Did the Chinese people benefit from Communist rule?
Communist rule changed China in many ways. Some people benefited greatly from these changes whilst many others suffered.
The peasantry benefitted from investment in the collectivisation and commune programmes. These granted them income, land and an education. The quality of housing often left a lot to be desired but on the whole these developments, for the peasants who were involed, were improvements on their previous existence.
The Chinese system of government had for several decades been subject to challenges. China had been embroiled in civil wars and international conflict for decades. Communist rule in China put an end to this instability which enabled policies to be implemented that gradually allowed China to emerge as a political, economic and military power.
China’s socialist revolution of 1949-76 resulted in a vast improvement in life for the Chinese people. Between 1949 and 1975, life expectancy in socialist China more than doubled, from about 32 to 65 years. By the early 1970s, infant mortality rates in Shanghai were lower than in New York City!1 All this reveals a profound reduction in the violence of everyday life. The extent of literacy swelled in the span of one generation–from about 15 percent in 1949 to some 80 to 90 percent in the mid-1970s.2
Let’s go a bit more deeply into the profound difference socialism made to most people. Before the revolution came to power in 1949, China had been dominated by foreign imperialist powers. By practically all available measures, the economy was near the bottom of the world development scale. It had little industry. Agriculture was brutal serfdom. China had the most ruinous inflation in modern world history. It had a vast criminal underworld of gangsters and secret societies, and almost 90 million opium addicts. For women, it was a living hell: foot binding, arranged marriages, and child brides were widespread social practices. Prostitution was rampant in the cities.
These kinds of social evils and the extreme polarization of wealth that existed before 1949 were eradicated by the revolution: through the establishment of proletarian state power and the creation of a just social and economic order that unleashed the masses of people and served their interests.
Only a revolution could, and did, uproot the feudal economic system in the countryside. The land reform and repudiation of peasant debt carried out under the leadership of the Communist Party in the late 1940s and early 1950s represented the most massive expropriation and redistribution of wealth from rich to poor in world history.3
The 1950 Marriage Law of revolutionary China established marriage by mutual consent, right to divorce, and outlawed the sale of children and infanticide. A new women’s movement, larger and more sweeping in vision than any in history, set out to break down the subordinating division of labor between men and women and to break down the walls of domestic life.
Quote from: http://www.revcom.us/a/1248/mao_china_setting_record_straight.htm Retrieved 1st February 2018.
Casahistoria – series of articles about Mao’s China.
WSU.edu – detailed article about the impact of Communism on China.
All Free Essays – a selection of essays about the impact of Communism in China.