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7.24.2017

A Short Response to a Reader

Liu Shaoqi
This post provides a short and simple response to a question I received about my short essay "民法的一般原则、党组以及“一带一路”  (available here for those who may like to read it in Chinese, and here for those who may like to read it in English). The question was received on the "法律与国际事务学会" Wechat group, following the circulation of this short essay on Chinese-language internet groups and websites. 


I am publishing my short and simple reply here because the question may be of interest to persons other than the reader who asked it (and whom shall remain anonymous). Also, my essay was written for the sole purpose of academic research and communication therefore, there is no reason why I should provide my answer within the 'four walls' of a social media group.

Question: In your commentary, you wrote “in 1957, Liu Shaoqi suggested to use the words ‘militant bastions’ in article 19 of the Constitution of the CPC to refer to the function of primary organizations, rather than to their identity or legal nature” 

Do you have a source to explain why it is Liu Shaoqi that made the suggestion? Thanks for your time.


Answer: Thanks for your question! Unfortunately, I must admit that no, I don't have an answer to the question of whether I have a source to explain why Liu Shaoqi chose those specific words in order to describe the function of primary organizations of the Communist Party of China in 1957. 

Or, I should rather say, my answer to the question is in the negative: I do not have a source explaining why Liu Shaoqi decided to make that suggestion.

In my essay, I explained how Liu Shaoqi used an allegorical language to describe the function of primary organizations.  I also explained the reason why those words should not be interpreted in their literal sense. According to the article I cited, it is a proven fact that the suggestion to use the words 'militant bastions' was made by Liu Shaoqi. 

The question of why Liu Shaoqi chose those specific words rather than any other words, or why Liu Shaoqi, rather than any other official of the Communist Party of China made that suggestion is extremely interesting. But, finding an answer to this question can take some time. 

I don't have the relevant primary sources handy but, a possible way to answer this question may involve:

1. Compiling a list of the names of all the high ranking officials who, in 1957, gave their input to the amendment of the Constitution of the CPC.
2. Locate the biographies, public speeches, and perhaps most importantly the 年谱 (for English speakers: their diaries), private letters, as well as other archival materials if accessible, for each one of these historical figures.
3. Acquire, if available in bookstores, libraries, or archives, the memoirs of their relatives, their secretaries and, generally speaking, persons who were close to them. 
4. Reading these materials character after character,  with the goal to find out any information that may relate to the point of why Liu Shaoqi chose the words 'militant bastions'.

This is not the only possible way to answer the question. There are other ways - the only limit being the competence, acumen and creativity of individual scholars. 

I might offer my hypothesis, but an hypothesis is not a factHere's what I personally thought as I was writing the commentary. 

As many of those who, in the first half of the 20th Century, were concerned about the future of China, Liu Shaoqi chose to take the road of revolution. He joined the Long March and - among others - in the early 1940s, he was a political commissar of the New Fourth Army. Even though his work took place in 'white areas' he had a direct experience of life in the army. 

Perhaps, he chose the words 'militant bastions' to remind future generations of the contribution of those who lost their lives in the 1930s and 1940s, to allow us all to live in peace.




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