China's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution

Objective 10; Anna & Richmond

Mao Zedong and a Communist China

Mao Zedong led China in the 1900's, taking ideas from European communism and creating his own form of Chinese communism. He was successful at being the first person to reunite China after the Qing dynasty collapsed. He was very ambitious and wanted to achieve political and economic development in China. To do this he had two programs put in place: The Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

The Great Leap Forward

Mao Zedong established this mainly to control industrial production in the more developed nations of China.

What it did

- Collectivize all land

- All businesses and industrial enterprises were managed communally

- Private ownership ceased to exist

- Industry and Agriculture became mainly rural


One of the biggest effects of this was its impact on agriculture. Many peasants were unable to meet set quotas (and there were many bad harvests), and a massive famine occured. Mao blamed this on the sparrows, and ordered the peasants to kill them, which left insects to eat even more crops, worsening the effects of the famine. This was considered a failure.

The Cultural Revolution

The main purpose, according to Mao, of starting the Cultural Revolution was to motivate the people of China to have revolutionary spirit again. However, it really was meant to target and eliminate opposition to Mao's rule.

What it did

- Established Red Guards to "take care" of those who opposed Mao's rule or threatened China's unity

- Targeted intellectuals, Communist party leaders, those associated with foreign values, or any others in a position of authority

- Killed, humiliated, jailed, beaten, or sent away to the country or labor camps those who were victims


As many intellectuals were killed, the educational system of China suffered. The development of China was also set back, because many important people or leaders suffered.

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