Communism & Reform in China

Communists vs. Nationalists


  • A bitter civil war was already raging between Nationalists and Communists when the Japanese invaded China in 1937. Even amidst the civil war China united to fight against the Japanese.

World War II In China

Mao Zedong

was the communist leader of northwestern China who mobilized peasants for guerrilla war against the Japanese.

  • The Communists had won the peasant’s loyalty through their efforts to promote literacy and improve food production.

  • The Nationalists in the south west were run by

Jiang Jieshi

  • He gathered an army of 2.5 million men and had the protection of rugged mountain ranges.

  • From 1942 to 1945,the U.S. sent $1.5 Billion to the Nationalists to aid the fight against the Japanese.

  • The Nationalist army, however, did not even fight many battles against the Japanese. They mostly saved the money from the U.S. to fight Mao Zedong’s army.

  • Funded with the money, after Japan surrendered, the Nationalists began fighting the Communists once more.

The Civil War

lasted from 1946 to 1949.

  • The Nationalists had the advantage in the beginning because of the massive funding they saved from the U.S.; the U.S. was also, still funding them.
  • Their army also outnumbered the Communist’s army by three to one.

  • The Nationalists began losing their numbers however due to that they did not care to win popular support.

  • In the spring of 1949, Mao Zedong’s troops captured China’s major cities.

  • THe Jiang army had shattered by then and the remnants of it fled south.

  • Mao Zedong eventually gained full control of the country in the October of 1949.

  • Jiang and other Nationalist leaders retreated even more to the island of Taiwan.

The Two Chinas Affect the Cold War

  • China had split into two different nations. The Existence of two Chinas, and the conflicting international loyalties they inspired, intensified the Cold War.

The Superpowers React

  • After Jiang Jieshi fled to Taiwan, the United States helped him set up a Nationalist government on that small island called the Republic of China.

  • The Soviets gave financial, military, and technical aid to the Communist China and in addition, the Chinese and the Soviets pledged to come to each other’s defense if either was attacked.

China Expands under the Communists

  • In the early years of Mao’s reign, Chinese troops expanded into Tibet, India, and southern, or Inner, Mongolia, Northern,or Outer, Mongolia, which bordered the Soviet Union, remained in the Soviet sphere.

  • In a brutal assault in 1950 and 1951, Chinese took control of Tibet but the Chinese promised autonomy to Tibetans, who followed their religious leader, the Dalai Lama.

  • When China’s control over Tibet tightened in the late 1950s, the Dalai Lama fled to India

  • India welcomed many refugees after a failed revolt in Tibet in 1959

  • Resentment between India and China grew

  • In 1962, they clashed briefly over the two countries’ unclear border and the fighting stopped but resentment still grew

The Communists Transform China

Communists Claim a New “Mandate of Heaven”

  • For decades, China had been in turmoil, engaged in a civil war or fighting with Japan.
  • When Communists took over the quickly tried to strengthen their rule over China’s people.

  • The Communists population made up only 1% of China’s population, only totalling 4.5 million people.

  • They set up two parallel organizations, the Communist party and the national government.

Mao’s Brand of Marxist Socialism

  • 10% of the rural population owned 70% of the farmland, but Mao took hold of the landlord’s lands.

  • His forces killed more than a million landlords who resisted, and he then divided up the land among the peasants.

  • Peasants were forced to join collective farms. Each of these farms was made up of 200 to 300 households.

  • Private companies were nationalized or brought under government control.

“The Great Leap Forward”

  • Called for larger collective farms, or communes. By the end of 1958, about 26,000 communes had been created.

  • Peasants who work there own nothing, and they had no reason to work since they weren’t getting anything in return.

New Policies and Mao’s Response

  • Russia and China wanted to lead the Communist movement, and the two countries were having numerous territorial disputes.

  • Communist leaders became for lenient to the freedom of families.

  • Factory workers could compete for salary and promotions.

  • Mao urged China’s young people to “learn revolution by making revolution”, and many high school and college students left their classrooms to form units called Red Guards.

The Cultural Revolution

  • The Red Guards led an uprising called the Cultural Revolution.

  • The goal was to establish a society of peasants and workers in which all people were equal.

  • Intellectual and artistic activity was considered useless and dangerous.

  • Intellectuals had to “purify” themselves by doing hard labor in remote villages.

  • Thousands of people were executed and imprisoned.

  • Chaos shut down factories and threatened farm production, and many thought civil war could burst out.

  • Mao finally had seen enough of the Red Guards and decided to stop the revolution.

China and the West

  • Throughout the Cultural Revolution, China played almost no role in world affairs.

China Opened Its Doors

  • Zhou sent out signals that he was willing to form ties to the west.

  • In 1971, Zhou invited an American table-tennis team to tour China. The visit began a new era in Chinese-American relations.

  • In 1971, the United States reversed its policy and endorsed UN membership for the People’s Republic of China. The next year, President Nixon made a state visit to China. He met with Mao and Zhou, they agreed to begin cultural exchanges and a limited amount of trade.

  • In 1979, the United State and China established diplomatic relations.

Economic Reform

  • Mao and Zhou died in 1976, and shortly after, moderates took control of the Communist Party and they jailed several of the radicals who had led the Cultural Revolution.

  • By 1980, Deng Xiaoping emerged as the most powerful leader in China.

  • Although he was a lifelong Communist, he supported moderate economic policies. He was willing to use capitalist ideas to help China’s economy. He embraced a set of goals known as the Four Modernizations, these called for progress in agriculture, industry, defense, and science and technology.

  • First Deng eliminated Mao’s communes and leased the land to individual farmers. Farmers paid rent by delivering a fixed quota of food to the government, then they could grow crops and sell them for a profit. Under this system, food production increased by 50%.

  • Deng extended the program to industry, permitting private businesses to operate. It gave managers of state-owned industries more freedom to set production goals. they also welcomed foreign technology and investment.

  • Deng’s economic policies made striking changes in Chinese life. As income increased, people began to buy appliances and televisions. They wore stylish clothes and listened to Western music. China also had a new policy of openness.

China Enters the New Millennium

  • The brutality of the prodemocracy movement caused Deng to be in control of China

  • Deng moved out of the light in 1995 but still remained China’s leader

  • Deng died in February 1997

  • Jiang Zemin the Communist Party General took over as President

China Under Jiang

  • he had no military experience

  • few general allies

  • he had challenges from rivals who wanted to shift away from Deng’s economic policies

  • other questions came up such as China’s relation with the U.S., its occupation of Tibet, and China’s poor human rights record

  • the Government continued to repress the prodemocracy movement

  • Jiang visited the U.S. and protesters want more democracy in China

  • he admitted there were some mistakes in China but he refused to say the China’s policies would change

  • he retired in 2002

Transfer of Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong was a large business center and a British colony

  • July 1, 1997 Britain handed Hong Kong back to China

  • Hong Kong’s citizens were scared that their freedom would be taken away because of the Chinese rule

  • others thought the change would reconnect them to their heritage

  • in the first four to five years after the change the control of the mainland of China over Hong Kong tightened

Mao Zedong Biography
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Makenzi Holland

Darcy Belcher

Mckenlee Davis

Jared KIrkpatrick

Gage Branham