Photo of Tao in 1984
January 8, 1981 – December 13, 1999
|Preceded by||Qian Yiu-tong|
|Succeeded by||Qing Hongshu|
|Premier of the National Democratic Council|
September 15, 1983 – December 13, 1989
|Preceded by||Rao Shaozheng|
|Succeeded by||Yuan Xiang|
|Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Manchuria|
October 18, 1978 – December 13, 1989
|Preceded by||Zhao Xuegong|
|Succeeded by||Bao Yuzhang|
|First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Party of Manchuria|
March 12, 1991 – September 17, 1998
|Preceded by||Post established|
|Succeeded by||Tao Lichuan|
|Chairman of the Central Economic Directorate|
July 22, 1971 – April 12, 1981
|Preceded by||Chen Qinggang|
|Succeeded by||Yan Hanjun|
November 19, 1920|
Yingkou, First Manchu Republic
January 12, 2012 (aged 91)|
Communist Party of Manchuria (1936-90) |
Socialist Party of Manchuria (1990-2001)
Tao Shiyou (Zhuyin: ㄊㄠ ㄕㄧㄧㄡ; pinyin: Táo Shīyóu; November 19, 1920 - January 12, 2012) was the communist leader of Manchu People's Republic from 1981 to his ousting in 1999, serving as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of Manchuria from 1978, the First Secretary of the CPM from 1981, and the Premier of the National Democratic Council (the de jure head of state) from 1983 being removed from all positions in 1999. He also served in the Central Committee and Politburo from 1961, the Secretariat from 1958, the Chairman of the Central Economic Directorate from 1971 and the Chairman of the Reformatory Economic Consultative Committee from 1973. In 1991 he was re-elected First Secretary, formally changing the CPM into the Socialist Party of Manchuria where he served as the SPM's first secretary until his resignation in 1998.
Born in a family of industrial workers in China Tao worked as a metal welder during the days of the First Manchu Republic. Following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the subsequent establishment of Manchukuo Tao was involved in resistance against the Japanese joining the Communist Party of Manchuria, an underground party that opposed Japanese rule, in 1936 at the age of 16. Tao alongside several other members of the CPM including leader Xu Xiaobao escaped to the Soviet Union in 1936 where they were trained by members of the Red Army. During World War II Tao served as a collaborator for Soviet forces along with other members of the CPM. Following the Soviet occupation of Manchuria and the rise of the CPM Tao was an active member in the party helping draft the scond five plan, being a member of all but one Central Economic Policy Directorates (which drafted all the five year plans). In 1958 he was promoted to the Secretariat and in 1961 both the Central Committee and the Politburo, being recognised as a competent economist. He succeeded Chen Qinggang as Chairman of the Central Economic Directorate in 1971.
In 1973 he became the Chairman of the Reformatory Economic Consultative Committee, which pushed for an adoption of some minor economic reforms which became increasingly influential during the 1970's. In 1978 Tao was appointed as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the CPM (the second most powerful body after the Politburo) where he began to consolidate power, eliminating political opponents whilst allying himself with the reformist faction of the party. In 1981 at the 11th Central Committee he was elected as the First Secretary of the Politburo, becoming the de facto leader of the country, a position that was cemented when he was elected Premier in 1983.
During his tenure as leader Tao introduced "Manchu Communism", which was designed to reform Manchuria's stagnant bureaucracy, encourage economic reform and embark on tepid liberalisation. These measures though muted as conservative forces still upheld the Black River Protocol saw a major period of liberalisation unprecedented in previous Manchurian history, with culture being more open and more focus being placed on light industry, services and tourism whilst relations improved with the west. Despite this political repression remained intact and major economic reform comparable to what had happened in Vietnam and China was not undertaken.
In 1985 following the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev and the implementation of glasnot and perestroika divisions within the party came to the forefront as reformists and conservatives clashed over whether the party should reform. Tao tried to take a middle road attempting to reconcile the two factions, but in August made a scathing repudiation of Gorbachev's reforms, before starting to purge "radical revisionists" from within the party. From 1986 to 1989 a cult of personality was built around Tao as he became increasingly dictatorioal. In 1989 discontent with communism led to nationwide protests known as the Orchid Revolution. Tao was unable to deal with the protests, leading to the politburo removing him from his senior leadership positions in December 1989. He continued to be active within the communist party following the collapse of communism in Manchuria where he was re-admitted into the politburo in 1990. He was given the post of First Secretary in 1991 where he formally dissolved the CPM replacing it with the centre-left Socialist Party of Manchuria. He was the SPM's candidate in the 1996 Premierial election where he got over 45% of the vote within the run-off election. He retired from the post of First Secretary shortly afterwards handing power over to his daughter Tao Lichuan, but continued to serve in the politburo until his retirement in 2000. He died of a heart attack in Harbin in 2012.
Tao's legacy in Manchuria has been largely disputed. Under Tao the economic and cultural stagnation of the 1970's ended as well as living standards in general rising. However repression remained and ultimately Tao's reforms were unsuccessful he resorted to increasing authoritarianism and autocracy later in his rule. Tao also was a major advocate for and helped implement the two-child policy which has been highly controversial in Manchuria. Historians still debate if Tao was a genuine reformist or simply a political opportunist.
Early life[edit | edit source]
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|Manchu People's Republic|