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

To What Degree Did Conditions Improve in China?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Degree Did Conditions Improve in China? The first three years of the Peoples Republic of China were a time of momentous change that seemed to confirm that the intentions of the regime and aspirations of the mainly peasant population. Mao started by introducing a 5 year plan to help turn China around, and help its industry recover from the long war that had affected it for so long. Mao focused on heavy industry, mainly steel and coal, as these would be the main materials needed to rebuild the areas destroyed by years of fighting. As a result, light industry was neglected, and towns and cities began to expand at a very fast rate. The first 5 year plan proved a great success for China. In April 1950, Mao introduced a marriage law, ending some of the worst aspects of a woman's life; * Arranged Marriage * The Marriage of children * The killing of unwanted female babies * Bigamy * Ownership of property became equal * Divorce by mutual consent For the first time in Chinas history, men and women were both treated as equals. ...read more.

Middle

By this stage, the communists had started to lose their early popularity, and as a result Mao proposed that the only way forward was to allow the people to have free speech and discussion; 'A hundred flowers bloom' to quote ancient Chinese philosophy. As the people had free speech, some revolutionists started to speak out against Mao and the communists, and it all started to hit too close to home. Some revolutionaries and critics were arrested and sent for "thought reform", while others were sacked from their jobs. Following the great success of the first 5 year plan Mao introduced a second known as "The Great Leap Forward". This would see China surpass Britain and the US economically and this would be achieved "through the power of the masses who could accomplish any task whatsoever". To harness this potential the population would be organised into communes. These varied in size, but on average contained around 5000 families. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, this was a false dawn. Chaos began to reign 'on a grand scale'. The backyard steel campaign in particular proved to be a complete disaster. The quality of the steel proved to be impure, fit only for scrap. Worse still, one in ten people were employed in the industry, which meant that there were not enough workers to man the fields resulting in failing harvests. Matters became even worse in 1959 - 60 when bad weather decimated the crops, resulting in the mass starvation of 9 million peasants in 1960 alone. Rationing was introduced, but it was too late. The Great Leap Forward was a huge disaster, responsible in no small part for the deaths of 20 million peasants between 1959 to 1963. In conclusion, Mao began with all the right intentions for China, freeing its people from the harsh taxes and conditions of the KMT, but eventually he realised freeing the people and giving them the freedom of speech would have its repercussions. As a result, he became extremely controlling and eventually doing more ham than good to the people of China. Rory Ward 11H Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. From 1949 to the beginning of the Great Leap Forward in 1958, China went ...

    Results have shown that this Five Year Plan turned out to be extremely successful (see appendix 1). All production seems to have at least doubled by the end of the 5th year, in fact, exceeded the actual targets. This seems to be a huge improvement of economy in China, but at the same time, it created several social problems.

  2. Civil Service Reform.

    while delivery was to be in the hands of independent executive agencies. Each Executive Agency is headed by a Chief Executive with considerable flexibility to determine the structure and operation of the Agency and the pay, grading and recruitment of personnel.

  1. To what extent are the experiences of Yang Digong and Li Zucui typical of ...

    We're really not interested in politics. We are interested in getting a good job." This proved that students just wanted money to get on with their own lives. Like most people, like Yang did. Yang was a role model of Red Capitalism.

  2. How do these three posters persuade men to enlist?

    at the Battle of the Somme, as keeping up the morale of the country and maintaining positively at home. The postcard is simple and factual, but little is said about the mental and physical state of the soldiers. Some may have been severely injured and there is no way of

  1. Was the Great Leap Forward a ‘Tragedy of Good Intentions’?

    to understand every nuance of his meaning".4 The power he held centrally was given enforced when he cleverly created a situation where to disagree with his policies would automatically label officials as "rightists" and anti-nationalistic. Senior leaders did not dare stand up to Mao, to the extent they would fabricate outrageous lies such as the Xushui commune's Party secretary's efforts.

  2. How far did life change for women; businessmen and landlords, and peasants between 1949 ...

    not already a member of the Communist Party, or at least that's what the Chinese were told. In the years of the KMT, Warlords and the Chinese Emperors; women were seen as the inferior race to men, and had no political or romantic choice in their life.

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