Economics & Sacrifice

In 1949, China was governed by Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party impacted the economy of China and forced many people to make great sacrifices. At the time, the country was not in good shape at all. China was struggling with everything. Chairman Mao believed that he could turn everything around and restore the country quickly. He came up with the idea of the Great Leap Forward. What is the Great Leap Forward? According to Political Economy of the Great Leap Forward, it says, "The Great Leap Forward was an extraordinarily creative intervention in Chinese economic development. It is one of those "moments" in Chinese history that is testament to Mao Zedong's willingness to experiment, as well as his political savvy in seizing control of the apparatuses of government out of the hands of his intellectual and political adversaries within the Communist Party of China (CPC)." The Great Leap Forward completely affected the economy. Many people in China were looking forward to seeing the results of the Great Leap Forward. They did everything they could to support it, just like Moying Li's family did.
When Moying was four years old, a big furnace was put in her family's courtyard. Everyday, many families from all around would go to the courtyard and bring metal so they could melt it in the furnace to produce steel. Many people even began giving away their very valuable possessions, even the things they cherished the most. For Moying's family, they cherished their courtyard and they gave it up to help everyone else. All of the families did this because they believed it would help the economy. After much work was put into the furnace and many possessions were lost, the steel could be used. This caused every family great distress knowing that they gave up everything they had and their plan did not work. Everyone was very upset and disappointed, but there was nothing they could do about it.
Everyone was so focused on the furnace in Moying's courtyard. They were constantly giving away all of their possessions to make steel. Many people forgot about all of the other important things in society. The amount of goods that were being produced decreased greatly. Also, many farmers gave up their farming tools so they could help make steel and this caused the farming to go down hill. Farmers were no longer able to work in their fields and produce crops like they could before because of the loss of their equipment. Many crops were destroyed and China went through a famine. Also, China suffered from a severe drought to add to the shortage of crops. In the novel, Moying Li states, "What we experienced was three years of natural and human calamity, when crops were destroyed by drought and insects and millions of people died from starvation" (xii). Moying Li and her family had such little food that Lao Lao had to kill her own pet chickens and rabbits so food could be provided for her and her family.

The Great Leap Forward caused many people great hardships. It did not go as planned and many terrible things happened while it was going on. While reading over a reference on, it stated "It is widely estimated that twenty-seven million people died." That is a lot of people to die in one country because of the downfall of the economy. The Great Leap Forward caused many people to sacrifice not only their valuable possessions and cherished items but it also caused some people to sacrifice their lives. As said by, "After Mao's death in 1976 it became apparent that China needed not only an able new leader but a new formula for strengthening itself for the modern world".
Chinese Cultural Revolution Poster

Chinese Family

After Mao's death in 1976 it became apparent that China needed not only an able new leader but a new formula for strengthening itself for the modern world.