From October 1949 Mao was the undisputed leader of The People’s Republic of China.
In China, it was the Communist Party that really mattered. It took all of the decisions, while the government simply enforced them.
China immediately became a one party state. Anyone who showed any opposition to communism was labelled a counter-revolutionary or an imperialist.
To avoid accusations, Chinese increasingly tried to prove their loyalty by accusing others. This produced an atmosphere of suspicion and revenge.
Mao believed that the strength of the Party lay with the peasants in the countryside. He set out to destroy any remaining support for the GMD in the cities and ordered massacres of suspects.
All traditional Chinese religions, as well as other world religions were attacked. Maoist slogans began to appear on walls all over China for the first time.
The Chinese people were accustomed to being told what to do and followed Mao’s orders almost without question.
Mao realised that he had to offer the Chinese people something in return for their loyalty. In particular, he had to reward the peasants.
How was Land reform introduced?
This began with an attack on landlords. Landlords were forced to give up their property, which was then redistributed among the peasants.
Many landlords were then tried by village courts and often executed. Reform took no account of the size or value of the holding.
Mao wanted peasants to be aware that he was acting in their interests and that real changes were being made. So reform had to be a major issue.
Tenant farmers were given title deeds to their land and landless peasants were given plots. This gave hundreds of millions of peasants a stake in China for the first time and made them even more loyal to Mao.
How was society changed in Communist China?
Mao made real efforts to improve the lives of the Chinese people. Unemployment fell dramatically and insurance was introduced.
But urban workers had no right to choose where they worked and were assigned jobs by state labour offices.