Mao Zedong's Mistaken 'Capitalist Road' During Cultural Revolution - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1825 Words
Date:  2023-04-21


During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong mistakenly considered that the country should embark on the capitalist road (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). Thus, he made unrealistic and overly serious estimates of the political situation in the Party and the country, regarding leading cadres at all levels with different opinions as "capitalist roaders in power" and many problems of no class struggle nature as class struggle, which seriously confused right and wrong and failed to differentiate between the enemy and ourselves (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). How to solve dark problems in the Party and society? Chairman Mao held that it was necessary to mobilize the masses, so a series of wrong actions began, and the performance of this movement was to "doubt everything" and "overthrow everything" (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). The students went on strike and formed a Red Guard team; they did not finish the school work well but talked about life and revolutionary ideals, opposed the bourgeoisie, as if life had reached its last moment, and went to the leading department to expose and investigate the leadership.

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One of the most influential events during the Cultural Revolution was the cancellation of the college entrance examination, which is a fair examination in China, allowing students from poor families to obtain diplomas and enter society to find good jobs. However, during the Cultural Revolution, the Red Guards, who were also students, considered that the current system of entering a higher school was a continuation of the old imperial examination system in China's feudal society for thousands of years; it was a rather backward and reactionary education system; the students only studied for pursuing a high enrolment rate and going to college, not for revolution; the current system of entering a higher school was contrary to the education policy formulated by Chairman Mao for them (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). After strong suggestions from the students and social unrest, the Notice of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on Delaying Enrollment in Higher Education Institutions for Half a Year was issued and the college entrance examination was canceled (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). As a result, the later life of originally many students who studied very well was not good because there was no college entrance examination and no diploma.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four were the most deadly: Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao, Jiang Qing and Yao Wenyuan (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). They were rather ambitious people, and these counter-revolutionaries took the opportunity to launch civil strife, separatism, and sectarian activities in an attempt to usurp power from the Party; besides, they persecuted and criticized a large number of old revolutionary comrades, state cadres and intellectuals. Lobbying around, making rumors and attacking Deng Xiaoping led to civil strife among the people (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016).

There was also the Red Guards, a mass organization formed spontaneously by a group of students. They went to all parts of the country during the Cultural Revolution and all started to break and criticize what they considered to be "feudalistic, capitalistic and revisionist". The Red Guards were loyal and uncompromising, their fanaticism over Mao Zedong led to blindness and extremism, and many innocent people were criticized, insulted, raided and beaten by the Red Guards. This kind of behavior seriously damaged the social order, resulting in students not attending school and some workers being oppressed and unable to work.

Apart from that, during the Cultural Revolution, it was advocated to break the four old ones, that is, to break the so-called "old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits"; all the famous shops and old shop signboards believed to be related to the "four old ones" such as feudalism, capitalism, and revisionism were smashed (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). Later, their slogan of "rebellion is justified" became louder and louder, and some cultural relics were also destroyed by them. In their view, these were all old things to be abolished. The Red Guards would also take violent actions against people wearing strange clothes, including some actors and artists. The Red Guards were highly destructive, and the most popular language of the Red Guards movement was that a new world could not be built without destroying an old world. Moreover, their destructiveness was aimless and disorganized. They adored Mao Zedong very much, and Mao Zedong often met them during the Cultural Revolution; besides, they lacked rational thinking in their youthful spirit and as a result, they could only indulge in empty shouting slogans during the Cultural Revolution (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). They shouted to get rid of old ideas and build a new and pure society, which was just wishful thinking, they had no practical operational plan and could only bring harm to society.

The Cultural Revolution resulted in a high prevalence of the bold actions in 1970 as they were trying to match the immediate problems that the revolutionists caused (Pang, Clark & Tsai, 2016). Thus, the activity led to significant legacies in the history of China that resulted from bold actions. For instance, there was an in-depth gap in the generation since the young individuals were required to join the revolutionary movement.. Therefore, they had to miss attending the classes hence leading to a denial of education. They were only taught how to redress their complaints regarding the existing system of education. Instead of going to school, the young population was driven to the streets to join the revolutionary movements.

Similarly, the Cultural Revolution facilitated the growth of corruption within the government and CCP leadership. The vice primarily resulted from the terrors that were revolving around the scarcities of consumer goods and services within the country. Therefore, the leaders had to resort to traditional methods of getting tasks done and acquiring some goods and services (Zhou & Xueguang, 2000). The leaders resorted to giving some offers to the citizens and get certain services in return. This led to a significant loss of legitimacy in the CCP leadership (Zhou & Xueguang, 2000). The larger number of Chinese citizens were brainwashed by the existing leadership activities that resulted from the concept of political principle.

Also, the Cultural Revolution led to the significant ignoring of the majority of the population that was living within rural areas. This created a feeling of negligence by urban residents. Thus, there were arising cases of political instability in the country as part of the population felt like non-citizens of the country. They ignored significant activities that dictated the democracy and rule of law in the country which adversely affected the operation of the government (Zhou & Xueguang, 2000). Successful implementations of government legal formalities require massive participation of the majority of the citizens. The process was hindered by the rebelling citizens who interrupted even the delivery services operated by the government since the majority of Chinese during the Cultural Revolution were residing within the urban centers.

The Cultural Revolution facilitated the prevalence of zigzag economic policy (Zhou & Xueguang, 2000). The top officials had sensed incoming jeopardy on the implementers of the previous political policies after the demise of Mao. Thus, they were fully aware that certain legal requirements in the management of public property would be dropped. The feeling led to bureaucratic timidity where a significant number of top leaders were waiting for possible reinstatement in various positions of work due to the wrongful purging that resulted from the shifts in economic policies.

Impact of Culture Revolution on Chinese Music

During the Cultural Revolution, a large number of songs praising Chairman Mao were released, because, during that time, entertainment activities were forbidden (Ho, 2017). The Red Guards thought that singing some songs about feelings was not serious, and entertainment activities might be mistaken for villains or unrest elements (Ho, 2003). Therefore, during the Cultural Revolution, only revolutionary songs and hymns about Chairman Mao could be developed. For instance, songs such as "Rebellion is Rational", "Revolting with Chairman Mao" and "The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution is good" are rather rigid in the present view, but they are also characteristic of the times and reflect the people's thought in that era: Mao Zedong was supreme (Ho, 2017). In the early years of the Cultural Revolution, there was a wave of abandoning western music and developing Chinese national music. In that era, Chinese art forms were revolutionizing. At that time, some orchestras did not wear formal clothes or usual costumes when putting on performances, but wore military uniforms of the New Fourth Army and often played revolutionary songs at concerts (Ho, 2017). Political factors also exerted a great influence on performers. Before and during the Cultural Revolution, people from poor families were sometimes not allowed to give performances.

During the Cultural Revolution, some artists were also persecuted. When they sang or performed, they were mistaken for rebels. Many artists also were faced with more severe persecution such as property grabbing and even beating because many young Red Guards did not understand music and besides, they blindly trust Mao Zedong, always suspecting that there were rebels in the masses' organizations (Ho, 2017). Therefore, they misunderstood the masses from all walks of life and caused a lot of unnecessary losses. Some performers of the orchestra, unable to continue their music career, turned to work in factories or engage in agriculture, which also resulted in a brain drain.

The songs that even today's young people can sing, such as "Vox Dance Remix", "Why the Flowers so Red" and "Horse, Slow Down", were all written before the Cultural Revolution, but they were forbidden to sing during the Cultural Revolution (Ho, 2017). The first two songs belong to "blue songs", while the song "Horse, Slow Down" is in opposition to the Great Leap Forward launched by the elderly (Ho, 2017). The revolutionary people stepped onto the swift horse of the Great Leap Forward while the song wanted the horse to "slow down", which seemed to be in opposition at that time. Hence, during the Cultural Revolution, some pretty normal and pleasant songs were banned due to misinterpretation of the Red Guards and leaders (Ho, 2017). Fortunately, people resumed normal life after the Cultural Revolution, and these nice songs were passed down by the singers.

The Cultural Revolution also has significant impacts on the teachers of music in China. The teachers of songs like "Horse, Slow Down", which were written for the young population during the revolutionary times were prosecuted (Ho, 2017). During this period, teachers of such kinds of music were regarded by Mao as the major facilitators of rebellion. Their mode of teaching the songs was therefore prohibited to avoid any rebellious activity. The teachers who did not keep to the rules of Mao that prohibited the teacher's activities to the young population were prosecuted (Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, 2005). The bewildering complexity that led to the incomprehensible brutality was rooted in the fact that all teachers of music had to stick to the existing historians' struggles to bring sense out of the revolutionary movements that were undertaken during the period.


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Mao Zedong's Mistaken 'Capitalist Road' During Cultural Revolution - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 21). Retrieved from

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