Mao Zedong: The Cultural Revolution In China

1445 Words 6 Pages
The political and economic turmoil facing China in the decades leading up to the reform era created a climate that lent itself to the essential economic reforms. Sharing much of the Stalinist vision of rapid industrialisation, Mao Zedong invented his own version of a more radical approach to modernisation. Mao’s original plan of a gradual transition to socialism was abandoned in favour of the completion by 1956 of a ‘socialist transformation of agriculture, industry, commerce and handicrafts’ (Zhang, 1996, p. 14). Mao shelved the more moderate Second Five Year Plan with the establishment of the commune in 1958. He also commenced the promotion of ideological uniformity and the Great Leap Forward (Zhang, 1996). The People’s Commune movement …show more content…
Due to the nature of the Cultural Revolution, which placed an unprecedented emphasis on culture, even those without a political background were targeted and branded as ‘class enemies’ because of their professions, interests or backgrounds (Bai, 2014). This classing led to perhaps the most serious and long-lasting impact on the Chinese economy, the dire shortage of highly educated workers resulting from the closure of universities (Worden et al., 1987). Consequently, the hiatus of higher education limited China’s ability to develop new technology and absorb imported technology for years (Worden et al., …show more content…
The nature of the political unrest and the lack of an economic plan, aided in the significant decline in the overall Chinese economy (Hou, Mead, & Nagahashi, 2005). Moreover, Chinese development plans and polices were frequently interrupted by damaging political movements (Yao, 2005). Similarly, after having witnessed the irrationalities of the communist system in such an extreme form, Chinese citizens and leaders were ready to consider reforming the system (Shirk, 1993). Trust in the moral and political virtue of the Chinese Communist Party similarly eroded during the Cultural Revolution, with some Chinese by 1978 believing that the answer lay in market competition, rather than central planning (Shirk, 1993). As American professor, Susan Shrink (1993) emphasises, the benefit of China’s Cultural Revolution was that it ‘weakened central institution and created a constituency for economic reforms’ (p.

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