Mao's consolidation of power
Mao's consolidation of power
Use of legal methods
Household Registration System (1949-1950)
Children would inherit the same status as the head of their household.
Became key method of ensuring conformity.
Every individual given class label and ranked as "good", "middle", or "bad" on basis of loyalty to the party.
Aim: prevent mass exodus of peasants from countryside. By 1955, 20 million peasants had moved to the urban cities.
June 1955: extended to the countryside.
100 Flowers Campaign (1957)
In 1958, launched a massive anti-rightist movement lead by Deng Xiaoping in response.
More than half a million people labelled "rightists", forced to commit suicide / go to the countrysides for reeducation.
Initially encouraged open criticism in the party and the country, but this escalated into attacks on leading figures, and even Mao himself.
Zhou Enlai was also forced to confess responsibility for slowing reform, demonstrating that nobody was invincible against the campaign
Land reform (early 1950s)
Stage 2: in 1952, peasants were organised into mutual-aid teams, and were encouraged to share their tools and livestock. Their newly- acquired land was pooled into a cooperative, and they were only given nominal ownership of their land.
Outcome: easier for Party to requisition grain, develop state monopolies over supplies. Unintended outcome: hunger and famine became widespread as state levies were high.
Stage 1: 2 to 3 million landlords were executed as feudal China came under attack. Peasants were encouraged to take ownership of the Revolution by personally seizing land through violent means.
1951: "three-anti campaign". Targeted waste, corruption, and inefficiency.
1952: "five-anti campaign". Targeted industrial sabotage, tax evasion, bribery, fraud, and theft of government property.
Declared reactionaries and counter-revolutionaries as enemies of the state. Banned English, foreign names, religion, old Chinese customs, jazz, intellectuals, books, e.t.c.
Structure of the PRC
Each region governed by four major officials.
Effectively put China under military control.
China divided into six regions.
Single-party state legally established by 1952. In 1949, there were still 10 political parties in China besides the CCP.
Power rested with the Politburo and the National People's Congress (NPC) simply rubber-stamped its decisions.
Justified on basis of democratic centralism (Leninist idea).
1954 Constitution put in place a framework for the development of a legal system in China.
Use of force
Leveraged on Household Registration System
Early years of PRC
Nation of informers: friends denounced one another, every street had officially appointed "watchers". Denunciation was a key method used to instil fear in the population.
Those deemed to be threats to the revolution were at biggest risk. Included paupers, beggars, criminals, prostitutes, and the unemployed.
By the end of 1949, 4600 vagrants in Beijing had already been sent to re-education centres.
The Cultural Revolution
Aims: Mao to reassert authority over CCP.
Key group: Central Cultural Revolution Group (CCRG)
Background: in 1962, Mao slipped into the Party background. Deng and Liu, instructed to save the countrysides, turned to reversing collectivisation in Gansu and Qinghai. The growing popularity of these two figures became a threat to Mao.
Events: refer to typed notes
Initially: Party moderates
Next: intellectuals, teachers
Red Guards: moved to countryside in 1968
Purge of Lin Biao
Reunification campaigns (1950s)
E.g.: invaded Tibet in October 1950. Tibetan Buddhists identified with the authority of the Dalai Lama. PLA troops took full control within six months.
E.g.: invaded Xinjiang, which had a large Muslim population. CCP feared Xinjiang Muslims could become part of a separatist movement supported by neighbouring Muslim states. PLA secured control by 1951.
PLA units sent to annex outlying parts of China (especially in the West and South)
CCP feared nationalist elements could weaken a united China; religion especially could fuel resistance to centralised communist authority
Title means "reform through labour"
By 1955, 2 million had been sent to the camps. 90% of these were political prisoners.
Judicial procedures were dispensed, so that arrests could occur quicker.
Average number of prisoners held each year was 10 million; in total, 25 million people died in camp across Mao's rule.
Targeted gangs and triads, e.g. in Guangzhou and Shanghai. About 90,000 were executed from these regions.
Quotas for number of executions per thousand were issued by Mao.
Lowest estimate: national killing rate of 1.2 per thousand.
Treatment of opposition
Chiang in Taiwan
Rebellions in the south
Opposition political parties
Opposition from boarder groups and minorities
[External] UN recognition of Taiwan, not China
Korean War (1950)
On social costs: official figures calculated by UN experts put the Chinese casualty rate at nearly 1 million.
On China's regional security: US announced that it would defend Taiwan, ruling out possibility of Mao's invasion of Taiwan.
On Chinese economy: in 1951, military expenses amounted to 55% of government spending. Grain requisitioning became necessary. Took a decade for urban economy to make up for losses in production.
On cult of Mao: Mao could claim huge propaganda victory, bolstered prestige both in China and internationally. Chinese troops successfully defended the 38th parallel; it was also Mao who persuaded communist leadership to take action.
Actions (domestic): efforts to mobilise the masses gave rise to the "Resist America, aid Korea, preserve our homes, defend the Nation" campaign.
Actions (abroad): sent 250,000 troops into Korea under Peng Dehuai by end of 1950. In total, 3 million soldiers were deployed.
Ostensible aim: defend Chinese sovereignty by preventing American presence in the region or near the China-Korea border.
Sino-Soviet rift (1950s-1960s)
Rapprochement with the US (1960s)
Bandung Conference (1955)
Re-education: everyone was force to learn the new party doctrine, transform themselves into "new people"
Took place in all workplaces and educational institutions
Also involved rectification campaigns
Frank Dikotter: "By the end of 1952 virtually every student or teacher was a loyal servant of the state."
Achieved censorship of most newspapers by February 1949.
Subsequently relied on self-censorship
Little Red Book