The Lost Daughters of China Historical Context

Karin Evans
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China is a huge country and has always had a large population. For much of its history, millions of Chinese peasants have lived in dire poverty. Floods and famine have frequently ravaged the land, and the death rate has always been high. During the 1930s, for example, in many rural areas the infant mortality rate was three hundred to every one thousand people, and average life expectancy was only twenty-four years.

The communist revolution in 1949 at first improved the fortunes of the country. Economic reform gave peasants greater security, and social welfare legislation in the cities gave many people retirement security. But as Evans points out, Chinese leader Mao Zedong's overambitious attempts at agricultural reform resulted in a huge famine. Between 1959 and 1962, famine claimed twenty million lives. It was the largest recorded famine in human history. The effects of famine and malnutrition were especially...

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This section contains 567 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lost Daughters of China Study Guide
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