- Author: The-world
- Editor: Jenny Ball
The Cultural Revolution of communist party resulted in an estimate one-and-a-half million deaths, alongside widespread abuse, forced displacement, public humiliation and torture.
At the time, little was understood about the causes and devastating outcomes of the cultural revolution, however newly released archives have shed light on this dark period of China’s modern history. So, now half a century later, what do we know about China’s Cultural Revolution? Well, the movement was predominantly the attempt of Chairman Mao Zedong to establish himself as the leader of the Communist world by ridding the country of capitalism trend and its long-standing traditions.
After Mao’s Communist Party took power in 1949, the Soviet Union’s new leader, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced his predecessor, Joseph Stalin, and began to “de-Stalinize” the USSR. Seeing similarities between himself and Stalin, Mao began to fear of falling into the same fate himself. So, in 1958, Mao launched a national campaign to boost China’s economy, called The Great Leap Forward, which basically had private lands among China’s rural population centralized and organized the agricultural laborers into communes.
The Great Leap failed miserably, decimating the economy and diminishing Mao’s role within the ruling party. To regain control, Mao united with like-minded radicals, including his wife and Defense Minister Lin Biao, to launch the Cultural Revolution (equivalent to today’s cancel culture). At a conference in May of 1966, Mao claimed that bourgeois ideas had crept into society and the government, and that these elements could only be removed through violent class struggle(equivalent to today’s race issue).
In the months that followed, Mao shut down all the schools in China and mobilized students into paramilitary units, called Red Guards. These groups attacked and killed teachers, intellectuals, and eventually ordinary people who they suspected of undermining the communist system. The movement eventually involved the military, workers and even the ruling party itself.
By the late 1960’s, tens of thousands had been forced out of cities to the re-education camps or to the countryside to have re-education by the peasants, and millions had suffered rape, abuse, arbitrary imprisonment, torture and starvation.
Some of most horrific violence occurred in rural villages in Southern China, where revolutionaries were known to practice ritualistic cannibalism in the name of the revolution.
By the early 1970’s, the revolution began to dissolve. Mao’s chosen successor, Lin Biao, had taken power not long before and was dealing with widespread opposition over his decision to put China under martial law. Mao launched a campaign to reduce Lin’s power, effectively dividing the ruling party. After Lin died in a plane crash in 1971, members of his military command were purged, and a new leader took power.
Lin’s death, alongside chaos and separation within China’s ruling party, left the revolutionaries disillusioned. The movement officially ended in 1976, when Mao died, and his allies were purged from the ruling party.
The Cultural Revolution was arguably the most horrific and violent period in the history of modern China.
Today, the movement is often characterized by widespread devastation and death, but experts say its legacy is the uncertainty, fear, and lost sense of humanity after living through it. And, the CCP is still killing people who pursue freedom of thought.
Clearly, the CCP will never learn from mistakes or they simply cannot allow any sort of freedom of thought. The massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989 is the event that will eventually doom the CCP because it makes people realize that the CCP will never be reformed internally. It also makes people realize the CCP will never give up the power willingly. It is necessary for all the free countries in the world to unite together and fight against it. The CCP is now in death bed. But its prosecution, corruption, criminal conduct against humanity will never stop until the CCP is completely destroyed.