Mao Zedong, leader of P.R.C., once ordered all the sparrows to be killed because they ate a lot of grain. This decision caused 45 million people to die in a famine.
Environmental disasters are common in the history of mankind, but not many can compare to the own which began in 1958 in China. Mao Zedong, the leader of the People’s Republic of China, decreed that all the sparrows in the country were to be killed. He decided that China could do without pests like sparrows. Mao thought that sparrows ate too much grain and it seemed rational to him for all sparrows to be killed.
According to Mao Zedong, sparrows were getting in the way of the economic development of the People’s Republic of China. During the next three years, 45 million people died in a famine caused by economic mismanagement, environmental disaster, and state terror.
Mao Zedong undertook several massive campaigns in an attempt to modernize and improve life in China. The Four Pests Campaign was one of these drives, part of the Great Leap Forward between 1958 and 1962. Killing all the sparrows was part of this campaign.