Who Am I?
Honestly, I feel like I can relate to Zhao Ziyang the most. Unlike Zhao, I don’t have many strong beliefs on how the economy should function. For example he wanted the separation of the Party and the state. As of right now, I feel that it really depends on the overall state of the economy before we can make decisions about it. However, the reason I feel like I am Zhao is because I feel I am a very sympathetic and peaceful person. To try to convince the students to stop the strikes, he actually met with the leaders. This seems like something I would do, because I wouldn’t react like Li Peng and enforce Martial Law. I thought it was really sweet of him to go on May 19th to speak with the students one last time, and I felt bad for him because he was dismissed afterwards.
The Great Leap Backward
“Mao’s weakness as an economic planner is the main reason why the Great Leap Forward fail.”
I disagree with this statement to the extent that the reason that the Great Leap Forward failed wasn’t only because Mao was a weak economic planner, but was also because Mao was unwilling to consult with his advisors. Prior to this event was the Hundred Flowers Campaign, which punished those who had opposing ideas of Mao. Knowing that, it’s obvious the people would be wary of Mao’s new campaign. Frederick Teiwes tells us that “critics had predicted the failure of the Great Leap Forward from the start”, however were unwilling to tell Mao as they were afraid of the consequences. Peng Dehuai is an example of a person who was actually punished for voicing his opinion against Mao, as he was swiftly dismissed. As Michael Lynch puts it “Mao would not accept that his policies were at fault” which is what eventually lead to the failure of the Great Leap Forward. It was not only that Mao was unable to economically plan effectively, but also that Mao was closed off from accepting constructive criticism which may have saved China from the disaster to come.
The Hundred Flowers Campaign
Mao Zedong’s Hundred Flowers Campaign was entirely a trick designed by Mao to trap his opponents. Even though Mao claimed that he was “inviting criticisms”, he was mainly searching through his people to find ones who didn’t share his beliefs, so that he could “victimize” them in the future. Mao needed to crush the intellectuals who had the power and intellect to oppose him someday, thus he immediately developed the Hundred Flowers Campaign to weed out those who posed a threat to him.
Some opinions voiced out include the Party members were more “favorably situated” when compared to others, and also that the socialism China had during that time was not democratic at all. Others believed that China was too mixed between being conservative and foreign, which had stunted their growth as a country. Mao most likely recognized it would be hard to fully satisfy all of these requests from the beginning, and thus never planned on doing so in the first place. In the end the Hundred Flowers Campaign was just a trap made by Mao to find those who opposed him.