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What impact has Mao had on the lives of the Chinese people from 1949 in the following areas: economic, social and political?

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Introduction

Question 1 What impact has Mao had on the lives of the Chinese people from 1949 in the following areas: economic, social and political? 1949 saw the rise of Communism in China. On the 29th September a "Common Programme" was draw up by the leaders of the Communist Party saying they wanted to bring democracy, independence and freedom of thought, speech, publication and religion (among other things) to China. China, however, was in a state of chaos at the time: inflation and unemployment had rocketed and the government was slow and inefficient. There was also a threat that Chiang Kaishek, the former leader of China, would make a comeback. However, Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist party, who had taken over power in 1949 made many changes to the economy, in agriculture and industry. Economic Changes On 30th June 1950, an Agrarian Reform Law was introduced by the Communists to help the peasants determine the social class of everyone in the community. These classes were: 1. Landlords 2. Rich peasants (employed others to work for them) 3. Middle/poor peasants Land was then taken from those who had more than they needed and divided among those who had less. Within two years, 40 percent of all cultivated land had been divided amongst 300 million poor peasants. The poor peasants were encouraged to hold "speak bitterness" meetings, where they could share their anger about their landlords who had mistreated them. ...read more.

Middle

Social Changes Many of these agricultural and industrial changes also had an affect on the people of China, as well as the economy. In 1950 a new marriage law was introduced which ended the practice of bigamy, arranged marriages, marriage of children and the killing of baby girls. The minimum age for marriage was set and the husband and wife owned property mutually. In 1951 a maternity benefit was introduced for pregnant women, so that they could receive wages for two months after the baby had been born. The Communist party in China was very good at organising the people of China. Mass campaigns were set up, like the "Three Antis Campaign" which was against corruption, waste and too much "red tape", and the "Five Antis Campaign" which was against bribery, tax evasion, fraud, theft of government property and spying. People were also encouraged to join party-run organisations, such as the Women's League for Democracy and the China-Russia Friendship association. As previously mentioned, the communes played a big part in the lives of people as well as the Great Leap Forward. They ranged from the size of a British county to just a few kilometres, and contained up to 5000 people, all living and working together in order to "release the tremendous energy of the masses", as Mao described it. The sole purpose of the communes was to control the lives of the people, by uniting several different tasks. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the end one million 'reactionaries' had been killed. By 1956 people were starting to lose faith in the Communist Party and had many criticisms about it. Mao decided that people should be allowed to express their opinions on the Communist Party and the running of the country. He said, "It is only by using discussion ... that we can ... really settle issues". This became known as the Hundred Flowers. However many people began to criticise Mao too much for his liking, so in June 1957 he had the critics arrested and people were no longer allowed to speak freely. Another way that the Communist Party controlled the people was with propaganda. They were encouraged to work long hours in bad conditions by posters and slogans. Loudspeakers in the streets and workplaces played speeches and revolutionary music to boost moral. Often people could be found working in appalling conditions with little more than their bare hands, but tasks were still finished in record time because of the propaganda and enthusiasm set about by the Party members. It was this propaganda that also made Mao so popular with the public. As a result of the Great Leap Forward China was left in a state of famine, and the other Party members wanted Mao to resign because of this. However, his popularity among the people was too great. Instead Liu Shaoqi became Head of State, leaving Mao simply as Party Chairman. More moderate leaders, who introduced more practical policies for the economy, now did the work of governing China. This, eventually, was to spark off the Cultural Revolution (see above). ...read more.

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