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Chinese Cultural Revolution and Committees Essay

After the events in Shanghai, the fights for power seizures expanded to other regions, and the struggles emerged across the whole country (Wu 151). The mass public organizations, such as “zaofan” rebels, openly opposed the party leaders. But the party leaders, in their turn, regarded the organizations’ actions as the refusal to obey the leadership of the party, and the violation of the party’s discipline and code. But it was the exact aim of the rebellion organizations – the destruction of the party’s code elaborated by Liu Shaoqi who was perceived as the main enemy of the Communist ideology introduced by Mao Zedong (Wu 167).

The revolution didn’t follow any codes and regulations, and the class interests were considered as superior of the legal norms. The organizations comprised of the working class members and the educated youth performed the proletariat dictatorship. They asserted the lists of the most hated bureaucrats who were consequently excluded from the party. However, many controversies emerged during the process of new government formation.

When captured the power in Shanghai, the revolutionists wanted to create new political authority apparatus according to the principles provided by Paris Commune of 1870 (Wu 146). The basic idea of the Commune concept is the formation of the state without bureaucracy, where the political officials and the regular workers have equal wages, and where the politicians are completely controlled by the public and can be changed any time.

Shanghai Commune was created by Yao Wenyuan supported by Chen Boda and others. The Commune became a symbol of the complete victory of the socialist revolution in terms of the balance of class forces. Nevertheless, by February 1967, it was announced that the creation of the local municipalities (except Shanghai) is forbidden in other regions.

The officials said that the struggle for the seizure of power should be necessarily carried out by the three-way unions including the local representatives of the revolutionary mass organizations, representatives of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and the revolutionary leadership cadres. In this way, new local authorities – the revolutionary committees – were comprised of the working class and students organizations formed in the course of the Cultural Revolution, representatives of the Army units stationed on the territory controlled by the Revolutionary Committee, and party leaders of the local CCP organizations.

Such power model couldn’t be regarded as a complete victory of the Cultural Revolution forces (their ideal was the Commune), but it had seriously altered the balance of class forces at power. First of all, a significant part of the political power was given to the leaders of working class and student organizations, the majority of which have been staunch supporters of Mao’s policies. Secondly, the role of the army increased. At that time, the Chinese army was extremely revolutionary and was associated with a high political consciousness.

In the summer of 1967, Wuhan became the center of the counterrevolutionary forces resistance. There, the revolutionary organizations failed to seize power and form a new government. The party supporters armed and started the military actions. The army, consisted of over a million members and supported by the local party leadership, started to win.

The events in Wuhan demonstrated the power of the bureaucratic authorities. At the same time, they have provoked a more active approach of the Communists. In Shanghai, Wang Hongwen’s working class army crushed the mass organizations that supported the right-wing party. Beijing Red Guards broke into the residence of the CPC Central Committee, in the neighborhood of which all the members of the senior leadership and their families lived. There, the Red Guards organized a rally of criticism and struggle that was aimed against Liu Shaoqi and other leaders.

The formation of the revolutionary committees went at a slow pace. The composition and the political line of the revolutionary committees in the various districts were very different, i.e. the industrial centers, such as Shanghai, were dominated by Mao’s supporters, and the peasants preserved areas were the strong supporters of the right-wing. Nevertheless, the creation of the revolutionary committees across the country was regarded as a decisive victory of the Cultural Revolution.

The Cultural Revolution was one of the most difficult challenges for China in the 20th century. The revolution resulted in the millions of deaths, suppression of science, education system breakdown, damage to culture, and the realization of the worst human qualities at the national scope. Many researchers consider that the Cultural Revolution provoked the significant barriers to the Chinese development, and the nation still cannot recover from its negative impact – the so-called economic prosperity is only a visible part of the iceberg, and it affected merely the inhabitants of large cities. Although the province and suburb inhabitants no longer die of hunger, many people continue to live in poverty.

Therefore, it is possible to say that the current Chinese economy is a very subtle phenomenon, and it is primarily supported by the usage of cheap manual labor at the multiple manufacturing factories. In this way, it is possible to say that the Communist ideology with the main purpose of the social equality and justice establishment and the government’s attempts to fulfill this ideology came to a failure.

Works Cited

Wu, Yiching. The Cultural Revolution at the Margins: Chinese Socialism in Crisis, London, UK: Harvard University Press, 2014. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Chinese Cultural Revolution and Committees." September 11, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-cultural-revolution-and-committees/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Chinese Cultural Revolution and Committees'. 11 September.

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