1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China

1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Native name 中国共产党第一次全国代表大会
Date 23 July – 2 August 1921 (1921-07-23 1921-08-02)
Location Shanghai and Jiaxing

The 1st National Congress of the Communist Party of China (Chinese: 中国共产党第一次全国代表大会) was held in Shanghai and Jiaxing between July 23 and August 2, 1921. The Congress established the Communist Party of China. The congress began in a shikumen building of the French Concession area of Shanghai (near present-day Xintiandi in Huangpu District). In early June 1921, Dutch national Henk Sneevliet, also known as Ma Lin, a representative of Comintern, arrived in Shanghai, and urged various Communist cells in the country to get together for a national-level meeting. Russian Comintern representative Nikolski also attended the meeting. At the time, there were 57 members of the Communist Party of China.[1] Notably, the two founders of the party did not attend the congress: Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao.

The meeting was put to an end due to harassment from the French Concession police on July 30. The delegates then agreed to move the meeting to a rented tourist boat on South Lake in Jiaxing. The Congress elected Chen Duxiu as Secretary (in absentia), Zhang Guotao as Director of Organization, and Li Da as Director of Propaganda.[1]

Of the 13 representatives who attended the congress in 1921, only two would be present at the proclamation ceremony of the People's Republic of China 27 years later: Mao Zedong and Dong Biwu. Others either became casualties of war in the decades that followed or left the party in one way or another (e.g. by expulsion or defection).

The site of the conference in Shanghai has been converted into a museum since 1961. The South Lake Revolutionary Museum in Jiaxing located on a central island of the lake was constructed in 1959; a complex hosting more exhibits was constructed north of South Lake in 2011, also to commemorate the 1st Congress.


According to the Chinese historical drama The Founding of a Party, Chen Gongbo did not attend the last day of the conference, when the party constitution was formally passed.


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