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Chinese Bloody History

Mao’s Cultural Revolution Bred Capitalism

Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution during the 1960s was adisastrous failure and it created a capitalist society in rural China, notedone professor at an event held by thelibertarian think tank Cato Institute. Humanities professor Frank Dikotter, whoworks at the University of Hong Kong, noted how capitalism sprang up from theashes of the Cultural Revolution, where millions were killed by Mao’s communistregime.

The Cultural Revolutiondidn’t spontaneously appear, Dikotter said, as others believe. In fact, theCultural Revolution began in 1962 until 1966, where a “socialist educationcampaign enforced by Mao” took place in Chinese schools. Dikotter pointed out, “ina nutshell, Mao does something that no one has ever done in a one-party state.He used the people to attack the party.” The Cultural Revolution’s Red Guardsappeared in 1966 and did not come out of nowhere, but were direct results ofMao’s education campaign. From 1968-1971, Dikotter called this “a militarydictatorship” and the “Black Years” of China because “it was such an awfulgarrison state where the majority of the unnatural deaths accounted for theCultural Revolution happened.” He continued, “Far more people were killed bythe military than the Red Guards in 1966.” The last part of the CulturalRevolution was Dikotter’s “Gray Years,” where “people see how the party hasbecome and use that opportunity to connect with the past.”

Why did Mao create theCultural Revolution? The rise of Khrushchev in the Soviet Union spurred Mao’sactions because Khrushchev was critical of Josef Stalin. “Mao viewsKhrushchev’s attack on Stalin as an attack on himself; he was Stalin’sstudent,” said Dikotter. Mao believed that although the “bourgeoisie was gone,but the bourgeoisie culture was still around.” Mao concluded, “A thoughtrevolution was needed against all treasures of the past,” as Dikotter noted.This “sweep against bourgeoisie culture” was in part spurred by Mao being “veryconcerned about shoring up his own reputation” within his own party, hiscountry and in socialist circles in general. Mao saw “himself as arevolutionary,” Dikotter said, “a greater revolutionary figure thanKhrushchev.”

The Great Leap Forwarddemonstrated this belief put into action, where people were herded intocommunes where Mao desired a people’s army. He firmly believed that “theeconomy of China could be catapulted past” their competitors and allies.Dikotter averred, “We know what happened; it was a disaster. [It] led to thedeath of tens of millions of people” in China. This fed into the CulturalRevolution because it was “Mao’s second attempt to become the pivot aroundwhich the socialist universe revolved.”

“Lenin,” Dikotter said, “in1917, carried out the Great October Revolution. Now, Mao will carry out theGreat Proletarian Revolution.” Mao was also worried “about people who mightdenounce him during his own life” after Khrushchev denounced Stalin. “Mao wasseething,” said Dikotter, after fellow party members like Deng Xiaopingcriticized him and his goals. “Many thought that Mao was responsible for themass starvation of ordinary people” in the Great Leap Forward. Mao’s questionwas, “Who would be China’s Khrushchev?”

Mao’s “socialisteducation campaign” started in 1962 and was meant to “heighten vigilance ofpast enemies [and] make sure collectivism is maintained.” “But,” Dikotter said,“Repression is not enough” for Mao and his indoctrinated students. “Studentshave been indoctrinated in class hatred for two, three or four years,” Dikotterpointed out, “itching to get out to find those bourgeoisie elements” in Chinesesociety.

These motivatedsocialist Chinese students became extreme and some were punished because theywent too far, yet they described their impure ideological peers as“anti-socialist reactionaries.” Then, the Red Guard appeared as these studentsdonned military uniforms and “millions are sent to the countryside as themilitary tore up this garrison state.” These “students sent to the countrysideto be re-educated by peasants.” This led to talk “about traitors, spies,renegades” and then “special committees are set up” in China. For example, inShanghai, “some 170,000 people are implicated in this witch hunt” and “some40,000 people are killed during this purge” in Shanghai.

In Inner Mongolia, “some800,000 people are imprisoned, interrogated…torture chambers appear in InnerMongolia.” Dikotter mentioned some torture techniques, such as “tongues rippedout” and other gruesome tactics, where “it looks very much like a genocide” ofMongolians. Dikotter explained that “75% of victims are Mongols, but compriseonly 10% of Inner Mongolia.”

After this exhaustiverevolution, the people were tired. “They realized the party has been badlydamaged by the Cultural Revolution,” Dikotter said. Then, “millions uponmillions of people, as I refer to as a silent revolution, start recollectingwith the past,” he noted. “They realized there is an opportunity here, not tooppose the party, but to reconnect with the past.”

In one province in Chinacalled Shaanxi, which was Mao’s old revolutionary capital, the people began torebel. “They redistribute collective assets,” Dikotter said, “they startoperating factories” under the government’s noses. When government inspectorsarrive some years later, “the entire region has gone capitalist.” In Shaanxi,“the land is quietly decollectivized, handed back to individual households.”This bottom-up revolution “followed the entire breadth of the country” fromGuangdong up the eastern coast of China and where “everything is traded [and]all forbidden items in a planned economy” can be sold, such as cotton. In theserural provinces, “you see markets appear.”

Dikotter said that thepeople chose this system “if only to escape from the sheer misery andstarvation” that was commonplace in rural Chinese provinces. He said that by1975, “three-quarters of all [output] comes from factories, notagriculture…truly a revolution from below.”

May 3, 2016, Spencer Irvine


Red China has a bloody Communist history. The following video clips goes into the bloody details.

Mao's Revolution