Mao's Last Revolution
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The Cultural Revolution was a watershed event in the history of the People’s Republic of China, the defining decade of half a century of communist rule. Before 1966, China was a typical communist state, with a command economy and a powerful party able to keep the population under control. But during the Cultural Revolution, in a move unprecedented in any communist country, Mao unleashed the Red Guards against the party. Tens of thousands of officials were humiliated, tortured, and even killed. Order had to be restored by the military, whose methods were often equally brutal.
In a masterly book, Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals explain why Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, and show his Machiavellian role in masterminding it (which Chinese publications conceal). In often horrifying detail, they document the Hobbesian state that ensued. The movement veered out of control and terror paralyzed the country. Power struggles raged among Lin Biao, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Qing―Mao’s wife and leader of the Gang of Four―while Mao often played one against the other.
After Mao’s death, in reaction to the killing and the chaos, Deng Xiaoping led China into a reform era in which capitalism flourishes and the party has lost its former authority. In its invaluable critical analysis of Chairman Mao and its brilliant portrait of a culture in turmoil, Mao’s Last Revolution offers the most authoritative and compelling account to date of this seminal event in the history of China.
the Red Guards: he reads them all himself. 1116 Thus he would have known of the serious clashes and that, as Zhou Enlai put it, "the situation is very complex and the antagonistic sentiment of the masses is very strong. These are very good chaotic phenomena."37 On July io, Zhou Enlai telephoned Chen Zaidao to tell him that the scheduled negotiations between the rival factions to resolve this very complex situation would take place in Wuhan, not Beijing, but apparently not informing him that Mao
both the author of the letter and whoever had written the MAC comment as "bastards." In further defiance of the MAC, the university leadership passed the letter on to the campus security unit and had it conduct a secret investigation in an attempt to identify the anonymous letter-writer on the basis of the handwriting, and to punish him.44 This letter criticizing the radicals on the Peking University campus had only a limited impact. But two letters denouncing Chi Qun, the most powerful party
can say it has been carrying out a revisionist line ... What kind of work have we implemented in the past three months? That's something that can be discussed. The responsibility is mine. Has the national situation improved, or has it become worse? Comrade Yuanxin has his own opinion on that. The facts can show whether things are better or worse ... Last night ... I asked the Chairman what he thought of the orientation and policy of our work in this recent period. He said they were correct.52
national flag, were also much used ... From each wreath hung two broad ribbons of white silk on which were brushed in black ink words of homage to Zhou and the name of the unit that had made it."47 In the middle of the wreath might be a picture of Zhou, a hammer and sickle, or a paean to the dead premier: Arriving in the square, groups held a short ceremony, dedicating themselves to the ideals they attributed to Zhou. Then they joined the throngs reading the individual tributes. By April i,
1993. Shi Zhongquan et al., eds. Zhonggong ba da shi (The History of the CCP's Eighth Congress). Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1998. Shirk, Susan L. Competitive Comrades. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. Shoudu bufen dazhuan yuanxiao zhongdeng zhuanye xuexiao Mao Zedong sixiang xuexiban, ed. Tianfan difu kaierkang-Wuchanjieji wenhua dageming dash~i (Moved from Watching Heaven and Earth Turn Upside Down-Record of Major Events in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution). Rev.