On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP: What if Li Dazhao hadn't been killed in 1927?

It is gnerally accepted that the two real co-founders of the Chinese Comunist Party were Chen Duxiu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chen_Duxiu and Li Dazahao. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Dazhao (though ironically neither could make it to the Party's founding Congress). Chen, the Party's first General Secretary, was denounced as a "Right opportunist," was expelled from the party, and eventually became a Trotskyist. He became unmentionable in Party histories except as a betrayer. OTOH, Li Dazahao became one of the Party's revered martyrs, having been killed by Zhang Zuolin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Zuolin in Beijing in 1927. Mao was later to tell Edgar Snow that Li was his "real teacher" in Marxism.

One might at first get the impression that Li was too much of an "intellectual" to be an effective leader of the Party. But that does not seem to have been the case: he worked quite effectively for the CCP-GMD United Front when that was Comintern policy: "Under the leadership of Li and Chen, the CPC developed a close relationship with the Soviet controlled Comintern. After the establishment of the CPC, Li and other early communists worked diligently to mobilize Chinese railway and mining workers to fight for their own rights. Directed by the Comintern, Li and Chen joined the Nationalist Party in 1922 and forged a close tie with Sun Yat-sen. Li was elected to the KMT's Central Executive Committee in Guangzhou (Canton) in January 1924, which marked the formal formation of the first united front between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party. Both parties worked together to fight against their common enemies: the warlord government in Beijing and imperialist powers which dominated many spheres of influence in China. Li visited the Soviet Union in late 1924 and stayed there for months. Upon his return from Russia, he wooed Christian warlord Feng Yuxiang to the Nationalist side, recruited young people into the two political parties, and organized numerous revolutionary activities. He urged Feng Yuxiang to adopt a strategy to fight against Zhang Zuolin from Northwestern China to Henan Province, which was crucial for the success of the Northern Expedition to topple down the warlord regime in Beijing.[8]"

Li's big mstake was to seek refuge in the Soviet embassy in Beijing; Zhang Zuolin had no respect for siplomatic immuity, raided the embassy, and arrested and executed Li. If Li had found a better hiding place, and survived both Zhang Zuolin and the anti-Communist turn of Chiang Kai-shek, what would his role in the Party be? Maybe the Comintern prefers him to his student Mao--unlike Mao, he had actually spent time in the USSR, and had a better knowledgre of Marxism (thanks to his knowledge of the Japanese language and Japnese Mattxist literrature). Unlike Chen, Li was loyal to the Comintern and (like Mao) would have no objection to its turn to the countryside after 1927--he had indeed long empahsized the importance of the peasants. OTOH, Mao knew more about guerilla warfare than Li did, and given the importance of such warfare to the CCP in the 1930s, maybe Li becomes an "elder statemsn" while Mao wields the real power.
 
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