Did Anyone Benefit from the Cultural Revolution?

1640 words 7 pages
Did anyone benefit from the Cultural Revolution?
Few people would deny that the Cultural Revolution is one of the most significant events in China’s history, with its extraordinary effects on many groups of the population. The main aim of the revolution was simple: having risen to power, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) wanted to reform the Chinese population so that they followed the communist ideology – the favour of absolute social equality. While the initial impression of this aim seems positive, many people nowadays consider that there were few benefits of the Cultural Revolution, due to the turbulence that it caused between 1966 and 1976. Whilst it could be considered that there was initially some reform of the Chinese people, it
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Meisner (1986 p.387) describes the suppression that these intellectuals underwent: “their homes (were) frequently ransacked, their books burned and manuscripts destroyed…they themselves were often subjected to physically as well as psychologically agonizing “study and criticism” sessions”. Like the state workers, many were sent to the countryside to carry out menial work or were arrested. Due to this maltreatment, many feared to continue with their studies and research, which led to a dampening in the Chinese intellectual level.
Whilst it could be argued that rural students benefited from the Cultural Revolution, few would deny that urban students suffered. In fact, Mao sent them off to the countryside to be educated by the peasants, whose knowledge was inferior to the intellectuals in the cities. Again, the aim was to narrow the gap between the city and the countryside by putting all members of society on a similar level. But by doing so Mao harmed the future of these youngsters by refusing them a good education (Meisner 1986 p.388). Meisner (1986 p.389) states that this generation of urban youngsters regarded themselves as “the lost generation”.
Likewise, those that worked for the arts, such as writers, painters and playwrights, suffered in the Cultural Revolution. Very few writings were accepted, except those of Mao, and there were declines in the number of paintings produced and in the


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