Chinese Land Reform Movement Analysis

752 Words4 Pages
The land reform was one of the most important, if not the most crucial, step taken by the Chinese Communist Party in the struggle against feudalism. The aim of the reform was to take the land accumulated in the hands of the landlords and redistribute it to the poorer peasants (Fairbank 1992; Ladejinsky 1957; Liu 2006). The land belonging to rich peasants was not to be subjected to the confiscation and redistribution as the government wanted to preserve the rich peasant economy (Ladenjinsky 1957).
The first task, however, was to divide the rural population into following classes: landlords, rich peasants, middle peasants, poor peasants and farmhands (Fairbank 1992; Kung 2008). The classification to the last three classes was not a cause of controversies, but the criteria for being classified as a landlord or a rich peasant were less clear. James Kai-sing Kung in his article The
…show more content…
As a result of the reform around 115-118 million acres or 43-44 percent of the cultivated acreage of the country was confiscated and redistributed (Ladenjinsky 1957; Kung, et al. 2012). Additionally, the houses, draft animals, agricultural implements, and foodstuffs were also taken away from the landlords and distributed among the peasants. As much as 90% of the entire rural population was affected by the reform (Ladenjinsky 1957; Kung, et al. 2012). However, Ben Stavis argues that since the land available for redistribution in China was very limited, it did not significantly increase the overall welfare of poor peasants (Stavis 1978). The estimates as to how many landlords were executed or killed during the process of land reform differ between 800,000 victims (a number mentioned by Mao Zedong in his report) to as high as 2,000,000 (Ladenjinsky 1957; Liu 2006; ). The land reform was also limited for economic reasons as the goal of the CCP was to not antagonize the rich peasants, whose support was needed to introduce further reforms (Stavis

More about Chinese Land Reform Movement Analysis

Open Document