- Author: AriesStar
- Picture: Awakener
- Translator: Ranting
Mao did not stop defending his dictatorship after the failure of the “Hundred Flowers Campaign”. (Originally, the intention was to clean up the party and rectify with the help of the senior intellectuals, but senior intellectuals became anti-party, and finally had no choice but to launch the “anti-right”.) Mao, who already had the essence of “fighting” written in his blood, knew very well that only by constantly launching campaigns, “fighting with the heaven, fighting with the earth, fighting with people”, could he eliminate his opponents one by one in the fighting. So he, still the “great leader” of the CCP, began to plan for “great governance amidst great chaos”.
Mao first overturned the promising “Second Five-Year Plan” formulated by Zhou Enlai, Chen Yun and other economic experts. (The First Five-Year Plan, from 1953 to 1957, was a remarkable period of economic development and growth in a country that was still in need of reconstruction. The Second Five-Year Plan was the beginning of the real economic construction.)
It started in 1957, when Soviet scientists released the first artificial satellite in the history of mankind, which attracted world’s attention. And Comrade Khrushchev made a big speech in front of Mao, threatening that the Soviet Union would overtake the United States within fifteen years. (In 1957, Mao visited the Soviet Union to participate in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the October Revolution.)
Mao, who had always been pleased with his success, was already dissatisfied with Zhou’s “Second Five-Year Plan” and came to life when he heard this, so he blurted out the “great goal” of “China will surpass Britain in 15 years”. This is the opportunity for Mao to “win in chaos” after smashing everything. (Dear readers, anyone who have some economic knowledge know that the growth and goals of a country’s economy need to be scientifically justified, planned and implemented according to the laws of economic development, not blown out by a touch of the upper lip to the lower lip. Down-to-earth, realistic development is the way every normal country in the world operates. But today in China, we can still see the existence of this “adventurous”, “false, big and empty” phenomenon.)
After returning to China, Mao first dismissed Zhou Enlai at the Nanning Conference on the grounds that “opposing ‘advances’ is counter-revolutionary and anti-Marxist”. After that, the “three red flags”, namely the “General Line”, the “Great Leap Forward” and the “People’s Commune”, were erected. (After the Nanning Conference, Zhou Enlai personally wrote a “review” to review his mistake of “anti-invasion” and resigned from the premiership on his own initiative. Zhou’s “retreat for advance” did not cost him the premiership, and he remained in the premiership until his death.)
The so-called “Great Leap Forward” is reflected in urban industry and commerce, which is “take steel as the key link” of the “backyard furnaces”. China’s steel production had reached 5.35 million tons in 1957, and the State Council set the steel production for 1958 at 6.5 million tons. But this target is obviously too slow compared to Mao’s call for “catching up with Britain in fifteen years”. Therefore, in Mao’s mind, this goal should be “doubled”. But the target of 6.5 million tons was already an overage relative to China’s industrial base at that time, and the “doubling” proposed by Mao was a myth that was absolutely impossible to accomplish.
The unbeatable Mao firmly believed in the power of the masses to attack and win. Chiang’s four million troops were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party, and the fierce American Empire was “defeated” by the heroic volunteer army on the Korean battlefield. What’s a million pieces of steel? The Chinese Communist Party has always been a “layman lead experts”, and it is even more dismissive of those experts’ opinions. So under Mao’s “imperial decree”, the steel production in 1958 was set at 10.7 million tons, which was “double”. According to Bo Yibo’s recollection, and other official records, steel production in 1959 was booked at an even more absurd 30 million tons; in 1962 it was booked at 80 to 100 million tons ……
What should we do if the target is too high for steel mills across the country to handle it? In response to Chairman Mao’s call and in order to complete the production target, the “backyard furnaces” was launched throughout the country from the autumn. The provincial party secretaries of all provinces in the country also boasted in front of the chairman, making Mao’s “Majesty was greatly pleased”.
In order to win the “holy heart”, the “local despots” of the provinces, cities and autonomous regions swarmed to make steel. Finally, the people’s iron pots, iron windows, iron beds, iron doors, iron locks, iron nails …… where iron things are all surrendered, all cast into the small earthen blast furnace.
From ministers, professors, generals, to peddlers, children, in short, farmers do not go to the fields, students do not go to school, “husband and wife do not go to bed”, 90 million people dressed up, day and night to refine iron and steel, and finally produced millions of tons of industrially useless “iron lumps “…
The “Great Leap Forward” is reflected in the countryside and agriculture, which is the “People’s Commune” with “take food as the key link”. Under the blazing fire of millions of “backyard furnaces”, millions of “primary and advanced cooperatives” were merged into 26,425 “people’s communes” in a matter of weeks at the request of the CCP in rural China.
The “communist life” of “eating without money” has indeed been realized in this part of China. With the goal of “catching up with Britain”, steel production must double, food production naturally cannot lag behind. Mao called on everyone to “break the superstition, emancipate the mind, and carry forward the spirit of dare to think, dare to speak, dare to do.” The Central Committee of the CCP also put forward the slogan “The bolder people are, the more productive the fields will be”. So another great leap forward in food was set off across the country. This “trumpet” soon after the blowing, around the “satellite” began, the successes are frequently reported.
From June 1958, the People’s Daily began to publish the “good news” reported by county secretaries throughout China. First, the satellite people’s commune in Suiping County, Henan Province, broke the news that wheat yielded 2,105 catty per acre, considered the first “high-yielding satellite”.
Later, it was gradually increased everywhere, and by the time the 29th satellite appeared in the People’s Daily, the acre yield had reached 7,320 catty. In the future, even Qinghai, which is located on the plateau, also participated in this “satellite” chorus, playing a brand of 8,585 kilograms, and quelling all the “heroes”.
Rice is even more amazing. The numbers in the newspapers are astonishing one by one, seven thousand, ten thousand, fifteen thousand, and even the “miracle” of 37 thousand in Hubei and 43 thousand in Anhui. In September, a line of extraordinarily large characters appeared in the “People’s Daily”: “There is a miracle in the poor mountains of Guangdong, 60,000 catty of rice per acre”.
In order to show that this figure is true, the article specifically emphasizes that the provincial secretary-general was present for the acceptance, which is not nonsense. As for the whole Great Leap Forward movement, the number one champion belongs to Guangxi Huanjiang County, with a yield of 130,000 catty of rice per acre!
When news of the 36,956 catty rice per acre yield in Macheng County, Hubei Province, appeared in the press during August, the People’s Daily published a special news photo showing four children standing on rice ears in a field, with the caption under the photo reading, “The children stood on it as if they were standing on a sofa.” However, this miracle soon fell behind. A month later, another picture came out with the caption, “Three people standing on it and can’t overwhelm it.”
News is not only produced by newspapers, but also by the film studios controlled by the CCP’s Propaganda Department, especially the Central News Documentary Film Studio, the CCP’s major mouthpiece. The studio produced a series of absurd news at the time when the Great Leap Forward was the most prosperous, which went even farther than the People’s Daily.
It has filmed a “Boiling Guangxi”. This is a documentary. There is a scene in it: a group of farmers in straw hats are cutting rice, a few stacks of tea bowls are scattered on the heavy rice ears on the right, and a large wooden barrel is obviously full of boiling water. The barrel is written in two big characters: “Tea, Please.” While this shot appears on the caption, the off-screen commentary reads, “Luo Cheng County has created a high-yielding satellite of 130,000 catties of rice per acre.”
The documentary also has an equally amazing news: a people’s commune “radiated a satellite that shocked the whole country by producing 200,000 tons of iron per day”. Later the film maker also wrote an article about this commune: “How remarkable it is! Their one day’s work is equal to the completion of the whole year’s iron production task of Guangxi in 1958.” (Film Illustrated, 1959, No. 2)
Dear readers, even with the development of science and technology today, looking at the world, which country can reach the yield per acre reported by the People’s Daily at that time? The main propaganda media of the Chinese Communist Party without batting an eye, shamelessly fabricated lies to the people of the whole country and the whole world… (Unchanged so far) Sad! The documentary news of the People’s Daily and the party media in that period will surely become the laughing stock of future generations for a thousand years in history …
Some readers may have questions in their minds: Why are there no journalists, publicists or cadres who speak the truth? If you think about it, it will be clear to you: who dares to stand up?
The “Anti-Rightist” movement that followed the “Hundred Flowers Campaign” branded tens of thousands of journalists inside and outside the Party who were willing to speak the truth, as well as high-ranking intellectuals, as “rightists” and sent them all to “cowshed” for labor reform. What’s left is either the chills of the autumn queen, or the “grass on the wall”. It is impossible to expect these people to come forward to criticize and tell the truth.
Even high-ranking Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, etc. followed with the advocacy, what other people’s ability to “turn things around”? The Chinese Communist Party has used this high-pressure approach of ” fighting ” to govern from top to bottom, inside and outside the Party. (The Chinese Communist Party is still following the same old path of ” fighting” today.)
At that time, the CCP’s policy on rural grain collection was called “unified purchase and sale”: all major agricultural products, such as grain, oil, cotton and hemp, except for the share set by the government for farmers’ own consumption, were unifiedly purchased and distributed by the state.
The name is “selling surplus grain”, in fact, the state first booked a total national acquisition target, distributed to the provinces around, this is the “national task”, must be completed. In order to flatter the central government, the “lords of the counties” in various places have “spreading satellites” and “producing tens of thousands of catties per acre” brags were loud. The “national mission” must be based on the actual amount of “brag” blown out.
What if there is not enough food in the granary? Payment of rations, even seed grains, must be made up and handed in. In addition, the “Great Leap Forward” and the “People’s Commune” were spread all over the country, and the human, material and financial resources of all industries were seriously affected. This impact was directly responsible for tens of millions of deaths in the next two years. This is what the Chinese Communist Party calls the “three years of natural disasters”.