continued from Slipshod Elephant Part-1
China - A little history
Throughout the history, the region comprising of modern day China had significant contributions towards astronomy, chemistry, art and natural medicines. The population itself was almost self-sufficient with amassing of great fortune through silk trade. The region was somewhat immune towards external subjugating forces because of its huge landmass. Almost entire an population were homogeneous with similar beliefs, customs, culinary habits and vague nationalism. This was hindered by the invasion of mainland china (Manchuria) by The Brits and imperialistic encroachment by the Empire of Japan which had ultimately resulted in an annihilation of the vast populace. Once the world war-II had ended, the country and its vast population were on their knees. During 1945, the world had witnessed the macabre images of Chinese society with huge influx of internal refugees, hunger, maladies, unemployment, sheer poverty and death. This was the perfect breeding ground for a new wave of revolution. This revolution wasn't aimed to oust any imperialistic aggressors, but a revelation within the society, against the traditional odds and misinterpretation of human value and virtues. This was the epoch of Chairman Mao's red revolution. Mao's long term vision was to convert China as a super power almost in par with the West and the Soviets. Self-sufficiency and acute isolated foreign policies were the corner stones. Mao envisioned a new history for the Chinese society and was desperate to wipe out the older one. This had resulted in the massacre of millions of innocent Chinese. The central and east Asia were virtually ruled by two tyrants in the history; Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. The fourth estate was totally confiscated and became the mouth piece of party and the ruling class. Basic rights were rewritten, older history was totally wiped out, and entire agricultural lands were nationalized so were private businesses. People were given strict regulations on public speech, public demonstration, basic human rights, and travel and finally people were orchestrated to be relentless supporters towards the party, the army and the Chairman. All intellectuals and free thinkers were executed mercilessly. Those who tried to question the authority were labelled as revisionist and we incarcerated in various labour camps located at far northern country side not to be seen or heard thereafter.
Further aggression to leap forward and a new set of strategies
The mid 1960s had witnessed an immense upheaval in world peace. This was the time when the world came close to a third world war because of Cuban missile crisis. The dictators had overthrown the democratically elected governments in Latin America and central Africa. Poverty and sheer distress prevailed in most Asian countries including India. This was the dawn of Vietnam War and Civil war in central Africa. While a racist minority government took charge of South Africa. Elsewhere after the second Arab-Israeli war, Muammar Qaddafi became the new dictator of Libya. The tropical jungles of Indo-China were infested with guerilla warfare and insurgency and the one incident which had resulted in most number of deaths happened in China, in the form of the so called "Cultural revolution". Millions of common people were slaughtered at the hands of Mao's henchmen, namely the red guards and the People’s Liberation Army. This "revolution" started to rewrite the new history for China and to "re-educate" the people about Mao's vision, mission and the virtues of Maoist ideology. But there are millions of declassified documents from the KGB, the CIA and the MI6 which reveals that his actions were an intentional purge to identify, isolate and finally exterminate those entities in the party, army, the judiciary and the bureaucracy whom he had considered to be a threat for his unquestioned authority. Thousands of high profile party cadres, high ranking army officers, high ranking police officials, thinkers, philosophers, scientists, professors, journalists, school teachers and even common peasants were mercilessly executed. This was followed by jingoism with the name "The great leap forward".
"The great leap forward" was Mao's plan to rapidly industrialize China. He wanted to convert the agrarian China in to an industrial power house but with a centralized planned economy. This was a result of another event which is called the Sino-Soviet split (The current scope won't allow to explain more on this as this is still a matter of debate within the foreign policy makers).
How China Grew
After the great leap forward, the entire country was in chaos. Mao's vision to convert China as a steel manufacturing behemoth had been back fired. The country had been virtually littered by poor quality steel which were produced in backyard furnaces. The economy was totally ruined and ironically this was the end of Mao's era. The full credit should be given to this great man for converting an already struggling country in to a cesspool. But this had made a self-revelation to the party and to the ruling elite that being hermit is not going to bring upliftment as envisioned and China started to open up slowly. The five year plans had emphasized more on manufacturing and industrial development, rather than specialized university degrees. The demand for vocational training had been increased so as to provide the factories across the nook and corner of the country with a constant supply of workers. China started to penetrate the third world economies with their factory finished or semi-finished products. Since the western products were insanely expensive so as the Soviets, these third world countries started appreciating the Chinese. There were immense shipments of agricultural machinery, textiles machines, automobiles and heavy trucks and even consumer goods to Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, south-central Africa, Indo-china, Pakistan, and The North Korea and even to some of those central Asian Soviet satellite states. Another major factor which had resulted in greater appreciation of Chinese products was the neutrality of China. China was almost neutral to both Soviet Union and the West. Most countries which had trouble in selecting one among them as the potential supplier, which can probably result in another pact's wrath could easily select the Chinese. China was gradually becoming a prime defense contractor for many third world countries. Chinese made Kalashnikovs, T60 tanks, grenades, small arms, semi-automatic rifles, RPGs, fighter aircrafts were purchased by both governments and anti-governments across these third world countries. The income of the Chinese citizens started to improve dramatically, as well as the quality of life. The purchasing power had exponentially increased and new cities coupled with new manufacturing units boomed. There was an immense exodus of people who were engaged in agricultural activities towards these newly found cities. This had immensely favoured the local real estate sector as well as the retail, hospitality and logistics sectors. Finally China started to grow in considerable amount. India had to wait till 1992 to follow the same steps what China had begun during 1970s.
continue reading : The Slipshod Elephant Part-3
Sreejith A R