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Contemporary Society in the People's Republic of China

by: Matthew Venema

Contemporary Society in the People's Republic of China

Marketplace > University of Washington > Sociology > Contemporary Society in the People s Republic of China
Matthew Venema


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About this Document

These are notes taken during class for both lecture and during documentaries. I type extremely fast and get most things down (though the spelling might be iffy -- I'm not great with Chinese names s...
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This 4 page Reader was uploaded by Matthew Venema on Thursday April 17, 2014. The Reader belongs to a course at University of Washington taught by a professor in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 132 views.


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Date Created: 04/17/14
Documentary Communists forged a new political structure Set up a network of party branches Local levels officials explained political stuff Propaganda quotPeople would have control of the country Poverty will be a thing of the past quotBefore liberation women had to do what they were told they had no rights Obedience to father before marriage obedience to husband after marriage obedience to son after birth Organized people into work units to provide health care education work etc Everyone belonged to a work unit At first people weren t comfortable but gradually they got used to them In the countryside changes were just as profound Mao won peasant support with promises of a new life Now he gave them land Told peasants to seize property from their landlords Encouraged peasants to humiliate and beat their landlords Hundreds of thousands of landlords were killed Nearly half of China39s useable land was distributed to the peasants Leaders of the party were those who had worked with Mao for years Mao believed nation needed strong international support Spring 1949 visited Moscow Stalin didn t even visit Mao for three days Finally agreed to a limited defense treaty quotmperiaists USA didn39t recognize Mao North Korea invaded South Korea UN sent 15 country39s troops to support South Korea McArthur was told not to go near China but he kept moving toward China and wanted to remove communists from power and was continually doing things to bring China into the war Mao felt the UN forces were an intolerable threat to Chinese society Oct 1950 snuck into Korea and took UN forces completely by surprise Spring 1951 war was a stalemate Chinese army suffered nearly 1 million casualties but the quotresist America campaign showed how Mao could mobilize the entire country Began a campaign against people INSIDE china quotEnemies without guns Encouraged people to become quotinformers using special letter boxes Thousands were killed or executed Crushed all potential political opposition Vast majority of people were not hurt by the campaigns things were improving Leaders and their families lived in a compound in the heart of Beijing Spent their summers at the same resort reserved for officials Supposedly the party was for all the leaders but really it was a recreational activity arranged for Mao danced to Western music haha With the help of Soviet advisors Mao39s gov t began many projects Looked to peasants to foot the bill Traditional peasants couldn39t afford it 1953 told peasants to pool their properties into quotcooperatives Coops grew very fast By 1955 almost 23 of the peasants had joined Mao ordered the country to move to the next level of socialization collectives Too much for peasants had to give up their land their tools their animals etc Whole villages Within months all of 6 million peasants were working in collectives Completely gov t controlled Grain rationed had to sell quotextra to fulfill state quota FIRST then the people No matter how much you grew you still have to give it to the state and couldn39t keep it Collectives didn t help peasants nor did it help production Gov t controlled quotnew ideas Like movies plays quotLetting One Hundred Flowers Bloom Universities started being covered in posters asking for change High schools criticized gov t policy Schools were mandated by state so teachers were firedhired at will June 1957 Mao wrote an article calling those who had spoken out quotRightists Denounced in meetings In an internal party document Mao thought that about 10 of the people were quotRightists Politicians took this to mean they had to find 10 people out of every hundred If you were taken by the army you had to quotconfess or they wouldn39t let you go 1 million people were condemned as Rightists Sent to jail or work camps Mao decided they were quotno longer needed Mao was also beginning to question China39s relationship with the Soviet Union Nationalists were forced to retreat to Taiwan and had US support 1958 Communists began to shell them Mao did not want a war with the US After a few weeks he stopped the bombardment Foreign conflict purely domestic matter Tibet Regarded by the Chinese as part of China 1950 Chinese enforced their claim by taking over Tibet 1959 Tibet revolted People39s Liberation Army crushed revolt As media leaked out China39s international relations deteriorated even more Mao always wanted to become socialized faster than Soviet Union 1958 Great Leap Forward To become the industrial equal of Western nations in just 15 years Making China work day and night by promising a better future quotCatch the Stars and Moon started very early and worked very late To make work exciting they flew flags shouted slogans etc Mao decided to visit some villages and see what was going on quotPeople39s communes are good Encompassed many villages Family life virtually abolished Children placed in communal nursaries while their parents worked quotTo overtake England and the US refine steel and we will catch up very soon People collected anything made of iron or steel Made small furnaces to melt them Biggest problem was keeping them fueled Used any kind of wood including coffins Built work sheds next to the furnaces For sleeping different ones for men and women Steel people made was useless Made pots and stuff but they cracked and leaked Didn39t have methods to create good steel just have people but not any supplies The point was everything iron or steel in families houses was taken and made useless No tools people were told to make more output in the fields quotThe corn will grow hire the more you desire After the anti Rightist movement people were afraid of speaking out One teacher spoke out and was accused of being a Rightist and not listened to Later learned the peasants were moving grain to single fields to inflate production figures State took more and more grain based on figures Output was 5 tons of grain 10 tons reported State took amt based on 10 tons Peasants began to starve Amt taken was to feed cities or rot in warehouses quotI wondered why the higher the official the more he tried to lie quotThere wasn t enough grain so we ate weeds Mao went to his hometown and discovered there were really problems in the Great Leap Forward Decided to moderate product targets Party met to made more reasonable goals The resolution was the Peng De Huay was against the communist party after he wrote a letter to Mao about the problems Other leaders agreed with Peng but no one dared oppose Mao As a result production was not cut Great Leap Forward continued through 1960 Peasants continued to starve The famine was very severe and widespread Newspapers didn t cover it at all To keep the news from spreading peasants weren t allowed to leave their areas quotAfter eating all the grass roots and tree bark they ate the earth Lasted three years estimated 30 million people died between 1959 and 1961 Mao39s vision of a new China created the largest famine in history Peasants were supposed to talk about the old society before 1949 to quotraise moral about how old times were worse before Mao and communism All peasants could talk about was the famine though Actual name for the famine in China IS the quotThree Year Natural Disaster Actually a policymade famine Gov t procured more grain than they should because officials were trying to quotprove the Great Lead Forward was working because grain productivity was increasing even though it was decreasing Competing to send more and more grain TEACHER Movement that preceded the Great Leap Forward Land reform Land reform was land redistribution Had been a key policy of Sung Yet Sen quotLand to the Tiller Not unique to this time of China in just about every Dynasty there was some sort of land redistribution In South China in 19501951 the first thing they did was undertake land reform Landlords Process of assignment of class status Everyone got an assigned class status Precursor to the land parceling out Had to meet certain criteria Poor peasants middle peasants rich peasants landlords etc In cities they had things like capitalist etc Disarmed everyone Confiscated property and redistributed it Other lands owned by schools etc and were confiscated More than just a land redistribution This was a party coming in and taking all the power away from civil society organizations or CK Young39s quotPublic Organizations Class struggle Not enough to confiscate the property Had to have a kind of violent theatre that opposed the peasantry aka landlords and rich peasants Meetings emotional rhetoric beating people killing them Established the party policy party policy is going to be violent and no one should oppose it Most Landlords hadn39t even been landlords that long just a couple generations quotTrickle down quotCollective narrative landlords are exploiting us and peasantry is no longer passive exploited class but the new rulers Taught people and involved them in this kind of narrative Made them essentially accessories to the Communist Parties Land reform movement didn t just reform land it actually liquidated society All the previous society didn t exist after that Confucian values swept away kinship society etc People who held the power if not killed their power was destroyed By degrading them before the masses Making the masses believe they39re quotbad quotexploiters over generations Overthrowing Didn39t GIVE land to peasants all the land was owned by the central gov t Peasants were given documents saying quotyou are allowed to use this land Stepping stone to collectivizing agriculture


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