The Chinese Revolution

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In the year 1949 after the Chinese Communist Party eventually won the civil war regrouping was done to form the People’s Republic of China under the able leadership of Mao Zedong. Immediately after the inauguration, there was a launch of the Communist Revolution which was geared towards reforming the country which for a substantial period had suffered social turbulence and wars. Evidently, the Chinese revolution had a significant impact on China in the 21st century. Its implications can be seen most clearly in the land distribution, economic empowerment and growth, and improved standards of living in China today.

The Chinese Revolution Causes

In the year 1921 The Chinese Communist Party was started and in 1927, the Chinese Nationals who were for the idea of communism united with the Nationalist Party in the north in a bid to get rid of the warlords who were an anti-strong central government. The unity lasted for a short time when the Nationalists turned against the Communists purging and butchering them from the party. In the year 1931, the Japanese invaded China at Manchuria (Wang). The Nationalist leader Chiang faced communist uprising, the Japanese invasion, and also warlord insurrections. Notably, the leader focused on the communists uprising instead of checking on the attack by the Japanese.

The communists got more support during World War II, and this made the China government vulnerable. Later, when the Japanese surrendered, there was a resurgence of civil war in the country. Although the Nationalist government received aid from the US, the Soviet Union occupied the areas formerly captured by the Japanese until the communists came to settle in Manchuria. As the civil war in the country gained momentum day after day, the communist victory was nigh. The Nationalist government had been faced with many years of corruption and mismanagement, and this made the support to the party diminish. In October of 1949, Mao Zedong steered military victories and proclaimed the promulgation of the PRC (Wang). This forced Chiang who was the Nationalist leader, his allies, and troops to flee the country to Taiwan for regrouping and plan on how to reclaim his power back.

Factors that Led to Chinese Revolution Success

A thrive of the Chinese communism owes its success to the remarkable continuity of the leadership. Mao Zedong was among the pillar members who saw the PRC establishment within the years 1928-34. Mao aided to create both the political and military strategy during the years of Yenan which saw the war victory in 1949 (Pantsov). He proceeded to mold the Chinese communist and began to rule it until the day he died in 1976. Nevertheless, other members including Zhou Enlai of the communist movement and a long-serving premier and foreign minister followed Mao. Also, in the picture is Deng Xiaoping, a man who set the country into the economic reform path in 1978 after Mao’s death. Deng too had the determination to keep the party’s philosophy of power monopoly.

Additionally, the second Sino-Japanese war spread quickly to become part of the Second World War. The war had taken a toll on the Chinese economy, and the Chinese people were not happy as to how the National Party had handled this issue and the inflation upsurge that had made life expensive (Zedong 318). Outrightly, the party had distanced itself from its people and civil affairs touching the citizens. Thus the system had become not only ungovernable but also deplorable.

Impacts of the Revolution

The very first changes that took place was the land distribution. In the year 1950, after the start of a new country and era, the government took the initiative to launch the Land Reform Campaign. Notably, the Chinese republic had for thousands of years had its land owned by a handful of the wealthy landlords (Pantsov). The majority of peasants had just a small portion of the remaining land. Consequently, many of the Chinese peasants worked for the landlords for meager payments for a whole lot of work done. Indeed, they were at the mercy of the landlords (Wang). The objective of the communist was to liberate these peasants from the iron hand of the selfish and overly gluttonous landlords. These lobbies for land reforms were lauded by the peasants as they also included fighting the Japanese nationals who had been considered as invaders of the land that the Chinese people were confident that it belonged to them and their offspring. Ideally, many peasants had no material wealth other than land. In this manner, the longest lasting social class of landlord stratification which had negatively impacted China’s modernization and resurrection in the country was done away with by the new party. Initially, The National Party got resentment due to laxity from the party officials to fight against the invasion of the Japanese who the locals regarded as alien (Pantsov). Additionally, the land reform agenda brought back the sense of equity to the poor Chinese people living by the countryside by providing them with the land, a valuable asset at the time. Moreover, the reforms brought to live youth activism even to the remote villages of the country. Finally, the changes became the basis for modern industrial development in the Chinese land (Zedong 327). By doing away with the parasite landlords who were ready to drain the sweat of the poor and providing a way to tap on and make use of the agrarian surplus, the door to industrial posterity was opened. The intimate relationship existing between industrial development and land ownership was understood by the Chinese people way before the countries from the west European countries thought of the idea.

Initially, the Chinese country was nicknamed “the sick man of Asia” owing to the fact that its economic base was weak. However, in the recent past, the country has achieved what can be termed as tremendous growth compared to any primary economy in the globe. The state had industrialized more compared to England in the first half of the nineteenth century and also Meiji Japan in the early years of the twentieth century. The high rate of industrial growth which has led to massive employment to the natives and made the country transform from agrarian economy to a primarily industrial nation owes its success to the 1949 revolution (Pantsov). The Mao period led to the laying of essential foundations of industrial growth without which the reformers who came after Mao would have had little success. The study has revealed that during the Mao reign the industrial share of China rose to 30 percent in the national income. Such is a rare phenomenon. For instance, during the first five decades in their bid to industrialize, Britain attained a growth of 11 percent whereas Japan grew at a rate of 22 percent from 1882 through 1927 (Zedong 323). Only the country of Taiwan would probably have done better than China.

According to Liew, it is during the Maoist era when the income of the country increased by three-fold. Also, at the time there were substantial improvements in education, health care, and dietary fronts. Consequently, the life expectancy rose from an average of 35 years in the years 1949 and before to 65 years by the year 1976 (Schiffrin). As pointed out by renowned economists, the far-reaching development of social security, health, and education led to the promotion and sustainability of economic advances during the time of post- Mao reforms. 

The revolution’s failure was in the political realm. It is evident that the revolution gave birth to the Stalinist political system. To this day, though its repressive features have been moderated by the post-Mao reforms still, they can be felt (Wang). Additionally, the revolution had promised and raised democratic hopes among the people of China of which it terribly failed to honor. It is not true that there was a socialist era during the Mao time that leader Deng Xiaoping destroyed. No socialist society had existed. By the fact that this time lacked the essential socialist features whereby the producers take a grasp of their labor’s conditions and products to imply that there was none. According to Wang, among the facts that attest to the absence of socialism was the slogan used by Deng to ascend to power in the year 1978 about ‘socialist democracy.’ His campaign was based on this premise to win the hearts of people. Even after Deng had ascended to power, still there was no socialist society. Capitalism thrived.

Conclusively, all these revolutions have not been without the human cost implication. Millions of people died during these struggles, and many more were persecuted in the hands of those who rose to power. One may not be able to quantify the benefits of the battles against the costs they took to bring liberation. The Chinese revolution can be termed as the bourgeois revolution which had fought for socialism but in the end, had led to a capitalist state. The wish for many was that it would yield a socialist outcome. All the same, as crude and disrespectful capitalism can be, it has led to the improvement of intellectual and material well-being in millions of individuals in China. The people can now enjoy better standards of living as compared to the times when various revolutions were ongoing or started. Additionally, the capitalist state fulfills most of the requirements that had been sanctioned in the year 1948, a year before the famous Chinese Revolution of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The essential details of the promulgation required that all human beings were entitled to better health care, quality education, and quality standards of living. Evidently, the revolution has not only made better the lives of many but it has also prolonged their lives, and thus it can be said that all was not in vain while launching the revolution. 

Works Cited

Liew, Kit Siong. Struggle for democracy: Sung Chiao-jen and the 1911 Chinese Revolution. Univ of California Press, 1971.

Pantsov, Alexander. The Bolsheviks and the Chinese revolution 1919-1927. Routledge, 2013.

Schiffrin, Harold. Sun Yat-sen and the Origins of the Chinese Revolution. Univ of California press, 2010.

Wang, Jin. The end of the revolution: China and the limits of modernity. Vol. 40. No. 5. Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, 2011.

Zedong, Mao. "The Chinese revolution and the Chinese communist party." Selected Works of Mao Tse-tung 3 (1954): 305-34.

November 13, 2023

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