Category: PRC

1976 ★☭

Turning over the mind of the serf.

1976 ★☭ –

Great achievements.

★☭ – Red light shines on Tian Shan.


Mao Zedong leads millions of workers and peasants.


Mao Zedong leads millions of workers and peasants.


–  Mao Zedong.


–  Mao Zedong.

Capitalism from the Chinese Countryside:

the early 1980s, China started dismantling its rural communes and
collectives. The post-Mao leadership believed the rural collective
institution was a major obstacle for the capitalist oriented reform they
were launching at the time. In just 4-5 years, the country finished
its’ nationwide decollectivization campaign and the farmland, as well as
other collective assets, were divided into individual families. There
was still the collective ownership of land on paper, but de facto private ownership has gradually been established.

The dominant narrative on this process, supported by
both the Chinese authority and the mainstream academia, argues that the
collectives suffered from inefficiency and the decollectivization reform
brought a huge improvement in productivity. At the same time, they
argue that the decollectivization reform was a people’s bottom-up
movement and the peasants loved it. It is no wonder why the mainstream
liked the story so much. One easily sees the holy trinity here:
individual free choice, spontaneous order, and economic efficiency.

However, a close examination suggests a very different picture. My recent book From Commune to Capitalism
shows that decollectivization did not have much positive impact on
production and a lot of the output increase can be explained by
increasing fertilizer input among others. The reform was very far from a
bottom-up people’s movement. It was coercively implemented by the
central leadership and there was no “choice” at all.The reform virtually destroyed much of the legacy
from the commune era such as affordable education and healthcare.

there was no collective support for these essential spending, people
sometimes have to squeeze their own food consumption to pay for those
bills. No to mention that the atomized peasants lost their political
significance in the Chinese politics. Overall the political and economic
status of peasants deteriorated remarkably in recent decades.

It is important to see
how the rural decollectivization facilitated the development of
capitalism in China. The breaking of the Maoist communes provided the
momentum of capitalist reform, the “success” of this reform gave
legitimacy to the post-Mao leadership, and eventually, the newly created
“surplus” rural labor from a much weakened rural economy became the
reserve army for the new capitalist urban economy.

Internal Migration and Economic System:

Contrary to the common view, hukou’s
reform was not initiated for the sake of granting rural residents the
rights to move freely. It was part of the state plan for “market
reform”, which started with pushing rural laborers into the urban
sector. The repeal of the UPMG policy in 1985 that effectively lifted
the restriction on migration occurred almost a decade earlier than hukou’s first reform in 1992, which started to allow purchasing of urban hukou. Prior to hukou’s
reform, the Chinese government launched a series of policy that made
available a massive pool of rural surplus laborers as well as a much
more flexible labor market in the urban sector. Hukou was only
adjusted so that it can work with these reform policies to facilitate
the migration of the rural surplus labor to the urban sector.

Since 1978, the state
started to push for the de-collectivization of the agricultural sector.
By the end of 1983, majority of the individual rural households had
become the de facto owners of land although the ownership of the land remained collective in theory. The agricultural de-collectivization led to a massive increase of rural
surplus laborers. At the peak of the collective communes, 100 million
people were mobilized annually for the “winter works” programs of
capital formation and maintenance (i.e. irrigation works). With
de-collectivization, these people became the surplus laborers “freed”
from their rural collectives.

More and more households became unable to afford basic subsistence by
cultivating small pieces of land they were entitled to. Those with fewer
laborers, draft animals or agricultural tools were the ones who were
hit first. They appeared less competitive in agricultural production
than others so they had to accept side-line work to support their
families. Moving to urban areas to find jobs or begging became these
people’s only choices.

Shortly after founding
the reserve army pool from the rural surplus labor, the state issued
several policies to ensure that urban workers now can be laid off if
managers consider them as not disciplined enough. Such reform in the
urban sector is a complete negation of the full employment and job
tenure policy implemented throughout the planned economy period.

As the KWP conference showed, on the question of creating a united anti-imperialist front the Korean leadership acted in defiance of the opinion of the Chinese leaders. The evolution of the views of the KWP leadership on the actions of the Chinese leaders has become more noticeable.

As the situation in Vietnam became more complicated, at the beginning of 1966 the Korean leaders spoke of their disagreement with the positions of the ruling group of China on the issue of Vietnam only in confidential conversations. In October 1966 in a report to a Party conference Kim Il Sung was obviously talking to the Chinese leaders about those who “just talk about being against American imperialism but in fact do not take any specific steps to curb aggression”.

In the words of Kim Il Sung, the KWP leadership has unsuccessfully tried to use the visit of a Japanese CP delegation to China and the DPRK headed by Miyamoto to convince the Chinese leaders of the necessity of creating a united anti-imperialist front.


Some frictions have also appeared between Korea and China in connection with the sending of Korean military volunteers to Vietnam (right now this is a group of more than 100 men). According to unofficial information, Chinese leaders have convinced the Korean leadership that the best assistance to Vietnam from the DPRK is to unleash military operations against the Americans on the Korean peninsula.

The Chinese leadership has promised to give comprehensive assistance to the DPRK for the sake of this. The Korean comrades have rejected this option in spite of pressure from the Chinese, promoting their own counterplan – sending volunteers to Vietnam.