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Cultural Revolution

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (无产阶级文化大革命) was a period of Chinese history which began in 1966 and was officially declared ended in 1969. However, most historians in the People's Republic of China now date the Cultural Revolution as ending with the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao encouraged revolutionary committees containing Red Guards to take power from the state and party authorities. Victims of the Cultural Revolution included Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping.

Table of contents
1 Background
2 The Cultural Revolution
3 Time dominated by Lin Biao
4 Times of the "Gang of Four"
5 After the Revolution
6 Effect
7 See also
8 External link


Great Leap Forward

Main Article:
Great Leap Forward

In 1957, after China's first five year plan, Mao Zedong called to rapidly increase the speed of growth of actual Socialism in China (as opposed to dictorial socialism). To accomplish this target, Mao set up special Communes in the countryside through the usage of collective labor and mass mobilization, hence originated the "Great Leap Forward". This was designed to be a campaign to increase the production of steel in China and to increase agricultural production to twice the 1957 levels.

But the Great Leap turned into an utter disaster, industries went into turmoil due mainly to the fact that only steel was being produced using the labor of 90 million peasants. This led to declines in production of everything but steel. To make things worse, all communes were in the euphoria of steel production and the local authorities continuously reported unrealistic production numbers.

The Chinese Economy, which had just barely recovered from decades of war, had gone into turmoil once again.

In the 1959 Lushan meeting of the Central Committee Peng Dehuai criticized Mao's policies in the Great Leap with a private letter, as plagued by mismanagement and "petty-bourgeois fanaticism." Unwilling to admit to any mistakes, especially from the political left, Mao formed an alliance with Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, in which he granted them day to day control over the country in return for framing Peng (accusing him of being a "right opportunist"). Among their reforms was a partial retreat from collectivism.

Mao and Liu's increasing conflicts

After taking some degree of power, Liu Shaoqi had led the country to a series of economic reforms, because of the success shown in 1962, Liu had won prestige with many party members both in the central government and with the mass population. Liu and Deng also planned, with influence from others, to gradually retire Mao from any real power and turn him into a figurehead, by 1962 Mao felt he could not avoid dealing with the very problems with the Great Leap Forward Peng pointed out. To try to get back on the political scoreboard and to try to correct mistakes without admitting to them in concept, in 1963 Mao initiated the Social Education Movement.

Mao had later admitted to some general mistakes, while greatly defending the Great Leap forward in concept. One great irony of the Social Education Movement is that it called for grassroots action, yet was directed from Mao himself. This movement, aimed primarily at school children, did not have any immediate effect on Chinese politics - but it did influence a generation of youths upon whom Mao could draw on for support in the future.

Meanwhile in 1960 started the Three Years of Natural Disasters in China, which lasted for the next 3 years. Food was in desperate supply, and production fell dramatically. Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, the people with real power at the time, decided to end many Leap policies such as rural communes and return things to pre-Leap levels. Mao, seeing that his prestige was getting destroyed day by day, had stated "The struggle of classes must always be in our minds...". By the disastrous end of the Natural Disasters, an estimated 44 million people had died from unnatural causes such as starvation and widespread famine.

In continuous developments of 1963, Mao had started to broadly attack Liu Shaoqi openly, and stated that idealism of the struggle of the classes must always be fully understood and applied, yearly, monthly, daily. By 1964 the Social Education Movement had turned to the new "Four Cleanups Movement", which suggests the clear of Politics, Economics, Ideas, and Organization, directly targeting Liu and Deng Xiaoping.

Influences elsewhere

In early 1960, Historian and Beijing Deputy Mayor Wu Han published the first version of a historic drama The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office in print. At first this print was published partly for the amusement of Mao Zedong, an ardent historian himself who had special interests in historical stories like that of Hai Rui Ba Guan.

This story initially received praise from Mao, but the situation was up for a turn. In 1965 Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing and her protégé Yao Wenyuan --who was hardly of any note back then in Shanghai, was an editor for a prominent propagandist newspaper-- published an artible citing "Opinions and Viewpoints of recently published The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office." In the article, The Dismissal of Hai Rui from Office was openly criticised, being called "Poisonous Weeds" and linked up the incident of Peng Dehuai with the historical story.

The publication on the Shanghai newspaper received much prominence nationwide, with many other prominent newspapers asking for publication rights of the same article. Beijing Mayor Peng Zhen, a supporter of Wu Han, set up a committee studying the recent publication and emphasizing that the criticism had gone too far. But denounciations, whether public or silently, came from Jiang Qing and General Lin Biao, and with various groups of support, Jiang and Lin won this initial battle.

In May of 1966 Jiang Qing and Yao Wenyuan once again published various articles with hidden messages denouncing both Wu Han and Peng Zhen. On May 16th, under Jiang Qing's wide influence, a formal notice was issued, representing figuratively the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

In a later meeting of the CCP Politburo in 1966 The Group in Charge of the Cultural Revolution (GCCR) was formed. On May 18, Lin Biao spoke in the form of a speech, "Chairman Mao is a genius, everything the Chairman says is greatly true; one of the Chairman's words will override the meaning of ten thousands of ours..." Thus started the first phase of Mao's Personality cult led by Jiang Qing, Lin and others. At this time Jiang and Lin had already grabbed actual power. On May 29th Tsinghua University's subsequent Middle School's first Red Guards organization was formed, aimed at getting rid of intellectuals and Mao's political enemies.

On June 1st the People's Daily, the CCP's media/propagandist newspaper stated that all "Imperialists", "People with affiliations with Imperialists", "Imperialistic Intellectuals" etc. must be rid of and massively purged. Soon spread the euphoria of purging University Presidents and other prominent intellectuals. On July 28th, representatives of the Red Guards wrote a formal letter to Mao, stating that mass purges and all else related was needed and right.

Thus began The Cultural Revolution that no Chinese living at the time will forget.

The Cultural Revolution

1966: Massive purges and connections

August 1st, 1966, China's central decision making body passes the bill regarding "Decisions on the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution". This bill stated that the official position of China's government was now supportive of the purging of intellectuals and imperialists. Most of these purging acts were to be the work of Mao's loyal Red Guards.

On August 16, millions of Red Guards from all over the country gathered in Beijing for a peek at the Chairman. On top at the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Mao and Lin Biao made many appearances with the Red Guards, receiving cheers each time. Mao was then dubbed the "Great Leader", the "Great Teacher", the "Great Commanding General" and the "Great Helmsman".

This brought a the further spirit of the Red Guards. Mao made appearances to approximately 11 Million Red Guards, praising their actions in recent purges. From this period on until 1976 (or formally 1969), the Red Guards started expanding their areas of authority and purging actions. The Red Guards started by passing out leaflets, spreading Communist propaganda, onwards to posting those "counterrevolutionaries" on bulletin boards across the country. They had assembled massively, creating plays, arguing over ideals, held executions of "counterrevolutionaries" in public, started massive looting of their homes, killed or tortured many relatives.

Throughout 1966 the Red Guards had become the foremost authority of China. Laws were broken freely, as long as under protection of Red Guards. People were killed and tortured brutally without any form of justice or trial, the police were completely useless against combating crime. From that onward the Red Guards went even further, and started setting fires on temples, mosques, churches and other religious institutions. By the end of 1966 the Red Guards also started the massive destruction of ancient artifacts and antiques, destroyed ancient buildings, burned many ancient scrolls and books, and destroyed much art from China's four thousand years of Dynastic History.

Also in this period of time Monks, Nuns and Missionaries were widely criticised and purged. Some were later sent to labor camps; some, whose fate were much worse, were tortured or brutally murdered. The Red Guards also started widely criticising their own teachers, looting their homes and then torturing them. Seeing this situation unfold, many intellectuals and eminent figures committed suicide or were tortured to mental breakdown. Many prominent politicians and former leaders were also purged and labeled as "counterrevolutionaries"; Liu Shaoqi was sent to a detention camp, a virtual prison, where he later died in 1969 due to a lack of food and other necessities of life. Deng Xiaoping was sent to work in an engines factory until brought back into the Central Government by Zhou Enlai.

All this was praised by Mao Zedong. "So keep the fight going..." said Mao. On August 22nd, Mao issued a public notice, which stopped "all police intervention in Red Guards tactics and actions." Of whom in the police force dared to defy this notice, they were to be labeled as "counterrevolutionaries".

On September 5th, yet another notice was issued, encouraging all Red Guards to come to Beijing over a stretch of time and all fees including accommodations and transportation were to be paid by the Central Government. On October 10th, Lin Biao publicly criticised Liu and Deng as "Capitalist-roaders" and "threats". Later, Peng Dehuai was brought to Beijing to be publicly displayed and purged at the same time.

1967:Usage by others

On January 3rd, 1967, Lin Biao and Jiang Qing were behind the "January Storm", when many prominent Shanghai municipal government leaders were heavily criticised and purged. This led to the not-too-well-known Wang Hongwen into real power in the city and the city CCP power apparatus. In Beijing, Liu and Deng were once again the targets of criticism, but others, who were not as engaged in the CCP criticism sessions, like Chen Boda and Kang Sheng pointed at the wrongdoings of the Vice-Premier of the State Council Tao Zhu. Thus started a battle of political struggle among Central Government officials and local party cadres, using the chance of the Cultural Revolution to squeeze or produce reasons of "counterrevolutionary activity" out of many leaders and local cadres.

On January 8th, Mao praised these actions through the People's Daily, urging all local governmental leaders to rise in self-criticism or criticism and purging of others. This started the massive power struggles of purge after purge in some local authorities, which stopped functioning altogether. Everyone had to be involved in some sort of "revolutionary" activity, to avoid being purged, or for many, they were purged despite this activity.

At the same time, many large and prominent Red Guards Organizations rose in protest of other Red Guards Organizations, further complicating the situation. This led to a destined notice to stop all unhealthy activity within the Red Guards Organ. On April 6th, Liu Shaoqi was openly and widely denouced by a Zhongnanhai faction. This was followed by protest and mass demonstrations, most notably the one in Wuhan on July 20th, to which Jiang Qing openly denouced as "counterrevolutionary activity" and later herself flew to Wuhan to criticise the general in charge of the Wuhan area Chen Zaidao.

On July 22nd, Jiang Qing directed the Red Guards to replace the powers of the army when needed and render the existing forces useless. After the initial praise by Jiang Qing, the Red Guards started to steal and loot from barracks or army buildings. This activity, which could not be stopped by any army general, went on until the Fall of 1968 to come to a gradual stop.

1968:Personality cult

In the Spring of 1968 started the massive campaign aimed at promoting Mao Zedong to a godlike status. Mao was depicted the origin or source of life's necessities combined in one form. At this point in time Lin Biao seized an opportunity to gain power for himself while watching these events unfold.

Expectedly, Mao had lost the basic control of the country, he was in no power to stop anything from looting to huge protests. On July 27th the status of Red Guards overpowering the army was declared over, and the Central Government sent in units to protect many areas still being targeted by Red Guards. Mao had supported this idea, and promoted it by allowing one of his "Highest Directions" to be heard by all of the people.

In early October, Mao decided on the denunciation and purge of many officials, of whom many were sent to the countryside working in labor camps. In the same month, at the 12th Plenum of the 8th Party Congress Liu Shaoqi was "forever expelled from the party". While at the same meeting Lin Biao had become the Party's Vice-Chairman, 2nd-in-command only to Mao.

In December 1968, Mao ordered the "Down to the Countryside Movement". During this Movement, which lasted for the next some 10 years, young intellectuals were ordered to go into the country and receive "education" from "middle- and poor-peasants". This plan was in actuality Mao's way to rid of future emerging forces who could be of threat to the CCP.

Time dominated by Lin Biao

Transition of the party apparatus

April 1st, 1969, at the CCP's Ninth Congress, Lin was the big winner. Officially becoming China's second in charge, also holding military power. Lin's biggest political rival, Liu Shaoqi had been purged, and Zhou Enlai's power was gradually fading.

The Ninth Congress started with Lin Biao delivering a Political Report, being critical of Liu and other "counterrevolutionaries" and continuously quoting Mao's Little Red Book. Second thing to be tackled was the new party constitution, when it was modified to officially design Lin as Mao's successor. Henceforth at all occasions Mao's name was to be linked with Lin's. Thirdly, a new Politburo was elected with Mao Zedong, Lin Biao, Chen Boda, Zhou Enlai and Kang Sheng being the five new members of the Politburo Standing Committee. This new politburo consisted mostly of those who rose because of the Cultural Revolution, with Zhou barely keeping his status.

Attempts at expanding power base

After being confirmed as Mao's successor, Lin's focus lied on the restoration of the State President position, which was only abolished by Mao because of Liu Shaoqi's dismissal from power. His aim was to become Vice-President with Mao holding onto the position of State President.

On August 23rd, 1970, the Second Plenum of the CCP's Ninth Congress was once again held in Lushan. Chen Boda was the first to speak, widely praising Mao using many huge adjectives. At the same time Chen was asking for the return of the position of State President. Mao was deeply critical of the speech delivered by Chen, removing him of the position of Politburo Standing Committee member. With this started a series of criticism sessions across the country for people who use "deceit" for gains, calling them "Liu Shaoqi's representative for Marxism and political liar".

Chen's removal from the Politburo Standing Committee was also seen as a warning towards Lin Biao. After the Ninth Congress Lin continuously asked for promotions within the party and the Central Government, leading Mao to think that Lin wanted supreme power and oust Mao himself. Chen's speech also added on to Mao's apprehensions. If Lin was to be Vice-President, then after the President's death he would legally have supreme power and control of the country.

Lin's attempted military coup

Because of Mao's refusal to let Lin gain more prominence within the party and the government, Lin became deeply angered. Adding on to the reason that his power base was shrinking day by day within the Party Apparatus, Lin decided to use the military power in his hands to try to oust Mao in a coup. Soon afterwards Lin and son Lin Liguo and other loyal comrades founded an coup organ in Shanghai, aimed solely at ousting power from Mao by the usage of force. In one of the known documents, Lin stated in Shanghai that "A new power war has surged upon us, if indeed we could not take control of revolutionary activity, these control rights will fall on someone else.

Lin's plan consisted mainly of aerial bombardments and the wide usage of the Air Force. If the plan was to succeed, Lin could successfully arrest all of his political rivals and get the supreme power he had wanted. But his plan was to fail, there would be great consequences awaiting him.

Between September 8th and 10th, 1971, attempts of attacks on Mao were carried out in Shanghai. It was learned that before these attacks on Mao there was initial knowledge of Lin's activities from local police, who stated that Lin Biao was coordinating a huge political plot and Lin's loyal backers were receiving special training in the military.

From these events onwards came continuous allegations and reports of Mao being attacked. One of these reports suggested that en route to Beijing in his private train Mao was physically attacked, another suggested that Lin had bombed a bridge that Mao was to cross to reach Beijing, which Mao avoided because of intelligence suggesting such an incident that led Mao to change routes. In these nervous days guards were placed every 10-20 Meters on the railway tracks of Mao's route to avoid attempts of assassination.

Although these reports were conflicting and sometimes fabricated, it is known for sure that after September 11th of the same year, Lin never appeared in public again, neither did his backers, of whom most attempted to escape to Hong Kong. Most of these attempts failed, and around 20 army generals were arrested.

It was also learned that on September 13th, 1971, Lin Biao and his family travelled on plane to the Soviet Union. En route Lin's plane crashed in Mongolia, killing all on board. On the same day, the CCP Politburo met in an emergency session to discuss about Lin Biao. Only until September 30th was the information of Lin's death confirmed in Beijing, which led to the cancellation of the National Day celebration events that were scheduled for the following day.

The exact cause of the plane crash remains a mystery, although it is widely believed that Lin's plane ran out of fuel or there was an abrupt engine failure. There was also speculation that the plane was shot down by Chinese missiles. Nonetheless, Lin's attempted coup had failed and led to the complete destruction of his image in the CCP and China.

Times of the "Gang of Four"

Developments and Pi-Lin Pi-Kong Campaign

After Lin Biao's death in 1971, Mao, aged 78, was busy trying to find a new successor. In September 1972, Shanghaiese Wang Hongwen was transferred to work in Beijing for the Central Government, becoming the Party Vice-Chairman in the subsequent year.

At the same time, under the influence of Premier Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping was transferred back to Beijing. In the preceding time, Mao was already shaken deeply by the Lin Biao plot and had to rely on Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping again. Compared to Extreme Leftism, Mao was still no fan of the Right.

In 1974, a campaign that appears to sound absurd in convention was started by Jiang Qing and several backers (later to be known as the Gang of Four): the Pi-Lin Pi-Kong campaign, or literally Criticise Lin Biao, Criticise Confucius. This widely publicised campaign was aimed at Premier Zhou Enlai, for he alldgedly possessed "unhealthy" ideas related to Lin and Confucius, but Zhou's name was never metioned throughout the campaign. Since the death of Lin Biao, Zhou has become the main political rival for the power succession of the Gang of Four. But the weary population was tired of so many campaigns that had proved useless or devastating, and were not too much interested in this one. This campaign had failed to achieve its goals.

In October Premier Zhou Enlai became gravely ill and was admitted into day-to-day hospital care. Deng Xiaoping was named First Vice-Premier and was the actual one in charge of daily business of the State Council matters. Deng continued to further expand Zhou's Four Modernizations idea for a better China. In September 1975, Mao himself was also admitted into hospital with grave illness.

1976: Cultural Revolution's end

1976 became a very important year of the Cultural Revolution. On January 8th, Zhou Enlai died of bladder cancer. The subsequent day Beijing's Monument of the martyrs already started filling up with wreaths in mourning of the people's beloved Premier. This event was never seen before in history. On January 15th, Zhou's funeral was held, and events commemorating Zhou across the country were held. Deng Xiaoping delivered Zhou's official eulogy.

In February, the rival Gang of Four had started to criticise the only one left to oppose them, Deng Xiaoping. With permission from Mao, Deng was once again demoted. But after Zhou's death, Mao did not select a member of the Gang of Four for Premier, but not very well known Hua Guofeng.

April 5th was China's Qing Ming Festival, a traditional day of mourning for those who passed away. Since late March there were already people gathered in Tiananmen Square, mourning the death of Zhou Enlai. At the same time the people were also signaling an expression of anger towards the Gang of Four. Gradually many were writing messages of hate against the Gang of Four and then posting them. On April 5th, around 2 million people were gathered in and around Tiananmen Square, already turning into a form of protest against the Gang of Four. The Gang of Four had ordered police in to clear the wreaths and messages of hate, and disassemble the crowds. This later became known was the Tiananmen incident. The Gang of Four pointed to Deng Xiaoping as the incident's planner. This incident was later politically rehabilitated in the winter of 1978.

On September 9th, 1976, Mao Zedong died. Before dying Mao had written a message on a piece of paper stating "If you handle matters, I'm at ease" to Hua Guofeng. Hence Hua became the Party's Chairman. Before Hua was widely considered one with not too much political skill or urge, and no threat to the Gang of Four in power succession. But under influence of prominent generals like Ye Jianying and partly under influence of Deng Xiaoping, and the support of the Army, Hua ordered the arrest of the Gang of Four following Mao's death. On October 10th, 1976, the 8341 Special Regiment arrested all members of the Gang of Four, thus concluding the Cultural Revolution as a whole.

After the Revolution

Even though Hua Guofeng publicly denounced and arrested the Gang of Four in 1976, he continued to strengten pro-Maoist policies. Attempting to keep Mao afloat, Hua opened what was known as the Two Whatevers, saying "Whatever policy originated from Chairman Mao, we must continue to support", and "Whatever directions were given to us from Chairman Mao, we must continue to work on their basis."

Soon afterwards Hua found that without Deng Xiaoping, it was hard for him to continue on daily affairs of the state. On October 10th, Deng Xiaoping personally wrote a letter to Hua, asking to be transferred back to state and party affairs. Also, unconfirmed information alledgedly stated that Politburo Standing Committee member Ye Jianying would resign if Deng was not allowed back into the Central Government. With increasing pressure from all sides, Hua decided to bring Deng back into regular state affairs, first naming him Vice-Premier of the State Council in July 1977 and various other positions. In actuality Deng had already become China's number two figure. In August, the Party's Eleventh Congress was held in Beijing, officially naming (in order ranking) Hua Guofeng, Deng Xiaoping, Ye Jianying, Li Xiannian, and Wang Dongxing as the latest members of the Politburo Standing Committee.

In May, 1978, Deng grabbed an opportunity for protégé Hu Yaobang to be elevated into further power. Later Hu published an article on the Bright Daily Newspaper to cleverly use Mao's quotations while expanding Deng's power base. After reading this widely publicized article, almost everyone supported Hu and thus became Deng's supporters. On July 1st, Deng publicized Mao's self-criticism report of 1962 regarding the Great Leap Forward. With an expanding power base, in September 1978 Deng had already to openly attack Hua Guofeng's "Two Whatevers".

On December 18th, 1978, the Third Plenum of the Eleventh CCP Congress was held. Deng stated that "a liberation of thoughts" and "an accurate view leads to accurate results" was needed within the party. Hua Guofeng gave self-criticisms, stating his own "Two Whatevers" was wrong. Wang Dongxing, formerly Mao's trusted supporter, also was criticised. At the Plenum, the Qingming Tiananmen Square incident was also politically rehabilitated.

In the Fifth Plenum of the Eleventh CCP Congress held in 1980, Liu Shaoqi, Peng Zhen and many others purged during the cultural revolution were politically rehabilitated. Hu Yaobang was named General-Secretary of the CCP and Zhao Ziyang, another of Deng's protégés, was named into the Central governing apparatus. In September, Hua Guofeng resigned, with Zhao Ziyang named the new Premier. Deng was the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. By this time, Deng was the foremost and paramount figure in Chinese politics.


The effects of the Cultural Revolution directly or indirectly touched all of China's populace. During the Cultural Revolution most economic activity was halted, with "revolution" being the only objective; it also cost a lot. The start of the Cultural Revolution brought gargantuan numbers of Red Guards to Beijing, with all of their expenses paid for by the government, and the railway system was in mere turmoil. The ancient buildings, artifacts, antiques, books, and paintings destroyed by Red Guards were countless. By December 1967 there were already 350 million copies of Mao's Quotations printed.

Elsewhere the 10 years of Cultural Revolution also put the education system and pattern at a halt. The university entrance exams were cancelled during this period, only to be restored later by Deng Xiaoping in 1977. Many intellectuals were purged or "sent down" to rural labor camps, their place within society was largely effected. It seems that everyone with skills over that of the average person was the target of purging in some way. This led to almost a generation of know nothings, nearly a generation of China's scientists and other useful intellectuals were missing.

Mao Zedong Thought had become the central operative guide to all things in China. The authority of Red Guards overpowered that of the army, local police authorities, and above everything in the Law. Ironically, Mao wanted the "destruction of the Four Olds" -- old ways of idea, living, traditions, and thought -- but things like "Long Live Chairman Mao" and "the Highest Directive" could only have originated from China's feudal past.

China's traditional arts and ideas were ignored, and Mao praised doing so. People were encouraged to criticize cultural institutions and question their parents and teachers, which was strictly forbidden in Confucian culture, which was emphasized even more during the Anti-Lin Biao; Anti-Confucius Campaign.

The Cultural Revolution also caused external effects. Workers in Hong Kong went on strike, Quotes from Chairman Mao was published in many languages to be circulated in many African and other third-world countries, sometimes leading rebel forces into toppling their governments, and China's image was considerably damaged in the West.

To sum things up, along with damages from the Anti-Rightist Movement, and the Great Leap Forward, subsequently the Three Years of Natural Disasters, up to 100 million people were killed.

Historical views

Today the Cultural Revolution is seen by most people both inside and outside of China as an unmitigated disaster and as an event to be avoided in the future. The defenders of the Cultural Revolution are limited to a few revolutionary Maoists outside of China, and there are no politically significant groups within China that defend the Cultural Revolution.

Nevertheless, the cause and meaning of the Cultural Revolution remain highly controversial. Supporters of the Chinese democracy movement see the Cultural Revolution as an example of what happens when democracy is lacking and place responsibility for the Cultural Revolution at the hands of the Communist Party of China. Similarly human rights activists and conservatives in the West also see the Cultural Revolution as examples of the dangers of statism.

By contrast, the official view of the Communist Party of China sees the Cultural Revolution as what can happen when one person establishes a cult of personality and manipulates the public in a way to destroy party and state institutions. In the view of the Communist Party, the Cultural Revolution is an example of too much popular participation in government rather than too little, and the lesson of the Cultural Revolution is that China must be governed by a strong party institution in which decisions are made collectively and according to rule of law in which the public has only limited input.

These contradictory views of the Cultural Revolution were put into sharp relief during the Tiananmen Protests of 1989 when both the demonstrators and the government justified their actions as being necessary to avoid another Cultural Revolution.

See also

External link