Free Esaay Example on Mao Zedong: Economic and Cultural Transformation of China

Published: 2024-01-30
Free Esaay Example on Mao Zedong: Economic and Cultural Transformation of China
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Politics Culture Economics
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1734 words
15 min read


Mao Zedong, popularly known by the name "Chairman Mao," was a communist revolutionary in China. He founded the People's Republic of China (PRC), and he ruled as the Communist Party's chairman since its establishment in 1949. He died later in 1976. He is popularly known for the revolutions that brought changes in China's economy and culture. He started his mission in his early life, and while working at Peking University, he adopted Marxism–Leninism. He became the founder member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and in 1927 he led the Autumn Harvest Uprising. Mao also assisted in the founding of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army. This was during the period of the Chinese Civil War between the CPC and the Kuomintang (KMT), in which Mao became head of the CPC and later used his force to defeat the Nationalist government. In his time, he impacted China in many ways, i.e., he led the enforcement of the planned economy in China and oversaw the construction of the first PRC constitution (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p193). Mao also led the industrialization program launch and pioneered the project dubbed the "Two Bombs, One Satellite." Mao led several cultural revolutions throughout China. The paper, therefore, examines and discusses some of the efforts that Mao put to ensure the transformation of China's economy and culture.

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Mao's Transformations

The revolution change spanned from 1949 to 1953. The communist party played a significant role in the conquest of China's national territory and in the restoration of the Chinese economy.

By 1950 the communist party had conquered the remaining Guomindang forces and taken over the control. This was followed by several victories in the regions of China. The Communist Party had a goal in the Chinese economic sphere, which had intentions of rebuilding the economy and bringing it to the model of the Soviet Union to make its economy a modern socialist China. Liu Shaoqi and Mao Zedong merged with private enterprise to rebuild China's economy improve production and enter the new socialist era (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p194).

The Communists party was cautious in its moves to ensure that the nation would remain in a good state with all the planned changes that were now underway. This was to endorse the whole country and guarantee that the state enterprises under a mixed economy and the private businesses would recover and increase their production. By 1950 the Chinese economy had recovered, and the government was on a stable financial footing after putting the inflation levels under control and boosting the economy's production level. These revolutions brought a stable political regime in the country (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p197).

In 1958, Mao launched a five-year plan termed "Great Leap Forward," which would bring China to the age of industrialization and put a new face of economic growth and development to the Soviet model. This would be focused on the party's goals of massive production and heavy industry. This program was the new face of an economy that lifted the small agricultural collectives and quickly placed them into larger people's communes (Strauss, 2007).

The Great Leap Forward faced a lot of challenges and almost brought the Chinese economy to a fall. The peasants were forced to work on heavy infrastructural projects and in iron and steel production. There was also a ban on private food production. The collective ownership took over livestock and farm implements ("Little Red Book (Chapter 5) - Mao cult," n.d.).

Mao and other party leaders made implementations of several unscientific and unproven techniques in the agricultural revolutions by the new communes. These implementations brought disasters in various fields, i.e., in 1959, there was a 15% decline in the production of grain, which further dropped by 10% in 1960, which did not recover in the following year (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p208).

To avoid being purged, they fabricated economic success to appease their superiors citing fulfillment and over-fulfillment of productions. This was also followed by a factious harvest that left the peasants with very little food. The great famine came, and many suffered great starvation that led to the death of millions in China. However, Mao had no idea of this manipulation, and instead, they were surprised and enthusiastic with the great report. He asked what should be done about the expected surpluses. These fabrications led to the requisition of the peasant's produce to cover up the reports in fear of being called rightists (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p209).

China suffered a great famine, which resulted in the death of millions during the 20th century. This resulted from a lack of food production and distribution to other populations of China. Those in urban areas received food while those in rural areas were left to grow food for themselves and were still expected to give some of their products to the government. The children suffered the great famine that brought emaciation and death of many children in rural areas. The Great Leap Forward ended in 1962.

Mao Zedong realized the catastrophic impact of the Great Leap Forward (GLF) and strongly condemned its practices, such as the peasants' subjection to exhausting labor without an adequate supply of food and enough rest, which contributed to the country's epidemics and deaths. But by this time, Mao had lost respect among the cadres of the top parties. This forced him to abandon the Great Leap Forward policy. He also lost political influence on leaders like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. He tried to reclaim his name through propaganda that he was only partly to blame for the great famine. Consequentially in 1959, Mao was forced to resign as the Communist Party president but retained his seat as the chairman of the communist party. Liu Shaoqi took over the presidency (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p219).

Mao had a belief that the Cultural Revolution could set China on a new scale, and it would serve everyone and not just the elite community. The state chairman Liu Shaoqi and General Sec. Deng Xiaoping was the idea that Mao was removed from the State power of China's government but remained the symbolic chair of the communist party due to his contributions to the revolution. They tried to take control of the economic policy and assertion into China's politics ("little Red Book (Chapter 5) - Mao cult," n.d.).

In his response, Mao launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966. The revolution gave rise to a group of young people called the Red Guards who struggled against all levels of authority. They led these struggles under their tribunals, the country was in chaos, and many were persecuted. This revolution led to the closure of many universities and schools in the country (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p219).

The Red Guards led raids on the intellectuals taking their furniture, musical instruments, stamps of collections, and coins and destroying some publicly confiscated items. The Cultural Revolution led to the mass destruction of most of the traditional cultural heritage in China and the consequential arrests and imprisonment of many citizens involved in the revolution. Estimations put it that millions of people were ruined, and some perished during the Cultural Revolutions (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p219).

During this period, Mao chose Lin Biao to succeed him because he seemed to echo his ideas. The two would later face division in which Lin was either planning for a coup or assassination on Mao, but he died in a plane crash in 1971 as he fled China escaping his arrest. It was assumed that Lin had planned to depose Mao, which led to the Soviets losing trust in Mao. A lot of events took place between these times, which also changed the economic, cultural, and political status of China.

Mao's Legacy

Mao Zedong played a critical role in the lives of the Chinese people and the communist party during his time that went on for twenty-seven years. The People's Republic of China remembers him for his outstanding achievements and the disastrous awakenings that he brought to his nation, i.e., the Great Leap Forward and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. However, most of these events were not necessarily Mao's doing or even his liking. The twenty-seven years were marked as "Mao's era," and his legacy would live on (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p225).

Mao was ranked as the most influential and controversial in the 20th century. He is characterized by such attributes as visionary, intellect, military strategist, and theorist. His supporters have popularized him for the fight against imperialism in China, unifying China, and ending the era of civil war. Women praise him for lifting their lives and improving education in China. By far, his achievements outweigh his mistakes (Strauss, 2007).

He made policies that brought catastrophe to the people of China. During his twenty-seven-year reign, people who died under his regime ranged between 40 to 80 million, which was through persecution, prison labor, starvation, and executions. It is, however, noted that during his regime, education, health care, and life expectancy immensely improved. He led the industrialization of China (The People's Republic of China, Chp5 p226). His policies were the founding grounds that led to the rise of China to become an economic superpower.

The communists still apply Mao's political ideologies around the world; his revolutionary tactics are also used by the insurgents. General Mao is referred to as the Founding Father of modern China. After the death of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping became the paramount leader of the People's Republic of China, in 1978. Deng rose to power and made several reforms that placed China in the high economic ranks. He took China through scaling economic revolution and reforms.


Mao Zedong was a visionary and a strategic man. He led China from imperialism and in the struggle to revive China's economy and politics. His policies may have been unprecedented, but they set the foundation for the growth and development of China. He made reforms that improved and enhanced education levels for the people of China. During his regime, China became an economic giant scaling the globe. He may have made mistakes, but his achievements are remarkable.


Strauss, J. (2007). The history of the People's Republic of China, 1949-1976. Cambridge University Press.

The Little Red Book (Chapter 5) - Mao cult. (n.d.). Cambridge Core.

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