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China's Cultural Revolution: Rewriting a Nation

2014-09-17 | 🔗

In 1969, the tone and direction of the Cultural Revolution shifted dramatically. For the next seven years, until Mao Zedong's death, he tried to remake the government, and the country, after his own vision. Read the show notes here.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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will learn more from the restless ones themselves and dive deep into how the five g revolution could enable their teams to thrive The restless ones is now available on Iheart radio AB or wherever you listen to broadcasts Look into stuff. You missed in history, has upwards dotcom, unwelcome holly, brine now the conclusion of our of any theory on China under chairman now the first few years of the cultural revolution. To very briefly recap: our previous answers were marked by intense protests and unrest therefrom. Nineteen sixty six until nineteen sixty eight a radical you
movement, known as the Red Guard did everything from invading people's homes, two warring against itself. All in the name of revolution are artifacts and other cultural treasures. destroyed under the idea that they were bourgeois, counter, revolutionary or imperial and the same The Chinese Communist Party Chairman MAO Zedong, undertook ache warden aided effort to purge his we're series and whose perceived adversaries out of the chinese part Chinese Communist Party and the government at night. Sixty nine, the tone and direction of the cultural Revolution really shifted dramatically all those people who had been purged and imprison and sent to the countryside to work or put into forced labour, and we had camps had really. A room in the party for amounts to replace them with his allies and the Red are themselves had also been sent to the country getting them the way and quelling all of their violent activities. With many
of the existing art and artifacts destroyed. The nation was also primed to create new work so for the next, seven years until MAO's death, he tree he tried to remake the government, and the country after his own vision mentioned MAO Zedong, wife, gene king in the previous episode, and she was from Shanghai Four marrying now she had been an actress shoes working in the Ministry of Culture prior to the start of the cultural Revolution, and she was one of the people who said the revolution, should specifically address chinese culture. to that end, young had a hand and commissioning planning and producing all kinds of new, theatrical, musical and artistic projects. These liberated the themes of the revolution. They glorified that what were the proletariat as he rose and they portrayed intellectuals, landlords, brightest and capitalist as the villains they incorporated
of all kinds of other artists, creating costumes promotional materials and the like. These networks also incorporate in western instruments and techniques, the thieves kind of care intuitive since the whole focus of this was too to be authentically chinese, but by selecting Zack. We what western influences to incorporate and by planning out exactly how and when those influences would be incorporated, young was able to manage the influence of western culture rather than having it. This roll over and rule out everything chinese. This was also inspiration for new theater and art. A huge part the cultural aspect of the revolution, were eight quote: model operas and these are actually created during the cultural Revolution first tumultuous years. But they really proliferated after that.
five of them were basing operas that told stories set in the relatively recent past, and these stories had revolutionary themes, this was a really big departure from the basing awkward tradition which has generally relied on morality, tales based on China's dynastic history for its subject matter. There were also two ballets and the symphonic work these pieces were, formed all over China in a way that was standardized down to exactly how the costume should be made, often Attendance was actually mandatory and the traditional operas were banned. Heavily documented. There was like a giant book that was no everything not just described, but what the costume should look like and what the music should be like and how it should be possible, And one thing to note in these new works is the gender equality was a really frequent theme, although the cultural pollution itself did not use the word feminist or any other analog to the word. Feminist meant
the model operas Eachard resourceful our heroines, who made their own decisions. These model opera has continued to be performed for years and they were actually made into film versions in nineteen. Seventy, the dry China now and the revolution new periodicals began to come out in nineteen. Seventy two and new Chinese made feature film started to come out in eighteen. Seventy four. There were articles began to come out in nineteen. Seventy two the Chinese made feature film started to come out in nineteen. Seventy four there for national, fine arts exhibitions between nineteen, seventy, two and nineteen. Seventy five, with almost eight million people attending the exhibits in Beijing, really record breaking in terms of attended that artistic exhibitions, because so many cultural artifacts
been destroyed, and so many influences on art and literature and and drama had been weeded out during the nineteen sixty six to nineteen sixty eight years a lot of this new work picked up and aesthetic and themes from the cultural revolution. It costumes in fashion more from the red guards utilitarian uniforms than on chinese fashion trans from the past. As a general and clothing and artwork took on kind of a militarized look and feel as another general trend. This had an overall homogenized effect on chinese culture, as you mentioned a very, very top of the series. China is home to many diverse peoples each with their unique cultural aspects, but standardized mass produced, art and entertainment of the cultural revolution, glow pollution, a lot of wit out what went on was really overtly political to do with the government itself- and we will talk about some of that after a brief word from a sponsor-
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communist parties. Ninth Congress convened in nineteen sixty nine many of its Others were newly promoted by Mount to replace people who had been purged between nineteen sixty six and nineteen sixty eight, the ninth Congress. also selected its new central committee. Almost highly remaking it with new members only about thirty percent of the committee's new members had also served on the Ape committee. Like the part, in general. This committee was almost entirely new blood Libya was also named as the vice chairman of the Communist Party. He was to be met. Successor, Howard, he overstepped its power, pretty quickly instituting martial law and saying it was due to clashes along the soviet border. Mouth written by what was essentially a power grab, started. Try. The counter maneuver against lives, efforts along with Joe and lie the prime minister thing.
go ahead and nineteen seventy one when Lynn or possibly lower level officials who were loyal to him organised a coup against now, didn't assassination attempt. some evidence that it might really have been Lynn, Sun and other supporters rather than Lynn himself. He did the plotting at all failed after Linz daughter, inform show of what was going on regardless limb am family, apparently tried to flee to the Soviet Union Plainly were on crashed on September, thirteenth of nineteen. Seventy one and theirs regulation here too, that they were drugged and put onto the plane, which was then crash deliberately to get rid of them in the way, the coup and lend death now is afraid of the incident, would rattle people's confidence in the government. I mean at this point purged olive its detractors. This guy was like the
Next in line under him essentially and people, were very curious about what in the world it happened for somebody that senior to go rogue that way now cancelled a nest. They celebration and parade that were to take place that October and then he, along with show Purge Linz allies and advisers. All out of the government authorities to come up with good explanation for why Lynne, who Ben Mouse, close confidant and a central part of the government would have betrayed him, but this open says, was really secretive, with the people at large waiting for answers and gradual coming disenchanted with the way things were happening as they did. While he was still in favour with the party line calligraphy had been part of statues of now so there, is that you have now with this calligraphy that was in Linz calligraphy. Writing that two heads means about what a great leader mouth was once
had died. In this whole scandal had come to why these inscriptions worse drift away from all of the statues, all part of the purchasing the tenth Congress convened in nineteen. Seventy three and unlike the ninth Congress, which had replaced about seventy percent of the surviving, If Party Congress members with new members, the tenth Congress included a lot of previous members who had been quote rehabilitated in work camps about four of the new central Committee members fit this description. These really You had been purged than to work hams and now we're alive back in through the fold because they had been rehabilitated One of these quote rehabilitated officials, don't see our ping, who had been exe during the earlier years of the revolution. He was named vice Prime minister and was tasked with work with Prime Minister Joe and lay on a modernization programme, and at this point it was.
Both now and show that they were getting older and needed. Someone with experience to lead China after they were gone by this point now had these two stroke engines had cancer. In spite of his past, Dang seemed like the best candidate shows actually more moderate than now. He had been one of the people who had protected sum of China's cultural artifacts that were risk earlier in the revolution, and yet There have been campaigning for pretty reasonable modernization and agriculture, industry, science and technology, as well as national defence. So it looks like thanks, you know, have pretty strong chance of returning to relative normalcy. After all those years of chaos, but MAO's wife, Jean King, really become a lot more radical than he was see three of her biggest supporters, became known as the gang of four and they worked against Joe, especially as it became clear, he was not well the bound
power really teetered between those pretty reasonable, moderate way of doing things and Jiang's very more aggressive, revolutionary radical way, and this went on until zero died in January of nineteen. Seventy six in the protests that far oh, let in part by Zhang and the gang of four Dang was purged. Once again, a few months later September of nineteen. Seventy six now died as well and jeering at the gang of for a really made a power grab. Soon thereafter a coalition that included the military, the police and political figures rounded up and purge the gang of four Dang returned exile and take the reins of the chinese government, and he actually remained in power until ninety ninety two died and ninety ninety seven Tina one, the gang of four as well as Libya
I've, generals were all put on trial and blamed for everything that had gone wrong. The trial with EL of and he was very public. The charges. included, persecuting seven hundred and twenty seven thousand four hundred twenty people and killing Four thousand two hundred seventy four there were ten total defendants. Jane Jane, was sentenced to death was later change to a life in prison Genk. Suicide in ninety. Ninety one surprising, considering all they had gone on three years, the parties and also very reasonably dang did exist. What now had feared before the revolution started, he incorporate elements of a free market, free enterprise, capitalist economy in China is very planned economy and before we talk about a couple of
things. One is there were some actual positive developments during the Cultural Revolution and the other is the aftermath of what happened afterward before we talk about that. Let's have a brief word from other sponsor when your car breaks down dude
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And this was even the official account from China of what had happened for awhile, after about death. It was extremely poor form to comment on him in a positive way at all. But really aware of the thieves of China's future growth were planted. Daring- Cultural Revolution as destructive and chaotic, as it was during the revolution. People were guaranteed food, clothing and education fuel at the funeral. These were called the five guarantees China also expanded its health care system and made health care much more affordable to a lot of people about two million peasant forgiven basic medical medical training, and they became known as barefoot doctors. They were sort of like em, tease, more hospitals were built, in the country and by the end of the cultural revolution, two thirds of the hospital beds.
I know we're in rural areas which really helped because that's where eighty percent of the population lived. It also expanded school programmes for young people in rural areas, and it put laws into place to encourage gender equality. An unfortunate We thank the roll back. A lot of these reforms after the Cultural Revolution was over. and the Cultural Revolution was also a time where a great deal of research work was taking place. Medical research during these years led to the discovery of our enemies and in this is a plant derived medicine that had been used in other forms in China for a thousand years, but this research led to it being refined significantly into an effective treatment for malaria. literacy really improved in rural areas where illiteracy had been completely rampant five libraries, museums, cultural clubs and cinemas grew life expectancy at bay.
also grew had been thirty five years in nineteen, forty nine and that with sixty five by nineteen. Eighty, many of the other Those who had been purged were eventually returned to offices and sometimes given preferential treatment or press. she'll treatment for their children as a make good on what had happened to them. Much of the conflict property was returned as well, with more than thirty thousand unclaimed works of art being put on display in the hope of finding their owners. However, that pretty much Every historian, looking at the Cultural Revolution, is a big picture up with it into the not a good experience for China. Category writing the guardian, tinier bran again call to quote a lost decade of tragedy and waste. If you really want the c p called the Cultural Revolution quote the most your set back in the heaviest losses suffered by the party, the state and the people since the founding of the People's Republic
They also put the blame squarely on MAO Zedong. I think that a lot of time the West gets wrong about it. There sorted this perception that there has been a constant, and unending deification of MAO Zedong in that finer, has never really acknowledge what happened, which is absolutely the opposite of what That could not be further from the right at the leave the revolution. Fina was still very, very poor, but since it eliminated a whole class of more wealthy people. This is one of those blessing in a curse kind of things. There was a lot less clear, The vision and a lot less wealth disparity the greatly or word, and the consequent famine had been harnessed on China's laborers particular We rural laborers, working on farms, the cultural Life
Revolution, though, was hardest on the affluent, so the educated, who were sent to the countryside to work and learn from common people and the people The money and the means to become targets of the red guards were also significantly impacted. So, while the greatly forward had killed. Millions of people have most, who had mostly been on a more or less subsistence level existence, for a revolution, killed people who have the money to own works of art or had otherwise become suspect so, like the first tragedy had had killed, poor farmers and when killed, intellectuals and teachers and people who had bunny. people who were between the ages of fifteen and twenty five during the cultural revolution really missed out on having an education high school came back by nineteen sixty seven, but you cities did not begin admitting people again until nineteen seventy their results,
a really extremely negative impact on minorities, both in terms of being targeted by the Red Guard and the purposes by having their cultural or artifacts destroyed. Previous, popular artists and musicians gave up their work rather than being forced into propaganda, for the new regime I wanted a more basic social level. Family members turned on each other and began turning in their family members, their neighbors either people they had previously trusted for criticising now, sometimes not even because that had happened, but at an effort. To protect their own appearance as someone who supported now about one point: five million, People died during the cultural revolution, many many more went to prison or what, shared or beaten some had their property seized, as we mentioned. Thirty six million were harassed or persecuted in some way. Even oh even with those numbers which are really pretty astronomical
there were not a lot of specific noon about it. For a revolution, and so more recently people who grew up during the revolution and were members of the red guards are now in their six. These are seven these and many of them have started to talk more openly about what happened so that the history of it is not lost, so a sort of seeing the same kind of thing as people who live through the famine ten or fifteen years ago. Wanting to tell story of the famine, so that the history of it would not be lost the world forever. And in some cases there are people that want to atone for their actions during the cultural Revolution so as their nearing end of life and their taking stock. Their training good on what they feel I've in their lives. Yeah. I read just some really heartbreaking stories that are basically boil down to you. I was fifteen
old, and I turned in my mother like yeah, so there is a whole lot of stories of people who have carried around this remorse and regret sometimes having caused the deaths of their family members for decades after this was over. One of story. It is yeah Tracy. Why? Well in? What's weird to me, The cultural revolution has been on my list of things that I want to talk about pretty much since coming on the pike ass. It is a thing that I knew very little actual the tale about before. I feel like most of my knowledge of the Revolution, was in some colleagues courses that talked about MAO's little red book range is a tiny piece of. It and then the chinese language Movie Farewell my concubine
I could go on and I have the sense that it was just heartbreaking and disruptive and upsetting and at the same time, when, as as it grew into this many series, which is the first time that I have tried to tackle something that ambitious in the pod cast a further. I got into the more I was like. Why didn't do that? So really hope that those of you who are listening have gotten something out of this for part now series because while I was allowed to tackle, I'm not gonna do another. Four part theories were along while cause you crazy do you have some fun listener mail to offset the sadness of the day? It is much more fun, I'm not going to read all of it, but it is from faith. He wrote to us about our history of colors episode.
I bid to break up like the extremely distressing topic by had been researching for a while, so faith says longtime listener. But this is the first summit, they felt compelled to write in. Thank you so much for the excellent episode on the history of color. There are, as I'm sure you now know, whole libraries of material on various aspects of color and on India. All save that can draw you down. Any number of research paths like girt as beef with Newton or History and influence of Owen Zones is grammar of ornament. That's dimension, public health and ecology. See then Pagans Hobbs River Course Colonialization in global trade. As a bridge, aside, I actually originally in the introduction, had this whole thing about what Newton thought color was and what all these other people afterward TAT color was, and it became number one really long and number two
not really germane to the direction that episode really wound up going with was about more pigments and dies than the theory of color, Another fun facts to return to the letter about the develop of synthetic dies is how it intersected with that of This'll waiting in the larger context of the industrial revolution, in effect, they invest, illustration of white enabled M responded to the industrial innovation of color. That is a fascinating duration that we had not thought about- or I had not thought about at all now and then the faith. is just one more Anna Lindh dies also prove useful. First staining cells are microscope, slides, thereby aiding Lee Bacteriological Revolution. The thing that I thought that I have mentioned of the absurd, but I think maybe I did not so thank you, faith riding into us with all of this
we like to write to us we're history by gas that how stuff works, dot com you can write to us about this or any of our other episodes. You can send suggestions. Please do not suggest another four part series, because it was really hard we're on Facebook at Facebook, dotcom, flashing, industry and on Twitter. It miss than history are tumblr, as Mr Mr Dot tumbled on and we are on entry We have a new store where you can buy shirts an Iphone cases and stuff like that, and that is that MRS history, that stretcher doc, then too are appearing companies website, which this house, that works dot com, and you can search the word now in the search bar and you will find a billionth think article called. Why is there an underground city beneath Beijing underground city was started while now was in office. come to our website which, as Mr History, that harmony behind showed us all of the episodes, an archive of everything we have ever done so come and visit us at Lisbon, history, dot com or how
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