China. Ten years after the student revolt at Tiananmen Square, Beijing’s ruling in the spring of the square completely shut down for renovation, and on the June 4 bloodthirst, the police heavily guarded the city center. The protests were also minimal; only a single demonstrator was arrested.
Instead, the threat to the Communist Empire appeared to come from quite another direction. On April 25, unexpectedly, the Zhongnanhai leader’s district of Beijing was besieged by over 10,000 followers of a meditation movement, Falun Gong. In China’s biggest mass protest since 1989, they quietly complained that members were arrested and that a magazine criticized the movement, which combines gymnastics and breathing exercises with a moral teaching with features of both Daoism and Buddhism. The movement, with millions of practitioners and branches in other countries, had been tolerated for several years, but now the regime sharpened the tone against it. It was labeled as a superstitious superstition and began to burn its books and arrest even more followers.
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In July, Falun Gong was completely banned. The military and top state government painted it as China’s biggest threat and tried to get the leader of the movement Li Hongzhi arrested in the United States. In October, the People’s Congress (Parliament) passed a law against religious sects. Shortly thereafter, four detainees in Hainan Province were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences following the first known trial against Falun Gong supporters. Hundreds of others were said to risk prosecution.
Visit Countryaah official website to get information about the capital city of China. Political oppositionists also continued to challenge the communist regime, including by forming new divisions of the banned China Democratic Party (KDP). Before June 4 and October 1, when the People’s Republic turned 50, hundreds of dissidents were arrested across the country.
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In a newly-celebrated Beijing, where unemployed and beggars were driven out, the 50th anniversary was celebrated with a giant parade with half a million actors in front of the podium where Mao Zedong founded the present China in 1949. state and party chief Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Zhu Rongji rolled out tanks at the square where the 1989 uprising was crushed, and China’s newfound strength was the theme of the day.
The strong military element of the paradise was also seen as a warning to Taiwan, whose president Li Denghui aroused Beijing’s anger in July by demanding “intergovernmental relations” between the two governments. In the fall, China, who interpreted the president’s words as a step toward Taiwanese independence, undertook a major military maneuver in the south. Reports on Chinese robot charging near Taiwan contributed to the nerve war.
The Taiwan issue and other schisms deepened relations between the major powers China and the United States. In the spring, the New York Times and a congressional committee stated that during the 1980s and 1990s, China had stolen American military secrets that facilitated China’s development of its own nuclear weapons and so-called neutron bombs. An American-Chinese scientist at the Nuclear Laboratory in Los Alamos was identified as suspected and dismissed. Both the scientist and the Beijing government refused.
In May, three Chinese were killed when a US plane, during NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, bombed China’s embassy in Belgrade. The attack, according to the Western powers a tragic mistake, led to fierce US-hostile protests in China, which refused to accept Washington’s apologies. In August, Beijing adopted a US bid for financial compensation for the bombers’ relatives and the injured. The issue of compensation for the damage to the embassy and to American property in China remained.
In the trade area, however, China and the United States reached an important breakthrough in November when, after tough negotiations, they signed a Beijing agreement on Chinese entry into the World Trade Organization. The agreement regulates tariff duties and provides access to the parties’ home markets. Following agreement with Canada, China continued to negotiate a similar agreement with the EU.
1953-57 The first five-year plan
The first five-year plan was built on a Soviet pattern. Although the CCP, under Mao’s leadership, had always pursued an independent policy – often across Stalin’s wishes – the Soviet Union after the war emerged as a pattern to follow. Stalin had built the Soviet Union into a great power and had emerged victorious from the war against Hitler. China’s relationship with the dominant Western great power, the United States, was marked by severe conflict. Therefore, China could only count on support from the Soviet Union.
The Stalinist development strategy had the following basic elements: Agriculture should be the basis of industrial construction. This meant that resources had to be transferred from agriculture to industry. The heavy industry should be given priority over the consumer goods industry. Only when the heavy industry was highly developed could consumer goods production increase. The industry was concentrated in large units. Financial planning and implementation of the plans were highly centralized and bureaucratic. The most important means of promoting productivity were material stimulants. The forced collectivization of agriculture was an important means of promoting this policy.
This centralized policy reverberated in the Chinese official tradition. The adaptation of the Soviet development strategy to China was led by Kao Kang, who had his political base in Manchuria. An area that, during the Japanese occupation, had become the only major industrialized area in China. Kao had close contact with Soviet leaders, and after the war China received extensive financial and technical assistance from the Soviet Union.
Other Chinese communists had experience of administering the liberated areas. Experiences that went in a different direction from the Soviet model. In these areas, emphasis was placed on mass mobilization of people for work efforts, political incentives to increase productivity and mass campaigns to raise political awareness. A fairly equal distribution of production as well as decentralization were the guiding principles.
In the field of agricultural policy, China never followed the Soviet line. It was primarily the peasants who had brought the Chinese Communists to victory. A centrally directed forced collectivization was therefore inconceivable in China. The collectivization that took place in China in the mid-1950s originated from the early land reforms and grew largely naturally from local conditions.
In the Soviet Union, agricultural production was so high that a surplus could be squeezed out by the peasants. In China, production was so low that there was nothing to be gained from the poor peasants. If the villages were to generate the profits needed to develop the industry, the productivity of the farmers had to be increased.
Although China made significant economic progress during the first five-year plan, the development strategy created new tensions and difficulties that threatened to undermine both political stability and economic growth. The centralized economy led to strong bureaucracy growth. The unification of the industry into large units led to a huge population increase in the cities. This created enormous problems – both in terms of providing housing and securing social services.
80% of the Chinese light industry relied on agricultural commodities for its production. When agricultural production failed, this had immediate consequences for the industry. The industrial concentration also created major transport problems.
The development strategy followed led to a concentration of power in the bureaucracy, which also secured material benefits. This led to a growing gap between the leaders and the people. Because material stimuli were given, new contradictions were also created among the masses. Despite mass campaigns to eradicate bureaucracy and corruption, the gap between the Communist Party and the masses increased.
During the liberation battles, the Communist army had been a guerrilla army, strongly characterized by equality and democracy. But in the 1950s, the Chinese army forces were in the process of being organized according to the hierarchical Soviet pattern, while acquiring advanced military equipment that could only be obtained from the Soviet Union during this period. It was Defense Minister Peng Te-huai who led this policy. One expression of the contradictions within the party was the sale of Kao Kang in 1954.
By the end of the first five-year plan in 1957, it was clear that the Chinese development model was in a dead end. There was no basis for the production of a sufficient surplus in agriculture to force forced industrialization. In its search for solutions to the problems, the party launched the campaign: “Let 100 flowers bloom”, inviting the people to criticize the system and come up with alternatives. But as the people began to criticize the lack of democracy and the government’s mistakes, the party launched a new campaign, “Against the Right Turn”, which punished those who had first expressed their opinion.