“Long live the People’s Communes!” (1959)




In August 1959 the People’s Daily published the following editorial, praising the first year of the Great Leap Forward and the People’s Communes:



“Today is the first anniversary of the adoption of the historic “Resolution on the establishment of People’s Communes in the rural areas”… A year ago, the People’s Communes had only just begun to grow in a few areas in China. Now they have been established in all rural areas throughout the country, with the exception of a few national minority areas. They have taken firm root and are advancing along a road of sound development. The people’s commune, this “morning sun rising above the broad horizon of east Asia”, is radiating its great energy and light ever more strongly…

The warm welcome given to the people’s commune movement by the hundreds of millions of peasants who were making big advances in production and the positive support and correct guidance … led to its rapid and great upsurge throughout the country following the publication of the resolution. In less than two months, the mass of the peasants, then organised in more than 700,000 agricultural cooperatives, set up more than 26,000 People’s Communes. The switch to the People’s Communes was carried out in the rural areas throughout the country. This was an epoch-making event in our country’s history.

Less than a year has passed since all this took place. But this new-born social organisation, the People’s Commune, has already proved with irrefutable facts its immense vitality and incomparable superiority, and its great role in developing our rural economy and culture and in raising the living standards of our peasants.

An unprecedented bumper autumn harvest and the mass movement to produce iron and steel followed immediately on completion of the establishment of People’s Communes in the countryside. Allocations of manpower during the harvesting were not so well arranged in many places, so that the crops there were gathered in a rather hurried manner, yet very much bigger crops of grain and cotton were harvested than in the previous year. An on top of this, several million tons of pig iron were turned out by small blast furnaces, using modern methods of production, while several more million tons of both iron and steel were produced by blast furnaces and puddling furnaces using indigenous methods…

Similarly, great achievements stand to the credit of the People’s Communes in the building of water conservancy projects… Thanks to the many water conservancy projects built by the People’s Communes, the full mobilisation of men and women by the People’s Communes to fight natural calamities and the cooperation on a broad scale, more than 270 million mou of the land affected by drought have been irrigated and relieved from this serious menace. The community dining rooms, the nurseries, and the ‘homes of respect for the aged’ which have been set up widely in the countryside have played an important role in freeing women for productive work and improving the living standards of the peasants…

The people’s commune movement is a continuation and development of the great socialist revolution in China’s countryside… We are, therefore, entitled to say that the People’s Communes will never collapse. The courageous and industrious Chinese people look to the future, confident of victory. We have every reason to proclaim: Long Live the People’s Communes!”

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •