Great leap forward

🏷  Chinese pun · name   —   by Gerry · Oct 2020 · 553 words

The Great Leap Forward was a particularly gruesome chapter in China’s Communist era: Officially, it was a movement about industrialization and agricultural modernization. Technically though, it consisted of ridiculous & wasteful measures, and unfullfillable quotas. And effectively, the Great Leap Forward was a social & economic disaster which led to a great famine. In a very cruel twist, this may even have been part of the plan: 大跃进 dà yùe jìn “great leap forward” puns with 大愚馑 dà yú jǐn “great deceptive famine”. Sadly, the famine itself was not a deception, only the causes were manufactured.

Some of the more ridiculous “modernization” measures included having the entire population chase birds to death (because they “eat grain”), and forcing households to melt down all their metal tools (to “increase steel production”). More harmful were probably those measures that directly reduced the crop yield, such as planting too narrow, ploughing too deep, or leaving fields barren, plus exporting much of the reduced yield.

If the famine was really part of the plan, then it’s hard to imagine what China’s spook overlords and their global peers wanted to achieve with this cruel project. If the goal wasn’t outright poulation reduction, then it was probably to urge much of the rural population into the cities, as a future industrial workforce. This is perhaps why the bulk of the artificially reduced crop yield was brought as provisions into the cities, making them a relatively safe haven.

To put things into perspective, it must also be said that famines, like other hardships & cruelties, had already occurred regularly in feudal China.

As for the possible spook pun: The official Chinese name “Great Leap Forward” uses very common components. Only the choice of words is a bit generic for a modernization project:

The assumed nasty spook pun apparently uses old & literary words from ancient written Chinese, which common people wouldn’t easily understand:

Chinese dà yuè jìn = great leap forward

大躍進 ; 大跃进 dà yuè jìn : Great Leap Forward (1958-1960); Mao’s attempt to modernize China’s economy; which resulted in economic devastation; and millions of deaths from famine caused by misguided policies — Chinese (CEDICT)

Chinese dà yú jǐn = great deceptive famine

: big; huge; large; major; great — Chinese (CEDICT)

: to be stupid; to cheat or deceive; me or I (modest) — Chinese (CEDICT)

: foolish, stupid; to fool, to dupe; (humble) I — Chinese (Wikt)

; jǐn : time of famine or crop failure — Chinese (Wikt)

; jǐn : (fossil word) famine — Chinese (CEDICT)

🏷  Chinese pun · name