People's democratic dictatorship

People's democratic dictatorship

"People's democratic dictatorship" (simplified Chinese: 人民民主专政; traditional Chinese: 人民民主專政; pinyin: Rénmín Mínzhǔ Zhuānzhèng) is a phrase incorporated into the Constitution of the People's Republic of China by Mao Zedong.[1]

The premise of the "People's democratic dictatorship" is that the Communist Party of China and state represent and act on behalf of the people, but possess and may use dictatorial powers against reactionary forces.[2] Implicit in the concept of the people's democratic dictatorship is the notion that dictatorial means are a necessary counterforce to recidivist social elements, and that without such a dictatorship, the government may collapse into a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or other degenerate social form, faulting on the socialist state charter which is its first principle.



It was most famously used on June 30, 1949, in commemoration of the 28th Anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. In his speech, entitled "On The People's Democratic Dictatorship," Mao expounded his ideas about a People's Democratic Dictatorship as well as provided some rebuttals to criticism that he anticipated he would face.[3]

Mao reviewed the Chinese nation's struggle since the Opium War, and the failed effort to model China after the Western powers. "Imperialist aggression shattered the fond dreams of the Chinese about learning from the West. It was very odd -- why were the teachers always committing aggression against their pupil?" He concluded that "Western bourgeois civilization, bourgeois democracy and the plan for a bourgeois republic have all gone bankrupt in the eyes of the Chinese people", because of the West's imperialist aggression against China. The Chinese revolution has made tremendous advances both in theory and practice and has radically changed the face of China. The main lesson is two fold: (1) Internally, arouse the masses of the people; (2) Externally, unite in a common struggle with those nations of the world which treat Chinese as equals. On commercial relationships, Mao reckoned that it was the imperialist powers that were preventing China from doing business with the outside world. Once China has beaten the internal and external reactionaries by uniting all domestic and international forces, China shall be able to do business and establish diplomatic relations with all foreign countries on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Mao claimed that after the Second World War, the only "imperialist" power remaining on the planet with any strength, the United States of America, had wanted to enslave the world and used its funding of Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang as evidence of such.[4] Mao, thus, wrote off what he called "Western bourgeois civilization" and instead embraced Marxism–Leninism as the ideology of the Chinese state.[5]

Mao believed that the Communist Party of China must "arouse the masses of the people" and "unite in a common struggle with those nations of the world which treat us as equals", including the Soviet Union.[6] Mao discounts the idea of working with the British and the Americans because both of them were inherently imperialist nations and, thus, had territorial designs on China.

Mao defined the people as being the working class (which will exercise its "hegemony", being represented by the Communist Party), peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie, and the "national bourgeoisie". These classes, he believed, enforced their dictatorship through the CCP over "the running dogs of capitalism" which included landlords and bureaucratic-bourgeoisie (referring to those parts of the landlord class and bourgeoisie connected to the Kuomintang government). He fully embraced the idea of dictatorship because it meant that only "the people" had the right to freedom of speech.

In accordance with Marx's idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Mao believed that the People's Democratic Dictatorship would be necessary until the Party withered away and left China in a socialist state of existence (defined by Mao as the society of Great Unity—Datong 大同).

In Chinese, the word ‘dictatorship’ 专政 does not have negative connotation, being dissociated from the concepts that are most close to the Western dictator 独裁者 or hegemon 霸王.[citation needed] In Chinese, there is a large difference in connotation between "专政" and "独裁", but both translate to "dictator" in English.

Influence on North Korea

North Korea uses the phrase "dictatorship of people’s democracy" in its Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, adopted in 1972:

Article 12. The State shall adhere to the class line, strengthen the dictatorship of people’s democracy and firmly defend the people’s power and socialist system against all subversive acts of hostile elements at home and abroad.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "CONSTITUTION OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA". People's Daily Online. Retrieved 2009-11-23. "The People's Republic of China is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants." 
  2. ^ Meisner, Maurice, Mao's China and After 3rd Edition, (New York: The Free Press, 1999), pp.58-60.
  3. ^ MacFarquhar, Roderick; Fairbank, John King (1991). Cambridge History of China: The People's Republic, Part 2 : Revolutions Within the Chinese Revolution, 1966-1982. Cambridge University Press. p. 6.
  4. ^ Cohen, Carl (1972). Communism, fascism, and democracy: the theoretical foundations. Random House. p. 174.
  5. ^ Zedong, Mao (1950). People's democratic dictatorship. Lawrence and Wishart. p. 9
  6. ^ Yahuda, Michael B. (1978). China's role in world affairs. Taylor & Francis. p. 45
  7. ^ Socialist Constitution of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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