A lot of people did die during the period of the great leap forward. Partly it was due to bad planning, partly it was due to the shocking drought that swept China during the period and partly it was due to the USSR pulling out a heap of funding, engineers, advisers etc. due to the deepening Sino - Soviet split.
'So we must fly a rebel flag, As others did before us, And we must sing a rebel song, And join in rebel chorus.
We'll make the tyrants feel the sting, O' those that they would throttle;, They needn't say the fault is ours, If blood should stain the wattle!"
- Henry Lawson