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China's Economy: Communism to Today

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Lindsey Durham

on 17 February 2012

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Transcript of China's Economy: Communism to Today

China's Economy
Communism to Today
China has undergone many changes since becoming a Communist nation in 1949. Today, after making many market reforms, China has a rapidly growing economy.
Communists Take Over China
After WWII, the Communist Party arose out of opposition to the government that was already in place in China.
Peasants Support Communism
Communists had wide support among China’s peasants.
Rural Chinese peasants had long been oppressed by brutal landlords, high taxes, and the policies of a corrupt government.
The Communists promised to take land from the landlords and distribute it to the peasants.
People's Republic of China
Opposition to Mao
In 1949, the Chinese Communist party set up a new government with leader Mao Zedong.

Mao’s strategy included guerrilla warfare in rural China.
China faced many difficulties, including a crippled economy and the lack of a functional government.

Some of the countries that were opposed to communism refused to recognize Mao and his policies.
Question Time
After coming to power, Mao set about building a Communist China. His first concern was rebuilding a country that had been torn apart by years of civil war.
China Under Mao
Communist ideas shaped new government
Government discouraged practice of religion
Gov’t seized property of rural landowners, redistributed land among peasants.
The Early Years
Improvements in literacy rates and public health
Chinese life expectancy increased sharply over the next few decades.
Improvements came at a cost:
To consolidate Communist control over China, the government soon began to eliminate so-called “enemies of the state” who had spoken out against government policies.
Many thousands—including public officials, business leaders, artists, and writers were killed, or sent to labor camps.
The Early Years
Soviet Union (today is Russia) provided financial support and aid in China’s first years.
China modeled many of its new political, economic, and military policies on the Soviet system.

1950s: Territorial disputes and differences in ideology
pushed China away from its Soviet ally.
The Great Leap Forward

1958: A plan known as the Great Leap Forward created thousands of communes, collectively owned farms, of about 20,000 people each.

Each commune was intended to produce food and have its own small-scale industry.
The plan was a disaster; small commune factories failed to produce the quantity or the quality of goods China needed.

Combination of poor weather and farmers’ neglect led to sharp drops in agricultural production.

Famine spread through rural China; tens of millions starved to death between 1959 and 1961.
Great Leap Forward:
A Planning Disaster
Failure of the Great Leap Forward led to criticism of Mao.

By the early 1960s, foreign relations had broken down completely, and China was virtually isolated in the world community.
Great Leap Forward:
China Virtually Isolated
Cultural Revolution
A New Movement
Initiated new movement called Cultural Revolution
Plan was to rid China of old ways, and create a society with no ties to the past.
Cultural Revolution: The Details
Red Guards
Destruction of Society
Campaign was meant to eliminate intellectuals who Mao feared wanted to end communism and bring back China’s old ways.
Mao shut down schools, encouraged militant students, Red Guards, to carry out the work of the Cultural Revolution by criticizing intellectuals and values.
Mao lost control; Red guards killed hundreds of thousands of people.
By late 1960s, China on verge of civil war before Mao regained control.
Cultural Revolution reestablished Mao’s dominance and caused terrible destruction: civil authority collapsed, economic activity fell off sharply.
China After Mao
Reforms Begin
1976: Mao died; his death spurred a retreat of many of his policies.
China began to end its isolation from the rest of world in the early 1970s.
Four Modernizations
Deng Xiaoping eventually became China’s leader in 1981, and he helped put in place far-reaching market reforms.
Deng’s reform plan, FourModernizations, sought to modernize four different areas.
Science and Technology
China's New Economic Plan
More Economic Freedom
During the next 20 years under Deng’s system, China gradually allowed some free enterprise.

Privately owned factories began to make electronic equipment, clothes, computer parts, toys, and many other products.
Private Businesses
Some Chinese citizens were also allowed to run private businesses.

By the end of the 1990s, private businesses were producing about 75 percent of China’s gross domestic product.
China’s economy has grown rapidly as market reforms have continued. Today, China’s economy is the second largest in the world, behind only the United States. As the economy has improved, so has the standard of living for many Chinese.
China Today
Growth has also led to many challenges...
1. Large population, rapidly expanding industries
2. High demands on resources, environment
3. Must import coal, iron ore, oil, and natural gas to meet energy needs
4. Serious air and water pollution
China Today
Abuse of Human Rights
Criticized over the way the government treats the people
One political party (Still Communist)
Limits the people’s voice – don’t vote
No political freedom – protest, rallies, etc.
Numerous groups have called for a Democratic government and other changes and the government has used force to end those movements.
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