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Friends and Enemies

Friends and Enemies

Kerry Brown | Will Hutton


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‘Friends and Enemies’ delivers a lucid and provocative history of one of the world’s largest and most successful political organizations, the Chinese Communist Party. In tracing the traumatic and bitter struggles that forged modern China and analysing the Party’s approach to the challenges of the future, Brown successfully lays bare the inner workings of this enduring and formidable group.

‘Friends and Enemies’ delivers a lucid and provocative history of one of the world’s largest and most successful political organizations, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Grounding his account in the origins of the CCP, Brown charts its early struggles and the emergence of the leadership of Mao Zedong in the 1930s, before unravelling the role of the Party during the Second World War and the vicious internecine struggle that culminated in the CCP’s ascent to power in 1949.

The narrative tackles the successes and failures of the CCP in the post-war era, analysing this chequered period with a close eye to the internal machinations of the Party, and then boldly considers the prospects of the CCP in the future. Brown produces a forthright analysis of where the Party stands in the 21st century, and assesses its three greatest challenges – energy, the environment and the economy – before culminating in a discussion of the potential for democratic reform and the risks the Party faces while it attempts to become a modern party in charge of a globally important economy.

‘Friends and Enemies’ is based on a combination of research and Brown’s own experiences as a business person and diplomat in China, where he lived for seven years. It has also benefited from the input of analysts of the Party from the UK and US, and from talks with Party officials at senior and working level in China.

'Not a line is wasted in this book. It is packed with details and sweeping explanations of historical periods and current circumstances. The book is a treasure trove for all those dealing with China. The insights Brown has accumulated during his long engagement with the country are invaluable and set the book aside from loudly advertised books on China—books that are also designed for the general reader but likely to showcase all that has gone wrong, pointing the finger at the bad guys in the Communist Party without attempting to understand policy decisions. The book should be on the shelves of all those who engage with China professionally, and of all who take a private interest in the country.' —Oliver Hensengerth, University of Southampton, in ‘International Affairs’

'Dr Kerry Brown does the business in a brisk, no-nonsense way. For those who want an easy, short and very readable guide to an organisation which has shaped China's present and could help mould the world's future, Brown's book can be warmly recommended.' —Chris Patten, ‘The Independent’

‘“Friends and Enemies” is an intelligent and accessible history of the Party. Brown condenses almost ninety years of CCP history (till 2008) into the first hundred pages. [It] is a useful complement to more detailed, technical sources […] The book would make excellent reading for students, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in modern China who is not already a master of the twists and turns of twentieth-century Chinese politics.’ —Mireille Mazard, ‘The Newsletter’, International Institute for Asian Studies

'Anyone who wants to understand China has to understand the Chinese Communist Party and where it is taking the country. This truly insightful guide to the world's biggest, most secretive and most powerful party is required reading.' —Isabel Hilton, Author, Broadcaster and Editor, ‘China Dialogue’

Kerry Brown is Senior Fellow on the Asia Programme, Chatham House; Associate of the China Policy Institute, Nottingham University; and was a Visiting Fellow, East Asia Studies Centre, London School of Economics. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His publications include ‘Struggling Giant’ (Anthem Press, 2007) and ‘The Rise of the Dragon’ (Chandos, 2008).

‘Highly accessible and stimulating and an excellent introduction to one of the great forces of the 20th and 21st centuries.’ —Michael Rank, ‘Asian Affairs’

'Brown's book is an indispensable insight into the party's mind, culture and history. Unless we understand, we cannot help. And this book helps that understanding.' —Will Hutton, excerpted from the Foreword

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front Matter i
Half Tilte i
Title iii
Copyright iv
Contents vii
Foreword ix
Preface xiii
Acknowledgements xv
Map of China xviii
Introduction 1
Hidden Giant: The Party and Openness 5
Not a Tolerant Party: The CCP and Opposition 10
The Party in Everyday Life in China Today 13
Trying to Get Away from the Chairman 15
Never Forget the Past 19
Plan of Book 21
Chapter One: A History of Violence: The Rise to Power of the CCP 25
The Roots of Revolution 26
Chinese Power Structures 27
Intellectual and Political Roots of the CCP 31
Year Zero – the First Congress 34
The First Period – Growing Up Side by Side with the Nationalists 36
Congresses and Comrades 39
Revolution from the Countryside 43
A History of Violence 44
‘A Good War’? 48
Cleansing the Ranks 50
The Civil War: The CCP’s Prelude to Power 51
Chapter Two: Revolutionary Administrator: The Party in Power 55
Building a New Future 57
Communism in China and the USSR: Same and Different 59
Leaders Together 64
The Great Leap Forward 68
Mao versus the Party – the Final Showdown 70
Institutional Chaos on the CR 73
The Iconography of Mao, and the Creation of a Dream Past 74
The 9th Party Congress – Night of the Long Knives 76
Lin Biao’s Fall 77
Mao and the Party – An Assessment 81
Chapter Three: The Party in the Reform Era 85
A Visitor from the Past 86
Dealing with What Went Before 88
Moving Forward 90
Back to the Countryside 91
Ideological Headaches 93
Searching for a Successor – the Recurrence of an Old Problem 97
Starting Over 99
Chapter Four: The CCP from 1992 to 2008 103
Making the General Secretary Happy 104
Ideological Matters for Jiang 105
The Basics: Party Structure at the Start of the 21st Century 109
Attempts at Reform 111
A New Beginning, a New Story 113
Hu 117
Grassroots Grievances 119
The Friend Who Never Goes Away 122
The Return of the Men from Yesterday 125
Hu and Wen at the Midway Point 126
Chapter Five: The Challenges Facing China and What They Mean for Rule by the CCP 129
Expectations Towards the Private Sector 132
The Environmental Cost of China’s Economic Model 134
China’s Energy Needs 137
China as it Appears to the Rest of the World 139
China’s New Global Role 140
China as a Global Economy – the Role of Chinese Capital Abroad 144
China and the Change of Multilateral Organizations 146
Chapter Six: The Chinese Communist Party as it Moves into the 21st Century 149
Meeting the Party 150
What is Power in Modern China? 152
Does Anyone Believe in Marxism Leninism in China? 153
Searching for the Chinese Way 159
The Internet in China: A Case Study of Control 163
A Few Words about Nationalism 165
The Party’s Communication Problems 167
Did Someone Just Say ‘Democracy’? 170
Understanding on the Ledge 173
Being a Good Communist in the 21st Century 178
Conclusion: Gambling with the Devil: Why the Fate of the CCP Matters to Us All 181
End Matter 185
Notes 185
Further Reading 193
Index 197