Industrialization in Communist China
Since China opened up and began to restructure its economy in 1978, its gross domestic product has grown by an annual average of nearly 9 percent, and more than 800 million people have pulled themselves out of poverty. During this same period, there have also been significant advancements in access to health care, educational opportunities, and other services. China’s economy has developed due to economic reforms, which have led to improved efficiency across the economy. This has resulted in increased production and more resources for additional investment within the economy. This essay will cover how the rise of communism in 1949 influenced the development of industrialization in East China.
The spread of communism throughout China during that time led to industrial development. Mao Zedong, head of the Chinese Communist Party, formally proclaimed that the People’s Republic of China had been established on October 1, 1949. Mao Zedong became a significant figure in the post-Revolutionary government of mainland China when the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, and he did so in his capacity as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Cheng). The 1950s marked the beginning of China’s entry into the modern industrial era on a considerable scale. Mao Zedong began implementing a “Five Year Plan” in 1953, modeled after the Soviet Union’s attempts at industrialization. The People’s Republic of China’s first attempt at an initiative of this magnitude to industrialize would be represented by this five-year plan. The terrible working circumstances imposed by industrial capitalism on urban working classes gave rise to communism as a response to these difficulties (Chen and Kung). Communism was an economic ideology that called for the abolition of private profit and the expansion of the state’s role in the economy. Workers were assisted by unions, which also acted as advocates for improved working conditions, pay, and benefits.
Many individuals were unhappy with the deplorable working conditions and the unfair distribution of wealth. New approaches to solving these issues have developed in the form of alternative economic concepts. The inequalities caused by capitalism inspired the rise of communism (Cheng). Under the communist economic system, all property and the means of production are owned collectively by the people. Some of the accomplishments that were a part of east china’s Revolution in terms of industrialization included modernization brought about by communists (Chen and Kung). China had five-year plans for its industrialization processes (Wen and Fortier). The exploitation of the countryside, rapid urbanization, and the bureaucratic and technological elite contribute to the problem. The radical economic and social shifts brought on by the Industrial Revolution, especially the struggles of the working class, gave rise to the ideology of socialism (Wen and Fortier). Although those factory owners and other entrepreneurs were amassing colossal fortunes, the standard of living for many workers worsened.
China remained poor despite about a century and a half of two failed attempts at industrialization; when communism came to power, the government stated, “It’s up to me now. You have all made some errors in judgment (Chen and Kung). Because capitalism is the root cause of poverty and inequality in China, it cannot be the solution to the country’s problems. Only a select few people or those in the top class become wealthy. However, most people continue to exist in impoverished conditions.” The Communists think that this should not be done. To industrialize China, there are further steps that need to be taken. In other words, communism came to power in about 1949 (Wen and Fortier). But despite this, China was still an impoverished country thirty years later. The year was 1978, and Deng Xiaoping had just taken over as leader of China following Mao Zedong’s passing the previous year. The question, therefore, becomes: why did China’s three prior attempts to industrialize fail? Is it possible that the market is not entirely free? Indeed, there was no such thing as a free market under communism.
On the other hand, this was not the case during the late Qing dynasty or during the time of the Republic of China. The Qing dynasty had much more robust protections for private property rights than their European counterparts. There is consensus among historians on that. In addition, during the time of the Republic of China, legitimate rights of private property were in effect. Therefore, the problem is not a lack of a free market in and of itself or private property rights. However, it was the absence of democracy under communism, which was not the case while the People’s Republic of China was in power (Wu). In addition, the shortage of natural resources is not an issue. Even though China has a relatively limited natural resource base, this is not the root cause of the country’s problems. Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan are only some examples of countries that have effectively developed their industrial sectors while having relatively few natural resources (Wu). Therefore, on the other hand, a significant number of other countries have an abundance of natural resources. Those in the Middle East and even countries in Latin America were unable to undergo the industrialization process. So it would appear that the availability of natural resources is not a prerequisite condition.
In addition, efforts were made to press a campaign against anti-communist holdouts, bandits, and political opponents. The most significant amount of media attention was paid to Beijing’s deployment of soldiers to Tibet at the same time as it began its intervention in Korea. Because of the uniqueness and prestige of the Tibetan culture across the world, the communists expected this to be a difficult test of their ability to consolidate their control fully. In 1959, following occasional confrontations with the Chinese, the Tibetans rose in revolt, and Beijing responded with force to the Tibetans’ uprising (Wu).
In conclusion, after mainland China’s ” fall ” to communism in 1949, diplomatic relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China were severed for several years. Communists invaded Beijing in 1949. The divide between those who owned the tools of production and those who did the actual labor was more comprehensive due to the Industrial Revolution. This would change when the proletariat, who had developed class consciousness, rose and overthrew capitalism. Currently, this isn’t the case.
Chen, Ting, and James Kai-Sing Kung. “The Rise of Communism in China.” Papers.ssrn.com, December 14, 2020, papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3748521.
Cheng, Chu-yuan. The Economy of Communist China, 1949–1969. Library.oapen.org, the University of Michigan Press, 2020, library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/41818. Accessed October 29, 2022.
Wen, Yi, and George E. Fortier. “The Visible Hand: The Role of Government in China’s Long-Awaited Industrial Revolution.” Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, vol. 17, no. 1, January 2, 2019, pp. 9–45, 10.1080/14765284.2019.1582224.
Wu, Yuan-li. “Industrialization under Chinese Communism.” Current History, vol. 39, no. 232, 1960, pp. 343–366, www.jstor.org/stable/45309931.