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Velik skok naprej

Velik skok naprej


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Leta 1958 je Mao Zedong napovedal velik korak naprej, poskus povečanja kmetijske in industrijske proizvodnje. Ta program reform je vključeval ustanovitev velikih kmetijskih občin, ki so vsebovale kar 75.000 ljudi. Občine so vodile lastne kolektivne kmetije in tovarne. Vsaka družina je prejela del dobička in imela tudi majhno zasebno parcelo. Tri leta poplav in slabih letin so močno poškodovale raven proizvodnje. Shemo je prizadela tudi odločitev Sovjetske zveze, da umakne svoje veliko število tehničnih strokovnjakov, ki delajo v državi. Leta 1962 se je Maov program reform končal in država se je zatekla k bolj tradicionalni obliki gospodarske proizvodnje.


Veliki skok naprej

Veliki preskok se je zgodil leta 1958. Veliki preskok je bil Maov poskus posodobitve kitajskega gospodarstva, tako da bo do leta 1988 Kitajska imela gospodarstvo, ki je konkuriralo Ameriki.

Kartica, izdana za praznovanje velikega skoka naprej

Mao je obiskal Kitajsko in sklenil, da so Kitajci sposobni vsega in da sta po njegovem mnenju dve glavni nalogi industrija in kmetijstvo. Mao je napovedal drugi petletni načrt, ki bo trajal od leta 1958 do 1963. Ta načrt se je imenoval Veliki preskok.

Veliki preskok je načrtoval razvoj kmetijstva in industrije. Mao je verjel, da morata oba rasti, da omogočita drugemu rast. Industrija bi lahko napredovala le, če bi bila delovna sila dobro nahranjena, medtem ko so kmetijski delavci potrebovali industrijo za proizvodnjo sodobnih orodij, potrebnih za posodobitev. Da bi to omogočili, so Kitajsko preoblikovali v vrsto občin.

Geografska velikost občine se je razlikovala, vendar je večina vsebovala približno 5000 družin. Ljudje v občini so se odrekli lastništvu orodja, živali itd., Tako da je bilo vse v lasti komune. Ljudje so zdaj delali za občino in ne zase. Življenje posameznika je nadzorovala občina. Šole in vrtce so zagotavljale občine, da so lahko delali vsi odrasli. Zagotovljeno je bilo zdravstveno varstvo, starejše pa so preselili v "hiše sreče", da so lahko skrbeli za njih, pa tudi, da so družine lahko delale in jim ni bilo treba skrbeti, da bodo ostarele sorodnike pustili doma.

Komuna je zagotovila vse, kar je bilo potrebno - tudi zabavo. Vojaki so delali skupaj z ljudmi. Prebivalstvo v občini je bilo razdeljeno. Dvanajst družin je sestavilo delovno skupino. Dvanajst delovnih mest je sestavilo brigado. Vsak pododdelek je dobil posebno delo. Člani stranke so nadzirali delo občine, da bi zagotovili, da so odločitve sledile pravilni partijski liniji.

Do konca leta 1958 je bilo 700 milijonov ljudi razporejenih v 26.578 občin. Hitrost, s katero je bilo to doseženo, je bila osupljiva. Vendar je vlada storila vse, kar je bilo v njeni moči, da je spodbudila navdušenje nad občinami. Propaganda je bila povsod - tudi na področjih, kjer so delavci lahko poslušali politične govore, ko so delali, ko so občine zagotavljale razglas. Vse, ki sodelujejo v občinah, so pozvali, naj ne le dosežejo zastavljene cilje, ampak jih tudi premagajo. Če v občinah ni bilo strojev, so delavci uporabili gole roke. Večje konstrukcije so bile zgrajene v rekordnem času - čeprav je bila kakovost nekaterih dvomljiva.

Veliki preskok naprej je občine spodbudil tudi k ustanovitvi proizvodnih obratov za "dvorišče". Najbolj znane so bile 600.000 dvoriščnih peči, ki so proizvajale jeklo za občine. Ko so vse te peči delovale, so kitajski letni skupni količini dodale precejšnjo količino jekla - 11 milijonov ton.

Številke za jeklo, premog, kemikalije, les, cement itd so pokazale velik porast, čeprav so bile številke, ki so se začele leta 1958, nizke. Tudi proizvodnja žita in bombaža se je močno povečala.

Mao je predstavil Veliki preskok naprej z besedno zvezo "mogoče je opraviti katero koli nalogo". Konec leta 1958 se je zdelo, kot da je njegova trditev resnična.

Posledice velikega skoka naprej

Vendar so leta 1959 stvari začele iti narobe. Politične odločitve/prepričanja so imela prednost pred zdravo pametjo in občine so se soočile z nalogo, da počnejo stvari, ki jih niso bile sposobne doseči. Partijski uradniki bi ukazovali nemogoče in vodje občin, ki so vedeli, kaj njihova komuna zmore ali ne, bi lahko obtožili, da je »meščanski reakcionar«, če bi se pritožil. Takšna obtožba bi vodila v zapor.

Hitro proizvedeni kmetijski stroji, proizvedeni v tovarnah, so ob uporabi razpadli. Več tisoč delavcev se je poškodovalo po dolgih urah dela in zaspanju pri svojem delu. Jeklo, proizvedeno v dvoriščnih pečeh, je bilo pogosto prešibko, da bi ga bilo mogoče uporabiti, in ga ni bilo mogoče uporabiti v gradbeništvu - to je prvotni namen. Stavbe, zgrajene iz tega podstandardnega jekla, niso trajale dolgo.

Tudi način proizvodnje na dvorišču je mnoge delavce odpeljal s njihovih polj - tako obupno potrebne hrane niso spravili. Ironično je bilo, da je bil eden ključnih dejavnikov pri proizvodnji hrane na Kitajskem vreme in leta 1958 je bilo še posebej dobro vreme za pridelavo hrane. Voditelji strank so trdili, da je bila letina za leto 1958 rekordnih 260 milijonov ton - kar ni res.

Odličnemu naraščajočemu vremenu leta 1958 je sledilo zelo slabo rastno leto 1959. Nekatere dele Kitajske so prizadele poplave. Na drugih rastočih območjih je bila suša velik problem. Žetev za leto 1959 je znašala 170 milijonov ton žita - precej pod tisto, kar je Kitajska potrebovala na najosnovnejši ravni. V nekaterih delih Kitajske je prišlo do lakote.

Leta 1960 je bilo vreme še slabše kot leta 1959. Žetev leta 1960 je bila 144 milijonov ton. Domneva se, da je samo v letu 1960 9 milijonov ljudi umrlo od lakote, mnogi milijoni pa so zaradi pomanjkanja hrane obupano zboleli. Vlada je morala uvesti racionalizacijo. To je ljudem dalo najmanj hrane in med letoma 1959 in 1962 naj bi 20 milijonov ljudi umrlo zaradi lakote ali bolezni, povezanih z lakoto.

Peči na dvorišču so uporabljale tudi preveč premoga, kitajski železniški sistem, ki je bil odvisen od vlakov na premog, pa je temu primerno tudi utrpel.

Do leta 1959 je bilo očitno, da je bil Veliki preskok neuspešen, in celo Mao je to priznal. Komunistično partijo je pozval, naj se loti njegove napake, hkrati pa je prosil člane svoje stranke, naj si ogledajo sebe in svoj nastop.

»Nastali kaos je bil velikega obsega in prevzemam odgovornost. Tovariši, vsi morate analizirati svojo odgovornost. Če moraš prdniti, prdi. Zaradi tega se boste počutili veliko bolje. "

Nekateri člani stranke krivijo neuspeh velikega skoka naprej na Maoja. Bil je priljubljen pri ljudeh, vendar se je moral vseeno odpovedati položaju vodje države (čeprav je ostal na močnem mestu predsednika stranke).

Vsakodnevno vodenje Kitajske so prepustili trem zmernim: Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai in Deng Xiaoping. Konec leta 1960 so opustili Veliki skok naprej. Zasebno lastništvo zemljišč je bilo ponovno vzpostavljeno, občine pa so bile posekane na obvladljivo velikost. Kmetje so imeli tudi spodbudo, da bi proizvedli čim več rezervne hrane, kolikor so lahko prodali, če so imeli na trgu.

Ti trije zmerni ljudje so omejili Maovo moč, vendar je bil njegov položaj med navadnimi Kitajci še vedno visok, saj so ga videli kot vodjo revolucije. To priljubljenost med ljudmi naj bi uporabil za oživitev svoje oblasti na račun zmernih. To je bilo v tako imenovani kulturni revoluciji.


  • Avtor objave: BrainFeed
  • Objava objavljena: 13. maja 2021
  • Kategorija objave: Izobraževanje / Gospodarstvo / Mednarodno / Ljudje
  • Čas branja: 3 minute branja

Ko so kitajski voditelji leta 1958 uvedli "velik preskok", so upali, da bo gospodarska kampanja njihovo gospodarstvo v samo petnajstih letih postavila na enak nivo z gospodarstvom Združenega kraljestva. V tridesetih so upali, da bodo prehiteli ZDA. Namesto tega je »Veliki preskok« postal »Velika lakota« in je povzročil več kot 30 milijonov smrti …

Vzpon Maa in KPK

Mao Zedong in Kitajska komunistična partija (KPK) sta leta 1949 po zmagi v kitajski državljanski vojni (1945–49) prevzeli nadzor nad Kitajsko. Premagali so svojo konkurenčno politično stranko Kuomintang, ki je pobegnila na Tajvan. KPK je ustanovila Ljudsko republiko Kitajsko (LRK) in monopol nad kitajsko politiko.

Mao Zedong

Ko je prevzela oblast, je KPK začela s prerazporeditvijo zemlje, opreme in domačih živali od bogatejših k revnejšim kmetom. Vlada je kmalu prisilila kmetije, da te vire združijo v vedno večje "zadruge". To so bile skupine kmečkih gospodinjstev (do 300), združene za povečanje učinkovitosti.

Kitajska poskuša narediti velik preskok

Leta 1958 je KPK začela gospodarski program, imenovan "Veliki korak naprej". Cilj je bil preoblikovati Kitajsko iz agrarne družbe v sodobno industrijsko družbo, ki bi lahko konkurirala zahodnim gospodarskim silam. Mao je upal, da bo izkoristil ogromno ponudbo poceni delovne sile v državi (640 milijonov prebivalcev), da bi se izognil uvozu težkih strojev.

Mao je proizvodnjo jekla in žita videl kot ključna stebra gospodarskega razvoja države. Večje naložbe so bile vložene v industrijske projekte, ki jih sponzorira država. Mestno prebivalstvo se je povečalo, kar je obremenilo proizvodnjo hrane na podeželju.

Medtem so bile kmetije prisiljene v še večje skupnosti s povprečjem 5000 gospodinjstev. Občine so morale del svoje proizvodnje prodati vladi- po cenah, ki jih je določila vlada. Voditelji občin so bili pod pritiskom, da bi dosegli optimistične cilje, ki jih je postavila KPK, zaradi česar so pretiravali glede prijavljenih ravni proizvodnje.

Velika lakota

Podnebne katastrofe, vključno s sušo in poplavami, so se s tem pomanjkljivim gospodarskim modelom zarotile, da so med letoma 1959–61 povzročile katastrofo. Proizvodnja žita je upadla in ker je bilo žito, prodano državi, na podlagi napihnjenih številk, je bilo kmetom malo ali nič za jesti. Medtem ko so kmetje stradali, je Kitajska še naprej izvažala žito, ko je Mao poskušal prepričati svet, da je bil njegov načrt uspešen. Tudi ko so novice o lakoti in kanibalizmu prišle iz Kitajske, so tujo pomoč zavrnili.

V državi je bil vsak, ki je kritiziral politiko režima, obsojen kot izdajalec. Tako je prišlo do množične lakote. Čeprav je natančno število smrtnih žrtev lakote težko določiti, se ocene gibljejo med 30 in 55 milijoni. Tudi na spodnji meji je to najhujša lakota v zgodovini človeštva.

Politike, povezane z velikim preskokom, so se začele postopoma postopno odpravljati leta 1960. V poskusu oživitve gospodarstva, ki je bilo v težavah, so vrnili nekaj zasebnih zemljišč in razpadli občine. Mao se je celo oddaljil od odločanja … do leta 1966, to je, ko je sprožil "kulturno revolucijo", da bi izkoreninil vse ostanke kapitalistične in tradicionalne kitajske družbe. Ampak to je zgodba za drug BrainFeed ...

Ali si vedel?

  • Med velikim preskokom naprej je Mao spodbujal občine k sodelovanju v industrijski proizvodnji z gradnjo "peči na dvorišču" (glej spodaj). Cilj teh peči je bil pretvoriti odpadne kovine v jeklo. Večinoma pa je prišlo do uničenja uporabnih predmetov (loncev in ponev), ki so bili spremenjeni v neuporabne kovine.
Dvoriščne peči

Maojev veliki skok naprej je v štirih letih ubil 45 milijonov in#x27

Mao Zedong, ustanovitelj Ljudske republike Kitajske, velja za največjega množičnega morilca v svetovni zgodovini, je včeraj povedal strokovnjak, ki je imel brez primere dostop do uradnih arhivov Komunistične partije.

Govorite ob The Independent Na literarnem festivalu Woodstock je Frank Dikötter, zgodovinar s sedežem v Hongkongu, povedal, da je v času, ko je Mao leta 1958 uveljavljal Veliki preskok, v prizadevanju, da bi dohitel gospodarstvo zahodnega sveta, odgovoren nadzor "ene najhujših katastrof, ki jih je svet kdajkoli poznal".

G. Dikötter, ki je študiral kitajsko zgodovino podeželja od leta 1958 do 1962, ko se je država soočala z lakoto, je primerjal sistematično mučenje, brutalnost, lakoto in pobijanje kitajskih kmetov z drugo svetovno vojno v njenem obsegu. Najmanj 45 milijonov ljudi je bilo v teh štirih letih na Kitajskem zaposlenih, umrlo od lakote ali pretepenih, število žrtev druge svetovne vojne po vsem svetu pa je bilo 55 milijonov.

G. Dikötter je edini avtor, ki se je poglobil v kitajske arhive, odkar so bili ponovno odprti pred štirimi leti. Trdil je, da ima to uničujoče obdobje zgodovine, ki je doslej ostalo skrito, mednarodno odmevno. "Poleg gulagov in holokavsta se uvršča med tri največje dogodke 20. stoletja. Bilo je tako, kot bi se [kamboški komunistični diktator] Pol Pot potresal genocid 20 -krat," je dejal.

Med letoma 1958 in 1962 je divjala vojna med kmeticami in državo. To je bilo obdobje, ko je bila tretjina vseh domov na Kitajskem uničena za proizvodnjo gnojil in ko je narod padel v lakoto in lakoto, je dejal gospod Dikötter.

Njegova knjiga, Maova velika lakota Zgodba o najbolj uničujoči katastrofi na Kitajskem, razkriva, da je to del zgodovine, ki je v uradnem spominu na Ljudsko republiko Kitajsko "precej pozabljena", obstajala "osupljiva stopnja nasilja" to je bilo izjemno skrbno zapisano v poročilih Urada za javno varnost, ki so bila v deželnem arhivu, ki ga je preučeval. V njih je ugotovil, da je stranka na člane podeželskih kmečkih skupnosti gledala zgolj kot na "števke" ali brezlično delovno silo. Za tiste, ki so storili kakršno koli dejanje neposlušnosti, pa naj bo še tako majhno, so bile kazni ogromne.

Državno maščevanje za drobne tatvine, na primer krajo krompirja, tudi s strani otroka, bi vključevalo, da bi bili privezani in vrženi v ribnik, starši so bili prisiljeni žive pokopati svoje otroke ali pa so jih polili z blatom in urinom, drugi so jih prižgali ali pa odrezan nos ali uho En zapis kaže, kako so moškega označili z vročo kovino. Ljudje so bili prisiljeni delati goli sredi zime 80 odstotkov vseh vaščanov v eni regiji s četrt milijona Kitajcev je bila prepovedana uradna menza, ker so bili prestari ali bolni, da bi bili učinkoviti delavci, zato so bili namerno stradani do smrti.

G. Dikötter je dejal, da je ponovno pregledal arhiv stranke za svojo naslednjo knjigo Tragedija osvoboditve, ki bo obravnavala krvavi prihod komunizma na Kitajskem od 1944 do 1957.

Dejal je, da arhivi že razkrivajo obseg grozodejstev v tem obdobju, en dokaz je pokazal, da je bilo samo v eni regiji v samo treh tednih ubitih 13.000 nasprotnikov novega režima. "Poznamo oris dogajanja, vendar bom natančno preučil, kaj se je v tem obdobju zgodilo, kako se je to zgodilo, in človeške izkušnje za zgodovino," je dejal.

G. Dikötter, ki poučuje na univerzi v Hongkongu, je dejal, da čeprav je bilo kitajskemu zgodovinarju težko pisati knjige, ki so kritične do Maoja, je menil, da se ne more dogovarjati o "zaroti tišine" v kitajski podeželski skupnosti. utrpela v novejši zgodovini.


Evolucijski "velik preskok naprej": Kdaj so ljudje prestopili rubriko inteligence?

Zasluge: Fiddes et al./Cell

Nekateri znanstveniki to razlagajo kot najzgodnejše Homo sapiens niso bili popolnoma moderni. Vendar različni podatki sledijo različnim stvarem. Lobanje in geni nam govorijo o možganih, artefaktih o kulturi. Naši možgani so verjetno postali moderni pred našimi kulturami.

Ključni fizični in kulturni mejniki v evoluciji sodobnega človeka, vključno z genetsko razhajanjem etničnih skupin. Zasluge: Nick Longrich

"Velik preskok"

Za 200.000-300.000 let kasneje Homo sapiens ko so se prvič pojavila, so orodja in artefakti ostali presenetljivo preprosti, malo boljši od neandertalske tehnologije in enostavnejši od tistih sodobnih lovcev in nabiralcev, kot so nekateri avtohtoni Američani. Pred približno 65.000 do 50.000 leti se je začela pojavljati naprednejša tehnologija: kompleksno orožje za izstrelke, kot so loki in metali kopja, trnki, keramika, šivalne igle.

Ljudje so ustvarjali reprezentativno umetnost-jamske poslikave konj, boginj iz slonovine, idolov z levjo glavo, ki kažejo umetniški pridih in domišljijo. Ptica iz ptičje kosti namiguje na glasbo. Medtem je prihod ljudi v Avstralijo pred 65.000 leti pokazal, da smo obvladali pomorstvo.

Venera iz Brassempouya, stara 25.000 let. Zasluge: Wikipedia

Ta nenaden razcvet tehnologije se imenuje "velik preskok naprej", ki naj bi odražal razvoj popolnoma modernih človeških možganov. Toda fosili in DNK kažejo, da je človeška inteligenca postala moderna veliko prej.

Anatomska sodobnost

Primitivne kosti Homo sapiens prvič pojavili pred 300.000 leti v Afriki, z velikimi ali večjimi možgani kot pri nas. Sledi jim anatomsko moderno Homo sapiens pred najmanj 200.000 leti, oblika možganov pa je postala bistveno moderna pred vsaj 100.000 leti. Na tej točki so imeli ljudje možganske primere po velikosti in obliki podobne našim.

Ob predpostavki, da so bili možgani tako moderni kot škatla, v kateri so bili, so naši afriški predniki teoretično lahko odkrili relativnost, zgradili vesoljske teleskope, pisali romane in ljubezenske pesmi. Njihove kosti pravijo, da so bili prav tako ljudje kot mi.

300.000 let stara lobanja, Maroko. Zasluge: NHM

Ker je fosilni zapis tako nejasen, fosili zagotavljajo le minimalne datume. Človeška DNK nakazuje še zgodnejši izvor sodobnosti. Če primerjamo genetske razlike med DNK pri sodobnih ljudeh in starodavnih Afričanih, je ocenjeno, da so naši predniki živeli pred 260.000 do 350.000 leti. Vsi živi ljudje izhajajo iz teh ljudi, kar kaže na to, da smo od njih podedovali temeljne skupne značilnosti naše vrste, človeškost.

Vsi njihovi potomci - Bantu, Berber, Azteci, Aboridžini, Tamilci, San, Han, Maori, Inuiti, Irci - imajo podobno vedenje, ki ga pri drugih velikih opicah ni. Vse človeške kulture tvorijo dolgotrajne parne vezi med moškimi in ženskami pri skrbi za otroke. Pojemo in plešemo. Ustvarjamo umetnost. Lasje si polepšamo, telo okrasimo z okraski, tetovažami in ličili.

Oblikujemo zavetišča. Imamo ogenj in kompleksna orodja. Oblikujemo velike, večgeneracijske družbene skupine z več deset do tisoč ljudmi. Sodelujemo, da vodimo vojno in si pomagamo. Učimo, pripovedujemo, trgujemo. Imamo moralo, zakone. Razmišljamo o zvezdah, svojem mestu v vesolju, smislu življenja, tem, kar sledi smrti.

Podrobnosti našega orodja, mode, družine, morale in mitologije se razlikujejo od plemena do plemena in kulture do kulture, vendar vsi živi ljudje kažejo to vedenje. To nakazuje, da je to vedenje - ali vsaj sposobnost zanje - prirojeno. To skupno vedenje združuje vse ljudi. So človeško stanje, kaj pomeni biti človek in izvirajo iz skupnih prednikov.

Svojo človečnost smo podedovali od ljudstev v južni Afriki pred 300.000 leti. Alternativa - da so vsi povsod po naključju naenkrat postali popolnoma ljudje na enak način, začenši pred 65.000 leti - ni nemogoča, vendar je verjetnost enega izvora bolj verjetna.

Omrežni učinek

Morda se zdi, da se arheologija in biologija ne strinjata, vendar dejansko pripovedujeta različne dele človeške zgodbe. Kosti in DNK nam govorijo o evoluciji možganov, naši strojni opremi. Orodja odražajo možgansko moč, pa tudi kulturo, našo strojno in programsko opremo.

Tako kot lahko nadgradite operacijski sistem starega računalnika, se lahko kultura razvije, tudi če se inteligenca ne. Ljudje v starih časih niso imeli pametnih telefonov in vesoljskih poletov, vendar iz študij filozofov, kot sta Buda in Aristotel, vemo, da so bili prav tako pametni. Naši možgani se niso spremenili, naša kultura se je spremenila.

Tehnologija srednje kamene dobe.

To ustvarja uganko. Če so bili pleistocenski lovci in nabiralci pametni kot mi, zakaj je kultura tako dolgo ostala tako primitivna? Zakaj smo potrebovali stotine tisočletij, da smo izumili loke, šivalne igle, čolne? In kaj se je spremenilo? Verjetno več stvari.

Najprej smo odpotovali iz Afrike in zasedli več planeta. Potem je bilo preprosto več ljudi, ki so si izmislili, kar je povečalo verjetnost prazgodovinskega Steva Jobsa ali Leonarda da Vincija. Soočili smo se tudi z novimi okolji na Bližnjem vzhodu, Arktiki, v Indiji, Indoneziji z edinstvenim podnebjem, hrano in nevarnostmi, vključno z drugimi človeškimi vrstami. Preživetje je zahtevalo inovacije.

Mnoge od teh novih dežel so bile veliko bolj naseljive kot Kalahari ali Kongo. Podnebje je bilo milejše, vendar Homo sapiens za seboj pustili tudi afriške bolezni in parazite. To je omogočilo, da so se plemena povečala, večja plemena pa so pomenila več glav za inovacije in zapomnitev idej, več delovne sile in boljšo sposobnost specializacije. Prebivalstvo je spodbudilo inovacije.

Peking iz vesolja. Zasluge: NASA

To je sprožilo povratne cikle. Ko so se pojavile in razširile nove tehnologije - boljše orožje, oblačila, zavetišča - bi se lahko število ljudi še povečalo, kar bi ponovno pospešilo kulturni razvoj.

Številke so poganjale kulturo, kultura se je povečevala, pospeševala kulturni razvoj in tako naprej, kar je navsezadnje potisnilo človeško prebivalstvo, da je prehitelo svoje ekosisteme, uničilo megafavno in prisililo razvoj kmetovanja. Končno je kmetijstvo povzročilo eksplozivno povečanje prebivalstva, ki je doseglo vrhunec v civilizacijah milijonov ljudi. Zdaj je kulturni razvoj prišel v hiperpogon.

Artefakti odražajo kulturo, kulturna kompleksnost pa je nastajajoča lastnost. To pomeni, da ni samo inteligenca na individualni ravni tista, zaradi katere so kulture prefinjene, ampak interakcije med posamezniki v skupinah in med skupinami. Tako kot povezovanje milijonov procesorjev za izdelavo superračunalnika smo povečali kulturno kompleksnost s povečanjem števila ljudi in povezav med njimi.

Tako so se naše družbe in svet v zadnjih 300.000 letih hitro razvijale, medtem ko so se naši možgani razvijali počasi. Razširili smo svoje število na skoraj 8 milijard, razširili se po vsem svetu, preoblikovali planet. To nismo storili s prilagajanjem možganov, ampak s spremembo naše kulture. In velika razlika med našimi starodavnimi, preprostimi družbami lovcev in nabiralcev in sodobnimi družbami samo odraža dejstvo, da nas je veliko več in več povezav med nami.

Nick Longrich je višji predavatelj evolucijske biologije in paleontologije na Univerzi v Bathu. Nicka zanima, kako se je svet razvil takšen, kot je. Med drugim preučuje množično izumrtje, prilagodljivo sevanje, dinozavre, pterozavre in mosasavre. Poiščite Nicka na Twitterju @NickLongrich

Različica tega članka je bila prvotno objavljena na Pogovoru in je bila z dovoljenjem ponovno objavljena tukaj. Pogovor najdete na Twitterju @ConversationUS

GLP je predstavil ta članek, ki odraža raznolikost novic, mnenj in analiz. Stališče je avtorjevo. Cilj GLP je spodbuditi konstruktiven diskurz o zahtevnih znanstvenih vprašanjih.


Velik preskok naprej - zgodovina

"Moji starši so bili kmetje, ki so delali na polju. Pšenico smo gojili na območju, kjer sem živel, in bili so del proizvodne ekipe," je povedal Yang, ki se je rodil leta 1964, tri leta po koncu velikega skoka naprej. "Pogosto so odpirali temo lakote velikega skoka in povedali, kako slabe so bile stvari v tem času."

Yangova radovednost glede tega obdobja ga je pripeljala do tega, da je napisal knjigo Calamity and Reform in China: State, Rural Society and Institutional Change Since of the Great Leap lakode, ki jo bo spomladi izdala Stanford University Press. Knjiga, eno prvih večjih del, ki analizirajo to obdobje, govori o tem, kako veliki preskok naprej in posledična lakota še danes vplivata na Kitajsko.

Za razliko od poznejše kulturne revolucije, ki je na Zahodu dobro znana, je bil Veliki skok naprej manj v središču raziskav zahodnih znanstvenikov - vendar je bilo po besedah ​​Yanga eno najvplivnejših obdobij kitajske zgodovine. To je bil ključni dogodek, zaradi katerega je Kitajska po Maovi smrti leta 1976 sprejela reforme na podeželju, kar je povzročilo razpustitev ljudskih občin, ki jih je kitajska vlada vneto zagovarjala med velikim preskokom.

Komunistične sanje vodijo v množično smrt

Veliki preskok naprej je leta 1957 začel predsednik Mao Zedong, da bi narod hitro prišel v ospredje gospodarskega razvoja. Mao je želel, da Kitajska postane vodilna industrijska sila, za dosego svojih ciljev pa sta se s sodelavci zavzela za gradnjo jeklarn po vsej državi.

Podeželska družba naj bi hodila v korak s sanjami tako, da bi proizvedla dovolj hrane za prehrano države in dovolj za izvoz za plačilo za industrializacijo. Zaradi komunistične revolucije je bilo lastnikom zemljišč odvzeto premoženje in do leta 1957 so bili kmetje že prisiljeni delati v kmetijskih zadrugah.

Namen teh sprememb je bil izboljšati pogoje za vse s kolektivizacijo kmetijstva in vzpostavitvijo skupnih jedilnic, kjer bi lahko kmetje brezplačno pojedli vse, kar želijo. Te utopične sanje so se spremenile v nočno moro, ko je osrednje vodstvo postajalo vse bolj brez stika z realnostjo, je ugotovil Yang s študijo vladnih zapisov in osebnih računov.

Na začetku velikega koraka naprej je Mao izjavil, da bo Kitajska v 15 letih prehitela Veliko Britanijo pri proizvodnji jekla in drugih izdelkov. Drugi kitajski voditelji, vključno z Dengom Xiaopingom, so podpirali Maovo navdušenje, v skladu z dokumenti, ki jih je Yang študiral na Kitajskem.

Leto kasneje je Mao korenito revidiral časovni načrt, da bi dohitel Veliko Britanijo - kar je bilo treba doseči v 15 letih, je bilo treba storiti v samo še enem letu, je dejal.

"Pogoste spremembe časovnega razporeda so bile simptomatične za Veliki preskok, ki je bil v preteklosti utelešen v fantaziji. Kasneje so bili predstavljeni še bolj pretirani cilji, ki so jih nato pogosto spreminjali navzgor, za jeklo, žito, bombaž in druge izdelke. Vsak videz resnega načrtovanje je bilo opuščeno, "je dejal Yang.

Pri uresničevanju svojih ciljev je vlada usmrtila ljudi, ki se niso strinjali s hitrostjo radikalnih sprememb. Zlom je leta 1958 privedel do smrti 550.000 ljudi.

Vlada je državo pahnila v globok dolg s povečanjem izdatkov za razvoj težke industrije. Državna poraba za težko industrijo se je leta 1958 povečala in je predstavljala 56 odstotkov državnih kapitalskih naložb, kar je povečanje s 38 odstotkov leta 1956.

Ljudje so bili mobilizirani za dosego ciljev industrializacije. Zgradili so dvoriščne peči za železo in jeklo ter skupaj sodelovali pri obsežnih gradbenih projektih, vključno s tistim, ki so ga izvedli pozimi 1957–58, v katerem je bilo več kot 100 milijonov kmetov mobiliziranih za gradnjo obsežnih del za ohranjanje vode.

Lokalni voditelji so med seboj tekmovali, kdo bi lahko ustvaril največ dejavnosti. V naglici k zaposlovanju delovnih mest so bile zanemarjene kmetijske naloge, zaradi česar je pridelek žita včasih gnil na poljih, je dejal Yang. V blaznosti konkurence so voditelji o svojih letinah preveč poročali svojim nadrejenim v Pekingu in tisto, kar naj bi bilo presežek žita, so prodali v tujino.

Čeprav je bila država v teoriji polna žita, v resnici ni bilo tako. Podeželske skupne menze so spodbujali k brezplačni dobavi hrane, a spomladi leta 1959 so bile rezerve žita izčrpane in lakota se je začela.

Nihče ni prepričan, koliko ljudi je umrlo zaradi lakote. S primerjavo števila smrti, ki bi jih lahko pričakovali v normalnih razmerah, s številom, ki se je zgodilo v času lakote velikega skoka, so znanstveniki ocenili, da je umrlo nekje med 16,5 in 40 milijonov ljudi, preden se je poskus končal leta 1961, zaradi česar je lakota velikega skoka največja v svetovni zgodovini.

Ljudje so v iskanju hrane zapuščali svoje domove. Družine so močno trpele in poročila o tem trpljenju so prišla do pripadnikov vojske, katerih domovi so bili predvsem na podeželju. Ko so vojaki prejemali pisma z opisom trpljenja in smrti, je bilo voditeljem težje vzdrževati ideološko disciplino. Na podeželju je nastal kaos, ko so milice na podeželju postale plenilske, ki so zasegle žito, premagale ljudi in posilile ženske. Od lakote do reform

Med bojem za preživetje so kmetje v skoraj tretjini podeželskih skupnosti stvari vzeli v svoje roke in opustili ljudsko občino v korist individualnega kmetovanja. Močan centralni nadzor se je zmanjšal, kmetijska proizvodnja v državi pa se je izboljšala.

Po Maovi smrti leta 1976 se osrednji voditelji niso strinjali glede politike podeželja. Z izkoriščanjem te paralize politike so kmetje in lokalni kadri sklenili zavezništva na tistih območjih, ki so hudo trpela zaradi velike preskočne lakote, in zemljišča podelili kmečkemu gospodinjstvu. V samo nekaj letih so ljudske občine razstavili. Kmetijska uspešnost se je dramatično izboljšala in dala zagon reformam pod Dengom.

Spomin na lakoto je okrepil pomembno vlogo kmetov pri razvoju Kitajske, je dejal Yang. Ta spomin je spodkopal tudi privlačnost osrednjega načrtovanja pri oblikovanju politike na podeželju.

"Zgodovinski razvoj v več kot štirih desetletjih komunistične vladavine na Kitajskem nam je vedno znova pokazal, kako so nepričakovane posledice elitne politike spodkopale njihove poskuse temeljnega družbenega inženiringa," piše Yang v knjigi Calamity and Reform na Kitajskem. Institucionalne spremembe na Kitajskem so rezultat tekmovanja med elito in množicami, med državo in družbo, je dejal.

"Ta študija torej kaže na ključni pomen varovanja pred tistimi, ki trdijo, da poznajo kakšno čarobno pot do sijoče prihodnosti, pa naj bodo to politiki, kot je Mao, ali partijski intelektualci, ki so podpirali Maa, ali novi tehnokrati, ki trdijo, da so našli znanstveni način Kitajska bogata in močna in z veseljem zahteva več moči zase. "

Najboljši način, da državi preprečimo sledenje drugemu gibanju, kot je Veliki preskok naprej, je ustvariti mehanizme, ki preverjajo tiste, ki so na oblasti, je dejal Yang.

"Če bi obstajali svobodni tisk in druge nadzorne institucije, ki jih običajno najdemo v odprtih političnih sistemih, lakota Velikega preskoka zagotovo ne bi dosegla tako velikega obsega," je dejal Yang, ki dogajanje na Kitajskem še naprej spremlja s svojimi obiski kot svojo akademsko kariero razvija v ZDA.

Yang se je za družbene vede začel zanimati kot študent v Pekingu, kjer je študiral inženiring. Prejel je diplomo B.S. leta 1983 je diplomiral iz industrijskega inženiringa na Pekinški univerzi za znanost in tehnologijo in se zanimal za angleščino, zaradi česar je leta 1984 na Univerzi za tuje študije v Pekingu prejel diplomo za napredni študij angleščine.

Leta 1986 je prišel v ZDA na podiplomski študij politologije in doktoriral. iz Princetona leta 1993, istega leta se je pridružil fakulteti v Chicagu.

Čeprav ne vidi, da bi na Kitajsko prišla hitra demokratizacija, je opazil nekaj znakov, na katere načine tamkajšnji sistem začenja obvladovati presežek moči preveč vnetih voditeljev. "Do neke mere je trend decentralizacije, tržne konkurence in pravnih pravil razširil moč odločanja po sistemu," je dejal.

Novo vodstvo pa je "okvirno, reaktivno in včasih shizofreno," je dejal Yang. "Manj jih vodijo trdna ideološka prepričanja kot zgolj želja, da ostanejo na oblasti.

"The balance between the state and society thus appears precarious, but it is also less susceptible to elite manipulations and more likely to produce policies dealing with the concrete problems that crop up in a state that is undergoing rapid economic development and social change."


Great Leap Forward - History

Economic development under the People's Republic of China government started with about 150 development projects planned, financed and staffed by the Soviet Union. When political ideological differences between Mao Zedong and Nikita Khrushchev led to a split, the 15,000 Soviet engineers and staff on the development projects were withdrawn and the blueprints for the projects destroyed. China did not have the technological and financial resources to complete these projects on its own and Mao Zedong was made conscious of how vulnerable China was in depending upon outside aid, even from communist regimes.

It was then that the conviction developed with Mao that China would industrialize on its own, pulling itself up by its own bootstraps, so to speak. Mao was also aware that the first attempt to create a socialist economy was brought to a halt in the Soviet Union in 1921 when peasants reacted to confiscation of their grain harvest by declining to plant and produce as much grain. Mao was also aware that when Stalin began his five-year plans he collectivized agriculture in order to have control over what was planted and produced. Mao should have also been aware, although perhaps he was not, that the collectivization program in the Soviet Union was a great failure in terms of production and that a severe famine occured in the Ukraine afterwards. Nevertheless Mao called for the Chinese peasants to be organized into communes. This, in effect, took away the land that had been distributed to the peasants in the years immediately after 1949. The peasants had been urged to confiscate the lands of the landowners and distribute it to the peasants that farmed it. This land distribution program was extremely popular with the peasants and contributed to their support of Mao's Communist Party. But the peasants had the land for less that ten years before the State took it away from them.

First, peasants were organized into cooperatives of 20 to 40 families. This was at the village level. Next the cooperatives were replaced by county-wide collectives involving hundreds of thousands of people. In addition to calling for the creation of communes Mao urged the peasants to build backyard blastfurnaces to make iron and steel for tools. The peasants were supposed to melt down scrap metal to make useful items such as tools and utensils. In practice the program worked backwards with peasants melting down useful items to produce unusable masses of metal. This happened because the State exhorted the peasants to increase production from the backyard blast furnaces and when they ran out of scrap they started melting down anything they could find, including tools and utensils. Some of this destruction of useful objects to increase the production from the backyard blastfurnaces might be attributed to enthusiasm but probably more of it was due to there being quotas of production from the furnaces that had to be met. Communist leaders at the local level faced with possible personal punishment for not meeting the quota or destruction of useful items of metal and of wood for fuel usually would choose to try to meet the quota. But the mixture of metals and the impurities in the fuel produced metal that could not be formed into anything useful. The metal was too brittle.

The more incidious consequence of the backyard blastfurnaces and other nonagricultural projects of the Great Leap Forward was that they took labor away from food production and led to a shortfall in food. China was, as always in recent history, on the edge of subsistence and any decrease in food production means privation if not starvation.

To make matters worse the centralized control resulted in no one with the authority to change things being informed of the decline in food production. The commune leaders were under pressure to exceed past production and when production declined they did report it. They, in fact, reported what the higher authorities wanted to hear. Thus the policy errors that were leading to food shortfalls went on beyond the point when anyone could do anything about them. The central government made things even worse for the peasants by taking a share based upon the falsified production figures and thus leaving the peasants too little to survive on.

In addition to the decline in food production due to the diversion of effort away from agriculture there was losses in food production because of the erroneous policies promoted by the State. One of these idiocies was close planting. If two plants are set too close to each other there is not enough nutrients in the soil to feed both and both die. The State promoted close planting of grain to increase productivity. The initial growth of a plant derives from the nutrient stored in the seed itself. With close planting the initial germination produces spectacular results, but when the growth of the plant has to depend upon nutrients drawn from the soil the close planting produces failures. During the Great Leap Forward there developed a competition for creating the most striking demonstrations of close planting. The record was probably the case which produced a famous photograph of children standing on top of a wheat field that could hold their weight. Jasper Becker, in his history of the Great Leap Forward era Hungry Ghosts tells that an interviewee told him that the picture was faked. There was a bench hidden in the wheat below the children's feet that supported them.

Jasper Becker in Hungry Ghosts traces the foolishness of close planting to the fraudulent science of the Soviet Union. T.D. Lysenko was a quack who got the support of Joseph Stalin and ruled over Soviet genetics for twenty five years. Among the many erroneous notions promoted by Lysenko and which had to be accepted in Marxist countries was his "law of the life of species" which said that plants of the same species do not compete with each other but instead help each other to survive. This was linked to the Marxist notion of classes in which members of the same class do not compete but instead help each other survive. So Marxist ideology seemed to support the notion that the denser grain was planted the better it was for the grain. But in reality this close planting led to whithering of the plants after the initial germination phase. Lysenko was responsible for many other foolish notions most based upon the precept that environment not genetics determine plant characteristics. Lysenko argued that if you grew plants a little farther north each year they would adapt to the climate and eventually you would be able to grow oranges in the arctic. All of the Lysenko nonsense had to accepted in the Soviet Union and promoted in propaganda as scientific truth. The Marxists in China apparently believed it was the truth. The reality was that this nonsense resulted in less production of food under conditions of bare survival.

Some tried to communicate to Mao the failures of the Great Leap Forward but were denounced as traitors. Marshal Peng Dehuai who commanded the Chinese troops in the Korean War was one of those denounced and branded as a counter-revolutionary by Mao. Peng captured the situation well in a poem:

The millet is scattered over the ground.
The leaves of the sweet potato are withered.
The young and old have gone to smelt iron.
To harvest the grain there are only
children and old women. How shall we get through the next year?

This version of the poem quoted in Jasper Becker's Hungry Ghosts

Famine ensued and was particularly severe in some areas. The people in these areas were forbidden to leave their area and so were doomed to starvation. Altogether about thirty million people died in the famine. The famine was caused by the shortfall in food production but this was a result of the bad policies and centralization of power in the central government. It was made worse by the refusal to admit the problem. During the time peasants were starving in the country side the government was shipping to grain to the Soviet Union to repay loans. Some grain also rotted in warehouses in the cities where it was taken from the communes.

This famine was kept secret from the outside world until China began opening up to the outside world and demographers began analyzing the the population statistics.

When Mao finally accepted the fact that the Great Leap Forward had failed he left the task of achieving an economic recovery to Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Zhou Enlai. Harrison Salisbury believes there is evidence that Mao made an explicit agreement with the three that he would give them free rein for five years. The three did bring about the recovery but in 1966 Mao sought to return to absolute power again. The power struggle took the form of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). It was a social and economic disaster for China but it was brilliant guerilla warfare on the part of Mao. Mao may have been a fool in matters of economic policy but he was a genius in guerilla warfare.


Flaw #4 | The Water

China could only meet its ambitious grain quotas by also seizing control of the water.

This attempt was also catastrophic.

During the Great Leap Forward, multiple irrigation channels were built to supply water to dry lands. This was done in a rushed way, with no input from experts, but at a great human cost.

The irrigation projects were referred to as “killing fields” by the peasant workers and hundreds of thousands of starved and exhausted people gave their lives in China’s irrigation program.

But the irrigation channels themselves were poorly constructed. Similarly to the irrigation project in the Soviet Union that destroyed the Aral Sea while manically growing cotton, China was driven by aggressive quotas and abused the land and the cheap labor it had at its disposal instead of applying educated and strategic planning.

Multiple dams were built during this period on the same principle. Forced labor, rushed projects. As a result, two decades later when Typhoon Nina struck the Henan province, 62 poorly-constructed dams collapsed in one of history’s worst ecological and humanitarian disasters.


Great Leap Forward - History bibliographies - in Harvard style

Vaša bibliografija: 1999. 50 Years of Communism in China. [online] Available at: <http://partners.nytimes.com/library/world/asia/china-index-timeline.html> [Accessed 24 August 2015].

Great Leap Forward (1956-1960)

V besedilu: (Great Leap Forward (1956-1960), 2012)

Vaša bibliografija: Chineseposters.net. 2012. Great Leap Forward (1956-1960). [online] Available at: <http://chineseposters.net/gallery/theme-04.php> [Accessed 19 October 2015].

Famine Can Tilt the Sex Ratio of Future Generations. Ampak zakaj? | DiscoverMagazine.com

V besedilu: (Famine Can Tilt the Sex Ratio of Future Generations. But Why? | DiscoverMagazine.com, 2015)

Vaša bibliografija: Discover Magazine. 2015. Famine Can Tilt the Sex Ratio of Future Generations. Ampak zakaj? | DiscoverMagazine.com. [online] Available at: <http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/08-sex-ratios> [Accessed 19 October 2015].

Han, D.

Farmers, Mao, and Discontent in China: From the Great Leap Forward to the Present

V besedilu: (Han, 2009)

Vaša bibliografija: Han, D., 2009. Farmers, Mao, and Discontent in China: From the Great Leap Forward to the Present. [online] Monthly Review. Available at: <https://monthlyreview.org/2009/12/01/farmers-mao-and-discontent-in-china/> [Accessed 21 October 2015].

Harms, W.

China's Great Leap Forward

V besedilu: (Harms, 1996)

Vaša bibliografija: Harms, W., 1996. China's Great Leap Forward. [online] Chronicle.uchicago.edu. Available at: <http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/960314/china.shtml> [Accessed 16 October 2015].

People's communes are good - Rui Guangting - 1958

V besedilu: (People's communes are good - Rui Guangting - 1958, 1960)

Vaša bibliografija: Iisg.nl. 1960. People's communes are good - Rui Guangting - 1958. [online] Available at: <http://www.iisg.nl/exhibitions/chairman/chn07.php> [Accessed 19 October 2015].

Mack, L.

Chinese History: First Five-Year Plan (1953-57)

V besedilu: (Mack, 2006)

Vaša bibliografija: Mack, L., 2006. Chinese History: First Five-Year Plan (1953-57). [online] About.com News & Issues. Available at: <http://chineseculture.about.com/od/historyofchina/a/Chinese-History-First-Five-Year-Plan-1953-57.htm> [Accessed 11 October 2015].

Meisner, M. J. and Meisner, M. J.

Mao's China and after

1986 - Free Press - New York

V besedilu: (Meisner and Meisner, 1986)

Vaša bibliografija: Meisner, M. and Meisner, M., 1986. Mao's China and after. New York: Free Press.


Vsebina

Besides the name "Three Years of Great Famine" (simplified Chinese: 三年大饥荒 traditional Chinese: 三年大饑荒 pinyin: Sānnián dà jīhuāng ), the famine has been known by many names.

  • Before June 1981: "Three Years of Natural Disasters" (simplified Chinese: 三年自然灾害 traditional Chinese: 三年自然災害 pinyin: Sānnián zìrán zāihài ).
  • After June 1981: "Three Years of Difficulty" (simplified Chinese: 三年困难时期 traditional Chinese: 三年困難時期 pinyin: Sānnián kùnnán shíqī ).

Production drop Edit

Policy changes affecting how farming was organized, with devastating effects, coincided with droughts and floods. As a result, year-over-year grain production fell dramatically in China. The harvest was down by 15% in 1959 compared to 1958, and by 1960, it was at 70% of its 1958 level. [21] Specifically, according to China's governmental data, crop production decreased from 200 million tons (or 400 billion jin) in 1958 to 170 million tons (or 340 billion jin) in 1959, and to 143.5 million tons (or 287 billion jin) in 1960. [22]

Death toll Edit

Due to the lack of food and incentive to marry at that time, according to China's official statistics, China's population in 1961 was about 658,590,000, some 14,580,000 lower than in 1959. [23] The birth rate decreased from 2.922% (1958) to 2.086% (1960) and the death rate increased from 1.198% (1958) to 2.543% (1960), while the average numbers for 1962–1965 are about 4% and 1%, respectively. [23] The mortality in the birth and death rates both peaked in 1961 and began recovering rapidly after that, as shown on the chart of census data displayed on the left. [24] [25] Some outlier estimates include 11 million by Utsa Patnaik, an Indian Marxist economist, [26] [note 2] as well as 3.66 million by Sun Jingxian (孙经先), a Chinese mathematician. [27] It is widely believed that the government seriously under-reported death tolls: Lu Baoguo, a Xinhua reporter based in Xinyang, explained to Yang Jisheng why he never reported on his experience: [28]

In the second half of 1959, I took a long-distance bus from Xinyang to Luoshan and Gushi. Out of the window, I saw one corpse after another in the ditches. On the bus, no one dared to mention the dead. In one county, Guangshan, one-third of the people had died. Although there were dead people everywhere, the local leaders enjoyed good meals and fine liquor. . I had seen people who had told the truth being destroyed. Did I dare to write it?

Yu Dehong, the secretary of a party official in Xinyang in 1959 and 1960, stated: [28]

I went to one village and saw 100 corpses, then another village and another 100 corpses. No one paid attention to them. People said that dogs were eating the bodies. Not true, I said. The dogs had long ago been eaten by the people.

  • A research team of the Chinese Academy of Sciences concluded in 1989 that at least 15 million people died of malnutrition. [29]
  • Li Chengrui (李成瑞), former Minister of the National Bureau of Statistics of China, estimated 22 million deaths (1998). [30][31][32] His estimate was based on the (27 million deaths [7][33] ) estimated by Ansley J. Coale, and the (17 million deaths) estimated by Jiang Zhenghua (蒋正华), former Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress. [30][34]
  • Judith Banister, Director of Global Demographics at the Conference Board, estimated 30 million excess deaths from 1958-1961. [5][35][36] , a British scholar, showed in his book Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine that most estimates of the famine death toll range from 30-60 million. [37][38]
  • Cao Shuji (曹树基), Distinguished Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, estimated 32.5 million. [30][39][40][41] , senior journalist from Xinhua News Agency, concluded there were 36 million deaths due to starvation, while another 40 million others failed to be born, so that "China's total population loss during the Great Famine then comes to 76 million." [42][43] , a Chinese economist and winner of the 2012 "Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty", put the death toll at 36 million [44]
  • Liao Gailong (廖盖隆), former Vice Director of the History Research Unit of the CCP, reported 40 million "unnatural" deaths due to the famine. [29][45]
  • Chen Yizi (陈一谘), a former senior Chinese official and a top advisor to former CCP General SecretaryZhao Ziyang, concluded that 43 million people died due to the famine. [46][47][48] , Chair Professor of Humanities at the University of Hong Kong and the author of Mao's Great Famine, estimated that at least 45 million people died from starvation, overwork and state violence during the Great Leap Forward, claiming his findings to be based on access to recently opened local and provincial party archives. [49][50] His study also stressed that state violence exacerbated the death toll. Dikötter claimed that at least 2.5 million of the victims were beaten or tortured to death. [51][52] His approach to the documents, as well as his claim to be the first author to use them, however, have been questioned by some other scholars. [53] Dikötter provides a graphic example of what happened to a family after one member was caught stealing some food:

Liu Desheng, guilty of poaching a sweet potato, was covered in urine . He, his wife, and his son were also forced into a heap of excrement. Then tongs were used to prise his mouth open after he refused to swallow excrement. He died three weeks later. [54]

Cannibalism Edit

There are widespread oral reports, and some official documentation, of human cannibalism being practiced in various forms as a result of the famine. [58] [59] : 352 [a] [60] Due to the scale of the famine, the resulting cannibalism has been described as being "on a scale unprecedented in the history of the 20th century". [58] [59]

The Great Chinese Famine was caused by a combination of radical agricultural policies, social pressure, economic mismanagement, and natural disasters such as droughts and floods in farming regions.

Great Leap Forward Edit

Mao Zedong, Chair of the Chinese Communist Party, introduced drastic changes in farming policy prohibiting farm ownership. Failure to abide by the policies led to punishment. [52] [61] [62]

People's communes Edit

During the Great Leap Forward, farming was organized into people's communes and the cultivation of privately owned plots was forbidden. The agricultural economy was centrally planned, and regional Party leaders were given production quotas for the communes under their control. Their output was then appropriated by the state and distributed at its discretion.

In 2008, Yang Jisheng would summarize the effect of the production targets as an inability for supply to be redirected to where it was most demanded:

In Xinyang, people starved at the doors of the grain warehouses. As they died, they shouted, "Communist Party, Chairman Mao, save us". If the granaries of Henan and Hebei had been opened, no one need have died. As people were dying in large numbers around them, officials did not think to save them. Their only concern was how to fulfill the delivery of grain. [28]

The degree to which people's communes helped bring about the famine is controversial. Each region dealt with the famine differently, and timelines of the famine are not uniform across China. One argument is that excessive eating took place in the mess halls, and that this directly led to a worsening of the famine. If excessive eating had not taken place, one scholar argued, "the worst of the Great Leap Famine could still have been avoided in mid-1959". [63] However, dire hunger did not set in to places like Da Fo village until 1960, [64] and the public dining hall participation rate was found not to be a meaningful cause of famine in Anhui and Jiangxi. [65] In Da Fo village, "food output did not decline in reality, but there was an astonishing loss of food availability associated with Maoist state appropriation". [66]

Agricultural techniques Edit

Along with collectivization, the central government decreed several changes in agricultural techniques that would be based on the ideas of later-discredited Russian agronomist Trofim Lysenko. [67] One of these ideas was close planting, whereby the density of seedlings was at first tripled and then doubled again. The theory was that plants of the same species would not compete with each other. In natural cycles they did fully compete, which actually stunted growth and resulted in lower yields.

Another policy known as "deep plowing" was based on the ideas of Lysenko's colleague Terentiy Maltsev, who encouraged peasants across China to eschew normal plowing depths of 15–20 centimeters and instead plow deeply into the soil (1 to 2 chi or 33 to 66 cm). The deep plowing theory stated that the most fertile soil was deep in the earth, and plowing unusually deeply would allow extra-strong root growth. However, in shallow soil, useless rocks, soil, and sand were driven up instead, burying the fertile topsoil and severely stunting seedling growth.

Four Pests Campaign Edit

In the Four Pests Campaign, citizens were called upon to destroy sparrows and other wild birds that ate crop seeds, in order to protect fields. Pest birds were shot down or scared away from landing until dropping in exhaustion. The mass eradication of birds resulted in an explosion of the vermin population, especially crop-eating insects, which had no predators without the birds.

Illusion of superabundance Edit

Beginning in 1957, the Chinese Communist Party began to report excessive production of grain because of pressure from superiors. However, the actual production of grain throughout China was decreasing from 1957 to 1961. For example:

  • In Sichuan Province, even though the collected grain was decreasing from 1958 to 1961, the numbers reported to the central government kept increasing. [68]
  • In Gansu, the grain yield declined by 4,273,000 tonnes from 1957 to 1961. [8]

This series of events resulted in an "illusion of superabundance" (浮夸风), and the Party believed that they had an excess of grain. On the contrary, the crop yields were lower than average. For instance, Beijing believed that "in 1960 state granaries would have 50 billion jin of grain", when they actually contained 12.7 billion jin. [69] The effects of the illusion of superabundance were significant, leaving some historians to argue that it was the major cause of much of the starvation throughout China. Yang Dali argued that there were three main consequences from the illusion of superabundance: [70]

First, it led to planners to shift lands from grain to economic crops, such as cotton, sugarcane, and beets, and divert huge numbers of agricultural laborers into industrial sectors, fueling state demand for procured grain from the countryside. Second, it prompted the Chinese leadership, especially Zhou Enlai, to speed up grain exports to secure more foreign currency to purchase capital goods needed for industrialization. Finally, the illusion of superabundance made the adoption of the commune mess halls seem rational at the time. All these changes, of course, contributed to the rapid exhaustion of grain supplies.

Iron and steel production Edit

Iron and steel production was identified as a key requirement for economic advancement, and millions of peasants were ordered away from agricultural work to join the iron and steel production workforce. Much of the iron produced by the peasant population ended up being too weak to be used commercially.

More policies from the central government Edit

Economists Xin Meng, Nancy Qian and Pierre Yared showed that, much as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen had earlier claimed, aggregate production was sufficient for avoiding famine and that the famine was caused by over-procurement and poor distribution within the country. They show that unlike most other famines, there were surprisingly more deaths in places that produced more food per capita, explaining that the inflexibility in the centrally planned food procurement system explains at least half of the famine mortality. [71] Economic historians James Kung and Shuo Chen show that there was more over-procurement in places where politicians faced more competition. [72]

In addition, policies from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the central government, particularly the Three Red Banners and the Socialist Education Movement (SEM), proved to be ideologically detrimental to the worsening famine. The Three Red Banners of the CCP "sparked the fanaticism of 1958". The implementation of the Mass line, one of the three banners which told people to "go all out, aim high, and build socialism with greater, better, and more economical results", is cited in connection to the pressures officials felt to report a superabundance of grain. [73] The SEM, established in 1957, also led to the severity of the famine in various ways, including causing the "illusion of superabundance" (浮夸风). Once the exaggerations of crop yields from the Mass Line were reported, "no one dared to 'dash cold water ' " on further reports. [74] The SEM also led to the establishment of conspiracy theories in which the peasants were believed to be pretending to be hungry in order to sabotage the state grain purchase. [75]

Power relations in local governments Edit

Local governments had just as much, if not more, influence on the famine than did higher rungs of government. As the Great Leap Forward progressed, many provincial leaders began aligning themselves with Mao and higher Party leaders. [76] Local leaders were forced to choose between doing what was best for their community and guarding their reputation politically. Landlords began "denouncing any opposition as 'conservative rightism ' ", which is defined broadly as anything anti-communist. [77] In an environment of conspiracy theories directed against peasants, saving extra grain for a family to eat, espousing the belief that the Great Leap Forward should not be implemented, or merely not working hard enough were all seen as forms of "conservative rightism". Peasants became unable to speak openly on collectivization and state grain purchase. With a culture of fear and recrimination at both a local and official level, speaking and acting against the famine became a seemingly impossible task. [75]

The influence of local government in the famine can be seen in the comparison between the provinces of Anhui and Jiangxi. Anhui, having a radical pro-Mao government, was led by Zeng Xisheng who was "dictatorial", with ties to Mao. [78] Zeng firmly believed in the Great Leap Forward and tried to build relationships with higher officials rather than maintain local ties. Zeng proposed agricultural projects without consulting colleagues, which caused Anhui's agriculture to fail terribly. Zhang Kaifan, a party secretary and deputy-governor of the province, heard rumours of a famine breaking out in Anhui and disagreed with many of Zeng's policies. Zeng reported Zhang to Mao for such speculations. As a result, Mao labeled Zhang "a member of the 'Peng Dehuai anti-Party military clique ' " and he was purged from the local party. Zeng was unable to report on the famine when it became an emergency situation, as this would prove his hypocrisy. For this he was described as a "blatant political radical who almost single-handedly damaged Anhui". [79]

Jiangxi encountered a situation almost opposite to that of Anhui. The leaders of Jiangxi publicly opposed some of the Great Leap programs, quietly made themselves unavailable, and even appeared to take a passive attitude towards the Maoist economy. As the leaders worked collaboratively among themselves, they also worked with the local population. By creating an environment in which the Great Leap Forward did not become fully implemented, the Jiangxi government "did their best to minimize damage". From these findings, scholars Manning and Wemheuer concluded that much of the severity of the famine was due to provincial leaders and their responsibility for their regions. [80]

Natural disasters Edit

In 1958, there was a notable regional flood of the Yellow River which affected part of Henan Province and Shandong Province. [81] [82] [83] [84] [85] [86] It was reported as the most severe flood of the Yellow River since 1933. [85] [86] In July 1958, the Yellow River flood affected 741,000 people in 1708 villages and inundated over 3.04 million mu (over half a million acres) of cultivated fields. [85] The largest torrent of the flood was smoothly directed into the Bohai Sea on 27 July, and the government declared a "victory over the flood" after sending a rescue team of over 2 million people. [81] [85] [87] The spokesperson of the Flood Prevention Center of Chinese government stated on 27 July 1958, that: [85]

This year we defeated the large flood without division of torrents or breaks on dams, which secures the big harvest of the crops. This is yet another miracle created by the Chinese people.

But the government was encouraged to report success and hide failures. [7] Because the 2 million farm laborers from the two provinces were ordered away from the fields to serve as a rescue team and were repairing the banks of the river instead of tending to their fields, "crops are neglected and much of the harvest is left to rot in the fields". [88] On the other hand, historian Frank Dikötter has argued that most floods during the famine were not due to unusual weather, but to massive, poorly planned and poorly executed irrigation works which were part of the Great Leap Forward. [49] At this time, encouraged by Mao Zedong, people in China were building a large number of dams and thousands of kilometers of new irrigation canals in an attempt to move water from wet areas to areas that were experiencing drought. [89] [90] [91] [92] Some of the works, such as the Red Flag Canal, made positive contributions to irrigation, [93] [94] but researchers have pointed out that the massive hydraulic construction project led to many deaths due to starvation, epidemics, and drowning, which contributed to the famine. [91] [92] [95] [96]

However, there have been disagreements on the significance of the drought and floods in causing the Great Famine. [3] [12] [13] [14] [97] According to published data from Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences ( 中国气象科学研究院 ), the drought in 1960 was not uncommon and its severity was only considered "mild" compared to that in other years—it was less serious than those in 1955, 1963, 1965–1967, and so on. [98] Moreover, Yang Jisheng, who was a senior journalist from Xinhua News Agency, Xue Muqiao, then head of the National Statistics Bureau of China, said in 1958, "We give whatever figures the upper-level wants" to overstate natural disasters and relieve official responsibility for deaths due to starvation. [15] Yang claimed that he investigated other sources including a non-government archive of meteorological data from 350 weather stations across China, and the droughts, floods, and temperatures during 1958–1961 were within the typical patterns for China. [15] Western scholars have also pointed out that:

Many foreign observers felt that these reports of weather-related crop failures were designed to cover up political factors that had led to poor agricultural performance. They also suspected that local officials tended to exaggerate such reports to obtain more state assistance or tax relief. Clearly, the weather contributed to the appalling drop in output, but it is impossible to assess to what extent. [7]

Initial cover-ups Edit

Local party leaders, for their part, conspired to cover up shortfalls and reassign blame in order to protect their own lives and positions. [62] [99] Mao was kept unaware of some of the starvation of villagers in the rural areas who were suffering, as the birth rate began to plummet and deaths increased in 1958 and 1959. [70]

In visits to Henan province in 1958, Mao observed what local officials claimed was increases in crop yield of one thousand to three thousand percent achieved, supposedly, in massive 24-hour pushes organized by the officials which they called "sputnik launches". But the numbers were faked, and so were the fields that Mao observed, which had been carefully prepared in advance of Mao's visit by local officials, who removed shoots of grain from various fields and carefully transplanted them into a field prepared especially for Mao, which appeared to be a bumper crop. [59] : 122

The local officials became trapped by these sham demonstrations to Mao, and exhorted the peasants to reach unattainable goals, by "deep ploughing and close planting", among other techniques. This ended up making things much worse the crop failed completely, leaving barren fields. No one was in a position to challenge Mao's ideas as incorrect, so peasants went to extreme lengths to keep up the charade some grew seedlings in their bedding and coats and, after the seedlings quickly sprouted, "planted" them in fields—the bedding made the plants look high and healthy. [59] : 122

Like in the massive Soviet-created famine in Ukraine (the Holodomor), doctors were prohibited from listing "starvation" as a cause of death on death certificates. [59] [100] This kind of deception was far from uncommon a famous propaganda picture from the famine shows Chinese children from Shandong province ostensibly standing atop a field of wheat, so densely grown that it could apparently support their weight. In reality, they were standing on a bench concealed beneath the plants, and the "field" was again entirely composed of individually transplanted stalks. [62]

Cultural Revolution Edit

In April and May 1961, Liu Shaoqi, then President of the People's Republic of China, concluded after 44 days of field research in villages of Hunan that the causes of the famine were 30% natural disaster and 70% human error (三分天灾, 七分人祸). [17] [18]

In January and February 1962, the "7000 Cadres Conference" took place in Beijing, which was attended by more than 7,000 communist party officials nationwide. [101] [29] [47] During the conference, Liu formally announced his conclusion on the causes of the great famine, while the Great Leap Forward was declared "over" by the Chinese Communist Party. [101] [102] [103] The policies of Mao Zedong were criticized. [102] [103]

The failure of the Great Leap Forward as well as the famine forced Mao Zedong to withdraw from active decision-making within the communist party and the central government, and turn various future responsibilities over to Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. [104] A series of economic reforms were carried out by Liu and Deng and others, including policies such as sanzi yibao (三自一包) which allowed free market and household responsibility for agricultural production. [105] [106]

However, the disagreement between Mao and Liu (and Deng) grew larger and larger. In 1963, Mao launched the Socialist Education Movement and in 1966, he launched the Cultural Revolution, during which Liu was accused of being a traitor and enemy agent for attributing only 30% to natural calamities. [7] [12] [104] [107] Liu was beaten and denied medicine for diabetes and pneumonia he died in 1969. [107] On the other hand, Deng was accused of being a "capitalist roader" during the Cultural Revolution and was purged twice. [108]

Reforms and reflections Edit

In December 1978, Deng Xiaoping became the new Paramount Leader of China and launched the historic Reforms and Opening Up program which fundamentally changed the agricultural and industrial system in China. [109] [110] [111] Until the early 1980s, the Chinese government's stance, reflected by the name "Three Years of Natural Disasters", was that the famine was largely a result of a series of natural disasters compounded by several planning errors. During the "Boluan Fanzheng" period in June 1981, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officially changed the name to "Three Years of Difficulty", and stated that the famine was mainly due to the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward as well as the Anti-Rightist Campaign, in addition to some natural disasters and the Sino-Soviet split. [1] [2] Academic studies on the Great Chinese Famine also became more active in mainland China after 1980, when the government started to release some demographic data to the public. [112] [113] A number of high-ranking Chinese officials had expressed their views on the famine:


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