Nationalists lost 200,000 men, elite units and equipment.
PLA (People’s Liberation Army) successes destroyed NRA (Nationalist Revolutionary Army) reinforcements and the main body of the GMD.
The People’s Republic of China was declared on October 1st 1949.
Nationalist death count: 3 million
Communist death count: 1 million
Civilian death count: 6 million
Mao’s Consolidation of Power
Mao declared that he was inaugurating a new era in Chinese history.
He consolidated power by addressing previous failures with land, social and thought reform as well as establishing solid political control.
The initial economic success of the First Five-Year Plan also helped boost the CCP’s image.
Addressing the failures of the GMD Unification of China (total control)
Divided the country into 6 regions.
Identical power structures in the provinces involving strong military presence to maintain CCP control.
Refer to governmental structure under Domestic policy.
CCP referred to border regions as old liberated areas and the rest of China as the new liberated areas.
Reclaimed Hainan, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Reunification campaigns of 1950.
Refer to Tibet details under Religious policy.
Zhonghua minzu meaning ‘Chinese nationality’ was coined.
Refers to an identity that “transcends ethnic divisions and incorporates all peoples living within the boundaries of China”.
Implementation of standardized language, 1955
Refer to Education policy.
Lack of defense against foreign invasion
December 1949, Mao Zedong left China to go to Moscow and negotiate with Stalin – resulted in the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance (promised mutual support in the event of an attack by Japan)
Priority was protection of the party, not the state.
Successes (details in Domestic Policy) Economic
First Five-Year Plan, 1952-56
Increased literacy rates from 1949-76
Standardized language, 1955
Failures (details in Domestic Policy) Economic
Second Five-Year Plan (Great Leap Forward), 1958-62
Statistics revealed after Mao’s death show that a very small proportion of China was properly educated.
Domestic Policies and Impact
Structure and Organization (Government and Admin)
Divided into 6 regions, each with:
Military Commander (PLA)
Political Commissar (PLA)
1949-52, 10 political parties eradicated. E.g. GMD, Democratic League
Purges against “counter-revolutionaries” and “imperialists”.
“Our aim is to exterminate capitalism, obliterate it from the face of the earth and make it a thing of the past.”
Registration as a weapon
Danwei – permit to work
Hukou – certificate for a family to gain accommodation
Dangan – a dossier held by local officials on all members of society
Hours of investigation
Claimed to be servants of the people, but the CCP ruled the PRC.
Nothing Mao disapproved of was passed.
Economic Policies First Five-Year Plan, 1952-56
Built on the Soviet model of heavy industry.
Urban population increased from 57 million to 100 million by 1957.
Inflation brought under control from 1000% to 15% from 1949-51
Slashed public expenditure
Raised taxes on urban dwellers
Replaced Chinese dollar with the Yuan
Expenditure increased from 1950-59.
Economic development: 25.5% - 51.4%
Education and Culture: 11.1% - 16%
Defense: 41.5% - 19%
Growth rate of 9% per annum.
Second Five-Year Plan, 1958-62
Two aspects: peasant collectives and self-made industry.
Wanted to assert independence – veered away from sole focus on industry.
All land was taken away and made into 70,000 communes.
Political and ideological slogans passed for planning.
Sino-Soviet split, 1960 – impacted industrial production immensely as Khruschev withdrew thousands of soviet advisors.
Backyard Furnaces – civilians were encouraged to produce steel in their backyards, resorted to melting everyday objects.
Produced useless steel.
Target quotas – output quotas jumped.
Steel quotas increasing from 6.2 to 12 million tons in 1958 alone.
State Owned Enterprises – private enterprises no longer allowed.
Prices, targets and wages fixed by the state.
No incentive for profit, very inefficient.
China’s GNI (Gross National Income) fell by 30% in 1960.
Mao’s vision for China to be a major power neglected glaring problems of unemployment and raw material shortage (Roberts, 2011), focusing largely on the idea of utilizing China’s great numbers to succeed. (Mao, 1945) This vision also neglected China’s preponderance of the countryside versus the urban areas (Fairbank & Goldman, 2006), pushing human resources and producing output of dubious quality. As the urban population continued to swell, more strain was placed on food procurement that the struggling agricultural industry could not meet while working conditions worsened (Roberts, 2011), which did nothing to help reach the unrealistic production targets set by Mao. The task to reach these quotas resulted in the adoption of absurd methods such as “backyard blast furnaces” which not only produced largely useless masses of metal (Watkins), but led to destruction for the sake of producing numbers. The questionable results and excessive labour in sub-standard conditions of the industrial reforms (Roberts, 2011) showed that in this aspect, the Great Leap Forward was, to a whole extent, a socio-economic failure.
Lysenkoism – flawed theories of Trofim Lysenko (a Soviet agronomist).
Close planting (led to withering)
Sparrowcide – the entire population was told to kill sparrows and any wild bird that ate seed.
Without birds, insects multiplied and ate the harvest.
Triggered “the worst famine in human history”.
Death count: 42 million, 2.54% of the population
Starvation was most severe in Shandong, Anhui, Henan and Tibet.
Mao refused to accept blame, and accused three things:
Hoarding by peasants
Mistakes by local officials
Perhaps the greatest failure of the Great Leap Forward was its agricultural reform; collectivization bifurcated the agrarian peasantry by creating an elite class and erroneous policies drove the nation into famine. By 1958, all property was taken and reorganized into communes. (Roberts, 2011) Initially succeeding and increasing national income by a rate of 8.9%, the newly tiered power structure created a brand of patriotic, ambitious youths who used questionable means to acquire results. (Fairbank & Goldman, 2006) The neglect of the fields for industrial goals set off a famine that was exacerbated by flawed Lysenko theories. (Watkins) As food became a scarcity, it became a meritocratic weapon. This translated to widespread barbarism as children were slaughtered for petty infringements and neighbours turned on each other. (Dikötter, 2010) This produced a warped value system that encouraged atrocities for the sake of upholding the collective spirit espoused by Maoism. Political pride in State policies obfuscated common sense and led China into a terrible famine; the reform of agriculture resulted in an upended power structure and terrible living conditions. This showed that to a significant extent, the Great Leap Forward failed socially and economically.
Meritocratic structure of communes resulted in widespread violence.
Youths wanted to ascend the power structure.
People brutally killed for minor infractions.
Famine induced cannibalism in Anhui province.
Mothers starving their daughters to be eaten.
Wives left husbands to look for food.
Social Policies Reunification Campaigns, 1950
Tibet, Xinjiang, Guangdong
All easily overcome, even Tibet, despite resistance.
The Three and Five Anti-movements, 1951 and 1952
Three Anti-movement: waste, corruption, inefficiency.
Five Anti-movement: industrial sabotage, tax evasion, bribery, fraud, theft of government property.
Aimed to break the bureaucratic class.
Hundred Flowers Campaign, 1957
Mao was convinced he was in touch with the people and told the CCP it was time for a greater freedom of expression, inviting criticism.
“Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred schools of thought contend” – from Mao’s Contradictions speech.
Accusations of corruption, unrealistic policies, censorship and Mao himself.
Those who spoke were considered rightist.
Educated people had to go for “re-education” and admit their mistakes.
Party was purged. E.g. Zhou Enlai – publicly humiliated.
Philip Short – Suggests that Mao was trying to combine “a totalitarian system with democratic checks and balances”.
Jung Chang – Thinks it was a trick designed to flush out opposition.
The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76
Born out of Mao’s paranoia that he was losing control over the people after the failure of the Great Leap Forward.
Obliterate the record of the GLF
Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi were targeted for their role in the GLF and beaten.
Change society irreversibly
Targeted the new generation.
Massive transfer of 20-30 million people to the countryside.
500,000 people died.
Propaganda, censorship (reshaping culture), sensational campaigns, terror tactics.
The Little Red Book was created – originally for the army but spread to the civilians.
750 million copies, became national curriculum.
The Diary of Lei Feng
The story of an exceptional PLA worker who perished in his duty to the state (martyrdom and dedication).