User:DiamondDisc1/Great Leap Forward

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Note: This draft was created by the merging of Withoutaname and DiamondDisc1's drafts of the same article.

...Mao thought he could catapult his country past its competitors by herding villagers across the country into giant people’s communes. In pursuit of a utopian paradise, everything was collectivised. People had their work, homes, land, belongings and livelihoods taken from them. In collective canteens, food, distributed by the spoonful according to merit, became a weapon used to force people to follow the party’s every dictate. As incentives to work were removed, coercion and violence were used instead to compel famished farmers to perform labour on poorly planned irrigation projects while fields were neglected.
—Frank Dikötter, Chair Professor of Humanities at University of Hong Kong, on the Great Leap Forward.[1]


The Great Leap Forward was a policy set in place by Mao Zedong. The policy was a political program established in the People's Republic of China from 1958 to 1961 by the Communist Party of ChinaWikipedia's W.svg. The aim of the program was to modernize China by way of rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture, and to the extent that it was successful it managed to end the periodic cycles of famine that had existed in China prior to the program. However, the famine that was part of the fallout from the program cost the lives of millions of Chinese, and it was during this era that widespread use of the infamous struggle sessions were introduced.


Writers on the far-left side of the political spectrum tend to dismiss or mitigate the astounding loss of life that resulted from the Great Leap. Joseph Bell writes in the Monthly Review that Western writers often are focused too much on the initial death toll, and that many of the policies actually benefited millions of Chinese after the "initial disruptions"[2]


  1. Dikoetter, Frank. "Looking back on the Great Leap Forward." Looking back on the Great Leap Forward | History Today. August 8, 2016. Accessed July 11, 2017.
  2. 21, 2006) Joseph Ball (Sep. "Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball." Monthly Review. June 06, 2014. Accessed July 11, 2017. It's kind of like saying that the Irish Potato FamineWikipedia's W.svg wasn't that bad because, after millions of Irishmen died, they had it pretty good. Of course, because the British authorities weren't socialists, what they did (or didn't do) is tantamount to genocide.