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China Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward

Mao Zedong, lead the People’s Republican of India from it’s inception in 1949 until 1976. “Being a politician and military he the Chinese Communist party into victory during the china civil war.” (Terriss, 1980) During his last years in power (1966-76), Mao Zedong, the chairman of Chinese Communist Party initiated Cultural Revolution as a move to renew the Chine revolution spirit. The Soviet Union-China tension of early 1960s convinced Mao that, the Russian revolution had lost direction and he feared that China could be affected. As result of his fear of china following Russian suit and loosing its history, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution. The failure of programs adopted by his colleagues to rescue china’s economy from the depression of 1950s, made Mao to doubt their commitment in revolutionizing china; this necessitated the cultural revolution. His cultural revolutionary goals were: to instill revolutionary experience to china’s youths, to replace his successors with people of current thinking, to restructure his communist party and make some policy changes in education, health and cultural system.

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The China’s Cultural Revolution mainly affected people in urban centers but generally the consequences of the revolution were felt across the country. First, immediately after the revolution, the economic growth slowed down and the government was in capable of delivering goods and services to its people. This was caused by the political instability and the constant changes in economic policies. During the Cultural Revolution schools were closed and teachers tortured, this resulted to generation gap. This is because young people during the revolution were not given education and the only method taught to seek redress was by taking into streets. As result any educational policies adopted after the revolution left millions of these young people in meaningfulness careers. The arm caused on education system too many decades to heal. Shortage of goods and services after the Cultural Revolution resulted to corruption within the government. People reversed to traditional relationship and bribery giving to attain their goals. The effects of the Cultural Revolution right after Mao’s death made many people to abandon politics.

The China’s Great leap forward was a five year plan announced by Mao to develop the china’s industry and agricultural sectors which lasted from 1958 to 1963. After touring china Mao felt that the country had the capability to do anything and so he did come up with the plan. He believed that the growth of both sectors of economy depended on each other and hence the need to grow both sectors. The two sectors were related in that; workers in industrial cities need food which was only produced by the agriculture whiles farmers needed industries to produce modern farm inputs and machineries. Mao’s main aim of adopting the plan was that he intended to modernize china so that its economy could rival that of the America by 1988. The plan had some resounding negativities and positives.

First the plan resulted to growth of industries including cottage ones. Agricultural production increased significantly. Despite the progress the plan had brought later in 1959 things began to go wrong. Political decision replaced decision based on commonsense resulting to communes to do what they could not accomplish. Party leaders could order the commune leaders to do impossible and when the leaders complained they were charged with being disobedient. This resulted to production of machineries that could not be used for long time. Many workers got injured as they worked for long time and lacked sleep. Steel produced in cottage industries was of substandard and any building constructed using such steel could last for short period of time. The cottage industries had taken many people from the farm causing shortages in food while food demand was rising. Shortage of farm workers coupled with bad weather conditions resulted to starvation in some parts of china. By the end of 1959 Mao admitted the plan was a failure rather than success.

After Mao’s death power struggle to control China continued between the two factions of the party. The left wing wanted to continue with revolutionary policies through mass mobilization while the right wing was opposing such policies. Later, the restorationists group, advocating for central planning polices and reformers group which wanted to reform china basing policies under market orientation emerged. The reformers won control of china after several struggle.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'China Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward'. 24 October.

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