Enter Communism

For Chen, as for Sun Yat-sen and Liang Qichao before him, the May Fourth Movement called the merits of the Western model into question. Disillusioned by the actions of the Allies at the Paris Peace Conference, Chen began to look to other models. The Soviets quickly provided an alternative, sending Lev Karakhan to Beijing and voluntarily returning their territorial concessions. By April of 1920, Chen was organizing the first communist cells in Shanghai.

Chen had come around to Sun’s way of thinking: the Chinese people needed the strong leadership of professional revolutionaries to train a new generation of leaders. Not only was Communism “modern” and “scientific,” if provided a world view that allowed Chen and his colleagues to blame the West for China’s current struggles.

In July 1921, the Chinese Communist Party was officially born in Shanghai, with a young Mao Zedong in attendance.