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Feature Article

China’s Law and Government in the Mao Years (1949-1976)

On June 30, 1949, with victory over the Nationalist government assured, Chairman Mao Zedong observed that the Chinese Communist Party now faced a new challenge: ruling all of China. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) would learn from the Soviet Union, which had already “built a great and splendid socialist state.”1 China, too, would establish a government and legal system designed to serve the Communist Party’s political purposes. By the late 1950s, Mao had rejected the Soviet model. I...