Mao's Cultural Revolution

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In 1966, Chairman Mao Zedong, China’s Communist party leader at the time, launched a social-political movement that became formally known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Its official goal was to change and correct the direction in which the current Communist leaders were leading China, and to preserve “true” Communist ideology. To rid all possible aspects of capitalism in the country, he shut down the entire nation’s schools and called for a mass assemblage of the country’s youth. Mao forced millions from the cities to labor in the countryside and students formed armed militias known as the Red Guard that preyed on China’s elderly and intellectual population, accusing them of embracing bourgeois ideologies. Due to Mao’s dynamism, …show more content…
However, in Mao’s determination to make China ideologically “pure”, he had let China descend into chaos. After the Cultural Revolution, people’s mindsets towards communism began to change and people began to make use of their newfound political freedom. Over the course of Mao’s rule, the people began to see the consequences of a strictly Communist and totalitarian government and society. The Red Guards, militias made up of young people loyal to Mao, began to heap abuse and humiliation upon those who were accused of having the slightest capitalist values. These violent sessions usually ended in torture, death, or the accused being kept away in a reeducation camp for years. People began to turn on their neighbors, friends, and even family members, handing them to the Red Guard for harboring capitalist thoughts. There were few that one could trust at the time. Roughly 1,800 people were killed in Beijing alone in the August and September of 1966, solely from the Red Guards. (Szczepanski, 2015) Soon, even the Red Guards turned against each other, different factions fighting on the streets. Despite having a government that seemed to have complete control over everything, China was in utter disarray. Near the end of the Cultural Revolution, people in Western Beijing began a movement known as Democracy Wall. It was a space in which people were allowed to post posters up that contained their political …show more content…
The extent of the effects of Mao on China is so acute that it can be felt even in modern day China. Although the effects of the Cultural Revolution were devastating and a crime to humanity, one thing does stand true, without the disaster that was the last ten years of Mao Zedong’s life, we would have no reform. In other words, without the Communist shock culture treatment that was the Revolution, we would not have been able to see the extraordinary economic growth of China in the last 30 years, the gradual decrease in left side extremists, or see the return of Ancient Chinese traditions and the introduction of Western

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