Mao's War against Nature? The Environmental Impact of the Grain-First Campaign in China

  title={Mao's War against Nature? The Environmental Impact of the Grain-First Campaign in China},
  author={Peter Ho},
  journal={The China Journal},
  pages={37 - 59}
  • P. Ho
  • Published 1 July 2003
  • History
  • The China Journal
It is generally assumed that agricultural policies in Maoist China – in particular through mass movements – have led to grave ecological destruction. The movement believed to have had the most catastrophic outcome is the “Grain-first campaign”, which allegedly urged farmers to cultivate as much grain as possible. It is said that in the arid, pastoral areas indiscriminate reclamation led to desertification and a dramatic drop in livestock numbers. However, this article demonstrates that there is… 
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According to Eduard Vermeer, one could even state that the roots of Grain-first can be traced to imperial times, when taxes were paid in grain. Vermeer, oral communication
  • The Yenan Way Revisited
  • 1995
Yinian de jubian: guyuan xian Jiaoyao Renmin Gongshe diaocha baogao" (A Great Change within One Year: Research Report of Jiaoyao People's Commune
  • Ningxia province, afforestation and terracing in the loess areas started in the 1950s. See
  • 1959
Shengxu chun zeng yidian, liubei de chengji shi zenyang qudede?" (If Livestock has a little Net Increase, How is an Achievement of Six Times more Reached?), in Nongye xue Dazhai ziliao 19-26
  • 1972
); the "Twelve Articles for Agriculture" and the "1956-1967 National Program for Agricultural Development". (The "Twelve Articles" were sent to the provincial governments for suggestions on
  • These included the "Resolution Concerning the Implementation of the Planned Procurement and Supply of Grain
Rebellions and Revolutions
    We Delineate and Manage Grassland, and Construct Forage Storage), Ningxia ribao
    • addition, important publications on agriculture compiled by state institutions in the mid 1970s confirmed the new views. See, for example
    • 1976
    Long Taizhong , " Shenru kaizhan nongye xue Dazhai yundong " ( Thoroughly Launch the Agriculture - Leams - from - Dazhai Movement )
    • 2003
    Ye Jianying, the Vice-Premier, publicly announced that "Dazhai is the direction for the Chinese people
      On the basis of an article in People's Daily of
      • Quandang Quanmin Dongshou, Daban Nongye" (Let's Get to Work and Go in for Agriculture in a Big Way with the Whole People and the Party), Hongqi (Red Flag)