The Making of Party History: History and Historiography of the Western Route Army [article]

Xiaoli Zhou, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
2016
This study examines the practice of how the Chinese Communist Party's history was written from the late 1930s to the present through the case study of the Western Route Army (1936-1937). The CCP is a Leninist organization that has strict principles of confidentiality. In the Mao Era, the outside world had to rely greatly on the information that the Party revealed in order to gain understanding on intra-Party affairs. In this regard, before the 1980s, so-called Party History was in fact the
more » ... ial Party History authorized by the Party leadership. It has only been since the 1980s that other people besides Party theorists or Party historians started to write alternative versions of Party History, or as they could be called, unofficial versions of Party History. The first part of this thesis deals with the Party historiography of the Mao Era, exploring how the official interpretations of historical events were produced and where they were situated in the official historical framework. The second part examines the new interpretations of and the newly emerging ways to represent the history of the Party in the Post-Mao Era. With seven chapters, this thesis investigates five watershed periods essential in the making of Party History and explores the role that four groups of people—the CCP leaders, senior cadres, historians and nonprofessional writers—played in each period. Concerning Party historiography in contemporary China, based on interviews and on-site investigation, this thesis not only focuses on the central level, revealing how state organs write and propagandize Party history, but also pays attention to the representation of Party history by local governments and institutions. In doing so, this research aims to establish a broad picture of Party historiography.
doi:10.25911/5d778a808b919 fatcat:m4czuqvznbbwzjkxktjpoji3oe