Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

The Result of Mao’s Great Leap Forward in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 24, 2011

As a consequence of Mao’s great leap forward, millions starved in China. The excerpt below shows why.
From The Party- (Richard Mcgregor)

The new rural communes began reporting huge fake harvests to meet Mao’s political imperative for record grain output. The lies were reinforced, if necessary, with state terror orchestrated by slavish officials who feared political death if they deviated from Mao’s diktats. Anyone who questioned the size of the harvests reported to Beijing was labelled a ‘rightist’. Many were beaten to death by armed militias deployed by local officials to enforce their production targets, at whatever cost. The food simply ran out in some areas. Even granaries that did have food were shut and their life-saving contents kept in storage. To have handed out the grain in these cases could perversely also have been labelled a political mistake, because the size of the stockpile contradicted the harvest reported to Beijing. Yu Dehong, an official at the time in Henan province, saw starving residents clustered outside the padlocked gates of the full local granaries. In their final moments before they expired, they shouted: ‘Communist Party! Chairman Mao, save us!’

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