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Ten engaging personal histories introduce readers to what it was like to live in and with the most powerful political machine ever created: the Chinese Communist Party. Detailing the life of ten people who led or engaged with the Chinese Communist Party, one each for one of its ten decades of its existence, these essays reflect on the Party's relentless pursuit of power and extraordinary adaptability through the transformative decades since 1921. Demonstrating that the history of the Chinese Communist Party is not one story but many stories, readers learn about paths not taken, the role of chance, ideas and persons silenced, hopes both lost and fulfilled. This vivid mosaic of lives and voices draws together one hundred years of modern Chinese history - and illuminates possible paths for China's future.
Chapter 3 focuses on the 1942 rectification campaign against Wang Shiwei and other Yan’an intellectuals who had emerged from the Shanghai literary world of the 1930s. Mao sought to eradicate the “three evil workstyles” of subjectivism (favouring Wang Ming’s Russian Marxism over Mao Zedong’s local expertise), sectarianism (not doing what the leadership tells you to do), and stereotyped, overly dogmatic, Party writing. Historical, political, and geographic context for the campaign is provided, with particular attention payed to the position of Mao vis-à-vis the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Wang Shiwei was a Communist theorist who took exception to Mao’s version of rectification and offered an alternative Marxist model that shows the influence of Leon Trotsky. Rhetorical goals and strategies in Mao’s speeches are shown to highlight the importance of intellectual self-transformation, the better to create willing and effective mouthpieces for the CCP, which are contrasted with the agenda of revolutionary artists, such as Ding Ling and Xiao Jun, providing context for Wang’s essay collection Wild Lilies. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the campaign against Wang and his “Trotskyite” supporters in the Rescue Campaign which ensued, implicating thousands of politically suspect cadres, and leading to Wang’s arrest and accidental execution in 1947.