Cultural Revolution  

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The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a period of widespread social and political upheaval in the People’s Republic of China between 1966 and 1976, resulting in nation-wide chaos and economic disarray.

It was launched by Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China, on May 16, 1966, who alleged that "liberal bourgeois" elements were permeating the party and society at large who wanted to restore Capitalism. He insisted that these elements be removed through post-revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China’s youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country. The movement subsequently spread into the military, urban workers, and the party leadership itself. Although Mao himself officially declared the Cultural Revolution to have ended in 1969, the power struggles and political instability between 1969 and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976 are now also widely regarded as part of the Revolution.

After Mao's death, the forces within Communist Party of China that were antagonistic to the Cultural Revolution, led by Deng Xiaoping, gained prominence. The political, economic, and educational reforms associated with the Cultural Revolution were terminated. The Cultural Revolution has been treated officially as a negative phenomenon ever since. The people involved in instituting the policies of the Cultural Revolution were persecuted. In its official historical judgment of the Cultural Revolution in 1981, the Party assigned chief responsibility to Mao Zedong, but also laid significant blame on Lin Biao and the Gang of Four (most prominently its leader, Jiang Qing) for causing its worst excesses.

See also

  • Born Red: A Chronicle of the Cultural Revolution, an autobiography that includes experiences during the Cultural Revolution
  • Morning Sun (八九點鐘的太陽), a documentary exploring the events and effects of the Cultural Revolution
  • Red Scarf Girl, a memoir of experiences during the Cultural Revolution
  • A Year In Upper Felicity, book chronicling a year in a rural Chinese village during the Cultural Revolution
  • Theses on the Cultural Revolution by Guy Debord (I.S. #1, June 1958, trans. John Shepley)

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