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December 12, 2016
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April 14, 2000
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October 1, 1958
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Approved For'Release 2001/11/16 CIA-RDP78-02771 R0003001200O5-8 U.S. Ti-tMORM&PION AGENCY No. 58>410 U&ckgrounder on Comnnrn. October, 1958 IFSjW 5 CHINA'S COI NNES FORK IM ARNIE By N.18 3tef'eaasan (Historian and Writer on Cont ;porsry Asia) 8UYOlARY: Press retorts from mainland China are stating that all Chinese peasants are to become members of com- munes ? super-collectives with an average of 20,000 to 409000 members within a few months. This article describes the economic reasons behind the comae drive Peipingts desire to have a tightly-organized, mobile labor force, and the Comt.mistsa wish to control peasant food consumption. Mess halls, nurseries, a wage system, and grain rationing are ,attended to add more women to the labor force and make the peasants eat less. NOTEt Please rmaove this cover sheet before distribution. Use of the byline is optional. The article may be abridged. USIA declassification & release instructions on file Approved For Release 2001/11/16 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 App~oved FdrRelease 2001111/16: CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 CHINAS CO UNES FORNINC LABOR MOUES by Nils St?fansson (Historian and Writer on Co unist China) China?a 500 million peasants will soon be organized Into "people ? a coin mea" enormous collective faarms with 20,000 to 40, OOO members, This was announced by the Peiping P_eopj ea s Daiiv. official. organ of the Communist Party, which said on October 1, 1958 that "by the and of September ninety per cent of the peasant households in China had already joined psople?s commanes,'c China's poasantry is being transformed into a rural proletari - Peasants are ordered to join large labor groups. They are to work for wages, not a share of the crop, and must go where they are assigned to factories or mines as well as to the fields. Wives of oomamme members are also being forced, to join labor groups.- Children are being placed in acrnuaal nurseries. All families are to eat, in communal moss halls, The comunes are used as the basis for "labor armies." The PaloB &s AAi1v reported on August 15, 1958 that in Shansi proxince the party "is in the course of forming more than 3,6660,000 people into a latw army which performs the roles of workers, peasants, and soldier30..." According to the PecnleTa Dap, "this labor army is to be fork. with peasants of both sexes from 16 to 55 years of age in the province, It constitution a her t-c? force " Approved or a ease 2061"1/16 CIA-RDP78-02771R000300120005-8 App ,Veit-For'Release 200111 1i1t :'CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 CRDIAQS COMMUNgS FORMIII LABOR ilRM 3 2 This remarkable drive was inaugurated in Ronan province in April 1958. In August the Commamist Party's Central Committee issued a resolution directing that communes be established all over China. As the mention of "labor armies" implies, the principal f no- tion of the comzmunes is to provide China's economic planners with a cloy supervised, politically reliable, flexible and docile labor force. Equa` important, the commune system is also supposed to ensure that commune members eat only as much as the state decides they shall eat, and no more. The official Peiping theoretical magazine j g said in its September 1, 1958 issue that "To make full, use of labor power, to enable women to play their full part in field work, and to ensure that there is no waste of the labor time of men and women, the farm cooperatives (col- lectives) must not only be organizers of production but also organizers of the way of life; not only do they have to collectivize labor further, but also to organize the collective way of life" Rod Flag went on to say that "On the basis of this ua.?gent need., public moashalls, nurseries, kindergartens, tailoring teams, etc,, are being formed in large numbers. All this demands that the, agricfultural producers' cooperatives take an additional step forward - to transfoz'm themselves into people's communes," The men and women "freed for production" in this way are sent to work in Industry as well as in the fields. Some work in baeIycrd factories being set up by the communes themselves. Sys however, will be assigned to work away from home. An NCNA despatch of September 1, 1958, praised the "East Wind" commune in Approved For Release 2001/11/16 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 Approved F0rlRe1e4se 2001711716 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 CHINA'S COMMUNES FORMING LABOR ARMIES Tsinghai province, which "was able to allocate 800 people to help with from and'steel smelting in nearby countries on the very next day after it was founded," The Peo's Dail reported on Aigust 15 that in the Yutzu' administrative district of Honan province, "more than 1,700 'reserve worll re' have been drafted to help in the construction of factories, mines, and railways," A June 7,, 1958 article in the same newspaper stated that fac- tories in the city of Chungking made labor contracts directly with com in:?d, "On the expiry of a contract," the Peon1Q1s Daily explained, "whether the workers will be retained by the factories or released for participation in agricultural production in the countryside will be deem-1 in accordance with the uroduction needs of the factories, so that rational" use can be made of labor and so that relations between industry and grit culture can be tightened further." The _P92P12' aDaily also said that Peasant-workers provided by the communes are paid less than prevailing wages and receive fewer welfar benefits. In other words, the communes involve a form of Indentured service operated by the state for its own benefit. In its September 1, 1958 report the NCNA stated that in seven administrative districts of Honan rrovinoe preliminary statistics show that "the opening up of mess halls there has enabled 6.9 million women to take part in production.' The August 29 directive of the Central Committee urged the com- munes to adopt a system of payment which serves two ends: it advances Approved For Release 2001/11/16 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 pproved`ForReease 2001/11/'16":-CIA-RDP78-02771 R000316012000J5-8 CH'INA'S COI44UNES FORMING L.',BO ARMIES the "proletarianization" of the peasantry and facilitates control of food grains. Wages are to be fixed by'the communal managers. About 25 per- cent of the wage fund will be reserved' for bonuses, The People's Daily declared on August 21, 1958 that "collective members receiving bonuses should posseasthe following qualifications& (1) being obedient to leadership and.rositive in work; (2) actively parts itating in production and fulfilling or over-fulfilling production assign inents; (3) protecting nubile property and constantly struggling against wicked persons and evil things; (4) being advanced in thinking,,.and (5). working at least 28 days a month," Communal managers will also determine each family's requirement; of grain for food. Grain tickets will be issued in place of all or part of money wages earned, Tickets can be releemed only at the communal mess halls. Peasants with any surplus money wages cannot use them to buy food grain, and most other foods are also rationed. Grain supply has always been a serious uroblemfor the Communis regime. When the peasants farmed as individuals they usually ate better if they had' a good crop, Forty percent of China's exports to the Soviet Union consist of food grains, and Peiping has sought wears to increase grain collection. The ordinary collective farms, set up in 1955-56, were intended to enforce a tighter control. on peasant food consumption. But they had only a few hundren member-households, Small work-teams composed mostly Approved For Release 2001/11/16 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8 Approved -ForRel'ease 2001/11/16: CIA-RDP78-027718000300120005-8 ClINA?S C0MUNES FORMING LABOR ARMIES neighbors and acquaintances could cheat the collective and it some prod- uce aside for their own use. Furthermore, peasant families cooking in their own homes could also save. grain. The farmers disliked seeing their produce taken away from. them; hoarding and black-marketing were common, even after the col- lectives: were set up. The September 1957 issue of the Peiping magazine1_i.tica Study admitted that hoarding "has oven become a common practice; people ridicule those who. positively fulfill the atatesa grain urehase quota." Under the commune system, however, all grain will be tallied in and out by the commune staff, which will literally keep track of every bowl of rice. The state will decide whether the bowl will be full or empty. On August 18, 1957 the People's Daily pointed with satisfaction to a typical effect of the commune system: "Yin Fu-yua!!, a member of the No; 2 cooperative, and his family formerly consumed eight catties and two taels of grain per day; now in the mess hail they consume only seven catties," Approved For Release 2001/11/16 : CIA-RDP78-02771 R000300120005-8