Browse Exhibits (19 total)


Chiang Kai-Shek (蒋介石)

Born in 1887, Chiang Kai-shek went to Japan for military training. After the 1911 Revolution, he joined Sun Yat-Sen's Nationalist party and launched the Northern Expedition in 1927, which resulted in the defeat of many of China's warlords. As part of this, he purged the Nationalist party of Communist factions ending the first united front. Chiang ran a fledgling government from Nanjing between 1928 and 1937, and presided over China during the Sino-Japanese War. He lost the ensuing Civil War to the Communists due to a combination of strategic errors and the mistrust of local populations towards the Nationalists. Chiang exiled himself, his army and party to Taiwan where he instigated martial law to suppress independence and Communist resurgence but equally laid the ground for Taiwan's future economic prosperity before his death in 1975.

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Chinese Land Reform (土地改革)

Land reform, in a Chinese context, denotes the abolition of the landlord class, and the returning of farmland to peasants in the spirit of Sun Yat-Sen’s proclamation ‘He who tills the land shall own it.’ Soon after the communists won the civil war, many peasants held the deeds to their own land for the first time.

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Collectivisation of Agriculture (农业集体化) (1953-1958)

After land redistribution to peasants was completed, the Chinese Government began a process moving towards the collective ownership and management of agricultural resources. This resulted in the emergence of people's communes where all aspects of life, from canteens to schools, were managed by committees in an attempt to both increase production and further spread communist ideology.

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Mao Zedong (毛泽东)

In 1893, Mao Zedong was born into a rich peasant family in the province of Hunan. Having moved to Beijing for schooling, he encountered Marxist theory and became a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao believed, however, that Marxism should be adapted to Chinese circumstances. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Mao's power in the party became undisputed and the CCP grew enormously in size. He led the party to win the civil war with the Nationalists. Mao's rule brought rapid industrial growth and greater equality in rural areas but also brutal political oppression and a horrific famine.

Model essays for the Pre-U

Below are a selection of model essays based on past Pre-U exam questions. 

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The Chinese Civil War (国共内战) 1945-1949

The Chinese Civil War refers to the re-emergence of conflict between Nationalists and Communists in the immediate aftermath of the Sino-Japanese war. Mao Zedong was victorious and proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China on the 1st October 1949.
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The Chinese Communist Party (中共)

The Chinese Communist Party began as a small community of urban intellectuals sympathetic to Marxism. After it was brutally purged from the city of Shanghai, Mao Zedong advocated the idea of a peasant revolution given China's predominantly rural population. The party gained power in 1949 after defeating the Nationalists in the Civil War and implemented policies based on class struggle, industrialisation and the collectivisation of agriculture.

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The Cultural Revolution (文化大革命)

The Cultural Revolution was borne out of a power struggle between Mao and reformers in the Chinese Communist Party, who allowed for elements of private business to boost the Chinese economy in the wake of the Great Leap Forward Famine. The Cultural Revolution espoused ideological purity and complete devotion to Mao with Churches, Buddhist Temples and many antiquities being destroyed.


The First Five Year Plan (第一个五年计划)

The First Five Year Plan was Mao's model for economic development adapted from the Soviet Union. The plan emphasised the rapid growth of heavy industry, particularly steel, iron and coal.