China in the 1960’s and 1970’s Part I

By | January 10, 2022

According to youremailverifier, the period that begins in 1960 has been defined as one of the most difficult that the People’s Republic of China has gone through. It was precisely in that year, in fact, that the Soviet Union, until then an ally of China, suddenly withdrew, after a harsh verbal attack by Khrushchev, all the Soviet technicians who collaborated in the realization of industrial plans in China; the withdrawal of the technicians is accompanied by the blocking of the dispatch of any type of supply. China finds itself from one day to the next abandoned by its ally and isolated politically and economically in the world. It could capitulate in the face of the unexpected turnaround of the Soviet Union and other European socialist countries and completely change its policy according to the directives of the leading country of international socialism. Instead, it happens contrary to what one might have imagined, a turning point in Chinese politics in the sense of relying on one’s own strength; without this meaning the beginning of an autarchic politics.

To the lack of technicians and supplies on the part of other European socialist countries, there is a series of natural disasters which, by pure coincidence, occur in the same period and seem to threaten the existence of the Chinese political system or at least bring about a radical change. politic.

The change occurs, mainly caused by external motivations, but according to what has been defined as the Chinese national way. First of all we are witnessing a strengthening of central power, which directs and controls every local and peripheral organization; this is essential to avoid dislocations or centrifugal local initiatives that could undermine the political unity of the country. The centralization of political power is accompanied by initiatives, in the economic field, aimed at overcoming the serious crisis; small businesses are encouraged, incentives are granted to individual workers by extending the piece rate, free markets are allowed in the countryside, the latter consequence of the concession to farmers of small plots of land that they can exploit individually.

In April 1959, Mao Tse-tung had not presented himself as a candidate in the elections for the presidency of the republic, a position that was held, in the same year, by Liu Shao-ch’i; it is a period not of absolute withdrawal for the Chinese leader, but of continuous work as a theorist of Marxist thought. In the midst of the economic-political crisis, Mao Tse-tung returns to play a decisive role, launching, in 1962, a political campaign that begins with the slogan “Never forget the class struggle”. It is typical of Chinese political history of the last twenty-five years the beginning of political changes or ideological campaigns of various kinds, characterized by a simple slogan, apparently clear and linear, but which will see, for more or less short periods of time, the leading cadres of the Chinese Communist Party and the active participation of the popular masses engaged in discussions and polemics.

The concept of class struggle had been completely eliminated by President Liu Shao-ch’i, as was evident from a book of his published during the crisis, and thus seemed to be taking shape as a basic conflict within the Chinese Communist Party. On the one hand, we are witnessing Liu Shao-ch’i’s attempt to control the party cadres in every way; on the other hand, Mao Tse-tung will address the great peasant masses, who make up the vast majority of the population, and young people. Mao Tse-tung will be able to start a real revolution within the revolution. Thus, what was subsequently defined as the “struggle between the two lines” emerges.

This ideological conflict, which began at a high level within the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party, between the line of the President of the Republic and that of Mao Tse-tung, could not be limited to within the party and the country, but necessarily would have had considerable repercussions in the framework of the foreign policy of the China Popolare. In the autumn of 1964 Khrushchev was ousted in Moscow, and the pro-Soviet group within the Chinese Communist Party seemed to aim for reconciliation with the Soviet Union, after the elimination of the exponent of anti-Chinese Russian politics. At the same time, the intervention of the United States in the Vietnam war placed the China in front of the dilemma of whether or not to continue the polemic against the “revisionism” of the Soviet Union.

The concession of military and air bases on Chinese territory to the Soviet Union would have heavily influenced the internal political debate. Mao Tse-tung’s thesis prevailed, according to which China had to provide military and economic aid to the government of North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, without, however, granting any basis to the Soviets. China did not intervene directly with its troops or volunteers, as had happened previously during the war in Korea, but limited itself to supplying materials, trusting in the final victory of the Vietnamese people who, as Mao Tse-tung stated, did not it required the direct participation in the conflict of other socialist countries. In this way, the spread of the conflict on a large international scale was avoided.

China in the 1960's and 1970's 1