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Lecture

The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL215Y1
Professor
Lynette Ong

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Ernie Tam
2012-01-12
The Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution
Establishment of the PRC
The CCP restored national pride by reuniting the country.
Soviet model: urban-biased strategy favoring heavy industry at the
expense of agriculture.
Land reform in 1950: redistributed land from landlords to peasants.
National Pride
There were two major parties; Guomingkun (KMT)
CCP defeated KMT
oInitial reaction was one of europhia
oKMT was forced to Taiwan
Ching dynasty was brought down from Sun Yat-Sen
Country suffered from the invasion of Japanese.
The Communists had restored pride by simply reuniting the country
It was in chaos since KMT was unsuccessful in uniting the country as it
was controlled by warlords
The country was agrarian. In comparison to the Soviet Union which was
also a communist country, the priority of the CCP immediately it
assumed power was to revive the war ravaged economy.
And to eliminate political opposition. The CCP needed financial
resources to develop the country and it lacked the experience in
running the country
Background information
Before CCP took over there were guerilla groups, people who were
good at only fighting.
In the guerilla warfare, they mainly fought against the KMT and no
experience in running the country.
It was natural for the CCP to look towards the Soviets for economic
help
It is important to know that the CCP leaders had no intentions of just to
borrow from Soviets. Mao’s strong national sentiments did not let
China to just borrow from Soviets.
5 year plan allowed for the planning of what resources, strategies to
revive economy
5 year plan
Largely based on sivet’s experience
The CCP by 1956 had modified the Soviet experience. The Great Leap
forward occurred in 1957 afterwards.
It signified the fundamental departure from the Soviet Model. (to
summarize the soviet model had never advocated for a rushed

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Ernie Tam
2012-01-12
advanced strategy. Evne though it was a strategy that discriminated
against the rural group, it did not rush forward)
As the name suggests, the Greap Leap forward was Mao’s intentions to
rush forward
Soviet model
Urban biased strategy.
Rural sectorsAgricultural sectors where all the heavy industries are…
It is a model that favors the URBAN/industrial sector. It favored heavy
sector based on the notion that fast growth/tremendous growth
regardless of quality was of a paramount importance.
To be modern, the country must be urban and industrialized.
Urbanized and industrialized= strong/modern in the eyes of soviet
model
The model entailed concentration of resources in the heavy based
industrial sector
Extraction of resources to support the industries
The question was: was this model suitable for the conditions of China
at that time?
World Bank Survey (china was structurally different from the SU)
More agricultural than industrial for China. (in comparison to SU)
In 1978, 78% of employment in China was concentrated on agricultural
sectors. The percentage was arguably higher in the 1950s. Whereas in
Russia, it was much more industrialized to begin with. Half of the
people were employed within that industry.
Land Reform
In 1950, land reform was also adopted by Chairman Mao.
Land reform was an important policy because it redistributed land from
landlords to rural households. In a communist state, there was no
difference between landlord and farmers.
43% of cultivated land was redistributed to the rural population
Many landlords were killed
Political implications for CCP rule: It won widespread support
among poor peasants. These were the land peasants who were
underprivileged in the previous era. Land was confiscated and
redistributed to them. They would support CCP in return
It boosted the legitimacy of the CCP.
A new elite of village cadres from the ranks of poor and middle
peasants emerged to become power holders in the countryside.
In the previous era you have land lord vs. landless peasants. The rich
people had more political power. What the CCP came into power, the
wealth was taken away from the landlords and given to peasants
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