Four Pests Campaign
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaChinese: 打麻雀运动; pinyin: Dǎ Máquè Yùndòng) also known as the Kill a sparrow campaign (Chinese: 消灭麻雀运动; pinyin: Xiāomiè Máquè Yùndòng), and officially, the Four Pests campaign was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.
CampaignMao Zedong, the first President of the People's Republic of China. Sparrows – mainly the Eurasian Tree Sparrow – were included on the list because they ate grain seeds, causing disruption to agriculture. It was decided that all the peasants in China should bang pots and pans and run around to make the sparrows fly away in fear. Sparrow nests were torn down, eggs were broken, and nestlings were killed.
Initially, the campaign did improve the harvest. By April 1960 the National Academy of Science found that sparrows ate insects more than seeds. Mao declared "forget it", and ordered the end of the campaign against sparrows.By this time, however, it was too late. With no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned, swarming the country and compounding the problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward and adverse weather conditions, leading to the Great Chinese Famine in which around 30 million people died of starvation.