Chinese Revolution (AOS2) 1949 - 1971

  • Common Program

    • "People's Democratic Dictatorship"
    • Democracy for the CCP supporters
    • Dictatorship for "counter-revolutionaries", landlords, capitalists and former GMD supporters
  • Fanshen - Agrarian Reform Act

    • Redistributing of land - "turning over"
    • 1951; 40% of land was in control of 60% of the people
    • Estimated 1.5 - 2 million landlords died (1947-1952)
    • Encouraged 'Speak Bitterness' and 'Frankness'
    "got their revenge on those who had oppressed them" - Fenby
    "education of the peasants into socialism" - Mao
    "ordinary people has qualms about persecuting their erstwhile neighbours" - Dikötter
    "the objectives of land reform also included information and control" - Morton
  • Period: to

    Korean War

    • First mass campaign
    • Resist America, Aid Korea"
    • China has "stood up" against the West
    • Included a movement against "counter-revolutionaries" (1950-51)
    "Mao himself admitted that there were at least 1 million executions and sober foreign estimates have run as high as 5 million" - Schrecker
    by "1951 80% of all Chinese had had to take part in accusation meetings or watch organised lynchings and public executions" - Leys
  • Speak Bitterness/Frankness Campaign

    • Landlords faced interrogation, banishment, imprisonment, bashing and execution
    • Estimated 1.5 to 2 mil landlords die between 1947 and 1952
    • Some estimates (including families) quote 2-4 mil executed, imprisoned or sent to "thought reform camps"
    • Coincided with the Agricultural Reform Act
  • Thought Reform

    • Directly targeted intellectuals
    • Used overt intimidation and struggle sessions
    • Schram claims over 30,000 meetings were held with 30mil in attendance
    • Public executions occurred and names were listed in the newspaper
    • 2mil estimated to have been killed by CCP (Meisner)
    Meisner: " at least 135,000 official executions during first 6 months"
  • Period: to

    Peasant Collectivisation - 1st movement

    • '51 40% of land belongs to 60% of pop
    • 53 peasants encouraged into 'lower-stage co-ops' consisting of 30-50 fams
    • '54 private trade banned and discontent grew; a kulak class begun by Land reform
    • '56 96% of peasants in higher-stage co-operatives (200-300 fams) only by Mao's encouragement
    "peasant individualism ... posed a threat ... to the socialist gals' of the CCP "Collectivisation brought neither the economic disaster some feared nor the economic growth its advocates expected" - Meisner
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    Sanfan and Wufan Campaigns

    Sanfan (1951) targeted corruption, waste and bureaucracy
    Wufan (1952) targeted bribery, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on gvt and stealing info
    - Allowed the CCP to eliminate private enterprise and bourgeois businesses
    - Retail sales (under state control) increased 306% during 1952
    - State controlled 95% of all foreign trade
    - Initiated culture of "informing against"
  • Mass Organisations

    All-China Federation of Democratic Youth: 18 million
    All-China Federation of Trade Unions: 10.2 million
    Young Pioneers (ages 9-14): 8 million
    All-China Democratic Federation: 3.29 million
    • All CCP controlled
  • Period: to

    First 5 Year Plan

    • Focus on Heavy industry (coal, pig-iron, steel, fertiliser etc) = growth of 102.7%
    • Overall economic growth rate of 9%
    • Life expectancy increases (37 to 56) by '57; 800 western hospitals ('57), 170,000 paramedics
    • Only 15% of pop benefit
    • 3x Primary school enrolments, 4x uni enrolments by '57
    • Urban pop inc by 40%
    • targets over-met by 17%
    • Agri growth only 2.7% increase
    "achieved considerable success" - Chang
    "meaning of socialism became increasingly ambiguous" - Meisner
  • First Elections

    • Over 18 universal votes (except landlords and counter-revs)
    • 10 parties (including CCP) contested elections
    • Established the National People's Congress containing 3000 members
    • State Council (apex of the Congress) was entirely CCP
    • CCP's Politburo of 15-20 were effectively in total political control
    • Other political parties were banned from contesting in elections by 1955 (only CCP remained)
    • Members of the Standing Council (top 5 of the CCP) held multiple high ranking positions
  • Hundred Flowers Campaign

    • Mao launched it to rid party of bureaucracy, allow "venting" of the people, secure his own supremacy or to "bring his critics into the open" (Fitz).
    • Failures of Marxism, entrenched bureaucracy, socialist realism and pseudoscientific principles were attacked
    • After criticisms of Mao emerged in July, an anti-rightist campaign was launched late 1957 and 100F was halted.
    • 2.9 mil accused of being rightists, 1 mil were Party Members
    • 300,000 were imprisoned
    "silenced the intellectuals" - Hsu
  • Anti-Rightist Movement

    • 2.9 million accused of rightist, 1 mil of them Party members
    • 300,000 were forced into labour camps
    • 3mil investigated, up to 400,000 exiled to labour camps and 30,000 executed
    • thousands committed suicide
    • Judicial system suffered largely, as lawyers were forced to move occupation and hence judicial power was exercised by political cadres and police
    "the purpose [of 100F] was to let... poisonous weeds sprout and grow" - Mao
  • Period: to

    Great Leap Forward

    • Aimed for 75% increase in industrial & agricultural production, 50% increase of income by '62
    • Mao aimed to industrialise the countryside
    • 600,000 backyard steel furnaces built, over 11mil tonnes of steel in a year, 3mil thrown away as scrap
    • Abandoned in '60
    "to revive the socialist goals and spirit of a revolution that was dying"
    "a legacy of bitterness" - Meisner
    "I take responsibility" "I am a complete outsider when it comes to economic construction - Mao
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    Peasant Collectivisation

    • '58 private ownership of land and private farming abolished, 700mil placed in 26,578 communes
    • Avg commune contained 5000 families, 4mil communal dining halls
    • Children put into nurseries and schools, adults all working on the land or the "backyard steel" and elderly into 'houses of happiness'
    "the once individualistic Chinese have become the most regimented people in the world" - Hsu
    "the state had become the ultimate landlord" - Fairbank
  • Peng Duhuai Expelled

    • Commander of the PLA
    • Spoke out against GLF at the Lushan conference in July
    • quoted that it the GLF occured "basically from a lack of experience"
    • Dismissed from his party posts
  • Period: to

    Three Bitter Years

    • Estimated 30mil Chinese died of starvation and disease as a result of GLF and Lysenko theory
    • Children and Wives sold for food, prostitution and reports of cannibalism
    • Reports of grain production were heightened out of fear of CCP and competition with other communes
    • Labour was taken out of fields and out towards steel production, worsening the famine
    "Sycophantic provincial leaders cooked the books" - Craddock
    "legacy of bitterness and mistrust" bt peasant and CCP - Meisner
  • Party growth under CR

    BY 1961:
    - CCP reached membership of 17mil, growing by 1mil per annum
    - Communist Youth League at 25mil members
    - Federation of Trade Unions at 20ml members
    - Womens Federation at 75mil members
    - Students' Federation at 4mil members
  • Period: to

    Capitalist Roaders

    • Leaders: Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi
    • 12% of commune land became private, rural markets re-established for market force, creating 1/3 of peasant income
    • Bourgeois specialists, wage differentiation and work hierarchy reintroduced. Light industry became economic focus.
    • Thirty formal ranks differing in income introduced in CCP, shift of power into the higher ranks, recruited upon technical knowledge
    • Campaign of "democratic centralism" launched '61-'62
    • By '61, economy was stabilised
  • Period: to

    The unfolding of the Cultural Revolution

    • '63 - '65 the Party half-heartedly attempted to address Mao's concerns by instigating a socialist education movement
    • Mao distrusted the pragmatists, was concerned about the revisionist movement of the revolution, wanted to reassert his authority and his ideology and close the gap between city and country life.
    • Wanted to provide youth with revolutionary experience and orthodox Maoism
    "determined to regain political supremecy" - Meisner
  • Formation of the Red Guards

    • June; closes schools to form rev committees
    • Red Guards formed after May 16th
    • Attacked the "Four Olds" (Sep) (thinking, culture, customs and habits)
    • Aug; first rally held in Tiananmen sq of 1mil RG
    • "Rebel" groups emerge; inter-factional violence - formed by Party officials to deflect target from cadres to "bourgeois authorities" and "bad class background".
    "bombard the headquarters" "right to rebel" - Mao
    "intellectuals...most conveniently identifiable as 'bourgeois'" - Meisner
  • Quotes on Capitalist Roaders

    "the price for economic progress... the decay of the spirit of Maoist ideological precepts...and an ever widening gap between town and countryside" - Meisner
    "conflict between radical Maoists and party bureaucrats grew increasingly sharp and eventually irreconcilable"
  • Group of Four

    • August 1966
    • Group of Four: Mao, Madame Mao (Jiang Qing), Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai
    • Madame Mao wrote 8 operas featuring Mao, purged Chinese media and literature and used the CR to enact cruel personal revenges on Zhou
    • Lin wrote 'Quotations from Chairman Mao' and his 'Selected Works'; selling over 1 billion copies and 150 million copies respectively.
    • Zhou attempted to act as mediator, but to no avail
    "She (Jiang) was the power behind Mao" - Hsu
    "I bit whom he (Mao) said to bite" - Jiang
  • Period: to

    Cultural Revolution

    • Violence begins after the closing of schools in June
    • Red Guards increase massively in population (at least 20mil)
    • Rebel/Alt groups emerge (Sep) against the Red Guards; all claiming true allegiance to Mao
    • Intersectional violence, party centres seized, workers radicalise, provinces declare independence
    • China recedes into anarchy
    • Mao calls in PLA to take control of cities
    • Feb and March; the Army suppresses radicals
    • Sep '67: country is told to cease all rebelling
  • May 16th Circular

    • Published by Mao in a newspaper
    • Proclaimed the beginning of the Cultural Revolution
    • Aimed to "expose the reactionary bourgeois" and "repudiate reactionary bourgeois ideas in the sphere" of arts and culture
    • Reaction to the allegory play 'the dismissal of Hai Rui' that mimicked Mao's dismissal of Peng Duhai
    • Red Guards begin to gather
  • Mao's Yangtze River Swim

    • 72 years of age
    • Media stunt to prove he was still 'vigorous' enough to lead China
    • Led 5,000 other swimmers
    "to the Chinese represented a National awakening" - Lynch
    "It's my revolution; mine to win and mine to lose" - Dr Li quoting Mao
  • First Red Guard Rally

    • 1 million Red Guards rally in Tiananmen square
    "It is right to rebel" - Mao
  • Wuhan Incident

    • July '67
    • Armed conflict between two factional groups for occupation of Wuhan
    • One group was supported by local PLA unit, the other supported by Red Guards; both numbering 500,000 each
  • Shanghai Independence

    • Shanghai People’s Commune declared independence
    • Power seizures occurred in Shangsi province and Harbin City
    • Feb and March; the Army begins to suppress all radical movements with thousands of causalities
  • Party members suffer

    • Red Guards attack Liu and his wife; forced into self-criticisms
    • Lost all rank and power by '68
    • Thrown into jail, where he starved to death
    • Deng was similarly stripped of power, as well as many other Party members
    • Zhou Enlai, who attempted to act as a mediator, was attacked by Madame Mao; who directed RG to attack and torture his two children to death. MM then forced Zhou to sign an arrest warrent for his own brother in '68
    • 3mil had been purged
    "The Party had been decimated" - Hsu
  • Outcomes of the GPCR

    • 12% loss in industrial production ('66-'68)
    • Public executions and Student rebels crushed by PLA
    • 3mil party cadres and 12mil students "sent down" to countryside for re-education
    • 40,000 killed in one province alone
    • At least 400,000 deaths, not including the victims of physical and psychological torture
    • China becomes a military state
    "ushered in a decade of turmoil and strife...drove the country to utter chaos and the brink of bankruptcy" - Hsu
  • Lin Biao named Mao's successor

  • Death of Lin Biao