Cultural Revolution

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A Cultural Revolution poster.
Cultural Revolution poster

The "Cultural Revolution" was a disastrous attempt to reform the economics, education and politics of Communist China, which led to the deaths of tens of millions of people. The upheaval began in August 1966 by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.

Mao's objective was to replace leaders with people who would think like him and be supportive of him as Chairmen, make the Chinese Communist Party function the way he wanted, give the Chinese youth a revolutionary experience, and make changes so that education, health care, and cultural systems would be for the entirety of China and not just for the elite. In order to do this, he began to establish a cult towards himself. His party would be forced to support him as he had little patience for opponents during what he believe to be the pinnacle point of China's future as a communist state. He quickly began a system of purges to cleanse of any unwanted opposition toward him or to the gang of four, especially after he was embarrassed with the part rejecting his great leap forward policies[1]

Mao Zedong wanted the Cultural Revolution to affect everyone in China. Ordinary people perceived to be members of the "Five Black Categories" were targeted as well as their children. The Five Black Categories were Landlords, so-called "Rich farmers", anti-communists or counter-revolutionaries , "Bad-influencers" or "bad elements", and Rightists. The Black Book of Communism reports,

The Cultural Revolution's effects, past and present, on the world's imagination and memory stem not only from the extreme radicalism of its discourse and actions but also from its visibility; largely an urban phenomenon, it occurred in the age of television, for which it presented superb images of deftly organized political ceremonies filled with a touching fervor.[2]
Obama White House Communications Director and Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign manager Anita Dunn was a great admirer of Chairman Mao and was deeply inspired by Maoist Thought.[3][4]

In August 1966 all schools were closed. During this time Mao told the Red Guards to question things that traditionally had great value and importance, and question the activities of government officials by slighting them in a way that was visible to all. The party itself was also purged:

The "investigations" inside the government administration, carried out by policemen dressed as Red Guards, were massive and sometimes murderous: there were 1,200 executions in the purge of the Ministry for Security; 22,000 people were interrogated and many imprisoned during the investigation into Liu Shaoqi; 60 percent of the members of the Central Committee (which hardly ever met) and 75 percent of all provincial Party secretaries were expelled and usually also arrested. In all, for the whole period of the Cultural Revolution, between 3 million and 4 million of the 18 million cadres were imprisoned, as were 400,000 soldiers, despite the banning of Red Guards in the PLA. 197 Among the intellectuals, 142,000 teachers, 53,000 scientists and technicians, 500 teachers of medicine, and 2,600 artists and writers were persecuted, and many of them were killed or committed suicide. In Shanghai, where intellectuals were especially numerous, it was officially estimated in 1978 that 10,000 people had died violent deaths as a result of the Cultural Revolution.[5]
Chairman Mao said,
“What can Emperor Qin Shi Huang brag about? He only killed 460 Confucian scholars, but we killed 46,000 intellectuals. There are people who accuse us of practicing dictatorship like Emperor Qin Shi Huang, and we admit to it all. It fits the reality. It is a pity that they did not give us enough credit, so we need to add to it.”[6]

According to Prof. R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii, 7,731,000 people died in the Cultural Revolution.[7] Others place estimates as high as 20 million. Incidents of cannibalism were also reported. Mssacres were mainly led by the local Communist Party branches, governmental agencies, the militia, and military.

It was no coincidence that the Red Guard violence began in 1966, seventeen years after the 1949 revolution; the first act after the 1949 revolution was take control of the public education system and indoctrinate a generation with Cultural Marxism and to target anyone who opposed them as fascists. The Maoist Red Guard were a supposed "Anti-fascist" movement.

See also

References