The PRC under Mao

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Describe the process of collectivisation in 1953

  • Mao followed Stalin's example, collectivizing agriculture
  • Party cadres were sent to create these
  • Initially this was done voluntarily by peasants
  • Land, and labour was pooled
  • Collective committees decided what crops to grow, and where
  • Land was still technically individually owned
  • This led to increased output, and China's towns would be free of famine for the first time
  • However, many of the party cadres didn't have a good knowledge of agriculture, which would lead to decreased output
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Describe forced collectivisation

  • All private propety was abolished
  • Peasants were 'paid' for the work they did on the much larger collective farm
  • Peasants were against this, and there were local uprisings against party cadres
  • QED: Collectives were again broken into smaller units. People could work their own land again, if they so chose, as long as they followed with the Party's plan
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Why did Mao initiate the Great Leap Forward?

  • To build an industrial sector in the countryside
  • To develop industry in a "Chinese way" ie. not in the way that the Soviet Union advised. Remember that Mao was very against taking advice from the Soviets, and that it had served him well in the Civil War.
  • To lift China from its position as a well-run third-world country into an industrial power, to overtake Great Britain
  • These principles of the GLF coincided with the Sino-Soviet split
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The structure of the government (lowest to highest

  • The NPC; 1200 delegates, meets 2 weeks a year for 4 years
  • The NPC congress; Standing Committee; runs business for 40 weeks a year
  • The NPC is subordinate to the State Council
  • The State Council is subordinate to the Chairman of the People's Republic and the Vice President
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Mao Zedong acted as:

  • National Chairman and Head of State
  • Chairman of the Central Committee
  • Chairman of the Politburo
  • Chairman of the Secretariat of the CCP
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The structure of the CCP (lowest to highest)

  • Central Committee; 210 members, meets twice a year over a 5 year period
  • CC submits to the Standing Committee; the Chairman and 5 others, holds the highest executive power
  • CC submits to the Secretariat of the CCP; the Chairman and 9 others
  • All of these party bodies submit to the Politburo, which handles the most important decisions, along with the Standing Committee
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Important things to note about Communist China

  • No Communist regime ever recognised any limits to the authority of those who hold power
  • No rule of law could protect individual privacy against the state
  • The structures of the stae and party could always be subject to revision (at party congresses) or could (in appropriate circumstances) be ignored
  • Likewise, the judicial system was ultimately influenced by the politics of the day
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Effects of the 100 Flowers Campaign

  • The CCP could be cleansed of those that weren't committed to Mao's vision
  • The movement gathered momentum. As the 'Anti-Rightist' movement, university, and school staff, scientists, economists, and writers were forced to 'confess' and submit themselves to re-education.
  • The 100 Flowers Campaign was part of a movement towards a controlled society in which all expression, whether political or artistic, had to meet the criteria of 'political correctness' as defined by Mao
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Why was the agricultural GLF a disaster?

  • Individual peasants lost the incentive to produce a surplus, as they were no longer working for themselves
  • Mao's belief in "scientific discoveries" based on Lysenkoism, which set the campaigns for "Pest Control" up for disaster
  • Paetry cadres and officials lied about the actual amount of produce harvested to beat other Communes
  • Since China was exporting large amount of grain, "hunger exports" and false reports caused the death of 20-55 million people
  • Chinese statistics collapsed, and can't be considered reliable until the 1980s.
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Why was the industrial GLF a failure?

  • There wasn't enough enthusiasm. 
  • Mass labour does not mean mass production of good quality
  • Party ignorance of basic economics (even Mao admitted that he had no knowledge of economics)
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Mao's explanation for the failure of the GLF?

  • Agriculture: Mao would admit that there was starvation, but his explanation in the "official version" was that this was caused by natural factors (remember that party cadres were only allowed to report up to 90,000 deaths in each commune)
  • Industry: Mao blamed industrial failure on saboteurs, bourgeois elements, incompetent administrators, etc, but he would never question communism itself.
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What were the results of Liu & Deng's policy chang

  • It was an admission that the Commune system had failed
  • Mao became uneasy with these pragmatic policies, which were solely concerned with stopping the mass starvation the Chinese population was suffering from
  • Mao felt his grip on the CCP loosening
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Why did Mao start the Cultural Revolution?

  • To reassert Mao's authority of China and the CCP
  • To ensure that his concept of "Permanent Revolution" would survive
  • To prevent the CCP from becoming a self-justifying bureaucracy, by appealing directly to the people
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What were the aims of the Cultural Revolution?

  • To avoid the "revisionist" development of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union
  • As the CCP and gov't officials had lost their revolutionary fervour (the Civil War had already been won) the only way to save Mao's revolution was to wage war against the Party hierarchy itself
  • It was time for a new generation to replace the old guard (keep the Communist fervour current)
  • The young generatino had not experienced the Long March or the Civil War. They needed hardening through military struggle. Only then would they be able to understand the future military attack which Mao predicted would coem one day from the capitalist west.
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What were the 4 olds?

  • Old thoughts
  • Old culture
  • Old customs
  • Old habits
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What were the consequences for the Chinese populat

Mass hysteria, as there were no moral restrictions on the young

  • Temples, shrines, works of art became representations for the corrupt past, and were labelled "Confuscious and Co."
  • The insult and abuse of parents were encouraged
  • The younger generation was brutalised. It was good to hit a "bad element"
  • All with "decadent tendencies" were attacked; teachers, doctors, etc.

Victims were brainwashed, manhandled, and often killed.

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What happened to Chinese culture during the Cultur

  • It became an artistic wasteland, since most of China's creative artists had been sent to labour camps to die
  • All non-proletarian culture was rejected, and political correctness was driven to the extreme: Jiang Qing only approved 8 operas as "truly revolutionary"
  • Love and family affection was considered "bourgeois sentimentality"
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What was the overall result of the Cultural Revolu

  • Economic consequences were disastrous
  • Education and training ceased
  • China lost its humanity
  • To be accused was to be guilty; ordered discussion and debate was impossible
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