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Cultural revolution

The meaning of «cultural revolution»

The Cultural Revolution, formally the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, was a sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until 1976. Launched by Mao Zedong, the Chairman of the Communist Party of China (CPC), its stated goal was to preserve Chinese Communism by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Mao Zedong Thought (known outside China as Maoism) as the dominant ideology in the CPC. The Revolution marked Mao's return to the central position of power in China after a period of less radical leadership to recover from the failures of the Great Leap Forward, which led to approximately 30 million deaths in the Great Chinese Famine only five years earlier.

Mao launched the movement in May 1966 with the help of Cultural Revolution Group, soon calling on young people to "bombard the headquarters" and proclaiming that "to rebel is justified". To eliminate his rivals within the CPC and in schools, factories, and government institutions, Mao charged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society and that they aimed to restore capitalism. He insisted that revisionists be removed through violent class struggle. China's youth responded by forming Red Guard groups around the country, which split into rival factions and often involved in violent struggles (simplified Chinese: 武斗; traditional Chinese: 武鬥; pinyin: wǔdòu). Urban workers likewise split into factions, and the People's Liberation Army had to be sent to restore order. Lin Biao, Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China, was written into the constitution as Mao's successor; Lin had compiled the Little Red Book, a selection of Mao's sayings, that became a sacred text for Mao's personality cult. Mao declared the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1969, but the Revolution's active phase lasted until at least 1971, when Lin Biao fled and died in a plane crash, accused of a botched coup against Mao. In 1972, Gang of Four rose to power and the Cultural Revolution continued. After Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976, the Cultural Revolution finally came to an end.

The Cultural Revolution damaged China's economy while tens of millions of people were persecuted, with an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million.[1][2][3][4][5][6] Starting from the Red August of Beijing, massacres took place across the country, such as the Guangxi Massacre (massive cannibalism also occurred[7][8]), the Inner Mongolia incident, the Yunnan Massacres and the Hunan Massacres. The 1975 Banqiao Dam failure, one of the greatest technological catastrophes of the world, also took place during the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand, senior officials, most notably Chinese president Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping, Peng Dehuai and He Long, were purged or exiled. Millions were accused of being members of the Five Black Categories and were persecuted, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment into suicide. Intellectuals were considered the "Stinking Old Ninth" and were widely persecuted; notable scholars and scientists such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Yao Tongbin and Zhao Jiuzhang were killed or committed suicide. Schools and universities were closed with the college entrance exams cancelled. Over 10 million urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside in the Down to the Countryside Movement. Red Guards also destroyed historical relics as well as artifacts, and ransacked cultural and religious sites.

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