• 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 Women, Landlords, Businessmen And Peasants Between 1949 And The Early 1960s In Communist China?

Extracts from this document...


How Far Did Life Improve For Women, Landlords, Businessmen And Peasants Between 1949 And The Early 1960s In Communist China? Over China's long history, through countless dynasties, the Chinese have endured immense hardship. Even by the twentieth century there was widespread suffering, and after many years of conflict culminating in a bitter power struggle and Civil War, the Communist Red Army finally emerged as victor and on the 1st October 1949, Mao Zedong announced the creation of the People's Republic of China. But this revolution was far more than a new flag and leader - Mao had massive ambitions for his new country. Before the revolution, the long- suffering people of China's 10 million square kilometres had undergone a hard life. The vast majority of people were barely managing to survive and women were abused, children starving and peasants had no land of their own. An "eleven year old" girl was put "in chains. ... She had been tortured and her face was swollen"1 by the Japanese. Meanwhile, a few despotic landlords and businessmen abused their power and exploited the hard-working peasants whilst steadily increasing their wealth. However, Mao had a difficult task to achieve in order to improve China try and recover years lost warring. The very nature of its vastness provides a communication problem in itself, and daily life and opinion varied greatly from province to province. A faltering economy, a quarter of the world's population to feed and disrupted infrastructure were all major obstacles but the Communists succeeded in introducing considerable changes over the years. Women arguably benefited most from Mao's new China. ...read more.


Mao recognised their importance and in turn, the refreshing air of the honest Communists meant that over 100 million Chinese were loyal to them before revolution in 1945. As the peasant population was so vital for Mao's vision of China, it's important to see how he changed their lives and how they benefited from a Communist revolution. Before the revolution, taxes were high and food sparse - though, the lucky peasants living in liberation areas benefited from tools, land, food money, freedom and interest-free loans from the Communists. Firstly, peasants (especially those classified as 'poor') obviously benefited from the land redistribution plan detailed above. Also, the aforementioned "speak bitterness" meetings gave the people a feeling of revenge and freed them from the all-powerful rule of landlords. However, despite receiving about 47 million hectares of land, a fundamental lack of tools and equipment meant many peasants couldn't cultivate their new land. This set-back spawned the idea of mutual aid teams - roughly ten families pooling their labour and equipment for a common aim. About forty percent of peasants had joined in schemes like this by 1952 and it spurred the greatest food production increase of the decade10. Peasants had to sell a small share of their harvest to the government at a fixed price but by late 1952, the scale of operations was stepped up. Lower-stage co-operatives started forming, involving thirty to fifty families (about one village). Peasants joined together and shared but although each peasant still legally owned his land, a low rent had to be paid to the co-operative as a whole. ...read more.


Earlier on, the Three Antis (and later Five Antis) campaign caused the killing of hundreds of thousands of people accused of corruption, waste and bureaucracy. Looking back, it's easy to point out the many mistakes made, but there's no denying some feats achieved by the Communists were remarkable. A revolution is "an instance of great change in affairs"20 and Mao certainly brought about a "great change". However, the question is, how did these changes affect people's lives? The peasants were influenced a lot by Mao's brand of Communism. Weighing up the ups and downs since 1949 I'd say life improved for the vast majority of peasants and guessing upon the outcome of Chiang Kaishek's continued leadership, they would be much better off in Communist China. Personally, I'd say that women benefited as a general group the most. The Marriage Law and similar rulings significantly changes their lives for the better and there was little brought about by the Communists that made life any worse for them. It was definitely an improvement on living under the Kuomintang and peasant women would gain doubly. The obvious losers in this revolution were the landlords and businessmen. However, for many classified under this category, if you followed the wishes of Mao, it was relatively easy to escape any major punishment. You'd still be reduced to the class of a peasant, and the businesses that were allowed to continue trading never made as much profit for their owners. Although many landlords and businessmen and landlords lost out and were even killed, if you played your cards right, things wouldn't turn out too bad. Obviously though, you'd never again see the rose-tinted days of KMT rule... ...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. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    Why did the Soviet forces lose the war? * The Soviet forces were initially successful; they were able to take control of the cities, but increasingly were unable to counter the guerrilla tactics of the Mujaheddin and lost control of the mountainous countryside.

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

    The Long March formed tight bonds between the soldiers and saw spiritual leader Mao back at the helm. Mao was a highly acclaimed leader and motivated his people well. In addition, on the way to the Yanan Soviet, the message of the CCP was spread to more peasants that won yet more support for the party.

  1. To what extent may the Great Leap Forward launched by Mao in 1958 be ...

    One of Mao's main concerns was China's population was outgrowing food production. In 1957 food production had grown 1% whilst the population had grown by 2%. Mao was distraught by the fact that the countryside's production was being used up in by the rural population.

  2. How did Mao first control the peasants, then the countryside and finally China?

    Mao assembled his troops and some of their families and started a march around China. Exactly where it was is illustrated to the right. The march started in 1934, with over 200 000 men, women, and children and he finished the march with about 8 000 people left.

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

    Part of Mao's plan was that of Land Reform: to develop the agricultural base of the country. All the landed estates were divided and distributed to the peasants. A local government was elected who redistributed the land, a communist

  2. Forrest Gump; the Modern Day Fairytale

    "Mamma says there's only so much money a man needs, the rest is for showing off." Forrest earns a fortune from his Ping-Pong and shrimping adventures. His mother taught him to be down to earth, he selflessly donates his money to charities, hospitals, and of course Bubbas family.

  1. American History.

    virtuous, self-sacrificing republic led by a merit-based aristocracy idea. Since leaders were to be virtuous, there was no need to fear a strong central gov't. Besides, there was the separation of powers. Antifederalists - the Antifederalists felt that weakening the states would?

  2. The Hollywood Ten - House Un-American Activities Committee.

    past injustice, rather than to recognize the movie, which was received as overly preachy and didactic, as well as unremittingly grim, by most viewers. Trumbo also contributed late in life to the political thriller Executive Action (1973), which dealt with an alleged conspiracy to murder President Kennedy, and the adventure drama Papillon (1973).

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