What was the impact of the Communists’ social reforms?
Mao wanted to create a Socialist state in China. This meant that society would have to be changed. Policy was aimed at social changes to fit in with this ideology. Education was adapted to raise literacy levels and teach Maoist ideas. Agriculture was restructured to meet the needs of the peasants and urban areas. Industry was centralised and reorganised along soviet lines. The Military saw changes, with structural changes at times and the investment in new weapons. Society was encouraged to discuss and debate through the Hundred Flowers Movement, though repression followed.
Pro – peasants had a guaranteed income and were educated.
Con – people were forcibly moved, accomodation was poor and people who had been landowners lost everything.
Pro – made the vision of the party clear to many.
Con – many people were killed and the process led to in-fighting within the armed forces.
Five Year Plans
Pro – focussed on economic need and helped to get China back on track economically.
Con – massive environmental and human impact.
One China Policy
Pro – strenghtens national identify.
Con – leads to victimisation of minority groups and suppression of religious freedoms.
Source: Poster, 1968. ‘Whoever is Anti Chairman Mao will get his dog head broken’
Daily Telegraph – article looking at conditions for China’s peasantry.
Why did the Communist party reform in China but not in the Soviet Union? Academic article.
Wikipedia – The Great Leap Forward.
History Learning Site – The Great Leap Forward.