MAO ’ S RED CHINA. China Under Communist Rule The Great Leap Forward, 1958 & The Crisis of 1959-1961. Communism is designed to be a “permanent revolution”. For this reason, communists are always in a state of war. Communism is very strict and not very peaceful.
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China Under Communist Rule
The Great Leap Forward, 1958 & The Crisis of 1959-1961
China under Mao
Having defeated the Guomindang, Mao set about building a Communist China. His first concern was rebuilding a country that had been torn apart by years of civil war.
Improvements in literacy rates, public health
INITIAL PHASE: 1950-1958
Mao wanted China to “walk on two legs” – develop both agriculture and industry at the same time
Soviet Union assisted with $300 million and 10,000 Russian engineers
Targeted the development of heavy industry: coal, steel, chemicals, automobile, and transport
steel, machinery, railroads, electricity plants, metallurgy, chemicals
land reform (eliminate landlord class)
development of heavy industry (state- owned enterprises)
by 1957, most targets had been exceeded.
serious economic problems remained (unemployment & no funds to build industries)
Failure to meet the targets established by The National Resource Committee was the equivalent of failing China
Overall industrial output increased 15.5% per year (faster than the target of 14.7%)
However, less people worked on farms, so food production increased at an average of 2% per year, compared to 14% from 1949-52
Past economic stagnation
led to mental stagnation
To Make Socialist Person --
Not sufficient to introduce
new technologies or alter
Mode of Production as had
been done in USSR
extreme volunteerism, optimism
“Our revolutions are like battles; after each victory, we must put forward a new task,” Mao 1958
The Great Leap Forward
During this trip I have witnessed the tremendous energy of the masses. On this foundation it is possible to accomplish any task whatsoever.
2nd Five Year Plan
To bring another success to the PRC
success in carrying out land reforms
success in other campaigns to attack the reactionaries
disliked Soviet way of industrialization (putting heavy industry first)
China would not do with high-tech factories which depended on foreign capital and assistance
to show that the Chinese way of industrialization was better than the Soviet way or the capitalist way
China was being isolated from other countries (capitalism) due to its practice of communism
To catch up Britain and US and to break off diplomatic isolation
To raise international status of China
First Five Year plan completed earlier than expected
But... serious economic problems remained unchanged
unemployment (most peasants had little to do between harvesting and sowing)
Collectivization became the official policy. China’s land was divided into 70,000 communes
He hoped that it would help unemployment and cause a genuine communal unity
He accused peasants of hiding grain and used force against them
The food would be traded for money to buy weapons or used for fuel
Peasants placed into communes
The advantage of People’s Communes lies in the fact that they combine industry, agriculture, commerce, education, and military affairs.
Most peasants had lost their incentives to produce get everything in the people communescommunal eating halls provided the peasants with very generous meals free of charge
lower productivity = food crises, decline in production, devaluation of money, high inflation and a huge national deficit
Campaign in which the Chinese
people were encouraged to kill
sparrows because it was believed that
they ate the grain.
Forests were stripped of trees to be used as fuel for factories, so deforestization resulted
Anything that peasants could melt down into steel was put in backyard furnaces, but the steel was poor quality and led to poor equipment being created
Mao ordered huge drives to build irrigation systems using poor equipment. Some of these projects are still unstable today
Mao also wanted to raise output in factories, so common sense and rules went to the wayside in the name of speed. Accidents frequently caused tens of thousands of deaths
- Eyewitness, Hugo Portisch
Elena Songster & Jessica Stowell, OU
The most famous were 600,000 backyard furnaces which produced steel for the communes.
Ours is the only chemical factory of its kind and the boiler is 70 years old. But one day a Party official arrived and told me to increase the pressure in the boiler from a hundred to a hundred and fifty pounds per square inch so that the reactor process could be completed 9 times a day instead of 6. When I told him he was turning it into a bomb, he accused me of being a bourgeois reactionary. So what was I to do? Great Leap? The connecting pipe burst when the pressure reached 120 pounds, and we were out of production for a week while repairs were made.
Coal and iron cannot walk by themselves. They need vehicles to transport them. This I did not foresee. I and the Premier did not concern ourselves with this point. You could say we were ignorant of it…I am a complete outsider when it comes to economic construction. I understand nothing about industrial planning. Comrades, in 1958 and 1959, the main responsibility was mine, and you should take me to task…The chaos caused was on a grand scale, and I take responsibility. Comrades, you must analyze your own responsibility…If you have to fart, fart! You will feel much better for it.
- Mao, 1959
38 million died of:
Being worked to death
Others were killed, tortured, or imprisoned
Famine (the average daily calorie intake was 1,534.8 for men and 1,200 for women – Aushwitz got between 1,300-1,700 calories per day)
Heavy industry developed (although it was still behind most large industrial countries)
Agriculture lagged behind
Agriculture failed because:
Unscientific agricultural methods were used
There was a shortage of agricultural labor because of peasants working on industrial projects
The peasants disliked losing their private lots
Natural disasters – droughts and floods
Peasants didn’t work hard because grain was taken from them
PRC was isolated from the western countries.disliked Khrushchev and blamed him for revising Marxism-Leninism. Khrushchev openly criticized the Great Leap Forward
the relationship between China & the Soviet Union began to deteriorate
Paved the way for the Cultural Revolution
Aroused conflicting opinions among the Party leaders
Mao Zedong wanted to gain back his power and to remove the opposition within the Party
The disaster was 70% manmade and 30% due to natural causes.
- Liu Shaoqi
Peasants have dirty hands and cowshit-sodden feet, but they are much cleaner than intellectuals.
Mao staged this media event – him swimming in the Yangze River – to indicate that he was still vigorous and capable to lead China