Mao Zedong

60th anniversary of the Chinese revolution: A great leap forward?

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Post-revolutionary China needed rapid industrialisation to meet the demands of the middle class and compete with other capitalist states, but it was the workers and peasants who paid the price. Simon Gilbert continues our series on the revolution's sixtieth anniversary

By the time of the 1949 revolution China had been dominated for over a hundred years by foreign powers. Its economic development had been held back and its corrupt political systems propped up. Not surprisingly, then, the twin objectives of national independence and modernisation (meaning industrialisation) were central to the ideas of the layer of frustrated middle class intellectuals who monopolised political thinking from the end of the 19th century.

When China threw off imperialism

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The 60th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution will be marked by the customary orchestrated celebrations in Tiananmen Square. In the first of a short series on China, Charlie Hore looks at how the revolution came about and its impact on the world.

The years after the Second World War saw national liberation struggles spread rapidly across Asia and Africa, ousting the old colonial empires and weakening the power of imperialism. The 1949 revolution in China was the first, and biggest, of these struggles, and it was to provide an inspiration for many other battles against imperialism.

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