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Two Perspectives on GLF

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Our class was assigned two contrasting books about China’s Great leap forward, one that showed a critical view point, and the other a more “official” viewpoint that was much more positive. The thing that jumped out to me the most was how even in the book that showed the “official” viewpoint, the famine was apparent. There was no way the government could ignore the famine, but rather there were ways it could be addressed without causing panic and more people to doubt the “successes” of the Great Leap Forward. The government would address it indirectly, blaming selfish peasants for the failures in policy, while suggesting things like new noodle recipes for the working class to try. In this way, the government would not outright claim any responsibility for the failures of the Great Leap Forward and the famine, thus not many people were held accountable for the fiasco.

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