Duringthe twentieth century, was very powerful for China because two revolutionhapped: 1911 Revolution and The Cultural Revolution in 1949. The 1911Revolution is not as known as much as the Cultural Revolution, but had a significantaffect to the world. China throughout the course of history rapidly changed andwhile the country itself changed, the definition of Chinese identity itselfchanged over the course of the twentieth century.
The Cultural Revolution wasvery remarkable and influential to the citizens of China and the country. Thedefinitions such as gender, class identities, urban/rural, Confucian/traditionhas changed or rather developed massively.Chinese communism is a very unique form ofgovernment. It had to fight and withstand many obstacles through history andresulted in rapid development for China. Chinese Cultural Revolution, seen as apeasant-based revolution was led by Mao Zedong in 1949. This marked thebeginning of the challenging times that later on created a social and economicforce in the world economy. There was a Republican revolution in Chino on October10th, 1911 which led to the fall of the ruling Qing Dynasty.
Thecountry was in political confusion and the landlords and upper classmen tookadvantage of the situation to exploit the citizens and life became unbearable.The government and the upperclass performed no function that the peasantsdeemed essential way of life. Thus, the link between the government, upperclass and the peasants were weak and largely artificial. Between 1916 and 1927, a new warlordismdeveloped. Warlords attacked each other even though they seemingly had similarideas and goals, making it a regrettable era in China’s history. This markedthe beginning of the growth of communism in China. Mao Zedong, a poor yetintelligent man is the main individual that attributed to the ideal ofcommunism. The lower classes in society were attracted by the principles whichcalled for equally as they suffered from extreme poverty, starvation and grief.
The success of the peasant revolutions in the20th century China was largely due to the presence oflarge landless labourers. The agrarian society depended on the centralauthority. There was an absence of commercial agriculture and the peasants weresubject to stresses. China was a highly bureaucratized imperial regime in which”landed property, degree holding, and political office” were deeply entwined.The upper class in China were bureaucrats, and to hold office in the imperialbureaucracy is through the examination system that started from the T’angdynasty. Landed wealth came out of the bureaucracy and depended on thebureaucracy for its existence. More or less open corruption was the only waythe imperial regime managed to sustain this hulking bureaucratic apparatus.
Landowning washighly concentrated but worked by countless peasant tenants, a relationshipthat was a political device for squeezing an economic surplus out of thepeasants and using it to over pay bureaucrats. Mao Zedong was one of the main individual that ledthe Cultural Revolution in China. He was a Hunanese peasant, but became one ofthe most influential character in China.
He was very good at self-promotionwhich resulted many Chinese citizens to act for him. Mao Zedong’s attempt to establish himself asthe leader of the Communist world by ridding the country of capitalism and itslong standing traditions. Mao launched a national campaign called The GreatLeap Forward to boost China’s economy. The Great Leap Forward was toredistribute the land among China’s rural population and organized workers intocommunes. Unfortunately, The Great Leap Forward failed miserably and to regainthe power back, Mao united with the radicals to launch the Cultural Revolution.Mao stated: “Those representatives of the bourgeoisie who have sneaked into theParty, the government, the army and various spheres of culture are a bunch ofcounter-revolutionary revisionists,” claiming that these elements should beremoved violently. Then, Mao shut down schools in China to mobilize studentsinto units called the Red Guard. The Red Guard attacked, abused, and killedintellectuals such as teachers and even the innocent people if they suspectedthinking that they would undermine the communist system.
Youth played a veryimportant role in the Cultural Revolution as the Red Guards, and they weremainly urban students (Presentation20). Red Guards were students at the age ofmiddle schooler to fairly high schooler. They were impacted and empowered bythe principles of Chairman Mao. The Red Guards goals were similar to Mao’s: to attackthe four olds (old culture, old customs, old habits, old thoughts), re-live Yan’anexperience (rectification campaign), build a new revolutionary culture based onMaoism, and finally attack anyone in power by branding them acounter-revolutionary (Presentation20).
According to the class presentation byProfessor Hess Christian, there were policies to recover from the Great LeapForward: 1. Systematic depopulationof urban center2. The return ofsome private plots for families3. Small freemarkets re-opened. Farmers get to keep their surplus. Just like in the landreform 4. Industry:profitability is key, leads to strengthened position of managers/technicians5. Expertise overideology 6.
Material incentivesover ideological incentives (From Presentation20)WhenMao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution, his goals were to change thesuccession from Lio Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping to Ling Biao the loyal head ofPLA, disciplines the huge bureaucracy: attack on leaders at all institutions,attack “the four olds,” raise “revolutionary successors,” and address theinequalities brought about by Liu and Deng (Presentation20).