Essay about History of China under Mao Zedong

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History of China under Mao Zedong

The Great Leap Forward programme was introduced in 1958 when Mao saw that a new middle class of "experts" growing up, calling the shots in high places of society. He also wanted to increase the country's production and catalyse industrialisation. Seeing an urgent need to lead China back to "true" Communism, he announced the "Great Leap Forward".

The Great Leap Forward programme is said to be an economic failure, as it did not meet its initial aims. The changes that were to be made were too sudden and the lack of expert knowledge was too great. There was poor weather from 1959-1961, causing a massive famine, which saw a total of 25 million deaths. Much
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b Only through the use of propaganda and control could Communism survive in China during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. To what extent would you agree with this statement? Explain you answer.

I agree with the above statement to a large extent. To carry out the Great Leap Forward, the government had to persuade people to join communes by a tremendous propaganda campaign but by 1958, all of China was organised into 26 000 communes.

From contextual knowledge, we know that life in the commune then was very hard. The members of the commune were not allowed to have any private possessions at all. They all received the same wages. Even families were broken up to ensure that all who could work did so. Thus, one can imagine the great discontentment among the people then. However, note that despite all the hardship, there is no mention of any uprising by the people during this period of time. It is said that perhaps the communes have broken down the Chinese people's resistance to change.

In 1957, Mao launched the "Hundred Flowers" campaign. This invited criticism from anyone. The result was an overwhelming response of negative comments that the campaign was stopped and strong opponents were sent for "re-education" (learning Communism through manual labour" in fields or factories. If this campaign was allowed to continue, I believe that it would have
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