Communist China

China remains Communists and a major World Power

Communist power in China

Communists Take Power in China

Communists vs. Nationalists:

WWII in China: Mao Zedong was the communist leader in northwestern China who gained the peasants loyalty from their efforts to improve literacy and food production and used this to fight against the Japanese in the northeast. Jiang Jieshi was the nationalist leader in southeastern China who used his army to fight in a few small battles against Japan but saved their strength for the battle against Mao’s Red Army. The US sent $1.5 billion to help fight the Japanese, however, this money was often placed in the wrong hands and did not benefit the army very much.

Civil War Resumes: The Civil lasted from 1946 to 1949. The Communists were outnumbered 3:1 and the US sent nearly $2 billion in aid to the Nationalists. Since China’s economy was collapsing under the Nationalists many deserted to the Communist Party. Mao Zedong gained control of China for the Communist Party in October of 1949 and claimed it the People’s Republic of China. Jiang and other Nationalists fled to Taiwan. Zedong’s victory fueled US anti-communist feelings, which grew even larger when the Chinese signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviets in 1950. Many thought this was a huge step in communist campaign to conquer the world.


The Two Chinas Affect the Cold War

Nationalists covered an area of 13,000 square miles in China and the Communists covered 3.5 million square miles.

The Super Powers React: The US helped Jieshi set up his Nationalist government in Taiwan which was called the Republic of China. In communist China the Soviets gave financial, military, and technical aid, and they also pledged to come to each other’s defense if either was attacked. The US made attempts to stop the Soviet expansion in Asia.

China Expands under the Communists: Mao’s troops expanded into Tibet, India, and Southern Mongolia. In 1950 and 1951 when the Chinese took control of Tibet, they promised autonomy to those who followed their religious leader Dalai Lama. When China’s control tightened over Tibet Lama fled to India. India welcomed all refugees of the failed revolt in Tibet, 1959. This resentment of India for China grew and clashed briefly in 1962 because of the unclear borders. The fighting eventually stopped, but the resentment continued.


The Communists Transform China

China had been in turmoil for years on end, whether it be fighting in a civil war or fighting with Japan. The Communists used this to their advantage by moving swiftly to strengthen their power over China’s massive population. After taking control of China the Communists tightened their hold by setting up two parallel organizations which was the Communists Party and the national government. Mao Zedong headed both until 1959. Mao planned to reshape china’s economy based on Marxists socialism. He did so by ordering the Agrarian Reform Law of 1950 he took control over landlords farm lands and killed more than a million landlords that resisted. He then divided the land among the peasants and forced them to join collective farms to further his socialists principles.He transformed businesses and industry too. By 1957, china’s output of coal, cement, steel, and electricity had dramatically increased. Later he planned to expand his success of his first Five-Year Plan by proclaiming “The Great Leap Forward” in early 1958. This was a plan to create larger collective farms, or communes, but by the end of 1958 26,000 communes had been created and the peasants had nothing and shared everything. Therefore, they had no motivation to work. This “Great Leap Forward” was a huge set back. This industry life hampered growth. This program ended by 1961 due to crop failures that caused famine that killed around 20 million people. As China is dealing with their internal issues they’re also dealing with external ones too. They decided to split with the Soviet Union due to the fact that both strived to lead the worldwide Communist movement. Mao moved away from his role in government during this period which led China to move away from their strict socialist government. As he saw this he responded by encouraging China’s young people to “learn revolution by making revolution.” Millions of high school and college students reacted by leaving their classrooms and forming militia units called Red Guards. The Red Guards led the Cultural Revolution. The goal of the revolution was to establish a society where peasants and workers were equal. In the efforts to do so they shut down colleges and executed or imprisoned intellectuals. By 1968, even Mao admitted that the Cultural revolution had to end. At this point the army was ordered to shut down the Red Guards. Zhou Enlai, Chinese Communist party founder, began to restore order. China then began their struggle to become stable.


China Reform and Reaction

The Legacy of Mao

After the Communists came to power in China in 1949, Mao Zedong wanted to improve it’s economy. However, lack of modern technology damaged Chinese efforts to increase agricultural and industrial output. Facing economic disaster, some chinese communists talked of modernizing the economy Mao accused them of “taking the capitalist road” and began the cultural revolution in 1966 which made the citizens turn against communism.

China and the West

When Mao started worrying about China’s isolation to the world, he began to send out signals showing that he was willing to form ties to the West. In 1972 President Nixon made a visit to China to begin cultural changes and a limited amount of trading. When Mao and Zhou died in 1976, the moderates who took control of the Communist party jailed many of the radicals who had led the Cultural Revolution. By 1980, Deng Xiaoping was the most powerful leader in China. Although a lifelong communist, he deeply supported modern economic policies. He was even willing to use capitalist ideas to help it’s economy. The progress in agriculture, industry, defence, and science and technology was his set of goals called the Four Modernizations. By renting off land to farmers, food production in China rose by 50% in the years 1978 to 1984. For industry, he permitted private businesses to operate and welcomed foreign technology and investments.

Massacre in Tiananmen Square

In 1989, students sparked an uprising to protest for democracy. Shortly after, Deng declared martial law and ordered 100,000 troops to shut down the operation. 5,000 students decided to stay and and erect a 33 ft. statue that they called “the Goddess of Democracy”. The assault killed hundreds and wounded thousands.

China Enters the New Millennium

In Feb. 1997, Zeng died after a long illness. After that, many people questioned the new President Jiang Zemin. In late 1997, he paid a visit to the US, where protesters demanded more democracy in China. But, he couldn't promise that the policies would be changed. In 2002, he and Premier Zhu Rongji retired And Hu Jintao took over as President while Zemin remained political leader of the military. That year in July, Hong Kong was transfered over to China from the British

China beyond 2000

China demonstrates that the creation of democracy can be slow, fitful, and incomplete process. Liberal reforms in a specific area, such as the economy, do not necessarily lead immediately to political reforms. There has been a dramatic reduction in poverty in china; many experts believe that this is a result of adopting a gradual approach to selling off state industries and privatizing the economy rather than a more abrupt approach.

Lugoff Elgin High School

Mao Zedong Biography