Rise of the Communist Party of China
The Chinese Communist Party (PRC) led by Mao Zedong, won support among the common people, especially peasants. Mao promised to lower rent, redistribute land, energize industry, and uphold women's rights. However, the process of building this socialist society was violent. Hundreds of thousands of people died. In the early 1950s, the PRC began its land reform process. They mobilized peasants to take land from wealthy landlords and redistribute their resources. Women were encouraged to enter the workforce. They were given more rights through marriage and land reforms.
The Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward was a campaign launched by Mao in the late 1950s to industrialize the countryside. It called for small-scale factories and workshops, educational reforms, and the establishment of people's communes where people lived and worked collectively. The homemade steel program proved unsuccessful. Infrastructure was built and modernized, but agricultural output was poor and led to famines that killed tens of millions of people.
The Cultural Revolution
Mao introduced the Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960s to remove capitalism from Chinese society. Mao organized the Red Guards to destroy the "Four Olds" of pre-Communist China: Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. Much of China's cultural heritage was destroyed in the process.
Women continued to experience discrimination, despite Mao's message that the battle for equality had already been won.
The Cultural Revolution caused new problems. Education suffered as students denounced their teachers as “bourgeois intellectuals.” Many industries shut down because the Red Guard had expelled industrial experts. The Chinese Communist Party later called the Cultural Revolution “a great catastrophe.” Many leaders believed it was just Mao's means of eliminating rivals within the Communist party.
Source: Chinese Communist Revolution
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