The genocide that took place during Mao Zedong’s rule in China is by far one of the worst genocides in history; worst being in terms of lives lost. It is estimated that Mao Zedong more than quadrupled the death toll of that during Hitler’s rule in Germany. From 1958-1961, which was known as the Great Leap Forward, the most lives were lost. Many people were tortured, and many others went missing. Mao Zedong’s background For years, he formed a group of anarchist, known as the “Revolutionary Army of Workers and Peasants” in a bookstore located in Changsha.
Then, after the Chinese Communist Party was founded, Mao Zedong began fighting for his title as the Chairman. In 1945, he reached his goal and began using it to further his pursuits. As Chairman he led a Chinese Civil War and with the help of the rest of the CCP, formed the People’s Republic of China. For ten years (1949-1959) he was the leader of this new government (and the genocide), and in the year of 1979, he was confirmed to be dead due to heart attack. Lives lost in this genocide
The entire time period of this genocide was from 1958 to 1969. There were different segments during this time in which greater losses occurred. The worst being the three years of the Great Leap Forward, in which anywhere from 16 to 40 million lives were lost. The total amount – making this one of the worst genocides – is at minimum 45 million. This amount varies up to 70 million since new death records uncover more details. With the evidence being hidden, researchers must carefully search China’s documents. Reasons
One reason behind this genocide, is that Mao Zedong wanted China to catch up economically with the western world; setting a goal of little over a decade to equal production output of competitors such as Great Britain. Land was taken from farmers due to the growth of communism, and steel grew as the main import; over 50%. With metal being purchased, there was less money left for food production. This of course led to famine. Many opposed this rapid change, but that only led to their death. In the first year, over half a million had been sentenced to their demise.
Mao Zedong wanted more than just a change in production level. He also wanted to destroy Chinese family culture. Reason being is that it opposed his preferred utopian ideas. Such thoughts were in the opposite direction of capitalism; focusing on equal distribution. This period of reform became known as the Cultural Revolution and took place from 1966-1969; with anywhere up to 30 million being murdered. From these horrifying numbers, it is easy to understand why this is one of the worst genocides in history.