The Chinese Cultural Revolution (Milestones in Modern World by Louise Chipley Slavicek

By Louise Chipley Slavicek

As considered one of history's such a lot terrible political upheavals, the Cultural Revolution started in 1966, whilst the chinese language Communist social gathering formally introduced the novel move at the orders of its autocratic chairman, Mao Zedong. He meant for the move to revitalize China's innovative fervor whereas concurrently accelerating the country's evolution right into a precise communist utopia. China's youth turned the development safeguard for this new revolution, forming themselves into paramilitary purple shield devices. those adolescent surprise troops humiliated, beat, and murdered lecturers, intellectuals, neighborhood get together officers, and others whom they judged to be insufficiently dedicated to Mao and his radical beliefs. by the point the Cultural Revolution ultimately led to 1976, it had claimed the lives of a few three to four million chinese language and left many thousands extra bodily or psychologically scarred. during this new identify, learn the way this sweeping coverage replaced the process chinese language historical past within the twentieth century.

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At first, the Guards confined their search-anddestroy missions to the residences of individuals with so-called “bad class” backgrounds, such as former businessmen or landlords and their adult children. The Guards quickly broadened their attacks, however, to include the homes of writers, artists, teachers, anyone investigated as rightists or capitalists in earlier political campaigns, and even local party officials. Between mid-August and September alone, Red Guards smashed or burned a wide array of personal belongings from nearly 340,000 Beijing households.

I saw our most, most, most, most, dearly beloved leader, Chairman Mao! Comrades, I have seen Chairman Mao!  . We’re jumping! We’re singing!  .  . How can I possibly go to sleep tonight! I have decided to make today my birthday. * * Quoted in Philip Short, Mao: A Life, p. 543. Mao’s Young Generals So that all his young generals, even those from the republic’s farthest reaches, had a chance to visit the capital and to see him in person, Mao proclaimed that Red Guards could ride China’s trains and buses at no cost.

The first prominent victim of the Cultural Revolution was the respected scholar Wu Han. After Wu Han was accused of criticizing Chairman Mao in his play The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office, he became a major target for student protestors. One of the young agitators, Zhang Yidong, later recalled a “struggle rally” against the historian that took place in his Beijing home and in which Zhang took part. Wu Han’s story, as Zhang alludes to at the end of her memoir, had a tragic ending. After enduring more than two years of repeated struggle rallies and physical abuse, he died in prison in 1969 at age 60: It all took place in June 1966.

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