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China, changes and challenges in 1949

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Though China's true growth started only at the end of the 70s, it upset the hierarchy of the developed countries very quickly, by achieving many things in a short duration. Mao Zedong relieved China from its dependence on other countries, around the same time that China seized power in Beijing, in 1949. Mao Zedong is treated with high regard in China, and is also acclaimed as the savior of the nation. His communist policies also came to be known as Maoism. Apart from freeing China from dependence on other nations, Mao Zedong also ruled the People's Republic of China from 1949 to 1976. The Chinese revolution, which put down the Chinese Nationalist Party, was the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the final stage of the civil war. This makes one think: Is China's communism also a kind of nationalism?

This Chinese revolution resounds powerfully among the Third World countries. The choices that China made with regards to the development of the nation, after the Civil war, and the time taken for it, did have an impact on the Third World nations. After coming to power in 1949, the Communists and their allies undertook the task of rebuilding the administration and economy of China, which had been ravaged by twelve years of foreign war: World War II, and the Civil war between Mao's Communists and the Nationalists of Chiang Kai Shek. The People's Republic of China came to existence on 1 October 1949, after being proclaimed by Mao Zedong.

The situation in China at this time was pathetic. China had a population of 544 million in 1949, which represented a fifth of the humanity, and accounted for one third of the population of the poor world. There was little or no development in the nation, and average life expectancy of people was only 35 years. Though three quarters of the land was used for agricultural purposes, the produce was barely enough to feed the population. The industrial front was no better. Constant wars from 1937 to 1949 had caused large scale destruction and blockages. On the political front, the communists who had gained power did not want to hasten the process of building socialism in the country, as they did not want to lose the support of their allies, the capitalists and merchants. Hence, economic reforms were not introduced in China until 1952.

However, mass campaigns were organized, the "campaign against the liquidation-revolutionaries" in the spring of 1951, the "Three Anti" (San Fan) campaign in late 1951 against corruption and bureaucracy which sought to purge the ranks of the administration and party, then the "Five Anti" (Wu Fan) campaign in January 1952 that denounced tax fraud, commercial fraud, bribery, embezzlement of public property and extortion of confidential information and transferred to the State a number of companies. This was to change mindsets and transform the traditional society by the prohibition of polygamy and plural unions imposed by families, delayed marriage age, gender inequality and in the field of education, a reform of the language that tried to simplify the writing, and the reorganization of the education system for reducing illiteracy.

Tags: "Five Anti" (Wu Fan) campaign, education system, Chinese revolution

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