The disastrous land reforms: Mao's China

Stalinist nations ( called Communist nations by the capitalist media ) are famous for their abuse of power, bureaucratic rule and mismanagement of their economy. Anticommunists also love to spread the lie that communism as an ideology is responsible for the death of 150 million people. Most victims of these regimes died during the major land reforms that the ruling communist parties enforced. In this series of documents we tell about the Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese and Khmer land reforms. The USSR, People's Republic of China, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam ( North Vietnam ) and Pol Pot's Democratic Kampuchea showed no tolerance or sympathy for supposed ''class enemies''. Millions died because of these disastrous land reforms!

The People's Republic of China is today a world super-power. A state-capitalist nation ruled by the Chinese ''Communist'' Party. China has turned from dogmatic maoism to pragmatic state-capitalism. It all started in 1983, when Deng Xiaoping told the world that China was open its labour market to foreign capitalists. Special economic zones were created were foreign businesses could do ''business'' with the Chinese. The experiments with capitalism were a huge success as China's GDP rose. Capitalists around the world praised Deng Xiaoping for his reforms! 

China was cut from the capitalist world for 34 years. After the victory of Mao Zedong in the Chinese civil war, China closed itself. Unlike the early USSR, there was no political struggle in China in the Chinese Communist Party. Mao Zedong had removed his opponents from the party years ago. In 1931, he became chairman of the short-lived Chinese Soviet Republic. After six years this republic collapsed as nationalist forces of Chiang-Kai-Shek, forced the Chinese Red Army to flee!

Mao Zedong and 86.000 Red Army soldiers marched 12.500 km, only 7.000 soldiers would survive the journey. After the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, both the nationalists and the communists worked together to fight the imperialist Japanese. The alliance stood for 8 years. When Japan was defeated in August 1945, the fighting resumed. This time the Chinese Red Army was stronger. Renamed People's Liberation Army ( PLA ) and with support from the poor peasants, the PLA destroyed the nationalist army. The government of the Republic of China fled to Taiwan as Mao Zedong entered Beijing!

Millions of Chinese peasants were very happy with the victory of Mao. But the ruling class of China was in a state of panic. Almost two million supporters of the nationalist government fled with dictator Chiang-Kai-Shek to Taiwan. The USA did not recognized the new PRC and kept supporting Shek until president Nixon visited Mao Zedong in 1972. With formal relations restored in the 70's, the PRC took over the ROC's seat in the United Nations. The Republic of China on Taiwan became isolated and was no longer recognized as China!

On the mainland the maoists took power. Millions of poor peasants were promised land, while the rich farmers were expropriated. Wealthy farmers were arrested and humiliated by poor peasants and member of the CCP. Feudalism was destroyed in a matter of months, the old system was replaced by a seemingly class less society. In 1951 and 1952, Mao began with his Three-anti and Five-anti Campaigns. He wanted to get rid of corruption and capitalism. His main enemies were the owners of the economy, small capitalists and very rich capitalists!

In the major cities 20.000 party members and 6.000 trained workers began to intimidate their capitalist masters. The party wanted to show the Chinese how the capitalists worked. They also intimidate business people and created an atmosphere of fear. These mobs would assault innocent Chinese pure on their class position. Shop-owners and wealthy Chinese were often victim of bullying, harassment and intimidation!

By 1955 the economy was nationalized and the means of production were put under government ownership. Like in the Soviet-Union, there was no democratic participation of workers and peasants. All decisions were made by the totalitarian state. A state that demanded total obedience from the working class. This is called a deformed workers state by some revolutionary socialists who follow Leon Trotsky's analyse of Stalinist nations! 

Unlike in the Soviet-Union, the poor peasants had high hopes for the collectivization of the economy. China was divided and mostly lawless and corrupt since the collapse of the Chinese Empire in 1911. The poor peasants were slaves to a feudal system were the wealthy ruled over the poor. Mao Zedong promised to destroy feudalism and to give power to the poor. So many were enthusiastic about the supposed ''socialist'' transformation of their society!

Internationally most anticommunists believed that Mao would be a Soviet puppet. But he and Stalin were not friends. The old Joseph Stalin did not liked Mao as he distrusted all communists who were not under his direct control. Mao Zedong was not under Stalin's control, that made the two leaders not close friends. After Mao's first visit to Moscow he wanted to show Stalin that China was something. But the old dictator had little regards for China. The USSR was industrialized by 1950, while China was still a peasant nation!

Mao viewed Stalin as a rival and ordered the industrialization of China. With Soviet aid he wanted to build a modern nation. Thousands of Chinese students went to study in Moscow and learned things they never knew. All blueprints for modern buildings and factories were of Soviet design as China had very little industry! 

The great land reforms did not started until after 1956. It all began when Nikita Khrushchev told his famous anti-Stalin speech. Mao Zedong was shocked like many other stalinists in the world. The Chinese dictator refused to accept a reformed version of stalinism. Mao remained dogmatic and revolutionary  He also opposed friendly relations with the western world. The Sino-Soviet split was the beginning of China's own road towards socialism as Mao called it!

In 1958 the Great Leap Forward began. The Chinese Communist Party wanted to surpass British steel production by 1968. So Mao Zedong ordered all Chinese towns to be reorganized as massive collective farms. Steel was needed, so millions of peasants were told to produce steel. Rather than build steel mills, small "backyard furnaces" would be used. The results were dramatic. The steel produced was worthless and unusable. Normal market mechanisms were disrupted, agricultural production fell behind, and people exhausted themselves producing shoddy, unsalable goods. Because of the reliance on the government providing and distributing food and resources and their rapid depletion due to poor planning, starvation appeared even in fertile agricultural areas!

Mao's Great Leap Forward led to a famine that killed 25 million peasants. By 1960 it was obvious that China was in a state of crisis. Mao lost a great amount of support as leading party bureaucrats started to complain about the Great Leap Forward. A critic of Mao Zedong was defense minister; Peng Dehuai. He was not a Maoist but rather a reformed Stalinist. Peng supported the Soviets and opposed the revolutionary dogma spread by Mao. It was Peng who as minister of defense, opposed the original rank-less PLA. Under his administration the army was again ranked. When Peng visited the peasants in the country, he was shocked by the results of the Great Leap Forwards. He attacked Mao Zedong head on and made him responsible for the famine that killed so many. The CCP was in shock that Peng Dehuai dared to attack their chairman. So the defense minister was removed from office and denounced as a ''rightist counterrevolutionary''. Peng Dehuai was also intimidated during Mao next crazy experiment: the cultural revolution!

25 million peasants died because of the disastrous Great Leap Forward. China's economy was in ruins, but Mao did not accepted personal responsibility. Yet his Great Leap Forward was a huge mistake and the party choose to put their chairman on the side lines. Mao spend the next 6 years in semi-retirement, while the party leadership choose to end the communal farms. Peasants were allowed to keep a part of their grain to sell on markets. In 1963 the People's Republic of China was attacked by the Republic of China, who landed on the mainland. Twenty towns were captured by the anticommunist nationalists before the PLA was able to drive them out. It was huge embarrassment for the maoists, that the nationalists were able to capture twenty towns!

Two years later Mao Zedong started on his come back. He first made his wife minister of culture. Jiang Qing was Mao's last wife since 1938. A dogmatic Maoist she purged the Chinese culture of its old traditions. Mao Zedong told his wife to purging art and literature of feudal and bourgeois themes, all things in China that were related to revolutionary activities were called ''feudal and bourgeois themes''. In the party chairman Mao said that right-wing forced were trying to take power. He pointed at reformists like Deng Xiaoping who would indeed restore capitalism. Mao Zedong and his wife started what they called the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution!

For the first and only time in human history, did a government used to people to attack a another part of the government. Mao rallied millions of teenagers and students to his side. He brainwashed them with intolerance, revolutionary dogmatism and semi-religious fanaticism. These teens became the Red Guard, a radical youth group who attacked Buddhist temples, who committed harassment against elderly and refused to listen to reason. For the Red Guards there was only one god: Mao Zedong! 

Millions of people were persecuted in the violent factional struggles that ensued across the country, and suffered a wide range of abuses including public humiliation, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, sustained harassment, and seizure of property. A large segment of the population was forcibly displaced, most notably the transfer of urban youth to rural regions. Mao told his youth to work as farmer, millions went to the rural regions only to learn that farm work is harsh and heavy!

Soon the People's Liberation Army became a target for Red Guard terrorism. Soldiers who tried to stop the violence were called ''class enemies'' and openly attacked. Army generals who were pragmatic and not dogmatic loyal were beaten en forced to bow to pictures of Mao Zedong in the streets. The Red Guards were protected by chairman Mao, so the police and the army could not stop them. Deng Xiaoping was attacked too, but he was able to survive  Millions were not that lucky!

Mao Zedong used the Red Guards to destroy the last remnants of religion. Like Stalin he opposed religion and used marxism as excuse to murder priests and religious Chinese. Again the Red Guards played a role in destroying old temples and ancient Chinese structures. People who tried to help were attack and called ''enemies of the state''. Mao's terrorist youth gang grew so fast it suddenly became a danger to Mao himself. The youth wanted an end to bureaucratic rule and even challenged the foundation of Chinese Communist Party rule. So Mao Zedong called to disband the Red Guards in 1968, but he lost control over the most radical Red Guards!

In the end Mao Zedong called student radicalism ''counterrevolutionary''. He ordered the PLA to attack Red Guards who did not ended their radicalism. In many towns and cities the PLA started to execute many Red Guards who did not wanted to surrender. Mao's brainwashing and radicalism made them so dogmatic they refused to surrender to the ''bureaucrats of the army''. Again Mao Zedong was responsible for the death of workers, farmers, students and teenage children. By creating the Red Guard, Mao already did a bad thing. But by ordering the PLA to attack and murder these radical Red Guardists, he betrayed his own creation. For us revolutionary socialists this is just one of Mao Zedong's many crimes!

Yet the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution did not ended in 1968. Mao kept the program active and used his own face in a massive cult of personality. He became more then just a leader, he became a god for million Chinese. His return to power was absolute, he and his wife Jiang Qing had absolute power over the communist party and the state. In 1972, Mao shocked the world when he allowed president Richard Nixon to visit China. The People's Republic of China and the United States of America started to have formal relations. Maoist China also got a seat in the United Nations, they took the seat away from Nationalist China ( Taiwan ) who represented all of China since 1945!

America allowed China to buy western civilian airplanes. Unlike the Soviet-Union, the People's Republic of China was allowed to buy Boeing 707 aircraft. China stood in opposition to the Soviet-Union and they supported governments that were anti-Soviet. China supported the regime of Mobubtu in the 70's. Although the dictator of Zaire was very anticommunist, he and Mao had one common goal: to fight Soviet influence in Africa. So the anticommunist Mobutu and the anti-Soviet Mao worked together! 

Mao Zedong died in September 1976, he was 83 years old. When the news of his death was announced the People's Republic of China came to a halt. Millions cried out of fear and desperation. For 27 years, Mao Zedong was central in their lives. Now the leader of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was gone. His wife tried to carry on his legacy. She and four other classic maoists were later denounced as the Gang or Four by the pro-capitalists around Deng-Xiaoping!

When chairman Mao died he was replaced by Hua Guofeng. This leader was a mixture of orthodoxy and reformism. Hua made sure that Jiang Qing was removed as minister of culture. She and her Gang of Four were arrested late 1976. They became the scapegoats for the crimes of the party and government. Hua Guofeng was the leader who ended the cultural revolution it was he who also restored the authority of the CCP. Since 1966 the communist party was in a state of chaos, there was no understanding who did what. After four years the Gang of Four were trailed. Today we know this was a show-trail. The Chinese government wanted to put the blame on leading people of the cultural revolution but not chairman Mao!

Hua Guofeng was put aside in 1981 and finally replaced by Deng Xiaoping who since 1979 controlled the CCP. Under Deng, the People's Republic of China became a state-capitalist nation. When little Deng Xiaoping died in 1997, he did something Mao Zedong never could. He brought wealth to China and ended poverty for millions. Yet the price for that was high, the bourgeoisie returned and is again exploiting the workers of China. This is why we revolutionary socialists call of a second Chinese revolution against the state-capitalist CCP!

Chinese peasants had great hopes.
They were betrayed and murdered by Mao's regime! 

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism