The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was a ten-year political campaign which aimed at rekindling revolutionary fervour and purifying the party. After several national policy failures, especially the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong regained public prestige and control of the Communist Party of China (CCP). On 16 May, 1966, he announced that the Party and Chinese society were permeated with liberal bourgeois elements who meant to restore capitalism to China, and that said people could only be remover with post-revolutionary class struggle. Ideological cleansing began with attacks by young Red Guards on so-called "intellectuals" to remove "bourgeois" influences. The Red Guards purged the country, the military, urban workers, and the leaders of the CCP, until there remained no one politically dangerous to Mao. Although Mao declared the Cultural Revolution ended in 1969, the political intrigues continued until 1976 with the arrest of the Gang of Four. Even if Mao’s idea of launching the Cultural Revolution was a social political reform, its consequences resulted in a series of incalculable damage and lost. Therefore how to regard the Cultural Revolution is an important topic to analyse. Positive and Negative Effects of the Cultural Revolution
Although the Cultural Revolution largely bypassed the vast majority of the people who lived in rural areas, it had highly serious consequences for the Chinese economic system in short term. The political instability and the zigzags in economic policy produced slower economic growth and a decline in the capacity of the government to deliver goods and services. In addition, the Cultural Revolution also left more severe and long-term legacies. Chaotic social and political environments
Firstly, the ten years of the Cultural Revolution brought China’s education system to a virtual halt. Many intellectuals were sent to rural labour camps. These resulted in a serious generation gap among almost an entire generation who had been denied an education and had been taught to redress grievances by taking to the streets. Secondly, a forefront numerous internal power struggles within the Communist party was brought by the chaotic political environment. Members of different factions often fought on the streets, and political assassinations were common particularly in predominantly rural provinces. Therefore officials at all levels were forced to fall back on traditional personal relationships and on extortion in order to scarify their demands. In other words, the shifts in government environment could be regarded as the growing point of corruption within the CCP and the government. Furthermore, Mao Zedong Thought became the central operative guide to all activities during the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards slavishly adored and followed the behest of Chairman Mao to abolish Chinese ‘Four Olds’: old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas. Chinese traditional arts and ideas were ignored and publicly attacked by. People were encouraged to criticize cultural institutions and to question their parents and teachers. Slogans such as ‘Parents may love me but not as much as Chairman Mao’ were popular. In addition, the Red Guard destroyed numerous historical artifacts and ancient monuments, burnt monasteries, and persecuted traditional arts, and tortured minorities and ‘bourgeois thinkers’. The Unnatural death of politicians
After the failure of the Great Leap Forward, Mao was forced to take major responsibility. He resigned as the State Chairman and China’s head of state was succeeded by Liu Shaoqi. The Cultural Revolution was set in motion by Mao Zedong to impose Maoist orthodoxy within the party and to remove the bourgeois elements in the government and society. One of the obvious consequences was the unnatural death of Liu Shaoqi. He was adjudged as a ‘criminal traitor, enemy agent and scab in the service of the imperialist, modern revisionists and the Kuomintang...
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