Mao Zedong proclaims the establishment of the People's Republic of China - archive, October 1949

3 October 1949: Two hundred thousand people gather in Tiananmen Square to hear the pronouncement

Mao Tse-tung lays down conditions

Hong Kong, October 2
Yesterday was an epoch-making occasion in the history of Asia, with Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Central People’s Government Council of the People’s Republic of China, formally proclaiming the inauguration of the new regime. He claimed that the “war of the people’s liberation” had now been “fundamentally won” and announced that the Central Government Council had appointed Chou En-lai as Premier and Foreign Minister, and Chu Teh as commander-in-chief, with Mao himself as chairman of the People’s Revolutionary Military Council.

“At the same time the Central People’s Government Council decided to declare to the Governments of all countries,” Mao Tse-tung added, that this Government is the sole legal Government, representing all the people of the People’s Republic of China. This Government is willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

The Communist New China news agency reports that an estimated 200,000 people gathered to hear this historic pronouncement. All stood to attention when Mao Tse-Tung hoisted the new flag of Communist China (five yellow stars on a red background) and the band played the new national anthem, The March of the Volunteers.

Air Force on show
After the pronouncement there was a ceremonial parade at which Chu Teh took the salute. Units of various branches of the armed forces, some equipped with up-to-date American artillery, tanks, and armoured cars captured from the Nationalists, took part in the march-past, while fighters and bombers of the Communist Air Force flew in formation overhead.

Taking part in the celebrations were the 43 members of the Soviet cultural and educational mission headed by Mr Alexander Fadeyev, who (according to some Communist dispatches) had been accorded special ambassadorial rank by his Government for this occasion. As far as is known here no other foreign representatives attended the Peking ceremonies.

Soviet breaks with Canton: Peking recognised

Moscow, October 2
The Soviet Government to-night recognised the new People’s Republic of China and broke off relations with the Chinese Nationalist Government at Canton. Mr. Gromyko, the Deputy Foreign Minister, announced his Government’s decision in a telegram to Chou En-lai, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic.

Russia is withdrawing her envoy from the present Nationalist headquarters at Canton. In a statement to the Charge d’Affaires of the Canton Government in Moscow to-day Mr. Gromyko declared the Nationalist Government had ceased to exercise power and had become merely a “provincial Government of Canton.”

Chinese Communist troops enter Peking (now Beijing) in 1949.
Chinese Communist troops enter Peking (now Beijing) in 1949. Photograph: Pictorial Press/Alamy Stock Photo

Editorial: the party line in China

23 September 1949

The American White Paper on China contains the text of an article by Mao Tse-tung, who has just proclaimed formally the People’s Republic of China. This was written last July to commemorate the twenty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party. It is the most up-to-date statement of Mao’s political ideas, and is a strange mixture of the ingenuous and the practical. Mao begins by accepting the old-fashioned Marxist dogma in its most doctrinaire form.

Mao does not offer much hope of any accommodation between the Chinese Communist State and the West. Mao expects help only from Russia. He admits that Communist government in China will be dictatorial.

The right of reactionaries to voice their opinions must be deprived and only the people are allowed to have the right of voicing their opinions…To the hostile classes, the State apparatus is the instrument of oppression. It is violent, not benevolent.

So far, Mao is perfectly orthodox. But at this stage he begins to temporise.

This is an edited extract. Read the article in full.

From our special correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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