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Hidden History: How China’s Peasants Lost Collective Farming and Gained Urban Poverty

The Most Revolutionary Act

From Commune to Capitalism: How China’s Peasants Lost Collective Farming and Gained Urban Poverty

By Zhun Xu

Monthly Review Press (2018)

Book Review

The purpose of this book is to dispel common Chinese Communist Party (CCP) myths about the rapid privatization of Chinese collective farms following Mao Tse Tung’s death in 1976. For me, the most interesting section concerns Mao’s decision to collectivize Chinese agriculture (which occurred more than nine years after he assumed power in 1949). It becomes clear that throughout his tenure as president, Mao was in constant conflict with a strong anti-socialist faction of the CCP that supported full adoption of capitalism in China. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea that Mao’s disastrous Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a last ditch effort to rid his government of his pro-capitalist enemies. Following Mao’s death, his pro-capitalist successor Deng Xiaoping lost no time in privatizing all China’s…

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