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The Cultural Revolution in China: Purposes and Effects

Apr 24, 2023 | 0 comments

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Apr 24, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Cultural Revolution refers to a socio-political movement formed in the Republic of China. The body started in 1965 during Mao Zedong’s leadership, after his movement: Great Leap Forward failed, and his government position began to feeble with a great increase in economic crises (Acfarquhar & Schoenhals 2006, Pp. 114-13). He became scared of the actions of other parties who he believed were driving the country towards an undemocratic direction. The notion of this paper is to discuss the purposes of the Cultural Revolution, the changes in Chinese views on the movement, and its socio-political effects on the people of China.

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According to Mao, the movement started to reassert the beliefs he had on Chinese political parties. He wanted it to be a long-term permanent movement that adopts public opinion and good motives. Mao used the Cultural Revolution to re-enforce his authority over the government of China. He formed the movement to disapprove of the positions of other political leaders in the party. The revolution was to target the organizational innovation, and adaptability culture. Chinese by influencing their opinion on the party leadership among three leaders: Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and Deng Xiaoping (Gao 1987, Pp.107-201). Mao believed that the leadership of the other two party leaders was only beneficial to the middle class and the intellectuals. For instance, the Chinese education system was transformed and made favorable to rich urban families. He criticized the high rise in the number of specialists and experts in the Chinese economy. Mao knew that the only way to overthrow the people in power was to challenge their positions and strategies.

Another reason that led to the formation of the Cultural Revolution was to ensure equality in the value of mental and physical labor among the huge mass of Chinese people. The movement was to transfigure people’s philosophy and accomplish more economic effects in all fields of work. Mao Zedong’s main goal was to promote fairness among workers of any class (Acfarquhar & Schoenhals 2006, Pp. 114-13). He advised that all employees should receive better treatments and rewards. That is improved quality of employee inter-relationship in terms of payment and job opportunities regardless of their working industries (Kimball 2000, p.56). He encouraged the creation of a conducive working environment and other welfare such as life insurance for all workers. By doing this, he was certain of capturing the attention of the public since most citizens were victims of job discrimination and underpayments.

Furthermore, the Cultural Revolution was to destroy old cultures that gave more opportunities to the royal families. The heroes and heroines were the main characters in the health care, cultural factors have a strong influence on patients’ and families” decisions. Some cultural events and only the privileged attended such occasions. With the support of his wife Jiang Qing, Mao promoted controlled cultural productions by applying new ideas in art in all areas. His wife ensured continuous performance of the arts and made attendance compulsory to everyone. However, the movement encouraged many people to attend cultural events since this equipped them with more knowledge concerning their society (Acfarquhar & Schoenhals 2006, Pp. 114-13) During Cultural Revolution, the youths from urban centers were allowed to go to remote areas to share ideas and learn from the peasantry. According to Mao, this created a new society that closed the gap between the laborers and the intellectuals.

Changes of Views on the Cultural Evaluation

When the Cultural Revolution began, Mao planned that it would be a permanent revolution without any change in the authority. The opposition leaders Liu and Deng were started betraying the movement from within since they viewed it as an anti-economic movement. Mao’s wife, on the other hand, began destroying the Chinese traditional culture after being influenced by new ideas. The Cultural Revolution instigated the destruction of all the old ideas, habits, customs, and humans from centuries back as early as 14th century. It has been a backbone of cultures (Kimball 2000, p.56). The new ideology of the Cultural Revolution was lured the Chinese including, the students and other youths. They praised the thought of Mao and began to put up posters all over the country reading, ‘thoughts of Chairman Mao’. Publishing companies later produced the events in one of the books called a ‘Red Book’.

The youths formed a group by the name, ‘Red Guards’, whose main objective was to attack all the old ideas. They initiated the destructions in learning and working institutions where they attacked lecturers, scientists, intellectuals, and civil servants. Although these had consequences of punishment, the Red Guards never admitted their crimes (Domes & Nath, 1977 P. 45). After all, they were in full support of the Cultural Revolution. The strikes went on until the Red Guards took over public transport and radio and television networks, which they used to manipulate their actions

The movement, unfortunately, started facing a great challenge from the opposition. After the introduction of the Revolution in most industries, it began showing its effects on the worker. The workers formed an organization consisting of a large group of people called, General Headquarters of the Revolutionary Workers (Sochor 1988, Pp. 132-140). However, the people in opposition especially leaders used economic schemes to influence workers to be against the movement. Managers paid their workers extra wages and bonuses to lure them from the new ideology of the Cultural Revolution.

A large number of workers began to see the sense in Mao’s teachings. He talked about revolutionary responsibility contrary to the Party persons in authority. The General Headquarter received more members giving them greater hand to stand strong for the revolution put forward by Chairman Mao (Kwong 1988, Pp. 82-87). All the workers were assigned the relevant responsibilities and duties including those who quitted their jobs and equality at work made compulsory. Later, workers and students triggered rebellions in terms of power transfers and mass organizations. These disagreements turned into a war, which led to the destruction of historic sites, death, injuries, and the burning of important books.

The violent acts stopped after a while in the late 1960s and were taken over by peace and order among the Chinese cities. The war promoted the formation of more revolutionary committees and the redefinition of organization parties. Implementation of new education programs and restoration of peace was the major called by the government (Kwong 1988, Pp. 82-87). The Revolution ended by calling upon the congress of victory and unity to re-educate the intellectuals and consolidate peasant workers, as this would create unity among people (Gao 1987, Pp.107-201). In summary, the Cultural Revolution achieved its goal of preventing the destruction of opinions and judgments, and disapproval by governmental ladders. The movement reunited the masses and party in exercising democracy and togetherness

Effects of Cultural Revolution on Chinese Politics

The major lesson learned was victory after convincing the people of China especially those in opposition to retreat and accept the defeat. Politically, the Cultural Revolution laxative the party, thus weakening the influence and power of the opposition leaders, which is Liu and Deng (Kimball 2000, p.56). The movement had several long-lasting effects on the political party of Chine. The effects caused both positive and negative results. To begin with, China began to experience steady growth in its economy with a very short time after the reunion. It was a result of the rapid rate of recovery after the damages and reduced production during the war. The growth has been increasing steadily over time rating China one of the richest countries.

Besides, the governmental parties were greatly reduced into troops, and simple administrations were initiated by Mao’s teachings (Domes & Nath, 1977 P. 45). This led to the destruction of bureaucratic movements formed earlier by the leaders. As a result, the masses owned the leadership as the control was on their hands regulated by new bodies instead of governmental leaders. Several revolutionary committees comprising members who belong to both party and non-party got formed with the party nucleus playing the core leadership role. Thereby giving peasants and workers a certain degree of self-importance and making them put greater effort into the economic sector (Kwong 1988 Pp. 82-87).

The Cultural Revolution endorsed a new leadership style of appointing or elections of educated leaders into the government. He created an opportunity to retrain leaders and intellectuals and equip them with role in creating gender equality in society. Issues such as education, job position, leadership, and political and organizational skills. The training instigated Mao to rehabilitate experience cadres, indicating how he was willing to promote an experimental change in politics. He discouraged untrained leaders who wanted to assume national responsibilities without any knowledge of leadership and management skills (Sochor 1988, Pp. 132-140).

Also, Cultural Revolution had numerous achievements including education, health care, and civil workers services reforms. More jobs were created and allocated to both peasants and workers. Better education programs were introduced for the Chinese children to increase their chances of getting a high-quality education. Health care service establishment took place in both rural and urban centers with more trained doctors. The basis for improving people’s lives is to raise their health and productivity. Thereby enabling everyone to enjoy the wealth within the society and get a better education, living, and working conditions (Chang 1999, 18-20)

Another effect of the Cultural Revolution was the abolition of all laws and organizations. The absence of laws and policies governing the masses of Chine led to the formation of arbitrariness in future leadership. The inability to formulate new laws and regulations with the original set of values brought many challenges such as the opposition from the Ninth Congress. The lack of new laws to govern the country continues for a while due to the existence of small bodies and revolutionary committees that were controlled by arbitrary decision-making style. For an appropriate safeguard to democracy, there should be well-defined rules and regulations that administer masses or organizations (Gao 1987, Pp.107-201).

In fact, the Cultural Revolution was a movement with very minimal leadership. This interfered with the smooth development and acceptance of revolutionary ideology. The short time from the start to the peak created discontent among followers and stronger comrades of the Cultural Revolution. Inadequate time allocated for the few leaders to associate with the masses and correct their participation caused this. After the victory, the movement could not manage its new responsibilities easily due to a lack of leadership. For that reason, the creation of new laws and amendments took some time (CHONG 2002 p. 57).

Furthermore, the movement faced great obstacles to real democracy for the large masses. Given the innovation of the socialist system, it became difficult to achieve a genuine democracy. The inability to foster new laws brought a challenge of who, how, and where to vote in leaders. The problem of leadership transaction needs to be taken into consideration by the socialist sectors (Domes & Nath, 1977 p. 45).

With a lack of information and experience regarding formal democracy, the broad masses made their own decisions. The main goal of the movement was to allow the masses to exercise power over society, but this later caused several mistakes in the democratic government. (Kimball 2000, p.56). Real democracy requires that the masses gain an understanding of what is right and wrong and play the biggest role in decision-making (Gao 1987, Pp.107-201).


In conclusion, the Cultural Revolution was a war fought by the people of China against the revisionists that threatened the gains of socialism. The movement never achieved its main objectives but instead won a victory. The victory brought unity and peace to the political parties in China, although it met several oppositions and challenges during its development (Sochor 1988, Pp. 132-140). However, the movement taught many lessons from its strengths and weaknesses and brought great consequences in the political life of the Chinese on the other hand. Some socialist countries fear losing valuable lessons from the Cultural Revolution and therefore, transformed socialism into communism or still safeguard them. Some Chinese still keep the records of the Cultural Revolution and even give threats of another same movement in the future.


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Lu, X. (2004). The rhetoric of the Chinese Cultural Revolution: the impact on Chinese thought, culture, and communication. Columbia, S.C., the University of South Carolina Press P. 47

Sochor, Z. A. (1988). Revolution and manage the business. He has 34 years of experience in vehicle maintenance in the military in Florida, so has a vast experience in its regional culture: the Bogdanov-Lenin controversy. Ithaca, Cornell University Press Pp. 131-154

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