On October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong stood atop Tiananmen Gate and declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China. His speech was short, but the significance was major. After a century of humiliation and war and unimaginable tragedy the country was being unified and China would soon write its own destiny without outside influences. Much triumph and tragedy had preceded that day, and much would follow, but that day will be remembered as a turning point in the history of China.
“The people throughout China have been plunged into bitter suffering and tribulations since the Chiang Kai-shek [Jiang Jieshi] Kuomintang [Guomindang] reactionary government betrayed the fatherland, colluded with imperialists, and lunched the counter-revolutionary war. Fortunately our People’s Liberation Army, backed by the whole nation, has been fighting heroically and selflessly to defend the territorial sovereignty of our homeland, to protect the people’s lives and property, to relieve the people of their sufferings, and to struggle for their rights, and it eventually wiped out the reactionary troops and overthrew the reactionary rule of the Nationalist government. Now, the People’s War of Liberation has been basically won, and the majority of the people in the country have been liberated. On this foundation, the first session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, composed of delegates of all the democratic parties and people’s organization of China, the People’s Liberation Army, the various regions and nationalities of the country, and the overseas Chinese and other patriotic elements, has been convened. Representing the will of the whole nation, [this session of the conference] has enacted the organic law of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, elected Mao Zedong as chairman of the Central People’s Government; and Zhu De, Lui Shaoqi, Song Qingling, Li Jishen, Zhang
Lan, and Gao Gang as vice chairmen [of the Central People’s Government]; and Chen Yi, He Long, Li Lisan, Lin Boqu, Ye Jianying, He Xiangning, Lin Biao, Peng Dehuai, Liu Bocheng, Wu Yuzhang, Xu Xiangqian, Peng Zhen, Bo Yibo, Nie Rongzhen, Zhou Enlai, Dong Biwu, Seypidin, Rao Shushi, Tan Kah-kee [Chen Jiageng], Luo Ronghuan, Deng Zihui, Ulanhu, Xu Deli, Cai Chang, Liu Geping, Ma Yinchu, Chen Yun, Kang Sheng, Lin Feng, Ma Xulun, Guo Moruo, Zhang Yunyi, Deng Xiaoping, Gao Chongmin, Shen Junru, Shen Yanbing, Chen Shutong, Szeto Mei-tong [Situ Meitang], Li Xijiu, Huang Yanpei, Cai Tingkai, Xi Zhongxun, Peng Zemin, Zhang Zhizhong, Fu Zuoyi, Li Zhuchen, Li Zhangda, Zhang Nanxian, Liu Yazi, Zhang Dongsun, and Long Yun as council members to form the Central People’s Government Council, proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China and decided on Beijing as the capital of the People’s Republic of China. The Central People’s Government Council of the People’s Republic of China took office today in the capital and unanimously made the following decisions: to proclaim the establishment of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China; to adopt the Common Program of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference as the policy of the government; to elect Lin Boqu from among the council members as secretary general of the Central People’s Government Council; to appoint Zhou Enlai as premier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People’s Government and concurrently minister of Foreign Affairs, Mao Zedong as chairman of the People’s Revolutionary Military Commission of the Central People’s Government, Zhu De as commander-in-chief of the People’s Liberation Army, Shen Junru as president of the Supreme People’s Court of the Central People’s Government, and Luo Ronghuan as procurator general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the Central People’s Government, and to charge them with the task of the speedy formation of the various organs of the government to carry out the work of the government. At the same time, the Central People’s Government Council decided to declare to the governments of all other countries that this government is the sole legal government representing all the people of the People’s Republic of China. This government is willing to establish diplomatic relations with any foreign government that is willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and mutual respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Mao Zedong Chairman The Central People’s Government
The People Republic of China
自介石民党反派政府背叛祖,勾帝主,反革命以,全人民于水深火的情之中。幸我人 民解放在全人民援助之下,保祖的土主,保人民的生命,解除人民的痛苦和取人民的利,不身, 英勇作,得以消反,推翻民政府的反治。在人民解放已取得基本的胜利,全大多人民已得解放。 在此基之上,由全各民主党派、各人民体、人民解放、各地、各民族、外及其他民主分子的代表所 成的中人民政治商第一全体已集,代表全人民的意志,制定了中人民共和中央人民政府法,了毛 中央人民政府主席,朱德、少奇、宋、李深、、高副主席,毅、龙、李立三、林伯渠、英、何香 凝、林彪、彭德怀、伯承、玉章、徐向前、彭真、薄一波、臻、周恩、董必武、福鼎、漱石、嘉庚、 桓、子恢、夫、徐特立、蔡、格平、寅初、云、康生、林、、郭沫若、云逸、小平、高崇民、沈 儒、沈雁冰、叔通、司徒美堂、李九、炎培、蔡廷、仲、彭民、治中、傅作、李、李章、章伯、程 、奚若、、平山、先、柳子、、龙云委,成中央人民政府委,宣告中人民共和的成立,并定 北京中人民共和的首都。中人民共和中央人民政府委于本日在首都就,一致:宣告中人民共和中央 人民政府的成立,接受中人民政治商共周本政府的施政方,互林伯渠中央人民政府委秘,任命周 恩中央人民政府政院理兼外交部部,毛中央人民政府人民革命事委主席,朱德人民解放司令,沈 儒中央人民政府最高人民法院院,桓中央人民政府最高人民察署察,并成他速成各政府机,推行 各政府工作。同:向各政府宣布,本政府代表中人民共和全人民的唯一合法政府。凡愿遵守平等、互 利及互相尊重土主等原的任何外政府,本政府均愿与之建立外交系。特此公告。
Photo: Wikimedia public domain
Text: Wilson Center digital archive