land and agricultural reform in maoist china n.
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Land and agricultural reform in Maoist China. Early stages. In the early days (1930s) of the communist party, they actively sought to redistribute land In Yan'an province, many warlords and richer peasants were forced to give up control. Popularity amongst the masses (poorer peasants) grew.

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early stages
Early stages
  • In the early days (1930s) of the communist party, they actively sought to redistribute land
  • In Yan'an province, many warlords and richer peasants were forced to give up control.
  • Popularity amongst the masses (poorer peasants) grew
  • Due to wartime alliance with nationalists, communists took less direct and more moderate approach to land issues
  • Implemented rent reductions for peasants (also affecting landowners $)
  • Taxed richer peasants
  • Many were forced to sell their land to the communists for low prices to change tax brackets and maintain some land
source mao land reform policy 1945 from selected works of mao tse tung
Source: Mao land reform policy 1945 - from selected works of Mao Tse-tung
  • "rent reduction must be the result of mass struggle, not a farmer from government. Only then can we persuade the masses and enable them to understand that it is in their interests as a whole to allow the landlords to make a living so that they will not help the GMD. The present policy of our party is still to reduce rents, not confiscate land."
post war and the civil war period
Post-war and the civil war period
  • Immediately returned to violent and aggressive policies
  • Cadres used to stir up emotion in villages and town rallies
  • In many cases, whole families became targeted...labeling of children as 'little landlords'...violence grew out of control in many cases
  • In one village in Shandong Province, 120 people were beaten to death including 2 boys aged 7.
  • Strong fear of landlord retaliation forced all peasants to the communist party, knowing that their defeat would have grave repercussions
1949 and the early years of the prc
1949 and the early years of the PRC
  • Directly confiscated lands of the rich, foreign (except USSR) holdings, all GMD supporters who fled to Taiwan, and corporate/national intents.
  • Abandoned the redistribution of wealth peasant lands...this was necessary to keep harvesting undisrupted to feed the population
how did this work
How did this work?
  • Cadres of 40-60 communists fanned out across the countryside beginning in key villages.
  • Locals were encouraged to identify landlords
  • Landlords were then harassed, ridiculed and subjected to violence.
  • Locals were included in the process to ramp up class conflict and a shared responsibility for the party and maintenance of the system.
effects of early redistribution policy
Effects of early redistribution policy
  • Communist party grew in numbers and geography reaching all parts of the countryside.
  • Many landlords and their relatives were sentenced or beaten to death.
  • By 1953, the landlord class ceased to exist in China
  • According to Marxism, collectivization is the higher order step to communism. This phase is still private ownership with peasants free to work the land in the traditional way.
  • Mao recognized this, but felt it necessary to pause and gain support before continuing to disrupt the process and possibly lose some support
the collectivization of agriculture 1950 57
The collectivization of agriculture 1950-57
  • In early stages, peasants were banded together in groups of appx 10 families called mutual aid teams.
  • It was apparent early on that families who chose not to join were isolated and unable to access proper tools and markets
  • Only poor peasants were asked to join, further isolating the rich
stage two 1952 53
Stage two 1952/53
  • Agricultural Producers' Cooperatives (ACPs) grouped 30-50 families together
  • Families could cut down on travel time and spend less by sharing resources
  • A process called 'land- share, labor-share' allowed all members to keep their private land and use it to their best abilities while sharing in overall profits of the ACP
apc results
APC results
  • Mao's demanded targets and loyal support basically ran the system into debt, so Mao changed to campaign against 'rash advance'
  • Richer peasants were then able to buy out some ACPs and spontaneous capitalism reappeared by 1953
  • Mao had to change and began a campaign against 'rash retreat' in 1954
  • Rich peasants became upset at the unfair treatment
  • Some poorer peasants became disillusioned with both direction and supplies
more apc stuff
More APC stuff
  • The 1954 harvest became the worst in years, so Mao decided to simply push for full collectivization by 1955
  • In July, 1955, there were about 17 million families in APCs
  • By January 1956, approximately 68%, 75 million households were involved
  • By the end of the year, only 3% of the population still operated independent of the system
  • Mao proclaimed he had reached the full stage of collectivization 15 years ahead of schedule
  • Disappointingly, production increased by a mere 3% thru 1957
  • historians differ in it's true impact and effectiveness upon the Chinese people.
  • Jonathan d. Spence - "the search for modern china" says that peasants as a whole were better fed and therefore better off by 1957
  • Jun Chang and Jon Halliday - "Mao: the unknown story" depicts Mao as a larger peacetime killer than hitler and Stalin. They argue that peasants suffered sever hardship and scrounging as a result of colllectivisation

By early 1955, requisition had brought utter misery. Numerous reports had reached Mao about peasants having to eat tree bark and abandoning their babies beacuse they had no food...


An official in Guandong Province reported that cadres were searching houses, tying up peasants and forcing them to surrender food, sealing the houses of those who said they had none left. He cited the case of an old woman who hanged herself after being imprisoned inside her own house.~ Chang and Halliday, 2006