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China in 1950-53: “Paternalist Terror” by J. Strauss Essay

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Updated: Jun 14th, 2020

Introduction

There is no use denying the fact that there are many events in the history of humanity that change the world and create the new history. It is quite obvious that these events attract a great deal of attention of various scientists and researchers who want to understand the main peculiarities of the given processed and analyze them for people to be able to realize the main reasons and aftermath of all actions of the same kind. However, various authors and scientists have different perspectives on a certain period in the history. That is why, their works could help a reader to obtain the clear image and make certain conclusions. The work of Julia Strauss is of this sort and it helps to understand the main events in China in 1950-1953.

Background

The given period of time could be characterized by a great number of various social movements and processed that had a certain impact on the further development of a state. The author starts her cogitations about the given events with the description of the background and main purposes of the given essay. She outlines three common experiences peculiar to all socio- cultural revolutions, which are the strengthening of bureaucracy, external warfare, revolutionary terror, and provides the analysis of the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries in terms of these very aspects1. The author also underlines the great importance of the given complex and the role it played in the development of China.

Reasons provided by the author

Strauss provides her own vision of the main events of the campaign, outlining the reasons which she considers to be very important. First of all, she mentions the fact that the new revolutionary regime was not able to avoid the war against the states that did not accept it2. Having just passed through the revolutions, the country became involved in the Korean war that triggered various processes which, in their turn resulted in the development of the Campaign. The author also outlines the fact that in terms of war, all citizens that did not accept the ideology and rules of the new regime were taken as saboteurs representatives of the fifth column and spies3. This atmosphere triggered the development of peoples dissatisfaction and manifestations of various kinds.

Terror

However, the new power was not able and did not have the desire to take into account various perspectives on the development of the country as it could be estimated as the sign of the weakness of the new regime. That is why, terror was chosen as the answer to these movements and manifestations. The author outlines that the given policy resulted in the great number of victims among people. The scale of the terror could be proved by the fact that in 14,391 people from Shanghai were taken as counterrevolutionaries and sentenced4. With this in mind, the author states that the main aim of the given policy was to bluff people and destroy everyone who did not agree with the new policy of the regime.

Bureaucracy

Nevertheless, the terror was organized in accordance with some rules and laws. All counterrevolutionaries were classified and their status determined their punishment. Strauss provides this fact as the great evidence of the development of bureaucracy peculiar to China in 1950-1953. She says that “Most of the directives, circulars and reports issued by the central government encompassed an uneasy and oscillating mixture of calling for bureaucratic control from above, mobilization from below, harsh terror, and paternalist lenience”5. It means that the peoples dissatisfaction had the real grounds as the new power tried to create the state machine that would be able to overcome the resistance of every individual or organization, no matter what reasons they might have.

Criticism

In general, it is possible to say that the author manages to provide very important and credible information that helps to analyze the given process and understand its main peculiarities. However, she omits the influence of the cultural factor on the development of this process. The fact is that people in China have their own unique mentality that determines their lifestyle. China has a bright history which is rich in various events similar to the given one. Moreover, power has always been concentrated in the arms of one person who punished dissidents and people with some other points of view. That is why, Chinese society had its own vision of the given Campaign and did not provide a great support to it.

Conclusion

Resting on the above-mentioned facts, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. Julia Strauss manages to create a good and credible work that revolves around the main events in China in 1950-1953. She outlines the main reasons of the given movement and measures accepted by the government in order to protect itself and continue the creation of the new country. The arguments provided by the author seem to be quite logic as she provides the detailed analysis of her main ideas. That is why, it is possible to take this essay as rather informative and credible.

References

Strauss, Julia. Paternalist Terror: The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Regime Consolidation in the People’s Republic of China, 1950–1953. 2016.

Footnotes

  1. Julia Strauss, Paternalist Terror: The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries and Regime Consolidation in the People’s Republic of China, 1950–1953, 2016, 80.
  2. Ibid., 84.
  3. Ibid., 84.
  4. Ibid., 87.
  5. Ibid., 89.
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