China's Population Bomb

  • Charles F. Bingman Johns Hopkins University


The ascent to power by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1949 was a period of great turmoil and confusion.  Mao Zedong, the Chairman of the Party and the head of government emerged as a powerful and willful dictator, and intellectually the chief strategist in determining China's future and what it would become.  In the midst of this turmoil, Mao knew that one thing was certain:  the population of the country would rise, and the increase would be large enough and swift enough that it would overwhelm the economy and the government.  The national economy, even before WW II had left China deeply in poverty, underdeveloped, illiterate, and without direction or hope.  All of this was made worse by the Japanese invasion and later the internal civil war.  When the Communists won, few could conceive of them leading China to any bright new future.