China, 1911-49 Revision Notes

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China, 1911-49
Revision Notes

This unit is in Paper 1 (along with the USA topic). This is the knowledge-based paper (no sources to help you!) so you must learn as much as you can from every topic.

This pack contains the most important information, but you will also need to use the notes from your folder and the booklets you have been given.

Make sure you can answer all of the exam questions that appear in this pack.
Exam Advice
China is examined in Paper 1 (along with the USA). This is the paper that you need to do most revision for. You cannot get high marks on Paper 1 without doing lots of revision.
Read the front of your USA revision pack for tips on how to answer questions on Paper 1.

Section 1

1: China, 1911-1916

(see page 4-9 in your booklet)

Why was China weak in 1911? (p4-6 in booklet)

  • The emperors had resisted change and China had become backward, especially its technology, industry and armed forces.

  • Foreign countries had begun to exploit China and its trade.

  • The great majority of Chinese people were very poor peasants.

Why was there a revolution in 1911? (p7)

  • Because China was already weak! (see reasons above)

  • The emperor (Puyi) was very young and the Manchu dynasty was very unpopular and seen as a failure.

  • The army did not support the emperor.

  • The harvest failed and there was a famine.

  • Even the rich, who normally supported the emperor, were angry about high taxes.

Dr Sun Yatsen, the GMD and the Three Principles (p7)

  • The GMD was a political party started in 1905 by Dr. Sun Yatsen (its leader till 1925)

  • Dr Sun and the GMD stood for the Three Principles of the People. These were;

    • Nationalism (stop foreigners interfering in China)

    • Socialism (give the peasants land)

    • Democracy (get rid of the Emperors and have a Parliament and President elected by the people instead)

Why could Dr Sun Yatsen not continue as President of China? (p8)

  • General Yuan Shikai agreed to help Dr. Sun and the GMD to get rid of the emperor, but only if he became President instead of Dr. Sun

  • Dr. Sun agreed to this because otherwise there might have been a bloody civil war

  • Yuan Shikai had control of the army, so was more powerful

  • Dr. Sun thought that Yuan would keep his promise to obey the Three Principles

Why was Yuan Shikai such a bad ruler? (p8-9)

  • He ignored the Three Principles and tried to make China into an empire again, with himself as emperor (going against the principle of democracy).

  • He gave in to the Japanese over the Twenty One Demands, which gave Japan control over the control of industry and trade in Manchuria and Mongolia (going against nationalism).

  • He seemed to care more about the rich people in China than the peasants (going against socialism).

  • He was not a strong enough leader to stop the warlords taking over different parts of China.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • What is meant by the term Three Principles of the People? (3)

  • Give TWO reasons to explain why Yuan Shi Kai was able to become President of China in 1912. (3)

  • Describe the key features of Yuan Shikai’s rule of China. (5)

2: Warlord China,


(see page 10-12 and pages 14-16 in your booklet)
Who were the warlords? (p10)

  • They were rulers of local areas of China and were often army generals with private armies.

  • They were not all bad, but many of them were brutal and greedy

  • They existed because there was no strong central government powerful enough to crush them.

Why was the time of the warlords so bad for China? (p10-11)

  • The peasants suffered terribly, paying increased taxes and being ill-treated by the warlords and their private armies

  • Many peasants were forced to grow opium poppies and so food production suffered and there were famines in some areas.

  • China's industry and transport began to collapse - attempts to modernise the country ended because the warlords were too busy fighting each other and would not co-operate.

  • China was no longer a united country and there was no real central government to keep law and order.

What was the May Fourth Movement? (p12)

  • It began as a protest against foreigners, especially the Japanese.

  • It began on 4 May, 1919, when there was a huge demonstration in Beijing against the Treaty of Versailles (the peace treaty at the end of WW1) because the Treaty gave Chinese land to Japan.

  • The May Fourth Movement led to strikes and prevented the government from signing the Treaty.

  • The New Cultural Movement grew out of the May Fourth Movement. It was based in Beijing University. Many of its members joined the GMD and CCP because they thought these parties could make China strong again. It was very important in boosting the size of the CCP in its early years.

  • These groups can be called nationalist movements - they wanted to make China powerful and to get rid of foreign influence in China.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • What is meant by the term ‘warlord’? (3)

  • Why was there unrest in China in the years 1911-19? (10)

  • Why was there unrest in China in the years after the death of Yuan Shi Kai (1916) to the Northern Expedition (1927)? (10)

  • Describe the key features of the May 4th Movement (1919). (5)

  • Give ONE reason to explain why the May 4th Movement (1919) was important in the development of the Chinese Communist Party. (3)

  • Describe the key features of life in China under the warlords. (5)

Why was the First United Front formed? (p14)

  • The first United Front was when the GMD and the CCP joined forces

  • The Russian Revolution of 1917 meant that the Russian government was keen to help other countries form communist parties too, so the CCP was set up in 1921 with the help of Comintern.

  • At first the Russians told the Chinese communists to join up with the GMD because;

    • The CCP was only small

    • It was thought that communism could only develop through industrial workers in cities and China did not have many of these at this time

  • Both sides thought they needed to join up to defeat the warlords.

  • The Russians helped the United Front by sending money and army equipment.

What was the May 30 Incident in 1925? (p15)

  • This was when a demonstration led to deaths in the crowd caused by foreign troops.

  • Many protests followed and lots of people joined the GMD and the CCP. (Similar to the May 4th incident in 1919 – but don't get them muddled!)

What was the Northern Expedition? (p15)

  • This was big journey to attack on the warlords in the north by a GMD army led by Chiang Kaishek (he became leader of the GMD after Dr. Sun's death in 1925).

  • It started in 1926 and by 1927 the GMD had defeated many of the warlords. In 1928 they took over Beijing.

  • The CCP also helped, as part of the first United Front.

  • Many peasants helped the GMD/CCP army against the warlords by rebelling.

Why did the First United Front end? (p15-16)

  • Chiang Kaishek did not like communists and ordered attacks on them, such the Shanghai Massacre of 1927. Thousands of people were killed.

  • The CCP was becoming more and more popular and Chiang Kaishek was worried about this.

  • Chiang's supporters were better off Chinese (e.g. landowners and businessmen). They expected Chiang to crush the CCP, which threatened their wealth and power.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • Why was the Chinese Communist Party formed in 1921? (5)

  • Give ONE reason to explain why there was co-operation between the Chinese Communist Party and the Guomindang in the early 1920s (3)

  • Give ONE reason to explain why the first United Front ended (3).

3: The CCP and the GMD – 1920s-1930s

(pages 14-18)

Why did the CCP win more support?

  • Concentrated on workers and peasants, who the GMD ignored

  • CCP promised to give land to peasants

  • The Red Army always treated the Chinese people very well – e.g. on the Long March

  • The Long March enabled the CCP to spread their ideas across China

  • In CCP-controlled areas (e.g. Yanan) the land was shared out among people, women were treated equally (e.g. foot-binding banned) and everyone was given education). The peasants liked all this.

Why did the GMD lose support?

  • GMD were supported by rich landlords and there weren’t many of them (c.f. millions of peasants)

  • Never defeated warlords completely

  • Attacks on CCP lost support

  • The GMD was more worried about staying in power than improving conditions for Chinese people

  • Chiang was a very brutal leader

  • The GMD left landlords in control of local areas and they were v. unpopular

  • Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and the GMD did nothing. The proud Chinese people were very angry at this.

How did Chiang Kaishek try to get rid of the CCP?

  • The Shanghai Massacre (1927) led into the ‘White Terror’ – this was a campaign by the GMD to kill all communists.

  • Chiang tried to destroy the soviet set up by the CCP – the Jiangxi Soviet

  • He did this by launching military attacks on the area - ‘The Extermination Campaigns’ of 1930

  • 1933 – the GMD put a strangle-hold around the Soviet until they gave in. Slowly starved the communists of food, fuel, weapons and ammunition.

  • You should now be able to answer the following exam questions:

  • Give one reason to explain why there was co-operation between the CCP and the GMD in the early 1920s (2)

  • Why was the Communist Party able to win the support of many of the Chinese people in the 1920s? (5)

  • In what ways did Chiang Kaishek try to destroy the CCP in the years 1927-1934? (7)

  • In what ways did support for the CCP increase in the years 1921 – 35? (10)

4: The Long March and Extermination


(pages 18-22)
What were the Extermination Campaigns?

  • They were a series of army attacks, by the GMD, on the Jiangxi Soviet, aimed at destroying the communists for good.

  • Mao suggested that the communists should avoid direct battle unless the enemy is running away; guerrilla tactics

What caused the Long March?

  • Chiang and the GMD army surrounded the Jiangxi Soviet, starving those inside of food, weapons, ammunition and fuel.

  • 60,000 communist soldiers and 1 million peasants died.

  • Mao decided they needed to break out of the trap – October 1934 100,000 communists escaped.

What happened during the Long March?

  • Travelled over 5000miles over very tough ground – Great Snow Mountains, swamps, desolate grasslands – often no food or drink. Many dies along the way.

  • One of the key events was the crossing of the Luding footbridge. This event was used by the CCP for propaganda purposes to show the heroic bravery of the communists.

  • The March ended when the CCP reached a Soviet at Yanan.

What were the consequences of the Long March?

  • It helped the CCP to spread communist ideas.

  • It secured Mao’s position as leader of the CCP.

  • It was good propaganda material for the CCP. It made them seem strong and heroic- extremely appealing to the downtrodden masses.

  • It enabled the CCP to survive – without it communism in China probably would have been destroyed.

You should now be able to answer the following exam questions:
Describe the key features of the Long March (6)

Why did relations between the GMD and the CCP change in the years change in the years between the Shanghai Massacre (1927) and the Long March (1934)? (5)

Why did the CCP suffer setbacks in the years 1927-34? (7)

In what ways did support for the CCP increase in the years 1921-35? (10)

5: The War with Japan and Civil War

(pages 23-26)
What was the Second United Front?

  • Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 – after which Mao and the CCP declared war against them.

  • Mao also called for the GMD and CCP to unite against the Japanese.

  • Chiang Kaisehek saw the Japanese invasion as less of a threat to the GMD’s power than the CCP and so initially refused to join forces with them.

  • It was not until 1937 that the GMD agreed to join forces in a Second United Front against the Japanese.

How did the war with Japan affect the Chinese people?

  • The war was extremely brutal. The Chinese people were subject to extreme terror.

  • Chinese people were raped, tortured and murdered in extremely high numbers. Over 4 million Chinese were killed and 60 million made homeless.

How did the war with Japan affect the CCP?

  • Because the Japanese controlled the coastal areas, the GMD government had to move to
    Chonquing. This was important for the CCP as it allowed them to move to northern areas and gain further support.

  • The CCP’s policy of driving the Japanese out of China was popular and attracted further support.

  • The bravery and determination of the CCP also increased support.

How did the war with Japan affect the GMD?

  • GMD officials shown to be very corrupt - only interested in their own positions and power.

  • The power of the warlords increased, loosing the GMD more support.

How did the war with Japan end?

  • USA declared war on Japan after the Japanese attacked Pearl Habour. The Japanese left China in 1945. America did no want the communists to take power in China so they had been supplying the GMD military and financial support.

  • By November 1946 a full scale civil war had begun. The GMD were in a much stronger position, having control of many key areas and backing from America.

How did the CCP win the Civil War?

  • The CCP controlled Manchuria from 1946 - taking over GMD troops and weapons; plenty of raw materials such as iron - helped by the Russians, who obviously wanted the CCP to win

  • The CCP used guerrilla tactics effectively.

  • The majority of peasants supported the CCP.

  • The People's Liberation Army was well-disciplined.

  • The CCP had tough, effective leaders.

Why did the GMD lose the Civil War?

  • The Americans would not send in troops to help the GMD.

  • In spite of a much bigger army at the start, the GMD was not successful at fighting. They were badly organised.

  • The GMD army treated its soldiers very badly so they didn’t want to fight.

  • GMD officials were brutal and corrupt - they were only interested in making money.

  • The GMD lost support in the cities as inflation soared and there were shortages of many goods

You should now be able to answer the following exam questions:

In what ways did support for the Chinese Communist party change in the years from the Northern Expedition (1927) to its victory in the civil war (1949)? You may use the following information to help with your answer. (15)

1927 Shanghai Massacre War against Japan

1934-37 Long March War against GMD

Section 2: Communist China
1: How did the CCP control China?

(see pages 2-5 in your booklet)

What happened in 1949?

  • The CCP had won the civil war against the GMD and declared the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

  • Mao became President of China and Chairman of the CCP.

  • The CCP moved very quickly to make sure they fully controlled China (remember, no-one had been able to do this since 1911)

How did Mao and the CCP keep control of China? (p2-3)
The CCP kept control through a mixture of ‘carrot’ and ‘stick’. One the one hand, they tried to win people’s support. For example;

  • Land Reform (the first stage), where land was taken from the landlords and given to the peasants – the peasants were very grateful.

  • Propaganda. For example, plays would be performed that spread the communist message and posters were displayed all over China. Sometimes, loudspeakers blared out messages as people worked.

  • Policies towards women. For example, the Marriage Law banned bigamy and women were also allowed to do jobs they had never done before. Lots of them supported the CCP as a result.

  • Education. The CCP brought education to millions of people for the first time. This was very popular. But they also used education to indoctrinate Chinese schoolchildren. Teachers had to teach about communist beliefs and children were brought up to worship Mao and the CCP.

On the other hand, the Mao made sure that no-one dared oppose him. For example;

  • After the CCP came to power in 1949, thousands of suspected GMD supporters were killed – especially in the cities - or sent to prison camps.

  • Up to a million landlords were killed in the early 1950s during the first stage of land reform (landlords would obviously have opposed the CCP).

  • The Red Army (CCP’s army) kept tight control of the country and was ready to arrest anyone who showed signs of opposing the CCP.

  • No political parties other than the CCP were allowed to exist.

  • All organisations apart from the CCP were banned – e.g. churches and religion were banned.

  • People were terrified of being labeled a ‘counter-revolutionary’ and didn’t dare speak out against the CCP in case they were arrested.

What was ‘Thought Reform’? (p3)

  • Thought reform was started in the early 1950's.

  • People studied Mao's ideas and were made to give up any "wrong" ideas.

  • There was a great deal of bullying and pressure, and stubborn people were sent to labour camp for "re-education".

Now you should be able to answer this exam question.

  • In what ways did Mao Zedong maintain control over the people of China in the 1950s and early 1960s? You may use the following information to help you with your answer. (15)



Use of the Red Army

Land Reform

2: Land Reform

(see pages 2-5 in your booklet)

What were ‘People’s Courts’ and ‘Speak Bitterness

Meetings’? (p4-5)

  • On of the first things the CCP did when they came to power was start the process of land reform with the Land Reform Law, 1950.

  • Land was forcibly taken off the landlords and given to the peasants.

  • At the same time, peasants were encouraged to come to meetings and display their anger at the way their landlords had treated them in the past. These were called speak bitterness meetings. Often they ended up with landlords being beaten up and killed.

  • People’s Courts were very similar. Here, ex-landlords would be accused of crimes and were virtually always found guilty and executed (see the sources of page 4-5 of your booklet).

Why did Mao introduce Land Reform?

  • To win the support of the peasants by giving them land.

  • To enable him to get rid of the landlords (who would have opposed him).

  • To make farming more efficient. Previously, there was no incentive for landlords to use modern techniques because they could just use the peasants. Equally, there was no incentive for the peasants to work hard because they couldn’t keep or sell all the crops they produced.

  • The speak bitterness meetings and People’s Courts were a way of getting the peasants to blame landlords for their problems, not the CCP.

What was the next stage in Land Reform?

  • After the Land Reform Law, 1950, the CCP completely changed the direction of agricultural policy.

  • Instead of peasants being allowed to own their own land and make profits on it, they were gradually forced to share land between them. This process was called collectivisation (i.e. the land being collected into bigger areas).

  • Eventually, most people lived in massive People’s Communes (see the section on the Great Leap Forward).

  • Remember, collectivisation happened all through the 1950s and 1960s – including what happened during the Great Leap Forward!

Why was Collectivisation used?

  • The collectives (or communes) were more efficient because modern machinery (e.g. tractors) could be shared. Peasants would not have been able to afford it on their own.

  • Collectives also allowed the CCP to control the peasants. CCP members could keep a close eye on them in the communes and feed them with propaganda.

  • It was also part of communist ideology – everything should be shared by the people and there should be no private property.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • What was meant by the term ‘People’s Court’? (3)

  • Why did Mao introduce the ‘People’s Courts’? (3)

  • Why were many landlords in China killed after the Communist Party came to power? (5)

  • Give ONE reason to explain why Mao Zedong wished to introduce land reform in China after he came to power in 1949. (3)

  • Explain what is meant by ‘collectivisation’ (3)

3: Women
How did the role of Women change under the CCP?

  • Traditionally in China, women were not regarded as equal to men.

  • Often, baby girls were killed because their families could not afford to keep them.

  • They were also forced to have their feet bound, in an ancient custom, if they were to ever find a husband

  • The CCP did a lot to bring equality to women.

  • The Marriage Law, 1950 banned bigamy and foot-binding was stamped out. The CCP also tried to stop the practice of killing unwanted babies.

  • Women were given education as well as men and many got jobs such as doctors and scientists.

  • Creches (places for children to be looked after) were introduced in work places so women could work while their children were looked after.

Now you should be able to answer this exam question

  • In what ways did the role of women in China change in the years 1949-1976? (7)

4: The 5 Year Plan

(see page 7 in your booklet)

What was the First Five-Year Plan?

  • It started in 1952 and was an attempt to improve China's economy (which was in a bad state) quickly.

  • A new currency (the yuan) was introduced and prices and wages were fixed to reduce inflation.

  • Heavy industries like coal, steel and oil were the focus and targets were set for their improvement.

  • Russia sent thousands of expert advisers to help improve industry.

  • Millions went to live in cities to find work in the new factories. In some cities, there was a shortage of housing and sometimes of food.

  • Overall, it was a success. A very high growth of 9% was achieved and most of the production targets were met. Industry – especially heavy industry – significantly improved over the 5 years between 1952 and 1957.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • What is meant by the term ‘Five-Year Plan’? (3)

  • Why did Mao Zedong try to change the organisation of industry in China in the years after 1949? (5) (n.b. you would need to mention the Great Leap Forward here too)

5: 100 Flowers Campaign

(see pages 8-9 in your booklet)

What was the Hundred Flowers campaign?

  • In 1957 Mao asked for criticism and discussion about China's problems and the ways the government were using to change things

Why did Mao start the campaign?
No-one really knows, but…

  • Maybe he really wanted more freedom of discussion and for ordinary people to get involved in politics (and didn’t expect much criticism).

  • Maybe he wanted people to criticise local communist leaders, some of whom he had heard had not been treating the local people fairly.

  • Maybe he wanted to catch out people who were against him (lure ‘snakes out of lairs’).

What happened when the campaign began?

  • There was a lot of criticism of the Five Year Plan and its effects, especially by middle class people such as teachers, writers and artists.

  • Party leaders and officials were criticised for being corrupt or inefficient.

  • Even Mao himself was criticised by some people.

What were the consequences of the campaign?

  • He ended the campaign and punished people who had been critical.

  • He began an ‘Anti-Rightist’ movement, which was directed by Deng Ziaoping.

  • Most of the critics were arrested, lost their jobs and were sent to labour camps for ‘re-education’.

  • Altogether, about 500,000 people were punished.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • Describe the key features of the ‘One Hundred Flowers campaign’. (5)

  • Why did Mao Zedong end the ‘One Hundred Flowers’ campaign? (5)

  • Describe the key features of the ‘One Hundred Flowers’ campaign. (5)

6: The Great Leap Forward

(see pages 10-14 in your booklet)

What was the Great Leap Forward?

  • This was the name given to the Second Five-Year Plan, starting in 1957. It had two main aims.

  • First, it was a plan to modernise China’s industry and make it into a powerful industrial country within fifteen years.

  • Second, it was meant to modernise Chinese agriculture so that enough food could be grown to feed the population.

What happened during the Great Leap Forward?

  • Mao believed the key to its success was to use the millions of peasants in China to do the work – instead of machinery and experts, who he distrusted.

  • Instead of building big factories in cities, the CCP encouraged peasants to set up small-scale industries in the countryside (called the ‘industrialisation of the countryside’). For example, they had to make steel in backyard blast furnaces.

  • To improve agriculture, massive schemes of irrigation and dams were planned, to be built by enormous armies of labourers.

  • People were forced to live in People's Communes, units of up to 30,000 peasants. In a Commune, peasants lived in barracks, ate in canteens and gave up their small plots of land. (see pages 10-11 for more details).

  • Targets were set for every village, commune and factory. These targets were extremely high and people were too scared to argue with them.

Why was the Great Leap Forward such a failure?

  • The Great Leap Forward was a terrible disaster.

  • The peasant industries did not work properly – no-one had the expertise to run them properly. E.g. the steel produced in the backyard furnaces was so poor it could not be used.

  • People lied about the amount they had produced because they were scared of what would happen to them if they did not meet their targets. This meant that even crazier targets were set.

  • Foolish ideas like ploughing deep, planting crops too closely together and killing birds led to poor harvests.

  • Peasants neglected the farms to look after the industries and a disastrous famine began (1959-1961). At least 16 million people died of starvation. (see pages 12-13

  • No-one dared criticise the plan for fear of being labelled a ‘rightist’ or a ‘counter-revolutionary’.

What effect did the failure of the Great Leap Forward have on Mao and the CCP?

  • Mao eventually admitted that mistakes had been made and had to resign as President of China - but kept his job as Chairman of the CCP.

  • In 1962 Deng Ziaoping and Liu Shaoqui took over the running of the economy and changed it a lot. E.g. they allowed peasants to have their private plots of land again so that more food could be produced.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • Why did Mao Zedong introduce the Great Leap Forward? (5)

  • Describe the key features of the Great Leap Forward. (7)

  • Why was the Great Leap Forward unsuccessful? (7)

  • Why were many of Mao Zedong’s industrial and agricultural policies unsuccessful in the 1950s and 1960s? (15)

7: The Cultural Revolution

(see pages 15-18 in your booklet

Why did Mao start the Cultural Revolution in 1966? (p15)
Mao said he started the Cultural Revolution because;

  • He thought that China was becoming too westernised (following the capitalist road) and that CCP leaders were better off than ordinary people.

  • There were too many experts in China and they were damaging the country .

However, the real reasons he started it were that;

  • He wanted to regain the power he lost after the failure of the Great Leap Forward (he complained he was being treated like a ‘dead ancestor’).

  • He wanted to get rid of Deng and Liu.

  • He may have been influenced by his wife, Jiang Qing.

What happened during the Cultural Revolution?

  • Mao knew that ordinary Chinese, especially the young, idolised him so he set up the Red Guards. These were groups of young people who studied his ideas (in the Little Red Book) and basically worshipped Mao almost like a god (or emperor!)

  • Huge demonstrations were held in Tiananmen Square, Beijing and posters and pictures of Mao were put up everywhere

  • The Red Guards were told to attack anyone in authority - teachers, parents, intellectuals, scientists, civil servants, doctors… They were forced to confess to being ‘class enemies’ or ‘capitalist roaders’. Many were tortured and killed (see pages 16-17)

  • Liu and Deng were sacked and humiliated; Liu died in prison in 1969. Many local CCP leaders and officials were attacked.

  • The ‘Four Olds’ (anything to do with traditional China) were attacked and often destroyed (e.g. temples, art, tea houses).

  • Anything western was attacked (e.g. western music, plays, writing). Jiang Qing ordered new operas and plays to glorify the revolution instead

What were the effects of the Cultural Revolution?

  • Schools and universities closed for two years or more - a whole generation lost their education.

  • Industry suffered and production almost stopped by 1968 - the economy was in ruins.

  • Rival gangs of Red Guards began to clash and many old personal scores were settled. Law and order virtually broke down between 1966 and 1968

  • Many CCP leaders were arrested and sent into the countryside to work as peasants

  • Probably at least a million people died as a result of the Cultural Revolution

  • See page 18 of your booklet for more effects.

How did the Cultural Revolution end?

Mao ordered the Red Guards to stop their attacks in 1969, and the PLA was brought in to restore order. Mao announced that the Cultural Revolution was over, but it took years to bring everything back to normal in factories, schools and farms.

Now you should be able to answer these exam questions

  • Explain what is meant by ‘red guard’. (3)

  • Why did Mao Zedong introduce the Cultural Revolution in 1966? (10)

  • Describe the effects of the Cultural Revolution on China in the years 1976. (15)

  • Describe the key features of life in China during the Cultural Revolution. (7)

Did communist rule benefit the Chinese people at all?

  • Yes, in some ways, despite disasters such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

  • Their lives were tightly controlled (e.g. jobs were allocated by the government), but there was little unemployment.

  • Workers had eight-hour days and a week's paid holiday a year.

  • Pensions, health services and education were introduced for all.

  • Housing, electricity, water and transport costs were all subsidised.

  • Women were given a great deal more equality.

Other Exam Questions
The following exam questions do not fit neatly into one topic. Instead, you need to use information from different topics. Make sure you can answer them – ask your teacher for help if you can’t. Remember, for 10 and 15 mark questions, you have to write quite a lot!

  • In what ways did Mao Zedong change agriculture and industry in China in the years from 1949 to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution in 1966? You may use the following information to help you with your answer. (15)



Five Year Plan

Great Leap Forward

  • In what ways did life in China change in the years 1949-59?

You may use the following information to help you with your answer. (15)
The organisation of agriculture

The organisation of industry


The role of women

  • *Choose TWO items from the boxes below and explain why they were important in helping Mao Zedong remain in power after 1949. (10) (n.b. each item you choose will be marked out of 5).

People’s Courts


The Red Guards in the Cultural Revolution

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