Front Page Titles (by Subject) MICHAEL F. ZAREMSKI, Red China's Great Leap Backward - New Individualist Review
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MICHAEL F. ZAREMSKI, Red China’s Great Leap Backward - Ralph Raico, New Individualist Review 
New Individualist Review, editor-in-chief Ralph Raico, introduction by Milton Friedman (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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Red China’s Great Leap Backward
TILLMAN DURDIN, in his introduction to Report from Red China, relates that when sixteen-year-old Mao Tse-tung was on his way to enroll in a school some distance from his home, he met a small boy walking with an old man. Liking their companionship, but irked by their inability to keep up with his steady pace, he derided them and provoked the youngster to tears with his incessant, scornful cries of “Faster! Faster! Faster!”
In a broad sense, this episode characterizes the whole attitude of the Chinese dictator with regard to the 700 million people he rules. With unrelenting, brutal determination, he led his unwilling followers into a complete program of rapid collectivization and industrialization, which, leaving no sector of Chinese life untouched, brought the country “even one step beyond the Soviet Union” on the road to the pure Communist state. But despite the heady optimism with which the project was launched, it proved a dismal failure, and now, after the disastrous flirtation with Communism-in-practice, the Chinese economy is again languishing in chaos.
The country Mao Tse-tung took control of when the Communists conquered the Chinese mainland in 1949 was one which manifestly showed the results of thirty years of civil war and almost a decade of Japanese incursions. Cities were in rubble; the countryside, ravaged by the unpredictable floodings of the Yellow River, the Yangtze, and the Huai, lay in waste; and the few industries, concentrated in Manchuria, were decimated when the departing Soviet occupation troops dismantled most of the machinery and brought it back with them into Russia. Compounding these difficulties was China’s perennial problem, agriculture.
The basic cause of the country’s farm troubles can be traced to the lack of arable land. While mainland China encompasses 9.6 million square kilometers of territory, only an estimated 250 million acres are cultivable. Per capita land distribution in pre-war China was only 0.45 acres, as compared with 2.01 in Russia and 8.04 in the United States.1 Since almost 90 per cent of the population earned their living from the soil and the Chinese rules of inheritance dictated that land be distributed among all a person’s heirs, farm units were kept small. In 1933, the average land holding was 4.23 acres, while at the same time it was 39.74 in Denmark, 77.30 in England and 156.85 in the United States.2
The Communist remedy for the situation was not long in coming. The first few years after their seizure of power witnessed the first stage of the “great agricultural experiment,” the liquidation of the large land holdings and the execution of the landlords and other “Counter-revolutionaries.” Estimates of the total number of landlords killed range from a conservative figure of 3 million—based on official estimates—to upwards of seven times that sum.3 That done, the Agrarian Reform Law of 1950 was adopted, establishing the complex machinery whereby the confiscated land—117 million acres—would be redistributed among 300 million farm laborers and poor peasants.
But China’s Red rulers have never left much doubt about the real purpose of agrarian reform—as a necessary preliminary stage in their program for China’s industrial development. Immediately before the adoption of the Agrarian Reform Law, on June 14, 1950, Liu Shao-chi, then the chief theoretician of the Party, commented:
The basic reasons for and the aim of agrarian reform are different from the view that it is only designed to relieve the poor people. . . . The results of agrarian reform are beneficial to the impoverished laboring peasants, helping them partly to solve their problem of poverty. But the basic aim of agrarian reform is not purely one of relieving the impoverished peasants. It is designed to set free the rural productive forces from the shackles of the feudal ownership system of the landlord class in order to develop agricultural production and thus pave the way for New China’s industrialization.4
No sooner had the land been divided and subdivided into small, individual plots than the Communists initiated a new program designed to help the Chinese to discover the inefficiency of small-scale farming. The peasants were now subjected to a new propaganda line exhorting them to join “mutual aid teams.” By thus pooling their resources, so they were instructed, they could benefit from the increased knowledge of modern farming methods and could have access to costly mechanical implements otherwise beyond their means.
The Chinese Communist Party then adopted a resolution establishing the Agricultural Producers’ Co-operatives. Under this system the peasants pooled their labor, tools and livestock, worked the land jointly, and were paid a part of the crop-yield in proportion to the value of the material they originally “invested” in the co-operative.
The program, which began inauspiciously with 300 experimental co-operatives in 1952, soon burgeoned. By 1953, 14,000 units had been established, and the next year the number rose to over half a million. In 1956 there were 1,300,000 such organizations in operation, encompassing, as the Communists boasted, over 90 per cent of the peasant households. Thus the peasant was suddenly and unceremoniously deprived of the very land which a few years before he had been given with so much fanfare and at a cost of so many lives.
This step taken, the next was viewed by the Communists as inevitable; it was “the logical result of the march of events.” In August, 1958, the Chinese Communist leadership approved a measure calling for “The Establishment of the People’s Communes in the Rural Areas.” The land was totally communized, private property nearly completely eliminated, and the workers fully regimented. What was to be the final stage in the “great agricultural experiment” was reached.
THE DRIVE TO modernize China’s economy through industrialization was carried forward with no less brutal determination. The first aim of the Party’s leadership was the re-establishment of the factories in southern Manchuria, a goal achieved through a provision of the treaty of alliance signed between the Soviet Union and the Chinese People’s Republic in early 1950, by which Moscow agreed to lend Peking $300 million in five yearly instalments. Then, in January, 1953, Chou En-lai announced China’s first Five-Year Plan, an ambitious program of forced industrialization to be carried out with Russian administrative and technical assistance.
Under the Plan the Communist leadership called for all available capital and labor to be directed into the development of heavy industry, machines, fuel and electrical power, with little channeled into those sectors of the economy producing consumer goods. Over the five year period, according to official statistics, 58.2 per cent of the total capital investment of $18 billion went into industrial projects, with only 7.6 per cent going to agriculture, forestry and water conservation. Moreover, of the total industrial investment, 88.8 per cent went into heavy industry, leaving 11.2 per cent for light industrial projects. As a result of this order of priority, China, at the end of the first economic plan, could boast of factories making automobiles, electrical equipment, machine tools and military goods, while such staple commodities as wearing apparel were in short supply and of poor quality.
Nonetheless, if the low priority given to consumer commodities produced an unfortunate situation, the results of the concentration on capital good industries were impressive. The total value of industrial output at the end of the five year period exceeded the original goal by 21 per cent—141 per cent higher than in 1952. The average annual rate of growth was planned to be 14.7 per cent; it actually surpassed 19 per cent.5 Steel production, for example, which was 1.35 million metric tons in 1952, reached 4.45 million tons in 1956, thereby passing, a year ahead of schedule, the original target of 4.12 million tons.
Yet despite the rapid and in some cases startling gains made under the first Five-Year Plan, the program manifested numerous signs of inefficiency and waste. In August, 1954, the People’s Daily (Peking) published an article which revealed that “the products of a number of machine-producing factories have a rate of wastage as high as 40 per cent, with only a very low passing grade in quality.6
A more graphic account of inefficiency was carried in that same publication in February, 1955. In a story describing a government inspection of a machine shop in Shenyang, the following was noted:
The safety devices were not functioning properly. . . . Some of the drills stopped working within 20 seconds after being started—electrical switches did not function well; some sliding surfaces could not be lubricated properly; the gears made a great noise; and the shaft cases leaked oil. Closer examination revealed that many of the parts did not comply with the specifications. Iron filings, dirt, and sand were found in the moving parts. A further check showed that all of the drills and drill presses of these two models on hand in the stock room were defective.7
Accounts of similar situations appeared too frequently in the official press to discount the above as isolated cases.
UNDER THE SECOND Five-Year Plan, announced in 1957, priority continued to be given to heavy industry, though the growth rate for this sector of the economy was now revised downward. The growth rate for agricultural output, on the other hand, was set at 10 per cent above the corresponding rate for the 1953-1957 period.
This increased agricultural quota underlines one of China’s more pressing problems: In order to finance her industrialization projects, marketable grains and raw materials must be exported from the mainland. But population increases continually absorb any gains in agricultural production; how then is additional revenue to be accumulated? The answer, as the Communists worked it out, was to order output raised, give a lower percentage of income back to the local authorities, and divert more and more money into reserve funds to be distributed by the central government for top-priority industrial projects. After the communes were established, the point was reached where only 20 per cent of the total income reverted to the commune, with the remainder invested in the industrial program. The still further decline of the living standard of the peasant and the stifling of local initiative were defects in the system which Peking either could not or would not recognize.
But these difficulties, compounded by waste and inefficiency in the administration of the program, soon assumed alarming proportions, and in an apparent about-face, China’s rulers reversed the system, allowing the local bureaucracy to utilize a large percentage of the commune’s income. Counting on a great burst of enthusiasm on the local level, Peking announced, in 1959, the beginning of the “Great Leap Forward.” Under this program, the peasant laborers, in addition to working at their regular communal jobs, were expected to devote their “free” time to such occupations as making cement in backyard kilns, operating neighborhood steel furnaces, mining coal in small, otherwise unproductive seams, or working with teams on public works projects.
While oppression was still the order of the day, opposition could not be stifled among the peasants. Reports conspicuously appeared in the Chinese press relating such anti-regime activities as work slow-downs, deliberate damage to property, attacks on local cadres and the slaughter of livestock.
In an obvious attempt to put down the government’s increasingly vociferous “rightist” critics, Chou En-lai was forced, in late 1959, to declare that the commune system “was in fact very good and not at all a terrible mess . . . , that its rise was not premature.”8
The actual agricultural and industrial production figures, however, failed to support his case. The second Five-Year Plan called for a 12 per cent increase in the value of agricultural output during 1960, but the crop-yield failed by far to match this goal. Three successive years of bad harvests, in 1959, 1960, and 1961, depleted whatever supply of food China had, forcing her to import a great quantity of grain from abroad to feed her soldiers and other security personnel. In addition to these difficulties, by mid-1961 the livestock population had fallen by 40 per cent. In October, 1961, the People’s Daily (Peking) was forced to admit that “three consecutive years of grave natural disasters have resulted in the reduction of agricultural production” and this has “affected light industry production and also heavy industry and consequently commodity supplies and the people’s livelihood.”
Industrial output during the 1959-1962 period decreased by more than 30 per cent. Steel production, estimated at 15 million metric tons in 1960, dropped to about 12 million tons in 1961, and below 10 million tons in 1962. Coal output in 1962 was about half as much as in 1960.
Consumer industries fared no better. As late as October, 1962, an official government statement declared that “the goods we produce are still insufficient to meet the needs of the rural people.” Industry must “increase the variety and raise the quality of products,” it advised.
There can be no doubt that the institution of the commune system was the major factor in the deterioration of China’s whole economy. In their major policy statements, the Red leaders declared that the nation’s economy would thrive because of the benefits to be gained from the “rational” use of land and labor and unified planning and management. Yet, as it happened, it was precisely for these reasons—and others—that China’s economic structure collapsed.
For the Chinese leadership, with their advocacy of rapid and large-scale industrialization, “rational” use of labor meant pulling every possible man off farming projects and putting him to work building up heavy industry. While this sector of the economy may have benefitted from the move, the effect on agricultural production was disastrous. The shortage of farm workers, confessed the People’s Daily (Peking) in 1960, was the main cause of the devastation of grain fields that year. Further, as the correspondent of the London Times reported,
Some of the measures taken to stimulate grain production imply that it has not been drought and flood alone that are to be blamed, but the misuse of manpower in the communes. The excesses of backyard steel were corrected when the steel was found to be useless . . . . the small-scale factory production of the communes was one of the great claims made for the new system of human organization and it is these factories that seem to have drawn off too much able-bodied manpower so that grain production has suffered.9
Similarly, centralized planning also proved to be extremely damaging. In an effort to achieve uniformity in farming techniques and management throughout the country, Peking issued sets of regulations which totally ignored the differences necessarily existing between one locality and another. Peculiar needs were sacrificed to an impossible goal; the results of the indiscriminate advocacy of such techniques as “close-planting” and “deep-plowing” were evident in the final production figures.
Another aspect of communal life contributing to the agricultural crisis was the fact that in the commune there was no incentive to make the peasant want to work harder to fulfill the promises of the “Great Leap.” To be sure, the workers were driven hard to meet production goals; but when every worker gets the same payment for his work, when all live under the same conditions and eat the same amount of food, there are few who will do more than the bare minimum necessary to gain admission to the communal dining hall. Those who had had high production levels lost all incentive; those who were slothful or unskilled remained so or become worse.
Even more damaging to the economy as a whole was the anti-specialist attitude manifested by the Party bureaucracy. The expert was held in reproach, and book learning was described as “a heap of garbage;” scientific achievements born in the West were similarly condemned as worthless.10 Party officials were given the managerial jobs on the farms and in the factories; it did not seem to matter if they knew what they were doing so long as they followed the Party line in doing it.
The absence of trained technical personnel in positions of authority wrought devastating results, especially in industry. Gross mismanagement was in evidence everywhere; doctrine-bound party cadres, more interested in meeting goals on target dates than in building securely, embarked on impractical schemes and fostered poor production standards. Mechanical equipment in factories was badly made and improperly operated. When machines broke down, they remained inoperable because there were no spare parts available for repairing them.
THESE LESSONS were not entirely lost on the Chinese Communist leadership. The first signs of a change in Peking’s policy line were manifested in October, 1959, when the basic unit of agricultural production was shifted from the commune to the production brigade, similar in size to the former agricultural co-operative. Ownership of land, tools and draft animals was given to the smaller unit, which divided its income among the members of the group without any consideration of the other brigades. Thus, in an effort to gain more production through increased incentive, the much vaunted egalitarian feature of income distribution was repudiated.
A step farther was taken in the spring of 1961 when the brigades were subdivided into production teams. Incentive wages tied to productivity were given laborers, and small plots allowed them for individual cultivation. Moreover, the village “free-markets,” where the peasant could sell certain commodities for personal profit, were re-established.
Early in the year, evidence of a drastic reform of China’s whole economic program came out of the ninth plenary session of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Ordering a reduction of capital outlays for heavy industry, it initiated a policy of “consolidation, adjustment and filling out” for the country’s economy; henceforth, agricultural production would be emphasized. The plan, calling for “diligence, thrift and hard work,” was reiterated at the meeting of the People’s National Assembly in April, 1962.
The degree to which China’s rulers have repudiated the “Great Leap” was underlined in an article which appeared in an issue of Hung Chi, the official organ of the Party’s Central Committee. The gist of the piece was that industry would have to make do with the labor resources and machinery now at its disposal; no sizable new capital investments would be forthcoming.
Factories were called upon to “unfold technical innovation in existing enterprises and bring out fully the potentials of existing equipment. . . . By this method labor productivity can be raised rapidly and effectively with little investment.”
Significantly, the article went on to say that “the process of realizing socialist industrialization can only be a gradual process, and the process of improving working equipment, too, can only be a gradual process.” “Real results,” it added, “can be obtained only if we consider the problem of mechanization and automation on the basis of the present level of industrialization.”
Reluctantly following capitalist example, the author of the article advised the institution of a system of rewards and penalties tied to production: “Special material incentives should be given to individuals and units for special accomplishments in production. . . . Necessary economic penalties should be imposed on individuals and units for poor production because of insufficient subjective effort.”11
Indicative of the seriousness of Red China’s continuing agricultural crisis is the fact that the country’s rulers have had to forsake their political dogmatism in an effort to avoid widespread famine and disease by importing grain from the West. While the government has insisted that economic necessity would never force it to compromise its position, the Chinese pattern of trade in recent years would seem to indicate otherwise.
Since 1959 general trade with the nations of the Soviet bloc has been halved, mainly because neither Russia nor her European satellites, plagued by farming difficulties of their own, have been able to supply China with the massive aid she requires. The only recourse left the Chinese Communists was to turn westward, which they have been doing with increasing frequency.
In 1961, for example, Red China signed a three-year, $362 million trade agreement with Canada, and negotiated other contracts with Australia, France, Argentina and a number of other Western nations. To pay for this grain a high percentage of China’s exports has gone to Western Europe, Canada, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and even Japan, with whom the Chinese had broken off trade relations for political reasons in 1958.
But an even more radical policy change—and one which is certain to have widespread effects—may be in the making. For the grain reserves of the nations with which China is now trading are rapidly shrinking. If the agricultural output on the mainland cannot be considerably increased in the very near future, the only country which has food supplies large enough to be able to give sizable assistance to China is the United States.
CERTAINLY, THE MAJOR problem now facing China is her population, presently expanding at a rate of from 2 to 3 per cent annually, and calculated to exceed 800 million before the end of the decade. At present, however, the problem is one which the dogmatic Communists cannot even acknowledge: unemployment.
When the emphasis in the economic program was shifted from industry to agriculture, the hordes of peasants forced into the cities were no longer needed. With the withdrawal of Soviet assistance,12 a multitude of various projects were cancelled and factories closed down. In addition, those factories which remained in operation were ordered to cut personnel to the barest minimum.
The Chinese leadership pursued the only course left open: to effect the mass transfer of these workless peasants back to the country. The already over-populated and impoverished rural areas, however, had neither need nor room for more people, and even with the current emphasis on farming no work could be found. Many of these people thereafter resorted to begging and stealing, becoming a source of constant discontent among the rural populace.
While the Chinese Communists rode into power on their pledge to remedy the agricultural situation, an examination of pre-war conditions as compared to those of today reveals that in actuality their program of compulsory collectivism has radically aggravated rather than alleviated the problem; the peasant could never boast of his condition, but it was even worse now.
In 1956, for example, the Communist leadership initiated a large-scale program of water conservation. But:
As most of the canals and reservoirs were dug and constructed without proper geological investigation or technical design, the new projects not only destroyed the natural irrigation system and hindered the regular function of the main rivers, . . . but also made roughly a million acres of arable land alkaline.13
Whereas before the canal construction the area of flood and drought had never exceeded 30 million acres, it now increased to 38 million acres in 1957, 78 million in 1958, 108 million in 1959, and 150 million acres in 1960.14
These errors in economic planning had their effect on the Chinese peasant, whose living standard was reduced to the lowest recorded level. Official statistics for 1956, the peak year of the first Five-Year Plan, reveal that per capita annual consumption amounted to only $35. Personal consumption in 1957 was estimated to have been 18 per cent below the figure for 1933.15
Caloric intake has also shown a marked decrease. In 1957, the per capita intake was set at 1,830 units daily, as compared to 1,940 for 1933. While the 1933 figure indicates bare sustinence level, the food ration allowed in 1957 was 110 calories lower, and thereafter steadily decreased until in late 1961 a diet of 600 calories was average.16
Above the appreciable reduction in their already pitiable standard of living, the Chinese have suffered more acutely from something else, something more intangible though no less important—the dehumanizing character of the Communist system.
A dispassionate picture of this aspect of life under the “Great Leap” is drawn by Robert Loh, one of three sons of a successful Chinese businessman, who, while enjoying a secure position as a university instructor, underwent the familiar infatuation-disillusion-despair process that marks the life of many living under totalitarian tyranny. “Any worker who lived through the Great Leap,” he writes,
knows that the campaign had the effect of suppression. The people were made to work constantly to the very limit of human endurance—and in many cases beyond. . . . It was as though the authorities, in a vicious fury at the antagonism shown them by the people during the blossom period, had sentenced the whole population to the slave gangs of labor reform. Proof of the punitive nature of the campaign was in the fact that people from the other classes and strata who incurred the Party’s disfavor were sent as punishment to ‘learn from the masses’ by giving their labor along with the workers and peasants.17 (Author’s emphasis.)
THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE demonstrates a number of economic facts of life which especially the under-developed countries would do well to take into careful consideration. Coercion of the populace, bureaucratic mismanagement, shoddy work, economically unsound experiments, public apathy or outright opposition—all diminished where the free market is allowed to operate—are commonplace in China.
Any government worthy of the name seeks economic progress primarily as a means of raising the standard of living of its citizens; China has sought it as a springboard to recognition as a world power. To their detriment, the Communists have ignored the individual, the key to economic progress. While the Chinese leadership has often been forced to reverse their policies, they have in no sense repudiated the communes of the “Great Leap.” It is almost certain that similar projects will be launched in the future; it is likewise certain that they, too, will meet an ignominious fate. George Santayana wrote, “He who does not learn from history is condemned to repeat it;” those nations seeking economic progress should be mindful of the experience of post-war China.
[* ] Michael F. Zaremski, who holds a B.A. from Iona College, is a graduate student in the Department of Public Law and Government at Columbia University.
[1 ] A. K. Chiu, “Agriculture,” in China, edited by H. F. MacNair (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1946), p. 468.
[2 ] J. L. Buck, Land Utilization in China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1937), pp. 267-69.
[3 ] Sripati Chandra-sekhar, Red China: An Asian View (New York: Praeger, 1961), p. 24.
A former Chinese government and party official estimates that “conservatively speaking, in each of the more than two hundred thousand villages (hsiang) in China, an average of five landlords were killed and another five were terrorized into committing suicide. This totals more than two million people.” Chow Ching-wen, Ten Years of Storm (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1960), p. 105.
Another observer states: “The Communists issued many sets of figures when it came to summing up the results of their Campaign against Counter-revolutionaries in October 1951. In some areas they gave precise numbers while in others their figures were vague and suggested inadequate statistical work. . . . It is worth while to cite a few of the figures given by the Communists in order to point up the intensity of violence involved in this campaign.
“In his report on the situation in the Central-South Region on 21 November 1951, Teng Tzu-hui stated that from the winter of 1949-50 until November 1951 more than 1,150,000 ‘native bandits’ had been inactivated and that 28 percent of these or 322,000 had been executed. These were figures for only one of the six major administrative areas in China. The Southern Daily in Canton reported that in the ten months between 10 October 1950 and 10 August 1951, 28,332 ‘criminals’ had been executed in Kwangtung province. The figures published for October 1949 to October 1950, before the drive to eliminate counter-revolutionaries got under way in earnest, are illuminating: a total of 1,176,000 were liquidated in four of the six administrative regions, according to the chairmen of the regions involved. Yet according to statements of Communist officials themselves the campaign did not assume major proportions until 1951. By 1952 Peking no longer reported in such detail on the number of people liquidated; the figures were being used against the Communists on the world propaganda front.
“It is on the basis of these incomplete figures and others provided by the Communists that the Free Trade Union Committee of the American Federation of Labor estimated in October, 1952 that the Mao regime had been responsible for the deaths of more than 14,000,000 people over the previous five years. This total included more than 5,000,000 executed in the rural areas and more than 2,600,000 executed as ‘bandit agents’ or counter-revolutionaries. It is difficult to keep in mind that these are human beings rather than mere statistics. . . .” Richard L. Walker, China Under Communism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955), pp. 218-19.
[4 ] Chandra-sekhar, op. cit., p. 25.
[5 ] Cheng Chu-yuan, Communist China’s Economy, 1949-1962 (South Orange: Seton Hall University Press, 1963), pp. 132-33.
[6 ] Paul S. H. Tang, Communist China Today (New York: Praeger, 1957), p. 301.
[8 ]Wall Street Journal, March 10, 1960.
[9 ]London Times, September 27, 1960.
[10 ]Wall Street Journal, February 2, 1962.
[11 ]New York Times, September 20, 1962.
[12 ] An editorial on the subject of Russia’s withdrawal of assistance appeared in the People’s Daily (Peking) on July 19, 1963. It revealed that the ordering home of all the Soviet experts and the cancellation of numerous Russian contracts was totally “unexpected” and inflicted “incalculable difficulties” on China’s economy.
[13 ] Cheng Chu-yuan, op. cit., p. 142.
“By 1959 the People’s Daily sensed something was wrong: ‘During the past one or two years, the alkalization of much soil in many irrigated areas in the North is spreading.’ But the canal digging went on. In 1960, the same paper again reported that saltpetre, which normally appears only in serious drought, had affected millions of acres of farmland. In April 1961, the Kuang Ming Daily said: ‘Arable land is continuously shrinking and alkali soil spreading.’ In August 1962, the Party’s authoritative mouthpiece Red Flag reported that nearly 20 million acres of farmland in Manchuria and in the North, Northwest and Central China had turned alkaline, and that the peasants were unwilling to till the swiftly alkalizing farms which soon became barren land, thus reducing the already limited arable land of the country.” Valentin Chu, Ta Ta, Tan Tan (Fight Fight, Talk Talk): The Inside Story of Communist China (New York: Norton, 1963), pp. 66-67.
[15 ] Cheng Chu-yuan, op. cit., pp. 159-60.
Newsweek reported on March 27, 1961, that the average rice ration in the commune, originally 12 ounces daily, had then been cut to 4 or 5 ounces, about one bowlful. It added that visitors reported that the people blamed the government, not nature, for this situation.
Writing of more recent conditions, Valentin Chu commented: “A normal man in Asia requires a minimum of 2,300 calories of food daily. In food-short India, according to a United Nations survey, the daily average food intake is 2,000 calories. In pre-war China it was 2,234 calories. In Taiwan it is 2,310 calories. Most of the peasants in Communist China, who must work long hours at hard labor, have been getting about 1,000 calories.” Chu, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
[17 ] Robert Loh, as told to Humphrey Evans, Escape from Red China (New York: Coward-McCann, 1962), pp. 369-70.