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Better troops and simpler administration

Author  :  ZHU WENTONG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2021-08-10

 

A Study of the CPC’s Policy of Better Troops and Simpler Administration During China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression

A Study of the CPC’s Policy of Better Troops and Simpler Administration During China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, authored by Ba Zengqiang, a research fellow from the Institute of History at the Hebei Academy of Social Sciences, investigates the CPC’s policy expression and practical operations of “better troops and simpler administration” during China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931–45) from the perspective of interaction between the state and society.

No longer confined to the simple “policy-effect” analysis model, the book places more attention on the policy’s historical motivation and historical forms, revealing setbacks and countermeasures as it was put in place in the military and political system. In particular, Ba clarifies how people from the Party, politics, the military, and civilians changed their minds on the policy, inspecting the policy’s effectiveness in military and political circles respectively. The author re-evaluates the policy’s historical status through illustrating the hard choice made by the CPC Central Committee in terms of multiple conflicts.

“Better troops and simpler administration” is one of the famous ten policies adopted by the CPC during China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, which contributed much to the CPC’s overcoming obstacles in anti-Japanese base areas. First proposed by Li Dingming (1881–1947), a non-Party personage in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia border area, the policy was highly valued by the CPC Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong (1893–1976). It was formally adopted in 1941 to streamline organizations, solidify grassroots support, and rectify the Party, political, and military institutions in anti-Japanese base areas.

Former research emphasized that the policy’s proposal was rooted in the long-term “blockade” of the CPC’s base areas by the Japanese and Kuomintang (KMT) troops, which therefore neglected the perspectives of local governance in base areas and the construction of base areas.

Set in macro historical backgrounds, the book systematically analyzes the policy’s historical motivation from internal and external factors. External causes include the “sweeping” and “encroaching” of the Japanese invaders into anti-Japanese base areas, the blockade of the base areas by the KMT authorities, and natural disasters in base areas. Internal factors relate to the lagging economy of anti-Japanese base areas, inconvenient traffic, and a high proportion of people disengaged from work. Facing difficulties in supplying manpower, material, and financial resources, the policy was a historically necessary choice in anti-Japanese base areas, fundamentally demonstrating its historical inevitablitiy.

 

Zhu Wentong is director of the Institute of History at the Hebei Academy of Social Sciences.

Editor: Yu Hui

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