On October 1, 1949, the newly established People’s Republic of China faced the challenge of consolidating its power over a vast mainland and implementing the socialist policies it advocated. Of hindrance to the process of organizational and ideological remolding of China was the ambivalent ideological nature of China’s intellectuals. Special action had to be taken by the Communist regime to address the explicit and latent issue of non-Marxian thought and bourgeois ideals among its most talented educated class. The campaigns of the Communists to transform the intelligentsia were not spurred by vehemence towards a former ruling class, but by the Communist appeal for a united ideological front. The behavior of the intellectuals and the
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These older intellectuals were often considered adversaries to the Communist regime due to their traditional, Western-influenced education, and their position as landlords. The middle-aged intellectuals were considered a necessity by the CCP in 1949 because their expertise functioned as the backbone of the civil administration and industrial management. This thirty-to-fifty year old group also consisted of most of China’s writers, artists, and teachers. Many intellectuals of this age group were rendered suspicious by the CCP during the thought-reform movement of 1951 because of long or significant association with Western industries and organizations. The younger group contained what the Communists considered their basic capital. These were the politically malleable, intellectually rootless results of the disorder of their youth. Because this younger group lacked the experience of the older intellectuals, it was considered less useful in the immediate future by the Communists.
The obviously splintered intelligentsia of China drew the attention of the war-making Communist regime in 1951. The Communists were attempting to consolidate and muster their resources for the war in Korea. In Chinese Prime Minister Chou Enlai’s Report on the Question of Intellectuals, the premier explained to the CCP, “The goal of the Suppression of Counter-Revolutionaries [thought reform] campaign