Amid the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), state-run media recently called on 70 million CCP members to remain loyal to the Party and rehashed the historical struggle of the Party by pointing out traitors such as former senior CCP leaders Wang Ming and Zhang Guotao.
It’s believed that this is an insinuation of political factions threatening Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s rule.
On June 24, Beijing’s top watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), published an article called “The Origin of the Four Principles of Deference” on its website. As stipulated in the CCP Constitution, the four principles are: individual Party members defer to Party organizations; the minority defers to the majority; lower-level Party organizations defer to higher-level Party organizations, and all organizations and members of the Party defer to the National People’s Congress (China’s rubber-stamp legislature) and the Central Committee of the Party (top advisory body). The article emphasized the fourth principle.
The CCP first put forward the “Four Principles of Deference” in October 1938 at the Sixth Plenary Session of the Sixth CCP Central Committee. The plenum, according to the article, was intended to rectify the mistakes of Wang Ming and Zhang Guotao, the early leaders of the CCP, while summarizing struggle experiences. It argued that Zhang “broke discipline” and “committed crimes knowingly”; while Wang issued a declaration on behalf of the CCP without approval from the top, refused to publish an article by Mao Zedong on Xinhua Daily, and criticized Mao for “pretending to resist Japan and opposing the Soviet Union during the Japan-Soviet War.”
Wang Ming became the Party’s acting general secretary in January 1931. After the Yan’an Rectification Movement in 1945, Mao united the whole Party under “Mao Zedong Thought” by criticizing Wang. The faction led by Wang then completely lost power.
After the CCP took power, Wang served as the head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the State Council, but his feud with Mao never ceased. He later said in his memoirs that Mao deliberately poisoned him once when he was ill.
In 1956, Wang went to the former Soviet Union for medical treatment and never returned to China. Wang died in Moscow in 1974 at the age of 70. On his deathbed, he published the essay, “Fifty Years of the CCP and the Traitorous Behavior of Mao Zedong.”
Due to an internal conflict with Mao, Zhang Guotao led the West Road Army, consisting of the main forces of the Fourth Front Army and the Ninth Army Corps of the Red Army, out of northern Shaanxi and westward in 1936 after the CCP army fled northward, and was surrounded and annihilated by the Kuomintang army. As a result, Zhang was criticized and denounced by Mao and others, and gradually became marginalized.
In early April 1938, Zhang left the CCP on the occasion of visiting the Yellow Emperor’s Mausoleum and defected to the Kuomintang. He later announced that he quit the CCP in Wuhan.
Zhang arrived in Taiwan in 1948, moved to Hong Kong the following year, and moved to Canada with his family in 1968.
In 1979, Zhang died of illness in a nursing home in Toronto at the age of 82.
Chinese YouTuber “Raise the Flag” believes that what the CCP calls for is exactly where its problems lie. It requires that Party members never defect, so it can be deduced that some do defect; it requires the army to be able to fight and win wars, which means that the army cannot fight wars and cannot win wars; it requires the “Four Principles of Deference” from its members, meaning that a large proportion of Party members do not defer to Xi, and some even want to challenge his authority.
The YouTuber noted that the article talked about Wang and Zhang to insinuate that “anti-Xi forces are threatening his authority.” It warned them that they could not win the fight and if they did not defer to Xi Jinping, they would be seen as anti-Party.
“This article is a declaration of war against the anti-Xi forces,” he said.
Shawn Lin is a Chinese expatriate living in New Zealand. He has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009, with a focus on China-related topics.