Lecture #3-Establishment of the PRC, Anti-Rightist Campaign & Great Leap Forward
Establishment of the PRC
China went through tumultuous time since 1900s: Sun Yat Sen brought down Qing Dynasty, civil
wars between CCP and KMT (1927-37 & 1945-49) and Japanese invasion of 1937-1945)
The communists restored national pride by reuniting the country.
The country that the CCP took over in 1949 was largely agrarian and Soviet Union was its
mentor. Politically even though the PRC had defeated the KMT, there remained considerable
opposition to the communist rule.
Before that, KMT ruled China for 20-30 years. Therefore the priority of the CCP after it assumed
power was to revive the war ravaged economy and to eliminate remaining political opposition.
But the CCP faced several acute problems as it tried to develop the country
CCP’s priorities: to industrialize agrarian economy and eliminate remaining opposition
Shortage of financial resources and lack experience:
o 1) Shortage of skilled personnel.
The Communists were mainly guerillas and had little education, technical or
managerial training for them to become competent administrators or
They were badly needed to run the country. Therefore the CCP had to do
several things to cope with this situation.
Made of KMT’s officials and non CCP talent to manage the country
Recruited cadres of students
Hence that is why the numbers of CCP doubled from 2.5 million to 5.8
o 2) Shortage of resources and lack of experience
Running a country
China needed financial resources to develop the country and the CCP had lacked
experience in running the country but it had a lot of experience fighting guerilla
warfare in the countryside.
Once it really got into power, the CCP had to learn how to regovern a country.
Therefore for ideological and practical reasons, CCP had to look to Soviet Union
o It is important to note that the CCP had never intended to borrow from SU experience
without thinking it critically.
Mao was very nationalistic and implemented a 5 year plan
o Economic blueprint put up by communist countries to lay out the plan for next 5 years
o 1950-1955Based on SU experience.
o 1956Modified SU’s experience in the second 5 year plan.
GREAT LEAP FORWARD (1958)
o Fundamental departure from Soviet Model
Soviet Model of Development
Urban biased strategy favoring heavy industry at the expense of agriculture
Industrialization at the expense of rural agricultural sector
Divided into rural, industrialization sectors Ernie Tam
Urban bias strategystrategy that was biased towards urban sector, that favored heavy
Fast growth was paramount and to be modern, and to be urban. Anything that is rural is NOT
modernized and economically backward.
This model entailed in the concentration of resources in the urban based heavy industry. The
investment had to come from somewhere. Therefore the model will dictate the outflow of
resources from agriculture to support the heavy industry.
o In the establishment of banks, when rural members put money in the bank, the bank
would channel it back to the heavy industry
WAS IT SUITABLE for the Chinese economy?
(Insert Third slide of PowerPoint here)
China was structurally different from the Soviet Union
In 1978, 71% of its labor in China was employed in the agriculture industry and only 15% in the
industrial sector/ The GDP per capita was 400$ compared to SU’s which was $4000.
In the 1950s, more people were employed in agriculture and china was mostly an agrarian/poor
society back in this era.
SU was industrial based in this era. If china were to imitate unquestionably from SU model, it is
actually learning from a country that had a different economic structure. It meant extracting
resources from its population in order to make a small percentage of its population better. It
does not make much sense. (BUT CHAIRMAN MAO WANTED TO IMPLEMENT IT)
Second policy: Social Labeling
Social labeling in the countryside based on income source and property ownership: poor
peasants, middle peasants, rich peasants and landlords.
o Dividing people into different classes.
o In the countryside, you have 4 categories: look above.
Poor peasantslandless labor and hired labor.
Middle peasantsThose who worked on their own land
Rich peasants those who worked on own land but also hired labor.
Landlordsthose who owned the land but don’t work on it but hired poor
peasants to work on it.
o Among the four categories, the most disadvantaged was poor peasants.
Poor peasants were seen as the victors of the communist society and landlords were
condemned. These subsequently paved the way for LAND REFORM
Third Policy: Land reform
In 1950, redistributed land from landlords to peasants
o 1-2 million landlords killed
o Improved CCP’s legitimacy among landless peasants
o New elites of village cadres emerged to replace old rural elites
Widespread support among poor peasants and bolstered the CCP’s legitimacy in the eyes of the
The peasants became loyal supporters because they benefit from the system. Ernie Tam
Establishment of PRC (4)
Collectivization of agriculture
o Pool the land and labor together and people work together
o The produce and output is supposed to be equally enjoyed by everyone, at least in
o Small household farms were condemned as capitalists
o Seen as a way to achieve greater output
o It was done in 1952 and divided into various stages. It means pulling all the farms
and labor together and not the individual households working on the same land.
First stage: It was done as households
Second Stage: Thirty households together where all productive property
including labor, land, animals and tools are controlled by the collective. But
each peasant received their fair share of tools.
o Collective meaning collective entity. In communist societies, in stead of each family
making its own decisions, collective would mean making the decision
togetherextension of local state.
o Collective leaders are actually village cadres or va