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 Coal Supply From North to South Changing

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Coal Supply From North to South Changing

by Hua Ching-yuan

Source: Peking Review, No. 3,January 21, 1972
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org

    LACK of coal in the vast and rich areas south of the Yangtze River (including Kwangtung, Chekiang, Kiangsi, Hunan and Fukien Provinces, the Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region and parts of Kiangsu, Anhwei and Hupeh Provinces) was a big problem handed down by history. Coal needed for economic construction and daily living had to be transported over long distances from the north. Responding to Chairman Mao's call, these provinces launched a mass movement during the Great Cultural Revolution to open up coalfields. Small pits have been set up everywhere and many small and medium-sized mines put into production. Consequently the situation in which coal has to be moved south from the north is changing.
   Coal production in the regions south of the Yangtze in 1970 more than doubted that in 1965, the year before the Great Cultural Revolution; last year it exceeded the 1970 figure by more than 20 per cent. The scale of shaft construction in 1970 rose more than ninefold compared with 1965 and there were new advances last year. The provinces and autonomous region south of the Yangtze all raised their rate of self-sufficiency in coal and some provinces have become basically self-sufficient in coal.

Bankruptcy of Fallacy — "No Coal South Of the Yangtze"

   South of the Yangtze the coal industry was run down under the Kuomintang's reactionary rule. To hold back the development of China's industry, the imperialists cooked up the saying that "there are no coal deposits south of the Yangtze." This preposterous conclusion was used as a spiritual shackle to strangle the coal industry there.
   Following the liberation, especially after the big leap forward in 1958, the people south of the Yangtze started a mass campaign to open up coal pits under the guidance of the general line of going all out, aiming high and achieving greater, faster, better and more economical results in building socialism. The industry in these areas made considerable progress. But Liu Shao-chi and his agents wildly opposed the general line. Taking over the imperialist "there are no coal deposits south of the Yangtze" fallacy, they babbled that even if there were any there, they must be small deposits and not big ones. Dead set against opening up coalfields in the south, they forced large numbers of coal pits to close down.
During the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the people south of the Yangtze thoroughly criticized, the old fallacy, thereby tremendously enhancing their confidence in locating deposits and building mines.
Acting according to Chairman Mao's teachings "The standpoint of practice is the primary and basic standpoint in the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge" and "Discover the truth through practice, and again through practice verify and develop the truth" they plunged into the search for coal. They finally located it in the so-called "strongly folding and faulting" areas along the southeast coast which had long been regarded as holding out little hope of finding coal, in eastern Chekiang, southern Kiangsi, Fukien and Kwangtung where igneous rocks and red strata are widely distributed, and in fairly ancient strata. They also discovered huge quantities of new deposits in old coalfields which had been excavated for decades.
   Coal now has been found in every administrative region and nearly every city in southern Kiangsu and high-quality coal deposits were located even under Taihu Lake. More than 20 counties in Hupeh have found coal; Fukien Province has also verified large quantities of coal, and deposits in one of the coal areas there amount to several hundred million tons. As the miners and the poor and lower-middle peasants put it: "Useful minerals are buried everywhere south of the Yangtze; but the idealists are unable to locate them. Following out what On Practice explains, we dig up thousands of 'black dragons.' "

Mighty Strength of Mass Movement

   Developing the coal industry south of the Yangtze has long been the keen desire of the people there. Leading comrades at all levels in the provinces went into the mines and villages to elaborate on the significance of developing the coal industry. This further stimulated the enthusiasm of the masses who co-operated with the technical personnel to locate deposits and build pits or mines in the spirit of "seizing the day, seizing the hour.''
   Several hundred thousand people joined in the battle to get coal in Kwangtung and Chekiang Provinces. The poor and lower-middle peasants vied to contribute their share to this drive and women commune members also were active in the campaign. An old poor peasant recalled how she had dug for "black mud'' on a hillside to dye cloth when she was young, Thinking this might have some connection with coal, she reported this clue to commune cadres. Coal was discovered there. A poor peasant commune member had seen "black stones" while digging the foundation of his house. After the drive to get coal got started, he asked the geological personnel to come around, moved the beds and dug out some "black stone." This lead to the discovery of a good coal-showing point.
   In the mass movement to discover coal and build mines, the different areas systematically built some big and medium-sized mines as the backbone of the local coal industry while opening many small pits. The transport, machine-building, supply, commerce and medicine and health departments gave powerful assistance to the drive to mine coal and carried out big-scale socialist co-operation, More than 100 electric, transport and machine-building units in Soochow pooled their efforts to build a 44-kilometrc high-tension transmission line for the Hsishan Coal Mine at Taihu Lake and the whole project was completed in a little more than five months. In a short period, more than 20 plants In Changchow together designed, made and installed a big driller, which met the needs for overcoming shifting sand strata and building new coal shafts.
   Once the masses were mobilized to take part in setting up mines, they quickly completed much which had remained undone for decades. The 1970 coal output in Kwangtung Province more than trebled that of 1965, setting a new high. Last year it rose more than 30 per cent over 1970. Coal deposits verified in a year in Chekiang Province exceeded the total for 20 years in the past and 1971 coal production there was more than six times as much as in 1965. Deposits verified since 1969 in southern Kiangsu are 14 times the previous estimates. The coal industry was still a blank in this area prior to the Great Cultural Revolution. Today a lot of coal is being produced. Since Hunan, Hupeh and Kwangsi began their mass campaigns to revolutionize designing, they have rung down the curtain on the old way of taking seven or eight years from prospecting, designing and building to production. Instead they have built at a fast rate better coal pits which produce more coal sooner.

Self-Reliance

   Opening coalfields south of the Yangtze brought on all sorts of difficulties. Carrying out the principles of self-reliance and hard struggle and learning from the Taching Oilfield's revolutionary spirit of building an enterprise through arduous efforts, the people there pridefully say: "Coalfields are battlefields and seizing coal is a fight. We will forge ahead when the conditions are available and create the necessary conditions to go ahead when they are not available."
There had been no houses, coal picks and pneumatic drills in some places, but they lived in thatched dwellings and used hoes and hammers to build many pits. The builders of the Chingtsaoping coal pits in Hunan Province repaired and restored 48 pieces of equipment they found among piles of waste and discarded appliances and material in a nearby old mine. This not only solved what was urgent in order to start the work, but shortened the building period. The Fushan Coal Mine in Tehan County, Kiangsi Province, was closed down for years by Liu Shao-chi and his agents and classified as a useless mine. All that was left was a one-storey building, one old diesel engine and a discarded pit.
   In 1968 Communist Party member Wang Hsin-min was at the head of 40 workers who went to the mine. They made adobes and brought timber across mountains to build simple sheds. Then they went to work on the old pit and produced coal from it, thereby solving the problem of funds for expanded reproduction. The abandoned mine was rebuilt. By going in for technical innovations, they introduced semi-mechanized production. Coal produced in the past two years is valued at more than 8.5 times the total investment.
   Starting with local methods and using hoes and winnows, the Humen Commune in Chekiang's Yiwu County set up a dozen or so small pits. As the pits were expanded, the miners made technical transformations step by step and produced small cars, hand-operated" blowers and other simple tools by themselves. Later they installed windlasses, pumps and electric coal drills and built new vertical and inclined shafts. Kwangtung Province introduced technical transformation to its small pits group by group and at different stages and thus rapidly changed their conditions. Production in 60 per cent of the small pits in Kwangtung's Foshan Administrative Region is now mechanized or semi-mechanized.
   Many old mines south of the Yangtze also have raised their output enormously by fully tapping their potential. The Pinghsiang Mine in Kiangsi Province and other old mines nearly doubled their coal output last year compared with 1965. Since 1969 miners and staff members of this mine have made big efforts to diversify its economy and go in for multi-purpose use centred around coal. As a result dozens of small plants turning out iron and steel, machines, building materials and chemicals have been set up. By manufacturing equipment themselves, they changed their antiquated technical equipment and raised coal production tremendously. Output in old coal shafts exceeds designed production capacity by more than 70 per cent.

Profound Significance

   The rapidly growing rate of self-sufficiency in coal south of the Yangtze is of profound significance in changing the geographical distribution of China's industry and carrying out the strategic principle "Be prepared against war, be prepared against natural disasters, and do everything for the people."
   Opening up and building coalfields south of the Yangtze has pushed development of the iron and steel, chemical fertilizer, power and machine-building industries there, helped the localities establish their own industrial systems and acted as a spur to progress in the national economy in these places.
   In setting up small coal pits, the people's communes and production brigades have consolidated and developed the socialist collective economy. After becoming self-sufficient in coal, more than 20 Kwangtung counties built a large number of machine-building, building material, communications and transport and power enterprises. In addition, they also increased their public accumulation and quickened their pace of farm mechanization and building water conservancy works. Using funds accumulated from its small coal pits, the Shihtang Commune in Kwangtung's Jenhua County purchased almost 200 farm machines, erected power transmission lines, and built highways and small reservoirs in the past few years. The small pits of the Kushui Commune in Hupeh's Yitu County accumulated over 140,000 yuan for the commune last year. This was used to buy 23 farm machines and utensils for the whole commune and to set up five processing mills.
   Continuing their advance, the people south of the Yangtze are striving within a short period to put a final end to transporting coal from the north to the south.
  

Source: Peking Review, No. 3,January 21, 1972
Transcribed for www.wengewang.org
  
  
  

 
 
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