THE EMERGENCE OF THE 'NEW GENERAL' LINE
Violence was a familiar aspect of the Chinese Communist performance. In his report of 1927 on the peasant movement in Hunan Mao had defended violence as a political instrument, and it was a fully sanctioned Communist technique from Lenin forward. Land reform in the Kiangsi days was a notoriously bloody operation; and it left a trail of bloodshed in the countryside in the 1948-1951 period. Nevertheless, the balance between persuasion and pressure on the one hand and violence on the other had generally been maintained in favor of the former down to 1951.
In the course of 1951-1952 the Chinese Communist government encountered a series of difficulties ranging over the whole spectrum of its activities, from land reform at the village level to the military front in Korea. The government found itself short of cash and confronted with the threat of inflation. The cadres in many areas proved inefficient and, apparently, corrupt as well; they were also evidently confused by the problem of balancing ideological objectives against efficiency as criteria for day-to-day action. The converging techniques of mass persuasion and social pressure were not yielding the expected long-term results. Signs of dissatisfaction and even of passive resistance appeared. Production, while undoubtedly rising from the abnormally low levels at the end of the civil war, was not meeting hopes or plans.
The retreat of the United Nations forces from the Yalu carried to a line some seventy miles south of the thirty-eighth parallel. By February 1951 effective United Nations counterattacks were under way, and Seoul was recaptured on March 14. In April and May the Chinese