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China Bound and UnboundHistory in the Making - An Early Returnee's Account$
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Frances Wong

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9789622091719

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622091719.001.0001

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Chapter 4

Chapter 4

(p.80) (p.81) Chapter 4
China Bound and Unbound

Frances Wong

Hong Kong University Press

In 1958, there was a nationwide killing of sparrows. An official directive was issued in 1958 by the Chinese government which stated that the whole nation was to stop work for three days to take part in a campaign to kill all the sparrows in the country. They had caused the famine in the country and it was decided that they must be annihilated. The whole city of Beijing was on the alert. In October 1957, the Draft Programme of Agricultural Development was revised and called the “40 Clauses.” It explicitly stated that starting from 1958, in five, seven, or twelve years, China must basically in all possible places annihilate all rats, sparrows, flies, and mosquitoes. This chapter states that during the Great Leap Forward Period of the late 1950s, everyday the newspapers were full of ludicrous stories. It was a time when man's actions were not governed by rationalism but by insanity.

Keywords:   sparrows, famine, Beijing, Draft Programme, 40 Clauses, China, Great Leap Forward Period

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