Mao's China: Establishing Communist rule 1949-57

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: rakso181
  • Created on: 20-05-16 12:03

Problems facing the PRC (1949)

 - Mao becomes new architect of China, having restored stability in China and making all political opposition impossible

- Industrial output drops as Japan seize productive areas

- 1949 - critical food supply - 1945: 30% lower than pre-war levels

- GMD (Nationalists) had paid for war by borrowing and printing money - 1000% inflation

- Farmers hit due to Great Depression in world trade causing steep drop in food prices 

- Many move to cities - 541 million 1949 to 587 million 1953 - demand for food grows

- Bombing had ruined economic infrastructure

- Long term underinvestment and under-skilled workforce


1 of 15

Creating a new political system: Gov. Organisation

- 'New Democracy' - right of democracy reserved for 'deserved' classes

- China divided into 6 regions 

- Sep 1949 - Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) with 600 delegates - appoint new Central People'a Government and approve the Common Progam

- Temporary Five Year Constitution guaranteeing the transformation of China with alliance of peasants and workers

- China not ready for socialism - working class co-operate with capitalist elements

- Larger personal freedoms and gender equality

- Army and police suppress all counter-revolutionary activity


2 of 15

Creating a new political system: 1954 Constitution

- China confirmed as a Communist country

- CP gain control of electoral program

- National People's Congress created as new legislator

- State Council replace Central People's Government 

- 6 regions divided into 21 provinces

- More bureaucrats needed to staff new system - from 720K 1949 to almost 8 mill 1959

- Mao worried considering the bureaucratisation of Russia and slowing down of the revolution


3 of 15

Creating a new political system: Role of the CP

- 1958 - Mao steps down as Head of State but remains Chairman of the Party (where the real power is)

- Zhou Enlai becomes Premier of State Council and Peng Duhai becomes Minister of Defense

- 4.5 million Party members Oct 1949 and 5.8 million at end of 1950

- Trained party members known as 'cadres' - ensure civil service, schools, legal system, local army are at correct standard

- Mass participation in Party encouraged - every employed citizen belongs to a 'danwei’ 


4 of 15

Creating a new political system: Role of the PLA

- Supervises the 800K conscripts the PRC recruit each year and enforce central control

- 1950 - World's largest army with 5 million men and over 40% of the state budget

- Reduced to 3.5 mill 1953 and 2.5 mill 1957

- PLA become more professional when reduced in size 

- New code of conduct 1956 - building awareness of needs of peasants on collectives


5 of 15

Creating a new political system: Democratic Centra

- Political decisions made at top level - leaders are the only ones sufficient in the science of revolution to make decisions

- Elections for village and town councils - entire process controlled by CCP with no choice of party

- Government decide what it best for society with no importance on the individual


6 of 15

Opposition: Re-unification campaigns (1949-50)

- Tibet (May 1951) - campaign from PLA to destroy Tibetan culture having

- Guangdong - taken by PLA in civil war

- Xinjiang - taken by conquest and negotiation and large number of Han taken for construction projects

7 of 15

Opposition: Use of terror


- Red (friend) and black (foe)

- Good, middle and bad classes

Crackdown on crime:

- Re-education camps filled up

- Relocation of petty criminals to countryside

Suppression of counter-revolutionaries:

- Luo Ruiqing (head of security in Beijing) pressures leader of Hubei to step up killings - 220 Jan 1951 to 45K Oct 1951

- Tao Zhu (the Tank) dispatched to Guangxi to clampdown on opponents - 46K bandit deaths

8 of 15

Opposition: '3 and 5 Antis' Movements 1951-52

Three Antis (1951):

- Targets waste, corruption and delay

- Small-scale are 'flies' and large-scale are 'tigers'

- Finance minister, Bo Yibo, in charge - boasted of hunting 100K tigers in E. China

- Mass meetings with managers and collegues denounced 

Five Antis (1952):

- Targets bribery, tax evasion, theft of state/property, fraud and economic espionage

- Top levels purged - Gao Gang and Rao Shushi accused of building an empire within the party

- Denunciations encouraged - many driven to suicide from humiliation

9 of 15

Opposition: The Laogai system

- Thought reform: self-criticism, loss of identity, indoctrination meetings

- 25 million die between 1949-76

- 350K tonnes grain each year by 1955

- 700 million Yuan from industrial products

- 9/10 are political prisoners

- Used to frighten to population into conformity

- Brutal conditions with violence, sleep deprivation, hard labour and poor diet

-1955: 300K new inmates after further purges

10 of 15

Opponents: The Hundred Flowers Campaign

- 1956 - After 1st FYP, Mao calls for an open debate about its results and future change - 'let a hundred flowers bloom, and a hundred schools of thought contend'

- Nov 1956 - Not much support 

- Demands the 'People's Daily' to show coverage of the debate and embarks on a staged tour

- Results in floods of criticisms and denunciations

- Mao rounds up critics, calling them 'Rightists' - the Anti-Rightist campaign begins

- Another 500K new inmates in re-education camps

- Mao's grip tightened and good will of intellectuals lost

11 of 15

Korean War

- American-led UN forces interevene when N. Korea invade the South in 1950

- Mao supports N. Korea out of fear from US bombing and also pressured by Stalin

12 of 15

Korean War: Enhancing CCP control

- Anti-US propoganda campaigns, promoting national unity - mass meetings and rallies organised by Zhou Enlai

- Many Russians used as military advisors

- PLA allowed to conscript people

- Basis of a militarised society instilled

- Foreigners forced to leave country

- Destroys remaining nationalist opposition

- Feb 1952 - germ warfare scare used for culling of dogs, flies, mosquitoes and other pests

- Forced donations and food requisitioning from countryside - taxes raised

13 of 15

Korean War: Human and Financial Costs


- Death toll at 1 million with majority being conscripted 'volunteers' - unimportant to Mao due to the vast population - his own son was killed

Economic loss:

- Vital industrial resources diverted to war leaving very little left to invest in social provisions and economic infrastructure - limits the success of the 1st FYP

- Lots of hardware and advisors supplied by Russia but had to be paid for

- USA place embargo on foreign goods causing 30% fall in foreign trade

- Forced requisitioning of food for army from provinces - causes famine

- 1951 - over 1/2 government budget spent on military 

14 of 15

Korean War: Enhanced international prestige

- China can claim to be most powerful Communist nation in the world having defended Communism from Capitalist invaders 

- USA intensify commitment to Domino Theory - Vietnam war, CIA in Tibet, China's refusal into the UN 1972

- N. Korea is preserved as a buffer zone against Japan

- Relations with USSR suffer due to lack of investment and air support - Khrushchev seen as a revisionist by Mao

15 of 15


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all China in the 20th century resources »