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"Great Leap Forward" triggers largest famine in human history with an estimated 14-30 million casualties.





The famine triggered by the "Great Leap Forward" was one of the largest man-made disasters in human history. Estimates of the number of casualties vary greatly and are difficult, if not impossible, to verify. Conservative estimates assume that from 1958 to 1961, over 14 million people died of starvation, and the number of reported births was about 23 million fewer than under normal conditions. Other authors have estimated the number of famine-related death of up to 30 million or higher. The government prevented an even worse disaster by canceling nearly all orders for foreign technical imports and using the country's foreign exchange reserves to import over 5 million tons of grain a year beginning in 1960.



Ashton, B. / Hill, K. / Piazza, A. / Zeitz, R. (1984): Famine in China, 1958-61. In: Population and Development Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, 613-645

Bernstein,Thomas P. (1984): Stalinism, famine, and Chinese peasants - Grain procurement during the Great Leap Forward. In: Theory and Society, Vol. 13, No. 3, 339-377

Xizhe, Peng (1987): Demographic Consequences of the Great Leap Forward in China's Provinces. In: Population and Development Review, Vol. 13, No. 4, 639-670


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