The Nature of the Cultural Revolution
Based on my understanding, regardless of Mao Zedong’s fault, I think that the Cultural Revolution was the result an inevitable fight between the controversial and traditional Chinese bureaucrats in Bei Jing and the aggressive, advanced and Westernized politicians in Shang Hai, namely, a fight between the Group of Five and Gang of Four. According to Spence, the Group of Five group “included senior staff from the press, party academics, and members of the Ministry of Culture, almost all of whom could be regarded as professional party bureaucrats and intellectuals who embraced the status quo were close to Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping” (541). Gang of Four, “they were aware of the new opportunities that arose for spreading their radical views on the content and form of art when Lin Biao formally invited Jiang Qing to coordinate the new cultural policies for the PLA in February 1966” (Spence). Based on the analysis of the content of the Group of Five and the ambition of Gang of Four, the Cultural Revolution was a crime of revolutionary coup (however, I’m not sure if my expression is accurate), with the failure of the Group of Five, as a result of being criticized, prisoned and persecuted.
What was the Cultural Revolution?
The full name of the Cultural Revolution is “the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution”. It is important to emphasize that it was led by proletariats. Proletariats were the most powerful people in the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was launched and led by Chairman Mao between 1966 May and 1976 October. The Cultural Revolution was used by the Gang of Four, the counterrevolutionary group. The Cultural Revolution includes series of political campaigns, which brought Chinese nation a terrible disaster.
What caused it?
Being fomented by Lin Biao, Mao led the Cultural Revolution to rebuild his sense of self-esteem. After the “Five-Year Plan”, China developed a lot. However, Mao realized that his reputation in the early 1960s was falling (Spence, 535). More and more people around him stepped into the central political positions. Lin Biao fomented Chairman Mao to purge the Communist Party and to filter reliable followers through the Cultural Revolution, while Lin Biao conspired a series of campaigns to raise his own position and to extend his influence and power in the CCP. Lin Biao, Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao and Jiang Qing, who were known of Gang of Four, conspired the Cultural Revolution, to raise their power in the New China and govern the CPP. In addition, Mao Zedong’s mistaken understanding and analysis of China’s society and situation connived the Cultural Revolution.
Discussion on “The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office”
Hai Rui was an upright and good official in Ming dynasty. He hated and struggled against corruptions in Ming dynasty. He was always using blunt words to tell the truth of the society and government and making recommendations to the emperor, not being afraid of losing his job. To fight for justice for the poor people and struggle against landlords and comprador, Hai Rui even resigned from his official position.
Hu Han, who was the deputy mayor of Beijing, wrote “The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office” to encourage officials in New China to be the productive and upright politicians as good as Hai Rui was. However, with the accomplice of Jiang Qing, who was Mao Zedong’s third wife, Yao Wenyuan published a strong attack on Hu Han’s paly, “The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office”, to attack Hu Han, who represented the “supporters” of the landlord and bourgeoisies and “anti” Marxism-Leninism. In Yao’s attack, he vilified Hai Rui’s returning lands to the poor people as the theory of revival of the landlord and bourgeoisie. “In this article, Yao stated that Wu Han had been guilty of denying the key premise of Mao’s thought—that the masses of the people constitute the motive force of history. Instead, Wu Han had tried to insist that individual “moral men could somehow transcend the economic and social realities of their time” (Spence, 540).
Yao Wenyuan’s attack on “The Dismissal of Hai Rui” triggered the Cultural Revolution directly in 1965.
Mao Zedong’s role played in the Cultural Revolution
After the fall of Qing dynasty, Chinese revolutionists made various trials to unity and found a New China through different ways. Mao Zedong made the success finally. He was one of the most important and greatest elites in Chinese history. In this sense, People held blind and crazy beliefs and loyalty on Chairman Mao. As described in article, “Mao Zedong’s thought is our political orientation, the highest instruction for our actions; it is our ideological and political telescope and microscope for observing and analyzing all things” (Article). Chinese people treated Mao Zedong as their God. Mao launched, led and connived the Cultural Revolution mistakenly, to rebuild and enhance his own power (according to my understanding). However, as the Cultural Revolution developed and spread, the situation was out of his control. “To underscore his vigor and health, Mao Zedong took a July swim in the Yangzi River near Wuhan, where the 1911 revolution had first erupted” (Spence, 544). Later, in the end of the Cultural Revolution. Mao realized and committed his fault. However, Mao’s glories were faded by the Cultural Revolution in his life.
What were its most important consequences?
The Cultural Revolution was a disaster towards of Chinese education, culture, people and New China’s development.
According to Spence, “the leaders of the Cultural Revolution called for a comprehensive attack on the “four old” elements within Chinese society—old customs, old habits, old culture, and old thinking” (545). The Red Guards destroyed countless priceless cultural relics, books and antiques, holding the extreme and stupid concepts. The 1980’s census showed that there were one fourth of Chinese population illiterate. The Cultural Revolution blocked the Chinese education development. Most of the universities and schools were forced to be shut down. In addition, a number of intelligent scholars and great politicians were criticized, prisoned and persecuted. 1966s’ China was in chaos. The Cultural Revolution blocked China’s development after the wars to a large extent. It was a disaster for all Chinese people.