbacks and internal political purges. Yan’an, in northern China, became the communists’ stronghold for the next decade. Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Mao addresses a student rally at the Kangdah Cave University in 1938, calling for greater efforts against the Japanese. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

People in Nanking, China, flee with their belongings as communist forces advanced toward the city in February 1949. Nationalist armies had poured into the city for a last-ditch defence of their home base in what was then China’s capital. The city fell to the Communists in April 1949. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Mao left, and Zhou Enlai attends the founding ceremony of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949, after the Communists defeated the Nationalists in the civil war. Mao named himself head of state and Zhou became premier.

The defeated Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to the island of Taiwan.Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Zhou, left, walks with North Korean leader Kim Il Sung at a railway station in Beijing in November 1953. During the Korean War, Chinese troops intervened on the North Korean side. These troops would inflict horrific losses on the US and South Korean troops they faced, eventually driving them out of North Korea completely. But China also suffered massive losses; more than 180,000 of its troops were killed.Sovfoto/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

The Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, shakes hands with Mao in Beijing in 1954. Five years later, the Dalai Lama fled to India after the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.AP

People in China’s Shandong province build a water reservoir in February 1958. By the late 1950s, Mao was making plans to catch up quickly with the world’s industrialized nations. During what became known as the Great Leap Forward, the Chinese government tried to advance the country’s industrial and agricultural production by eliminating private farms and creating huge collectives. But the swift changes caused grain output to plummet, plunging China into a mass famine that would kill an estimated tens of millions of people.Keystone-France/Getty Images

Mao meets Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Beijing in August 1958. Despite China and the Soviet Union both being communist nations, their leaders didn’t see eye to eye on the future of communism — in particular, Mao disagreed with Khrushchev’s policies of peaceful coexistence with the West. Relations would soon sour between the two nations, with public denunciations in 1960.Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Chinese people burn books in 1966 during the country’s Cultural Revolution, a state-led campaign to destroy literature, art and architecture deemed not revolutionary or modern enough. Mao tried to cling to power by building a fanatical personality cult around himself and his ideas, which threw the country into chaos. He set the People’s Liberation Army and students — young Mao supporters known as the Red Guards — on witch hunts against his opponents. Over the next decade, millions of Chinese suffered or perished, particularly teachers, writers, artists, party leaders — anyone determined to be “reactionary” in some way. Alamy

Red Guards show their support for Mao during the Cultural Revolution in 1966.Universal History Archive/Getty Images

In 1971, the People’s Republic of China was recognized by the United Nations as the rightful representative of China. Here, Chinese Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua, left, and UN Representative Huang Hua laugh as they take their seats at the United Nations General Assembly for the first time.NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

Mao shakes hands with US President Richard Nixon, who was visiting China in 1972. Nixon was the first US president to visit China following the 1949 revolution.Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

People hold portraits of Mao in front of the Chinese Embassy in Paris after his death on September 9, 1976. He was 82. AFP/Getty Images

Party and state leaders pay their respects to Mao in 1976. There was a brief power struggle after Mao’s death, which ultimately led to the rise of Deng Xiaoping in 1978. Deng’s vision would move China to embrace market reforms and capitalism, under the title of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”AP

Deng applauds as US President Jimmy Carter stands behind a podium at the White House in 1979. The US officially recognized the People’s Republic of China and established diplomatic relations on January 1 of that year. Universal History Archive//Getty Images

Jiang Qing, Mao’s last wife, listens to testimony against her during the Gang of Four trial in Beijing in 1980. She and three other top party officials were charged with various crimes against the state, including conspiring to overthrow the new party leader, Hua Guofeng, after Mao’s death. They were also blamed for implementing Mao’s policies during the Cultural Revolution. Jiang was the only one of the four who defended herself, claiming everything she did had Mao’s approval. All four were convicted.AP

A Chinese man stands in front of a line of tanks during a standoff in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. It was a day after Chinese troops began violently cracking down on pro-democracy demonstrators who had been in the square for over a month. The lead tank stopped and tried to go around the man. The man moved with the tank, blocking its path once again. At one point, the man climbed aboard the lead tank and appeared to speak to whoever was inside. The man was eventually pulled away by onlookers. To this day, we don’t know who he is and what happened to him. But he remains a powerful symbol of defiance. Jeff Widener/AP

Deng, right, sits with Jiang Zemin, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, in 1989. Jiang became President in 1993 and served for a decade.Patrick Durand/Sygma/Getty Images

Deng is joined by members of his family as he visits Shenzhen, China, in January 1992. Deng toured several southern cities around that time, and his speeches during the tour are often credited for spurring economic reform in the country.AFP/Getty Images

A decaying mural promoting China’s one-child family policy is seen on a street in Beijing in 1996. The one-child policy was introduced in 1979 when the government feared a rapid increase in population size after the baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s. The country’s fertility rate fell dramatically, from a peak of almost six births for every woman between 1960 and 1965 to 1.5 between 1995 and 2014. In 2015, China decided to overturn the decades-old policy and allow couples across the country to have two children. In 2021, the government announced it would allow couples to have three children, but it’s unclear when the new policy will take effect. Will Burgess//Reuters

Chinese soldiers line up in formation on June 30, 1997, a day before the British colony of Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule. Mike Fiala/AP

A ceremony is held for the Hong Kong handover on July 1, 1997.Peter Turnley/Corbis Historical/Getty Images

Outgoing Macao Gov. Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira( left) is presented with a Portuguese flag before Portugal formally handed the colony back to China in 1999, ending 442 years of colonial rule. Macao, like Hong Kong, is a special administrative region that has a separate governing system from mainland China. It was Europe’s oldest and last colony in Asia. Bobby Yip/Pool/AP

From left, Mike Moore, director-general of the World Trade Organization; Yousef Hussain Kamal Al Emadi, Qatar’s economy and finance minister; and Shi Guangsheng, China’s minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, share a toast as China entered the World Trade Organization in November 2001. Rabih Moghrabi/AFP/Getty Images

An Uyghur worker pulls a cart past a giant Mao statue at the People’s Square in Kashgar, China, in September 2003. Andrew Wong/Reuters

Rescuers carry Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut to go to space, after he landed in northern China, in October 2003. It was China’s first manned space flight.Xinhua/AP

Chinese President Hu Jintao, center, visits Australia’s Parliament in October 2003. Hu succeeded Jiang Zemin earlier in the year and would serve as President for the next decade. Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

Hostesses pour tea before the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2008. The CPPCC is China’s leading political advisory body. Andy Wong/AP

Women walk past Chinese paramilitary police in Lhasa, the capital of China’s autonomous region of Tibet, in March 2008. China was cracking down on Tibet following anti-government protests and riots there. Andy Wong/AP

Vehicles travel on elevated highways in Shanghai, China, in July 2008. In recent years, China has poured massive resources into infrastructure to boost its economic development. The Belt and Road Initiative, first announced in 2013, promised to build ports, roads and railways to create new trade corridors linking China to the rest of Asia, Africa and Europe. Guo Changyao/Imaginechina/AP

China’s flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics, which were held in Beijing. China had never hosted the Olympics before, and in the run-up to the 2008 Games — held under the slogan “One World, One Dream” — there were calls for a boycott over the country’s human-rights record. Jerry Lampen/Reuters

Olympians run past a Mao portrait in Beijing at the start of the men’s marathon in 2008. Greg Baker/AP

People wait to submit applications at a job fair in Beijing in March 2009. In 2010, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy.Greg Baker/AP

Police pass Uyghur children in Urumqi, the capital of western China’s Xinjiang region while responding to riots on July 7, 2009. The riots were prompted by long-simmering resentment between minority Uyghurs and majority Han Chinese, and about 200 people were killed according to state media. The US State Department and human rights groups have since accused the Chinese government of detaining up to two million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities in extra-legal detention camps, which Beijing claims are “vocational training centers” designed to prevent separatism and religious extremism. Guang Niu/Getty Images

Young performers salute around the symbol of a red star during a rehearsal of “Yan’an Nursery” before its premiere in Yan’an, China, in 2011. Yan’an is celebrated as the birthplace of China’s Communist revolution. Alexander F. Yuan/AP

The Three Gorges Dam, in central China’s Hubei province, was completed in 2012. It is the largest hydropower project ever built. It was designed not only to generate electricity to propel China’s breakneck economic growth but also to tame China’s longest river, shield millions of people from fatal floods and become a searing point of national pride.Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua/Getty Images

Xi Jinping, seen here in December 2012, succeeded Hu Jintao as general secretary of China’s Communist Party in 2012. The National People’s Congress elected him president in March 2013.Ma Zhancheng/Xinhua/Redux

Xi shakes hands with army delegates in Beijing in December 2012.Li Gang/Eyevine/Redux

Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai stands trial in 2013. Bo, a former rising star of the Communist Party who fell from power amid a scandal involving murder, betrayal and financial skullduggery, was sentenced to life in prison for bribe-taking. He also received 15 years for embezzlement and seven years for abuse of power. Xie Huanchi/Xinhua/AP

Riot police use pepper spray as they clash with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong in September 2014. The student-led unrest was sparked by China’s insistence that it be allowed to vet candidates for a 2017 election in Hong Kong — even though residents had been promised they would be able to freely elect their leaders.Bobby Yip/Reuters

Workers construct piers for the Ejin-Hami railway in Jiuquan, China, in May 2015. China has built the world’s largest network of high-speed railways, with 37,900 kilometres (about 23,500 miles) of lines linking all of its major mega-city clusters. This has all been completed since 2008.Cai zengle/Imagine China/Reuters

Students read at the Yang Dezhi elementary school in Wenshui, China, in 2016. Yeng Dezhi was designated as a “Red Army” school funded by China’s “red nobility” of revolution-era communist commanders and their families.Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Hostesses jump in the air and throw their hats in Tiananmen Square during the closing session of the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress in October 2017.Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Members of a Chinese army band leave the Great Hall of the People after the closing session of the National People’s Congress in March 2018.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Delegates listen to a speech by Xi Jinping during the closing session of the National People’s Congress in March 2018. The country’s constitution was changed to abolish term limits that year, paving the way for Xi to stay in power indefinitely.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

A giant portrait of Mao Zedong, former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, is seen in Beijing in 2019.Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Xi has dinner with US President Donald Trump as part of a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in December 2018. A trade war started that year between the world’s two biggest economies as Trump imposed multiple rounds of tariffs on many Chinese goods. Trump used the tariffs as a negotiating tactic to hurt China’s economy and pressure Beijing to agree to a new trade deal that addressed unfair trade practices, such as intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. Tom Brenner/The New York Times/Redux

Workers are seen on the production line at Huawei’s campus in Dongguan, China, in April 2019. Huawei, a Chinese company, is one of the giants of the tech industry and the world’s largest provider of telecommunications equipment.Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

People march in the streets of Hong Kong to protest a controversial extradition bill in June 2019. Critics feared the bill would allow citizens to be sent across the border into mainland China. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam ultimately withdrew the bill first introduced in April 2019, but she refused to give ground on protesters’ four other demands, which included greater democracy for the city and an independent commission into police conduct.Vincent Yu/AP

A demonstrator sprays paint inside a chamber at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building after protesters forced their way in on July 1, 2019. Thousands of protesters marched to mark the 22nd anniversary of the former colony’s handover from Britain to China. Tyrone Siu/Reuters

People take pictures in front of portraits of Chinese leaders during an exhibition in Beijing in September 2019. The leaders on the wall, from the left, are Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

People in Beijing use their cell phones in October 2019 to film fireworks exploding at Tiananmen Square as part of a gala evening commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China. Andy Wong/AP

A man wearing a face mask walks by a picture of Mao, centre, in a Beijing shopping area that was nearly empty in February 2020. An outbreak of Covid-19 was first reported in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China’s Hubei province. The World Health Organization officially called it a pandemic one month later. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The Yan’an Revolutionary Memorial Museum, seen on the right in May 2021, celebrates the communist history and has been open since 1950.Liu Xiao/Xinhua/Eyevine/Redux

Visitors ride escalators at the Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, a museum in Shanghai, in June 2021.Andrea Verdelli/Getty Images

An honour guard marches in Tiananmen Square during a July 2021 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Li He/Xinhua/Getty Images

Students wave flags at the 100th-anniversary celebration in July 2021. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images


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About editor 3047 Articles
Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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