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Genesis: Historical research

Principles of Stratagem and Hard Power in Mao Zedong's Economic Reforms

Khandarkhaeva Viktoria Viktorovna

ORCID: 0000-0001-9658-6859

Senior Lecturer of the Department of Philology of the Far East of the Oriental Institute Dorzhi Banzarov Buryat State University; Postgraduate student of the Department of Philosophy, Culturology and Religious Studies, Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

6 Sakhyanova str., Ulan-Ude, Republic of Buryatia, 670047, Russia










Abstract: The object of the study is the principles of stratagem and hard power in China. The subject of the study is the principles of stratagem and hard power in Mao Zedong's economic reforms. The author of the article examines the principles of stratagem and hard power used by Mao Zedong during the rule of the CPC of the People's Republic of China. Particular attention is paid to the fact that Mao Zedong actively applied these principles in the framework of economic reforms in the country. This article analyzes his approaches aimed at forming effective management systems, stimulating economic growth and strengthening the state structure of China. The author in the article analyzes the tactical techniques of Mao Zedong, which he used in military operations with Chiang Kai-shek, and in the future, in strengthening his power in the country. Special attention is paid to his methods of exhausting the enemy, stratagem techniques and tough approaches to winning the war. Also in the article, the author examines the rigidity of his approach as a political and military leader, expressed in the use of harsh methods in military tactics and in the economic development of China. The fundamentals of the methodology of this research are based on the principles of objectivity, scientific truth and historicity. Objectivity requires considering China's historical past without preconceived beliefs and analyzing the current situation of the country, taking into account its complex characteristics. Scientific nature ensures that conclusions are based only on documented facts. The main conclusions of the study are the principles of stratagem and hard power, which Mao Zedong applied while modernizing China during his reign. As a result of his efforts, China has overcome the status of an underdeveloped semi-colonial country, becoming a powerful nuclear power in the world. The author's special contribution to the research of the topic is the application of the principles of stratagem thinking and hard power, which allowed the article to describe the policies and initiatives of Mao Zedong. The novelty of the study is to identify economic reforms, the main directions in the policy of the modernization department of the People's Republic of China Mao Zedong, which had a huge impact not only in world foreign policy, but also within the country, affecting the social sphere, culture, economy and political system of China.


Mao Zedong, Communist Party of China, stratagem, hard power, economic reforms, marxism, Chiang Kai-shek, modernization, socialism, communism

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Mao Zedong is one of the most important figures in modern world history. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the XX century [5].

In the history of China, Mao Zedong remained as a smart but tough leader. His style of work was based on a rigid approach and stratagem thinking. His talent for stratagem thinking was especially evident during the civil war with Chiang Kai-shek (???, 1887-1975). Mao Zedong, discussing the importance of sustainable and long–term development in the following words, stressed that short–term efforts are not enough to achieve success: "One year is a relatively short period, two years is already a noticeable time, and our goal is to successfully complete the task and return without fail" [13].

In a telegram sent by Mao Zedong in April 1947, the following approach was formulated: "We strive to act according to the traditional method, forcing the enemy to temporarily stay in this area so that he completely exhausted and experienced an acute shortage of food" [7, p. 160]. The main emphasis is that Mao Zedong was in no hurry to move his main troops to the northern or southern provinces of China, but tried to convince commanders, soldiers and civilians of the importance of his strategy of attrition to achieve complete victory in this war. He believed that without the complete exhaustion of the enemy and his exposure to hunger, the final victory is unattainable. He called this approach a strategy of attrition, in which the enemy is exhausted before destruction [7, p. 160]. In this context, Mao Zedong emphasizes the need for prolonged exhaustion of the enemy, which is the key to their victory. Here a rigid technique is manifested, the purpose of which was the complete ruin of a numerically superior enemy. He tried to reduce his own losses while simultaneously exhausting the enemy to absolute exhaustion, reducing the combat capability of his army to a minimum. Mao Zedong described his tactics of military action in the fight against Chiang Kai-shek in a poetic formulation. The content of this formulation is closely related to tactics and strategy, close to the principles found in Sun Tzu's military texts: "In the case of an enemy offensive, we yield; if the enemy slows down and breaks up his camp, we exhaust him. If the enemy seeks to avoid a collision, we advance; if the enemy retreats, we continue the pursuit" [6, p. 276]. Further, Mao Zedong writes that it is important to constantly use a variety of strategic tricks in order to mislead the enemy, luring him into traps and causing disorientation. For example, to create noise and activity in the East, while actually striking in the West [6, p. 270].

In the next report on the strategy of the revolutionary war in China, Mao Zedong sets clear guidelines for military personnel, emphasizing the importance of ideological and moral readiness for a constant focus on victory and respect for moral principles.

Mao Zedong raises the morale of the Chinese troops, arguing that one cannot always expect the enemy to always act infallibly, and it is important to use his mistakes. He emphasizes that such mistakes can be caused artificially, and awakened his troops to use strategies similar to the principles of Sun Tzu, including the creation of illusions and false maneuvers [6, p. 276]. So, on April 22, 1948, the north-western field army regained Yan'an in a short time, 398 days after the beginning of the course of the war. People believed that he "possesses both the strength of a tiger (tough strength) and the agility of a monkey (stratagem)" [2]. Mao Zedong with Zhu De ( 18?, 1886-1976), having only 40,000 soldiers, outwitted the opponents when he brought them to a winning location for the Communists. 9,000 enemy troops were destroyed.

His hard power was manifested, first of all, in the buildup of the economic and military spheres in China.

In 1945, during a conversation with the famous Chinese scientist and educator Huang Yanpei, Mao Zedong was asked about the possibility of the CPC to reverse the laws of cyclical history. These laws describe the fate of social structures experiencing rapid development, and then facing a sharp decline by historical standards [11, pp. 35-36]. Here Mao Zedong faces the question of how to ensure the stability and stability of the party regime and prevent a possible collapse after a period of rapid development. According to the law of cyclicity, political power in any state inevitably experiences moments of rise and development of the country, and then comes a period of crisis and fall. Bias, corruption, corruption and collapse lead to a deterioration of society, and thus it all leads to a new state of relative justice, then the cycle resumes again. Mao Zedong announced the development of a new strategy that provides an opportunity to go beyond the traditional historical cycles. This innovative approach implies democracy. He argued that only with the active participation of the people in control of the government would it retain its effectiveness. When every citizen takes responsibility, it will ensure the stability of the party in power [11, p. 35]. Here Mao Zedong emphasizes the importance of democracy and the active participation of citizens in the governance of the country. Mao Zedong's response shows a hard power that is similar to the legist methods of governing the state. Mao Zedong sees a new way for the country's democracy through the full assumption of party power in a country where the people are completely subordinate to the government.

Mao Zedong developed new economic, social and political reforms, which he dreamed of bringing to life. He possessed prudence and pragmatism, which were manifested in analytical thinking, careful reading of circumstances, a rational approach in everything, he acted with calculation and benefit for building a new democratic society. This defines him as a brilliant strategist who had a unique talent for creating both long-term and short-term plans in a timely manner.

Mao Zedong proclaimed six main directions in his policy aimed at modernizing China:

1. The fight against poverty and hunger. Mao Zedong called for the fight against poverty and hunger through the collectivization of agriculture and industrial projects, such as the "Big Leap Forward". These initiatives were aimed at increasing agricultural production and industrialization of the country.

2. The Cultural Revolution. Under Mao's leadership, a cultural revolution was carried out, the purpose of which was to get rid of old customs, bourgeois elements and counter-revolutionary elements. It was a mass movement that influenced all spheres of society and culture.

3. Collectivization and cooperativization. Mao Zedong pursued a policy of collectivization of agriculture and the creation of agricultural cooperatives. These measures were supposed to strengthen rural production and the standard of living of rural residents.

4. Industrialization. Mao Zedong actively supported the industrialization of the country and the creation of heavy industry. He called for the development of the defense and nuclear industries.

5. Political mobilization. Under Mao's leadership, large-scale popular mobilization campaigns such as "Hundreds of Flowers" and "Big Leap Forward" were carried out to mobilize the population to fulfill party goals.

6. Ideological cleansing. Mao Zedong carried out ideological purges and repressions among those who were considered "enemies of the revolution." This included political repression and mass campaigns to "fight the counter-revolution."

These six main directions in the policy of Mao Zedong had a huge impact on the modern history of China and the formation of its political system. It is also necessary to indicate additional programs and initiatives carried out in China during the time of Mao Zedong. These programs were part of his efforts to modernize the country and reformat society [10, p. 68]:

1. "A select army and a modest administration" (????). This program was aimed at reducing and optimizing the military bureaucracy and army structure. It provided for reducing the size of the army and improving its level of training.

2. "Attracting the intelligentsia to the villages" (??????). Under this program, young intellectuals and students from cities went to work and live in rural areas. This was done in order to strengthen ties between the city and the countryside, and to provide additional labor in agriculture.

3. "Organizational Economics" (????). This program provided for the exchange of roles between workers and former landowners. As a result, former land owners became workers on land plots, and workers, in turn, became members of cooperatives. This contributed to the collectivization of agriculture. Reduction of land rents and improvement of the education system in rural areas: Mao Zedong also carried out reforms in the rural sphere, including reducing land rent and improving access to education in rural areas.

These programs and initiatives were part of a broad campaign to change Chinese society and economy, their goal was to strengthen collectivization, reduce social and economic differences and modernize the country. However, they also caused various social and economic consequences, including hardship and poverty for many rural residents and intellectuals, as well as political repression and cultural changes within the framework of the Cultural Revolution.

The rigidity of Mao Zedong's rule manifested itself during the Communist land reforms. They confiscated land from rich landlords and handed it over to peasants for use, while promoting the advantages of communes. In addition, large-scale mobilizations were carried out to increase the number of new recruits to their ranks and strengthen military power [13]. There was a complete confiscation of property, livestock, annulment of the landowner class, destruction of the feudal tax treasury, socialization and nationalization of land plots that were privately owned by landlords, their transfer into the hands of peasants. Over 300 million peasants, who either did not have land or owned small plots, became the legal owners of approximately 47 million hectares of land, which was confiscated from landlords and partially from kulaks [3, p. 29].

Mao Zedong reinterpreted the old popular doctrine of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) in his work "On the Democratic Dictatorship of the People". He applied it until the moment he reached power, updating it for the Chinese. The purpose of these actions was that it was necessary to translate into reality Marxist ideas about three new popular principles: nationalization, democratization, support and assistance for a good standard of living of the population [7, pp. 501-518]. From the very beginning, China has had a pragmatic and rational attitude towards ideas, including the ability to rethink them using the commentatorial tradition, as well as the ability to express new ideas using old forms and to find in classical texts the rationale for these new ideas. This flexible attitude also extended to Marxist teaching [12, p. 183]. Mao Zedong published this doctrine for the period of transition of the country's population to a socialist society. So, he resorted to old ideas in order to breathe into them the power of communism "about new democratization". With the help of these principles, he will be able to win the support of a significant number of citizens and attract them to the side of the CPC.

During the modernization of the reforms and projects of the CPC, the chairman acted according to the ideas of Marxism-Leninism and the revolutionary experience of October. Thanks to the modernization carried out in the social sphere and the economy of China, the backward semi-feudal economy has turned into a strong economy. This step, which included the creation of a state-owned sector and the provision of land to peasants, represented a significant advance compared to the economic systems that existed in China before the revolution. This step significantly contributed to the development of China's productive forces in its early years of existence [9, p. 69].

Mao Zedong often cited Aesop's fable about a snake as an example: "An old peasant found a snake frozen with cold in winter, picked it up out of a sense of compassion and put it in his bosom. The snake warmed up, its natural instincts awoke in it, and it stung its benefactor. "It serves me right," said the peasant, struggling with death, "I pitied a dangerous creature" [1, p. 76]. Retelling this fable, Mao Zedong justified the rigidity of his rule, claiming that foreign and local "vipers" want the Chinese people to perish, as well as the snake, the peasant; just as the CPC and the revolutionary democrats of China, like the peasant, were imbued with a warm feeling for the poisonous "vipers". The meaning of this fable is that bad people not only do not show gratitude for kindness, but can also resist their benefactors. Consequently, the principle of using iron gloves or hard power is more beneficial for the government of the country.

In Mao Zedong's quotations, which had a large circulation, stratagem techniques are very vividly reflected. For example, in the passage "let them not touch us, and we will not touch, and if they touch us, we will not remain in debt", the desire to preserve inviolability, readiness for retaliatory actions in case of aggression is expressed; "in order to overthrow this or that political power, it is always necessary, first of all, to prepare public opinion, to do work in the field of ideology. This is what the revolutionary classes do, so do the counterrevolutionary classes," the importance of forming public support and manipulating ideological aspects in changing power is emphasized; "what is conceivable is feasible" [8], the belief in the realizability of tasks and ideas is affirmed.

The following statements reflect the rigidity of his thinking: "there is no creation without destruction," the need for criticism and revolution as a means of creating something new is emphasized; "this army always goes forward fearlessly. She is determined to defeat any enemy, she herself will never submit to the enemy," reflects confidence in the steadfastness and determination of the national army; "our strategy is to fight one against ten, our tactics is to fight ten against one," expresses the use of tactics of force and opposition to the enemy; "people's- the liberation army has always been and will always be a combat unit. Even after the victory in the whole country, it will remain a combat unit for a whole historical period, until classes are destroyed in the country, and an imperialist system exists in the world" [8], the long-term struggle and the need to counter the imperialist threat at the world level are emphasized.

Thus, Mao Zedong effectively modernized the state, using the principles of stratagem and hard power during his reign. He made China significant and powerful on the world stage, transforming it from an underdeveloped semi-colonial country into a powerful nuclear power in the era of the "Great Helmsman" [4].



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Review of the article "Principles of stratagem and hard Power in Mao Zedong's economic reforms The subject of the study is the application of the principles of stratagem and hard power in Mao Zedong's economic reforms. Research methodology. The methodological basis of the research was the principle of objectivity, scientific and historicism. In the work, the author applied comparative historical, chronological, systemic and structural methods. The methods of analysis and synthesis were also used in the study of specific economic reforms. Relevance. The relevance of the study is due to the importance of studying the role of Mao Zedong in the history of China and notes that he remained in the history of China "as an intelligent and tough leader." The relevance is also due to the fact that Mao Zedong was able to transform China from an "underdeveloped semi-colonial country into a powerful nuclear power" in a short time. The author of the reviewed work analyzes the basic principles on which Mao Zedong relied during the period of Chinese leadership and writes that Mao Zedong's style of work "relied on a rigid approach and stratagem thinking." His talent for stratagem thinking was especially evident during the civil war with Chiang Kai-shek. The principle of strategic thinking originated in China in ancient times and became part of the Chinese mentality. The relevance of the topic is obvious. The scientific novelty of the work lies in the formulation of the problem and tasks. The scientific novelty lies in the fact that the work comprehensively explores the principles of stratagem and hard power in carrying out economic reforms using a wide range of sources. Style, structure, content. The style of work is scientific, in addition, the descriptive style is widely used in the work. The structure of the work as a whole is aimed at achieving the purpose of the article. The author aims to show how the principles of stratagem and hard power contributed to the economic reforms of Mao Zedong. At the beginning of the article, the author writes about Mao Zedong and his role in the history of China. He further writes that his "talent for stratagem thinking was particularly evident during the civil war with Chiang Kai-shek." And Mao Zedong was guided by the principle that "short-term efforts are not enough to achieve success." The author of the article identifies 6 six main directions of Mao Zedong aimed at modernizing China and writes about them. Along with these six areas, additional programs and initiatives have been developed to modernize the country. Mao Zedong showed tough force in carrying out land reform, because it was impossible to confiscate land without rigidity, the author notes. "During the modernization of the CPC's reforms and projects," Mao Zedong acted according to the ideas of Marxism–Leninism. He applied the principles of stratagem, which is evident in his quotes, the author notes. At the end of the article, the author wrote conclusions on the work done. The main conclusion is that Mao Zedong "effectively modernized the state using the principles of stratagem and hard power during his reign. He has made China significant and powerful on the world stage, transforming it from an underdeveloped semi-colonial country into a powerful nuclear power." The content of the work is not devoid of logic and the text is presented in general consistently. The text is perceived quite easily. The bibliography of the work includes 12 sources (in Russian and Chinese) and made it possible to achieve the goals and objectives of the study. The bibliography is well designed. The article will be of interest not only to specialists, but also to a wide range of readers.
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