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The Social and Economic Changes Made by the Communists in China in 1949

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The Social and Economic Changes Made by the Communists in China in 1949

On his ascension to power in China in 1949, Chairman Mao said: “The People’s Republic of China will strive for independence, democracy, peace, unity, prosperity and strength.” Little did Mao know it would be nine years, and many reforms later that China would still be striving for those things.

Mao would start a whole series of reforms aimed to appease and change the public, starting with the Marriage Law. The Marriage Law stated that women had to be 18 years and men 20 years in order to marry; thus preventing the marriage of children which had gone on for years before Communist rule. Women were given more rights, divorce
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In line with advances in farming, the Communists had to make changes in the economy so that it could be sustained. The first major change the Communists made in this field was to take major banks, railways and a proportion of heavy industry back into public control. All the profits were taken from private owners and put into the State Treasury. In 1951, A People’s Bank was opened to replace private banks, and to remove inflation (such inflation that had been seen sky-rocketing before the Communists came to power). In addition, as farmers were producing more grain, to avoid food shortages they had to sell the Government 15-20% of their produce at a low price.

China needed investment to fund their ever-growing country’s needs. Mao went to the USSR to receive aid. Unfortunately, China received just $300M but more importantly a vital 10,100 engineers to fund their first five-year plan. China used this money to develop heavy industry, which was necessary to save the country from future turmoil. 700 new production plants helped China to double their output of coal, oil and cement and quadruple the amount of pig iron, steel and fertilizer produced. These types of advances had never been seen before in China, yet they did not come without a cost. Light industry, such as cotton making, was neglected whilst this
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