China’s Last Great Famine: Part 4 of 6

While people were starving in China, and US officials were waiting for Communist China to collapse, Washington D.C. had no idea how much suffering the Chinese people were capable of, and that even with the drought and famine, most Chinese were still better off than they had been for centuries.

How bad was life in China before 1949? Field-studies in the 1930s revealed that in all parts of China, large numbers of landless laborers lived in tremendous poverty, and their situation had not changed since the sixteenth century.China for

The evidence that the quality of life was improving in China started in 1949. When Mao came to power, life expectancy in China was 35, but by 1960 life expectancy had improved to age 60, while the population of China had increased by 19.5% with child mortality rates improving dramatically.

We might never know how much of an impact America’s economic warfare against China crippled its ability to import food to feed its starving people in a time of drought and famine. In fact, this may have also influenced Mao’s decisions to have the world see China as strong and capable of feeding itself.

The last damaging factors that might have led to millions of deaths due to famine and starvation was the statistical lies of rural farmers and local party bosses reporting crop yields in rural China and Mao’s impossible goals to create a miracle in five years to impress the world.

Mao’s five-year plan for the Great Leap Forward set quotas (goals) to develop agriculture and industry so China would catch up to America and the other Western nations that had invaded China during the 19th century (England, France, Japan, Germany, Russia, America, etc.) starting with the Opium Wars that forced China to allow the foreign powers to sell opium to its people alongside an invasion of Christian missionaries who were allowed to go wherever they wanted to convert the Chinese heathens.

That might be why Mao believed that both agriculture and industry had to grow fast  to make China strong enough to resist another invasion—after all, China was still surrounded by enemies and wars against Communism were being waged in Korea and Vietnam, two countries on China’s doorstep.

Industry could only prosper if the workers were well fed, while the agricultural workers needed industry to produce the modern tools for modernization.

For this to happen, rural China was reformed into a series of giant communes.

Continued in Part 5 on March 21, 2015 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Finalist in Fiction & Literature – Historical Fiction
The National “Best Books 2010” Awards


Honorable Mentions in General Fiction
2012 San Francisco Book Festival
2012 New York Book Festival
2012 London Book Festival
2009 Los Angeles Book Festival
2009 Hollywood Book Festival

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