Famines: 20th Century --North China (1928-31)


Figure 1.--Reports of food shortages leading to famine conditions in northern China (1928). Drought precipitated the famine, but the civil war and the continuing problem with war lords affected the bility of the Mationlist Government to effectively address the crisis. The press caption here read, "Twp Innocent Mites Who Suffer the Pangs of Hunger: Unwanted by their families who are starving , these two little Chinese boys are being provided for by the military authorities, tigether with thousands of others abandoned Chimnese tots. Owing to a heavy drought and heavy leavies imposed by the military who have collected taxes for eleven years in advance 4,000,000 persons are dying of starvation." It was dated April 13, 1928.

The Chinese famine of 1928–30 was centered in northern China. The provinces most affected were Henan, Shaanxi, and Gansu. The famine hit a large area of North China. Some 3-6 million people are believed to have died. Drought precipitated te famine. The war lords in control of the area made mtters worse. The Nationalist relief effort was ineffective. Involved in a Civil War with the Communists, the Nationlists imposed harsh taxes. The basic problem in China was that the large poplation forced peasants on to marginal land. But also because agricultural methods were so inefficent that peasants only produced slighly above subsistence levels. So droughts and floods could have terrible cosequences. And the same was true of political unpheaval in which contending armies could impose heavy leavies on the peasantry.











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Created: 4:44 AM 8/15/2016
Last updated: 4:44 AM 8/15/2016