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Extraordinary Feats in Ordinary Lanes

2016-12-29

Foreword

Jing’an is a district located in the downtown of Shanghai. A limpid and picturesque Suhewan strings up its southern and northern parts with deep historical background into a more appealing new landmark; numerous impressive revolutionary heritage sites have left behind one after another indelible red marks in this district with glorious revolutionary tradition. To celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, starting from this issue, we will open a feature named “Red Gene, Glorious District”. Consisting of ten issues, it will tell the moving stories of our ancestors with lofty ideals for the sake of national rejuvenation and prosperity on this land, recall that period of heroic and moving age, and engrave that segment of unforgettable history into our heart.

Extraordinary Feats in Ordinary Lanes

——The Complete Chronicle of the 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China

With endless tides and waves of Huangpu River surge, Shanghai offers a perfect place preferred by the Creator. From July 16 - 23, 1922, the 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China was officially convened at No. 625 Fudeli, South Chengdu Road (No. 30, Lane 7, Lao Chengdu Road (North), in today’s Jing’an District) in Shanghai. Chen Duxiu, Zhang Guotao, Li Da, Yang Mingzhai, Luo Zhanglong, Wang Jinmei, Xu Baihao, Cai Hesen, Tan Pingshan, Li Zhenying, Shi Cuntong - carrying single spark of cold nights from North China, bearing scents of new flowers from South China, and clinging to sounds of tides along the Yangtze River - 12 delegates shouldered expectation of the nation, gathered in Shanghai to discuss the grand mission of the founding of the CPC.

Smart Choice of the Congress Venue

Small neighborhood communities in old Shanghai often adopted auspicious and harmonious names, which might sound either meaningful or profound. The venue where the 1st National Congress of the CPC opened was called “Shudeli”, which differs from “Fudeli”, the venue of the 2nd National Congress of the CPC, by only one Chinese character.

About the selection of the Congress venue, officials of the then Central Bureau had a careful consideration.

At the beginning, Guangzhou was considered as the venue to hold the Congress. Nevertheless, the political situation in Guangzhou at that time was complicated and friction between Sun Yat-sen and Chen Jiongming was fierce, so holding the Congress there would inevitably encounter many problems.

Li Hanjun’s residence and Chen Duxiu’s residence in Shanghai one after another received inspections by the then Shanghai Municipal Police, so they were not appropriate options obviously.

The China Labor Combination Secretary Department on North Chengdu Road where Zhang Guotao lived was also under strict surveillance of the then British Settlement Authority. On July 17, 1922, it was sealed up, with its members wanted by the authority. As a result, it was not a safe venue.

Comparatively, the relatively safe venue was the residence of Li Da, a member of the Central Bureau. No. 625 Fudeli, South Chengdu Road, was the wedding residence of Li Da and Wang Huiwu. This is a Shikumen residence located in a deep lane, and the whole building was occupied by Li Da’s family without any outsiders. What’s more, the front entrance and back door of the building were both accessible, and No. 625 was inconspicuous among surrounding blocks of similar Shikumen houses. The Civilian Women’s School founded by the Party was opposite to the back door of Li Da’s residence, which was convenient for evacuation in an emergency.

Situated on the border of the then Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession, Li Da’s residence was relatively safe. Meanwhile, it was also an unexposed liaison station of the CPC in Shanghai. At No. 625 Fudeli, Li Da compiled the “Communist Party” monthly as editor-in-chief and published Marxism and Leninism serial books. As the correspondence address of the Propaganda Section of the Central Bureau, documents from organizations across China were all sent here, comrades from other provinces would first visit here to receive instructions, and Chen Duxiu often came here to browse different documents. All things considered, the place here was relatively appropriate for convening the 2nd National Congress of the CPC.

Grand Vision in Shikumen

The Congress lasted from July 16 till 23, spanning 8 days. No. 625 Fudeli, South Chengdu Road, is only the place where the 2nd National Congress of the CPC held its First Plenary Session. By learning the lessons of the 1st National Congress of the CPC and in order to avoid catching the attention of the then Shanghai Municipal Police, the Congress decided to reduce the number of plenary sessions, and focused on small group discussions. The 2nd National Congress of the CPC held a total of three plenary sessions, with the other two plenary sessions held at other places, which were clueless for verification due to the long history.

At the First Plenary Session, Chen Duxiu presided over the meeting, and reported the Party’s work over the past year on behalf of the Central Bureau; Zhang Guotao reported the details of the Far East Conference and the 1st National Laboring Congress to the Congress; Shi Cuntong reported details of the 1st National Congress of the Socialist Youth League. The Congress elected Chen Duxiu, Zhang Guotao and Cai Hesen to form the drafting committee, which was responsible for drafting the “Declaration of the 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China” and other resolutions.

The subsequent group discussions were arranged in residences of party members who lived in nearby communities. Li Da and Zhang Guotao each took charge of one group. Li Da took charge of the group for education and women’s movement, which included Cai Hesen and others; Zhang Guotao took charge of the group for workers’ movement, whose members were basically members of the Labor Combination Secretary Department.

The Second Plenary Session and the Third Plenary Session respectively were held at other places in the then Shanghai International Settlement. The Second Plenary Session discussed the Party’s work over the past year, and recognized the progress made in development of the party organization, workers’ movement, youth movement as well as efforts in publicizing Marxism and other aspects. At the session, the attendees unfolded extensive discussions around the Party’s revolution guideline at the current stage.

At the Third Plenary Session, based on Lenin’s national colonial revolution theory, China’s social and political conditions as well as the spirit of the Far East Conference, it discussed and adopted 11 documents, which were respectively: “Declaration of the 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China”, “Constitution of the Communist Party of China”, as well as other 9 resolutions including the ‘Resolution on “World Situation and The Communist Party of China”’, ‘Resolution on “International Imperialism and China & the Communist Party of China”’, ‘Resolution on the “Democratic United Front”’, “Resolution on Joining the Communist International by the Communist Party of China”, “Resolution on Congress Action”, ‘Resolution on “Trade Union Movement and Communist Party”’, “Resolution on Youth Movement”, “Resolution on Women’s Movement” and “Resolution on the Constitution of the Communist Party”.

Based on regulations of the “Constitution of the Communist Party of China”, the Congress also elected the Second Central Executive Committee. Five persons namely Chen Duxiu, Zhang Guotao, Cai Hesen, Gao Junyu and Deng Zhongxia were elected members of the Central Executive Committee, and 3 other alternate members were elected. Chen Duxiu was elected Chairman, Cai Hesen and Zhang Guotao respectively took charge of the Party’s propaganda work and organization work.

An Earth-shattering Event with Multiple Firsts

The 2nd National Congress of the Communist Party of China is a crucial meeting in the history of the Party. On the basis of correctly analyzing political and economic conditions in which imperialist powers invaded China and turned the Chinese society into semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, this Congress for the first time put forward the Party’s anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism democratic revolution program, for the first time put forward the Party’s united front thought, namely the thought of democratic united front, formulated the first “Party Constitution”, for the first time openly published the “Declaration of the Communist Party of China", for the first time proposed requirements for workers’ movement, women’s movement and youth movement in a relatively comprehensive manner, for the first time decided to join the Communist International, and for the first time put forward the slogan of “Long Live the Communist Party of China”. The 2nd National Congress of the CPC played a crucial role in the Party’s foundation, and marked an important milestone in the Party’s history. Along with the 1st National Congress of the CPC, they together fulfilled the Party’s foundation mission, and signified that the foundation undertaking of the Communist Party of China entered a brand-new stage.

(Source: Memorial of Site of the 2nd National Congress of CPC)

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