• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far did life improve for the following groups between 1949 and the early 1960s in Communist China: Women; Landlords and Businessmen; Peasants.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How far did life improve for the following groups between 1949 and the early 1960s in Communist China: Women; Landlords and Businessmen; Peasants. The years of 1949-1960 in China were indeed 'Years of Great Change'. Who could have predicted a civil war, a Communist takeover, a complete turnaround in the land ownership system (and the economy in general) and the launch (and failure) of a near-Industrial Revolution? Mao and co heralded a headfirst launch into the twentieth century for China's governmental system, that's for sure. But amid all the "reforms", how much did life actually improve for the Chinese population? This essay aims to examine what reforms were made, and how they affected the peasants, women, landlords and businessmen of China. Before China's Communist "liberation", it had been ruled by Chiang Kaishek and the Guomindang. Their Nationalist regime had favoured the businessmen and landlords of China. Chiang Kaishek ruled as a dictator and had his army of "blueshirts" to enforce order, just like Hitler and Mussolini. By the late 1940s, however, his rule was starting to become unstable, with massive inflation causing poverty for many people in the cities. He realised that his regime was doomed, and retreated to the island of Taiwan, leaving the Communists to rule China. Nearly everyone, even the landlords and businessmen, would have been happy about any kind of takeover at the time, as everyone's future looked bleak under the collapsing Guomindang government. ...read more.

Middle

Mao and his ragtag band of Communist officials had the peasants' support, though. Many peasants supported the Communists already; after all, they were the original worker's party, and they had been very popular in the liberation areas, respecting the locals and trying out some reforms with regard to land and women with great success. The first step he took towards his agricultural revolution was by profiling all the peasants and teaching them how to sort themselves into the classes mentioned above. Land was then redistributed between the peasants evenly. This table illustrates how the land reform system changed: % houses % crop area owned Before After Landlords 2.6 28.7 2.1 Rich peasants 3.6 17.6 6.3 Middle peasants 35.8 30.2 44.8 Poor peasants and others 58.0 23.5 46.8 The Agrarian Reform Law turned the land ownership system on its head. Rich peasants lost land, poor peasants gained the rich peasants' lost land and middle peasants stayed roughly the same (the increase is due to the heavy imbalance between landlords and poor peasants; there was almost too much land to go round after the landlords had been stripped of their land). The peasants had troubles, however: they found that they hadn't enough money or equipment to cultivate the land. Mao suggested that peasants therefore organise themselves into Mutual Aid Teams, groups of peasants who would share each other's land and equipment. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mao Zedong really should have been forced to resign after this; indeed, if Chinese society had not been so utterly brainwashed I believe he would have. Instead, he was forced to step down slightly, but was still a very prominent figure. And, crucially yet unbelievably, he retained the public's support after all his crimes against them. The peasants were still with him. But I do not believe life got better for peasants under the Communists during the period I have described. An improved living standard cannot justify the removal of identity from an entire nation and a famine killing millions. I do not believe that the Communists did a lot of good for the vast majority of China. The only segment of Chinese society whose lives improved markedly were women, and when evaluating the importance of the reforms to end sexism, you have to take into account that most women were also peasants. So, whilst they were freed from being killed at birth and so on, they were also left to die later on in the famine, or through overwork, since women now had to work just as hard as men. The lives of landlords and businessmen could hardly be expected to get better under the Communists. However, perhaps they were unnecessarily cruel; execution hardly seems necessary. But Mao's regime's performance regarding peasants is unforgivable. A peasant-focused regime making thing worse for peasants is unforgivable, and life indeniably was worse for peasants by 1961. ?? ?? ?? ?? 2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    How far were Maos agricultural policies responsible for the scale of the Great Famine ...

    5 star(s)

    Tools including those for farming, were also being melted in 'Backyard Furnaces' an industrial policy simultaneously occurring with agricultural production under Mao's slogan of "Walking on two legs." However, this dual focus meant harvests were not being tended, leaving crops to rot in the fields as workers felt the need to produce steel at the same time.

  2. Why did Mao Zedong introduce a second five year plan in 1958 and to ...

    In 1956, Chinese society was under a great strain, the cities were over crowded creating food shortages and housing problems. The peasants from the newer higher stage co-operatives were also complaining and the Communist party was loosing popularity with people criticising leaders.

  1. Why did Mao Zedong introduce a second five-year plan in 1958 and to what ...

    In 1953 the relations between China and the USA were again affected. The USA blocked Chinas application to join the UN (United Nations) because they did not want to accept that the CCP was the governing body of China. China felt threatened by the USA and wanted to strengthen itself so it could stand up to countries like America.

  2. During this piece of coursework I shall look at how China has changed since ...

    When they finally scrapped the plans Mao introduced the great leap forward the idea was to overtake Britain within ten years and America in 20. The great leap forward meant more moving around for peasants they were now formed into Communes.

  1. Why did the Communists come to power in China in 1949?

    Women were won around by the CCP as barbaric traditions such as foot-binding and arranged marriages were outlawed. The Red Army were also seen as a friendly and respectable defence force, their code of conduct stipulated that they were always to be courteous and honest with the peasants.

  2. The Roots of Communist China

    This is the atmosphere in which the CPC developed its leadership and growth in. The result has been a strong determination on the part of that leadership to eliminate foreign influence within China, to modernize their country, and to eliminate Western influence from eastern Asia, which included the Soviet Union.

  1. What social and economic changes did the Communists make when the came to power ...

    Despite peasants receiving more land they were discontented, as they had no tools to farm the land, hence many peasants joined work units. This reform saw harvests of crops increase greatly and the start of an agricultural revolution was nigh.

  2. The Long March is embedded deep in the psychology of the Chinese communist party. ...

    As a result of the war, China had to agree to open up more to trade from European countries and ceded Hong Kong to Britain on 150 year lease - it was the expiry of this lease which led to the return of Hong Kong to Chinese hands in June 1997.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work