Seventy years ago this week, Chairman Mao Zedong inaugurated the People’s Republic of China after his decisive victory in the Chinese Civil War over the rival Kuomintang.
With the defeated Chiang Kai-shek having fled to Taiwan, the new dictator set in motion his vision of what China should look like and aspire to.
Much of this was to prove ferocious in its intensity. Obsessed with Marxist dogma, Mao’s Great Leap Forward attempted to rapidly industrialise China’s peasant economy, but proved nothing short of disastrous. The ensuing famine led to anywhere between 10 and 40m Chinese dying between 1959-61 in the worst example of its kind in human history.
The 1960s may have been the era of liberation in the west, but for China, it was marked by the social and economic disruption of the Cultural Revolution.
Read the full article in City A.M.