We examine the social and political currents which first gave rise to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and how these helped it to come to power in 1949. We look at how the CCP consolidated its power and began its attempt to make China, strong, prosperous and socialist. This includes tracing the evolution of CCP ideology, the development and ultimate failure of Maoism (e.g. the Great Leap Forward and Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution). We examine how the CCP initiated a process of reform under Deng Xiaoping, a process which continues to have profound effects on the development of Chinese society and politics. Subsequent social change has created major problems for the CCP. We discuss the ability of the Party to respond to the challenges of political reform, such as whether and/or how to become more democratic, as well as the problems facing continued CCP rule.